By Ron Wynn
After 30 years in the real estate business, I still hear some of the same things that I’ve heard in the ‘80s and ‘90s.
Imagine three houses, all on the market at the same time; each slightly different in price, size, location, and room count. One house sells the first week with multiple offers, the second house sells at just below the listing price within three weeks, and the third house is still left sitting there with no offers and very few showings. It is easy to blame the real estate agent, but that is rarely the reason.
The purchase of a home is very personal and emotional. People have preferences and not everyone has the same needs, tastes, and concerns.
Take for example a home with narrow hallways, that is a bit dark, and maybe slightly over furnished. It might be impeccable and gorgeous, but it may not appeal to someone who prefers the “beachy and minimalistic look.”
I just represented an owner who is 77 years old. She was smart and extremely practical in her thinking. She hated white because it shows every piece of dust, and thought white looked like a hospital. Her floors and walls were dark accented by heavy Mediterranean furniture. She insisted that her place was gorgeous and move-in perfect. She told me she paid more than $18,000 for custom window coverings and $7,000 for custom shudders upstairs.
Buyers don’t care if it doesn’t meet their desires. Most buyers looking at her place were young enough to be her grandkids. Obviously, they couldn’t relate to her beautifully displayed silver tea set and antique dining room set and crystal light fixtures. My owner told me hardwood floors were cold and noisy to walk on, yet hardwood floors are just what buyers crave.
Another owner told me her windows were all new, but the problem was they were cheap aluminum sliding windows and dated looking French doors as opposed to the Fleetwood disappearing or bi-fold doors that trendsetting people are using in today’s remodels.
Lots of tiny over-furnished rooms, frilly décor, dark brown cabinets, and Home Depot-style granite kitchen counters may look perfect, but that’s not the current look. It’s one thing to be in mint condition, it’s another thing to look “2018 Designer Showplace perfect.”
Pick up a copy of “Home Beautiful” or go to Houzz online or tune into HBO to see what the current look and vibe is all about.
If you’ve lived in your home for 20 years and remodeled it seven years ago, chances are it’s not move-in ready for today’s 35-year-old singles, young couples, or expecting parents. Before saying “my home is perfect”, or “my home is so much better than the home on the next block,” remember that you are speaking for yourself.
Are you the same age, same lifestyle, or sharing the same vision as today’s typical buyer for a place like yours? Your opinion and taste is yours and might not be shared by that many people buying in the area today. Step out of your own way and understand that you are not the buyer. Buyers are impulsive and emotional.
My suggestion is to understand that buyers want space, natural light, a yard, 2 bathrooms, a big kitchen, office space, and nice bedrooms. Quality of workmanship, curb appeal, and location are also big priorities as is modernistic, and an open floor plan enhanced by volume ceilings, and orientation from living spaces to the yard, all on the same level with no stairs going down.