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Tuesday, March 2, 2010

"Treasured By Long-Time Owner"

Does it Matter How Sellers Feel About Their Homes?

"Pride of ownership." "Well-loved home." "Long-time family home."

It's not hard to find literally thousands of listings in the Twin Cities today that use these -- or similar phrases -- to convey to prospective Buyers how much the Sellers are attached to their home.

Which begs the obvious question: so what?

Or to put it in slightly less stark terms, "does it really matter how the Sellers feel about their home?"

I think it does, for two reasons:

One. Buying a home is an emotional experience for many Buyers, who understandably want to move into a home with "good karma."

When that's present -- along with an attractive price, updates, a nice floor plan, etc. -- it promotes that intangible bond that Buyers need to feel before they decide to make an offer.

Two. Sellers who love their homes usually take good care of them.

No one washes a rental car, as they say, but they wash their own!

How much more important is that proprietary mindset for an asset, like a home, that costs 5x-50x more?

While Buyers rightly depend on a professional inspection to determine a home's condition (and secondarily, the Seller's state-mandated disclosure), most people get an immediate vibe about whether a home's been kept up or not.

The vast majority of the time, homes that trumpet the Seller's "pride of ownership" (or the equivalent) are.

Which is not to say that "kept up" is the same thing as "updated."

If there's a downside to homes that market the Seller's emotional ties, it's usually that they're trying to gloss over the fact that the home hasn't been updated in years . . . or decades.

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