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And as if moving wasn’t enough…

English: The flag of Fredericton, New Brunswic...

English: The flag of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada, flying in downtown St. John Français : Le drapeau du Fredericton, Nouveau-Brunswick, Canada, vol au centre-ville du Fredericton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Moving overseas is a big deal.  Sure, I’ve already moved overseas once: from Vancouver (ish), BC, Canada to Tauranga (ish), New Zealand.  But now it’s an even longer move: from Tauranga(ish), New Zealand to Fredericton (ish), New Brunswick, Canada.

It’s stressful.  We have stuff to sell (we’re trying to go from a 3 bedroom house full of stuff to 10 boxes.  TEN!), utilities to cancel, stuff to ship, a house to sell, things to arrange.

My mother reminded me of the Holmes and Rahe stress scale. Currently I’m at about 202 on there.  We’re moving, we’re changing work, changing our family situation, etc etc etc AND … as if that wasn’t enough …  a change of eating habits rates on that scale too.

I got fed up with feeling sick all the time and took myself off to a registered dietician.  I told her that the healthier I eat, the sicker I get.  And she asked me which foods cause me trouble.

I was prepared for that, and told her everything.

And the lovely lady just said “Well, that all makes a lot of sense to me.  Have you heard of FODMAPs?”

Would you look at that.  Someone who didn’t just say “Don’t be silly, of course you should be eating healthy food!”

Next thing I’m on the low FODMAPs food elimination stage and within a few days I’m already feeling much better.  Six weeks on, I feel better, I look better, I’ve lost 6 kgs, and I feel vindicated.  I knew all those “healthy” vegetables and fruits were making me sick!

Unfortunately, that means I’m trying to maintain this elimination stage AND start up the challenge stage of this wellness diet while I’m also trying to find accommodation in our new city.

It’s no wonder I’m under a moderate amount of stress at the moment!

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But nobody will notice THAT!

Seriously, that’s what the real estate agent said when she came to take pictures of my house for the internet and the brochure etc etc etc. I was trying to remove things from the picture, and she thought I was fussing unduly.  (Or is it unduly fussing?)

My retort at the time was “Well, *I* notice!!” Afterwards, when I reflected on my statement, I suspected she thought I meant that when I saw the pictures of my house, I would notice it wasn’t perfect.  But that wasn’t what I meant at all.

I meant that when I look at other houses online, I notice what’s going on in the background. I see the cat peeking around the corner and know the house will smell of cat litter and have fur everywhere. I see the kid jumping on the trampoline outside and I know (hey, I’ve got kids myself!!) that there will be wall damage, possible bathroom flooding marks, and other miscellaneous things that kids do to houses by just being there.

I wonder to myself what the sellers are thinking when they leave their beds unmade and their dishes out when the agent comes by to take the pictures.

I think WTF when I see things like wires hanging off of lampshades and coming around corners at mid-wall. Stuff like that.

And if I notice, won’t my possible buyers notice?

So yeah, real estate agent, it matters, and I *will* move my stuff out of the way and try to make it a more pleasing picture.  So there.

What about you? Do you notice the little things in a real estate picture?

Undies on a washing line

As I mentioned in my last post, we do a lot of looking around at houses. And part of house-shopping is visiting the Open Homes.  It never ceases to amaze me how some people have no qualms about opening their house to strangers and leaving the weirdest things about for them to find.

I mean, there’s the standard untidy kitchen – dishes piled in the sink, dishes still all over the kitchen table, crumbs all over the counter and table.  And unmade beds, well, that’s untidy but I can understand that too, if you left in a hurry.  “What, you’re bringing people to see the house in 5 minutes? Are you crazy? Yes, I can get me, the 5 kids, and the dog out in 5 minutes… but I’ll have to leave a mess!!”

But then there’s the WEIRD stuff.

Like the house that had an open Princess Diana book on every (made) bed. Page carefully chosen for a beautiful picture. Okay. I get you really really like Princess Diana. That will sell your house because…?

Or the house that left a carefully arranged display of religious pamphlets on the dining room table… “Please take one and save your soul!” Um, gee, thanks? I wasn’t aware I needed saving.

But there was one that completely and utterly flabbergasted me AND the real estate agent showing the house.  The tenant in the house was doing her washing during the open home. She wasn’t there… she had left. But she left the washing all out there for us to see… and I mean everything.

She had an indoor clothesline, and it was proudly filled with beautiful, brightly coloured underwear and bras. Plus sized ones. In the case of the bras, majorly plus sized ones.  Now, I’m plus sized myself, so I’m not mentioning this because it offended me. (Actually, I confess I had a sneaky look at the tags to see where I could get some of the pretty undies, they were that nice! Unfortunately, they were custom made.) But this was an open home! That day there were no less than 5 groups going through the house… most of them men.

Call me a prude but I just don’t have the balls bravery to leave my undies out where the world can see. Especially my plus-sized ones, even if they are pretty.  They should be for my hubby’s and my eyes only, ya know? I was embarrassed for the tenant. But maybe she did it on purpose? Maybe she truly thought some sexy undies on a clothesline would sell the house? But as yet, that particular house is still on the market. 🙂

House hunting snobbery

I’m a house hunting snob. There, I said it.

My hubby likes to move a lot. He moved a lot as a kid, and he still likes to move.  Doesn’t matter if we move 3 doors down the street (we have!!) it’s the move that makes him happy.

So we house hunt a lot. We read the real estate papers, and we look up houses online often.

We turn up our nose at a lot of houses. And not necessarily because of the house itself, but because of how the real estate agents market them online.

Pictures are the worst.  Why on earth do agents take some of the pictures they do?  I don’t need to see a picture of a messy desk… but I would like a picture that indicates the size of and light in a room.

And why would you take a picture of a child jumping on the trampoline? Do I get to keep the trampoline with the house?  I’d rather see exactly how big the backyard is, thanks.

I don’t need to see a picture of the homeowners child in every room – and do they have permission to post a picture of that child online?  Believe me, there are usually enough signs for me to tell if it is a child-friendly house. Ditto on the homeowners dog or cat.

Pictures of a very messy house usually means the house is currently rented/tenanted. Off our list immediately. We aren’t looking for a renter.

No pictures of the inside of a house? Then we know immediately there’s a lot of damage and/or there’s renters/tenants.  Again, off our list immediately. We aren’t looking for a do-upper/DIY, either. (Hubby is NOT that way inclined.)

And then there’s the prices of houses.  Hubby & I take any house that’s marketed as an auction/by negotiation/price on asking off our list immediately.  We assume we can’t afford it. Maybe we can, but because the price range isn’t indicated, we aren’t going to waste our time (or the real estate agent’s time) by phoning around asking for a price range.

Finally, there’s the bumph accompanying the listing. “Owners instructions are to sell!” Um, yeah, you think? And the typos, oh the typos!! And then there’s the ones that use all the same headers “She’s a beaut!” 5 times on a page diminishes the effect.

So, if you’re trying to sell your house, make sure:

1) You *clean* your house as best you can before the agent takes pictures. Same thing if you’re selling it yourself.

2) You take pictures that show the light and size of the room. Don’t take pictures of furniture unless they come with the house.  Pictures of features that come with the house are great. If your agent doesn’t do this, make them take them again, or take some yourself.

3) You list some kind of pricing range for the house.  Even if it’s to put the highest likely amount you’ll get for the house. If you can’t do that, then at least give a starting range.

4) You check the agents listing for typos and originality and insist they change it if it’s horrible!

Those things alone make sure that house hunting snobs like hubby and me will actually *look* at your house and not just move on to the next!