Friday, April 30, 2010

Seeing youself through others' eyes

Occasionally you find yourself in a situation where you see yourself or some aspect of your life through others' eyes. It's always disconcerting.

I had such a moment today. I'm trying to choose a real estate agent to sell my apartment and today one came to view it and tell me what he and his company have to offer (for a significant fee). The agent was most polite and professional, but having him assess my apartment and its arrangement and its character for their commercial value made me see it from a new perspective.

Living / dining room

I really had to restrain myself from rushing to justify to him why the apartment is the way it is - that I've lived here a long time; that I love colour; that many of the objects and furnishings have valued associations; that I don't care about being up with the latest fashion; that it needs to be thoroughly de-cluttered (to use the current term). I had to keep telling myself that it doesn't matter what he thinks about the apartment as long as he'll put energy into selling it - that his judgment about my choices doesn't matter. But the thought of having potential buyers and real estate voyeurs traipse through, seeing the place through their eyes, is disturbing.

It's odd, isn't it, that such an encounter can make you feel insecure and defensive. Normally I'm quite content with my taste and style - well, at least content enough not to spend too much time, energy and emotion worrying about such things.

I expect this is just the first of a number of encounters in selling and moving that will make me self-conscious about my style and choices. I'm going to have to work to find a way of thinking about all this that brings some pleasure, or else it will be a very self-doubting few months.

16 comments:

G702aynelleKress0 said...
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Sel and Poivre said...

There are TV shows here in Canada (I believe the BBC started this trend) that feature property vendors coming to terms with their homes not being "theirs" anymore even though they still own and live in them. They advise the subjects of the show to mentally move out and take "their" things with them as they prepare their homes for viewing as buyers want to easily and instantly envision the place as theirs rather than feeling like they are visiting someones elses home - even it is in fact still someone else's home!

The power of suggestion, I guess is a powerful thing in real estate and it would seem your recent experience might bear this out too?

drkknits said...

the first thing i would be telling myself is hes just a real estate agent and they have about as much knowledge of style and taste as my big toe. i hates em. im pretty sure not every potential buyer out there wants stark and sleek, and there are sure to be people who appreciate how lovely and warm youve made your place. i hope the whole thing doesnt prove too traumatic!

m1k1 said...

books, comfy chairs, knittin' and laptop. looks like all the comforts of home to me.
best of luck with this transitional phase. my kids think i should downsize, (and co-incidentally declutter) but i need more space, i tell you, more, not less.

Jess said...

Your living room looks like heaven to me! Silly real estate agent!

diane_s said...

It looks like a very comfy space to me . A real estate agent is one point of view only , there are many out there who would love to live in your space. I have a house in the bush on acres and when I was considering selling I had an agent appraise it . He walked all around it with a dour face and then turned to me and said "well someone might buy it" . I was deflated . We all think of our space as sacred to us and it is hard to have it viewed by others as anything else .
good luck and tune out the agents

Lynne said...

Your living room looks just that - a living room; don't be disheartened, he's just giving you his opinion!

I moved the footstools and coffee table out of family room the other day and was shocked at how much bigger the room looked! Of course, they came right back; it is our primary living space after all!

Rose Red said...

I LOVE your living area Lyn - the way you've furnished it appeals to me immensely (and clearly I'm not the only one, based on the comments so far!).

Selling your home is a funny business in so many ways - because you do have to let go of your personal taste to some extent - but that doesn't mean you have to doubt it.

I always think that if potential purchasers can't see beyond the way a home is furnished to the potential underneath, then they are just being ridiculously fussy and shortsighted anyway.

Bells said...

It's an experience fraught with emotional pitfalls. I loathe everything about it. I try to remember that bought this house despite the students who lived here leaving their underpants on the floor and beds unmade and the place in a general shambles. I think real estate agents put far too much value on having to make houses all look the same. It's absurd!

Don't put the bowl of yarn away will you? Keep it there. It's a point of interest!

missfee said...

I think Sel and Poivre is on the money - it is the first part of the process of letting go of your home and selling a piece of property.
As I just did - and even though I wasn't living in my flat I found this really confronting too - and felt the need to explain why it was how it was. After about 4 agents I realised it wasn't for me to sell the flat to them but for them to sell the flat for me.

Good luck with it all - and Lyn I think you have a beautiful home.

Cecilia said...

I love your living room. Love the colours, the books--love how cosy it is.

Good luck with selling the apartment!

Probably Jane said...

You have the apartment that mine wants to be when it grows up!

Ruby Girl said...

I think your apartment looks homely adn so cosy. Real Estate agents always want no clutter and very sterile looking homes, which people just don't live in as we know. People when buying a house look at the place itself and not so much the decor as they will probably change things to make it their own anyway. I have sold and built or bought 5 homes and it never gets easier, and I know when buying that I look at the home and my needs not what the people in it at the time have. Good luck with it all and I hope it sells as quickly as you would like it too.

Caffeine Girl said...

I think it's very hard to have strangers who don't know or understand us traipsing through our homes and judging them.

My judgment is that your apartment is wonderful with the wall of books and bright colors! I'd buy it!

美書 said...
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和中如勇 said...
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