It's a buyer's market. This is short-hand for: buyers are in control. Which means that although they are supposed to give me an hour's notice, they stand outside my house, call me from their cell phone and say, "Hi, can I come in right now?"
I've had people walk through my house while I'm breastfeeding, my boys are in the tub and another child is napping.
I've had people yell at me while I'm loading kids, diaper bags and strollers into the minivan: "HEY, ARE YOU SELLING YOUR HOUSE?"
That's what the For Sale sign means, genius. But I don't say this because I'm the nice Christian mom who hands out the flyer instead and says sweetly, "Please come to our Open House this Saturday."
They don't want to wait until Saturday. They want to come in right now, and not because they intend to buy our home, but just because they like looking inside other people's houses. For fun.
I've answered every question at least two hundred times. Yes, there are 3 bedrooms and no, we're not sure if we're done having kids yet. Why yes, these are twins. No, fraternal.
Two different people asked if I'm famous. WHAT? Yeah, I'm a famous movie star living in a 3 bedroom home with no yard and five kids. Isn't this how Angelina Jolie lives?
I had a complete stranger walk out of my bathroom---with my toilet flushing behind him. It seems he couldn't write an offer before testing whether his waste would flush down my toilet.
I had a suspiciously touristy woman snap pictures of me, the kids, our walls, our photographs, our bedrooms--without permission. Has she uploaded these onto her blog? I can just see it: Check out these pics from my CA. vacation!!! Anyone recognize that woman? She claims she's not famous--who is she, really?
Another "potential buyer" wanted a list of everything that was staying. This fridge? Is it staying? How about these things? Are they staying? She didn't want to buy my house, she just wanted everything inside it.
A friend commented that buyers aren't looking for a house to buy so much as they are looking for a narrative to buy. Which is to say, when someone walks into my house they are reading my story. They want to know if it has a happy ending, if this house can be a home, if true love exists between these walls. They want to see how I live in this space, how I decorate, how the children fit into their rooms.
Ultimately, though, we had to be realistic. We were patient, we dropped our price (more than once) and promised to fix all the little stuff for our buyer.
I really can't complain. The housing market is in a downturn, but Southern California is still a very desirable place to live. There's a reason so many people live here.
Still, that guy could have asked permission to use my toilet. I would have said yes. Maybe.