Category Archives: Selling stuff

Sold! In ten days!!

The sign is up; it's official.

Sign should now read "Sale Pending".

I am stunned and tremendously relieved. Yes, it’s a wonderful feel-good home. Yes, I feng shui’d the heck out of it. Yes, I think we priced it right. Still, in this funky down market, to get two basically full-price offers almost immediately is miraculous.

The average time on the market in my town was 158 days in August. I told my realtor that if the house didn’t sell by Halloween (75 days from listing) I would take it off the market because living in a house that’s on the market is like living in a museum. That’s about 60 days over my good behavior limit as Miss Super-Anal-Tidybutt.

When you live in a house that’s on the market  you can’t touch anything because at any moment the realtor could call with a client. You must make your bed the moment you climb out of it, clear the sink of dirty dishes the instant you finish eating, mow the lawn obsessively. You can’t cook odiferous foods. I loaned out my dog because she tracks in dirt and turns her corner of the carpet gray overnight.

One of the two offers wanted to move in in just five weeks. EEEK. (Also Repubicans – which doesn’t really fit the vibe of the house).

The other offer came from the Democratic State Rep in whose district I live – and for whom I hosted a fund-raising coffee here last fall because he’s a great guy. He has two little girls, 5 & 8, who think that there may be fairies in the yard.  My kind of family.

They wanted a closing date of December 15, which suits me fine, because I’ve got to unload a LOT of STUFF.

But that’s a topic for the next chapter in this down-sizing epic.

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Filed under Downsizing, Selling stuff

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.”

Ulp.

Check.

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

Craigslist observations (so far)

Bye-bye oak dresser and table

Bye-bye oak dresser and table

I listed 8 items on Craigslist Thursday night. Five were instant hits – lotsa calls, the other three….total silence.  Of course you always hope for the serendipitous possibility that your listing of the stuffed armadillo and the one stuffed armadillo collector in the universe happen on Craigslist at the same moment, but most transactions are very mass-market-ordinary.

Here’s what I’m learning so far.

1. What’s hot is hot, and what’s not is not. Combine the word “antique” with “furniture” and add a cheap price – that’s hot.  Describe an item that’s large, unique and (relatively) expensive – that’s not.

2. “Free” is hot. Whether folks NEED the thing or not. So my next strategy with the !@#$ humongo McGuire desk is to offer it free. (I’m very close to taking that experimental plunge.)

3. Cheap is hot. People love a bargain and will travel great distances for it. The folks who hauled off my two antique oak dressers drove about 40 miles each way.

4. Selling on Craigslist is time-consuming and not terribly profitable. So far I’ve netted $398. Better than a stick in the eye, but at some point I will consider my friend Gretchen’s suggestion: have a big party (friends) and invite people to take what they want, leaving some money if they wish, or not.

Until that time, enjoy this song about Craigslist by Weird Al Yankovic, who is still going strong.

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Filed under Art & antiques, Downsizing, Selling stuff

Sudden misgivings: am I selling too soon?

shorter oak bureau

It’s not like this oak dresser is anything special, even though it’s old and I’ve had it a long time. Nor is the other old oak bureau, or the plain pine one.  And I’m not enamored of any of them.

But now they’re gone and there are holes where they lived. Empty space.

Neither spare bedroom was crowded with furniture in the first place. One was my  son’s (currently globe-trotting), and the other a very comfy guest room.   Without dressers, neither room feels so homey.

I won’t miss the stuff, it’s the hospitality potential I’m selling off  – the “Mom’s place where’s there’s always room for you” .

On a crasser note, the two antique bureaus were probably priced too low, given the enthusiastic response I got from my Craigslist posting.  I  could have gotten an additional $20 for each of them.  On the other hand the pine bureau went for $5 more.  Live and learn.

Now let’s talk about the !@#$ing McGuire humongo desk… am I going to have to PAY to be free of it?  In case you’ve forgotten what it looks like:

McGuire Desk

McGuire Desk

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Filed under Attachment - Vairagya, Baby steps, Downsizing, Emotional issues, Furniture, Selling stuff

Yard Sale poem

yardsale

Just came upon a great poem by the late great Jane Kenyonabout a yard sale at her father’s house after he died . This is just an excerpt from the poem, “Yard Sale”:

Under the stupefying sun
my family’s belongings lie on the lawn
or heaped on borrowed card tables
in the gloom of the garage. Platters,
frying pans, our dead dog’s
dish, box upon box of sheet music,
a wad of my father’s pure linen
hand-rolled handkerchiefs, and his books
on the subsistence farm, a dream
for which his constitution ill suited him.
….
Hours pass. We close the metal strongbox
and sit down, stunned by divestiture.
What would he say?

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Filed under Family issues, Selling stuff

Sold one more thing

Garden Way Cart

Garden Way Cart

Baby steps, I tell myself, baby steps.  I posted the cart on Craigslist and probably should have priced it higher because eight people responded excitedly in short order. But the cart has  lived outside for fifteen years and my son had scoffed at its saleability. “Who would want that old thing??? You should pay someone to come get it!”

So I asked $35 for it and could have gotten $50.

If I were to sell, donate, or toss one item a day, I’d be fully down-sized by maybe 2050. Down into my grave, actually.

Perhaps I need to pick up the pace?

Especially motivated since yesterday, when I went on a house tour  in the downtown neighborhood where I’d like to live, once I sell this place…

The Hough (pronounced “howk”) neighborhood is waking up from a generation or more of neglect. Nobody wanted an old Craftsman bungalow from the 1920s, because McMansions were the hot thing around here.

Then the market collapsed.

But now those cute little bungalows are HOT,  people are doing fabulous renovations and the neighborhood is really coming up. Six homes were on the tour and I could have been happy in any of them, though three were really too big.

Between my travel lust and now bungalow lust the motivation is getting stronger. I begin to see that alternatives to my current life could be extremely attractive…

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Filed under 101 Reasons to Downsize, Baby steps, Downsizing, Envisioning a simpler life, Gardening/plants, Inspiration & encouragement, Selling stuff

Baby steps…

chandelier1

I’ve had this antique ceiling fixture in my garage for 15 years, waiting to find the someone who wanted it enough to pay for it. It’s survived a couple of yard sales and a stay at a consignment shop without a taker. It graced my older home in Berkeley for 30 years so I didn’t want to just junk it.

This week I posted it on Craigslist for $60 and four people called about it – and last night the first caller came by with his wife (and the $60).  They were a darling young couple who were renovating their little Victorian cottage and they fell in love with the fixture despite its broken petal (which I had disclosed).  Rejuvenation Hardware had told me they could probably sell it for about $250, but so what.  I preferred seeing how happy these folks were and imagining the light shining on their home.

It’s ust $60, but it’s another baby step in getting rid of excess stuff.

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Filed under Art & antiques, Baby steps, Downsizing, Selling stuff, Uncategorized