Day: July 23, 2014

Home staging is a big buzzword in real estate these days. You’ll hear about it on HGTV, and see it on the DIY network. Bloggers love to talk about staging, and it’s all over apps like Houzz and Pinterest.

If you haven’t dipped your toe in the staging waters, I’ll explain:

“Home Staging” is the act of turning a lived-in (or vacant) home into a neutral, appealing space for the purpose of attracting potential buyers. Home staging removes the personal touches of the current (or previous) occupants and creates a ‘blank slate’ where buyers can envision their own furniture, family, and life.

Home staging, my dears, is a pain in the butt. We’ve done some staging here – hid away the 5’x7′ rug to make the entry appear larger; slipcovered the ratty loveseat in our front room, tidied up the bookshelves (but a true home stager would make me pack 75% of those books and have ‘styled’ shelves); removed all the homeschool items, hung new curtains, and turned the schoolroom back into a dining room (but a real pro would probably make me create a faux ‘leaf’ to extend our dinky table and buy slipcovers for our ugly mismatched chairs). We reduced the items on the kitchen countertops (but if I were hardcore, it would be nothing but the KitchenAid and the Keurig!) and took most of the toys out of the family room (that room might pass ‘real’ muster, actually). Purged things from the kids’ rooms (again, probably a pass), but we didn’t change the office-slash-guest room (and a properly staged home has no dual purpose rooms. You’re supposed to pick one and make it shine!). Bought new handtowels for the powder room and hung the nicest towels in the other two bathrooms.

Living in a house which has been staged feels stilted. This is still my home, but it’s “off.” It’s like sitting in a nicely decorated hotel room. I feel awkward if I leave a dent in the sofa cushion. On the surface, it looks great – and it’s supposed to, that’s the point, for real estate purposes.

But today I was thinking about how many Christians are walking around fully staged. We are prepped and polished. We have packed away our unsightly clutter and mess – but it’s not really gone. We have hung up new curtains of humility, modesty, patience, grace – but there remains pride, greed, selfishness, anger.

We want to gleam and glow, and when others in the church ask how we’re doing, we give them our “listing” answer. (Four beautiful bedrooms! Gas fireplace! Eat-in-kitchen!) “I’m so blessed… Things are really busy, but we’re doing great….” I’m not saying that we’re being dishonest when we present these generic answers, exactly. After all, the houses on your local real estate market really DO have the features with the funny abbreviations: 4bd, FP, lg bkyd…. Right?

What I am saying, though, is that one of the functions of the body of Christ is to

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{This is one of those “I have to tell you THAT so I can tell you THIS” rambling stories. Hang in there.}

At the end of May, our renters moved out of our Elsmere house. There was some drama that weekend, but the short version of the tale is that they did eventually move out, we found lots of great workers to paint, install new flooring, handle little handyman tasks, and clean the place, and then we listed it for sale at the end of June.

The same morning we drove up to Elsmere to get our keys back, Chris was reading the newspaper in our Owensboro kitchen.  Ever since we moved here, I’ve had a Saturday morning tradition of reading the Real Estate feature insert with a cup of coffee and browsing the ‘larger’ listings. Our plan has always been to stay in this house until about 2015, and then move up to a bigger place; I wasn’t looking with deep intent, but I love looking at homes! I had glanced through the paper that day, but since I had our Elsmere trip on my mind, hadn’t opened up the MLS website or put my usual amount of interest to work. Chris, however, grabbed the laptop and did a search on the MLS site.

Up popped a 6 bedroom, 5 bath, 1927  Craftsman/farmhouse style home on a coveted street in town. Sitting on two generous lots, with a saltwater swimming pool and three-car detached garage, this house listing blew him away. He spent the entire drive to Elsmere talking about the yellow house. He called our realtor to get the “inside scoop” and ran mortgage calculators on his phone.

escalated

The next day, Chris was on call – and there was an Open House. In between consults at the hospital, he drove over to the house and walked through with the listing agent. He came home REALLY excited, and spent the next several days making appointments with bankers and finding out what kind of loan we could get. He asked me to make an appointment with our realtor, so I could see the home too.

Long story made longer: it’s a gorgeous home and I loved it. I’ve always loved old homes, I’ve always had a weakness for yellow houses, and the basement alone on this house is the size of the home we currently live in. WHat!?! But I was hesitant.  The pool, while a lovely feature for adult people, is a drowning hazard particularly for children under age 8, statistically speaking. (And we have three children 8 and under, remember? One of whom is particularly noted for a lack of inhibition and a certain flair for disregarding boundaries. Ahem.) The utility bills for the home, quite frankly, scared the bejeebers out of me. They were about as costly as the mortgage on our Elsmere house. Yowza! And there’s the consideration for ongoing maintenance issues if one buys a home built in 1927.

 

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Meet the author

MICHELLE NEBEL

I write uplifting women’s fiction woven with threads of faith, grace, and Southern hospitality. My blog is where I share a glimpse of my life, and I hope you’ll find the thoughts here encouraging!

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