Author: Rainy Hake, Executive Vice President, Alain Pinel Realtors
This article ran in the February 21st, 2014 Palo Alto Daily News publication Premier Homes, pg 10.
While “crush” and “love” are words usually used in the context of relationships – they can apply to homes as well. In fact, according to a poll conducted by Realtor.com, the process of buying a home can surprisingly mirror the quest for love. In their search for the one, prospective homebuyers develop “home crushes” on properties they see online or in person – they think about them and are anxious to get another peek.
If you’ve been through the home buying process, you’re probably familiar with this – and you’re not alone. Of the 1,000 people in the poll, 69 percent said they had a “home crush” and were drawn back to looking at it more than once.
Not unlike romance – the poll also showed some differences between the sexes when it came to their crushes. Women (41%) were more likely than men (30%) to develop crushes on homes that were out of their price range. Men were also more likely to move on quickly – 36% said they develop new home crushes weekly, whereas only 29% of women reported the same.
However, both men and women were able to agree on the top attribute that make them fall in “love” – 54 percent of women and 46 percent of men identified outdoor living spaces. For men, the next most alluring attributes included garages (40%), curb appeal (35%), and open floor plans (30%). Attributes identified by women only differed slightly with open floor plans (42%), curb appeal (29%), and updated appliances and fixtures (29%) finishing out their list.
While the statistics are fun, there are some lessons for both buyers and sellers can take away from the poll. The first and foremost is to just be aware that these types of emotional and personal connections can develop. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but much like teenage crushes, they can sometimes cloud your judgment.
For buyers, this can become especially true if you are not clear about your needs and goals. A flashy kitchen might lead to a crush on a home that completely falls outside your budget or does not meet your other requirements. That breathtaking pool you are still thinking about might make you overlook the much more practical property you look at a few days later.
For sellers, a personal attachment to our home might prevent us from being objective about price, staging or other parts of the selling process. In addition, we want to maximize the potential for others to develop crushes on our home. Here are 5 tips to prepare your house to make it more “crushable”:
- De-Clutter and De-Personalize: While your stuff might make the home endearing to you, it often prevents others from seeing themselves in your home.
- Appliances and Finishes: Updating appliances and finishes is an easy way to add some polish to your home.
- Curb Appeal: It matters to everyone, because it is what most people see of your home. Having a landscaper come in and applying a fresh coat of paint makes your home more lovable.
- Smart Staging: This means both inside and outside – if outdoor living is the top appeal, make sure you’ve staged your back patio and yard too!
- Pricing it Right: Don’t allow your personal feelings about your home get in the way of setting a market-appropriate price.
Whether you are a buyer or seller, the process is an emotional one – and part of that has to do with the fact we fall in love with homes. For buyers, it is the immediate crush that develops when you see the perfect breakfast nook where you can imagine drinking your morning coffee. For sellers, it is the memories you and your family have created in the living room you’re saying goodbye to. It is these attachments that make it so important to work with a skilled agent. You need an objective party with their eye on your goals, needs, and budget while gently seeing you through your crushes, maybe comforting you through some heartbreak, and appreciating the connections you make with homes.
About Author:Rainy Hake currently serves as the Executive Vice President of Alain Pinel Realtors where she plays a role in managing the strategic direction of the company, and also oversees the Marketing, Technology, Training and Strategy departments. She has over 15 years of experience in the real estate industry and holds and MBA from the University of Oxford.