House to Home Countdown #8: Creature Comfort in the Cold

Hello, BlogWorld!  I’ve missed you 🙂

The weeks since my last post have been wild and wacky, but fun and fabulous, all at the same time.  My computer hard drive died, my backup device (which holds approximately 32,000 irreplaceable photos) froze, I had a slight heart attack from fear of losing EVERYTHING on my computer and backup file, we put our house in China Spring (Waco) on the MLS for sale, we found a new house in Tulsa, rented said house, and then bought said house, both kids made a switch from public schools to a private school, we figured out new sports schedules for one kid and found a new tumbling gym for the other, and our family discovered a possible church home in our new community. Oh, and we moved:

320601265_16532609_56812_fr_proof

Whew – I’m tired!!

Actually, the move to Tulsa has been a great transition; everything has progressed as smoothly and perfectly as one can dream, hope, and wish for it to happen.  The only rain on my parade has been a small, frustrating, and rather out-of-character struggle that I’ve been fighting with my self-confidence.  We all have “those” days where we feel off our game, any(andEVERY)thing we touch seems to break, and every decision back fires to bite us in the bootackamose…those happen regularly for me, so I am very skilled at rolling with THOSE punches.

This has been a little different.  It all started when our first real estate agent told me what she saw as a drawback to marketing our home in China Spring.  Now, I’ve had my real estate license for over 11 years, I’ve listed and sold homes in Denton and Houston and many places in between, I understand the jargon, the markets, and the standard “de-personalize your home or no one will like it” speech.  I’ve also owned 4 previous homes, all under contract in less than two weeks of listing and marketing for sale, and all sold by owner (me).  I’m not really new to this game.

But I am now out of state, so I knew I needed a local agent to handle the sale for me.  I interviewed three highly qualified, highly respected agents and selected the one that seemed to be most on board for the timing and service I wanted.  Upon first walk through, she ooohhh-ed and she aaahhh-ed and told me what a great product we had to sell.  But after I was less-than-thrilled with photos that did not impress me, she began pointing out everything she saw as a negative to our home.  These are NOT her exact words, but the message I received was pretty poor:  too many books, too many built-ins, too traditional of furniture, too outdated of antiques (isn’t that an oxymoron?), too this, too that, and so on.

I reiterated that I thought we have a great house to sell, one that has a lot of amenities and tons of character.  Two hours later, she fired me.

So, now we are on to our second agent.  He, too, wanted to remove all traces of uniqueness from the house for photos.  I allowed a little, but in the end, I put my foot down.  The problem with treating every home the same, peeling off all individuality for pictures, and marketing all properties in one manner is that NOTHING STANDS OUT TO BUYERS.  I’m not only a seller in Waco, I am a buyer in Tulsa.  I’ve clicked through hundreds, and I mean HUNDREDS, of listings.  I’ve studied maps and disclosures and photos and photos and photos.  And then some more photos… I know that every de-personalized, de-stylized, and de-cluttered house looks the SAME.  I do not want to be the same as every other house out there!

I felt that way when buying previous homes, I felt that way when building our Waco home, and I feel that way setting up our new Tulsa home.  I imagine I will ALWAYS feel that way.  I do not wish to be bland.  I do not want to be standard.  I want to be bold.  I want to be fun.  I like “WOW Factor” and rooms that go “BAM!” (I also feel like I need an “Ashli, I am!”  right here because I’m hearing Dr. Seuss in my head…)

It doesn’t sound like I’m having any confidence issues, does it?  Sounds like same ol’ Streamrollin’ Ashli…

But after two realtors told me I had too much stuff, too many colors, and too much character in our house, the packers came in and started saying, “You have too much stuff,”  then the movers came in and said, “Wow, this is a lot of stuff,” and then the driver came in and said, “Good grief, this is 27,000 pounds of stuff!”

And my self-confidence started slipping.

About half of the boxes needed to accommodate my collection of stuff.

About half of the boxes needed to accommodate my collection of stuff.  Yes, that is a lot of boxes.

I’ve been married almost 20 years, I’ve moved 9 times, I come from a long line of first-class stuff collectors, and I’ve been the convenient storage spot for the don’t-have-room-for-but-of-course-none-of-us-want-to-get-rid-of-stuff of family and friends.  Yes, I have a lot of stuff.  Yet, I love my stuff!!

