Part of an occasional series on moving.
I have written before about how hard it is for me to be in pictures, how much I worry about how I will look in them. Last week, I discovered that it is almost as hard for me to have my house photographed.
Three weeks ago, we had a realtor come by the house to give us an idea of what we should list the house for. We didn’t have the house ready yet to actually be listed, but this was the first step in heading that way. To our surprise, the realtor was generally pleased with the state of our home, and suggested only a few relatively small projects before we would have a photographer out and then list the house for sale (including online marketing). Her main concern was to get it on the market soon, in time for the early spring buyers.
She suggested we have all the carpets cleaned (which was on our to-do list), have the house power washed (another thing we had thought of, but not done yet), put down an area rug at the top of the stairs to bring a little color to the upstairs hallway (which is painted in a neutral color), and a couple of other little things that would have a big impact.
One of the biggest things we had to do ourselves, was to remove the family pictures and most of the knick knacks, as we want buyers to see the house as their potential new home, not as our home. Jim and I have been married for almost 15 years; we have lived in this house for almost 12 years. The girls each have a pretty fair collection of ceramic figurines, etc. In all, we have a lot of knick knacks. We also love to display family photos on every available surface. Clearing all of this out was a big job.
As I mentioned, we also needed to have the carpets cleaned, so we decided to make the packing up of knick knacks easier as we cleared out the rooms in preparation of the carpet cleaning. We moved everything that was on top of the dressers and on the bookshelves in the girls’ rooms to the playroom, which is not carpeted. Then we figured I would pack up all but a few of the knick knacks from there, only returning enough to “stage” the rooms for the sale. Then I would move on to all the art supplies, games, etc. in the playroom that we wouldn’t need until after we’d moved. In one easy swoop, I’d have cleared out three rooms!
Yeah, well, I learned that there were a lot more knick knacks in the girls’ rooms than it looked like to me when they were in their usual places. And when I got through all that, I still had the playroom clutter to sort through. I should mention in all this sorting, I was also deciding what to keep, what to throw out/recycle, and what to give to Goodwill.
This “easy swoop” easily took me a week. But I got there eventually and all three rooms (the girls’ bedrooms and the playroom) looked fantastic.
Next I moved on to my closet. Emerald and I had thoroughly organized (and decluttered) Sapphire’s room and closet just after Christmas and Sapphire had done a fantastic job of keeping it that way, so there wasn’t too much to do in her closet. Emerald and I also spent a couple of days during their spring break three weeks ago sorting through her closet, so it was good to go, too.
I also got on a tear in the laundry room. I figured they weren’t going to photograph the laundry room or the closets, but they’d have to be clean and clutter-free for showings.
Oh, we also learned what a huge, HUGE difference power washing makes. Our house, sidewalk, and front stoop sparkle! And we’ve never seen our deck looking so amazing (except maybe when it was brand new).
So, two and a half weeks after first showing our house to our realtor, we scheduled the photo shoot for the purpose of marketing the house online. Last Friday was the day. The photo session was set for 2:00 p.m.
Jim and I spent until 11:30 Thursday night making sure all the cleaning was done and that the front-and backyards looked just so. [Jim did the latter while it was still daylight, while I worked on the inside of the house; then after we got the kids to bed, he joined me on ensuring every inch of the inside was spick and span.]
Friday morning, I gave the house another once-over to make sure we hadn’t missed anything. And another. And another.
In fact, I realized that my stomach was in knots. I was so incredibly nervous. Pictures are forever, particularly when posted on the web. What if we missed dust somewhere? What if a picture on the wall was crooked or an area rug wasn’t square? It was almost as if I were checking the mirror for a hair out-of-place or food between my teeth before having my own picture taken.
I knew I was being silly, but I just couldn’t help it. Finally, in late-morning, I resolved to not look around anymore and just declare the house ready.
I picked Sapphire up from preschool, took her out to lunch as I promised her I would, and forced myself to take my mind off the house’s photo debut.
Jim was home by the time Sapphire and I returned from lunch (he got off early that day) and the three of us tried to busy ourselves without messing up the house while we waited for the realtor and the photographer. Let’s just say this involved a lot of electronics. 🙂
Finally they arrived. And I’ll tell you, our realtor sure is good at what she does! She knew just how to make us feel at ease (and by this I do not mean I think she was insincere!!) She walked up the driveway oohing and awing about what a big difference the power washing made. Then she entered the house and commented over and over again about how great the house looked, what a good job we did, and how well this house is going to show. I finally breathed a little easier and just went along for the ride. But I’ll tell you, she made me feel terrific. We had done well. The house would do well.
It was also a good thing I had gotten on such a straightening up, packing/throwing away, and deep cleaning tear before the photo session because the photographer photographed the entire house (except for the closets and the garage), including every bathroom and the laundry room.
Then we just had to wait. There has been a slight delay (just a day; our realtor’s plan was to get it up and running today) due to getting the pictures back and pulling everything together, but tomorrow this house will be officially on the market. Sign, lockbox, flyer brochure, online links, and all.