A few dance lessons in how to sell your home
Selling your home is like a formal ball, where you accept an “invitation” from an interested “suitor,” wondering if he’s The One of whom you have dreamed. As the music begins, you whirl away, politely but firmly letting him know that plastering his body against yours and engaging in what might be termed “get-a-room” behavior is not going to happen. He gets the message and tries another, more tactful tack, and although this one is less X-rated, you still courteously inform him that no, his hands canNOT go there, but perhaps they can rest here.
This may prompt some insulted harrumphing from him, and you hold your breath that he might “get away” especially if he truly is The One, and maybe you’ve been just a bit too demanding. But, sure enough, he eventually “gets it” and realizes this will not be simply another date rape situation, or even a consensual roll in the hay, but rather a mutually respectful “dance” with each of you giving and each of you receiving.
The sensale (Italian for “agent” ... or “matchmaker”) who brokers the “dance” calls, first, with the date-rape offer. You are naturally stunned, affronted and ready to get out the pepper spray. She is gratifyingly sympathetic and supportive, exuding reasonable suggestions and comforting murmurs as you rant and rave, covering the spectrum from “Who could EVER look me in the eye and even THINK about proposing such a thing with a straight face after seeing this beautiful, gorgeous, unique, once-in-a-lifetime house?!” to “Why in the #@%!* did I EVER THINK building this house was a good idea when it was obviously the worst notion ever conceived on the face of the planet, like I ought to have my frickin’ head examined, if only I could afford it!!”
Ultimately, the two of you decide to respond -- in a manner involving less weaponry than was your first instinct -- to this outrageous proposition with the polite-but-firm response indicated above. A few hours go by, hours in which you sweat and curse and cry and speechify to anyone within earshot including God and the poor dogs, chasing sleep unsuccessfully, and sending up prayers, possibly followed by threats, assuredly followed by sincere regret and pleas for forgiveness ... and back to threats.
Finally, she calls, and your “suitor” has been appropriately semi-awakened and has proffered a second, somewhat less pornographic proposal. Still, he must be taken down an additional peg, and you and your sensale decide how to do it, with more exasperation than rage this time -- fine, you can put your hands here, but think twice about putting them over there, my friend! And again, you must pass hours during which your nails are bitten to the quick, your hair falls out at a rate rivaling Pooffy the Cat, and you eat everything in the pantry except the canned lima beans -- no house on earth is worth lima beans.
At long last, your “matchmaker” calls, with an improved and even relatively respectable offer, an offer that might, possibly, perchance approach the ballpark in which your home is playing. Still not perfect, of course, but at least showing a small sign of the respect you and your dwelling deserve. This time, you decide to be the giver you’ve always been since your brother Johnny wanted half of your peanut butter cookie, and after it dropped into that rainbow-swirled puddle in the driveway you gave him the whole thing. It’s really who you are.
So, you acknowledge your “suitor’s” growth in a civilized, ladylike manner -- not that you’ve been anything but civilized and ladylike throughout the process, naturally -- however, with that feminine finesse that holds men enthralled across several continents, you gently urge and entice him forward a few steps more, promising, coaxing, tempting, withholding ... like the tango but without the cool dress.
You don’t want to overplay your hand ... wait a minute, I was doing the dance metaphor ... OK, you don’t want to step on his feet, at least not too hard, or you might forever be a wallflower, and will certainly never persuade another sensale to take on your desperate search for The One. On the other hand, there may be lots of other fish in the sea, mister, and your loss could be their gain, I mean they might skip right over the initial date-rape suggestion and go right for the gracious and well-mannered approach ... in which case, you would actually wear the cool dress for them.
And, when you reach the point where you sense you must set your bar this time, you hold your breath yet again, and hang out, kill time, rethink, twiddle your thumbs, linger, pace, put Frontline on the dogs, loiter, look up the muscle spasms you get in your neck whenever you yawn on webmd.com, agonize, revisit, and write a column ... uh ... not that that’s ever happened to me.
Vicki Wentz is a local writer, teacher and speaker. Readers may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by visiting her website at www.vickiwentz.com.