Selling a house

We’ve been trying to sell our house for almost a year now.  Trying reasonably hard, and beginning to get much more focused on it, as we’ll be moving sometime in the next two months or so.  Over the last year, we’ve had quite a few people come by to look at the house.  Real estate etiquette says that you shouldn’t be at home when other people come by to look.  Seeing people in the house adds another layer of first impressions that can – theoretically – dissuade a potential buyer from a property they might otherwise be interested in.

Having three small children at home and one vehicle for the family, it’s not always possible for my wife and kids to get out of the house for a showing.  Other times when we’re all at home and preparing to leave for said showing, the viewers and their agent arrive 30 minutes early, and there we are – finishing stuffing dirty clothes into inconspicuous places and attempting to hide the evidence of three children under the age of 5 in the house. 

Some people are fine with having us there.  Some agents are fine.  They’ll make small talk.  They’ll compliment us on our house.  They’ll ooh and aah over the kiddos.  Others are visibly unhappy that we’re there.  They don’t really say anything – even if spoken to.  There are forced smiles.  It’s awkward. 

I think it’s moronic to have to pretend that someone doesn’t live in a house when they clearly do live there, as evidenced by lots of furniture and other gear normally associated with somebody carrying on their life.  I am irritated that the real estate profession has deemed it undesirable for people to actually be living in their own homes when other people want to look at it.  Our particular agent has been good about telling us not to stress out – if we’re home we’re home, if we can get out, go for it. 

We’ve also indicated that we won’t show the house between 2pm and 4pm, when our kids (and my wife, hopefully!) have naps.  Most agents have been good about this and have scheduled around it.  Apparently one rather self-obsessed agent grew irate when our agent told him he couldn’t show the house at 3pm.

“But I want to show it at 3pm,” he astutely reiterated.

“I’m sorry, is there another time that you can show it?  They aren’t able to show it between 2pm and 4pm” our agent insisted.

“They must not want to sell their house very badly!” was the clever agent’s response.

I want to sell my house.  But I am still living in it in the meantime.  I’d think anyone with half an ounce of common sense would understand that.  And it’s certainly not like we’re some sort of decor or cleaning degenerates.  We get great comments back about how nice the house looks, how clean it is, yahda yahda yahda.  If we are home when someone comes by to see it, we stay out of their way and let them look in peace.  We don’t follow them around in order to point out the countless amenities they might overlook if we left them alone. 

Just another example of a material culture’s continued emphasis on the dehumanization of interactions and transactions.  Pretend that it’s not actually between real people.  It makes it easier to jack your price beyond reasonability, or offer a laughably low offer.  It makes it easier to demand everything you can possibly think of as part of the deal.  Don’t work together.  Don’t cooperate.  Dominate.  Win.  Blech.

I look forward to selling our house.  I look forward to not having to sacrifice weekends and evenings at the drop of a hat in order to clean, organize, and evacuate the premises.  I look forward to stability again.  In the meantime, I try to be reasonable.

If you happen to come and look at my house for sale, please try to be reasonable as well.

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