Saturday, March 17, 2012

At War With HGTV and DIY

Our Super Agent Marie said that we should be madly packing right now. She doesn't understand that we don't madly do anything. We will go about our packing business sedately, complaining all the way. And take a lot of coffee breaks to pat ourselves on the back that we packed three boxes today.

We will soon be moving to another house. I think. Super Agent Marie tells us that everything is go, except for this and a little of that, but it is all falling into place. Marie is optimistic by nature. I, in turn, concentrate on planning. I have found that one can make a career out of planning -- in fact, I have. The trick is to plan and plan and figure that somehow the work will get done.

As you can see I am talking about personal stuff. My Chief Critic and Adviser Marilyn tells that I need to blog about personal stuff because that is what people want to read. She says that when I write about history or 'facts' people turn off. I start to reply that I don't care about what readers think -- but then I figured I better be careful because that may not be 100% true.

But you see, moving has presented us with a conundrum. I think it all has to do with HGTV and DIY, which are two television networks whose mission it to tell you that you are doing everything wrong.

To begin, we are moving into a smaller house, and our bigger house furniture simply will not fit. Logic says sell the stuff or give it to the kids or have a garage sale or donate it to somebody. With this in mind we can: (1) simply move and tag everything that is to go and then get rid of the rest; or (2) get rid of the rest now and move what is remaining. But HGTV and DIY has explained to my wife that we have To Stage our house in order to sell it.

Staging is based on the premise that buyers are too stupid to imagine what an empty house will look like furnished. So you need to present a furnished house to prospective clients with no clutter. (Did you know you aren't not allowed to show family pictures!) There are actually companies that will come in and put temporary furniture into your home for staging purposes.

Who comes up with these ideas? Somehow in years past houses got sold that were completely empty. To my way of thinking I would prefer to see an empty house so I can imagine where our furniture might go. In fact, the house we are buying was empty. But it seems that I am old fashioned in my thinking.

So you see the conundrum here. Do we move just what is essential and leave enough to stage the house? That sounds like a double move to me. And when and where and how do we get rid of the furniture that we need to get rid of. Post staging?

I've called AT&T and asked if they can remove HGTV and DIY from our channel line up. Nope.

I've given a thumbs down on Stupid Staging but Marilyn is convinced we have to do it.

And then Marilyn told me we have to replace the bathroom faucets. Why? Because they are gold.

I wisely comment: "I don't understand. We like our faucets. We are happy with them. What's the problem?"

Marilyn responds: "On HGTV when they show houses to people, if they see gold faucets they react with 'Oh my God. Gold faucets. How horrid!'"

Foyer Light (with nowhere to go)
I'm here to proclaim that HGTV does not set the standard of acceptability. I am adamant that we leave the faucets as they are and if buyers don't like it, I don't want them to buy my house! As you can see, my forte is logic.  


Oh, and she says we have to replace the vintage foyer light which she got off Ebay because no one else will appreciate it. Do we have a place for it in the new house? No, but... Then there's the problem of the custom built fireplace mantle (also an Ebay acquisition). Do we take it with us or leave it in hopes that it will help sell this old place? And on and on and on.


Mantle (take or leave?)
There is so much more going on. It seems that we have to buy a new refrigerator to go in the new house because our current refrigerator is not stainless steel like the other appliances. That sucks, and I don't even like stainless steel appliances. I am buying the house in spite of stainless steel appliances, just like someone can buy our house in spite of gold faucets. Then my dear wife is insistent that we replace most of the light fixtures and put crown molding throughout the new house. I think HGTV and DIY suggested that. Then we have to buy shelving and cabinets because all of that stuff in this house is built in. Oh yeah, she figures we definitely need carpeting in some of the rooms because the dogs can't scramble around on hardwood floors. I think there is more. I can't remember.
Books - No Bookshelves to take them to

So planning to move is not an easy thing. The general plan is to move and then fix up the house we are moving from with fresh paint and a nail here and there and then put it on the market. Seems straight forward. But when we start getting into the specifics. I can't figure out the order of activities.

So the plan is....to plan and figure it will somehow fall together. Oh, and pack a couple of boxes today.

There. I've just written about Personal Stuff.

29 comments:

  1. Well I agree with your wife that the personal stuff is interesting. Maybe you can do both? I like both.

    I also think your wife is right about staging the house. You'll probably fetch a better price for it if it's staged. At least, that's what my realtor told me when we were going through this. And we took down all our family photos and replaced them with generic calendar-type prints. And another thing? We bought cinnamon sticks and boiled them in water in the kitchen right before the open houses and viewings, because apparently the smell of cinnamon or vanilla makes a house seem more warm and welcoming and makes potential buyers more likely to make offers.

