". . . little shall I grace my cause

In speaking for myself. Yet, by your gracious patience,

I will a round unvarnish'd tale deliver . . ."

(William Shakespeare's Othello, I.iii.88-90)

Friday, July 19, 2013

Phillip Doesn't Live Here Anymore

He left yesterday to begin his new call in Oklahoma. The rest of us will remain here until the house is sold and we have a new house to go to. Someone asked why we didn't just move, too, and stay in temporary housing with Phillip while letting the realtor handle the sale of the house. It boils down to the difficulty of finding something that would be large enough for six people plus a dog and that would adequately meet the needs of all involved, particularly my elderly mother. So we are here, while he is there. After a quick stop in Oklahoma, Phillip will drive to St. Louis, where he is lead musician for daily worship at the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod's triennial convention next week. From there he will return to Oklahoma to begin his new job in earnest, playing his first service the last weekend of the month. I am going for part of the convention so will get to see him next week, but the children will have to wait until mid-August to see their father again unless we sell our house sooner (unlikely, since we are just beginning that process).

Speaking of selling the house, our realtor team came over earlier this week. They are old friends, and we have great respect for their expertise and their commitment to selling our house. But I have to admit I was surprised by the primary focus of their visit. I expected them to generate a list of suggested updates and minor repairs. There are several things we had already decided must be done before putting our house on the market, and our friends did take note of a few of them. But the majority of their advice was focused not on repairs or even on cosmetic changes but rather on the presentation of our own belongings. I am familiar with the real estate concept of "staging" a house* and had come up with some of my own plans for how to reduce clutter and crowding. But their advice went beyond what I expected, extending to suggestions for rearranging our own furniture. I mentioned the topic of staging on Facebook and was surprised at the strong opinions people have about it. A few of my friends said to follow the realtor recommendations, but a great many others argued against them, calling them a waste of time.

After considering both viewpoints, I am coming down somewhere in the middle. We do have a lot of stuff, and we have a large house that may not come across as large because of all the stuff. So in addition to general purging and tossing, we have ordered a PODS unit and will be working on filling it with boxes and some furniture so as to emphasize the space that is in our house. We are even going to take a few books off the shelves (we were told our custom bookshelves have so many books that the beauty of the shelves is not being adequately showcased) and move a few pieces of furniture. But we are not going to pay a professional stager, nor are we going to spend money on decorative items for a house we are about to sell! And that piano and organ? They are staying right where they are. Potential buyers will just have to use their imagination. Let's hope they have some!

*For the curious, here are some of the other things that were suggested:
remove coats from coat closet--just leave a few jackets hanging
remove as many items as possible from bedroom closets
clear off surfaces (such as dresser tops and kitchen and bathroom counters)--things sitting out suggest insufficient storage space
remove personal photographs, knick-knacks, bulletin boards, children's artwork, refrigerator magnets, etc.--this is for the sake not only of decluttering but of depersonalizing the space
take leaves out of tables to make them smaller


Ewe said...

A friend is selling her house and the realtor gave the advice to do minor repairs. He had a client that needed one shingle replaced on the roof and it took a month to find an exact match. Plus they were much more picky in their house inspection after that one shingle. Hopefully if you do some minor repairs they won't notice something more major.
A house behind us was just staged beautifully and unbelievable to me because the previous owners had twin toddlers. They took out everything personal and cleared all flat surfaces and just left a few pieces of furniture etc.-I think that would be impossible to do and still live there. The house sold very quickly and they moved everything out. Then the sale fell through. It is sitting empty and no longer staged. I think do the best you can do and don't sweat it. The house will sell on God's timing no matter what you do or don't do.
Your family will be in my prayers. It is so hard to be apart when you are moving and everything is unknown and a mess. It's also exciting to take some time to purge some stuff you don't need and have a chance at getting a new house and a new way to organize your stuff!

Cheryl said...

Thank you for the prayers, Ewe! They are much appreciated!

A friend told me about selling a house in Chicago some years ago. She and her husband did all kinds of cleaning and spiffing up and then the house sold sight unseen to a man who just wanted a home in the area and said he was familiar with the floor plan!