All the world’s a stage, just not my house

Cape Breton Post - - HEALTH/LIFESTYLES/ADVICE - Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar An­nie’s Mail­box is writ­ten by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, long­time ed­i­tors of the Ann Lan­ders col­umn. Please email your ques­tions to an­nies­mail­box@cre­, or write to: An­nie’s Mail­box, c/o Cre­ators Syn­di­cate, 73

Dear An­nie: The time has come for my hus­band and me to down­size. It has been 10 years since we’ve sold a home, and some­thing seems to have be­come very pop­u­lar: “stag­ing.”

I have been mar­ried 50 years and in that time have sold seven homes. Four of them sold to the first peo­ple who saw them, so I feel I have some in­sight into how to present your home for sale: Fresh paint where needed; an at­trac­tive yard and en­try; clean win­dows, floors and rugs; heat­ing and cool­ing units in good con­di­tion; and a min­i­mum of per­sonal items (photos, me­men­tos, etc.). But to­day, that doesn’t seem to be enough.

I am told by real­tors and mag­a­zine and news­pa­per ar­ti­cles that I must “stage.” I have to get rid of any­thing, in­clud­ing fur­ni­ture and paint­ings, that the stager deems of­fen­sive. I should set the ta­ble as though I am about to serve din­ner (but not be cook­ing), put out cham­pagne and glasses by the bed (we are too old to even have any­one want to imag­ine where that might lead), and ba­si­cally set it like a model home. We are told that this is what peo­ple ex­pect.

Can this be true? What hap­pens if the house doesn’t sell for a year? I’ll have to dust the dishes on the pre­set ta­ble for my imag­i­nary guests and in­vest in a lot of cham­pagne if I have to do this ev­ery time there is a show­ing. I’m all for new fluffy tow­els, but so many of the other sug­ges­tions seem friv­o­lous. I pity some­one with small chil­dren if this is what it takes to sell a house now. — Cu­ri­ous

Dear Cu­ri­ous: Peo­ple who make their liv­ings set­ting up homes for sale will of course try to con­vince you that you need to do this, but it’s all a mat­ter of de­gree. A house that looks like a model home is nat­u­rally go­ing to cre­ate a more pos­i­tive im­pres­sion than one that looks un­kempt or poorly main­tained. But most buy­ers ex­pect a house to be in good shape struc­turally and in­clude the el­e­ments they want. They’d rather see that the toi­lets flush prop­erly than have cham­pagne by the bed­side. This is why buy­ers should hire a re­li­able in­spec­tor be­fore fi­nal­iz­ing the sale. An at­trac­tive pre­sen­ta­tion is lovely, but it’s all gravy. Those who buy a home based pri­mar­ily on a nice ta­ble set­ting de­serve what they get.

Dear An­nie: Please add to your com­ments to “R.M. in PA,” re­gard­ing pedes­tri­ans keep­ing to the right on side­walks, es­ca­la­tors, con­courses, etc.

When walk­ing on the side of any streets with­out side­walks, one should walk fac­ing traf­fic. This gives the pedes­trian the abil­ity to see a car pass­ing too closely or driv­ing er­rat­i­cally, and be able to move off the road­way to safety.

I am amazed by the num­ber of peo­ple I see walk­ing on the road­way in the same di­rec­tion as traf­fic. — A.

Dear A.: Sev­eral read­ers pointed out that stay­ing to the right on side­walks, con­courses and es­ca­la­tors makes sense. But where there are no side­walks, pedes­tri­ans should face traf­fic for safety rea­sons, and that might be on the left.

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