Getting a house ready to list and hopefully sell has been one of the most demoralizing, stressful and exhausting experiences of my life.
I have never been deluded into thinking I live in a nicer house than I do. Better Homes and Gardens were never going to come a-knocking and the idea of having any of my rooms featured in any sort of publication is laughable.
And yet, both my husband and I loved our home and loved entertaining in our home. Over the nearly 6 years that we lived in that house we hosted a multitude of parties and never once was I ashamed as I opened the front door and welcomed people in. Never once.
I wasn’t raised in a showroom. I was raised in an imperfect house, full of kids and noise and less than perfect features, but lots of love. And that is all I’ve ever hoped to give my kids. Before this experience I never really cared much about having a house that offered more than that.
And then we decided to move to Kansas and in less then a month we totally decluttered the house, cleaned it within an inch of it’s life, moved out, bought a house in Kansas City…oh, and we celebrated Christmas and rang in the New Year amid all of that too.
But looking at the house you are trying to sell is totally different then just looking at your house. When you live in a house it’s little more than an extension of your family–the place where you all come together and live and grow. It is the walls the contain your every developing story. When trying to sell a house, however, a house becomes a list of features you do and (mostly) do not have. Suddenly I’m embarrassed of my imitation granite counter-tops, my 1980’s bathrooms, my non-vaulted ceilings and my less than perfect DIY paint jobs.
I begin to look around and wondering how I’ve survived for so long in such a dump.
And I know that this isn’t right, and maybe it’s just the competitive greedy nature deep inside of me or pregnancy hormones or stress, but since when did all of these things I saw as luxuries become standard fare in housing? When did “roughing it” mean doing without a master bathroom or living in a less than open-concept?
Our house went on the market over a week ago (if you are nosy, or in the market for a home in the Twin Cities, here is the listing). It’s a relief to have the house listed, but the comparing and judging hasn’t ended. In fact, it might have gotten worse. Our house is being shown basically everyday and yet no offer (I know, it’s January in Minnesota. Who buys a house when it’s buried under snow?) My husband and I are breathing in every word of the feedback people leave after viewing the house and waiting, waiting with bated breath for something to happen. We hear about the colors they like and dislike, the doors that should be replaced, critics of the layout and the cleaning job and the yard. There is plenty of positive feedback too, but without an offer those little comments don’t seem to mean very much.
And suddenly this house that has only been mine for less than 6 years, one I didn’t build or design, one I simply existed in and happen to inhabit while starting my little family, has my identity and worth and value all tangled up in it.
Objectively this is insane. And I know this. But selling a house is rough.
I blame pinterest and materialism and HGTV. And myself, of course.
We will get through this. We’ve had plenty of showings, with several more scheduled, so we have every reason to be confident that they house will sell.
I just feel like my first foray into selling a house has plunged me into a part of materialism I’ve always sort of ignored. When I can step out of my own little pity party and log off of Zillow and become a citizen of this World I can hardly believe that this stuff matters. Much of the world lives in abject poverty, struggling to get clean water, shelter and warmth. Compared to that, the idea of stressing over granite counter tops and hardwood floors seems laughable.
I do want a beautiful house to raise my family in. Objectively I can see that an open-concept house with hardwoods is better than a compartmentalized house with shag carpeting. I want a house I can take pride in, easily keep clean, with plenty of good light and room for my family to grow. I want a home that I can decorate for the liturgical seasons and welcome guests into regularly.
But, I don’t want more house than I can afford and I certainly don’t want a beautiful house simply because it is beautiful. There is nothing that entitles me to a perfect, top-of-the-line home. Nothing. And feeling like I’m shorted in someway because I don’t have it (and likely never will) is not only unhealthy, it’s sinful.
I know this turned into a bit more of a rant than a post. My house has only been on the market for a little over a week. We will live through this and likely go on to live in and sell several other houses, as my husband’s job might ask us to move multiple times in the future. Perhaps after this first time I’ll get the hang of it or at least know what to expect.
If I take anything away from this experience, however, it is this: granite counter-tops and a bigger house will never make me happier or wiser. In fact the house I live in should matter very little compared to the souls of those that dwell inside. Let’s just hope I can remember this.
All the best–and prayer if you have a few to spare