Homes have feelings, too…
There were 60 single family residential home sales in the towns covered by this report in November, 2011. That’s just off the 63 sales last November although the average price was down from $365,623 to just $263,025. There was only one sale over the million dollar mark last month compared to five in November 2010 which contributed to that significant drop in the average sales price. Sales under $200,000 continue to make up over 50% of the transactions while the $300-400,000 range is still struggling badly. Year to date, our total sales are off by just thirty transactions from last year and the average sales price is down from $316,914 to $306,504. It looks like it will take a Christmas Miracle to beat last year’s numbers.
I don’t know if you have ever noticed, but homes have feelings, too. I’m not suggesting that houses can be happy or sad, although I am sure some feel neglected and abused. What I am really talking about is how a home feels and the feelings you get from the property while you are there. It’s something we all experience, but probably don’t think about much. I got thinking about it a couple of weeks ago when I previewed a property that two of my associates have listed in North Hampton, NH. This property consists of 55 acres of beautiful fields, a caretaker’s cottage, a huge three story barn built in the 1800’s, a 60′ x 80′ storage barn, various other out buildings, and a Royal Barry Wills designed, 4000′ square foot, four bedroom cape. You begin to get the feel of the property when you first drive onto the lot, but it is the home itself that stood out to me.
Royal Barry Wills was an architect who was born in Melrose, Mass in 1895 and opened an architectural firm in Boston in 1925. Over the years he was involved in more than 2,500 home projects either as a builder or as the architect. In 1946, Life magazine proclaimed him to be responsible for “designing the kind of house most Americans want.” He was probably most famous for his cape style design which created a more spacious and user friendly interior than the traditional New England cape. These capes also featured larger living rooms, kitchens, and bedrooms as well as the addition of wings for family rooms, dens, screened porches, or garages. There was always a large center chimney fireplace and often multiple fireplaces throughout the home. The exterior utilized graduated clapboards, large 12 over 12 pane windows, a lower pitched roof, small dormers, and detailed front entries.
We have a number of Royal Barry Wills homes in the Laconia area and the thing that struck me when I went into the North Hampton home is that they all “feel” the same. You get the “feel” underfoot of a solidly constructed home that was well designed and thought out. But you also have “feelings” of being in the grander surroundings of a simpler time. You feel that you are in a high quality home even though the design or materials might be slightly dated by today’s standards. The “feel” and the “feelings” you get in one of these homes is quite different than you would get in a newer colonial or ranch.
All homes evoke certain feelings. You can the feel quality, comfort, charm, serenity, warmth, character, and personality of every home you go in. You can also definitely feel the lack thereof. A home devoid of feelings is a pretty hard sell. Home buyers know when they find a home that “feels” right to them both physically and emotionally. Buyers have to connect on an emotional level with a property before they buy it. Seller’s need to recognize that as well and strive to make their home “connectable” to the buying public especially in this market.
If you are selling your property, the holidays are a great time of year to enhance how your home feels. Your home is decorated in its finest, the tree is lit up, you’ve got a fire going in the hearth, and it’s warm and inviting. Homes have a great feel during the holidays. Try and carry that feeling throughout the rest of the year. It could just help you make a sale! Merry Christmas!