Did I mention that I bought a new house here in Key West?
Oh, well, maybe I forgot to mention it. A lot has been going on, after all, what with My Super Sweet Sixteen and the OC and all.
Anyway, now that we bought a new house here in Key West, we have no reason to keep our current house here in Key West. So we are selling it.
This is why last weekend, we had an open house.
I have never hosted an open house before, so I will admit, I could barely sleep the night before, I was so excited. I was especially excited because I convinced Captain Bob (did I mention that in addition to being a commercial fisherman, dolphin tracker, and father of four, Captain Bob is also our realtor? Oh, well, maybe I forgot) that I could run the open house myself, with no help from him.
Real estate websites advise that home owners NOT run, or even attend, their own open houses.
But that's just silly. Captain Bob had like five other open houses he had to run that day, so I explained that I have watched tons of HOUSE HUNTERS and SELL THIS HOUSE and DESIGNED TO SELL, not to mention HOUSE DOCTOR. I am totally capable of running my own open house.
In fact, I think I could practically BE a real estate agent, I have watched so many shows about it.
Captain Bob was, of course, hesitant. NO ONE wants the owners around during an open house.
And I know why now.
But at the time, I was like, “Please, Bob? Please?” Which apparently worked, since Captain Bob finally relented. And I got to run my own open house.
So here, in writing, are the Top Ten Things Not To Do At Your Open House, by someone who would know, having done them all:
1) When the helium balloons that you are supposed to tie to your front gate arrive, do not put them in the hall foyer “for safe keeping,” as they will be sucked into the blades of the ceiling fan there and become hopelessly tangled, creating a burning smell and forcing you to spend several precious hours on a ladder the morning of the open house trying to untangle them.
Plus, you will not have any balloons for your front gate, as they will all have exploded.
2) If you notice that the plastic trash bag in the compactor is askew, do not run the trash compactor anyway. This will cause the ends of the plastic trash bag to get caught in the motor of the compactor and catch on fire, creating smoke AND a burning smell that will permeate the house, causing you to have to spray the air with Febreze, making people coming to your open house wonder what odors you are trying to cover up with the smell of Febreze.
They will probably not think the odors were caused by helium balloons caught in the foyer ceiling fan, or trash bag ends caught in the compactor's motor. They will think instead that it is something worse, like a river of PCBs that runs beneath your home.
3) When hosting an open house, do not assume you can clean by thrusting all of your belongings into the back of the closet. Guess where people who are looking to buy a home always look?
That is right. In the closets.
4) Online guides to hosting an open house advise that you remove all pets from the premises during the hours of the open house. Do not assume that your own pet, since she never comes out from under the bed anyway, will stay under the bed for the duration of the open house, so that there is no need to remove her from the home. Inevitably, as soon as there is a lull in viewers, your pet will come out from under the bed to show you that she has successfully removed her own collar, and is, in fact, now naked. She will then proceed to do the Naked Dance for some time, and refuse to go back beneath the bed because she is too busy celebrating.
It is at this point that you must have the brilliant idea of taking out the pet carrier and shaking it at her, causing her to think you are about to take her on an airplane, and making her run back under the bed.
Sadly, although you will have accomplished your goal, throughout the rest of the day mysterious, unhappy, I-don't-want-to-go-on-the-airplane wailing will emanate from beneath the bed, causing viewers to flee from your master bedroom as it appears to be haunted, even though you already had it successfully exorcised by GP Taylor.
5) When your realtor—who, in addition to being a realtor, dolphin tracker, father of four, and a commercial fisherman, is also a baker—brings over loaves of fresh, homemade zucchini bread to serve to viewers, do not eat all the loaves of zucchini bread yourself before the open house even begins. Not just because then you will feel sick, as zuchini bread is not compatible with your sugar and wheat free diet, but also because then you will have nothing to give out to the viewers at your open house.
6) Ditto the tray of dip and crudités he also brought over.
7) When people come to your door for the open house, do not immediately tell them that you have installed impact resistant glass to all of the windows (something not mentioned in the MLS listing) because you got tired of putting up hurricane shutters all summer, because this will remind them that Florida gets hit with a lot of hurricanes, and make them think twice about buying here. Also it will make them think that you are insane.
8) Keeping the French doors to the pool area open to let in the pleasant breeze is fine–unless the pleasant breeze gets gradually less breeze-like and more tornado-like as the day progresses, until soon all of the cushions have blown off the patio furniture because you forgot to tie them down, and the guest registry pages you left on the dining room table are lost forever in the hot tub so there is no way Captain Bob can make follow up calls to the four people who signed it who were not yourself, trying to make it look like a lot of people had signed it by putting down names like Mia Thermopolis, New York City, and Sam Madison, Washington DC and Suze Simon, Carmel, CA.
9) Most people who come to open houses assume the person manning the open house is a realtor. Therefore, when people make comments to you about the house, they don't know that you are the owner, and don't mean to be rude.
So when someone jokes, “Boy, these people sure do like TV. They have one in every room!” it is not necessary for you to say, defensively, “Well, they work in the entertainment industry, so it is important for them to watch a lot of Lifetime. At least, one of them. The wife, I mean. Because she really likes Kellie Martin, who is a very talented performer. And what is wrong with having a TV in every room, anyway? When you are watching Death of A Cheerleader, the true story of murderess Angela Delvecchio, co-starring Tori Spelling, you don't want to miss a minute, do you?”
This will make the viewer back out of the house in a frightened manner.
10) When you realize the people at the open house down the street are giving away little boxes of candy hearts with their address printed on it to their viewers, while you are giving your viewers NOTHING because you ate all the zucchini bread before the open house even started, do not talk your husband into going down to the other open house to spy on them.
Because the fact is, NEITHER of you are going to sell your house that day anyway, since none of the people on the open house circuit are planning on buying a house, on that, or–according to many real estate websites–any other day, since most people who go to open houses are just burning time until 60 Minutes comes on, anyway.
And I would know, since I asked several of the viewers who came to my house, and NONE of them had contracts in their car, like on HOUSE HUNTERS.
I don't know if my asking them that is what made them drive away so fast. All I know is that they did.
still quite exhausted from my weekend of being a realtor. Frankly, I don't know how Captain Bob, or any of the people on HOUSE HUNTERS, does it.
But I do think I am going to let him handle the real estate stuff from now on, and I'll just concentrate on watching Lifetime, instead.
I should add that I only recently learned from various real estate websites that you are supposed to sell your current house BEFORE buying the new one. So, now, basically, I'm screwed. But hey. Live and learn. Right? RIGHT????
People keep wanting to know why I just bought a new house after spending so long remodelling my last one. The answer is simple: I found a house I like better. Hey. It happens. If it didn't, no one would ever move, and then there'd be no shows like HOUSE HUNTERS. And then what would we watch after Entertainment Tonight?