You Will NEVER Guess What I'm Talking About!

I'm so wildly unpredictable!

Remember that scene in American Beauty where realt*r Annette Bening is preparing to show a property and she's scrubbing the counters and cleaning the windows in her slip and repeating "I will sell this house today. I will sell this house today"? And she throws the curtains open and the room is flooded with sunlight and she's so full of hope?

Then she shows a few disinterested couples around.

And then it's dusk.

And you see her dejected form closing up the house and taking down the signs.

And after she carefully closes the blinds, do you remember what she does? She starts to scream and sob and slap herself. And you think "wow, what a hot mess she is".

My how we laughed back in 1999!

When we were renting.

A realt*r called yesterday. At 6:00 on a Sunday evening. The house was a disaster, I had my feet propped up and a glass of wine in my hand, and we were in the last 15 minutes of a fabulous movie. (U-571. Oh, Matthew, how glisteny you are.)

Ring Ring



Being the desperate sellers we are, we asked for five minutes.

Let's just say that you've never seen so many dirty dishes fit inside an oven.

After we raced around, we flew out of the house all sweaty and half-drunk and drove to Starbucks. Where we sat dazed, like a cat just plucked from his warm nap on your bed and dropped on the cold porch.

We hadn't even ordered our coffees yet when our realt*r rings informing us that "she wants a bigger yard - room for a pool and a spa and still have lawn. But, she thought it was cute".

Still panting, Chris and I just looked at each other. And I swear I thought Chris was going to dig a pool right then with his hand shovel and go throw her in it.

We returned home and angrily discussed our back yard.

"It's lovely! It's big enough! What is her f*cking problem?"
"It's just an excuse."
"She interrupts our Sunday at a moment's notice and then pulls this sh*t!"
Of course, she, like all the others, is not obligated to buy our house just because she displaces us to look at it. And intellectually we know this. It's just that this whole process feels slightly demoralizing. Deflating.

It's like this perpetual interview process. Except you're not allowed to be there. They just want to see your resume. And when they reject you, you don't really know why. And you're not allowed to respond. Or discuss it further.

We've gotten to the point of feeling so helpless in this process that we've taken to spying on prospective buyers from down the street.

This is what it has come to. We sit on our own street like undercover police officers and amuse ourselves with pointless observations.

"She looks like she enjoys her food. She'll be all over the kitchen."

"Foreign car. Way too pretentious for our floorplan."

"Did you see those heels? There go the loose tiles."

"Look at that hair! She needs a roomy bathroom for all that blow-drying."

And we've lowered our price for a twelvteenth time, so now our asking price is "four apples and a squirrel...or best offer".


I want your honest opinion. (Go look at my house.) Do you think the downstairs paint is too dark? Do you think the white painted cabinets clash with the less-white tile? Do you think we should have a mirror over the fireplace?

Do you think if I purchase 300 cans of kerosene, they'll catch me on video tape?


Sharon said...

Goodness...I LOVE your house! If we lived in Cali, we's totally buy it. I wish we could find something like it here. (really, I'm serious)

Brillig said...

Oh, I'm so right there with you. I'm on my way to go sign more papers, lowering the price on my house once again. Let me know how the kerosene plan goes, because it's definitely occurred to me from time to time.

Virenda said...

You have great neighbors I'm sure no one would come forward.

As your close friend I will totally carry half of the kerosene cans.

Aimee said...

Okay I'll be honest. I'm a realtor and your house is SO pretty.

But I do think that maybe if you want the downstairs to look bigger, that you could do a lighter brighter color?

Other than that Lena - it is perfect. Trust me - it is not your house, just how the market is right now. It's even worse here on the east coast.

lisa said...

Oh GOD Lena, if I could talk my husband out of this very oppressed east coast/Washington DC area, you wouldn't even have time to pack - I would take your house so fast your head would spin.

Your home is beautiful, and so very Better Homes and Gardens.

Sheryl said...

Your house is really beautiful. Honestly. It's just the market. Find out what similar houses are selling for and price yours accordingly. It's a waiting game, hang in there. I know, it's no fun. It will sell though, because it's a great house.

Anonymous said...

It will happen. I love your house...It will get sold...

Butrfly4404 said...

It really is a beautiful home Lena. I have six apples and a cat....squirrels tend to bite when you pick them up. You pay closing costs.

[whisper] If you go the kerosene route, DELETE this post! [/whisper]

chirky said...

Lena, Seriously. SERIOUSLY. Your house is gorgeous. Like, fourteen LEVELS of gorgeous. Personally, I CANNOT BELIEVE that you haven't sold it yet.

