It's 22 years since we had to sell a house. Things have moved on since we last did it. I blame Ann Maurice the House Doctor on Channel Five for the insistence that nobody will buy your house unless each room is dressed as it might be used and painted neutrally. Which is why Liz and I are both absolutely shattered after spending all our free time for a fortnight doctoring our house. It looks so nice now I want to carry on living in it, not sell it.
When we purchased this house the front room contained a chest freezer with a canoe on it. That's all. It didn't put us off. Amazingly we recognised that we would be purchasing neither of these items and had the foresight to see that the shell of the room was both big enough to contain them and also quite attractive. Apparently people have less vision than this these days and need to be told that the front reception room is better utilised as a sitting room than for arctic kayak practice.
We turned it into a double guest bedroom. So now we have taken the double bed out of the room (the canoe and freezer did depart with the previous owners) and put armchairs in. I still want to say - 'This is a great room; more than cat-swinging, you could turn a canoe in here.'
The Estate Agents gave us great advice as to where to hide a double bed so we are now sleeping on two mattrasses with a double bed frame hidden under a newly fitted vallance.
There is less responsibilty on you to show people round than there used to be. The Agents want to do accompanied viewing so that they can get better feedback. No-one insults houses to the owners' faces (can't have met Bob Clucas?) apparently, so if we are not there they are more likely to find out what the viewers think.
This means that when the doorbell rings for a viewing all occupants of the house have to go and sit in the garden like naughty children, a situation we found ourselves in yesterday lunchtime and in which we discovered it is almost impossible to read.
After a few minutes a small child's head appeared round the kitchen door. I said 'Hello' and sent the head screaming back inside to Mummy complaining that, 'There's someone in the garden.'
When all three of the visitors came into the garden my natural reaction, to stand up, offer a handshake and smile had to be restrained. We just grinned ridiculously, as if cowering in the garden was a perfectly normal reaction for English hosts.
When the house is on Loveitts web-site I'll link for you so those who have become distant blog-mates can see. Should be in the next couple of days.