Friends judging me?(146 Posts)
Am I being overly sensitive or are my friends being insensitive?
I’ve got to sell my much loved house where I’ve raised my kids and where I’ve lived for over two decades. I’m sad about it, but it’s economically unavoidable (bought house from ex when we divorced).
When it comes up my friends (since childhood) look concerned and ask what I need to do to get it ready to sell. Mostly their worried faces are concerned about the garden. I’ll admit it’s not tightly manicured like a show garden with perennial beds that are 50% clean dirt around zinnias. It’s got old roses, lady’s mantle, lilacs, apple trees, lavender etc. I cut the roses twice a year, edge the beds, prune the apple trees every few years. The bushes and plum tree are not shaped, they get whacked back when they’re too big for me.
I think I’m doing pretty well considering I’ve been a single mum for a very long time, kids are now barely grown, I work almost full-time and I’m bloody exhausted.
The friends tend to say “well, people like manicured gardens”, “people might think it needs a lot of work”, “people might be put off by having flower beds to maintain”.
The whole idea of selling and moving is stressful enough, but the tutting is doing my head in. What can I say to cut them off at the pass? And as a side issue, why do people feel the need to offer unasked for judgements on stuff like this?
If you get no offers and the estate agent advises you that the garden is a sticking point then tidy it up. Otherwise don’t bother.
Do they not realise your position with regards selling? That you have to?
You have my sympathy, it must be wrenching having to sell when you don’t want to.
Maybe they are trying to offer practical advice when really all you want is an ear. They might feel they are being helpful and need to say something.
I wouldn’t massively appreciate it either.
Seems like a weird thing to fixate on. Unless it's a jungle with a few old cars scattered about most people just look at size and aspect of the garden and mainly focus on the house don't they?
Ask your Estate Agent about the garden, follow her/his advice and ignore your friends. It's pretty insensitive of them but some people just can't resist giving advice whether asked for or not. It's horrible to have to sell your home when you don't want to, I would hope for a bit more support.
Some people seem to be funny about gardens. When we were buying, we were specifically looking for a house with a decent garden and estate agents basically kept telling us we weren't! One was so rude about gardening as a hobby when we told him.a house we were being shown round wasn't right because of the lack of garden that we avoided his agency from then on!!
Fortunately for you, OP, there are also plenty of people like us for whom the garden would be a big attraction.
If your friends are so concerned, invite them round to style your garden/ weeding bee./ Gits.
Tell them you're going with what your EA says: rinse and repeat.
Second what pasbeaucoupdegendarm
Thanks so much, all, I worried I was a tiny minority in a sea of “people just want a rectangle of grass” potential home buyers.
And one friend went on and on about how I’d have to clear off the back porch and paint the floor. It’s literally a metre square.
It just makes me feel that my friends (who unlike me all have solid incomes, were never single mums, and have all inherited shares of houses along with their siblings - I’ll never inherit as my dad died, leaving my mum to sell her house repeatedly, losing money every time, and then had the remaining smidge stolen by an unscrupulous relative), that they’re judging me and thinking “why isn’t the house in perfect condition ?”, “why doesn’t she pay a gardener or do it herself?”, “why is she being low income and making us uncomfortable?”
I honestly do care for them and they have lots of lovely qualities. But they don’t seem to be trying very hard to understand my position. And despite me saying no and giving details they all keep saying “ooh, you’ll have a nest egg when you sell!” Er, no, for the unpteenth time, I’m selling because I can’t afford the mortgage. I’ll but somewhere smaller in a cheaper neighbourhood, and still have a mortgage, albeit smaller.
And the garden is massively private, which I think is a selling feature. No-one ever says positive stuff like “people will love the privacy and the sunrises”. And ya, not a soul has offered to garden, just looked worried about my slacking.
That would really wind me up, OP. When my parents were doing this I said something about all their "unsolicited, ill-informed advice" and they backed off.
