We’ve just sold our house. It took eight days. I’m still in shock.
We’ve just found a house to buy. That was even more nerve wracking. Our buyer is in a hurry to get the process started so we’ve had just a few days to find and bag one we like. In the end it took less than a week.
These two expensive, life-changing and fairly bloody stressful events took place in some weird space/time parallel where there’s little room to think and decisions have to be made fast and hard. Something I’m usually really crap at.
But I didn’t take my metaphorical shoulder pads off for a fortnight and actually felt rather sexy with all that lucre-fuelled adrenaline pumping through my veins.
Right now, however, I’m knackered and a little shell-shocked. We’ve got about three months of impotently praying that it all goes through in the full knowledge that it’s all completely out of our hands.
So there’s plenty of time to reflect on the process that got us to this stage. What worked. What didn’t. And what I’m still not sure about.
1) Your house will never look so good and then you’ll have to say goodbye to it.
Everything I have wanted my house to be for the last FIVE YEARS happened in the six weeks prior to going on the market.
Those fitted wardrobes I’ve been dreaming of? Chris finally built them. The floorboards that needed sanding? Yep, they’re looking peachy.
The front wall, front door and front of my house are freshly painted.
There are flowers growing in the front garden.
Luscious houseplants populate every room. My favourite has its own gorgeous plant hanger.
There are scatter cushions on my bed. My towels all match.
Our house looks beautiful.
And now we have to say goodbye to it.
2) You’ll discover your neat-freak gene.
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been neat and tidy. Clean, yes. But tidy, never.
With our house on the market that all changed. I became like a woman possessed. I couldn’t leave the house unless it looked like a showhome, just in case someone wanted to come see it last minute.
I also became a big, fat party pooper. Easy-going mama has been replaced by someone who cringes when the kids splash in the bath (freshly painted walls), has hidden craft materials (to prevent bits of glitter and glue gunking up the gaps in our pretty floorboards) and banned felt tips upstairs (carpet preservation).
3) Living in a showhome is addictive.
The pressure is certainly off now. We won’t have any more viewings unless something goes wrong with the chain and we have to go back on the market.
But still, I can’t stop tidying.
I’ve felt what it’s like to live in home that’s decluttered, ordered and beautiful. And it feels gooooooood. I don’t want to go back to little piles of clutter on every conceivable surface.
So for now at least I continue to ‘dress the bed’ on waking. Then I stop by my kids’ rooms and give them a quick spruce up before heading downstairs. Admittedly it’s a quicker job now that huge amounts of clutter has been thrown away, bagged up for charity (still in the boot of my car) or hidden in a cupboard. But I reckon if I keep it up, it’s worth it.
4) The rest of your family won’t be able to find anything because it’s all been thrown away, given to charity or shoved in a cupboard.
– Mum! Where’s my broken piece of crap plastic nonsense toy I got three Xmases ago that I have never played with or showed any interest in until right now?
– Suze! Where are the eight jackets I never wear that I like to casually throw into the understairs cupboard right behind the doors so that they never shut first time?
– Mum! Where is my hideous neon plastic dressing table with matching stool that you hate and that I don’t ever sit at because I’m only four years old and in any case the mirror is so crap that I can’t even see the outline of my own reflection in it let alone apply any pretend makeup or brush my own hair in it.
Ooh. That feels better.
Where was I? Oh yes.
It’s true: They won’t be able to find anything because it’s all been thrown away, given to charity or shoved in a cupboard.
But you will.
Because you have done said throwing, giving or shoving.
And because only you know what’s been thrown, given or shoved, you can manipulate the truth about any item’s location according to your mood that day.
5) You’re going to be making a lot of bread.
Read any article or blog post about selling your house and freshly baked bread will feature somewhere. The idea being that the comforting, homely smell encourages punters to feel at home in your pad and want to live there.
I bought the advice and added it to my new make-everything-tidy-always obsession so that I was loading up the breadmaker at least once a day – just in case.
On the up side, the house smelled great and there was always toast.
6) You’ll have to start using the abbreviation ‘K’ to talk about the thousands of pounds you are planning to spend.
You’ll need to scratch the word ‘thousand’ from your vocabulary for a little while. Otherwise the whole money thing will be too scary to deal with.
Selling and buying a house costs such obscene amounts of money these days that it’s just better all round if you talk in hundreds of less-emotionally resonant ‘K’ than in oh-my-christ-how-much-is-this-costing ‘thousands’.
Try it for yourself. Read these two statements out loud:
- I need to borrow one hundred thousand pounds
- I need to borrow one hundred k
See what I mean?
7) Much like love, when you find the one you’ll know. But you’ll have to date some howlers on the way.
Last week we nearly bought a house that required so much renovation the husband and I would have had to sleep in a hallway for the months to come. Why did we even contemplate this hell?
Maybe finding a house is a bit like finding a partner. You think he’s the one and you’re prepared to ignore all his faults and bad habits in the hope that you’ll be able to change him, mould him into your version of Mr Right.
Except this house didn’t even attempt to seduce us. There was no smooth talking or wining and dining. Certainly no hot jiggy (not with the estate agent around). And we can’t even use the beer goggles excuse.
I guess we were both feeling a bit desperate to fall in-love with a house after a day of disappointing back-to-back viewings, and somehow convinced ourselves that we loved that horror.
Thank god for second viewings.
8) The Rightmove app will become your new Instagram/Facebook/[insert name of any other app you use to procrastinate life and dream of a better future here]
Yep, browsing Rightmove (other property websites are available) in bed became my new morning routine.
Five to ten minutes swiping photoshopped pics of houses I couldn’t afford, poring over floorplans and trying to convert dimensions given in metric to imperial, because for some reason the part of my brain that judges distance refuses to believe it’s not the 1970s.
I had seven different searches saved. Each churning out emails to me of new houses or reduced prices every single day. I knew exactly what was on the market. I was a property guru. Albeit very temporarily.
Now I want nothing more to do with Rightmove.
Since finding and making an offer on a house we want, I have had to delete those searches.
With all the irrationality of a woman who has spent too long looking at a property app, I am terrified that if I keep getting the new-house-on-the-market-emails, I’ll see something better/cheaper and start regretting the enormous purchase we have committed to make.
For now at least, Rightmove is dead to me.
We hope to be soon moving to a new home that’s full of potential and in need of much blog-worthy TLC. When I’m feeling a bit more confident that it’s really going to be ours I’ll post some photos.