Observations on Selling My First Home

I’ve purchased two houses in my life (thus far) and become quite comfortable with the process. Right now, our first home in Denver is on the market – and it’s the first one I’ve sold.  So far the process for getting it ready to sell involved a lot of things we should have done long ago.  Mismatched wood floors? Need to match. That crappy carpet upstairs that’s 8 years old and was worn out when we BOUGHT the house 4 years ago? Needs to go. All of that chipped paint here and there? Patch it up.

Overall, things are going well – we put the house on the market last Thursday and in 9 days we had 14 showings.  Overall, people have been impressed. And they should be – it’s a great house and looks better than it has in 4 years.  Some things I’ve found funny:

  • People steal things.
    We’ve had 2 things stolen. A glade plug-in air freshener (was by the front door) and the keys to our filing cabinet.  While I get the air freshener (still rude people), the keys were in a drawer, in the bedroom, in the back under a bunch of socks.  Who goes through your sock drawer during a showing?  What the hell?  Nothing was taken from the filing cabinet (thank goodness) but the keys are gone, so we have to break the lock and probably get a new cabinet at some point.
  • Some people are clueless.
    Of the 14 showings, only 1 had negative comments.  Apparently it was a young couple with a younger realtor – and they felt they shouldn’t have to pay for our choices in upgrades to the house. Um, newsflash – you don’t.  Go buy another house. Or build one. And good luck with that.  See, we’ve put in wood floors in the main level, new carpet upstairs, gutted the standard builder kitchen and put in a high end kitchen with solid surfaces, stainless steel appliances and 42″ castled cabinets.  Don’t like it? Thanks. Move on.  And by the way, if we were charging you for all the upgrades, the house would be $405,000 not $374,900.  We’re giving you a significant discount on what we put into it, dude.
  • Actually “living” in a show-house is almost impossible.
    Our house looks great in the pictures. It looks great for open houses. We’ve done everything HGTV has said you should – de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter. Then remove 3 things from the room. Then go back a day later and remove 2 more.  We’ve tucked away things needed to live (need hand soap in the master bath? It’s below the sink now. Need body wash? Try the linen closet.) It’s worse than living in a hotel.  The thing that I find the most odd is it looks like Bree VandeKamp from Desperate Housewives came through our house – I’m sure if she could, she would approve. There’s nothing out. No clutter. It’s almost unlivable for the people living there. But it shows great!

In fairness, our realtor (hey Alex!) has been great. And he did warn us on a few things:

  1. People will look in any drawer, cabinet, closet, hidden space they can. They will sift through your shit.
  2. People will steal things. Usually small stuff but don’t leave ANYTHING you couldn’t part with out. Hide it. Lock it away. Move it to another location off site.
  3. People are picky and weird and want a deal. And they will have opinions on things that baffle you. Just let it go.
  4. Ultimately, someone out there will find this house perfect. Or perfect-enough. Just hang in there.

Honestly, we’re thrilled with 14 showings in 9 days. That’s ridiculous. And we apparently have a few people “thinking about” making an offer (though I really don’t hold my breath until an offer is in hand). Ultimately, the process will move on. And someone will want this house. I just can’t stress about it.  And I know that much like buying my first house (which was an ordeal) that selling this one will make selling the next one even easier.

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