Does is smell like ass when you walk in the front door? Is that the problem? Because just looking at it, I'm drooling. And I think you know that.

amisare waswerebeen said...

You're house seems to be well-staged. If you have plenty of advertisement, then it must be the housing market. Hope it sells soon. Good luck.

Julie said...

I think it's beautiful, but not all buyers have good taste (or even taste at all!). Perhaps the blue is too strong for them and a beige would be better. Also, I've read you should store half your furniture and half your belongings so everything looks more spacious. (I know, I know, more expenses!) Also, the treadmill in the bedroom might also turn them off. Just being devil's advocate, sorry!

mere said...

Another realtor here- we have all had to do those last minute calls, trust me, we don't WANT to. But she should have apologized. I mean what if you were in the middle of a family dinner? And remember that excuse next time, tell them grandma is over and it isn't a good time. Or the kid is throwing up, I like that one, too. The house looks fine. Ask your realtor for a list of everything that has gone pending since you went on the market. That will be the best guage of what IS selling. Good luck!

Mrs. M said...

I think your house is darling! I hate when people walk in and immediatly talk about how they must paint this and paint that...blah blah blah! In my (humble) opinion when we were house buying I naturally assumed I'd most likely paint every room in the house to suit my tastes and my decor. And with furniture placement, etc. GET AN IMAGINATION PEOPLE! Who cares if I like or don't like your stuff and where you put it. Such cop outs.

The only thing I could see being deterents in your house are the treadmill (goodness knows there are those people who wonder if you have enough space and storage!) and maybe a quick and easy window treatment in the office. Window treatments just make a room.

Priscilla said...

LOVE the downstairs paint! I think the house looks great.

Anonymous said...

Ok, for what it's worth, here are my suggestions:

Get rid of the blue walls in the living room, blue is a touchy color, either you love it or hate it. How about a warm buttery yellow(muted) or a neutral.

I know when I was looking in the fall, i had had enough of painting my own place to sell, so a neutrally painted decor, one that I knew I could live with for awhile until i decided to paint was appealing to me.

The kids rooms really should be repainted another color like a tan or a neutral. My childless friends find bright kids bedrooms a turnoff when they go to look. And besides, accessories can make each room girly. I think a child's room in a neutral is very soothing, because it tones down the kid stuff in each room. I hate walking through a house knowing I have to repaint it even to use it as a guest bedroom.

Your house is lovely for "living" it just takes a bit different approach for "staging".

By the way, your home is VERY clutter free. Good job!

Chelle said...

I feel your pain. I can remember trying to sell our house and being asked to "make ourselves scarce" for a showing with five minutes notice. I had a two and a half year old and a three-day-old baby at the time. Bastards didn't even buy the house. Finally, my mother gifted us with a St. Joseph statue which our parish priest blessed and, skeptical as I was- we burried it in our back yard, said a prayer to ol' St. Joseph and forgot all about it. Two days later, we had an offer on the house. I'm not advocating that you do the same, I'm just sharing. Although....

Jen frm Boston said...

As someone who is just getting her feet wet as a 1st time buyer, and whose prior experience in the arena is ltd. to all the Flip That House/Sell This House a person can stomach, I really don't get the whole paint thing (esp. seeing as the colors you've chosen are nice). You don't like it, paint it. I'm buyig the structure the closet space, the nice kitchen, etc.

I also don't get when I watch those show ppl. critiquing the furniture/tastes in decor of the sellers. I mean, they do realize the ugly dining room chairs are staying, right? Or that an ugly office hutch middle of the living room isn't a permanent fixture? Or that they can change out an old ugly chandelier for pretty cheap.

I get the staging/decluttering is key (kudos to you btw), so you get an idea of the true space but it's the nitpicking that drives me insane. I gew up w/ the original blue plaid (ugly ass) wallpaper in my house. I don't know, maybe my parents hated me.

ANYWAY....if I were to really, really (really) nit', maybe Sav's room a diff. color. Only b/c not everyone has the kids, or maybe they do and it's a boy(s) who is not down w/ the pink (tho again - it's called a bucket of paint, people.). I like the blue you have downstairs and don't think it tough (tho I'm not in real estate so what do I know) and I'd leave it. And if people arent happy w/ it, that's something they can change in their own sweet time (unlike a bright pink where parents of a couple of boys might feel obligated to do so off the bat).

Btw, I see anonymous's point on painting if you have just gone thru a bunch to sell your house, it's a pain, but to be steer yourself from buying a great house on that point? Seems a little...I don't know, cutting off your nose. I always thought people repainted/wallpapered according to their personal tastes anyway.

