There is something to be said about seeing a thing in person as opposed to watching it on a video or looking at a picture. Ask anyone who has attended the Super Bowl. Even the large screen TV with all the buffalo wings, seven-layer dip, and toothpicked cocktail meatballs one could eat couldn’t remotely compare to being one voice in a crowd of over 100,000 people with painted faces and beloved jerseys cheering on their team.

I don’t even like football, but I would be crazy to pass on a chance like that; not that I’ve even been given said chance.

A little over four years ago, I sold a home for a family who had the opportunity to move to Italy for a few years. They had two young children, perfect traveling age, and it was a now or never kind of chance and, being an adventurous couple, they jumped at it, with no regrets.

During the time they have been gone, I have experienced as much of Europe as I could, vicariously. She has been great about sharing her adventures, her pictures, her stories, and her experiences as she has gone about exploring as much of Europe as they could with two children in tow. In fact, a couple of years after they arrived there, two children became three and the stories and adventures continued.

The pictures of the lakes, the mountains, the trees, the beaches, the castles, the food, were breathtaking. Yet I still couldn’t smell it, or taste it, or feel it. I could only see it. That would have to be enough for me, for now.

Four years later, it is their turn. They are coming back, and they need a place to land. While Facetime and video chatting technology is amazing, it simply cannot get you on site. As a result, they are completely depending on me. No pressure.

Several months ago, as we began this process, I was able to take her parents through to act as a surrogate. We looked at home after home, in a myriad of zip codes. We looked at different floor plans. We looked at new construction, as well as existing. As we narrowed down our search to a couple of specific areas, we began to explore the specificity of each neighborhood. Then they needed to decide if they wanted a fixer-upper or a move-in-ready. Did they want to take on a project when they arrived home, or do they want to move in and get settled and reacclimated?

After several months, I got a real feel for what they liked, didn’t like, and what was important to them. Since her parents were no longer available to help, it was up to me. Yet now, I felt like I could go through a home and know immediately if they would like it or hate it. They are outdoorsy people, and they have a big dog, so a yard with a fence would be ideal. They needed a neighborhood with younger kids. They want to be close to schools and churches (this is Utah, so you really can’t miss on either of those things here no matter where you go). Their kids need an indoor play area as well, and space in their rooms to grow. The parents want their own bathroom and enough room to breathe. Walk-out deck, walk-in pantry, gas appliances, main floor laundry would be nice as well, but not essential.

Finally, we found a home that looked like it could fit the criteria. As I drove into the neighborhood, I could seriously see their family loving it here before I even walked into the home. I knew this was it; but I had to remain unbiased and let them decide. Since it was 1 a.m. over in Italy and 10 a.m. here (the time zone struggle is very real), I took videos throughout the home and left my opinions to myself (yes, difficult for me to do).

This place, in real life, real time, seemed to have the right smells, textures and sounds that this family was searching for. As a bonus, it also had a walk-out deck, walk-in pantry, gas appliances, and main floor laundry to boot. We will be closing in two weeks. Soon, they will be able to feel, smell, and touch it for themselves. I wish I could say the same thing about Italy.


Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jenkirchh@gmail.

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