When Bill Pote and I sat down to discuss what insight I might be able to share with the Dayton MostMetro community, I immediately said, “Stories”.
I’m a Realtor. I am privy to the most intimate details of my client’s lives, and while I am forbidden from sharing some of those stories- Realtors work under strict confidentiality rules- I can share other stories.
Real estate tells stories, homes tell stories, land tells stories. It is said that Realtors don’t sell homes, the home sells itself. When we show a home to a buyer, they love it or hate it, but real estate agents cannot talk someone into, or “sell” someone on purchasing a home that they hate. It just doesn’t happen, and I believe that in many cases, it’s because of the story the home is telling the buyers.
When we walk into a home, we get a “feeling”, don’t we? We are responding to the life, and lives, shared within those walls. