I recently got a dose of my own medicine! Many times, when moving into a new home, we decide to renovate to make it our own. In an attempt to keep clients calm, I will always say things like, “It’s not the end of the world!” “It’s only temporary!” or “Once it’s done and the mess is cleaned up, you’re going to love it!”

Those words would haunt me for nearly six weeks. We had purchased a home previously occupied by “hoarders.” Most would have turned and ran when the front door opened. However, it was a great location and the house had a wonderful floor plan.

Fortunately, I could see beyond all the “crap” and dirt hiding in each room. I did make a comment to the listing agent who said, “You should have seen it before I decluttered and cleaned!” I knew there would be lots of work ahead, but could see the end result.

Once all the “crap” was removed and we walked through the house trying to assess what needed to be done… reality set in. Our inspector noted that there was water damage by both back doors which led out to the patio, around the fireplace and in both the master and guest baths. Walls needed major repairs from being lined with a multitude of shelves housing all of their “treasures.” All outdated flooring, cabinets and counters needed to be replaced.

Knowing the stress of living in a “work zone,” I wanted everything or at least most of the work to be done prior to moving in. As luck would have it, our home sold quickly, for cash, so we had to move out sooner than we planned to. Here is when the stress level increased. We know that moving by itself is stressful, but packing one house, working in another and trying to work to pay for it all… “Poor Me!”

I have done enough projects for clients to know that no matter how ready and organized you are… expect the unexpected! Delays with permits, inspections and special orders are common place. Sometimes, when repairing, you find more things to be repaired. Our first instinct as home owners when the unexpected happens is to see $$$ and the stress level go up!

I kept reminding myself of my famous quotes to my clients… yeah right! Who am I kidding? Not having a master bath for four weeks, all upholstery covered with plastic (Grandma, I miss you!) and multiple strangers parading through my home for nearly six weeks does test one’s nerves.

Seeing the wonderful daily progress, I tried to be extra polite to all the workers. Remember, they aren’t there to stress you out, just get the job done as fast as possible. They, too, are probably stressed having a foreman pressuring them to get done and onto the next job.

Once I saw that room by room we were nearing the finish line, the stress level lowered. I kept telling myself, “So you have to walk down the hall to use the guest bath!” “So you’re not able to unbox everything!” “So all the construction dust is like talc and covering everything!” For those of you who have never experienced this, you need to know for your client’s sake.

There are still many foreclosures out there that were stripped and or destroyed or just neglected. If you have clients willing to take on such projects, now you have an idea of what they will be going through. I think encouraging them, but also making them realize it will not be easy, will reflect well on you as an agent. I know your clients will appreciate your honesty, I know I did!

Fortunately, our agent knows me very well and that I’m always ready for a challenge. So, for us, the house itself wasn’t the big issue, but the location was. He found us a great home in a beautiful community in the part of town that we wanted.

Now that we have settled in and all but a few decorating projects are complete, thinking about it, those six weeks went by fast. All of us stress over minor things daily. We need to remember to look at this crazy world that we live in and tell ourselves, “Don’t sweat the small stuff!”