Tuesday, December 8, 2015

The Urge to Purge...and pack...and paint

We're not hoarders. We seriously love a good purge. We used to have garage sales but we're over it. I think we're just too damn old to do 20 hours of work (sorting, pricing, borrowing tables, and watching people dig through my castoffs) to make something like $84.  So instead, we donate truckloads (Honda Pilot loads) to Goodwill many times throughout the year but even when you're a good purger, stuff accumulates. Some of my favorite uncovered treasures from our recent purging: Jeff's Blockbuster membership card, about 100 extra favors from our 2004 wedding, 6000 worksheets and art projects, high school graduation cap & gowns, a personalized door knocker I gave Jeff for our first wedding anniversary that never left the box - guess that last one will go on the next house...

When I list a house for sale and my clients are still living there I always tell them to remove 50% of the "stuff" from their house...and then when they think they've done that they need to remove 50% more. I'm kinda a jerk like that. Things like a large gallery of photos of your family, the 4 paintings you did at one of those BYOB painting parties and your collection of creepy dead eye dolls can be distracting to buyers walking through your house and we want them talking about how great my kitchen is and not how weird my decor choices are. Nothing you do will appeal to 100% of buyers, but the more neutral you can make your home, the better. For that reason, we packed up so much stuff that we didn't need on a daily basis. Do we need a full 12 piece place setting of our dishes? No, we eat on paper plates every night anyway guys. Do we need all of our clothes in our closets or just the 10 items we all wear over and over again? Plus, it makes closets look bigger and better to not be jammed full of clothes. We removed all the dust collecting decor from plant shelves and just put a few items up there to catch a buyer's eye to see that we actually have shelves throughout the house. We packed away like 20 trophies and team photos of the boys' various sports.  I think I packed away like 30 owls so I did my part too. Jeff got rid of that Blockbuster card and like 12 Dbacks hats.

There were a few things we wanted to get done at the house before putting it on the market. Our backyard is a great size for the kids to play but we let the grass die a few years ago with the plan to put artificial turf in or maybe put in a pool. We ruled out the pool due to size and not wanting to put a $30k pool into a house we had no plan on staying in for more than a couple more years. We're not home a lot and we never got around to having turf installed so we decided to winterize the lawn for the next owners. Our landscaper came out and overseeded and spread shit (literally) all over the yard, we watered the hell out of it and it's coming in nicely in most parts. There are some areas that are spotty so maybe we're feeding the birds. I'm staying hopeful that it will fill in. We also decided to have the entire house painted - both inside and out. Wow, what a difference! My inlaws painted most of the inside of our house as a housewarming present when we bought it and Jeff and I painted the nursery 9 years ago but that's it. Nothing since. 

Our painters were great and removed everything to paint. Everything except for this No Soliciting sign that was literally taped to the house next to the front door. Yes, they PAINTED AROUND IT. 
I labored over the task of finding the perfect gray for weeks - literally. Did you know that there are roughly 5642 different shades of gray (or is it grey? I still don't know). Oh and did you know that each shade looks different in each damn Pinterest photo? I was drawn to Gray Owl for obvious reasons but didn't know if it would look gray enough. When I showed a house with a nice gray color, I'd call the listing agent to find out what color the sellers used. This is the level of crazy I landed in trying to choose a paint color. 

this guy gets it

We finally settled on Revere Pewter and are super pleased with the way it turned out. Having fresh paint on the walls and white baseboards makes it look like a whole new house!! I've become an absolute nightmare though. Every time the boys bump into a wall I lose my shit with them. I've also become that person who doesn't want you wearing shoes on the newly cleaned carpet. I don't care about the tile though so this has now resulted in all of our shoes being left in the hallway, kitchen and family room. Super. We had the exterior painted too because the beige/pink color so popular in the early 90s stucco homes was gross. I truly don't think the house had been painted since it was built in 1993. It looks so good now guys - I'm sure our neighbors are thankful as well.  

The interior painting took a solid 4 days and they knocked out the exterior in one day. I took photos of the chaos - and it was total chaos and moved from room to room as they worked in an attempt to stay out of their way. It obviously would have been easier to not work from home that week and go into my never used office, but I'm glad I got to be around to see the full transformation. 

This day was a struggle. The painters took over the great room (aka my office) and I was writing contracts for a buyer while sitting on my 8 year old's Miami Dolphins bed using an upside down laundry basket for a desk. This is the point where I should have admitted that my presence was not important to the project and gone to starbucks for a latte & free wifi. 

We had a few other little things done around the house to prep - repairing some cracked grout, having the carpets deep cleaned and some exhaust fans replaced. I felt like a general contractor arranging for all the trades to get in and do their thing. Luckily/Unfortunately, December is a wee bit slower for real estate, so I've been able to be home to coordinate the "project". It's been an adventure to say the least. I feel like it's the most work I've ever done without really doing anything other than trying to stay out of the way. As I type this, there are two very nice women (truthfully, one nice woman and one mute woman who doesn't respond when I awkwardly chat her up) cleaning our house for the final deep cleaning before we hit the market. Since we're ridiculous busy and pretty lazy, we have someone come in and clean every 3 weeks so today's crew doesn't have a disgusting job on their hands, but having the house painted and having tile work done is messy business so this was necessary. This is pretty much the last thing to do before we go live on the market - eeeek!

Thursdays are the best days to list houses. It's possible I've made this up but I do alright so it must be working. This way, the emails go out to buyers late Thursday/early Friday and we can get on their schedule of homes to see over the weekend. 

That's the goal anyway; Orchid Lane will officially be on the market this Thursday, December 10th!!

Up Next in this thrilling series: The Search for Casa de Barnes 2.0

ICYMI: That Time a Realtor Sold Her Own House

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