I've sold my house. It has been weeks of constant vacuuming, dusting, polishing, gardening and scrubbing previously ignored nooks with a toothbrush. It is all excellent exercise. That's my excuse for throwing myself down, exhausted, on the floor beside my bed of an afternoon for a catnap. I cannot use the bed: It's MADE.
Of course the second you put your house on the market you fall head over heels in giddy love with it again. What has become a comforting, long-time love affair with your home reverts back into heady, new-relationship fever. You wring your hands and lovingly tease fingers over bannisters wondering how and when you had slipped into taking the exquisite place for granted. And how you can even think of selling it. You want to keep it.
Then you square your shoulders, pull yourself together over a last flick of the duster for the day and, eyes ever vigilant for a stray dog hair you may have missed, go out for takeaways. No cooking allowed. Not in my kitchen: It's CLEAN.
What with the cost of a myriad of cleaning products and the takeaways, the accountant reckons I'll have to tack an extra few thousand on the asking price. Yeah right. Murphy's Law says that everyone always has to finally accept much (much) less than your chosen real estate agents have assured you is easily within your grasp. The house being "so special" and all. Being human, and therefore gullible, we want to believe them and forget they (some would disagree) are human, therefore can be wrong, too.
Now the house is sold, signatures scrawled hurriedly on the distasteful agreement, the bottle of celebratory Champagne in the fridge seems inappropriate. What's appropriate about selling your beloved home, especially at far below those early, heady expectations?
I don't believe the endorsements you see in the real estate section of the daily paper are for real. You know the ones:
Estella/Derek or June/Bob worked tirelessly on the sale of our home. She/he/they communicated with us regularly to keep us in the loop at all times and never once tried to influence our decisions during the enjoyable process. She/he/they achieved a price far, far beyond our highest expectations after a professionally run, short three-week auction. We had ten thousand people through the property and nine thousand bidders. We would highly recommend Estella/Derek/June/Bob to anyone wanting to sell their home hassle-free." Signed ...............
What really happens, I think, is that there is a windowless, soundproofed basement in every real estate office through the land. Vendors are lured into the room with promises of a wine and a glance over of the new photos for the next week's adverts. Then they are tied to a chair in the basement, forced to drink datura-laced tea and tortured by being made to read House for Sale ads for at least 5 minutes before they crack and plead for mercy: "I cannot take one more line of 'Live The Dream'. Where's the pen? I'll sign. I'll sign." They sob as one hand is released and the already written endorsement is thrust under there nose. Weakly they skitter their name on the page after a few seconds of searching wildly around their memory banks for who they were before "going to market"
My agents, a male and female double act, team up to sell properties. I liked them and, I'm happy to say, still do now the nightmare is over. There have been a couple of times voices were raised (mine), a tot of colourful language tossed about (yes, mine) but all in all we came through it. I can't speak for them. They may have a voodoo doll likeness of me in their desk drawer alongside a cache of extra long, sharp pins. I do have a new piercing pain in my right knee and my left eyelid twitches at random these days.
It's over. The gigantic lime green and white sold sticker has been artfully slapped on the For Sale sign. I remain on speaking terms with the agents and would recommend them – even if only for a jolly good laugh. They both possess good senses of humour. He is a truly nice family man full of optimism which perhaps verges on magical thinking. Better to be that way than a nay sayer. She has a mind like a steel trap and a spot-on sense of un PC-comment timing and tone that had me laughing out loud. Also the dogs liked them so they must be good sorts.
Time to finish this – the rope burns on my wrists are hurting.