During a showing at my house on Sunday, I checked out the competition* at an open house. That was a disheartening decision.
The day after my house went on the market, another Victorian a few blocks south was listed for $6,000 more than mine. In many ways, I like my home more. The competition has what I think are asbestos shingles from the 1940s or ’50s (I can’t be sure – but they look a lot like the shingles on my grandparents’ house); mine is brick. And, I think my exterior paint job and curb appeal is much better.
But walk inside, and the competition without question wins the aesthetic first-impression race. There’s a larger entrance hall that runs the length of the house (and back stairs; I love back stairs), a lovely and spacious dining room that opens to the kitchen hall and living room, and a much larger kitchen than mine, with new cabinets and countertops – and more of both. While I’d not have selected those cabinets or countertops (and I prefer my tile floor over the vinyl installed there), there’s no arguing that kitchen is more aesthetically appealing – and the larger space helps to reinforce that.
Go upstairs, and my house is nicer (or maybe not…it’s so hard to tell, but I like my second and third floor better). But the competition has four full bathrooms; never mind that two of them need redoing – there’s four of them. As a single woman without kids, I don’t need four full baths, so to me, that reads as “work.” But I can certainly understand the appeal.
My yard has a nice garden with a bluestone patio (those stones are really heavy, BTW); the competition has a grass-filled backyard with little visual interest or variety. But there’s a driveway.
I also have an almost brand-new electric panel with plenty of room for expansion, newly lined box gutters, newer windows with a high R-value, a new high-efficiency furnace…all things that cost a lot and are necessary. But none of that appeals to the emotions. And I know from looking myself that emotion easily trumps reason. Reason may rear its boring head after the initial impression, but it’s the emotional reaction that counts up front.
So now I’m wondering…do I drop my price after having been on the market only a week, or do I tough it out – and for how long? And if I do drop it, how much is enough to make mine more enticing, given the competition? (There is, of course, a threshold at which my desire to move becomes financially unviable.)
I’m worried…because I love the house on which my contingency offer was accepted. I walked into it and immediately knew, “This is the one.” Even though it needs a new electric panel, lots of gutter and soffit work, the windows are a mess (But original! With storms!), the a/c unit is possibly older than am I and there’s basically no kitchen.
* Incidentally, does anyone else recall the movie “The Competition” with Amy Irving and Richard Dreyfuss? It was one of my favorites when I was younger, but I’ve yet to meet anyone else who’s seen it.