Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Editing Is Like...Selling Your House

For those who don't know, we're getting ready to move across the state. That means putting our house up for sale, which means making it look all nice and shiny. Our realtor actually paid for a walk-through with a staging know, a house-editor.

She came through and pointed out...everything. A lot of it is simple stuff: rearranging the furniture, putting a bunch of stuff from the closets in storage, blah blah blah. This is the line edit stage. Now, I don't know about you, but I like line edits. They're pretty straight-forward even if they take a decent amount of work, and it's rare that cuts/tweaks here are of the painful variety. Same with the house. There's a lot of this level stuff and it all takes time, but it's easy enough.

Then there's the prettifying stuff that we're hiring the stager to actually take care of: putting the right kind of art on the walls, the little jars and candles and stuff that make the house look like a model home rather than like people here. This is the copyedit stage. Even less painful than line edits. Basically this is the smile and nod part of the job. You trust the person in charge for the most part to make things as pretty as possible.

So...the hard part? Content edits--this is pretty literal with regard to home staging too. Four rooms had to be repainted because of decorating choices. Countertops have to be replaced with granite. Carpets all have to be cleaned (and some stretched). Powerwashing the outside. Painting the door and trim. Now some of this stuff is fine. It's work, but that's it. Other's like killing your darlings. For example, today I spent the entire day tearing wallpaper off a single I can repaint it tomorrow. A lot of work for one room that may or may not make a difference in the reality of selling. The granite? It's going to cost quite a bit more than we estimated. Will it really matter? And do we have to go with the boring beige?

Those changes are harder to make. They hurt more. But...

At the end of the day, we have an expert telling us what to do to make our house the best it can be. It's just like trusting an editor with your book. Their job is to make it shine. There are battles worth fighting (both in staging and editing) but it's important to remember to pick and choose them carefully.

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