After we worked our fingers to the bones and our bodies into a state of utter fatigue, we finally had the house ready to be scrutinized by all those strangers who’d eagerly set up appointments to see it. We had four showings, to be exact, and we weren’t allowed to be here for them. Thank heavens, I say. The last thing I wanted was to see the faces of those whose sole purpose for being here was to judge the house and everything in it.
Have you ever watched those house-hunting shows on TV? More often than not, the couple seeking a new home has high hopes and limited funds. They want new or updated houses that match their tastes exactly and criticize everything from the carpet on the floors to the choice of color on the walls.
But not just that. When strangers come into your house, they’re seeing everything that makes it a home to you. The kinds of things you collect. The pictures of your family. Your taste in furniture and decor. Everything. And they judge it, even though it doesn’t come with the house. They see the things you’ve put up with all these years, and they wonder why you haven’t fixed it. The crack in the floor tile, the crack in the wall, the buckling carpet. They wonder why you’ve never repaired the _____ (fill in the blank). Some of the stuff is cosmetic; some create valid concerns, but we’ve dealt with them.
Our house has two strikes against it: It’s old and we’re the owners. It was built in the ’70s and looks it. I stink as an interior decorator. To me, it’s our home and it looks fine. To others, it’s supposed to be a showplace and it’s severely lacking. And it doesn’t help that all of our home improvement budget went to doctors and hospitals instead.
And, when we got to hear the opinions of those who came out, that’s what we heard: the house is dated. It would take too much to bring it up to “my standards.” “Goodness! Are they the original owners?” Which, of course, points to the fact that anyone else would’ve updated it.
I’m well aware of all the problems in this house, and being outdated is only part of it. I’ve been known to get splinters from the cabinets. The dark paneling shows dust something awful. The popcorn from the ceiling brushes off when I clean around the vents. The carpet in the bedrooms has been here since we moved in, and the only reason the carpet in the living and dining rooms is newer is because we had a little fire that burned holes in the old one. The windows aren’t sealed well enough, so there’s a bit of a draft. The drapes don’t close right. The tub has a stain that was here when we moved in, and I have yet to figure out how to get it out.
So, believe me, whatever words of criticism house-hunters express, I agree. But here’s the thing: it’s still our home and it hurts to hear the indictment against it. We’ve been here, broke but happy, for over twenty years. Things would’ve been different had I never gotten sick, but things are what they are. And if I didn’t have to, I wouldn’t move away from the view outside my window—the trees, all the birds and squirrels, the turtles sunning on the pond bank, the fading of the cypress trees in the fall from green to gold to rust. Our new house is in town, in a typical neighborhood, and that’s what we’ll see when we look out the windows there. Neighbors.
I think I’m still tired from all the work we’ve been doing the past several days. Ordinarily, I’m not so morose. We have a lot to be thankful for, so I really shouldn’t complain about anything. I’m certain God has softened the heart of whomever He has chosen to move into this beautiful place. And it is beautiful. Despite all the problems, it has great “bones,” as they call it in the business, and it’s surrounded by lovely woods and the peaceful pond. God knows who will love it as much as we do and will bring them here in time.
Meanwhile, I’ll pick out splinters and watch the fish play in the pond.
Ugh. Selling is indeed hard. We hated it too. But there is a buyer who will see beyond a few flaws and love the setting and all the possibilities. Our house has flaws, plenty. But we loved the basic set up and the property enough to ignore those areas that could have been updated and repaired. Nothing was wrong structurally. No major repairs needed, just small stuff, and the house was move in ready even with some of the issues. One day, we may address them, or not. Hang in there. Someone will come along and fall in love with the home, just like you did. Just like we did.
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I’m hanging on to that, Marie. I still believe that God wants us to move, so surely He has a plan to make it happen. We just have to be patient while He does His behind-scenes work!
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I’ve been there several times. To the people who think thing should be improved, fine…then you spend the money AFTER you gave bought the property. I personally always liked showing or selling, or seeing an empty house. Not furnished. (I was once in Real Estate). Easier to visualize what I would do. Hated when people judged my current home, furnished of course. It looked smaller not larger.
I do know the Lord will bring you the right buyer. Hopefully the person who enjoys nature more than a house. Be patient, and know you are in my prayers. I know we have never met, but I can tell you have a beautiful heart.
God Bless you.
Al Beard, South Carolina.
How sweet, Al, thank you!
Yes, whoever falls for this place will definitely love the 11 acres it comes on. That’s primarily what sold us.
I understand your frustration. We’ve lived in our home for 15 years. We have five adult children who have at one time or another returned to the nest with either their family or their dogs.It has been very hard on our home. At one time 4 of the 5 were living here and my son had his wife, three children, and his father-in-law. They were with us for six years. We will be putting our house on the market hopefully next summer. If you’ve seen any of my posts on FB you know we replaced out disgusting carpet with new upstairs and hardwood downstairs. We painted the walls and the kitchen cabinets and added a new countertop and redid the half-bath downstairs. We haven’t put our family picture back up because according to our daughter-in-love who is realtor it is harder for people to picture themselves in your home with those pictures on display. So we will be put up painting etc and keep personal things for when we move. We still have two more bathrooms, the basement, and the whole yard to update before we put the for sale sign up. So much to do. So much headache. We can enjoy the newness for a while before we move. Unlike you, we aren’t sure where we are going. We have time to do the things you haven’t and we only have family dramas to deal with and not the terrible health issues your family has faced. We are also concerned about how those prospective buyers will view our home. Even with our updates someone will probably find something else they’d liked changed. We will hold you up in prayer that your home sells quickly. Because God has ordained this next part of your life he has the perfect buyers.
At least you can do what needs to be done to make your house marketable. We talked about it, back when we thought we were moving to the farm, but once again, hospital bills ate up our nest egg. Not much can be done about that.
God bless you and your efforts!
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I’m so sorry. Words such as those always hurt.
Yeah, they do. And after being a writer for all these years, you’d think I’d have a tougher skin!
It’s Hard to hear but I agree with Cecilia. There’s a buyer out there for it. Stage it as best you can and use accent lighting when possible to enhance the warmth of the place, and keep praying. The Lord know what you need.
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That’s a good tip, Kimberli! Thanks! ❤
It’s nice to read about someone else loving their quaint little old home. Mine, too, needs repairs and redos that I have developed a blind eye toward, but it is a warm and cozy little place that holds lots and lots of dear, dear memories. Thank you for sharing!
Yes, LOTS of wonderful memories! Thanks for the comment.
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