Here we go again

The house is finally listed. We made the decision to put it on the market a while back, but chose to wait until after the holidays so we could enjoy our time with the kids without the pressure of potential showings. And after all, December is not typically a big month for house hunters to be out looking…just too much going on with most people.

But here we are, the sign is up, photos have been done for ads and the realtor website, and I am conscious as I leave for work each morning that I should take a look around, be sure that things are tidy. Not too difficult at this stage of life; very unlike earlier home-selling experiences when we had kids at home and staying show-ready was a bit more challenging. The biggest issue I have to deal with now is the ever-shedding Pete, who can leave dog hair on a freshly vacuumed floor by merely walking through a room.

Still, it is an odd experience. Every time we have put a house on the market, I have the same sensations: excitement at the thought of each day bringing the potential of a buyer; and the protectiveness that I feel opening my home to strangers to like, dislike, critique, reject, or buy. After all, this is my space, my decorating taste on display. You can’t go through the process of opening a home to anyone who wants to view it with a realtor without feeling some loss of privacy. But of course that’s the idea: you want a lot of traffic; the more, the better.

I’ve watched enough of the cable shows giving advice to home sellers that I know to de-clutter (an ongoing personal quest anyway), and to minimize the personal touches so that potential buyers can imagine their own look and possessions in the home. It makes the beginning process of disconnecting a little easier. That’s the other thing that begins to happen. I find that I begin to detach emotionally, to tell myself I’m on a countdown, knowing that sooner or later the realtor will call to say we have an offer. The biggest thing to be concerned about at that point is the size of the offer. Will it be close enough to our asking price to accept? I have to be prepared to let go, to give up my space, to move on. Maybe it’s a good thing that the whole experience of selling, from listing to offer to the closing, typically takes a few weeks to a few months. When it happens, I’ll be ready. And then on to what’s next! In the meantime, I’ll concentrate on the process, prepare to let go, and vacuum every day.

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