Fischer: No happy Hallmark ending at recent house showing attempt
This year for the holiday season, I have decided to implement a new tradition for our family: the mandatory playing of the game “Christmas Hallmark Movie Bingo.” Feel free to include it in your own holiday family practices as well. The inspiration for such an activity occurred to me on my most recent visit to my mother, who is currently residing in a local memory care facility. As I arrived and checked in, I found my progenitor, as well as several of the other residents, gathered in front of a large television screen engaged in the newest Hallmark Christmas movie release. As there seems to be a plethora of such productions specific to this festive time of year, all with similar story lines, I would not have given this film a second of my consideration had it not been for the mention of a real estate transaction. At this, I found a spot and settled in.
Of course, the film contained all the requisite Christmas cliches which I had so successfully predicted. Woman quitting successful big city job, vehicle breaking down, the chance meeting with an old flame, a gift-wrapping scene, the selecting of the Christmas tree scene, the obligatory cancelled flight due to weather, and a variety of people running through the snow in joyful glee. What I did not predict, however, was the impending real estate deal.
Unfortunately (spoiler alert), the protagonist, described as “a real estate tycoon” could not put a deal together after all. She did, however, rekindle the flame with her old beau, the regrettable owner of the very piece of real estate she was attempting to broker a deal on, and spent Christmas in front of a warm fireplace in a fluffy white robe and matching slippers, downing mug after mug of hot cocoa. That last part may or may not have happened since I simply could not sit through the entire movie, real estate deal or not.
Despite my inability to see it through, I did notice some misnomers that were reminiscent of the ghost of Christmas past showings. Perhaps by sharing these aberrations, we can collectively avoid them — at least for this blissful holiday season.
Ironically, it was just last night that I had the inopportune reminder of more than one such annoyance, as did the clients I was accompanying. We pulled up to a vacant home and found ourselves, along with their toddler, trudging through the fresh fallen snow, up the slippery driveway, onto the icy steps to the front door. Upon arrival, I realized that the keybox was not located on the front doorknob, nor was it on the railing to the right of the door. Thus, I instructed my clients to stay put on the icy front porch with the wind penetrating their meager coats, while I went in search of the key. I located said key on the side of the home, behind the gate attached to the water spigot. This was not described in the showing instructions. I then proceeded to remove the key from the box, promptly dropping it in that fresh fallen snow, which I frantically dug through to retrieve.
As we finally entered the home, we felt as if we had just entered the Alaskan Tundra. It was nearly as cold inside as it was outside. Apparently, springing for a paltry iota of heat was not on the list of items the seller was willing to include for a showing. Neither was electricity. Sellers, for the love of all that is holy, a smidgen of warmth and a ray of illumination is the least you can provide for the potential buyers and their agents. It’s too ding dang cold to want to stay and take a look around, if you don’t. As for us, we agreed, and promptly left.
In the winter months, it is important to know that an empty house can quickly become the equivalent of both a proverbial, as well as a literal, cold house. And nobody wants a cold house. Most of us are in search of a cozy home instead. Therefore, seal any drafts, spring for heat, light the way, shovel a path and perhaps we will feel more welcome. A buyer must be able to visualize themselves in the winter months in a home, perhaps settling in front of a warmly lit fire, watching a cliched Hallmark movie, with a hot cup of cocoa, even if the end is unmistakably predictable.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or email@example.com.