I can write a book about the conversations I’ve overheard from my buyers immediately following a showing. Some comments are more sarcastic: “Who do they think they are—asking so much money for a house like that?” “Who paints a bathroom that color?” There was even the time whereupon leaving a house for sale the buyer walked up close to me and said, “I was told the next door neighbor likes to walk outside unclothed at random times during the day.” For the most part, though, the comments pertain to the more basic issues buyers seek: “I need a bigger master bedroom for all our stuff,” or “We really need at least one garage.”
I recently met a young couple who kept repeating that their children loved playing outdoors. While going through the house, as we entered each room, the mother would look around, take a pause and say: “The backyard just isn’t big enough.” In the kitchen she looked thoughtfully at the countertops and said, “The backyard is not big enough.” In the master bathroom she looked inside the shower window and said, “The backyard is just not big enough.”
It got me thinking about homes that have unique features to them and how much they might add to the value of a home. A nice view, a movie theater in the basement, a park next door—all desirable features, no doubt—but do these things actually make your home more attractive upon a sale?
I’m working with a husband and wife (you know who you are) and they keep going back and forth on this house I’ve been showing them, which has beautiful views of the sunset. The husband is taken by it and can’t think of anything else. He has asked his wife to come back to see the house at least four times and every time we go, he takes her on to the deck and says “Could you picture it? Sitting with a glass of wine watching the sky light up?” I know that he can bring her there 100 more times and it won’t make a difference. She wants a fourth bedroom on the second floor and without that she can’t make it past the front door.
I haven’t actually conducted a study on human behavior and decision making but years of experience should teach us something. From my point of view in the hierarchy of housing needs the idea of practicality seems to be an overarching theme. What everyone wants from their home is that it should not add to our already overstressed routines, but rather help minimize/ease the struggles we face in our day to day lives.
Once these needs have been met…sure! Bring on the double toilets in the master bathroom, add radiant heat to your porch floor to heat your succah in the fall and of course enjoy your sunset balcony, glasses of wine in hand, with your loved one.
But first, you better make sure there’s a large enough coat closet on the first floor!
Nechama Polak is the Broker of Record and Owner of V and N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Ave, Teaneck. [email protected] 201 826 8809.