Monday, July 20, 2009

The Lies We Tell

I think the last time we sold a house I vowed to never sell a house again.

(Insert trite response here.)

We went to the hardware store Saturday to get various improvement items. It's important, when selling a house, to make it look a lot better than it did at any time when you lived in it, or at any time when the buyer will live in it. The goal is for them to look at it and think, subconsciously, "Ah, this is a house where the flowerbeds are always weeded and the trim is never chipped and we will live with the austerity of Tibetan monks so that our house is never a mess and yet it will be warm and welcoming and smell of chocolate chip cookies."

Then they will move in and they will have way too much stuff for the space and the flowerbeds will get weeded intermittently and even if they got the house cleaned up in the dead of night within fifteen minutes the living room would be strewn with toys and there will always be a faint odor of mildewing towels. This is the truth. But when we are buying and selling it's best to avoid the strict truth and tell the lies everyone expects.

So we are doing all the repairs and touch-up we never would have bothered with while we lived here. And a few we really should have bothered with, like the counter on top of the dishwasher that fell off the wall. And a few that I hate, like using massive amounts of weedkiller on the beds I'll never be able to keep clean enough by hand.

We're still debating whether we need to repaint the kitchen or whether just removing the carrot decor makes it generic enough.

And we still feel like we should apologize to Wondergirl, because it seems like every time she finally gets us settled in, things up on the walls, (I never get very far at that kind of thing on my own) we decide to move. We made it a year this time at least! And three years in the same place! That's a record for us.

One little glitch that may or may not cause a lot of trouble is that after three clear title searches somebody turned up some misfiled paperwork that clouds the title. And it has to be refiled properly by the guy who messed it up in the first place. We hope a nasty letter on the right letterhead will be enough to motivate him to do so. But we don't know for sure yet, and we can't sell until it's cleared up.


Steve said...

QoC, painting a house is not a lie. Painting it weekly to cover up cracks that keep reappearing, and not disclosing it on the sales papers, is a lie.

It also cuts down on usable space rather quickly ("Duke, two months ago we didn't have to sit so close together, and didn't the couch use to fit in the living room?")

MLM said...

I think the kitchen is cheerful. But whatever you have to do, do it, 'cause we're looking forward to having you in the west.

le Duc said...

But to an extent, it is a lie. When you're buying a house, you're buying four walls, the land underneath, and the necessary machinations for operating it (HVAC, plumbing, etc.). These are the same regardless of the quality or color of the paint, the shine of the floors, or the beauty of the landscape.

But people don't give a second glance at homes unless they have those cheap remedies. It's the lie that is marketing: that this is somehow better because it looks good. We don't look at fundamentals - sometimes not at all - but definitely not unless the surface is nice... and why?

That answer yet eludes me.

Steve said...

Shortsightedness. We have an amazing tendency to focus on the temporal rather than the eternal, and to apply that to all areas of our lives.