It was 2008 and I was still living in Perth, Western Australia, when my little three bedroom, one bathroom duplex was empty for the first time in 11 years. I had new whitewashed grey timber-look vinyl stick on planks installed over the tired faux brown and cream mottled vinyl flooring, and managed to find a painter at short-notice to paint the inside and outside. Yep, good old Antique White USA saved the day again.
The house was looking pretty good except it was empty, echoed and felt cold. I didn't want to highlight the fact that I had failed to take up the (now disastrous) insulation rebate scheme and had left the house un-insulated through dry, hot summers and cold winters. I needed to dress the house, turn on the warmth and attract all those cashed up buyers! Yep, it was before the GFC.
So with minimal cash in hand and a nose that could sniff out a bargain anywhere in the city, off I went. I spent the weekends at auction houses, nights on-line checking out auction and second-hand sale sites, and traversed the city picking up items I had bought. I managed to find some absolute bargains, such as the new blue linen tufted ottoman for $70 and the three seater cream leather lounge for $300. Most of the items I managed to fit in my hatchback but the larger items such as beds, sideboards, dining table and lounges were an absolute nuisance. I had to drive to my friend's house to borrow his ute (a one hour round trip!) and then collected the items, hoping that someone at the other end could help me load the ute. Every spare hour for four weeks was spent on this ridiculous endeavour, purely because I had set myself a challenge to stage the house for less than the $3500 I was quoted from a professional home stager. The good news is, that I managed to complete the challenge only spending $2300. I had saved $1200, more or less. I'm not sure how much petrol I used during the FOUR WEEKS it took me to finish the challenge. Yep, four weeks! That's four weeks the house could have been on the market, maybe three if you allow the stagers a week to do their thing. Not to mention the stress and lost time with my children and friends.
It get's worse though. You are then left with a house full of furniture that you have to do something with! Sell it or store it - I had only these options because my own home was full and the garage is a no-go zone (husband's man cave). Luckily, with the house looking as great as it did, we received three offers after the first home open, bringing the unexpected bonus of $20,000 more than we anticipated. Thank goodness all the effort finally paid off, but that was the first and last time I attempted to save costs by doing all the work myself!