Two Kids and a Husband said...

I think your house is lovely and I will say upfront I have not read any replys and I am not an expert...having said that there are a couple of things I would change until you sell..(not sure your floor plan or what floor each room is on) I assume three bedroom house two stories right?...If so I would stage your 'office' as a bedroom. only because generally speaking that is what most people would use it as. In your bedroom...if you are not using it remove the treadmill all together... from the pictures it looks like your hallway table is very close to the door and it is off center with your hall pictures. I hate to suggest this because it is so wrong but people might be turned off by the pink walls from your daughters is very cute but they might not be able to see themselves utilizing the sspace... Other then that I think you are doing what you can...

why not call the show 'sell this house'???

Don't know if that helps at all... seriously I think your house it very nice and I can't understand at all why it isn't selling...


Anonymous Boxer said...

There's nothing wrong with your house - what's wrong is you're in a bad market. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

lena, we moved from the central valley 18 mos ago and it took 8 weeks for our house to sell. I was fuhreaking out every day, posted my own craigslist posts, lit sage sticks, etc.
I have a girlfriend who listed their house as soon as ours sold and it is STILL for sale. the market sucks right now. If you have any equity, see if you can dump it. The paint doesn't matter---it's a buyers market and people have time/money to be picky. If you bought new or newish, just cut loose. The money lost will be saved in marital counseling and therapy.

theworldsastage said...

I've spent the last 5 years staging model homes and homes for resale. You can fuss and fiddle yourself to death if you want to but the market here is slowing down. If you WANT to, and only if you want to, change the downstairs paint and the paint in your daughter's room to more neutral colors. Get rid of the treadmill in your room and it will feel a lot bigger. One thing that will make a big difference, especially on top of your kitchen cabinets, are some green plants. I usually grab a few ivy stems from the craft store any weave the individual pieces around the base of a vase.....maybe those canisters you have. Like I said, you can make yourself crazy with all this and it will take just as long to sell. Keep breathing and remember tequila burns as quickly as kerosene and you can drink it.

KK said...

Your house is AMAZING. I wouldn't change a thing!! Best of luck to you.

Laural said...

I love your house. I really do.
We went through so many of those moments of packing everything up and running to Starbucks. I used to take my son and dog and put them in the car and watch the people.
It sucked.
But, the person who finally bought our place was an appointment who showed up an HOUR late, stayed 5 minutes and we thought hated it.
It sucks. But it will happen.

amalah said...

First? Your house is gorgeous.

Second? Gorgeous still needs to be decluttered to sell. Because these people have ZERO imagination, so you basically have to make it look like no one lives there. Only furniture lives here! No people!

Pawn your plants off on your friends. Clear off EVERY DAMN SURFACE and stick the stuff in storage. Stuff on top of the kitchen cabinets? Gone! Photos on the wall? Gone. Plaster over the holes, leave vast stretches of plain walls. Stick anything Savannah doesn't play with in closets or crawlspaces, blah blah blaaah. Get rid of pillows and throws and did I mention clearing every surface?

It sucks so hard, but like I said, these fools just can't look past your stuff. We sold our place after renting a storage unit and shoving over half of our stuff in there. And this weekend I walked by our condo and saw four tons of crap piled on those uncluttered lovely windowsills.

Anonymous said...

Have you buried a St. Joseph?
Try it- it can't hurt and I have heard too many stories of houses selling after burying him to not try it.

Anonymous said...

Your house is gorgeous - it's not the house. We had our last house on the market twice - once for 3 months, and absolutely NO ONE looked at it, and then, a year later, 2 weeks, and it sold to the first person who looked at it.
It just takes ONE person. The RIGHT one, to walk in the door.
BTW, thanks for a very funny post. Definitely will keep you on my blogroll.

Karen said...

I second the St. Joseph thing. It's worked for too many people to not be worth a TRY!

Holly said...

So I watch a lot of "Sell this House" and I am really critical :) So, I would remove some furniture to make the rooms look bigger (like the tasty leather chair and definitely the treadmill)

Geege said...

Wanna know what people are really saying about your house? I have a friend who left her baby monitor on and then went next door and listened in ... How's that for sneaky??

Kristin said...

Your house is darling and I'm sorry, but I want you and Chris to move to Laguna so we can snark on all the tourists together... pleeeeease?

Bobealia... said...

I love the color of the wall in the hallway, which is the same color as the living room, but I don't think it looks as good in the living room (where the staircase is). I think a light bright yellow might work better in there.
I LOVE the kitchen just the way it is with the white cupboards.
I think your yard is really pretty.
I think you should watch Weeds or America's Next Top Model.

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