Eat The Gawkers

So we’ve listed our house for sale.

Seasoned veterans of home-selling, feel free to poke fun at me now ‘cause I’m a complete newbie to this.  And y’know what?  It’s a seriously weird process.

Or it feels weird to me, anyway.  It’s like having a closeup video of your proctology appointment posted on YouTube:  There are some places you just never thought you’d expose to idle gawkers.

And idle gawkers they are.  I seriously doubt if the visitors at our open-houses have harboured even a passing interest in buying this house; they just enjoy poking their noses into other people’s homes.

Worse, the parade of disinterested traffic makes me feel as though the house we spent so much time and sweat renovating is being judged unworthy.  Or, if you will: Now that I’ve gathered the courage to bend over and submit to the public examination, nobody even cares enough to pat me on the back and say, “Nice ass; you can get dressed now.”

My confidence has been further eroded by the inevitable cleanout and disposal process.  That’s an exercise in perspective, if by ‘perspective’ you mean ‘utter humiliation’.

I’m generally a thrower-outer so there’s not much to purge, but I’m getting rid of some furniture and I’ll likely jettison some of the business clothes that went out of style in my closet several years ago.  Now, I realize I don’t have expensive tastes and I may not be a fashion maven…

Quit the hysterical laughter, you guys.

Okay, fine; so I’m a cheapskate and my idea of presentable attire is anything that’s clean, fits, and doesn’t have holes in it.

But there’s nothing quite so humiliating as realizing that even donation centres for the homeless wouldn’t want your castoffs.  In fact, there’s a guy who panhandles on a street corner not too far from here, and his clothes are newer and nicer than most of mine.

At least there’s a silver lining to all this discomfort:  Every time we have an open-house, I get four hours of writing time I wouldn’t have had if I was running around trying to do the bazillion other things on my to-do list.

It’s not a perfect solution, though.  We’ve studied the best practices for showing a home, and one of them is to have soft music playing.  Accordingly, we’ve found an easy-listening station that plays instrumental music.

I’ve never tried to write with music in the background before, and I’ve noticed an interesting phenomenon.  Usually I’m connected with the characters and the action, writing feverishly with my heart pounding.  But, soothed by the strains of soft music, I find myself reclining comfortably and thinking, “Ah, it’s okay; she’ll get out of this latest scrape just fine.”  It’s not conducive to writing a thriller at all.

Hey, maybe that’s the problem with our open-house visitors, too – they need music with a bit more drive and urgency.  Or maybe a subliminal message.

D’you think the gawkers might like a little Aerosmith?

* * *

New discussion over at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  You Can’t Always Get What You Want… If a person can find happiness outside of society’s traditional expectations, should they change to fit society’s ‘norms’?  Click here to have your say!

51 thoughts on “Eat The Gawkers

  1. We’ve only sold one home, so I’m not much help. We priced it on the lower end of the realtor’s suggested range, cleaned up, sold it within two weeks, after – I think – three showings. I might add that is the tidiest our house ever was. We had two children under five at the time. For those two weeks I used to love opening the linen closet and seeing all the towels lined up perfectly 🙂 Good luck! And at least you learned something new about yourself and your writing process. Self-knowledge – ya can’t put a price on that!

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! That’s the truth! And you’re right, it’s always a toss-up between dropping the price just to get it over with, and putting a value on eliminating stress and aggravation. Hmmm, is ending my annoyance worth $25,000 to me…?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I can give you a totally accurate three-word answer to this question, though probably not the three you would expect from me. 🙂

        Probably. Almost certainly.

        From experience (we’ve bought and sold a lot of houses in our 46 years together), the longer it takes to sell a particular house, the longer it’s GONNA take to sell that house.

        The question always nagging quietly at the back of the mind of every bona fide potential buyer is, “Why hasn’t this house already sold?”

        Thus, the question you must ask yourself as the seller is, “Just how much is it really worth for this part of our life to be done with and behind us so we can move on into all the cool stuff that’s already anxiously chomping at the bit for us to catch up with it?” Or words to that effect.

        If the difference in your asking price and what the house ACTUALLY CAN BE SOLD FOR is $25k, then is it not, perhaps, an auspicious time for one to consider injecting a bit of reality into the situation?

        I know you already know this, but hearing it from someone who’s already been there (with all the attendant tattoos, t-shirts, and battle scars) might take some of the pressure off.

        Then again, free advice is frequently worth no more than its purchase price. :).


