Windows in our house generally got dirty very slowly, so slowly that they didn't become noticeable as an item to be cleaned until around about 6 months had passed. However once I did notice them, I would boldly announce to Aannsha and Luke, with a big smile on my face, that this weekend there would be a group window cleaning session. Generally it was met with slumped shoulders and groans of "Do we have to?" but after we'd spent the 2.5 hours (which felt like 6 hours) cleaning the inside, outside and all the insect screens of the sum total of 12 windows, all three of us would stand inside our house and look out at our surroundings and be amazed at how vibrant it all seemed. I called it the 'sparkle effect' and it always made all three of us feel a sense of pride and achievement.
General house maintenance is the same, it creeps up on you silently like a never ending, never tiring force of nature and it wasn't until we met Dan Clarke, the real estate agent who would ultimately end up marketing and selling our house, that we stopped to take in the big picture of just how much interior and exterior maintenance we had let slip in the 16 years we'd been living in our house.
Dan asked us to join him at the bottom of our driveway, from where he walked us up the drive, through our rainforest,
past our large frog pond, around the house exterior, along the boundary of our huge back yard and then right through the interior of our home. As we walked Dan made multiple suggestions as to what should be removed, replaced, repainted or renovated and we took very detailed notes. At the end of it we had a list of things that needed to be done to give our complete home the 'sparkle effect' and get it up to standard for a quick sale at a good price. At first glance it didn't seem all that daunting and I said naively "It shouldn't take too long."
In the end it took us just over three and a half months to get everything on the list done to our satisfaction. The biggest interior job for me was prepping and painting all the gloss work. With gloss you can't get away with a single coat, you HAVE to do a minimum of two coats. That's all the door and window frames, all the skirting boards, all interior room doors and wardrobe and cupboard doors. It's super time consuming, it involves laying on the floor at odd angles and you can't let that gloss paint get onto places it shouldn't be, like carpets and walls. If I never have to paint another brush stroke of gloss paint in my lifetime I will be a happy camper.
There were three jobs on the list that we felt it would be best to get professionals in to complete. They were the laying of the floor coverings, renovation of the kitchen and the repainting of the house and garage roof. We figured that although it would cost us more in money, it would save us in time and stress. And we were already stressed enough by watching our credit card debt grow as we attended to each item on the list and by there simply not being enough hours in the day. Both Aannsha and I still had to work our 9 to 5 jobs because we still had a mortgage and bills to pay, so working our way through the list of things to be completed was always an evenings or weekends only job.
Time passed (slowly), credit card debt grew (quickly), tiredness and stress levels were at an all time high and just when I was thinking "This is taking too long, we're never going to be ready" it was all done! The only thing left to do now was to invite Dan, our real estate agent, around to take a look and see if what we'd done was good enough.
Without blowing our own trumpets too much, Dan was very impressed and both Aannsha and I felt a huge burden lifted off our shoulders. You see from our point of view to sell a house at the best possible price requires teamwork. We chose Dan to be on our team and he offered us his knowledge and experience in guiding us as to what needed doing to achieve the best outcome and a quick sale. We could have ignored his advice or only partially completed the recommendations he'd given us. But that would have meant that we hadn't put our 100% into the team and frankly that's just not our way. We wanted to give Dan a finished product that he would be both excited and energised about marketing and selling, so once we'd won his seal of approval of our efforts on behalf of the team, we felt relieved that now we were handing the metaphorical ball over to Dan so that he could do what he does best.
And Dan didn't disappoint, our house listed on Saturday 7 October 2017; we had an open house inspection the following Saturday where several interested parties started making offers. A short 35 day contract for a great price was signed the following Monday. Our team efforts had paid off big time.
As I write this blog we are just nine sleeps away from getting on a plane and heading to the northern hemisphere to continue our life changing adventure. That seems a very short time in a project that was born in July 2016 (17 months ago). The slow parts took forever, the fast parts whizzed by, the end is nowhere in sight and each day is a new challenge and experience. But I am so happy, to the core of my soul, that I am on this journey and I am doubly happy that I am on this journey with the love of my life Aannsha.
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