So, now that we have a…

So, now that we have a somewhat clearer idea of what's happening with our employment at UIC in the coming years, we're going ahead with actually putting our condo on the market for real. Our attempt to sell it ourself hasn't magically worked, but that's okay -- we didn't really expect that it would. So now, realtors, new photos, the whole thing. Drama!

This week is finals week -- I collect a pile of papers and portfolios on Tuesday evening, hopefully grade them and hand in grades in Wednesday. I also have my citizenship interview Tuesday morning. But that should still give me most of the week and all of next week to work on de-cluttering, which we need to seriously do. Our goal is to actually have the photos taken and get the place listed by mid-May. (My summer teaching starts May 18.) I think it's do-able, but it's going to take some radical work.

To try to save the money we'd otherwise think about spending on a home stager, I'm going to see what I can do on my own. After all, I've spent endless Sunday mornings watching house selling shows on HGTV. (One's going right now. :-) I think I understand the principles, and we're willing to do the work (with Simone's help). But I know it can be hard for the person living in the space to see how cluttered it actually is. So I think I'm going to enlist your help. Here's my plan:

I'm going to de-clutter room by room. I started on the living room this morning. (Stalled out almost immediately because I only had two boxes, but that can be fixed. :-) When I think a room is finished (or possibly finished except for moving out excess furniture, because I may need to do that all in one fell swoop), I'll take photos of that room and post them here, and ask you for any suggestions you have for other things that could go. Hmm...maybe I should take 'before' photos too, but this morning I've already filled two boxes of Kavi toys (that she's mostly outgrown, so into storage for new baby), so it won't be entirely accurate. But still, could be useful. Or funny, at least.

Sound good? Any ideas on home staging/repair/etc. are welcome. And if you know a good handyman / storage place / moving company in the Chicago area, please do send your suggestions along. :-)

And to start things out, here's a question -- one realtor suggested removing all family photos to depersonalize the space. That seems kind of dramatic to me, but I guess I'm willing to do it if it's actually helpful. Thoughts?

4 thoughts on “So, now that we have a…”

  1. I like to see a few pictures when I’m house hunting. First, because it gives me a sense of homeyness about the place instead of the de-personalized feeling of a rental home or hotel. Second, if I see happy family photos, I can imagine my family being happy in the house.

    For what it’s worth, when we looked at our current house they had staged it beautifully but left several photos around the house. The minute we were done with the walk-through I knew it was the right house.

    (I have a thing for photography, so I don’t know if that makes a difference. I also have a thing for books and LOVE seeing books and bookshelves in a house.)

  2. Mary Anne Mohanraj

    We may actually take out one bookshelf, to open the space up a bit, but since that leaves six of them on the main floor alone, I think there’s no danger of our seeming short. 🙂 It weirded me out how many homes we saw while condo-shopping that had no books!!! So strange.

    Still waffling on the photos.

  3. Catherine Noujaim

    I’d leave a few photos up. Particularly of Miss cutie. I don’t agree with the idea that a home sells if completely depersonalized. Empty is one thing, but when a home is being shown with furniture in it, I like getting a little sense of the owners.

  4. Hope all the work goes well!

    I like the idea of before and after photos — sounds like fun.

    Citizenship interview! That’s really exciting!

    The photos thing is a fascinating question, and one I was struggling with last week. I think I’ve seen only one home with photos, out of the two dozen or so I’ve looked at in recent weeks. The one with photos had only one or two (of a kid who I assume lived there). It surprised me—but it was also kind of neat. I suspect that different buyers will have very different reactions.

    At my place, I found myself defensively thinking “Well, if they’re the kind of people who don’t like bookcases, or don’t like my photos, then I don’t want to sell to them.” But I more or less convinced myself that I was being silly–I don’t really care whether my buyers like bookcases or not.

    I ended up putting away all the individual photos but leaving the electronic photo frame out; I figured I could turn it on or leave it off. When off, it sort of shows that a photo could sit there, without actually being one. But I suspect that leaving it on would be too distracting for buyers. I considered putting photos of the house on it :), but that seemed kinda silly too.

    I was going to ask my agent whether to put away the photo frame or not, but the decision became unnecessary for the time being. But I suspect he would have said yes.

    Then again, Kavya is mighty cute, and having photos of her up might well make buyers more positively inclined toward the place.

    So I guess what I’m really saying is that I’m no help at all.

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