        • Good advice, as always. We’re in a slightly different situation than most sellers, though – we’re actually not in a big hurry to sell our house. Our new place won’t be ready until spring, so we’ll be homeless for a while after this house sells. We figured we’d try it in the upper 1/3 of the price range for 3 weeks or so just to feel out the market, and when it gets too annoying we’ll drop the price and speed things up. I think we’re almost there! 😉

          Liked by 1 person

          • Yes, that changes everything. If you have plenty of time, wait it out and squeeze every last looney out of your abode. But remember, you have nobody to blame but yourselves when you’re both sick of the smell of raspberry tarts, yeast bread, apple turnovers, pumpkin pies, and all the rest of the stuff you’ll be baking to sucker in all the lookie loo-sers after the door bell rings. 😜

            Liked by 1 person

  2. And I thee you’ve managethd to crank along to the thirty per thent mark in your nexth betht theller in sthpite of all the troublth and problemth with thelling your home and propertieth! You tho rock, thithter! 😜


  3. Oh yes, I hear you. Ours was up for sale for six weeks. Six weeks of drop-of-the-hat showings which meant keeping the house super clean (with two teenage sons…). And yep, we had soft music at the ready. Lots of Enya during those six weeks. 🙂 We did a major happy dance when we got a buyer, and now that we’re settled into our new place (just barely), we’re happy we went through it. But it’s an interesting process to say the least. Best of luck to you with it! Make sure you hide your x-rated vegetables, though. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ah, maybe I should get some Enya. This easy-listening station doesn’t seem to have much variety. Or maybe they actually are playing different songs; they all just sound the same.

      I’m so glad you’ve made it into your new place and it turned out well in the end! Congratulations, and best wishes in your new abode! And thanks for the hint – I did put away my deranged zucchini. Didn’t quite fit the home-staging criteria… 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  4. After trying to read fast and get caught up with everything I figure I have about 15 mins. left on the ‘puter. The last month has been a biotch with hubby and health. He’s had more scans than NASA has of the freakin’ Moon. Still waiting to hear if the heart surgery is a go or not. Sheesh. I have been having another problem with severe eye strain. This time it’s worse. My left eye started off with redness and soreness, then it went to the right eye. Thought it was clearing up but now it’s back in the left eye again. Can only read or do computer for a few minutes a day. I’m going to need full strength Milltown’s before long at this rate.
    I loved your comments in your post about your wardrobe choices. Me too! Told hubby he was lucky that I’m a comfort dresser, not a clothes horse. Jeans and camp shirts etc., sandals and tennis shoes about covers it. Nowadays I seem to be following the Mrs. Roper look. Weird styled Caftans and all I need is the large, gawdy, colorful plastic jewelry. “Three’s Company” would be proud of me.
    We’ve bought and sold several homes over the years and had he first one with an open house. No more after that. Realtors never wanted to honor our hours or timeline so we simply said NO and went with Independent realtors that would work with us. I also heard about the “baking bread” smell and also “baking brownies” worked too. The house we are in now has been the longest one we’ve lived in and the smallest! If I could I’d get rid of it tomorrow and get the heck out of here. Where to is up for grabs. LOL Getting a little along in years to be “starting over” tho’.
    My time is up and the eyes are filming up again, this is getting so aggravating! Good luck with the sale and hang in there. You’ll look back one day and laugh. (I jut had to say that. LOLOLOL) OR, you’ll swear a blue streak.

    Liked by 1 person

    • LOL! I’ve already passed the “swear a blue streak” stage and now I’m at the “try not to think about it and hope the trauma blots it out of my mind” stage. The worst part is, we had to empty all the sand out of my 230-lb punching bag for the showings so I don’t even have anything to hit!

      I’m so sorry to hear you and your Hubby are both having such a tough time – that sucks! I’m glad to hear from you, though – you’ve been in my thoughts. Hope things get better soon!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. If they’re gonna get that up close and personal, I always felt that the least they could do was to offer to buy you dinner after!
    I’m with Nelson…never found that open houses got me a buyer either, so we didn’t do them with the last 2, other than the agent opens so the agents could come thru and review and know what the house was. Then they would know what to present to clients. Other than that, fuggedaboutit.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yeah, we’re rapidly losing enthusiasm for the process. I haven’t heard of agent-open-houses before – I’ll have to check and see whether they’re a “thing” here. That sounds like a much more productive use of our time.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Concur. Open houses for ‘owned’ homes with people already living in them? A total and complete waste of time. Don’t allow your agent to involve you in that mess. Further, deal with an agent who has the brains and experience to pre-screen the potential buyers.

        One hears about open house showings being used by criminals, just as you said, Diane, to case the places for purposes of robbery or worse later. It absolutely happens. If your agent is blindly inviting every warm body who shows any interest at all, whether they are actually potential buyers or not, then cut ’em loose.

        You’re looking for someone with enough experience to separate the sheep from the goats, so to speak. If your agent isn’t doing that for you, you clearly have the wrong agent.

