I think we may have traumatized our realtor. Poor Sam. He’s a single guy in his late thirties. Maybe early forties. No kids. Likes to spend his weekends watching football. And playing bass guitar. I’m willing to guess that Sam has never changed a diaper. But I sense that each time he walks through our door– and sees our children– he is struck with the fear that we might ask him to.
Let me be frank: It took us a long time to find Sam and we don’t want to lose him. (So, no, Sam, we will NOT ask you to change any diapers . . . And that is a FIRM probably not.) When we first put our house on the market a year ago, we hired the realtor who had helped us buy this house. Lovely woman. One fatal flaw: SHE WASN’T ABLE TO SELL OUR HOME IN NEARLY A YEAR. So, after much angst, we decided it was time to move on. And we started the process of casually dating (interviewing, grilling) other realtors.
First we met Gina and her husband David. An older couple from New York City. (“You just can’t get a real bagel around here.” AMEN to that, brother.) We gave them a tour of the house. Jacob, our four-year-old, couldn’t wait to show them his room. And tell them our secrets. “My bed doesn’t usually look like this.” (They. Already. Know. Too. Much.)
After the tour, Dan grilled them about how they would sell the house.
Dan: What are YOU going to do to get the job done?
David (leaning forward, eyes twinkling): There’s only one way to do it . . .
Turns out they had an ingenious plan. They were going to use . . . (wait for it) . . . THE INTERNET.
EGADS, Pa, the inter-webs?!? We’ve heard tell of it. But actually use it? To sell something? Why, that idea is so crazy it just might work!
In sum: the time we spent with Gina and David was delightful. But there was no way in hell we were going to hire them.
Then there was Paul. A decent enough guy. Maybe a bit over-eager. The day after we met, he sent me a hand-written letter about how excited he was to work with us. And how cute our children are. There was just something a bit too used-car-salesman about the whole thing. We decided not to pursue the relationship. But Paul made a different decision. He emailed, snail mailed or called me EVERY DAY for two weeks. The realtor version of a stalker. Finally, I broke it off with him over the phone. I felt I needed to be blunt. (“We really appreciated you taking the time to meet with us but we’ve decided to hire another realtor.”) A clean break. Until the next day. When he emailed me again. GAH.
And then, finally, there was Sam. He walked into the first meeting wearing a plaid jacket and unmatching striped socks. How was he going to sell our house? By being . . . single.
Sam: Other realtors will tell you, ‘Oh, I can’t show the house tomorrow afternoon, I have to take my kid to dance class.’ Not me. If there’s a showing, I’m there. This is my JOB. Not a hobby.
Sing it, Brother Sam. Sam, Sam, he’s our man, if he can’t sell it . . . Okay, you get the point. Still, there is a part of me that feels somewhat hypocritical for choosing a realtor who balks at the idea of balancing work and family. Nah. I’m good with it. This house has been sitting on the market. FOR. A. YEAR. Do your thing, Sam, you unencumbered Realtor Animal, you.
That said, I think we may have traumatized Sam. He’s been here a number of times, even though the house is not yet back on the market. He’s been here when Emma was fussy and tantruming for a cracker. He’s been here when Jacob suddenly had some energy to burn off. And started jumping on the couch. That Sam was sitting on. And, let’s not forget that Jacob firmly believes he is key player in any negotiations we have with Sam. So he is constantly inserting himself in the conversation. (Usually with complete non sequiturs.) Thing is, Jacob also has a keen sense of when it is time to bring negotiations to a close. Which he indicates by saying, “This is BO-RING.” (I know what you’re thinking: BRILLIANT negotiating strategy.) I sense that Sam may find all of this a bit irksome. Though he is far too nice to say so.
So, instead of saying so, he brought in back-up. Enter Heather. Heather is a realtor who often works with Sam and is, apparently, a whiz at staging a house. I liked her immensely until she suggested putting the G-d awful oriental rug that Dan brought into our marriage in the foyer. (Woman, I banished that rug to the attic FOR A REASON. Did you not notice the pictures of animals LEAPING on it?!?) Dan was pleased as punch. Until Heather defended the cute little cafe table and chairs that I brought into the marriage. (HA.)
Suffice to say, Heather is now on shaky ground. It didn’t help when she started asking us questions like, “How many toys do you plan to have downstairs when you show the house?” I don’t know, Heather. Let’s ask other questions that have easy answers like, “How long will it take you to SELL MY HOUSE?!?”. Because if your answer is one week, then my answer is ZERO TOYS. But if your answer is six months, then my answer is A LOT OF TOYS. Have you tried keeping a one-year-old and four-year-old occupied for any length of time without toys?
All joking (and complaining) aside, Heather is going above and beyond in helping us stage the house. She just refuses to work on our home while the children are in it. (Sam concurs with this strategy.) This might have something to do with the tug-of-war the children had with Heather’s measuring tape. But, in their defense, she was the one who gave it to them to play with. (I know, I know: what was she thinking??) Or maybe our children fell out of favor because of that time when we (Dan, Sam, Heather, and I) were all sitting in our living room talking and Emma decided she wanted to play “night, night”. On the couch I was sitting on. And forcibly pushed me off. Okay, not Emma’s most adorable moment. But she doesn’t currently have the vocabulary to say “My darling mother, would you mind finding an alternate place to sit so that I may use this couch to engage in some imaginative play?” She only knows about 30 words. So, all she could do was proclaim, “NIGHT, NIGHT!” and push me off the couch. Then scramble on it, bury her face in the pillow and pretend to sleep. It all seemed quite reasonable to me. Sam’s face looked ashen as I took a seat on the floor. Heather blinked. A lot.
Our house goes back on the market in a week. Between now and then, Sam and Heather need to be in our home for several hours to complete the process of staging it, take photos for various real estate websites and so on. While this is going on, they have politely asked us to be ANYWHERE ELSE IN THE WORLD. It’s okay. I get it. They need their space. Which is fine. As long as, at the end of the day, they sell ours.