Thursday, January 22, 2015

People....perceptions...and organization

Thanks for everyone's thoughts on yesterday's post.  Honestly, I was a little surprised.  As I said in a comment...I really wonder if the issue is a regional one.  But I will definitely take advice for when I am no longer in this region!!! 


We have had a few showings this month on the house.  My feeling is that people who are interested in buying a home this year all said "oh, we will start looking after the first of the year."  And here we are.  None of these buyers are OUR buyer, but we have learned a few things.

1)  People are messy.  The first showing left us with dirty feet prints all over my downstairs.  Even though we have a door mat, they didn't wipe their feet (or did a poor job).  I came home to my freshly mopped and vacuumed home covered with shoe prints and dirt.  We now have shoe booties....not because my house is so elite that people can't walk in it...but if I am going to take the time to clean my home....I would like it to stay that way for longer than 15 min.  However...booties backfired a bit on showing #2...when they left their dirty booties on my radiator.  *sigh*

2)  People don't understand older homes.  Our house was built in 1910....which means it wasn't built with modern furniture and "stuff" in mind.  It is a challenge sometimes.  You buy this house because it has the original stained glass window and floors....because you like the charm of an older home.  Don't confuse "older home" with "old."   I am fully aware that the kitchen needs updating by today's trends.  But that can be changed, if you choose to do so.

And closets....closets were not as prevalent in 1910.  The closets in the kids' rooms were both "add-ons" that the previous owner did.  Our bedroom doesn't have a closet (we share with Bossy, and use the landing area for the attic walk-up).  You can certainly build a closet in there...but the room is small to start with (again....made even smaller by the size of modern furniture).  But no, it doesn't have a closet.  Bossy's room is the same dimensions as ours...feel free to use that bedroom as the master bedroom if you wish.

3)  Perception is a HUGE thing.  The second buyer liked the house but was turned off by the "crumbling supports."  What crumbling supports?  Oh wait....

In our basement, someone many moons ago (at least 2 owners ago that we know of by report) placed a parge coat around the chimney.  Because it is a damp basement (and always has been...), the cement has loosened over the years and is not fully intact.  The previous owner chose not to repair the mortar on the chimney....and just hide it.  The STRUCTURE is fine...the finish is crumbling.

But the buyer saw this as a structural problem.  We know it isn't structural....our inspection report from 2001 when we bought the house said so.  How do I know this....

4)  Organization for the win!!!  While discussing the "crumbling supports," with our realtor...he asked if we happen to still have the report.  Um, probably....packed in a box.  So I went to the attic, pulled apart our lovely pile of boxes, and looked for the box.  I had an idea of what I was looking was a file where I kept all of the papers that went with the purchase of this house.  It has the original mortgage papers, reports, correspondence.  So I had to look for the box that was labeled OFFICE, and FILE "some year span that included 2001".  Less than 5 minutes later...I found the box and e-mailed the realtor.  Go me!

5) The pool.  We knew there was a chance that the pool would be an issue.  Buyer #1 had said they wanted the pool taken down.  We already knew that taking the pool down creates A LOT of issues (the sand under the pool, having to re-grade the yard, removal of electrical, removal of cemented in posts, adding a rail to the deck....).  So we researched the cost associated with just removing the pool....and disposing of it.  Nothing else.  If this comes up in an offer, we will say we will credit them $500 for THEM to remove the pool (or hire someone to do it).  We have estimates that support that number.  They can deal with the mess after.

Oh, and it is winter...the pool is frozen.  It can't be done until the spring anyway.

I will be so happy to put all of this behind us!!!


  1. Yes, selling is crazy! Here where I live, almost everything HAS to be upgraded. Then the inspection reports can kill a deal in a second with no negotiations. I hope, hope, hope that you find that buyer that loves the charm of an older home sooner than later. They are out there!

    1. We weren't expecting much over the no biggie. We have already been told by another buyer that they wanted a move in ready home....aka, already upgraded.

  2. How rude that people would not take their shoes off.

    There isn't much you can do to change people's perceptions. I suppose you stage your house to minimize what might be an issue but even then HGTV has even middle class people thinking they "need" granite counters, walk in closets the size of bedrooms) and heated floors. Hard to change those mindsets. Your buyer will be someone who wants a century home and will appreciate and understand what homes that age offer. Don't despair.....the right buyer is out there. Spring is prime time and it is coming :).

    1. Don't even get me started on HGTV. I love watching it...but yes, it has skewed the perception of what you need.

  3. YA I'm totally that buyer you don't want lol. Our house is 11 years old and I'm ready freaking out because to me that's old LOL I love space and organization... how did people live without closets 100 years ago?!


    1. But if you know that about won't come look at my house!

    2. You never know, if I had a job offer in the area and it was close to work and you had the right price then I would totally be looking at your house. Sacrifices can be made, I would totally be willing to give up my closets and old house for a better job with higher pay etc. Not sure I could handle the cold though...the weather was 73 and sunny here last weekend.

    3. People did not have all the possessions that we have now. We are a possession driven society, back then, they had work clothes and one good outfit. It fit in the closets.
      What people NEED vs WANT is a very different story.

  4. Replies
    1. Wanna buy a house? Lol. We also have all original windows, casings, and hard wood floors in the attic!

  5. 1) Can you get them slippers, Japanese-style? Some people just dont want people using their shoes inside their houses, and that's a reasonable request. It would also show you care about the house.
    2) I've lived in mostly "newer" houses, so I can't relate... I guess I too would be a bit startled by an awkward room, but if the layout is good, things can be worked on.
    3) Quite true!
    4) Woot! That's fantastic that you kept something like that! I started to keep track of my documents as of a few years ago, so I'd be out of luck.
    5) I think your proposition to them is a good one. I mean, while they dont want the pool, for someone else, it may be the selling point! Good luck.