    And we bought new bedsheets, crisp white. Because apparently potential buyers like seeing a bed made with new crisp white sheets. And blah blah blah. We did all kinds of things to stage our house. I agree with you that it's a bloody nuisance. And I agree with your wife that you should probably just do it anyway.

    Oh yeah, and she's right about your dogs scrabbling around on hardwood floors too. They'll destroy the wood if you allow them to do that, and potentially hurt themselves too.

    See how smart wives are? Aren't you glad you have one to keep you from making terrible mistakes in your life? :)

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    1. Okay. Maybe she (and you) are right. This time.

      But I still think staging is stupid.

      Obviously we need you to report here immediately to take over staging duties, while I go off somewhere and do some planning.

      Crisp white sheets. Boiling cinnamon. Hurrrmmph!

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  2. Last year we spent most of a year selling a house in a bad economy. Yep. Elimination. Moving stuff four hundred miles to storage. Staging. My wife is good at that. Got compliments. Eventually sold the house. Had to replace the roof and fix septic. Got moved. Set up house. Sell? Store? What is that, and why did we move it four hundred miles.

    I have a camper van. I long to just live in that. Small. Simple. Mobile.

    Good luck. Keep writing. I like history, and personal stuff. Wives aren't always smart, by the way. They are just always right.

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    1. I am beginning to long more and more for your camper van. We forgot how to live the simple life in this country. Everything thrives on complexity.

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  3. Oh good grief, what a nightmare. What if you remove the gold faucets and she shows the house to someone who would have bought it if only it had gold faucets.
    You have convinced me to stay put.

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    1. I've convinced myself to stay put Patti, but my wife won't let me.

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  4. Jerry, it's so funny the way you wrote this. I love it.

    But I'm going to have to say to go with your wife (or HGTV) on this one.

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    1. Jon! Traitor! And you're a guy, just like me.

      Is this one of those instances where I am refusing to face facts? Naw, not me.

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  5. Although I have (somehow) accomplished moving more times than I care to think about - I honestly have no idea how it all gets done. I guess eventually you just fall into a catatonic packing coma.

    I'm also going to tell you that your wife is right. There is no point in trying to fight it.

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    1. Now I am beginning to feel like the lonely voice in the crowd.

      I am going to have to adopt the attitude, "Well hell, I'm only doing this because it is right. So there!"

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  6. I love that light fixture! Probably not everyone would appreciate its coolness, though.

    Just to clarify...do you really not want to be entered in the drawing on my blog for a blank journal? Drop me a line at Luvrte66@aol.com to confirm that. I don't want to NOT enter you when you really did want to be entered! haha

    I hope I never have to move again. I just do not find it fun anymore.

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    1. Actually, I like the light fixture too. It is unusual and I think pretty neat.

      I will immediately fire off an email explaining I just commented because I like your blog, not because of the prize. No, I do not want to be entered in the contest.

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  7. I love reading your blog and enjoy your history stuff. The one about the Mayans was really interesting as was the one about typewriters. Personal stuff is great, too. I started reading The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo after reading your review of The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest. I think you have a perfect mix of facts and fun.

    I wish you'd do some more posting on your Gentle Tastes blog. Your bread pudding recipe with the pine cone garnish is one of my favorites.

    Good luck planning your move.

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    1. Thank you Clematis. When I learn something new I invariably start researching it a bit -- especially new unusual stuff. And it is especially fun to find those little nuggets of history that few are aware of. Then I sometimes post what I have learned. I'm glad that you appreciate it.

      Oh yeah -- my Gently Tastes blog. Of course you are right. I have been neglecting it. I vow to fix that.

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  8. Oh Jerry, you are so funny! I really don't know who's right here - we've moved a bajillion times and never saw any staged furniture, but maybe our price range was too low lol! Either way, you know what they say "Happy wife, happy life!" :) Tomorrow I hope to come up with something wonderful! Have a great night!

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    1. If you don't know who is right -- automatically assume it is me.

      Of course, that means we will be wrong together. Yep -- gotta' keep Marilyn happy...so I guess we will be staging. Sigh...

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  9. HGTV can go take a flying leap on a rolling doughnut. My folks are bending over backwards trying to get their apparently "dated" 1980s house into trendy, hip, contemporary shape for potential buyers. This has entailed tearing up all the carpet and putting in tile; replacing the garage door; replacing the molding; completely remodeling the kitchen with granite countertops, matching black appliances and pendant lighting; and a whole host of other improvements and adjustments. They're talking about plans for "basin sinks" (because apparently normal sinks are passe and tacky now); redoing my old bathroom; and so on and so forth. In their defense, they must do all they can, because the bumpy two-mile dirt road they live on is enough to turn even the most determined house hunters off.

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    1. I hate basin sinks! I'm with you. All that fixing up seems to be a lot of expense for minor gain.

