This is the first time I’ve used a real estate agent to sell a house and it’s been… interesting. In fact, it’s startlingly similar to joining a religious cult.
First comes the proselytizing: We can’t possibly achieve salvation (oops, ‘sale’) without the divine intervention of a home stager and real estate agent.
Chastened by our mortal interior-design sins, we allow the home stager to show us the Holy Way. The most heinous of our furniture is banished to the outer darkness (the garage), while the remaining pieces are rearranged and sanctified by the addition of area rugs, cushions, throws, table lamps, and fresh flowers.
We are admonished to go forth and sin no more, and assured that if we adhere faithfully to the Holy Way we may merit admission to real estate heaven: a profitable sale.
Accordingly, after the home stager departs we walk through the house snapping photos so we can correctly recreate each detail, in case (gods forbid) anything should get accidentally moved.
The beds must have brand new slightly off-white (not white) duvet covers, with so many pillows, cushions, and throws that the bed itself is mostly invisible and completely unusable. Each time the house is shown, the giant heap of bedding must be reassembled precisely as shown in the Holy Photos.
There’s only one upholstered chair where I can sit, and I use an old cushion for back support. Before showing the house, the cushion that has been defiled by my body is returned to the garage and replaced with a designer-consecrated one. All other furniture is off limits, since using it would leave footprints on the area rug and/or disturb the designer’s arrangement of cushions and throws; which would then take half an hour to re-fluff and rearrange correctly.
The Articles of Faith (the designer’s tchotchkes) must be arranged just so. The fruit bowl must contain oranges, green apples, and red apples. Bananas are strictly verboten: Only spherical brightly-coloured fruits are pleasing to the real estate gods.
We have to comply with dietary restrictions, too: only bland odourless foods are allowed.
For each showing, the gods must be propitiated with music and delightful scents. Since I can’t bear the smell of chemical air fresheners, I have to pop a couple of pieces of apple cinnamon cake in the oven half an hour before each showing. Then the oven is opened to distribute the tasty aromas, while I walk around swinging the baking tin into all corners of the house like a censer.
We carefully check to be sure we’ve complied with each commandment, as though one misplaced pillow will cause all potential buyers to leave in disgust and cast our house into eternal ‘Days On Market’ damnation.
Finally, we turn on every light to welcome the gods, and humbly depart lest our presence offend them during the showing.
I’m doing my best in all this; but I suspect the gods can see into my sinful heart, where I’m secretly planning to reinstate all our tacky-but-comfortable furniture and indulge in a Bacchanalian orgy of roasting garlic as soon as the house is sold.
‘Scuse me; I have to go and remake the beds as penance now…
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P.S. I’m poking fun at our situation, but I don’t mean to ridicule the home stager – she was great, and the results are amazing! Her accessories make it look as though we actually have taste, and the new furniture arrangements make the interior look bigger and better. And we aren’t really forbidden from using the furniture – it’s just that we’re too lazy to redo the designer stuff every time. 🙂
P.P.S. This may look normal to most people, but for us it’s the height of designer fashion!