Monthly Archives: July 2009

Realtor reality check. Ugh.

Birdtoes' rats

Birdtoes' rats

Yesterday I showed my house to the first of three or four realtors I’m interviewing to see who might best represent my precious place to the most appropriate buyers.

IMHO my house is special – beautiful grounds, mature landscaping and trees, beautifully remodeled, uniquely inviting, views from every window, secluded and quiet yet close in….  etc etc.

The realtor and her business partner oohed and ahhed at all the right places, but when it came down to talking about price, they suggested a price about $100k below what I might have asked a couple of years ago. There’s such a glut of homes on the market that buyers are focused most on how cheap they can go, they said.

I knew it was bad, but I didn’t expect it to be that low.

“Well, you can ask more, but nobody will bother to come see it. Pricing it right is everything…”

Then they proceeded to tell me all the things I could spend thousands more dollars to fix it up so there’d be nothing to trip up a sale deal.

OK. I’ve already ordered a replacement for my front door unit  because it’s irredeemably wonky for years. I know that the turquoise wall color I chose for the upstairs bathroom is a little too wild – and I’m willing to repaint it something more muted (it’s small…) but I’m not going to re-roof or install air-conditioning.

They suggested I replace my current big desk with something dainty and unobtrusive so my office looks more massive than my desk.  (Humongo* desk – my other desk – used to sit behind the chair of my current big desk – aren’t two big desks better than one?  Of course.)

They also said, “The less you have in your closets, garage, bookcases, cupboards, rooms the better. So sell it, give it away or dump anything that won’t fit into your future 100 sq.ft. home.”



Then they said, “And have it ready to go on the market ASAP – no later than mid-August, because by mid-October buyers go into hibernation.”

They had to revive me with smelling salts. Three weeks to sort through a lifetime of treasures? I was moving at a six-month pace.

The boxes and cabinets of history on paper are what scare me the most.  I’m a writer…paper is my stock in trade, and I also have family photos going back a hundred years. Plus all the scrapbooks, kids’ mementos. The mind boggles.

I need a nap!

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Filed under Downsizing, Emotional issues, Furniture, Paper and books, Selling stuff

Bad neighbors – real estate bummer

My front yard - from the driveway

My front yard - from the driveway

I have a pretty home in a nice neighborhood close enough to town to be convenient but far enough out to be quiet.  The houses are attractive, owner-occupied, with well-kept yards.

Except for two houses.
The two houses on either side of my little piece of heaven.
They are shitheaps.

They are shitheaps owned by absentee landlords who don’t give a shit as long as the rent comes in. Both yards are overgrown with noxious weeds as high as my waist.  These weeds blow and crawl down from the uphill shitheap, and they creep over and under the fence from the downhill shitheap.

Living here, it’s a constant battle against their blackberry vines, thistles and dandelions that migrate into my yard. It also reflects badly on home values in the neighborhood – most especially MINE.

The uphill shitheap (US, for short) situation may improve, because the landlord had a stroke and his business partner plans to clean it up and sell it (one dumpster load gone so far…).

The downhill shitheap (DS) was owned by a sweet retired schoolteacher when I moved in seven years ago, and she took great pride in her garden. But within that first year she died and her daughter and son-in-law, who live in 3 hours away in Seattle, turned it over to their two adult children.

Downhill Shitheap - blackberry choked driveway

Downhill Shitheap - blackberry choked driveway

When I stopped by and asked the older daughter if they could please deal with the weeds, she snapped, “Talk to the landlord… that’s his job”.  So last night I called Dad in Seattle, who was extremely rude. When I suggested that they hire someone to take care of the weeds, he snapped, “I’ve got better things to do with my money…

Perhaps if Mom and Dad lived next door they’d insist the kids “pick up their rooms”, but they’re Christian missionaries – too busy evangelizing to notice that Jesus’ neighborliness message isn’t getting through.

My own house has lots of curb appeal.  The question is how can I enhance the curb appeal of my neighbors’ homes?  Either I distribute blinkers to potential buyers, so they don’t notice the slobs that surround me, or I fork out some of my own money to help them clean up their yards (and I’m not even a Christian).   Grrrrrrr.


Filed under Emotional issues, Gardening/plants, Priorities