House Hunting: Go on, look. I dare you.

Well, we’ve done it. Our house is on the market. I hope it sells quickly, because we’ve whipped the place into show-perfect condition and trust me, I can only sustain this for a very short amount of time. The pressure of the constant running around after two messy little primates dripping crumbs and two fuzzy big canines shedding fur and one giant ape dripping socks is just a whole lot for one person who isn’t that fond of housekeeping to begin with.

Every time someone wants to come through to see the place, I have to figure out two things, after doing a runaround to clean up at the last minute and sticking my daughter’s Dug doll (I’ll explain) on the bedside table:

1. Where do I put the kids

2. Where do I put the dogs

Because I’m sure the last thing a potential buyer would like while they are going through my drawers is a kid asking, “Do you want to buy my house? Want some fruit snacks?” while a dog runs interference leaning into their hip every two seconds for pets.

I’ve read that one should remove all hints of yourself from the house so that potential buyers just see themselves in it. We tried, but we have too many family pictures on the walls; if we took them all down they would be bare. I tried to hide signs of pet ownership in case someone is a freaky I hate pets person, but all they need to do is go in the garage to see the evidence: the dishes, the litterbox, the pile of leashes, and (usually) Apollo, hiding from the strangers.

We are animal lovers here. There are clear hints. The more subtle hints are hidden away in drawers: the rawhides, the Kongs, the Advantage tubes. Most people don’t see those things, because most people don’t go through your drawers, but some people do. I know this. I have planned for it.

I expect people to look in the cabinets, in the closets. Anything that is part of the house is fair game, and I get that. Opening a drawer or two to assess the cabinet structure, OK. But the one thing I know people do, because people have admitted to it, is rummaging through the free standing dresser drawers and things they have no business going through, either because they’re looking for stuff to lift, or because they’re just nosey.

We locked away anything of value, put prescription meds in the safe (though if anyone wants leftover malarone, be my guest.) Then I made a little sign for the bedside table, because anyone who opens that is just looking for trouble, that said: “Smile! You’re on the nanny cam!”

And because most people hide nanny cams in stuffed animals, they will immediately lift their eyes and see, staring right back at them, the steely Disney eyes of justice in the form of the Dug doll sitting on top of my bedside table.

Yeah, Brody’s not home, but I still have a guard dog.

And OK, technically I don’t even really have it rigged as a camera, but it would be classic if I did. Makes me almost wish I had a nanny cam just so I could record people’s reactions for YouTube. The beauty of the whole idea, of course, is that if you aren’t nosing around where you shouldn’t be, you’d have no idea I was trolling you. If you open the drawer, you deserve what you get.

Anyone have any experiences with nosey house hunters? Or any ideas for other surprises I should leave? I do have a copy of the infamous Purina fecal scoring chart in the garage.

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  • Vonny

    Well, that scoring chart has sort of put me off my dinner.

    I suppose if I were house-hunting, I would open kitchen drawers and wardrobes. But open and look through your private drawers? Just no, how rude, and anyway, eww. I am going to suggest pop-up toys and snakes and plastic poops in your dresser drawers. I thought of even more shocking items but…maybe not.

    Doesn’t the real estate agent accompany people through your house while you are not home?

    • Not really, he kind of hangs out in the background. Their agent should accompany them, but who knows. The biggest risk is with those “open houses” which are open to the public, which is what we did yesterday.

  • Sue W.

    Yea, I thought as Vonny did – that potential buyers were supervised. What a yucky thing, to have people snooping! When we were shopping for a house, I didn’t even think to open *any* drawers. I probably should have – I really didn’t look close enough. We were all about location, number of rooms and number of bathrooms. There are things now that I wish I’d done…but rummaging through personal drawers ain’t one of them. Good luck on selling!!!