I have a horror of offending people, but I think I do need to say something. I think repeating that the estate agent says it’s fine maybe. The woman next door has one of those gardens where not a twig is out of place. It’s nice, though I’d actually find that type of garden a bit intimidating/sterile. I don’t think there’s just one taste. I’ve been looking at loads of houses and find it more difficult to imagine myself in homes where the agent has suggested it be divested of all family photos and personal trinkets. Other buyers are just the opposite.
I’m just quite worn out from 15 years of single parenting (I had sole custody) without any help from friends and family, so having people imply that there’s something wrong with my much-loved home is getting to me (perhaps more than it should).
We’ll be selling in the spring and at that point I’ll try to find temporary homes for maybe half the books and our too-many armchairs and bookcases. But in the meantime I like it like this and so it’s also not helpful to squint at my lounge and hall and say “mmm, what about the books though?” I doubt any of them want boxes of my books 6 months ahead of trying to sell the house!
I assume your friends will be turning up with trowels and spades being as they're so concerned OP?
As long as the weeds are kept down and the lawn is cut, I don't think anyone will be too concerned.
It's the time of year where most gardens are beginning to look past their best anyway now.
As long as the basics are done then I wouldn't worry.
Thanks I pop out once a month in the summer and use a tool to dig out dandelions. There’s a fair bit of moss in the own but that’s common here. We mow it and edge it. In the back flower beds grass tried to get a hold but I yank it out periodically. There’s loads of lovely flowers from April-August. But it definitely doesn’t look like an avid gardener’s been at it.
Moss in the lawn, not own! Autocorrect is vigilant (but a bit crap).
One of the things I hate most in life is having people coming over, and them starting every sentence with "you need to..." when I'm already going through a stressful time.
Sorry your friends are being so annoying. I'm sure your garden is fine. Hope it all works out OK for you.
Are you worried about the garden? Either take a day off work and cut it back or search Facebook for one of those local garden/handymen types who’ll do it for £100.
I would be utterly put off by a sterile rectangle of lawn. For me, that’s one step up from concreting it over. Your garden sounds very appealing, OP — the fruit trees especially — and must be a bird and bee haven. Your friends presumably just have different aesthetic style and like bare work surfaces, laminate and artificial grass. You might need to point out that not everyone shares their taste.
I like the sound of your garden OP, when we bought ours it was very clinical immaculate lawn camelias cut into box hedges! I've spent the last few years undoing that, planting wildflowers, coaxing the rhododendron out of its straight lines, letting the cherry tree have s more natural shape, digging out a veggie patch. We have bees and butterflies galore, plenty of garden birds despite a cat, a pair of squirrels now. I'm sure if the previous owner came back he'd be horrified but I love it.
Oh I also like rugs, throws, colour, texture, antique furniture. Plenty of my friends live in sterile grey box new builds, furnished by ikea and next with a square of lawn, no planting, one has astro turf that she hoovers . I would hate that.
It sounds like a lovely house. How long have you got on the mortgage. They normally go down relative to earnings over time. Can you manage not to sell - maybe take on an extra income generating line for a while ?
I think your feelings about selling are making you over react
If these are otherwise good friends they are trying to be helpful, you do sound bit bitter and jealous which is understandable
How bad is it? Without seeing it it’s hard to tell whether your friends concern is warranted.
It’s rude for people to comment if you haven’t brought it up: it’s similar to commenting on an ancient kitchen or bathroom.
I don’t think it’s necessarily rude to comment to a long standing friend especially if they know you’re going to be trying to sell the house. If anything it would be weird not to say anything ( depending how bad it was ) in their shoes I would have offered to help a friend with their garden though.
OP ask the agent for any advice about the property as a whole but if the garden is tidy I’m sure they will tell you to concentrate on the house. Make sure it’s clean, uncluttered and as light and bright as possible.
Good luck with a smooth move and a more secure future.
BTW I love a mature garden and would view this as a plus even if it did need a bit of work in the future.
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