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The Real Estate Game: A Case For Break-Through Unique Outdoor Features

Updated: Mar 24, 2021

Real Estate transactions, whether selling a home or buying can be stressful, exciting and overwhelming, all at the same time! I am by no means a pro in the area of Real Estate, but my wife and I DO have our own sets of experiences we've learned from when it comes to buying and selling a home, 5 different times over 20 years and 4 different states.

Norwalk CT

Cincinnati OH

Clifton, NJ

Memphis, TN

Fanwood, NJ

* Each time needed to sell (and then buy), there was significant time urgency involved, since job transfers were the motivating force.

The Buying Side

* Once we sold, we were on the same time urgency to fly into the area, allocate a few days house hunting, make an offer, get a deal done. We were not in the business of shopping for 6+ months until we found the perfect home, we were in the business of "get in, find something that works/we like, and get it done."

In some ways I marvel at people that spend countless weeks, sometimes years house hunting. But on the other hand, I'm also a believe that a home is what you make of it, but I digress.

I have no idea if we are representative of the "typical" buyer but I have to imagine there are a fair number of motivated buyers that act, and act quickly, because they have a real need to do so. Time urgency can be your friend, or your enemy.

So How do WE do it?

* INTERNET- Find no more than 20 homes that we COULD buy sight unseen because it met our criteria (size, price, location features). This is a fairly black and white process.

* Allocate 3 days to hit them all (long weekend). Not sure if we are "typical," but 5 minutes inside we know if the house will make the short list, if it doesn't grab us in 5 minutes, turn around, leave. We are on a mission, and the 5 minutes and out rule allows us to cast a wide net viewing homes. THIS part of the process is NOT black and white, it's highly subjective, dare I say, emotional.

* Of the 20 or so homes, narrow it down to 3-4 for a return visit. HERE is the OPPORTUNITY & Challenge in the home SALES game...

What happens when you hit a high number of houses in a short time frame?

  • You get worn out.

  • The homes blur together.

  • You start out taking great notes, then fatigue sets in and you start winging it.

  • But a select few usually stand out.

Here's our Experience, What We SPECIFICALLY Remember as Reason For Return Visit

Norwalk: An office in a walk-out basement, there was a Grill on the patio no more than 15' from the desk.

Cincinnati OH - Brand New. Next too house with pink dog house. Never saw a pink dog house, until this day.

Clifton, NJ - A view of NYC, and the kitchen cabinet door fell off when I opened it. The entire townhome was trashed, clearly a party place. My wife and realtor enjoyed my look of horror as a held a cabinet door falling off the hinge.

view, landscape architecture
Crystal Cat, Overlooking NYC From Clifton NJ

Memphis, TN - My wife called it "The Castle House." The Realtor educated us. "It's called a "Turret." Who knew?

Fanwood, NJ. A bare, double lot (rare in this small town and important when square footage is going down by 50%) The Shed had electricity. Electricity is helpful to see when your pulling tools out. Or if you have visions of a mancave!

Shed, man cave
A Shed With Electricity! Man Cave Potential

Outdoor living potential before we knew what outdoor living really was, and long before we learned what PAVERART actually was! The "After".....shed with electricity turns into man cave.

Man cave, bar,
Renovated Shed to Man Cave

So what was our take-away with all this frantic process?


The houses that made the final cut all had one thing in common. A TOP OF MIND, MEMORABLE feature that helped my wife and I identify it, which enabled our selection for return visits.
"The house with the________ "

Didn't need to be an expensive feature, just one that prompted recall.

"The pink dog house"

"A shed with a lightbulb"

Now of course we come to PAVERART, I can't resist. And I'm biased too, but indulge me....

Would any of the below pictures quality as that stand out feature that helps identify a house for visit #2?

"What about the house that had the compass in the patio?"
"Remember that one with that cool driveway design?"

I would never be so bold as to suggest PAVERART can sell a house, far from it.

But do unique, one of a kind features create recall?

You bet they do.

Selling ANYTHING is difficult, and there is no more important sale than a house.

Realtors I'm sure would say that staging is important. Fresh paint. Curb appeal. Cookies in the oven don't hurt. We've done them all.

But when outdoor living areas are inviting & unique, ESPECIALLY in the era of Covid and "Stay-cations"......that artistic design may just be a critical memory igniter that gets that return visit on the list.

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