      But who am I? I guess image is everything....and that is such a plastic concept.

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  10. We have "basic" cable so we only see HGTV when we travel... and we pig out on it when we do. A consumate remodeler, I am ape over Mike Holmes and his "tear it all out" remodeling. We were in Hawaii last month... you guessed it, watching HGTV. I kid you NOT, at this very moment our master bathroom has been GUTTED. Painted today, I put the tile in this week, the cabinets come in a week.

    But you are right! "Staging is based on the premise that buyers are too stupid to imagine what an empty house will look like furnished." Some day some potential buyer is going to look at my Travertine marble floor and bemoan that the house should be devalued because it isn't pink congoleum.

    I watch those crazy real estate shows and want to reach through the screen and choke the stupid buyers who reject a house because it has shag carpet. As if there is some LAW that says you absolutely cannot recarpet a house once it's carpeted. Morons.

    On the other hand, my wife and I have done pretty well investing in real estate; seeing through the damage and clutter that turns away other buyers. Next week we close on a condo in Portland that was left dirty by a tenant. We low-balled the offer, the buyer was desperate to sell, and we will hold a bargain we got under market. We'll make some money from it as a rental then flip it in a couple of years.

    I think my wife and I should have our own HGTV program.

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    1. I love Mike Holmes....especially that grunt and sigh..."Tear it out. Tear is all out."

      I guess I have to redirect my thoughts to something that makes sense. If a guy is going on a first date with a new gal, I reckon he spiffs himself up to make a good impression. I guess that it the lesson here.

      But...but it is the smart gal that takes a look at the guy, not matter how he is dressed, and thinks, 'I can do something with him. I can fix him up.'

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  11. Super Agent MarieMarch 19, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Well, I'd have to agree with Marilyn on staging. I say take what you want to your new house and then we'll use what's left to stage it. A few small updates would not be bad...like the faucets...It just depends on who is looking at the house as to if they can see past non-updated things. If you have someone who wants to come in and immediately work on making the house "their own" with their own touches, then they won't care about those things. But if it's someone who wants a "perfect" house when they move in, then they will see $ signs in needing to do updates. Just depends who comes to see the house and how fast you want to sell. The nice thing is that you will be out of the house before we list it, so you don't have to deal with people coming to see it, so aside from the two house payments, it's not going to be a horrible hassle to wait a bit.

    But I still think you need to stage it. :)

    Now as far as the dogs and wood floors, I have two large dogs and hand scraped wood floors. They have yet to damage them and they deal fine. A few rugs would hold ya over!

    And sorry, but HGTV and DIY are great. Just think, if the folks looking at your house watch that, you don't have to do updates because they will be so full of ideas from HGTV that they will want to come in and remodel!

    PS - yes you should be packing! If you wait, you will never move!

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    1. I would never contradict my Super Real Estate Agent, even if she happens to be misguided and sadly swayed by reality TV. But I am coming around, Marie. See my comment above to Robert about a guy spiffying up for a new date.

      Happy to see you here.

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  12. When we bought our home, we plain didn't care that it was empty (other than spare light bulbs and cleaning supplies the previous owners, which has saved us money). Maybe it was a relief because we didn't have to imagine floors and walls getting beat up when the previous owners would be moving out all there "scenery." The king of the castle was told his old place would only sell if it looked ready for someone to bring all their stuff in, so it was empty and took about a year and a half to sell. Anyway, the people who buy your house will probably long to do whatever they want with light fixtures and faucets, so leave it. If you change it for mystery buyers, there is a chance they will change it anyway. That's the fun of a new house, isn't it--to make it yours?

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    1. Personally I would be more interested in seeing an empty house when I buy -- which is what we did. That way I can imagine putting the crocodile pond in that corner and the moose head on that wall and appreciating the fact that those civil war cannons would look great in the living room.

      I guess we are a dying breed, Angeline. Buyers need to be spoon fed concepts now. Sigh...

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  13. I agree with about not staging a house. Everyone has their own unique decorating style. Once the hsoue is bought, they're going to decorate it in their style. What happened to using ones decorating imagination? nice foyer enty lamp very retro.

    Keep on with your style of blogging including history.

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    1. I need for you to write my wife and agent and explain this stuff to them. They won't listen to me.

      I do recognize that my wife is sometimes right.....and there may be an off chance (albeit unlikely) that she is right here -- and she has an expert agent to back her up -- so perhaps my wisest course of action is to simply say, "Yes ma'am".

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  14. All I know for sure is if the first thing you were to sell or give away is the TV, you'll save a BUNDLE down the road.

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    1. Amen. TV is exerting too much idiotic influence on our lives.

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  15. Jerry I agree that the media is leading us . but that's because everyone wants to make a profit, a big one!
    Carry on with your move. It'll be fun!

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