January brings me a major case of the blahs. My house looks like a wreaking ground: chores are piling up, tax papers, receipts and invoices from 2012 are accumulating on every flat surface, and my dogs– never mindful of the towel by the backdoor– track in wet weather trice a day. Now that the holidays are over, my motivation to keep things tidy has completely dissipated. No one is coming over to party with me and the twinkly decorations are gone… except for the loosely shaken glitter left behind. This would be a welcome reminder of the happy season past if it wasn’t for the dust. It. has. to. go.
The silver lining on my case of the blahs: I don’t have my house on the market. So. It. doesn’t. actually. have. to. go. right. now. Phew. So to those of you who do! This is for you:
First off, you are not alone. Of the 4,253 houses for sale in Albuquerque, 853 of them are currently occupied. In addition to your usual rituals, your mornings also consist of making your bed perfectly, stashing your laundry, your breakfast dishes and your junk mail in all kinds of hiding places, Windexing your counters, mirrors and dog nose prints off the back door, an extra pillow fluff and you’re out the door. I’m sure you have a daily conversation with yourself about arming the house: to arm, or not to arm? If you arm the house, you’ll have a showing and the Realtor will set the alarm off (on behalf of every Realtor out there, I am SORRY) and you will be fielding calls from the response company in the middle of a meeting or class. If you don’t arm the house, what if something terrible happens? Whatever you decide, you will spend the rest of the morning wondering if you made the right decision. And in case you get used to no showings after a few days, you’ll start to get lackadaisy. That’s when you’ll have three showings right after work. So much for kicking back. After you take the dogs for a long (cold, wet) walk, you’ll come home to 2 business cards. 1 no-shown. I’ve been there. I want to cry for you.
BUT, I promise you: Your efforts WILL pay off.
Keep the morning rituals up. Make sure your bed is made. Try to make it look like it’s out of a flippin’ magazine.
Hide your laundry (do this for yourself– you don’t want people to see that!) Take the time to do your dishes (or at least stick them in the dishwasher– makes a great hiding place).
Spray, spray, spray that Windex! If you do this morning and night, you get really good at it and the crusty spots aren’t quite so stubborn. Empty your trash bags often. Vacuum dust bunnies (stupid/cute word for dog hair) at night. Mop the melted snow.
Suppress your frustrating and stay committed to a clean, tidy house. If you do this with absolute determination, you won’t have to do it for quite as long.
Arm your house. Chances are someone is going to set it off at some point. But, at least you know they showed up and the potential buyer knows the alarm works. Consider putting someone on the response call list that you can count on to always answer their phone. For me, this is my brother-in-law. He travels 300 days a year and yet he still comes to my rescue, be it from Minnesota, Ireland, and even Israel. (Of course, this person should know that the “intruder” is likely to be a friendly Realtor and not a crook).
I hope you never get stood-up for a showing. This is inexcusable but sadly, it happens. Please don’t get downtrodden. For whatever reason, a Realtor bothered to take the time to schedule the appointment and then failed to keep it. Perhaps the buyer decided they didn’t like the neighborhood and asked not to go inside, perhaps they ran out of time or they ran into car trouble, or sudden illness! All of these things happen, and the Realtor should take every effort to cancel the showing as soon as possible. Sometimes, this isn’t soon enough and you’ll have already made arrangements. But truthfully, some people simply lack consideration. They weren’t your buyer anyway and now fewer people entered your personal space and tainted it with their rotten energy. This is a good thing.
So, when you get home tonight, clean your house with a bit more intention: de-clutter, spray, vacuum, mop. Break out the designer in you. Finally, enjoy the fact that your house is clean. In fact, it’s probably the cleanest house on the block. That has to feel pretty darn good.