Ready To Show – Again!

52 days on the market, 4 open houses, 3 scheduled showings

I think it’s obvious by now that counting is my coping mechanism. Putting a number on the last few weeks has actually cheered me up. I mean, just writing “52 days on the market” presupposes a final day, right? Whether that’s day 53 or day 153 – there will be a final day, right?

As you can imagine, I’ve soured a little on the whole staging thing. My house just looks sterile to me now. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing – in my mind, sterile is a positive in a house you’re about to move into with your family – but not for one you’re actually living in with your family. And, I can’t help but notice how EVERY house I’ve seen on the market lately has had the life staged right out of it. More on that later.

First, let’s get to the business of this post – how I’m keeping my house ready to “show.” I’ve picked up a few little tricks in the past two months.

Meet my micro fibre cloth and lint free tea towel:

Yes, this is a love story. That micro fiber cloth and I are taming the black granite one square foot at a time. I’ve tried many other things, but hot water on that cloth followed by a dry tea towel is THE answer.  Wax on, wax off!

Moving along to my other nemesis – the glass shower stall.

Notice how you can see the reflection in the glass. The spray bottle is a solution of 3/4 water and 1/4 vinegar. After a thorough first clean (see below), I now spray and squeegee the glass after every shower to maintain it. I especially like the professional squeegee move I learned on youtube, though I suppose most professionals aren’t doing it in the nude wearing a towel turban. Mercy!

I try not to use commercial cleaning products when I don’t have to, but I needed some serious help with the tubs and shower stalls on the first go round, so I turned to Scrubbing Bubbles and this:

I can’t believe this wheel brush has been hiding in the garage all my life. It’s genius for cleaning shower walls and tub floors. The pitcher is for thoroughly rinsing the tub and shower and for storing the dripping brush when you’re done.

My final tip  is to hide the “show” towels. I don’t know about you, but piles of clean towels last about 24 hours in my house before they all turn up in a damp pile – whether or not anyone has actually bathed. Here’s the stack I’ve squirrelled away for showings to prevent last minute laundry.

Now, 52 days is a long time to be practicing showmanship. And yes, I’ve grown weary of artfully draping the throws, karate chopping the pillows and planting high brow magazines in not too obvious places. I can’t help but thinking of a comment a reader from Italy made on my last post about home staging.

Apparently, staging is not practiced routinely in Italy. Perhaps the Italians are too busy having a life to obsess over making a living like we do here in North America. I’m generalizing of course, but the goal of home staging is to squeeze every last penny from your abode. And it looks like just about everyone in Vancouver got the memo.

If you browse the real estate listings, one would suspect that no one is actually living in any of the houses for sale in my neighbourhood. We’ve literally staged the life out of them. And, with the number of houses on the market these days, that’s a lot of people forgoing finger painting and fried fish in the name of commerce.

But not so in Italy – these people are clearly off having an espresso unconcerned with their dishes or their parakeet.

And, I think they just might have the right idea. An espresso would taste pretty great right now.

Just for fun: What would turn you off, if it turned up on the counter at an open house?