Yes, the “beautifuls” were dropping like bombs as the realtor and his “assistant” toured our home.
“We’ll have no trouble selling it,” he assured us. “Homes like this are selling well above list price all over the Bay, and with a view like this …”
Well, you can imagine our excitement! You would have thought we had given birth to a golden-haired, sun-kissed baby! But instead of bronzed baby slippers, high school diplomas, and college degrees, we saw dollar signs floating overhead, floating downward into our wallets.
Then, our realtor’s tone changed.
“Of course, if you don’t mind, we’d like to suggest a few décor changes to appeal to a younger buying clientele, he said.”
“Sure,” we enthused, slow to catch that not-so-subtle reference to our not-so-young-anymore style.
“Wait, huh?” asked Handsome Hubby a second later. “Changes like what?”
But still, it was too late. We had lost control.
Home Sales and Staging
“Let’s start in the living room,” said the “assistant,” who turned out to be a “stager.” (If you’re not familiar with the term, let me give you the low-down. Stagers don’t work in the theater or the film industry. Instead, they design spaces — your space, your home — to appeal to buyers.)
The realtor and the stager gleefully bounced from room to room, dissecting each piece of furniture, each rug, each painting, each tchotchke — one by one. No vase was too large. No paperweight too small. And no paperback book or magazine collection too insignificant to escape their discerning, critical eyes.
“Oh, I just love your eclectic style,” gushed the stager. as she walked around, staging our home for the big show.
Yeah, right, I thought as the stager rejected Grandma’s 1929 Hungarian ornately carved side table, saying we should definitely add it to the list of pieces we should “definitely”put into storage.
Out went my needlepoint pictures, so perfectly stitched. Out went my entire library and office — though Handsome Hubby’s office got to stay. (Energy lawyers’ billable hours are higher than writers’. So, he got to retain a workable working space. Somewhat unfair, but somebody’s got to pay to keep the energy-efficient lights on until the house is sold!)
Also “out” — our clothes. Out closets needed to be emptied. “Too personal.” The coffee pot and the toaster needed to be stashed too. Apparently, they weren’t hip enough brands. Oh, well!
Ego Be Damned
The worst of it? I knew the stager was right. The San Francisco Bay area cash-rich 30-year-olds who are buying up houses left and right were not going to fall in love with Grandma’s antique lamp or my mother’s needlepoint floral pictures or my 25-year-old Mr. Coffee coffee pot.
Well, you get it. Our home may be beautiful, but “eclectic” doesn’t mean what Merriam-Webster says it means. Its true definition is that you’ve got a mishmash of beloved and well-worn stuff that, jammed together, works for you and your family. But sadly, what’s good for the goose — or the seller — is not necessarily good or appealing for the gander, or in our case, the buyer.
So, Handsome Hubby and I swallowed our pride and nodded as the stager tagged all out possessions destined for temporary exile — I mean, storage — while our house (and soul) was put on public display for sale.
Staging Completed – On with the Show
But what price glory? It’s all for a good cause as we prepare for the next “stage” of our lives, bidding farewell to Berkeley, Ca. Handsome Hubby yearns to return to his hometown, Reno, Nv. So, we’re putting on our cowboy boots, packing our saddlebags, and, yea-ha! moving to the Biggest Little City in the World.
Meanwhile, if you’re a theater fanatic like me and you’re yearning for the return of live shows, come on over to our Berkeley house. It’s now “staged” to perfection. There’s still a few performances underway. Indeed it’s been a terrific run. But after eight years of fun and fantastic friendships, it’s time to get this show on the road. Yea-ha!