Wednesday, February 11

an offer you can't refuse

When we decided to sell the house -  I knew I wanted to avoid being on the market for a long time.  As you probably could tell from my last post, the frenzy of showings and the loosey-goosey of it all was starting to get to me.

Through this whole process, I've had to let go of a lot of my routine.  I like routine, I like planning, and I love knowing what's happening and when.  With this -  there was no knowing.  We didn't know about showings until the day of (most of the time, with a few exceptions).  We didn't know if people liked the house, or how it went (until later.. if we got feedback).  We didn't know how long we'd be on the market, living in limbo.  We just had no idea...

.. it drove me crazy.  But I had to just take a deep breath, and trust.  Trust we'd get enough notice to get the house clean.  Trust that we'd sell eventually.  And trust that the limbo was worth it.

Our experience is nothing compared to what many people selling their homes go through.  I can't imagine living in limbo for months.. keeping your home show-ready for weeks on end.  I think a lot of what we did do differently (moving most of our personal items out and hiring an amazing Realtor - and her team) was worth it to get our house on the market and seen by the right people.

We did get some negative feedback, and it's hard.  It's hard to hear anything critical because it's your home.  We worked hard to turn our little rag-tag place into the nest we loved.  We're proud of it.. and it's easy to get your feelings hurt when someone nitpicks or just plain doesn't like it.

But one of the first things our Realtor said, and one of the hardest for most homeowners who are selling to do, is to try to keep emotion out of it.  We tried to.

But after 25 days on the market.. we couldn't keep our emotions at bay.  After a crazy Saturday filled with chaos, particle board, and a last minute tour - the very next day -  Super Bowl Sunday -
we got an offer!!

We.  Were.  Thrilled!  
We were excited, nervous, anxious, and dance-around-the-kitchen happy.   It was a glass bottle coke occasion.  We toasted, we laughed, we were a little sentimental.

It's been a few weeks, and we're finding out the answer to "what do we do now?" and "what's next?"  More on that soon.. but for now, we just continue to count down the days until closing.  It's not official until the papers are signed and check is in hand!

Friday, February 6

feeling showy

I love and dread a call from the realtor.  Usually when they call me -  they are scheduling a showing, which is awesome news!  It's a step towards a sale, an opportunity for someone to fall in love with our nest, and a chance for us to get a teeny bit closer to our dream home.

But -  that phone call also sets into motion a frenzy like no other.  Sometimes, it's scheduling same day -  sometimes a few days in advance, and sometimes we have about 30 minutes to get ready for a showing.

I knew that part of selling our home would require a level of clean that is far above our natural operating state.  I don't know many people who can avoid a rogue dish in the sink, sock on the floor, or cat litter and toys scattered throughout.  For us, we have been living in a weird state of being both in our home, and acting as if it's on display for the past few weeks.

We've survived the first month -  barely!  But I wanted to share what all we do to prepare for a showing, both in the long term and in the frenetic few minutes before leaving our doors unlocked and fingers crossed.

Long Term:

  • Pack up as much as you can.  Clean out the cabinets, closets, nooks and crannies. Seriously!  Live with the bare minimum.  I'm still thinking of things I could have packed and hidden away.  
  • Organize your closets.  I splurged on some velvet slim-line hangers after Christmas and it makes our closet look SO much bigger!  It also helps to put all off-season or infrequently worn clothes away. (But don't forget to leave some infrequently worn clothes - like dresses for nice nights out, or ties for special occasions, etc. in the closet.  I've been close to needing to dig in the storage building for proper attire.)
  • Plan ahead with spaces to stash everything -  we have a basket in the living room, drawers in the bedroom, moving boxes in closets to hide things in.  
  • Keep pet kennels/crates accessible.  Ours stay in the living room for a quick kitten exit!
  • Remember that buyers will want to look in cabinets or under counters.  They will be nosy!  Hide the personal, embarrassing items in a spot that would be rude to look (dresser drawers or closed containers).
  • Eliminate as many of the personal items from shelves and furniture as possible.  This will help streamline dusting and last minute clean-up.
  • If appliances are coming with the house, make sure they are as empty as possible (except the fridge.. we all gotta eat!) and try to give them a good deep clean.  
  • This includes the washer and dryer -  our first few showings I just stashed dirty laundry in there.  Now, it goes with me when I leave the house.  Weird, yes.. but not as weird as potential buyers opening the washer and getting a glimpse of our underthings and whiff of our stinky socks.
  • Invest in a swiffer, good vacuum, and cleaning supplies that smell clean or fresh.  Nothing floral or overpowering, but you want products on hand that make the house smell as clean as possible.
This turned out to be way more to chat about than I thought.  I'll put my short term showing whirlwind in another post.  It's a lot to do, but it is worth all the effort -  I promise.

