Friday, May 21, 2010

Two tidbits from Dirt: The Movie

First, a quote:

"Over many years, the dirt has taught me a lot. God did not give us this amazing dirt to mistreat it. I have a relationship with this living organism. At times I am dirt's father because I take care of it. At times dirt is my mother because she feeds me. And at times dirt is my lover because we share a loving relationship. I take care of it and the dirt takes care of me. I feel the life within it." - Pierre Rabhi (as translated from French)

Second, a story:


Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sell it baby

So our new real estate agent came by to do the necessary paperwork and to get some pictures. The first thing that tipped me off that she was my kind of agent was that she was trying really hard to come over on a sunny day, so the pictures would be better. (Nothing worse than a gloomy, overcast photo of the six-figure asset you're trying to sell.)

Anyway, we had a string of rainy days in a row, so I told her to just come on over, take the pictures, and then I'd email her some better ones as soon as the sun came out.

Being the photographer wanna-be that I am, I knew that the best light for photography is either the hour after sunrise or the hour before sunset -- the golden hour. Since the front of our house faces East(-ish), I needed to be up early to take advantage of it. I wasn't up quite as early as I wanted, but early enough to get some great pictures anyway.

I should mention that I am not a lawn nut. I am the opposite of a lawn nut in fact. I like weeds and ground-nesting birds and butterflies and so on. Plus the more you mow, the less you can make into hay. I lived here for over four years without a riding mower. But for selling purposes, image is everything, so I mowed it as pretty as I could.

When we had this house built, the builder had this lovely "artist's conception" of the finished product. Here's what it looked like:

I wasn't consciously trying to mimic that image, but I think I actually managed to go one better than the artist's conception... 'cause mine's real:

Go on, click on it. Make it bigger. I'm almost sure that's the prettiest it's ever looked.

And here are a couple more shots I got wandering around on that lovely spring morning...

Oh, and just for comparison, here is the picture from our old agent. It's not terrible, but still... big difference.



Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sale update

When we chose a real estate agent, we went with a local firm. I always like to support local businesses when I can, and we figured they'd be experts on selling in our area.

Unfortunately, after half a year and only three showings, it looks like that approach is flawed. Oh I know, the market is not good. But ads in our small town paper are not cutting it. I've always imagined our buyer coming from somewhere else anyway.

We've gotten nothing but positive feedback from the people who have come through. We even thought we might get an offer from two of them. We've done everything we can think of as the owners, we should be priced fairly, and we really believe that all it should take to sell this place is getting more people through that front door.

So I spent a lot of time digging, and found an agent who advertises over a much broader area, and through many more channels. Her testimonials include a number of people who had no luck with other agents. She regularly sells in our area, and even lives in the next town over. She's good at staging, and has better-than-average photos on her listings. When I talked to her, I heard the right words and got the right feeling. Good agents are worth their weight in gold, and are surprisingly hard to find.

We'll see how it goes. We love so many things about this place, but once you've decide to move on, it's hard to un-imagine your plans. When we moved here, we had 2 1/2-year-old twins and no idea how to do any of the things we wanted to do.

Now, the twins are seven we added Owen (who is two already!). We've learned what we're good at and what we're not. We have a much better idea of which of our dreams are most feasible. We have seen what it takes to raise our particular family.

So... nothing big to report. But we're not giving up yet.

Meanwhile, back to the garden. I hope if somebody does buy this place, they're the kind of people who will appreciate what we've put into it.