I remember many years ago when my parents Sold a 1987 Isuzu Rodeo. The car was really amazing, my mom drove it daily for 12 years, I drove it to high school, we took it up and down the East Coast on vacations. It dropped off my brother and sister at their respective universities some 5 years apart, undoubtedly a happy moment for my parents. It should have just been retired but my dad listed it for sale and sure enough someone bought it for $500. What I recall from this was my parents being very emotional about it, it was as if all those memories were being transferred to the new owner. They wanted to see the new owner use it the way they did.
As a Broker in Washington DC, I am seeing the importance of this emotional connection between Seller and Buyer more and more. My brother and I managed a 9-unit building in Mt. Pleasant for a wonderful woman who owned it for 30 years. She put her heart and soul into the building and when it came to time to retire and sell it was very important to her that the new owners would maintain the integrity of the building and relationships she had built with the tenants, many who have lived there for a decade. Fortunately, she saw that in my brother and I and sold it to us privately. To this day she still checks in on the property and I believe she has a real sense of peace about knowing how much we care for it.
Each year my brother and I also vacation down in the Outerbanks at the same home, a tradition going on 6 years. The owners of the home are looking to sell and actually approached us about the sale and doing it privately. My brother has two boys and the owner said he wants to pass along the home to someone that will make a lifetime of memories the way he had with his family. The home has pictures of his children growing up through the years across every wall and I imagine taking those down was an act of both sadness and joy. In the end, he knows the home will continue to be cared for and that children will continue to run wild through the halls and this was very important to him.
In the end, all Sellers want optimal value for their home but there is increasing importance being placed on the experience of selling and the transfer of the property from one owner to another. Most owners have incredible memories built up in a home over many years and there is a sense of fulfillment when the new Buyer will continue to build on those memories. I have brokered many deals where Buyers write letters about their plans for the home and it is amazing the impact it has on the Seller. In some cases, sellers have taken weaker offers because they feel better about the Buyer’s intentions for the home.
My firm is called Explore, and we place a huge emphasis on capturing the character and spirit of the home and community and making a more emotional connection with the Buyer. Every home has a story and we look to tell that as a means of not only adding value to the home but also in hopes that the story is simply paused and to be continued when the new buyer takes possession.