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Archive for April 5th, 2010

SOLD!

“They’d like to close on the 31st of March,” my realtor told me.
“That’s only 13 days from today,” I replied in a somewhat stupefied state.

After having had my house on the market for ten months and nearly taking it off the market because I was simply tired of waiting, the offer came, and came with a rapidly approaching time line.

Pursuing the sale of my house during the worst economic period in fifty years was a long shot and virtually everyone told me so.  At one point there were seventeen houses on my street for sale.  There were plenty of lookers over the course of those ten months – scores and scores of lookers in fact.

There were plenty of comments too.  “The kitchen is too small”, “the kitchen doesn’t have granite countertops”, “there is no garage”.   While the lookers and realtors continued to point out some of the [perceived] short-comings of the house, I continued to highlight it’s strengths.

Yes, I could have knocked out walls and installed top of the line finishes but instead, over the course of nine years, I focused my efforts on making my house energy efficient and thus a less expensive place to live.  To showcase these items I redesigned the brochure that potential buyers would take with them after viewing my house.

In addition to pointing out these not-so-visible upgrades on the new brochure, I included some history of the area and made mention of the community efforts of the neighbors.  I included the house’s “walk score” and access to public transportation.  I even stated that I’d intentionally left out certain upgrades for cost-saving reasons.  Yes, I admitted in print, that certain amenities had been left out.

Certainly not every home can appeal to every buyer, but I knew that energy-saving upgrades had value, I just had to appeal to the buyer who cared more for their long-term savings than to their subjective approach to visual appeal.  And yes, it often felt like an up-hill battle.

I also felt that it was important for a buyer to understand that in addition to buying a house, they were also buying into a sustainable lifestyle.  Rather than just seeing themselves living in the house, they had to understand that this environment was going to have a positive impact on how they lived within the total environment surrounding the house.

Call it coincidence or call it smarter marketing, but it was the first showing following the placement of the new brochure that led to the offer.

The offer and acceptance led to a whirlwind of activity – namely emptying a two-story house.  Now that I’m settling in to my temporary living arrangement in north-west Columbus (essentially “suburbia”) I’ll have time to continue writing.  And trust me, after a week in suburbia, there is plenty of social commentary coming to the surface.

The new owner of my house began moving in this past weekend.  She called me, in fact.

“Thank you,” she said, “for doing all the work you’ve done over the years.  I really love this house.”

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