feeling showy, part deux

I mentioned before that preparing for a showing leads to a type of frenzy I'm not used to.  We've had over 10 showings so far and through that, we've developed a bit of a system.

Here's what we do in the Short Term to prep for a showing:

This is the whirlwind! It helps if you keep the house as tidy as possible. We've had some messy days with showings and it adds about 15-20 minutes to the prep time.. just in picking up stuff that would have only taken a minute or two originally to put away.
  • I'm a fan of Scentsy.  We have two warmers with the same clean scent that I turn on when I first walk in.  Be sure it's a subtle smell though!! 
  • Pick a side of the house to start on.  I usually start in the master bath/bedroom.
Master Bath
    • Master Bathroom
      • Grab paper towels/rag, trash bag, cleaning spray from linen closet.
      • Stash toiletries from shower underneath the cabinet.
      • Spray and wipe down all surfaces (shower door, counter top, toilet, sink, mirror)
      • Fluff towels on racks (the ones we use are stashed in with the laundry)
      • Fluff shower mat
      • If needed, drop a capful of bleach in toilet for a quick refresh.
      • Close shower door, lid down on toilet, turn lights on and hide all items from counter top
    Master Bedroom
    • Master Bedroom
      • Make the bed, fluff pillows
      • Open blinds (the more natural light the better!)
      • Clear off all flat surfaces, dust if needed
      • Gather all laundry and toss in a tote -  run this on out to the car!
      • Align all hangers in closet, make sure shoes are tidy.
      • Vacuum if needed (usually not - I do this when we don't have showings to keep it fresh and fluffy.. and so I don't have to deal with it on showing days).
      • Turn on all lights and fan.
Guest Bath (note the hiding photographer)
    • Guest Bath
      • Spray and wipe down all surfaces (shower door, counter top, toilet, sink, mirror)
      • If needed, drop a capful of bleach in toilet for a quick refresh.
      • Fluff shower curtain, lid down on toilet, and leave lights on
Our empty guest room -  the color in here is one of my favorites.
    • Guest Room
      • We keep this room closed off to the kittens, and there is no furniture in here.  For now, just vacuum as needed.
      • Open the blinds and turn on lights and fan.
Living Room (view A above and B below)
    • Living Room
      • Dust all shelves, place remotes by respective consoles.
      • Fluff couch cushions and place pillows.
      • Vacuum and try to catch any rogue "kittens" (Our cats shed SO much.. I call the rogue fur tumbleweeds "kittens.")
      • Open all blinds, turn on all lights and fan.
Kitchen (still love our massive tile)
    • Kitchen
      • Clear off counters and empty sink.
      • Spray and wipe down all surfaces (counter top, sink, cabinets, range)
      • Load dishwasher if there are dirty dishes
      • Pull trash and check fridge for potentially stinky to-go containers
      • Turn on all lights and fan
      • Sweep and steam mop if needed or if time permits (doubtful, but one day we got this done!)
Office - you can see the sun coming in through the huge picture window.
    • Office
      • This is the last spot of the house, because this is where I keep the litter box and catfood dispenser.
      • Pull litter and throw away
      • Wipe down litter pan and hide along with catfood dispenser (in a moving box in the closet)
      • Round up all cat toys and hide (also in closet)
      • Vacuum (necessary) and steam mop if time permits (it usually doesn't)
      • Turn on all lights and fan
Last check -  once over:
  • Work your way through the house, checking every surface. Making sure all lights are on, surfaces clean, and rooms smell fresh.
  • Do a happy dance that you got it all done in time!
  • Round up the cats, toss them in carriers, and promise lots of treats and cuddles later.  Note: They do not give a damn about the cuddles.  And treats can only motivate so far.
  • Prepare yourself for the psychological damage that driving two angry cats around for an hour can lead to.   They will be pissed.  They WILL let you know exactly how mad they are.  
And finally, get out of the house.  Cruise the dream neighborhood.  Drop the cats off at their grandma's. Drive around the block and park at the ballfields.  Swing by and pick up some chicken nuggets, or a frosty, or just a soda.

