Posted by: turtlebella | 23 October 2006

Advice to the house-sellers

Alissa has a brilliantly funny post about the weird things people do or don’t do with their houses when they are on the market. And I had a few memories of the like from when the sqvirrel and I were looking for our house that I thought I would share. It is truly downright s.c.a.r.y what some people think is a good idea.

Anyone who is thinking of selling their house, please take the following as advice from the heart…

1. You may think you are really talented when it comes to do-it-yourself stain glass making. But you aren’t. So please try not to put it in almost every single window in your house. The frosted glass, sickly-colored roses, and oddly-shaped tulips in the windows don’t add to the value of the house.

2. The 80s. They are over. OVER. Try to refrain from having neon-lit guitar “art” and posters of Kiss and black and white zebra curtains cut on the bias.

3. Leaving up the chore roster for your children with the chore “prayerful vacuum” is not really a good idea. Unless you only want other Christians to buy your house (which may be the case). Any secularist is only going to feel really sorry for your children and conclude that there is too much weirdness in the atmosphere to buy your house and live in it.

4. If you are going to leave music on in your house while people tour it, try to pick a nice, inoffensive classical music CD, not really cheesy Celine Dion-ish music. It wrecks the atmosphere of “this is a nice house, you feel calm and relaxed, buy me!” that you are probably trying to create.

5. Should you have a small refrigerator IN YOUR BEDROOM, try to remove all the beer of it so the potential buyers don’t think you are such an alcoholic that you can’t be bothered to go downstairs and get another beer.

6. Note: potential buyers are nosy. And they *have* to look in closets, to see how big or small or unusable they are. So if you are pretending to be a family house, with a mom, dad, and child (who we saw leaving as we arrived and who there was evidence of in the house, in photos, etc.), then there should be clothing belonging to all members of the house in the closets. (I swear to god, in whom I don’t believe but that’s not the point, there were a million closets in this house but not one of them featured any clothes belonging to a woman, even a woman who never wears dresses or skirts, I’d know, I’m one of those women, kinda. It was weird. It became like a quest, I had to find out where this woman kept her clothes! It pretty much eclisped the entire house for me.)

7. Scented candles are, in general, not a good idea.* Sure you want your house to smell good. But this can probably be done by the house just being clean. Being overwhelmed with the smell of fake cinnamon is not actually welcoming. Nor does it summon memories of cozy Christmases from your childhood or whatever. Just makes you slightly naseous.
8. If there is the smell of cat pee in your house: get your carpets and furniture professionally cleaned. If you have become inured to the smell of cat pee but think it *might* be a problem, get some really honest friend over and ask them to sniff deeply. Or ask your realtor (what she/he is doing not telling you in the first place, I don’t know, but maybe you should switch realtors). For god’s sake, PLEASE! And if you are trying to decide between eau de cat pee and the scented candle, please choose scented candle. At least it doesn’t induce the feeling of, MUST leave this house, NOW.

*Caveat: this is the house we actually bought. But in addition to the scented candle, the house a) was actually s.p.o.t.l.e.s.s. And this with two toddlers living there and a dog! And they had this really nice photo album of their”before” and “after” photos of all the work they did. And the house was perfect for us. And a million other reasons why we decided to buy the house. So if everything else is great, you can get away with a scented candle. Also, a little dish of candies is a GREAT idea! These are tailored especially for house-hunters like me who tend to get cranky and tired after seeing two million and three really hideous houses and need a little pick me up.


  1. I love yours! Especially the comment about music choice (we visited a house that had both terrible music playing AND tons and tons of scented candles everywhere–I didn’t know what to do, where to look, as I was completely dazed by the waxy smell).

    I’m glad you found the perfect house! I hope we find ours…

  2. I know you guys will find a good house!!! It’s just hard to sift through the horrible ones first.

  3. We’re going over to take a second look at the house we’re most likely going to buy. (All we have to do is sign the papers, and it’s under contract.) It works for us: it’s in a decent neighborhood, in a good location for us. And it fits all our criteria. However, it wasn’t spotless. I wish it was, it would mean less work for us. My big hang up (and this was in more houses than I want to count): CARPET in the bathroom. That is SO gross. Buy a rug, people. In this house the big turnoff: the Budwiser lamp over the pool table (which the sellers are thankfully taking) and the shrine to the Oakland Raiders. C’mon. And the urine and paint stained carpet in the basement. I’d make them replace it, except I want a say in what goes in there…

  4. Oh, turtlebella: love the new design!

  5. Hey Melissa, Yes, carpet in the bathroom: SUCH a bad idea. Budwiser lamp…eeewwww!

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