Someone recently asked me, “Why are you spending so much time working on your house if you’re planning to sell? Don’t you think you should probably just hurry up and list?” They were referring to my basement painting/dining room purging/kitchen re-doing/nursery staging/overall house prettying attempts. And I completely understand their curiosity – this does seem a bit like house-selling overkill. I totally get that.
But here’s the truth: our house isn’t perfect. At all. The roof on the garage needs replacing. The windows are archaic and need to be updated. Despite diligent litter scooping, the basement still retains a slight air of “eu de kitty” (it’s simply an unavoidable cat-owning evil.) The chimney desperately needs to be re-pointed. And there are some questionable-looking spots on our foundation that could possibly raise a few eyebrows (despite that our basement has never ever ever ever leaked.) (KNOCK ON WOOD.)
So, recognizing all of these flaws, my strategy is this: MAKE THEM FALL IN LOVE WITH THE HOUSE. Make them adore the house. So much so that they overlook the blemishes, because they can’t see themselves living anywhere else. Because they NEED our cute little 1940s house.
This isn’t some amazing revelation I’ve come up with on my own. I’ve done my HGTV research. I’ve watched enough episodes of House Hunters and Property Virgins and other house-buying shows to know how this all works. The plot goes like this: Possible Buyers enter house. Possible Buyers have an initial emotional response to the house. If the walls are painted odd colours or if the baseboards look nasty, the emotional response is a poor one and Possible Buyers make faces and start looking for other reasons to dislike the house. If the house is appealing and pretty and attractive, Possible Buyers regard any problems as minor issues that can be easily resolved in the future. Then we cut to a shot of them signing papers. And then we see Possible Buyers (now New Home Owners) two months later, happy and all moved into the house and gushing about how wonderful it is.
Thusly, our house needs to be absolutely perfect from a cosmetic standpoint when we list, because that’s what buyers fall in love with. They don’t fall in love with a perfect foundation or fancy new windows. They fall in love with paint colours and pretty decor and the overall emotion that they feel when they step into a house for the first time.
HGTV told me so.