Thursday, November 18, 2010

For Sale

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to drive around Austin and check out open houses.  It was my very first house-hunting experience.  I’ve always been afraid to commit to a place of residence.  Over the past nine years, I’ve rented nine different apartments.  But Suze Orman thinks we might find “a steal of a deal” given the current real estate slump.  We might just stumble upon our dream house, with ridiculously tall counters and a wet bar and a ping-pong room and a view of Michael Dell’s mansion!

Since many of these homes have been on the market for 180+ days, I kind of assumed that the sellers would be desperate to make a good first impression.  I was expecting to walk into an immaculate, freshly-painted home where I would be besieged with hors d’oeuvres and flattery.  Instead, it felt as though we had caught them by surprise – like the real estate agent had ushered the family out while we were walking up the driveway.  There was hair in the tub, globs of toothpaste in the sink, and dog crap all over the yard.  It was a lot like meeting someone you flirted with online.  It took me about five seconds to realize that I had been lured to the house with fabulous-looking pictures that had been taken ten years ago, before the family moved in and trashed the place.

One of the real estate agents jokingly mentioned the scene from American Beauty where Annette Bening keeps repeating, “I will sell this house today!”  I wanted to point out that during that scene, she was actually CLEANING the home in preparation for her open house.  I mean, how do you expect me to envision relaxing in my new whirlpool Jacuzzi when it’s covered in someone else’s hair?  I guess the real estate agent was too “busy” to tackle any cleaning – she did have to set out a couple of water bottles and a stack of brochures.  But I hear that they have this amazing new service where strangers will come to your home and clean it for you.  Honestly, what will they come up with next?  If the family can’t afford such a service, couldn’t they at least pay their kids a quarter to sweep up the dead bugs?

Anyway, this got me thinking that maybe I should start my own home staging business.  For a reasonable fee, I will coordinate and supervise the cleaning, point out the major eyesores, and offer valuable home-selling advice.  For example, I would’ve told the owner of the first house we looked at that he needed to get rid of the scary, windowless prayer room.  For the love of God, remove the altar, paint over the mural, and call it a walk-in closet.  I also would’ve recommended removing the giant wasps’ nest hanging in the entryway.  Do you really want to risk a potential homebuyer going into anaphylactic shock on your doorstep?

I think I have the perfect skill set for this type of work.  I’m detail-oriented, I’m a neat freak, and I love to complain.  I could single-handedly turn the real estate market around!  Oh, and in case you’re curious, I’ve stopped house-hunting for now.  See, another prospective homebuyer scared off by a bad first impression.

No comments:

Post a Comment