  • Lauren Shapiro

    My father is a realtor. Most of the time the realtor will point out major benefits of the house and leave the potential homebuyers to tour and talk amongst themselves instead of following them around like a hawk. I’d suggest putting a label on your drawers that says “Cat postcard collection” or “Polka records A-H and I-Z” Things that are not illegal but just make people not want to look.

  • Vicki Stringfellow Cook

    Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t do things like open drawers, closets or medicine cabinets when I was house hunting. It would feel like an invasion of the owner’s privacy. Although I kind of like the idea of putting things in there that would say “Busted” if someone opened them up!

  • Holly

    AAAGH the poop chart! lol!! And yes, a Nanny Cam would be hysterical in each room just to see what these people are nosing into. I’m horrified to have unannounced company because while they don’t go upstairs where our room and regular bathrooms are, my medications (sedatives!!) are in the downstairs cabinet and you just never know with people… they might help themselves to a Klonopin or two. How nerve-racking!! Hang in there, it will be over soon and you’ll get to move on to a new, amazing place. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • For sure, closets and cabinets are fair game because they make a difference. I almost bought a house one time based on the walk in closet. For trues. But personal furniture that isn’t part of the home? Anyone going through that is just an a-hole. I love your solution!

  • Lisa W

    I can totally understand looking in closets and cabinets. But I would NEVER go through anyone’s private stuff like that. There are no boundaries any more, I guess.

    • Lisa W

      BTW, good luck with selling the house!

  • Susi

    I once heard of someone who drilled a whole at the top of their medicine cabinet and filled it with marbles – this, to deal with a snoopy mother-in-law. Evidently, the predicable outcome was highly satisfactory.

  • Chris

    When I was house hunting I looked at a house that was supposed to have a parrot in it. So as soon as my agent and I went inside we set about trying to find the bird, doing our best “hello” in a bird voice all around the house with no response. Eventually we went into the garage and got a response to our “hello”. We quickly discovered the parrot with it’s owner sitting in the car. A bit of an awkward moment.

    • This was hysterical. And he probably took the bird because he was scared of parrot snatchers and you totally validated his fear. Ha!

  • Tamara

    Anyone who wouldn’t want a stray Brody or Koa hair, or a little bit of Apollo, doesn’t deserve your house ๐Ÿ™‚ But, I know you want to sell it quickly, so I hope all goes well and the house sells soon. I love your idea for discouraging ‘snoopers.’

  • Linda

    When we were selling our house (a super stressful time since my husband had already moved out of state, and I had two dogs and two small children – I understand having to keep ALL of their messes clean) I would take the kiddos and dergs with me and be back at a certain time after the showing. One time I came back the the people were still there – good sign, right?! Uh, nope! I drove around for a bit more, came back…STILL there – this is going on an hour showing. So, I parked just up the hill a bit so I could see when they left. I was watching as the front door was being “fanned” back and forth. When they finally left and we went into the house, we smelled it!! Yep, one of the people used our bathroom for a stinky! REALLY?! It isn’t like we lived in the country and there wasn’t a Starbucks two blocks away!!

    The kids were disgusted, as was I, and we promptly called our realtor. She said she would find out what had happened. Turns out no apologies…the person that was thinking of buying the house sets the appointment for his regular BM so he can see what it is like on the toilet. Apparently he didn’t like ours…

    • If I had a comment of the week ribbon, this would win it. OH MY GOODNESS THAT IS DISGUSTING.

  • Bigfootandlittlefoot

    I like the idea of plastic snakes, poos, and vomit….there are some other adult items you could put in places where people shouldn’t be and get their reaction on a nanny-cam would make you millions on Youtube!

  • We looked at over 100 houses when we were trying to find this place and it never once occurred to me to look in anyone’s drawers. I did look in medicine cabinets, kitchen cabinets, and closets because I want to know how much room I have and how the space is allocated. I know the people that bought our loft looked in our buffet and china cabinet because they wanted us to throw them in with the sale. I don’t know why they needed to rummage through the drawers, but they were weird on so many different levels that I gave up trying to figure them out.