So, all the stuff comes to Oklahoma, and of course the driver has to repeat the words “27,000” and “pounds” about 3 million times while unloading, the movers have to ask where to put all the stuff about 3 billion times while taking boxes inside (because, of course, there is no place to set all the stuff), and now I’m surrounded by about 3 gazillion boxes that need unpacking, but I don’t know what to do with the stuff, either!

And the self-confidence takes another hit.

IMG_0415

Boxes here, boxes there…

Boxes and boxes EVERYWHERE!

Boxes and boxes EVERYWHERE!

Meanwhile, back in Waco, 615 Whispering Oaks Drive is on the market, receiving calls, and getting some showings.  Sounds good, right?? But I put in a library that wastes space (supposably, it is 2015; therefore, people no longer read?), I built it too far in the country (7 miles from town?), the colors are ugly (I thought paint was the cheapest home improvement out there?), the upstairs carpet is ugly (granted it IS zebra striped, but totally awesome!), the concrete floors are ugly (they are an adjustment, but also completely fabulous when it comes to ease of cleaning!!), the kids’ custom painted murals have to go (again with the paint…), and the bedrooms are simply wayyyy too small (the guest room is 12×12, the kids’ rooms are approximately 14×14, and the master is gargantuous).  What I’m hearing from all this feedback is: “No one likes your house, you made poor design choices when building it, your selection skills stink, and you’re an idiot for choosing an absolutely beautiful, country setting.”

And again, any traces of lingering self-confidence are completely diminished – I mean, positively destroyed.

What I should be hearing from all of that feedback is this: “The right buyer has not yet come by your home.”  I know that.  I truly know that!  But our minds and our hearts often interpret words differently; throw in a nice, healthy dose of emotions, and all of a sudden I am doubting myself, my abilities, and my decision making at every turn.  I’ve basically paralyzed myself in setting up our new home out of fear that I will do it wrong* because, obviously, I (who friends and family actually turn to for help in their own projects) am lost, confused, and clueless when it comes to homes, houses, and how to put them together.

By now the self-confidence is pretty much non-existent  😦

Boo hoo, Ashli.

Or not.

Today, I’ve put on my big girl pants, I’ve ranted and raved to my always sympathetic, always willing to defend me, Momma who listened and agreed and then built me back up, and I’ve made a conscious decision to believe in myself.  I’m meeting with a seemingly likable and talented interior design team here in Tulsa to get some ideas on where to find the finishing touches that I want but have no clue where to locate in a new town.  I’m reminding myself that I have the most amazing husband and kids on God’s green earth, so it doesn’t matter how badly I mess up or how many times I decide to redo because they always love me, and our home is full of that love.  And I’m remembering the great choices that I am fully capable of making by continuing my countdown of what made our Waco house a real home.

If you recall #10 was Christmas at 615 Whispering Oaks, and #9 was My 3 Fireplaces.  Today I am going to share with you one of my favorite creature comforts that made our house such a great home to live in – especially when it is a crisp and snowy 20 degrees outside:

#8:  Tankless Hot Water Heaters

If ever you have an opportunity to build, renovate, or remodel a house, please – I BEG OF YOU – install tankless hot water heaters.  These are slightly more expensive than a traditional, bulky, closet unit full of H2O, but the upgrade is really, really worth it!!  The Waco/CS home has them, and we loved them!  (Our units sit on the exterior wall of the house, it is a metal box about 12 inches x 24 inches, and if you have a choice, choose the gas model.)

Our Tulsa home does not  😦

Having moved from the incredible tankless (instant, continuous, truly HOT water system) to the not-so-incredible traditional tank (wait-for-it, never enough, not really hot water system) in the middle of a record-setting-colder-than-cold winter has moved this creature comfort to the top of my “Ashli is NOT an Idiot and DID make Great Choices when Building the CS House” list!!

All joking aside, it really was a smart decision and one the new owners will absolutely love.  Here is an article I found online if you want to learn more: “Why Add a Tankless Water Heater” from Fine Homebuilding.

skyheater

So, that is #8; check back in the next few days for #7 which is another amazing feature that adds tremendous comfort and makes 615 Whispering Oaks not just a house, but a very fine home.

With lots of love,

Ashli

PS:  Here is another little gem I came across today…the exact thing I needed and in the exact moment in which I needed it 😉

Here is another little gem I came across today...the exact thing I needed and in the exact moment in which I needed it ;)

* By the way, there is NO SUCH THING AS WRONG, only different!