Crashing Open Houses– what Deepak Chopra never taught you.
November 21st, 2007 → Leave a comment
So on my way out of San Francisco Sunday, literally, on the way to the airport, my parents and I decide to check out some open houses in our neighborhood.
Because if I’m going to be an Indiana slumlord, property mogul, or even the owner of my own studio sized condo in 29 Palms– I need to start learning more about what people are selling and how.
We looked at three houses, all in the Sunset District, all selling for way too much money. There was a tiny house up the block from us that was over $1million. It was small and the owners hadn’t even cleared their stuff out from inside. It was pretty unappealing because their stuff didn’t really make me feel like I was in a million dollar house. Then we went to a house down the block that was almost 900k, and that one was nicer, because the bathrooms and kitchen was remodeled and it was all emptied out of stuff.
Then we went down the block to a house that had been completely renovated from the ground up and was selling for $1.5 Million. It was gorgeous. The ceilings went to the sky, marble everywhere, everything was new. But probably not smart of the owner to create the most expensive house on the block as evidenced by how the house has been on the market for 11 months.
This $1.5 Mill house had enlisted the services of a “Home Staging” company. Companies that strategically place furniture, acoutrements, and place settings in your empty home so that prospective buyers walk in and immediately imagine the narrative they will live in the house. In this 1.5 Million dollar house, the stager had placed selected cookbooks like “Fine Dining of San Francisco” open to a recipe for a heart shaped chocolate cake on the counter. She placed beds with velvet headboards and thick fluffy silk bedsheets. Perfectly antiqued Chinese trunks.
She had place fine Japanese table settings. Two settings. Perhaps for a young financially established couple. Who’d just gotten married.
I was awed by it. This empty house, with just enough suggestions for me to see my life there. Like wicker vases placed in the stairwell with random branches placed inside and a chair comfy to the paper read from.
I had no idea that these services existed. As a theater artist, this concept of “home staging” is so intriguing. Kind of like when you go to a play and are sitting in the audience looking at the set before the show begins. Already you imagine what’s going to happen. You anticipate entrances, characters, conflict. Or sometimes, you don’t anticipate conflict. Sometimes the set gives no indication that anything could ever go wrong.
That’s what a good home stager does, they create a set where nothing could ever go wrong.
I’m walking around this “staged” 1.5 million dollar house imagining parties I will host, the novels I will write in the room that overlooks the avenues, and the dozens of suitors I will turn away (because I’m a million bucks baby). I imagine waving goodbye to my artist friends who I’ve just had over for tea and conversation.
Here I am in this home that I am not close, even with all the help in the world or with game show winnings, could ever afford, and yet I become so excited by possibility. Suddenly, I feel inspired to throw out the crap that’s been building up in my apartment for years, to make more aggressive steps towards changing my life.
So here’s my idea. In the next year, as I learn more and more about adult things like buying property, Roth IRAs, and that kind of grown-up crap that I’ve been so anti-establishment to ever look at seriously before– I’m also going to go to open houses. In all sorts of neighborhoods that I can’t afford. I want to go to homes in Malibu and Brentwood that have been “staged,” tell realtors that I’m looking in the $2-10 million dollar range, and sit there in these perfect houses and imagine the narrative for the rest of my life and then makes steps to get there.
Who’s coming with me to the open house?
(Oh f*ck you, you know this visualization shit works.)