Living Green Olympia: December 2009

The Top Five Things "A Charlie Brown Christmas" Can Teach Us About Real Estate

I love the thoughts contained here - had to share them!

A Charlie Brown Christmas Link to Amazon.comAs I was re-watching"A Charlie Brown Christmas" (ACBC) this season, it struck me that the terrific life lessons contained in this beloved holiday special could easily apply to those of us who work in real estate -- especially during a year of recession.

1.) MAYBE SMALLER IS BETTER. Charlie Brown's sad little Christmas tree was reviled and then revived with love, faith and a warm, blue blanket. The Peanuts gang understood that -- like a home -- its size didn't matter. In real estate, I am noticing more of my clients embracing smaller homes -- both existing homes and new construction. Maybe its the financial lessons of this recession or the lack of time in their lives to care for an oversized residence, but the drive for bigger and bigger McMansions seems to have lessened. Nationally, according to census data, the average size of a new home fell in 2008 for the first time since 1990 and that trend is expected to continue when figures come out for 2009.

2.) SET IT TO MUSIC. ACBC is set to one of the all-time best soundtracks ever created thanks to the genius of Vince Guaraldi. His trio -- playing piano, bass and drums -- created a jazzy, atmospheric groove that almost didn't make it to air when CBS thought a jazz soundtrack wasn't appropriate for children. (Remember, this was 1965.) If you're selling your home this season, think about leaving this soundtrack on softly for showings or open houses. It's guaranteed to create a warm feeling in potential buyers who are taking a look at your place. Music that will appeal to a wide range of people is always a great idea in the background in any season. Select the Smooth Jazz or Singers & Standards channel from the cable or satellite sytem for example.

3.) EVERYONE WANTS SOME REAL ESTATE. Feeling blue over the commercialization of Christmas and his inability to get into the spirit, Charlie Brown visits Lucy in her lemonade stand psychiatry office. She agrees that it's hard to celebrate the season when she just gets a bunch of dumb toys for presents. What does she really want? Real estate. It's true. The buying and selling of real estate will always be with us. However, the market downturn has shown us that it's the market-priced homes in good condition (like Snoopy's decorated dog house) that will sell.  Sellers, if your home has sat on the market for longer than the average time it takes to sell a comparable property, have your agent examine the price against the last three months of comp sales. You may be overpriced for your market, your home's condition or your location. If you're in-between agents or selling by yourself and need a professional, impartial price opinion, give me a call. Buyers, keep in mind that a "Buyer's Market" doesn't mean that you can aquire any home at any time for a penny on the dollar or a lowball offer. It does mean that you can get a good home at a good price based on recent comparable sales. (And right now you also can get it at near-record low interest rates and with a federal tax credit.) The market dictates what a house is worth and every market is different.

4.) TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAITHFUL PET. In various Charlie Brown cartoons, Snoopy and his bird pal Woodstock play hockey on a frozen water bowl.  Don't let your furry friend's water turn into a skating pond. Please make sure your pets are brought into a warm and safe place during the chill of winter or the heat of next summer. If your house is on the market, please leave instructions regarding your pets for agents who will be showing your home. Kennel dogs prior to a showing, make sure cat litter boxes are clean and pick up pet toys. Sellers, if you can take the animals and their things with you during a showing, it may help your home appeal to a broader ranger of potential buyers who might not love Fido and Fluffy as much as you do.

5.) EXAMINE THE TRUE MEANING OF HAPPINESS. In ACBC, Linus reminds the kids about the true meaning of Christmas by simply and beautifully quoting scripture from the Book of Luke. In real estate we can take these messages to heart as well. Buyers: Don't expect a new house to make you happy. A new house will give you a warm place that meets your location and structural needs. Then you get to put friends, family, faith, pets and love inside to create a home that will bring true happiness. Sellers, your family home may have given you years of service, but it is just a shell without you and your family and friends inside. Your real home will be wherever you are moving next, so let go of the anxiety and embrace the change whether you're faced with downsizing, rightsizing, upsizing or moving across the country.

Have a wonderful, merry season and don't forget to pop in the DVD or Blue Ray of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" to enhance your holidays.


Goshen Realty Group LogoAbout the Author: Nancy Milton, GRI, is a REALTOR with the GoshenRealtyGroup at RE/MAX Preferred Partners in Edwardsville, Illinois. She and Kristina Pratt help their customers buy and sell homes and investment properties in St. Louis' Illinois suburbs with special emphasis on homes for sale in Madison County and the communities of Edwardsville, Glen Carbon, Maryville, Collinsville, Troy, Bethalto and surrounding areas.

Goshen Realty Group takes its name from the earliest nickname for Madison County, Illinois -- the Land of Goshen -- coined when the region's first settlers compared their new home east of the Mississippi River to the biblical land of peace and plenty.

For more information, visit or e-mail Nancy at Text or call Nancy at 618-791-8007. REMAX Preferred Partners is located at One 157 Center, Edwardsville, IL 62025.

Please note that individual listings periodically mentioned in this blog are accurately described in terms of availability and price at the time of the posting. Because properties are constantly coming on and off the market, please contact Nancy for the latest information on those that are of particular interest to you.



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Nancy Conner, City Realty Inc,    360-701-1086      

Comment balloon 1 commentNancy Conner • December 11 2009 05:09PM
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