        Trade up, sista. Trade up, and move on. It’s YOUR HOME AND YOUR FUTURE your dealing with here, not just an agent’s commission. Rub their nose in it if necessary, but you don’t have to put up with that crap.

        As many houses as we’ve owned, and as many times we’ve bought and sold (we’re talking NUMEROUS here, after all) we have not once, not ever done an open house. Total waste of time.

        My nano-penny’s worth.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Bought and sold a few houses over the years. Made it a point to be as far away as possible whenever people were going through. There may have been open houses but I dont recall. Only ones I ever went to was as a Gawker.
    I hear the smell of fresh baked bread is always good when people are looking at a home.
    I do wish you all the best. It is the most disheartening thing ever. Especially if it takes a couple months. Do NOT let the Real Estate Agent push you around.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, that’s good advice! We’ve met quite a cross-section of agents and so far they’ve run the gamut from rude assholes to more-or-less-human. Two different ones showed our house and then walked out leaving the door unlocked, without even calling to let us know they were gone. Grrrr. I’ll be glad when it’s over…

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Sue! And I actually don’t mind the people who take the time to chat a bit, but the ones who just walk through and leave without saying a word kind of creep me out. I always wonder if they’re casing the joint. Needless to say, we don’t have any valuables on display… not that we have many anyway! I’ve always joked that my “security system” consists of leaving the blinds open. No self-respecting burglar would want any of our old crap. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I recently was invited to eat at a “great” new Chinese restaurant. My host usually knows all the terrific eateries in town, so of course I joined him. It turned out to be a buffet. I hate buffets. By the time I sat down with my reasonably filled plate, I realized we had heard the same easy-listening piano tune since we entered the place. I asked him if he noticed how long the piece was? It was on a continuous loop. Horrible! It was clearly designed to be completely uncontroversial. We finally asked the bus staff if they aren’t made crazy by the same music over and over. It soon changed to another inoffensive piano tune and another.

    Once I had a private tutorial in my studio. I had my student choose the music. It was a station devoted to all love songs 24-7-365. I lasted through 3 tunes and had to shut it off.

    Music is a very controversial thing. What soothes one person will put another out of their mind. One of my teaching colleagues teaches children, and she insists on playing a station that plays easy listening inoffensive rock and rock oldies when she is not actively talking with the excuse that is soothes the kids. I think silence is best for the same reasons you mentioned, in addition to the most important difference between making visual art and writing. Writing uses the Left side of the brain- the verbal side, and one who is fully engaged in making an artwork is using the right side of the brain- the spacial side. If the music’s verbal aspect is noticed by the artist, they are unable to fully engage with the side of the brain that is best suited to assisting with the task at hand, and more likely to encourage the kids to be more talkative and distractable. She is offended by my opinion. In my own workspace, I listen to instrumental jazz or classical music or world music in a language I am entirely ignorant of- or silence.

    Your open house sounds just gruesome. I thought the owners were supposed to vanish whenever there is a showing or open house. I would hate to have Looky-Loos commenting on my decorating, color choices, furniture, clothing or anything that isn’t part of the sale price. I would have to find a coffee shop that would leave me alone while I work for the duration.

    People can be so thoughtless. My first art fair (the artist is always close at hand at art fairs) the first comment I heard was, “She wants THAT MUCH for THAT?! I can’t remember hearing any words that would encourage a kid of 17. I am acutely aware to say only kind words when I attend art or craft fairs or else I ask questions and thank the artisan before moving on to the next booth- even if the work is not to my taste or seems over-priced. You can be full of attitude once you’re in your car and out of the grounds- just in case you unknowingly pass the maker who is returning from a break.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Ouch, how devastating for a teenage artist! We haven’t had any of those kinds of comments – quite the opposite. Everybody tells us how beautiful our house is, which, while nice to hear, isn’t all that useful if they have no intention of buying. Still, though, I’m not complaining. At least all the gawkers have been very polite!

      And you’re right; the music is getting on my nerves. It’s amazing how something intended to be soothing can actually have the opposite effect!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. The infamous “lookie loos” . This is a reason we stopped doing open houses a few sales ago. We found it was either neighbours wanting to snoop or Sunday drivers with time to kill. We’ve never sold a house from an open house showing. So, turn off the music, close the doors, put on the coffee and let your agent earn their keep. Good luck.

