Tuesday, April 12, 2011

to stage or not to stage

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Dear Bloggy Mommies,

Have you read this book? It is one of my kid's favorites despite the subject matter. Spencer is a little boy with too many toys and his mom forces him to give some away. It is a process that is painful and kind of gut wrenching but he does it. How in the heck do my kids like this? Love it in fact? I mean, my monkeys wouldn't even let me have a McDonald's toy for the Goodwill box? Big misers. Every time, no kidding, every time I throw out a toy or give one away, they come to me and ask for it. Even if it was broken beyond repair. How do they sense it? Does some little alarm go off in their head that says, "mommy, is throwing out that broken yo yo from three years ago. The one with the tangled string and half of the one side is broken. Go get it NOW! Quick before the garbage men come!" It drives me crazy.

So why the heck am I talking about my kids and their mounds and mounds of stuff? Well, Big Tall Hubby (BTH) told me about one of his co-workers who sold their house after having it on the market for.... one month. WTF? They live in a neighboring community with similarly rated schools and shopping areas so we don't think those were the deciding factors. They had a house that was smaller than ours but on a wooded lot. Hmm, could that be it? Not sure. Then his co-worker (she) told Paul how they cleaned out all their clutter, taking loads to Goodwill. I go to Goodwill once a month, the guy at the drive thru knows me by name for goodness sake. I don't think we have an overabundance of clutter, although I agree, everyone could do more with less. They took half their clothes and put them in storage so their closets would appear emptier. This probably helped but I don't think it is do or die as far as house selling. Our closets are all neat and tidy and well organized. BTH's looks like a store (his words, not mine!) because I am kind of a closet nazi. I get a little bent out of shape if things get to crazy in a closet. They have ONE child who is not even two yet, so totally no kid clutter (I remember those days!). I can't do much about our three (and plus one coming) compared to their one so more on that later. * AND they had a stager come in and set up their house. Could this have sold their home? Maybe.

We have been trying to sell our house for almost two years. Straight. We have tried it all. We have lowered our price, lots of times. We have open houses. We tried selling it ourselves to sell at a lower price. We have switched realtors three times! We have painted, updated, and decorated as much as we can within our budget. We made one of our realtors put our house on the front page of the realty section of the paper one week (he called in favors and he was really not happy with us but we were hoping it would work- obviously it did not!). We have listed on Craigslist. We have given flyers to businesses we frequent.

Just about the only thing we haven't done is to hire a stager. I think he/she would come in and tell us not a whole lot. There are a lot of things we could change at this point. I have a couple pictures of my kids around that I hide when we have showings. We put away almost all of our other mementos and anything else that has any kind of significance to us so our house will appear less "personal." We put out cookies and fresh flowers. We clean (well I clean) like a maniac. Most of our furniture is pretty new-ish so we don't have old shabby couches or chairs looking ugly. Our decor is more country, less modern than some like, but I don't think that makes or breaks us either. Except for Zoe's pink room, we have pretty much neutral colors throughout the house. If a pink room makes someone not want to buy our house than "forget them" as CeeLo says! Everyone wants that perfect house for rock bottom prices. No one has any vision or the will to do any work on a house anymore. I kind of feel like everyone (we have been in contact with) is kind of spoiled. I feel like no house is perfect, not even brand new houses. We have lived in two brand new houses and have had to do a lot of work to both.

So I am wondering, would you hire a stager? They can be pretty expensive. And frankly, who has the extra money for anything right now? After two years of this silliness we feel very much like victims and desperation is kind of setting in.

* My other question is how in the holy heck do you get rid of your kids' toys. I thought we'd be moved by now and we would have purged a lot of toys in the move. You know, blame it on the movers, "I don't know what happened to your broken roller skate, maybe the movers lost it!" But two years later, the mounds keep growing! Should I just go totally crazy, send them off to Grandma's house and load up some Goodwill boxes? Or should I have them help me? I know a "good mommy" would have them pick and choose and talk about each item but that makes me feel totally overwhelmed. I like the Grandma idea way better.


Jealous of all the other people who have sold their houses, Jenny


Kerri said...

I think staging is good if you've already left your house and it's empty. Or, if you don't have any style and your house is all cluttered. None of these apply to you...so it kind of seems like a waste of money. Your house is always so clean and you have a great style. So, it might not be someone elses...but, you're not selling your house furnished so who gives! I can't believe your house has been on the market so long. Are people having a hard time getting loans? I hear the banks have tightened up on mortgages. I have my fingers crossed that your house will sell by the new school year.
As far as toys...we do the 3 box method (together). One box to keep, one to sell (garage sale) and one to donate. Brady knows that whatever he sells he can keep the money and buy something new...I think this helps him to be able to part with things!

Jen said...

Oh...I remember feeling the same way. Before anyone would come to look...I would load up a ton of toys and put them in my minivan. Funny thing is though, the people who bought our house came spur of the moment. The beds were not made...and there was even a leaking sippy cup on the kitchen floor in a puddle of milk. Im not kidding.
I do not think there would be much for the stagers to suggest...sounds like you've done it all. It's just a really bad market right now. Things hopefully will get better soon.

Kristin said...

We had a stager--as you know and it didn't help. Plus we had to worry about the kids doing damage to the things they brought in.
I have heard that there are stagers that will come in and use what you have, just do different seating arrangements, etc and they cost a lot less because you aren't leasing their crap, I mean stuff :)
Your house is gorgeous but it's like you said everyone wants something for nothing.
Big hugs, I really hope you sell soon I know it's been hard on you.

Kristin said...

oh the toys thing....Aiden doesn't have a say in what he keeps, but he also doesn't always notice things are gone(he doesn't hold on to things), plus we have a "if it's out and not where it belongs I can throw it away" rule. AND I clean his room, if he cleans it I don't throw anything away but if I clean it I have the ability to throw stuff away.
Same rules apply to Zach but he'd be a hoarder if I'd let him so he has boundaries. He has two HUGE black bins that fit under his bed, although he keeps them in his closet, he can keep whatever fits in the bins and I don't touch that stuff but if the lids don't go on he has to purge and when he does we usually fill up a garbage bag.

Jill said...

Sorry to hear it is taking so long, but the market is not what it use to be. Your home is gorgeous and the right person will come along. I don't think stagers are worth the $$ but sometimes you can get a promotional deal and they'll come out for free to get their services recognized. Good luck with everything. Toy clutter ugh you don't want to see my house this week, lol. Having a hard time getting back into the normal schedule. I wanted to thank you for your kind words on my blog. I greatly appreciate it.