Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Selling is Selling – And you can win a book

What I'm reading: Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr

I've got a giveaway today. Be sure to leave a comment.

Today's the day. Is it the beginning or the end? The house is freshly painted. Most of the inside repairs are finished. The window man hasn't called back, and we still have to find the right hinges for the guest bathroom cabinets, but we've met the goal of having it ready to list. The POD is going away this afternoon.

I started thinking about how much getting the house ready for market is like getting a book ready to sell.

In my case, I'll write the initial manuscript, which will undoubtedly be long, and there will be a lot of precious words that aren't really vital to moving the story forward. Much like the 'before' picture of hubby's office.

When it's finished, it's going to need a lot of editing. Each scene has to be considered. Is it needed? Is it in the right place? Should I save it and put it in my 'cuts' file to be used another time?
Keep Reading...

The realtor had us remove almost everything personal. My dining room wall that used to display memorabilia from all our travels? Bare. No family pictures. And, of course, no more skulls. Even my silk plants are gone (okay, they were on the dusty side, but they did brighten up the place).

The edits begin, and continue. The process is different for every writer. Just as hubby and I approached the "house editing" differently, one author might try to have a polished chapter before moving onto the next, while another might write straight through from page one to the end without going back. I think in the long run, it takes about the same time from start to finish.

But what happens when you finally have that manuscript as gorgeous as it can be? It needs to find that special buyer. That one editor who's going to fall in love with it, accept that it might have flaws, but be willing to work with it. So, you start sending it out. And then, it's out of your hands. You wait.

Our realtor is the "agent." His job is to find that one buyer who will love our house. So, although our goal has been met, and our house is ready, we're really just beginning the journey.

How will we deal with the pressure of waiting, not being able to do anything? It's kind of like waiting for the mail each day. Will there be a request for a partial? A full? Or a rejection?

And then there's the down-and-dirty reality. Or, should I say, the 'down-and-clean' reality? The house has to be ready to show. Maybe for months and months. No leaving dishes in the sink, or clutter on the counters. Wastebaskets empty.

I'll confess here. When I went to work full time years ago, the contingency was that we hired someone to do the cleaning. Up until now, I've managed to keep that in the budget. However, given our new financial circumstances, I've cut back to every other week. Of course, we've always done the laundry, made beds (although hubby wonders why, since we have to unmake them to get into bed every night), wash dishes, etc. all on our own—but the vacuuming, mopping, and serious cleaning was left for the service. It's been a long time since I did some of those basics myself.

And, just as the technology my characters use in my books has changed, so, apparently, has the housecleaning variety. And, since we figure we're going to have to keep things spiffy on a more frequent basis, I thought I'd try one of those gizmos I'd seen on tv that looked faster and easier than a vacuum cleaner for our wood and tile floors. (Not to mention it took me a while to find the 'on' switch for the vacuum cleaner).

So, after the carpet cleaners left, I had the humbling experience of trying to assemble a Swiffer. No words, just pictures on the box in lieu of instructions. It took me an embarrassingly long time to figure out how to attach the pads to the base unit.

What are the little tricks that keep you from going crazy with having to become neat-freaks? And the bits of magic that make the house irresistible to buyers? I don't think I'm going to be baking cookies every day so the house smells like a bakery. It's hot, and I hate turning on the oven (and besides, using it will get it dirty!)

Any advice? Share a suggestion in the comments section. It can be a hint for making the house look good, or a hint for keeping the marriage intact during the process! I'll give an autographed copy of What's in a Name? to one commenter.


vickyb said...

Don't turn on the oven. Just put some orange slices (or lemon) in a bit of water along with a stick of cinnamon and some cloves - you can put it on the stove at a simmer, or just set it in the sun where it gets hot.

And when you're trying to sell, you do have to be a neat freak. It's not fun and not easy, but it can be done. Shoving stuff under beds with a long coverlet that drapes to the floor helps. ;)

Having moved 21 times, I've got it down pat. Good luck!

Maryann Miller said...

Interesting to compare editing the book to preparing the house for sale. Good points made for both. :-) I was going to suggest the cinnamon sticks in a pan on the stove, but Vicky beat me to it. When we were selling one of our houses, we had three little kids and it was hard to keep the house neat. We put a lot of toys and baby equipment that was not needed on a daily basis into storage and that helped.

robynl said...

a very neat comparison- selling a house/selling a book. I've never thought of it that way before.

Best wishes on selling your house/home. A bowl of fruit, to the public, looks nice and homey on the cupboard or island.

Terry Odell said...

Vicky -- thanks for the tip.

Maryann -- we've got a POD in the driveway, awaiting pickup. It's full of the 'extra stuff' we don't think we'll need. I remember selling when we had kids. A laundry basket for each of them to toss their junk into so we could hide it when people came to look!

Robyn - fruit. A nice idea. And probably easier to manage than cut flowers which will die and start shedding.

lrwirum said...

I have been enjoying the excerpts you have been posting at Cerridwen Chat :-)

Since you don't want to cook you might try scented candles. Hope things work out for you with the moving and selling. :-)


Terry Odell said...

Larena - thanks so much for popping over from the Cerridwen chat group. I do have some scented candles, so I'll be sure to keep them handy.

Heather B. said...

I liked your post and it hits home about getting a house ready for market.

My husband and I just decided to buy a new house so we are starting to do things around our current house that we can to increase the value some. It is a lot of work to get it ready.

Good luck.

Terry Odell said...

Good luck to you, too Heather. It's not a process I'm thrilled with!

refael said...

Terry I live in Jerusalem... a 30 minute walk from the kotel. I suggest that if you want something to happen you write a note specifically asking for what you want.... I'll print it out and put it in the western wall for you. It has worked for others.

Saroya said...

Your library looks like mine..

leaving a comment, to win a prize


Terry Odell said...

Thanks for stopping by, Saroya. Be sure to check back to see who wins.

I'll post a winner Friday to give everyone time to enter, since there are people on digest who won't find out about the contest until tomorrow. I like to play fair.

m7c57 said...

I would enjoy seeing the outcome.

Rebecca J. Clark said...

Your "before" photo looks like my entire house, unfortunately.

When we sold our last few homes, I'd buy the chocolate chip cookie dough that comes in chunks, and make a few before each showing. That way, my house smelled yummy and with a plate of warm-from-the-oven cookies waiting on the counter for the potentional buyers.

Sam Cheever said...

Hey Terry,

We've moved tons of times. The best advice I can give you is to insist that every person who looks at the house has a pre-approval letter from the bank. That way you only get "real" buyers, no tire kickers. It's way too much work to get a house ready for a viewing, and you don't want to waste all that time and effort on somebody who was just curious about whether your house had the same floor plan as the house down the street...whose owners they tortured last week! Good luck on the sale, sometimes houses sell really quickly. I'll cross all my digits for you!

Terry Odell said...

M7 - I'll be sure to track progress on this site

Rebecca -- good idea on the little batches of cookies. I was hoping there was an aerosol spray in chocolate!

Sam - our realtor has said he won't show the house to anyone not pre-qualified, so I hope that removes one headache.

housemouse88 said...

Hello Terry,

The office looks like my living room right now. LOL Wish you the best in your move and selling of your house. Have a great day.

Vivian said...

Try a concentrated room spray. Bath & Body works has all kinds from sugar cookie sweet to hubba-hubba romantic. $5