You’ve been to the sermon; you know the one where it’s preached ad nauseam that your home has to have curb appeal and you should stage your home? While there is proof that these suggestions work, I’m in the pew that believes that every home doesn’t have to look the same. Sometimes after viewing homes, especially newly constructed and remodeled homes, I wonder if I’m on a set from The Stepford Wives. Why do we feel the need to make everything perfect? Why does house A have to have some/most of the features of house B?
Buttercups and dandelions are seen in our yards this time of year- they’re everywhere. Most people consider them to be invasive, noxious weeds and can’t wait to give them a good dose of Vitamin R (Roundup, or an earth friendly equivalent). Some people let the prolific early bloomers bee. No, that’s not a misprint. Buttercups and dandelions are some of the first things that attract bees, and we need bees for pollination. There’s that, so there. Chalk one up for the bees.
And don’t forget wishes-those dandelions grow up to become the very stem of dreams coming true as you blow the seeds into the air. Having curb appeal in the mountains (or anywhere) doesn’t mean homes have golf course turf for a front yard. Behold the imperfections as perfection in itself. We’ve approached the house, taken in the yard, whether it’s natural or heavily landscaped, and now we’re opening the front door. There are plenty of buyers that request to see homes that are in move-in condition, as in they don’t want to have to do a thing but bring a suitcase. While they say that, most of them still yearn to have something to do to the house to make it their own. I think that’s an innate, yet sometimes unspoken prerequisite when buying a home. It’s something a broker picks up during the process. Granted, some new homeowners think changing things up is a new bed comforter, a painting above the fireplace, or a dining room table centerpiece. “Voila! It’s done. Now it’s mine. It’s all me.” And we applaud their efforts every time. It really doesn’t matter what extent they go to make it their own space, it’s the act of making it their own that’s fascinating. As a broker, we get to see that magical moment, the moment when we see the buyer’s light bulb go off. We know at that moment, the buyer is seeing a house with fresh eyes. It’s like one of those futuristic sci-fi movies where changes are being made on a hologram, they’re like Einstein chalking up equations to make a home better for them. It’s a broker’s job to know when to talk, and when to let the buyer’s creativity flow. I’m not talking about tear-downs or homes with major flaws, due diligence periods can help buyers discover and deal with those situations, I’m talking about a buyer’s whim of fancy to have interiors painted, or in some cases, remove the ghastly colors presented, or remove the carpet, or add carpet, put a door where there’s a window, etc.
I believe there are plenty of buttercup and dandelion buyers that crave a little imperfection even though they ask for the opposite. Some brokers claim buyers have no vision, so to attract them to a newly listed home, the seller needs to void the house of color, take every bit of personalization away, change the carpet or rugs to a neutral color, etc. Those same brokers tell their sellers ‘buyers need a blank palette to work with’. One can almost tell when walking in the front door what to expect, because it’s just like every other home you’ve just seen. Sometimes, even staged homes evoke a pretentious vibe that can have an opposite effect of the seller’s intentions. Buyers need to feel at home before they consider making an offer. It’s not only OK, it’s a good thing when a home shows personality because it means the people that are selling found a way to make it their home, but there’s room for a buyer to do the same in their own way. As a buyer or seller, just step away from a Stepford home. Your home should reflect you, and your tastes. In our area, there are plenty of homes on the market with different degrees of dandelions and buttercups, and some pretty amazing, ‘magazine-perfect’ homes too. When choosing a book, we’re told not to judge a book by its cover, and the same idea goes for home shopping. Don’t judge a home by its dandelions and buttercups because there’s a purpose for everything.
Jeannie and Tucker Chambers are owner/brokers of Chambers Realty & Vacation Rentals at 401 N. Fifth Street in Highlands. Contact them at [email protected]