There are many reasons to sell your house. For instance, if you live in a small house and you’d really like to live in a big house, you sell the small house and buy the big house. This is super easy to understand. Also, if you live in a big house and you think it’s time to live in a small house, you sell the big and buy the small. If you live near a highway and you think you’d like to live near the country, you sell the highway and buy the country. If you bought an expensive house when you were making lots of money and now you’re not making any money because you decided to sell real estate for a living, you sell the expensive one and buy a cheap one. Things couldn’t be easier to understand.
But sometimes you sell because you wish to explore new opportunities in new places, and see new things. Sometimes you feel the comfort of the familiar and wish for the discomfort of a challenge. Sometimes things just run their course, which doesn’t mean you no longer love the house you’ve now decided to sell, nor does it mean you dislike the town the house is in or somehow feel less than enamoured with the lovely lake that house is on. Sometimes, it’s just time. That’s why I just sold a lakefront house on Hollybush for a wonderful seller to an equally wonderful buyer.
Rare is a real estate deal that doesn’t feature some form of catastrophe, actual or mostly perceived. If life is in general stressful and somewhat annoying at times, a real estate deal takes all of the stress from regular life and magnifies it into one event. Real estate transactions, put painfully simply, bring out the absolute worst in people. It brings out the greedy and the petty, the irrational and the frantic. It brings out the tendencies that we spend most of our lives trying to suppress. This isn’t to say that everyone is horrible, but it is to say that real estate has a way of making otherwise sane people act otherwise. This is why I celebrate deals where I have the privilege of working with people who are indeed level headed, honest, and trusting. This was the case in the transaction I closed on Monday, and I’m grateful for it.
The house on Hollybush is one that I had been working on listing for quite some time. The home is unique, in a Usonian way, at home and comfortable on the pages of Dwell magazine, perhaps not just tolerated there but outright adored. The style of the home is unique, if dramatic, and while style is personal property is universal. This home was on a level half acre lot, with 96′ of pleasing frontage, and a Westerly exposure that allows that early evening summerly glow to wash over the lawn and flood those massive lakeside windows. This property closed for $2.1MM, and it fits both the market and the eye of the renovation-minded buyer. It was a nice market deal, and I feel lucky to have played a role in matching a motivated buyer with an off-market seller.
But about that seller, and about what these lakefront homes mean to people. Uninitiated lakefront buyers can be callous, seeking only shiny and new, or new and shiny. They can see homes and marvel at the unique nature, but it’s a bemused marvel not an impressed marvel. They see lakefront homes and easily dismiss them based on fit and finish, stoves and refrigerators, the color of the walls or the shape of the bathroom tile. They see houses as houses, and dismiss or at least fail to see just why these homes can be so important in the lives of the sellers. This particular home was owned by the same family for all of its existence, having been built by the father of the seller in the early 1960s. Primary homes have changed, homes were sold to buy traditional condominiums, children were born and raised, grandchildren welcomed and loved, business created and sold, lives were lived. But the steadying force through all of the change in a long life has been this home, this somewhat peculiar ranch home on the southeasterly shore of this great big lake, and that stable nature has affected four generations of this family. This home wasn’t just a home on some lake somewhere, with curtains and curious flooring, it was everything to this family.
There is value in that, and I find myself increasingly understanding of what these homes mean to these families. This is a business, sure, one where we churn homes to make a living and satisfy egos, but these homes take on a different level of importance. To some families lake houses are just lake houses. They matter on the weekends under the summer sun. They matter when property taxes are due. They matter when the well pump breaks on the Saturday before the Fourth of July. They matter when the pier bill comes in $400 more than it was last year. But to some families they matter more, and that’s what makes selling them so much more contemplative. To the buyer of this home, I wish you and your family a similar lifetime of memories, and a fondness that extends beyond the color of the kitchen cabinets. And to the seller, congratulations on a life well lived, and to the next chapter that’s set to begin.