As Americans, or maybe simply as human beings, we have a complicated relationship with the notion of hope.
As defined, hope signifies cherishing a desire with anticipation, desiring with expectation of obtainment, and expecting with confidence. We associate hope with athletes and politicians, those who beat the odds, victorious in the end (or at least valorous in their attempts). We push hope aside to be more realistic, or we embrace it in a last-ditch effort to get what we want. Some religions seem to promote a kind of hope, while other philosophies eschew it altogether; self-help literature, too, goes both ways on hope: some articles tout the benefits of this feeling, while to other ways of thinking, it’s better to err on the side of pragmatism and likelihood. In the end, where hope is concerned, it seems we don’t really know if we’re coming or going.
And nowhere is the push and pull of hope more apparent than in the throes of house hunting. Truly, there’s no better way to get to know yourself than to see how you react to looking for a new home.
I was reminded of this a few weeks ago, after holding an open house in St. Louis Park. A beautifully-maintained story-and-a-half, the home had been listed in the MLS on a Thursday, and we received one offer, with another on the way within the first 48 hours on the market (lo, the benefits of pricing well!). We received another inquiry prior to the open house from an agent whose clients—newlyweds—were planning to walk through the home before deciding whether to make an offer. When I arrived at the home, the couple was waiting, along with eight others! They had brought friends and family along to see the house and assess its condition.
The group overwhelmingly gave the house a thumbs up, and several left after the first half hour. Others stayed longer, with the couple staying nearly the whole open house, along with a friend wise to all things electrical, kindly explaining things and answering the couple’s random questions along the way. Everyone left happy, and the couple was excited at the prospect of writing an offer.
I’ve thought about this in the weeks since the open house, because hope is integral to the home-buying process, for the most part (investor-buyers excluded). It’s an emotional decision, it’s a huge financial investment, it’s risky and it’s scary, and it’s wonderful and beautiful and you can’t help but want to find the perfect house with the best nooks and crannies and quirks and idiosyncrasies for all the stuff you want to do now and forever. You want your house to reflect all the best parts of you; you want cozy, or fun, or modern, or classic; you want your home to be what you want to become, in a way. You want to invite friends over for a glass of glogg by the fire on a cold winter’s night (everyone wants that, right?). In short, we can’t help but hope.
So, even though I am my father’s daughter and a grumpy, old realist from time to time, I realize hope is perhaps the defining emotion when it comes to buying a house, and, rather than cautioning against hoping altogether, maybe the answer is to hope in a more appropriate fashion—like perhaps waiting until after you’ve submitted an offer before showing the house to friends and family.
The Team @ HomesMSP — Sharlene, John, Angela