The Lake House
I’m cleaning again today. For the 8,734th time (roughly) in the past three months, I’m cleaning. I’m scrubbing my floor on my hands and knees, I’m vacuuming dog hair, I’m making my toilets sparkle, I’m eradicating any random boy-pee spray from the base of the potty. I’m fluffing pillows, straightening rooms, hiding sex toys (you’re wondering if I’m really doing that, aren’t you?), burying all the empty wine bottles in the recycling bin (you’re pretty convinced that’s true, right?). We have another showing today. I used to get excited about showings. I used to think, “THIS IS IT! Our buyers are coming TODAY!” But now, I’m getting a little bitter and more than a little tired of finding a place to hang out for an hour or two a day — nearly every day. My half-full glass is draining quickly. And my dogs are going to need canine therapy soon. In the heart of a de-cluttered and incredibly clean house that no longer feels like our home, I’m simply waiting for the feedback that says, “Clients liked the house, but they couldn’t see past the colors.” Really? Yes, we have a colorful house. We KNOW that. You don’t really need to tell us. And we made a conscious decision when we were listing the house that we weren’t going to re-paint. Why? Because the current market dictates that we’re going to lose roughly $70,000 – 90,000 on this sale. That’s a shitload of cash. So, are we willing to sink another $6,000 into making it neutral? No. We’re not striking up that band on this particular Titanic. Call us crazy, but we figure if our buyers are going to get a $400,000 5-bedroom home with a finished basement that’s currently still under a 10-year structural warranty for $70,000 – 90,000 less than we paid for it, they can paint their own damn walls black and purple if they want to. I understand that a houseful of girls won’t necessarily be thrilled with George’s jungle motif or Gus’s solar system walls. And our blue bedroom will make some people want to vomit. (It’s French provincial blue, not country blue — just for the record.) But wouldn’t it be exciting to pick out a new palette? Is there anything better than browsing color swatches at Lowe’s? I fear that HGTV is sucking our imaginations dry. Really, if we were asking full price for this house, I’d expect to paint the walls and put new carpets in. But we’re listed for $60,000 less than our neighbors down the street who only have four bedrooms and a partially finished basement. I’m thinking our buyers are still coming out ahead. Even if I agreed to paint everything a boring beige for my unimaginative lookers, wouldn’t they want to re-paint once they got in anyway? I mean, do they really want to live with my kids’ dirty fingerprints? In full disclosure, these kids of mine don’t always wipe well. It would behoove anyone to begin this journey with a clean slate. Oh — and a quick sidebar to my lookers — if you don’t really like my neighborhood, or if you have your heart set on a neighborhood with a community pool, go ahead and skip scheduling my house for a showing. Because, ultimately, our house is, indeed, IN our neighborhood. And there’s not much we can do about that. Perhaps if we paint the house beige, you might forego the pool? And you’re not getting my washer and dryer, either, so don’t even ask.

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2 Responses

  1. I’m a big fan of anyone who can somehow manage to include a random sex toys reference in a post about selling their house! And that Titanic line? Genius!

    Thanks for making me grateful that: a) my house is not on the market; and b) I’m no longer in real estate.

    For the record I think your house is lovely. XO

  2. Ditto what Andrea says and I agree wholeheartedly that buyers overall lack imagination. I hated that we had to paint a light BEIGE over the deep red see-through paint that took me EIGHT coats to get just right in our dining room before we could sell it. Reminds me of the Sex & the City episode wherein Mr. Big says, “Everything in my apartment is beige.” To which Carrie replies, “I thought you wanted beige,” alluding to his “boring” new wife. His retort, “Beige is bullshit,” says it all. He and Carrie start and affair shortly thereafter and he paints his bedroom walls fire engine red after the divorce. So ya, beige is bullshit…someone with flair and imagination, like you, will come along and love your colors as much as you do.

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