Wednesday, March 07, 2007

I spent the day yesterday coming down from a big stress appointment. My realtor came over late Monday afternoon to look the house over one last time with me before deciding if it's ready to put it on the market this coming weekend.

I'd been working feverishly to finish the "staging" according to the guidelines I'd been given. I wouldn't have been any near where I was in the process if Fritz hadn't come down the week before and been an enormous help, but I knew there were things still to be done. When you've lived in a house for a couple of decades, run an active free-lance design and graphics business in it, and when you've raised two children from toddlerhood to adulthood, you've got STUFF everywhere.

However, the electrical work was finished. All the "public" rooms in the house were where the realtor wanted them in terms of thinning out and rearrangement to highlight great features like my self-designed ceiling treatments and the roomy bay windows on the first floor. On the other hand, the attic storage room was a mess and the basement still cluttered. I also hadn't gotten to a couple of painting touch-ups, etc. However, I HAD managed to take down the 2007 Testosterone calendar, and get the porn collection stored where it wouldn't put sensitive souls into cardiac arrest but will still allow me to access it when I want.

He arrived on time and I took him through the place. He was highly complimentary and told me that it's OK for storage rooms to look like storage rooms, and that basements are so messy in our current culture that nobody would care much about mine. He proposed getting the For Sale sign put up on Friday, placing ads in the Boston Globe on Saturday and Sunday for an Open House that he would run personally from 1 to 3pm on Sunday. I was just happy that I'd managed to meet my deadline.

Slowly, it began to sink in that this home I renovated mostly by hand and where I raised my daughters is going to pass out of my life, probably in around six months. But I didn't have time for too much sentimentality, however; he immediately segued into things I'll have to do while the house is being shown. I'll have to leave every time prospective buyers are going through the house, no matter what time of day. I'll have to houseclean on a daily basis and everything will have to be neat and tidy at all times. OK, in truth that much I more or less expected.

Then out of the blue he asked if I take any prescription medications. I said yes. He said that I'll need to secure them along with any valuable jewelry I have, especially this Sunday when people will be going through the place in numbers greater than he can escort personally. He told me that prescriptions are commonly stolen out of houses by prospective buyers. He floundered around for a moment trying to remember the name of the most stolen drug. "Vicodin?" I asked. "No." "Oxycontin?" "No, no--it's the one you take for cholesterol." "Lipitor? LIPITOR?!" Indeed, yes. Lipitor, he told me, is the drug most often snatched out of medicine cabinets and off bathroom counters.

I was stunned and suddenly wondered, "do I WANT these people in my house?" Well, yes I do if I want to sell the place. But this process has been an eye-opener for me and, in effect, I'm only just at the beginning of it. There'll be many more surprises in store for me in the coming months, I'm sure. In the meanwhile, my few prescription drugs (including my own Lipitor) will be going into hiding. And I suspect it might be a good idea to sequester the contents of my night table drawer as well!

You know, Will, that feeling when the cholesterol gets zapped out of your body... ooooohhhhhhh, what a rush!

Seriously, that's whacked out crazy. Does Lipitor have a major street value? I might have thought viagra or something.

Re: the house. You know what... if you haven't already, take pictures all over the house (even after the staging). Maybe you can make a journal of all the important things that happened at each location. That might be a way you can deal with the memories when you actually have time. Just a thought.
Chuck Palahniuk's book "Invisible Monsters" is about trannies on a cross country killing spree hitting all of the open houses they can find for drugs. Why that hasn't been optioned by Hollywood yet is beyond me.

So now I'm totally coming by Sunday to ransack your medicine cabinet, and pick through your house like it's a tag sale.
Wild times having people in and out of your house, I know. Sometimes we don't even think about the fact that complete, total strangers are actually being invited in! Just pay attention, my friend....and let itplay out the way it should. Take care
My parents have been in real estate since I was very young, and although they deal mostly with commercial property now, I have a pretty good working knowledge of the real estate business - or, so I thought. People actually steal Lipitor?!?
Boy, that must really be a stressful ordeal. I hate the thought of strangers wandering through my home with squinty eyes, looking for faults and touching things. Where would you live if it sold fast? The new house isn't near completion is it?
Oh dear....thats a lot of stressful stuff!

hang in there! I agree with the comment about taking photos - go crazy with the digital - especially since you have put so much into it.

can there by one little corner somewhere (a closet that you can close) that you can have your own stuff and not have to "clean and tidy " it? probably not but its a thought...

GOOD LUCK with the open house!
be careful; the sellers of our house had a bust in soon after their first house show; some one posing as a potential buyer was scoping out the house for valuables to snatch.
Yeah, it is kind of freaky to know complete strangers are going through your house. I know of someone who had his personal "adult toy" stolen out of his nightstand by a hired contractor. The things people will steal! lol.
I found having to be out of your house at any time of the day when the realator called very annoying, especially after a hard day of work you receive a call telling you not to be at the house for two hours.
Jeez--you guys! Now I'm REALLY worried.

Seriously, thank you for all your little horror stories. On the basis of the realtor's original warning, Fritz pointed out a couple of things that it might be better for me to make disappear. However I've been reassessing the situation this morning thanks to reading your comments:

Atari--taking a series of photos is really a good idea, particularly now that everything is neat and clean. Although not everything I love is still in each and every room, this place is filled with incredible memories and meaning for me. We'll talk some more at dinner tonight.

Keith--I don't want to even THINK about your story! :-)

Lewis--the fact that complete and total strangers are going to be going through my house is all I CAN think about!

Steve--I couldn't believe Lipitor either. Maybe it's a good trend morally--they're stealing to make themselves healthy rather than to get high.

Mike--In that period of time between the sale of my house in Boston and the completion of the new one, I'll just move in with Fritz. I think maybe he'll find a corner of the big queen-sized bed for me. :-)

SoGal--based on what I'm hearing, they'll be going through all my closets, or at least looking in. I would, too, actually--I'd want to check out how big the closets are.

Spo--fortunately, I have a good alarm system on the house.

Jason--I thought of that right away. I have a couple of those which are already in hiding, but I think I'm going to clean out the rest of the stuff in my nightstand as well. Maybe I'll leave a little note in the drawer, something to the effect of "Caught you! But, for a good time, call . . . ."

Scott--that's really my big concern, that I'll be in the middle of making dinner and get a call saying a party is coming to look at the house in half an hour. I'm trying to be very Zen about this and look at it calmly as a means to an end. Let's hope I succeed!
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