All the while keeping your fingers crossed, and hoping that this time -  it's the one. 

This time, they'll think it's just the right size.  They won't complain about lack of bedrooms, or weird paint colors.  They won't worry over a pantry, or a fence. 

This time they'll see all the beautiful touches that made your nerdy nest home -  the custom arches, the vaulted ceilings, the highly-debated paint colors, the perfect porcelain tile, the ginormous fridge, and the spaces made for living.

This time, they'll want this house to be their home, to be their nest.

This time, they'll fall in love and see our home as what we first saw it as -  potential, perfect, and ours.

the nerdy nest

Sunday, February 1

realty swat

On the day that we finally decided to make things official and get our house on the market, we were invaded by our realtor's swat team.  Maybe invaded isn't the right term.. we invited them over, but I have to say we were surprised by how quickly the process went. It was a whirlwind!

Our realtor had prepared us for the fact that her team would be coming over -  but we weren't sure what to expect.  Right on time, her marketing manager, photographer, and videographer took over the house.  While we were being interviewed by her marketing manager -  the photographer was making quick work of the bedrooms and we were shooed into the hallway.

It was a frantic shuffle from room to room trying to stay out of the camera shots, while remembering dates and topics like when we installed the new water heater, what type of tile is in the kitchen, how would we describe the neighborhood, and what was the color of the bedroom called.

Overall, I was proud to open our home and I think marketing is making a huge difference.  Though we don't have an offer yet - we've been on the market three weeks now and have over 40 views on youtube and have had quite a few showings.

The best part -  our type A realtor complimented me on getting the nest ready to show.  I was glad that all my packing and decluttering over the past few months helped in the process -  though I do regret not decorating for Christmas at all... we'll make up for it this year though!

The worst part -  it's kinda weird knowing that anyone who is curious can see our home on the web, but then I blog.. so I really shouldn't mind.  I do recommend for anyone having their home listed -  please, PLEASE, prepare your home for photos!  Some suggestions to prepare:

+   hide yo' kids, hide yo' kitties  - remove all traces of kiddos and furry children from the house.  The kittens were hiding in the garage (in their crates) and were promised treats if they were good.  Maybe go for a babysitter instead of crates for the kiddos though.

+   put away dishes and laundry!  No dirty undies in the floor or dishes in the sink.

+   Pack away and store as much as you can.  We already had to invest in renting a storage building for Dad's tools, but now we're up to three.  That's how much furniture and stuff we have out of the house.  Live with the bare minimum -  it makes it easier to clean for showings and makes the house easier for people to envision themselves making it their home.

+  Tour through your house like a buyer -  make sure your furniture and accessories don't draw attention away from the rooms.  Think about the scale of your furniture and what it makes the room look like.  We only have half of our sectional in the living room now and it makes the space seem SOO much bigger.

+   Try to keep anything personal out of the picture! I think other than our closet being open to the world, our most personal items on display are a few books.  And even then, it's been odd when we can tell folks have flipped through them.

It's a challenge living like this -  but I think it makes the photos look great, the tour look better, and makes it so much easier when we have to get the house ready for a showing.

Now if we could just get an offer... :)

Want to house stalk us?  Just click here to see our Neighborhood Home Tour video.