Editor’s note: The Todd and I are listing our house for sale–AGAIN. It was up for 2 years in 2008-2009 without a single offer. And like going back to a bad boyfriend, I’m deep into staging, cleaning, and screaming at my children for using the “demo towels.” Here’s a repost from the first time around. Any of this feel familiar to you? Is there such a thing as home sales PTSD?
I knew that my endless hours of watching HGTV’s “Sell This House” “Designed To Sell” “The Unsellables” “Get It Sold” “Look at the camera and exclaim, ‘oh this really pops!’ Or We’ll Kill Your Family” (okay, not that last one) was going to pay off. I got a POD, took out anything that showed a personal stamp, like family photos, decluttered, blah blah blah.
I decided to use the marketing technique they drill into us at the radio station and concluded that my home buyer was a 36 year old named Madison, thin, blonde hair pulled smoothly back into a ponytail, wearing a black cashmere sweater set and chinos. I hated her immediately, so I knew she was the perfect demographic. There are many Ladies Who Lunch in this neighborhood, so she’ll fit right in. My neighbors are my joy, my life, the people I can race to at 3 in the morning to help me when one of the kids has to go to the ER. But I am the Neighborhood Anomaly. I am forgiven because we’re pseudo-celebrities and we’re considered funny.
We painted classic colors, I scrubbed the living hell out of everything and placed pristine white towels in every bathroom. I warned The Todd and the boys that I would set them on fire if they touched them. “What are we supposed to use?” asked The Todd in a resigned tone. At this point, the man would have made do with tree bark if necessary to avoid my lectures about “staging sells!” one more time. “The crap towels are hidden in the closet. And don’t drink any of the Pelligrinos in the fridge. They’re for Madison.”
It’s been a month, no offers yet but “lots of traffic!” like they cheerfully say on the shows when the house has not yet successfully been boosted off. I’m exhausted with keeping the house clean. The Todd is running out of ways to arrange roses from the cutting garden. On the bright side, I have so effectively terrorized The Todd about the whole towel thing that I caught him drying off with toilet paper after a shower. But, when my sister Jenne got a nosebleed, I found myself shrieking at her because “you’re using Madison’s towels! Are you insane?” “No,” she said while tossing my formerly pristine towel in the hamper, “but YOU are.”
Seriously, what if we’re one of those doomed families stuck in the home sale timewarp for a year? What if Madison doesn’t come? What if I can’t bleach Madison’s towels back to their perfect whiteness? What if I snap and murder one of my sons for scribbling on my exquisite yellow (Tuscan Sun, Ralph Lauren) kitchen wall?