Thursday, November 29, 2007

Where's the romance?

Tonight I hosted an open home buyers preview evening for a new property I have listed. It is by invitation only, with a couple of bottles of wine and a cheese platter.

This event has a number of benefits. It makes our buyers feel special. It cuts down on the intrusion on the sellers. And most importantly, it brings emotion into the process. The idea is if the buyers have a glass of wine and a relaxed, social atmosphere, they might start to imagine what it would be like when they are entertaining their family and friends. It turns the house into a home.

At least, that is the idea. It seems the buyers of Hobart have lost the romance.

When I go into a house, I immediately start imagining myself living there. How does the house suit my lifestyle? What are the features that would make my life better? How does it make me feel? Can I picture this being my home? Where would my furniture fit?

The house I was showing is a wonderful house for imagination and emotion. It is open, sunny, warm, big windows, wonderful view, massive kitchen, well designed, with 1940's aesthetics. Walking through the front door, you immediately sense the possibilities for a range of buyers. An older couple could love it, a family with young kids, a family with teenagers, or a professional couple who love entertaining. It's a blank slate. I love it, and if I had $450,000, I'd make it mine.

So I was surprised and saddened when the people who came through only noticed the minor faults and not the potential. They saw a crack in the wall, not the family together around the tv. They saw dated tiles in the bathroom, not a barbeque on the deck. They saw peeling paint on the window sills, not the view through the window. They saw a messy yard, not a secret garden for a child's swing. They saw trees that needed pruning, not a shady spot for a hammock in summer.

Where is the romance?


Anonymous said...

So many bad decisions are made under the influence of those romantic feelings though!!! It sounds a jolly good plan for selling houses but houses are so expensive and whilst cracks in the walls are just little things they don't really lead to romantic evenings together when your house has to be underpinned for subsidence!!

Ooops I am not much of a romantic am I? I'm not even South African or German either.

Seriously though - I think I always know the minute I go into a house whether it is the one for me. I just know. And no amount (well, maybe very large amounts???) of wine would persuade me otherwise.

Ann said...

I think people are just pessimistic and expect more than they used to. If they buy something, it better be perfect and the best.


House romance is why you're the realtor; house critic is the guy who's shelling out $450 K on a house and expects not to have to do his own cosmetic surgery on the place. I agree with RB that most people fall in love with a house immediately. If you're seeing the flaws you're not in love.

Nerevised said...

I'm not advocating cuddling up in front of an open fireplace while the chimney falls on your head. Simply observing that choosing a home is one of the most emotionally charged decisions you make in your life, and it is interesting to observe other people's methods. There is nothing wrong with any house that price won't fix, but you can't put a price on walking through the front door and knowing instantly if it is the one for you. Anyway, I sold the house today. Someone loves it.

Radioactive Jam said...

A home buyer ought to mix and balance the romantic and critical views; your preview evening seems like a good way to encourage both aspects.

And congratulations on the sale.

Linda said...

Oh, I'm a Realtor too here in the US. I've noticed a sad trend in buyers lately that they have absolutely NO imagination. The house has to be completely "done" or dirt cheap.