Buying a house is weird isn’t it? The whole system is unlike any other purchase you’ll make.
You get to see probably the biggest purchase of your life, about twice, for about half an hour, before committing hundreds of thousands of pounds to it. Half an hour? You spend a longer period of time deliberating over buying a puppy or trying on sunglasses (trying to hide that bloody tag behind one of the lenses so you don’t look mental). But 30 minutes for a house? Personally I’ve spent longer choosing pick’n’mix.
But if that’s weird then selling your house is a whole lot stranger. We really do just disengage our reason for that part of the process. Take, for example, the phenomenon of “dressing” your house for viewings. This normally involves two parts.
The first part is mainly just hiding all the shit. All the clutter of everyday life will be scooped up and concealed in cupboards or hidden guiltily in the car boot like a dead body. You’ll binbag the billions of shoes you’ve somehow accumulated in the porch. The post at the bottom of the stairs will be freed from the hump of coats that usually shroud it. The fridge will be stripped of magnets and kiddie art. Toys will be stacked into neat towers of plastic or dumped at your parent’s house. But you won’t bother trying to tidy the garage because let’s face it – life’s too short.
The second part is where you add things that aren’t normally there. You’ll set the dining table just in case potential buyers hadn’t figured out that this is where you eat food. Beds will overflow with carefully arranged scatter cushions. The coffee table will try it’s best to look natural with carefully fanned out magazines. You’ll buy flowers. Oh yes fresh cut flowers will spring up in your kitchen as if it’s perfectly normal. You might wait until the last moment before puncturing a few satsumas and let their aroma whisper “buy my zesty house you citrus-loving bastards!!”
But dressing is painfully transparent isn’t it? It’s a bit pointless unless you think that potential buyers have the following conversation after seeing your home.
“Darling, that house we viewed today was perfect wasn’t it”
“Yes, yes it was. A nice aspect in a beautiful area. I loved the kitchen/diner and those French windows onto the garden”
“And great schools nearby… ”
“and that third bedroom would make an adorable nursery”
“Oh yes such a lovely family home”
“What is it Darling?”
“Tell me Darling”
“Well it’s just the downstairs bathroom…”
“The downstairs bathroom?”
“Yes. It was fine and everything but it’s just that the vase on the window sill…”
“Well it didn’t have a single stem of Gerbera in it. I just don’t think I could bring myself to buy a house that didn’t have a single stem of Gerbera in the downstairs toilet”
“You’re right dear, now that I think about it. It just didn’t have a single stem of Gerbera in the downstairs toilet.”
“Oh well we have some more houses to view, we’ll just have to keep looking.”
“I quite agree. It’s better to be safe than sorry dear”
Clearly YOU don’t do that with houses you look at do you? YOU can see past the empty vases? Of course YOU can. And so can THEY. Because that’s not the house, that’s just the crap IN the house.
Then there are the awkward questions. The ones you happily lie about. Lets play multiple choice.
“Why are you moving?”
- “We want somewhere better than this shithole and we can afford it because we’re clearly richer than you”
- This place is haunted by the ghost of a dead peadophile and we hate the neighbours – their cats shit all over our garden.
- My husband’s work.
“Does the garden get the sun?”
- No it get’s the fucking Telegraph you bum diseased yokel.
- On midsummers day for about 10 minutes. Other than that it’s like an outside cave. Only darker.
- All the time. Oh yes we’re very lucky.
“Are the local schools good?”
- They’re good if you want to score drugs.
- Their metal detectors are good – they have to be what with all the flick-knives…
- Very good. Certainly well up there in all the league tables.
If you answered mostly Cs you are a liar (and a perfectly normal person trying to sell their house).