Barbara's Blog: Can St. Joseph Help Sell House?

This morning was nerve-wracking; something went wrong and I didn't know I was live on air until a voice in my ear shouted "START TALKING." So I did, and as you saw the place is looking fabulous.

Sunday is getting too close for comfort and of course I am getting worried. I worry about most things I can't control. I keep reassuring myself that I only need one real buyer and everything will be all right.

Thankfully I've had a lot of help. Toms River is a great little town, and everyone we've met has been so kind to us. We've been running everyone ragged with all of our schemes and they just keep surprising us with their kindness.

Probably the nicest person in Toms River and maybe the whole state of New Jersey, is Elizabeth Engle of Keller William Realty, the broker working with the Freunds. I can't thank her enough for all her help.

If you were out and about in Toms River earlier today you may have seen me being yelled at outside your local Target store. I was trying to put one of our signs up but the staff weren't happy.

If you didn't see me, perhaps you saw my colleague, Lauren, being blown off a traffic island by a particularly violent gust of wind. How are we supposed to put signs around the town when even Mother Nature herself stands in our way?


I've been staring at my newly constructed bid box for the last hour imagining it full of bids.

Back in the office the team have been trying to find cleaners who are willing work this Saturday for very little pay and for a very long time. Who knew something so simple could take so long?

There isn't a cleaner in Toms River who isn't either booked up or willing to work weekends. As a last resort we are have placed an ad on Craigslist asking for anyone willing to clean.

To add insult to injury, late Friday afternoon, I told Caryn she has to find me a DJ by Sunday morning.

Simon thought he was finally done with those signs but I rattled him back into action this morning. He made his 43rd trip of the week to Kinkos and had another 200 flyers made. I fear if I say the word "sign" to him one more time, he'll (re)sign.

Meanwhile, I must replace my 12-year-old alarm clock.

My husband, Bill, had the treat of a lifetime this morning when my curvaceous make-up lady, Kim, crept into our bedroom and roused us from our slumbers. It was 4:15AM, but Bill thought it was worth it.

Sept. 29 --

Question: How do you sell a house that has been used and abused by a family with three boys, two fluffy cats, and thousands of memories over three decades?

Answer: You stage it!

People don't want to see somebody else's house, they want to see their own future house and, as sensitively as possible, we had to remove Cliff, Ginny, the boys, and the imprint of those cats from Deer Hollow Drive.

We put ourselves in the place of the buyer. Who are they and what are they looking for? This is a family neighborhood, and the house has plenty of bedrooms so chances are it would be attractive to a young couple/family.

With this information in mind we set about invigorating this ol' house.

Last night the brokers outdid themselves offering the services of their families as well as their own. Fifteen people worked their fingers to the bone till 9 p.m. getting the place straight.

The son's room has been stripped of all its masculinity and painted a bright and breezy yellow. Lamps now sit neatly atop bedside tables, and a cute valance frames the bed.

Whilst things were going swimmingly indoors, the exterior of the house was an entirely different story. The cracks between the bricks outdoors were something of an eyesore, so Lauren thought a daubing of cement might make them look a bit cleaner.

Unfortunately, half the cement ended up on the bricks rather than between them. In a panic, we thought a splash of white paint might mend the damage, but through a series of miscommunications the brokers ended up painting everything white -- every step, every square inch of patio and driveway, and every path connecting them.

Instead of a fresh-looking house, we now have a blinding reproduction of Santa's homeland in the middle of New Jersey.

The remedy we have come up with is to wait for the white paint to dry then repaint everything a more acceptable tan color. I dread to think what the neighbors must be thinking.

Other than this slight setback, things are proceeding according to plan. The kitchen is spotless and entirely de-cluttered. We hung a three-tiered fruit bowl from the ceiling and filled it with the freshest-looking fruit we could find.

Every room has a bunch of flowers, and the bathroom and kitchen have been recaulked.

We are counting down our final hours before the big sale! Someone called us today from Phoenix to offer a St. Joseph statue. He's the patron saint of home sellers. We'll bury him Saturday for good luck. It can't hurt, right?


Sept. 28 --

Summer is most definitely over at my office.

I have teamed up with "Good Morning America" for the challenge of a lifetime as we try to sell an all-American house in just one week.

And not just any old house, a house that has been sitting on the market for six months!

Preparing the house for sale has been like preparing for a wedding.

There are a million petty little details that each us are supposed to remember, but that all of us want to forget.

How large should the banner be? What are we buying from Target? Who is driving us home?

The house is about 90 miles from where most of my team lives -- that's a lot of show tunes on the road this week!

The budget constraints make things all the harder. Anything is possible with enough money, but to make this challenge more realistic we have to keep the spending down to an absolute minimum.

One of my team members, Lauren, has drafted her mother -- an interior designer willing to work for free -- and I have drafted a friend, Zara, into the fray.

Zara has scrubbed the house so much you can see your face in it.

The Realtors have been used as workhorses to carry furniture back and forth.

They've also blasted 27 years of grime off the floors with compressed water. Office boy Simon has been chief in charge of those bright-yellow signs you've seen on the show.

Each time he thought he had them right I redesigned them. (Oops!)

When they were all finally, finally, right, the price was reduced, so they all needed doing again.

Sage advice for anyone considering an undertaking of this sort: Decide the price and design prior to having signs printed.

We are thinking about getting a hot-dog stand for our big open house on Sunday.

We're hoping that the residents of Tom's River, N.J., will clamor for our juicy franks so much that the smell will go to their heads and one of them will drop $339K on the house.

Our homeowners are shocked by our busy bees working around the clock to whip this house into shape for the big Sunday sale!

Everyone is chipping in, and we are racing against the clock.

We've got a billboard, car magnets, and signs all over town. … We're even putting a picture of the house online with Elvis out front.

Who won't want to buy a house that Elvis endorses?

Friday: Dramatic before-and-after shots: A house makeover on a shoestring budget!