“Why am I washing the floor after midnight?”
I have asked myself this question a few times over the past half hour. The obvious answer is that I’m preparing for an open house tomorrow morning. Sheila did at least half the work before leaving for a rare overnight getaway with friends, and now that the kids are in bed I have to finish the job. The house has been listed (for the second time) since October, and despite many showing we haven’t seen an offer. We were confident it would sell this time after investing over $20,000 and two gruelling months into renovations: painting top to bottom, inside and out; new carpet and flooring; landscaping; new washer and dryer and hot water heater; and a few other odds ‘n’ ends. But there are a lot more sellers than buyers on the Sunshine Coast these days, so we wait… for now, anyway.
The real answer lies somewhere between the obvious one and “why not?”
We live in a great house in an even better neighbourhood — we couldn’t want for more, as the saying goes. But that’s the whole point: we don’t want more. We want less. Our 1,709 square-foot home is relatively modest, but it’s more than we need. For the three years our house was rented out, we never lived in a place larger than 930 square feet for more than a few weeks, and we spent the vast majority of that time in either our camper van or a 32-foot trailer that we bought as an experiment (and sold 18 months later, preferring the mobility of the van). We want to create a void, and then buy or build an even more modest home. We dream of a tiny 3-bedroom eco-cottage within walking distance of most amenities.
Sheila and I have long believed that the house will only sell when we are truly ready for that. We are. But we are only two-fourths of our family, and we have certainly not reached a consensus on willingness to move. Iris mostly wants the showings to stop, because showings mean clean-up, and having to clean up means not really living in our home — so she’s at least halfway on board. Simon wants to stay here. Period. So we ask ourselves: why sell a wonderful house with a wonderful view on a wonderful street with wonderful neighbours? The kids like the extra space, and they don’t mind living in chaos. Nor do they understand, however, that the space and the chaos and the maintenance and the cleaning and all of the stuff that makes up a three-storey house means that mum and dad have less time to spend with them. I don’t expect them to fully understand how connected everything is. I’m not sure I want them to understand that yet. I just want to let them be kids, to live fully in a home without the next showing casting a shadow on their fun.
In a few hours I will take Iris and Simon to Lower Gibsons for pancakes and bacon — a rare treat which they have come to see as the silver lining of house showings — and we’ll see if this open house finally brings the people who simply must move into this beautiful cedar home on a hillside overlooking the ocean. And if not, then we’ll do this all over again… until the right buyer comes along… or until we decide that it’s no longer worth washing floors after midnight.