A real estate trade secret: work really hard

Letters from the Home Front

I am a trained professional, a trusted real estate adviser. I’m just like that well-coifed woman on the snappy National Association of Realtors ads — the one standing just inside the white picket fence wearing a tailored suit, a proud lapel pin and a big-ol’ smile.

Yep — I’m just like her. Except I spent the better part of yesterday scouring the copper bottoms of an entire set of cookware that might have been unearthed from the Mayan ruins on a recent archeological dig. They might have, that is, had the Mayans possessed the Cuisinart Chef’s Classic series. (Emeril hadn’t yet been invented.)

So it was that I spent my Saturday morning hanging out in my client’s kitchen, helping him help himself. Sure, I could have told him to scrub his own pots, but he has a Y chromosome, which means it wouldn’t have gotten done. It’s part of a process we call staging and, try as I might to uphold that business-suit image, I somehow get sucked into the process every time.

You see, the pot rack was a thing of beauty but the black, crusty cooking thingies dangling from it were not exactly a selling point. Nor was the misplaced 700-pound mirror that had to be rehung, the computer desk looking disturbingly out of place in the dining room, or the 4-foot-tall brass giraffe hanging out in the hallway of this Mediterranean-style wondering which way the Serengeti might be.