Contributing blogger Charlie Schwartz, II, shares real estate insight steeped in family tradition in the January 2021 Schwartz Report
My father was fond of dispensing real estate bromides in the form of little parables that more often than not had snappy punch lines. They often left the receiver scratching their head trying to winnow out what he was intending. For example, take these two which are particularly appropriate to today’s inventory starved seller’s market: “You can’t sell fruit from an empty wagon”; or, “You wouldn’t go to Happy Harry’s if Happy Harry didn’t have anything on the shelf.” By which he meant to charge us with the need to urge more sellers to put their homes on the market NOW! For a buyer’s market when prices were too high and showing activity stagnant, there was this one: “Too much weight stops the freight.” That generates images of a little steam engine struggling to pull a heavy load up an impossible incline much like a seller trying to get more for his property than the current market will bear.
To a buyer, most appropriately to a first time buyer, there’s this gem: “Never buy a home on a road with a line down the middle of it.” This gets at the three most important things about residential real estate, location, location and location. Highway departments put lines on roads with significant traffic counts, don’t they? So stay away from them. Here’s one that will need some explaining. It gets to the subject at hand: “Never buy a home that is older than you are.” This seems like the most improbable dictate of them all. It might be difficult to follow especially in our three state market area where many homes date well into the last century and beyond.
Here he was advising that you not take on more of a fixer upper than your age, finances, temperament and or experience will allow. A historic home, one full of “character”, which may have been the former residence of some important family, might just be a project that you take on at your peril, a bridge too far. The illustration above is one of 56 that appear in the first reference book that I bought after starting in the business. Houses, The Illustrated Guide to Construction, Design and Systems by Henry Harrison was published in conjunction with the National Association of Realtors in 1973 and many sections, particularly those dealing with classic home architecture, are still valid today. Want to know the difference between a Cape Cod Colonial and a Cape Ann Colonial or a Dutch Colonial and a Salt Box Colonial; it’s in there. You will find a Swiss Chalet and a Spanish Villa as well.
Content by Charlie Schwartz, II ©2021. Visit charlieschwartz.com for more Schwartz Report content.