Showing your house is like going on a first date. I hope they like me. I hope I like them. I hope they're not creepers. I hope they don't smell. What if they don't like me? Nonsense, how could they not like me? I am spacious, have all-new kitchen appliances and an updated bathroom.
We showed our house for the first time last night, and it was nerve-wracking. Up to this point, our realtor had been bolstering our confidence, telling us that we had the goods and that he expected our house to go like hot cakes when we put it on the market. (In case you're new here, my husband D and I are renting out our house for a year and moving in with my parents. You can read all about the "why the h-e-double-hockey sticks would they do that?" here.)
So we were feeling great about our chances and were turning into the semi-jerks that most people turn into when they feel like they have something everyone wants. We had many conversations that involved statements such as: "If they think they are going to (bring cats, talk us down on our price, get anything extra), then they've got another thing coming." We do have to stand firm on the no cats thing, but otherwise, we were getting rather cocky.
Then our realtor calls us Monday and told us he had someone who wanted to see our house that evening. It was barely on the market and we already had a showing scheduled, which kind of drove home that this is actually happening and maybe our house is cooler than we thought.
Of course, the people wanted to see the house at 7, which is right when we start L's bedtime routine. I know this might not seem like a huge deal to many, but any mom will attest to the importance of an evening routine. Not just important, but vital. Not only is it key to helping L go down early, for me, it's like the last few things you do before you close up the office for the evening. Feeding L is like turning off the coffee pots. Giving him his bath is like hearing the da-duh-da-duh when you switch off your computer. Shutting the door is like turning out the office lights and high-tailing it to your car. It's the home stretch of the day.
But, our realtor warned us that most showings would be in the evening, so we were prepared for this. For the few hours between getting home from work and 7 p.m., I was a basket case. I nervously straightened and did my best to make the boxes and mayhem look orderly. I wiped the crap out of the kitchen and bathrooms with antibacterial wipes, even though our house was cleaned from top to bottom by D's amazing aunt this past Saturday and it didn't really need it. I really was almost beside myself because my usual trick is to throw any clutter into drawers, cabinets or closets. But I couldn't do that this time, since it's a known fact that if you're looking at a house with the view of purchasing or renting it, one of the first things you do is to look in closets, drawers and cabinets to see if you can uncover some dirty secret of the current owner. Or at least you hope to uncover something juicy or strange that you can gossip to your husband about after you leave.
So after doing the best we could, we realized it was only 6:40. Twenty minutes is a long time to have left over. Too long. We had the tv turned off in case they came early. That's something I find amusing, by the way. Whenever we're expecting company, we turn the tv off as if it would be the most embarrassing thing ever for us to be discovered watching tv when a guest arrives. I'm pretty sure just looking at our huge tv would be a dead giveaway that we like watching tv, so I don't know why we do this.
Anyway, we had the dog all ready to go in his leash, and he was freaking out thinking he was going to go for a walk. But we still had those 20 minutes to kill, so D started just walking the dog around the kitchen and front room to try to kill some of his energy. And I was holding L and pacing back and forth in the front room, looking out the window literally every 30 seconds. And I started worrying about whether they would like us, whether they would like our house.
Finally, they arrived, and immediately D was watching out the window on our door, giving me the play-by-play of his first impressions. The impressions were all good, and we were relieved to find that they looked clean and upstanding. Of course, the dog went ballistic and scared the life out of the two poor little girls that the potential tenant had brought with him. I was so mad at the dog at that minute, because it was crystal clear that their realtor was not a dog person, and she was speaking to us in a tone of like, "I'm being nice but get your damn dog under control." And she was trying to talk to me over the barking dog, and I just wanted to get out and let them do their thing and we'd answer all questions later.
So I just said, "Sorry about the dog, we're getting out of your way!" And the realtor was all like, Oh no you don't have to leave! But I was like, ok we won't leave but we're going outside. Because it's one thing for me to make fun of my house, but I don't think I could bare to watch someone whisper to the realtor as they walked through our awful paneled kitchen.
We went outside and sat on the bed of D's truck like teenagers (or rednecks), and we just basically killed time. And when they finally came out, the guy took his daughters over to the park and the realtor started drilling us with friendly real estate "banter", peppered with hard-nosed questions about our house.
Were we going to paint the kitchen paneling? (Heck no, we're not doing all that work only to move out so someone else can enjoy the fruits of our labor. Unless he's willing to fork over money for paint and a professional painter. Then we might be willing to talk.)
Were we interested in a 2 or 3 year lease? (Um...why don't we ask my parents if they are willing to let us live with them for 2 or 3 years. Their deafening silence will be answer enough, I think.)
Were we willing to come down on our price? (How about a big fat no to that one, especially since our house is literally just on the market and we're already $100/month lower than the 2 other houses in our neighborhood that are up for rent, plus a few hundred square feet larger.)
So it was an interesting experience. Our realtor said that they gave him very positive feedback and that he thought they would go for it. He seems positive, which is good because I'm starting to freak out at the reality that someone else will be living in my house for a year.
I guess we'll have to wait and see. I'll keep you all posted, since I'm sure you're just hanging on the edge of your seat in anticipation. :)