Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Top Ten Things Not to Say or Ask Someone Who is Selling Their House


1.  Do you have a realtor?  My husband's cousin just started selling real estate.

2.  My house sold in three days and I had five offers to chose from.

3.  Did you ever consider refinancing?

4.  No one will buy a house with old windows.  I always look at the windows first and if they aren't new, forget it!

5.  What are ya asking?  Really?  Isn't that a little high?

This is the St.  Joseph kit I bought when selling a house in Milwaukee.  It took 51 weeks to sell that house.  Granted it was during that huge housing crash, but perhaps I should consider a different model this time?

6.  Did you bury your St. Joseph statue upside down yet?

7.  You better sell it quick cuz I hear the Fed is going to raise interest rates soon.

 8.  Make sure to clean out your closets.  People will be looking in them! 

  9.  I have sure seen a lot of "For Sale" signs up in your neighborhood lately.

10.  I don't know why you're bothering with Open Houses.  They never work.  Just your neighbors will come.

Prairie Eydie

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Art of Deciding to Move During the Holidays Part III

Staging the kitchen was quite involved, but luckily did not include white dish towels.  According to my stager, you want potential home buyers to feel like they will magically become Rachael Ray in your kitchen.  It doesn't matter if they currently only make fish sticks with a side of soupy rice, after viewing your kitchen they must feel empowered to nourish their family with delicious "30 Minute Meals" daily.

This mixer is TOTALLY inappropriate for staging your kitchen.  It has too much color and personality. 
First, there needs to be a Kitchen Aid mixer in the corner.  It is best if the mixer is a neutral color and not hot pink.  I don't own a Kitchen Aid, so I had to borrow one.  Unfortunately I had to return it so its owner could make Christmas cookies.  (Super selfish of her to put supplying loved ones with spritz cookies over helping me sell my house.)  The counter now has a glaring, gaping hole.  I may or may not rustle up the strength to tote the mixer monstrosity back to my counter. 

To the right of the stove, angle a cookbook on a stand.  The cookbook must not feature a human face (like Rachael Ray's face).  Preferably the cover should show muffins or crepes.  This will cause potential buyers to imagine themselves baking fragrant cinnamon apple muffins in your kitchen.  Personally, I think a crepe cookbook would cause anxiety and distraction.  Potential buyers might ruminate on the following crepe questions:  Savory or sweet crepes?  Where will I store my crepe pan?  Where can I buy a crepe pan?  Will I be obligated to host a crepe house warming party? 

Sadly, I did not have an appropriate cookbook and had to borrow one from Prairie Sherry.  Are you noticing a theme? (My cookbooks were either vegetarian or had Jamie Oliver's mug front and center) 

Prairie friends, this is not reality.

Next, the stager and I wrestled the leaves out of the kitchen table.  The leaves were cemented in with years of accumulated apple juice spills and toast crumbs.  After pushing the table back together, it was the size of a café table.  The table can now comfortably seat one thin coffee drinker, unfortunately I have to seat my three growing children at the table.  The diminutive table means more squabbles and more spilled glasses of milk.  We shoved the table in a corner, so the kitchen now seems spacious enough to ballroom dance in.  (In case the buyers want to have a "Bridges of Madison County" dance moment.)

Hey!  I hear Prairie Eydie has a great kitchen to dance in.  Let's book a showing!

The final touch was a large bowl of Granny Smith apples in the exact center of the kitchen table.  I forgot to ask what green apples have to do with selling a house.  Initially I was devoted to using the tart apples and made countless batches of squash and apple bake.  Now I just let them rot and feel bad when I throw them out. 
Before each showing I have to clear off all the counters, leaving only the Kitchen Aid, the angled cookbook, and a Keurig (which I did not have to borrow).  Since putting my house on the market, I no longer bother cooking much of anything.  We are surviving on turkey sandwiches, clementines, and protein bars.  Here is to a quick sale in 2016.

I almost forgot.  No amount of staging  in your kitchen will make potential buyers overlook the lack of stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops.  Buyers are much too saavy to be distracted by a bowl of green apples.

Prairie Eydie

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Art of Deciding to Move During the Holidays (Part II)

Before putting my house on the market, (or "Going Live" as realtors say) I worked with a stager.  It was her job to tell me how to "stage" my house so it would sell quickly.  I am going to pass on what I learned for those buying or selling a house.

Trust me Prairie Friends and just say "NO". 

First, you must do everything possible to make your bathrooms look like they belong in the Hampton Inn.  This involves ripping out functioning medicine cabinets and replacing them with impractical framed mirrors from Kirkland's.  I now store everything that used to be in my medicine cabinet in a plastic tote at the bottom of the linen closet.  I begin and end each day schlepping that tote to and from my bathroom.  The only item that can be on the bathroom counter is a brushed metal soap dispenser.  (I rebelled against buying the soap dispenser and decided to have nothing on the counter.)

Do not let anyone, under any circumstances touch the white towels!

Do NOT think of adding a splash of color with a cheerful bath towel or shower curtain!  You can only have white shower curtains and white towels hanging in the bathrooms because buyers want to feel like they are moving into a spa. 

I guess seeing my children's damp Minion towels doesn't scream, "Serenity Now."After each showing,  I quickly strip the bathrooms of the pristine white towels before my kids can soil them.  I suggest buying a mega pack of white towels at Costco.  

YUCK!  These could almost be dated back to Pioneer times!
I hope you have more taste than I did and don't have those tacky "Hollywood Lights."  You know, the ones with at least two light bulbs burned out at all times?  The ones all covered with a couple years of dust?  If you do have these hideous lights, please junk them (or donate them to someone who doesn't know better). Replace the "Hollywood Lights" with the much more stylish and serene "Tulip Lights."  Oh.  And I hope you saved some of the bathroom paint so you can touch up the newly exposed bathroom wall. 

Ahhhh!  Much better.  Now I can relax!
Okay.  That takes care of staging your bathrooms.  Tomorrow I will explain how to stage your kitchen and coffee table. 

Prairie Eydie

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Art of Deciding to Move During the Holidays

But Prairie Eydie, where will you put your Christmas tree?   And your holiday Barbies?  And your three children?

 I am currently channeling my inner Pa Ingalls and moving the family to some new digs.  Nope.  There is no sod dugout in our future, rather a cozy,1950s ranch. 

Would Pa Ingalls have bothered to stage "The Little House in the Big Woods"?  I think not.  Having an onsite  meat smoker would be impetus for buyers to submit those offers. 

For some unknown reason I didn't think it would be a big deal to sell the house while raising three kids, nurturing two elderly cats (one with a chronic, stinky ear infection), and working full time.  Also unknown is why I thought the holidays were a perfect time to list.   (Well, okay I do know why I chose the holiday season.  I wanted a concrete reason not to decorate every surface with wistful angels, fake snow, and fairy lights.)

Geez.  You'd think I would be able to sniff out those art supplies.
I am no longer naïve about the stresses of selling a house.  Sadly, I have resorted eating Costco pretzel rolls before each showing and open house - which has added the stress of not fitting into my winter coat.  My time is now divided between yelling at the kids to stop mussing up my artfully draped throws and searching for things I hid so the house will look calm and clutter free to potential buyers.  To date I have lost two tubs of Lulu's art supplies (each containing a pricey set of Mr. Sketch scented markers), countless chargers, a bag of addressed Christmas cards, and Blueberry (Lulu's toy gorilla).
Tune in tomorrow for Part II of "The Art of Deciding to Move During the Holidays".  I will be leading you through the art of staging your house. 

Prairie Eydie