Sometimes Less Is-Well, Just Less
It’s an axiom we’ve all heard countless times, “less is more.” Oft-credited to mid-century modern architect Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, history in fact points to 16th century painter and poet Andrea del Sarto as first to have uttered the phrase (just an interesting factoid).
Anyway, while we can all pretty much agree it’s universally applicable regarding perfume/cologne application, and cranky children on airplanes, it’s a wide open field that’s subject to personal taste on a whole lot of other things.
Except, I might argue-in houses that are for sale. I know, I know, blasphemer! Going against the Mothership (HGTV). And yes, I call myself a Stager (well, sometimes I do…) Just let me pull out my soapbox and explain why it’s true: sometimes, less is…well, just less.
Recent months have shown, both in anecdotal stories and in sales figures that buyers are coming out of the root cellars. They are taking off the tin-foil hats, and they are talking about, looking at, and buying houses. And now that buyers know it’s OK to feel good, they are trending to also wanting nice. Warm. Personality or character. Heart. Life. Energy.
Often our homes are a reflection of what is going on in our life. I can usually tell an owners’ story just by looking at listing photos. And it’s not by special Stager-powers, either-just plain observation.
I think we have heard ‘de-clutter, de-personalize’ for too long. A denuded house is not a prepared house. White walls, little or no decoration, bare windows, dim lighting, a brown lawn, are all sad and uninspiring. It looks like the owner has given up.
Buyers could infer there is a real ‘need’ to sell -i.e. illness, a death, or other hardship in the sellers’ life, inviting low-ball offers. They could also perceive a take-it-or-leave it attitude. And just for the record, picture-perfect, obsessively fuss-ed with, or overly orchestrated spaces can feel intimidating, or fake and brittle.
None of this is appealing to people who are tired of waiting to be happy. Bottom line, buyers might not want to see all your stuff, but they do want to see some stuff. They don’t want to know your story, they want to see what their story could be.
Don’t discount the warm-and-fuzzy side: knowing you cared enough to do their best to make the house about their dreams counts. Don’t believe it? Ask your agent about feedback from showings of under-prepared homes.
In most of my adult life, buying a home had been a positive experience, a step up, a move forward, a choice to feel happy about. Even down-sizing was about lifting a burden of too much house, and freeing up time and funds.
Sellers and REALTORS-you are in a position to fulfill a buyers’ dream. IMO this is a time of great opportunity, and NOW is the time to be in front of this trend. Turn off HGTV, put your misgivings aside, and have this conversation today. Buyers want to be happy, have the house that buyers want.