(Written shortly after putting the house on the market)
What was he thinking when he made the appointment???
Our decision to downsize and put the house on the market was painful. We realized everything we were committing to: getting rid of stuff, deciding which furniture would fit in a condo, and breaking it to our 27-year-old son that his childhood home and basketball court were going away. But we knew it was the right decision.
We thought it would be easy to sell this home we still loved. A younger family would walk in, just as we did, and fall in love with the open floor plan, recently refinished kitchen, screened-in porch, wood moldings, Roman fireplace, and abundant natural light. Historic, well-kept-up, architecturally significant home in a village synonymous with architecture.
It would be love and earnest money at first sight.
We’d lived on the block for 20 years. Our son grew from a delightful second grader into a teenager and then a grown man, with Friday-night sleepovers, block parties and neighborhood capture-the-flag games embedded in his memory. I listened to those neighborhood games through my 3rd floor office window, and later shared the day’s victories and defeats with my wife over wine on the screened-in porch. I can still hear the echoes on the block and throughout the house.
This block and this house were our Camelot, where the rain would never fall ’til after sundown. Life was perfect here.
But we quickly realized that 30-somethings view things differently than we do. (Who would’ve thought that???) They might look at this beautiful historic home and see something else.
For starters, there are the old bathrooms. They look like… old bathrooms. (We prefer the word vintage.) And yes, there are places in need of paint, and some stucco work.
But to say on the feedback form that this is a project house… really? What was that guy thinking when he made the appointment? That this was Naperville???
When our perceptions of our home come up against other people’s perceptions, the collision can be painful.
Everyone doesn’t experience Camelot when they drive up the tree-lined street and walk into this house. They see big old homes. Maintenance costs. Real estate taxes. An expensive project house.
And 30-somethings are probably looking for something different than we were looking for 20 years ago. They’re looking to find the most house for the least money. They’re looking to buy low and sell high.
Nothing wrong with that, I suppose. It’s a smart way to invest. Maybe even a smart way to shop for a home.
It’s just different from our experience. We were looking for a comfortable home we would enjoy entertaining in, a neighborhood our family would love, a house that would cause our heart to beat faster every time we drove past it. We found that house, and we knew it the second we walked in the front door. It was love – and earnest money – at first sight.
So maybe we need to recalibrate. It might take longer than we thought to sell the house. Longer for the right family to walk in the front door, see what we saw, and know that this is the house.
We can wait.