I showed houses this past weekend to two separate families in two separate price ranges. Both families are working from two separate wants/needs lists, both have different limits and constraints.
And . . . even in a time of year with a lean inventory (166 homes on the market), there are still a lot of homes to look at . . . a lot to choose from. One family found a home this weekend, one is still looking.
So . . . I have seen this scenario several times now, the list, the wants, the pros and cons with houses and buyers. What makes this house . . . THE house? What strange brew of factors makes the heart beat faster . . . what ingredients must a house possess to give off the right vibe, the good vibe, the vibe that makes it a home, not just a house.
“This is a happy house.”
“This house has a good feeling to it.”
“This house has a good soul.”
The home may not be the floorplan the buyer was looking for or the size, or the price . . . but that feeling, that emotional reaction has made buyers put more pens to paper than any other nexus of wants or needs they might be searching for.
Is it the decorating? Is it the light? Is it the smell? Is it the quality construction? Yes, sometimes. But other times, no. The vibe, quite frankly, is hard to define.
We sold out house in CA in 2007, in a bad market. We had a what I considered an atypical house in that it was a large two bedroom, two bath house on a large lot. It was hard to price. For the eight years I lived there, I worried that it would be a tough sell because it was essentially set up as a family home, but only had two bedrooms. However, during those eight years, we put a lot of love and sweat into that house and made it quite charming, inviting, and comfortable. When the agents from my office came through my house I was exhausted and nervous. Nervous about the price we had listed the house at, nervous it would not sell, nervous it was not clean enough, etc. I had three other homes in escrow, my husband was already living in Seattle, it was my daughter’s birthday and I was fried emotionally.
However, standing there in my living room, an agent I trusted turned around and said, quite frankly “this is a happy house, this will sell.” My heart fluttered. Somehow, despite the amount of stress billowing out of me and my family at that time, my house had given off the vibe. As the biased owner of the house, I could not be the one to detect it and it certainly was not going to give off that vibe to everyone, but the first weekend it hit the market we had three offers.
Yes, often it is hard for me to figure out exactly what my buyers are looking for. I listen (I really do) I think, I rehash their lists, I bore my husband with my real estate musings. Often times I think I have delivered up just what they ordered, only to get a flat, non-excited, nope, this-is-not-the-house-we-are-looking-for reaction. Conversely, more than once, we have pulled into a driveway of a house on our tour, last minute, because time permitted, a house that did not fit the wants and needs list. And yes, you guessed it, that look appears on their faces, that twinkle in their eye . . . I can tell the vibe is coursing through their bodies.
The house on the busy corner, the house that is 500 square feet smaller than they said they would ever stand for, the house that is $30K more than they wanted to spend has the vibe. I have to remind myself that the vibe trumps the list every time.