As a writer, I’m a sucker for a good story. I love to hear them and I love to tell them. For this issue, we tracked down agents who are representing homes with histories that someone could write novels about. From local celebrities to a nunnery, the homes in our cover story speak volumes about the history of Chicagoland.
I know what you’re thinking, “Well, good for them, but my listings have nothing to say to anyone.” Not true, because as my publisher tells me on a weekly basis, every home has a story, sometimes you just have to dig a little deeper to find what your listing has to say. It might take a little work, but if you’re not willing to put in the extra effort, then you might be in the wrong business.
You don’t even need a trip to the historical society to find out the history of your listing, just start with the clients looking to sell their home. Did their family cat run away from home for two months and then somehow manage to return unharmed? That’s a story that tells the potential buyer that the home was even important to the family cat. It sounds silly, but it just goes to show that you can create a meaningful story, no matter how small, to help sell each and every one of your listings, providing that is what the potential buyer wants to hear.
Another part of the process is reading the potential buyers. Do they have kids? Are kids important? Maybe tell them about little Jeffy’s kindergarten graduation party in the backyard that was large enough to fit the whole neighborhood and a pony.
Of course, another lesson to learn from this issue is that if the home you are selling has a rich history, then by golly use it to your advantage! Many people will get a kick out of living in a home that once served as something completely different, or housed a celebrity.
My favorite building in my neighborhood is a condo that was once a pencil factory, which has a watertower on the roof with drawings of pencils. How fun would it be to boast to your friends that your new home was once a pencil factory? People love stories, so let’s give them something to talk about.
Before I let you dive into the past, I must point out that all of the features in this issue are homes that have an interesting history. Our assistant editor Amanda worked tirelessly, as always, to find the most interesting homes around, just to bring home the message that every home really does have a story to tell.