What you need to do to sell your house

I AM selling my house.

More precisely, my wife is trying to sell our house. I am trying to pretend it’s not happening.

So far three couples have looked at it. None of them liked it.

Good! I like it and I don’t want to move.

Do you know how much work there is in selling a house? And I don’t mean all the mucking around with solicitors and finding a new place. I mean off-loading the old one.

My house is full of little jobs. There’s the knob off the drawer, the window that was smashed by the garden rake in 1999 and has had cardboard in it since, the missing architrave, the place where I took out the old lavatory and there’s been a tile sitting over the hole for 13 years, and much, much more.

That’s how I like it. It feels like a home. Homes feel like that because they are lived in. So what if the landing cupboard door swings open because the catch is broken – that’s why it’s got a brick in front of it, to keep it shut.

My wife has found a book. It tells you What You Need To Do To Sell Your House.

There are 18 things I should be doing. I haven’t done any of them. They start with ‘attend to all repairs’ and move through ‘place fresh flowers around the house’ and ‘touch up interior and exterior paintwork’ to ‘brew coffee’.

Are they mad?

The reason we’re selling the place is because it’s falling down! If I did all the repairs and touched up the paintwork and cleaned the windows and mowed the lawn there’d be no point in moving!

Apart from anything else, it would take me 20 years to do all the repairs and I’d probably die before then, and it would all have been a waste of time.

The only thing that makes any sense is the coffee brewing. Apparently it’s to give the place a nice aroma when prospective buyers visit. But as far as I’m concerned a pot of coffee is a good idea anyway — if I could find the bloody coffee.

The whole confounded house has been tidied (that’s in the book too). I can’t find a pen anywhere. The telephone directories have been put away. Even the damn toothbrushes have been hidden.

Who the hell is buying this house anyway! Surely not someone who can’t write, doesn’t make telephone calls and who has no teeth?

Am I seriously expected to believe that two toothbrushes in a mug would discourage a potential buyer?

“If one of them’s green and has bits in it, yes,” said my wife.

But the point is – we live here! Our lives have happened here. The cat’s buried in the garden. I left a large chunk of my thumb and about a litre of blood on the windowsill when the window slammed shut in 2001.

More recently my grandson left a little mistake on the landing, which I managed to smear down 12 stair treads when I skidded in it.

That’s what they’ll be buying.

And the nightmare is only just beginning. If someone does buy it we’ll have to pack everything up. The list of Things To Do If You’re Buying A House has 25 things on it. So all told there are 43 things I have to do before I can relax on a porch again. Assuming the new place has a porch.

I put my foot down and told her that if she didn’t stop this nonsense I’d find a new partner.

She said okay, but to do that there would be 3498 changes I’d have to make, starting with losing 20 kilos, and that the 45 things involved in moving house would be a lot quicker and a lot easier.

I suppose it couldn’t hurt to screw the knob back on the drawer…