Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close

So…I went to see the movie, not because I wanted to re-live 9-11; far from it.  I went to see it because if it has Tom Hanks and Sandra Bullock in it, it must be good. The movie was incredibly entertaining, even though it brought back sad, sad memories.  It didn’t focus so much on the act of horror on that day, even though, without a doubt, you are reminded; rather, it focused on a young boy’s journey through grief and his attempts to rationalize what happened to his beloved father, played by Tom Hanks.  You’ll fall in love with the boy, played by Thomas Horn.  He’s intelligent, funny even when he’s not trying to be, and absolutely endearing.  And what can you say about Sandra Bullock?  She’s always great, and she is this time, too, but you won’t get that right away.  If you can handle being reminded of that terrible day, you’ll be rewarded with a young kid’s life-changing performance.  He’ll never be an unknown again.  This kid’s going places.  I loved the movie..

I’ve talked to a lot of people who don’t want to see it because because they can’t bear the thought of being reminded of that horrible day. To them, I say, go.  This story isn’t written to remind you of the news reels.  Far from it.  It’s full of psychological alleyways and partially opened doors you must go through.  What is revealed warms your heart.  Go, because you’ll see some incredible acting, you’ll get a different perspective…which is always good…and there will be some plot twists you’ll truly enjoy.  I’m going to see it again, and I don’t usually do that.  This one’s worth a second…and maybe even a third look.

Real Estate no-news

Guess what?  Real estate tastes are changing.  Well…no kidding.  People are always like a school of fish, aren’t we?  We follow the leader or change direction en mass as though a signal from outer space was just received.  This time, though, there’s an indication that some of the new trend behavior makes sense. 

Like this: McMansions are going bye bye in favor of smaller homes, ultimately for the energy savings of not having to heat and cool large spaces nobody uses.  Duh.  It’s getting less and less cool to have giant spaces in the age of ‘green’.  But the look of these smaller homes is still open and spacious, accomplished by fewer dividing walls, more careful decor to accent areas versus rooms, and lots more glass.

And here’s another one…stairs are losing favor.  That makes sense, doesn’t it?  Baby Boomers are aging.  Who are we kidding; we’ve AGED.  One level is a good thing…again.  So all of the ranch style home owners who couldn’t get a showing are going to continue to be happy about the new trends.  But you’re going to have to update and maybe even knock downs some walls to open up the spaces…or cut the sale price to compensate.

Granite is still in.  That’s a good thing, because almost everybody either wants it or has it.  I shudder to think what’s going to happen when granite becomes passe.  Open spaces are still in and growing in favor.  Modern styles are back, sort of an early sixties throwback; lots of floor to ceiling glass and fewer walls to break up spaces, lower roof pitches, single level.  Ornate is packing up and leaving; lean and clean lines are in.  If it’s true that neo-Mediterranian is coming on strong, we should see stucco make a comeback.  Imagine that.

The kitchen still sells the house; no surprise there.  If you want to sell and your kitchen is OLD, you’re going to have to either update or compensate by lowering your selling price…a lot.  Almost every seller has to spend update money these days.  The best place to spend?  Kitchen.  Next place to update: bathrooms.  Now, how many times have you heard that?

And have you noticed that it’s the SELLERS who are the fixer-uppers now?  It used to be buyers who did the fixing.  Not anymore, at least not right now.  Oh that’s going to change back when the market becomes a seller market again, but for now…sellers have to ante up the renovation money.  Buyers want a kitchen they can walk into and start using. Period: End of discussion…for now.

Here’s some more no-news: neutral paint colors!  If your home looks like the Sherwin-Williams color wheel, you’re going to have to paint if you want to sell.

All of this is the  market speaking.  The schools of fish are still swimming.  If you want to sell your home and choose to ignore what the population at large are buying, then the simple, absolute conclusion is that you don’t want to sell your home.  You just don’t.  Your realtor, even the realllly good one, can’t sell what the market has zero interest in buying.  You might want to read that last sentence again.

If you’re buying, it’s a good idea to see what’s heating up in the market so that you buy smart.  You don’t want to buy a Victorian with small rooms if glass houses with two interior walls becomes the norm. And by the way, almost nobody lives in a house long enough to outlast the trends anymore.  I know, you think you will be the one…but the data say you won’t. 

And here’s one last thing: live like you want to while you own your home.  Paint all of the rooms electric blue if that floats your boat.  But when you’re ready to sell, remember this: you must appeal to the market or you will not sell.  People follow the trends.  Oh, there will be one person who would LOVE your blue house, but if that fish isn’t swimming with the school of other fish, swimming along JUST LIKE all of the other fish…it’s probably been eaten by a bigger fish already.  Paint.