    Liked by 2 people

      • The nice baking smells are much more powerful incentives than music (Jimi Hendrix and Iron Butterfly notwithstanding, of course). But I’ve heard of an agent who would hit the prospective house with a few *light* spritzes of “new car smell” from an aerosol can. Yes, it’s a thing. Years ago, I read about another guy who did that same thing with an immaculate, fully-restored Piper Cub airplane when it was on display at fly-ins and antique aircraft shows. Onlookers would poke their heads into the cockpit and come out smiling every time. It’s hard to find any longer, but if it’s out there, give it a shot. Or a spritz, rather. Lots easier than keeping something ready to bake and lots less annoying than having music going all the time (again, Jimi Hendrix and Iron Butterfly notwithstanding).


  9. Ahhh yes the gawkers! You just want to have “special” brownies for them to eat as they walk around the house finding fault.
    As to writing with music in the background, well let me tell you about….
    I am a bookkeeper by trade and as such think I am fairly fast on the calculator and data entry. One day, years ago,( before self employment), I had to use my bosses office. Nice I think, comfy chair, no distractions of other people. Well I am working away and he walks in and just burst out laughing. “My god”, he said “I knew you were fast but this …..and walked over and turned off the radio.
    I was typing to the William Tell Overture.
    Needless to say I make sure I don’t have a radio on when I am working.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Bahahaha!!! The William Tell Overture – that’s perfect! I’ve heard other authors say that they use music to create a mood when they’re writing: a playlist for action or romance or tragedy; whatever they’re creating at the moment. That wouldn’t work for me – I’d end up concentrating on the music and getting nothing else done. But maybe I should try William Tell… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Special brownies for the whiners? Never waste good chocolate on whiners. Instead, try something else.

        A while back, I mentioned the creme de menthe cake I took to the teachers’ lounge when I was teaching high school. Yeah, the one that the principal told me not ever to bring to school again because a couple of the teachers were much goofier than usual in their first period classes after wolfing down a goodly bit prior to the bell.

        Okay, you can see what’s coming now, right?

        Serve the whiners a big slice or two of that. And glob on another big blop of icing, too, just because you’re SO glad they interrupted their busy schedule just to come by and admire all the hard work you’ve poured into your home.

        Then, just as they drive away, place an anonymous call to the authorities with their tag numbers and report them for driving while impaired. They won’t be crashing any more open houses under false pretenses for a long, long time. Just sayin’…


  10. Don’t you love the over-heard comments the gawkers make? “I thought the master bedroom was a closet.” “Who picked the colors in the living room, Pink Floyd?” “Whoever designed this place must have been a butcher at some time in their life.” “An outhouse might be an up-grade to that bathroom.” Strike back at gawkers! When they ask a question, try this. “Would you repeat the question … sir … madam … I’m sorry, which are you?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Fortunately I haven’t overheard any of those ones… yet. Maybe that’s the reason for the background music – it keeps us from hearing what people are really saying! 😉 That “butcher” comment resonates with me, though – when we originally bought this house, the kitchen and dining room were painted the exact colour of raw meat. *shudders*

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Absolutely perfect choice of pleasant background music for the sale of a nice home.

    And when your realtor is leading them to the upstairs, have this going…loud enough that the neighbors are complaining.:

    Heading out to the patio with hanging baskets of flowers? Nice row of petunias along the edge? Perfect. Have this blasting the neighborhood for their auditory pleasure:

    I know that selling a house is an absolute nightmare even in the best of times, but just let us help you through the hard parts, Diane. We’re always ready to help a sista out. Remember who your buddies are here.

    Or not. Could go either way, I guess. Perhaps history will decide… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have to confess that I love looking round house’s and as I’ve been doing it since I was 12, and I’ve only bought once, about 10yrs ago next month but have looked round show homes not other people’s, well not until I was actually looking to buy mine.
    I’ve enjoyed picking shows apart since I was in my teens, it’s no wonder I bought an older home rather than something new as well new homes are never quite right, there is always something you can giggle about, like not being able to open a bedroom door as the bed is too big, it’s a double bed in a double room.

    I did feel funny about looking at someone else’s home until I found my flat and it felt like they were in my house. It was odd but as I’ve been here 10 years I guess me and the flat are a fight fit

    I wish you every success in the selling of your house. As much as I’m not a huge fan of looking round other people’s house’s it does let you have an insight into what makes a person tick, I’d love to sneak a peek, but alas I live far to far away to be able to.

    Hugs to all xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Karen! I actually enjoy looking at show homes, too, for the much the same reasons as you: I get great ideas from the good ones, and belly laughs from the bad ones. I’ll never forget the one with a giant floor-to-ceiling window in the master bedroom… overlooking the family room below… directly across from another giant exterior window… which was directly across from the neighbour’s giant front window. Talk about displaying your assets!

      But I’ve never felt comfortable viewing other people’s homes while they’re living there. We looked at a few out on Vancouver Island, and it was just… ew. Show homes are much more fun!

      Liked by 1 person

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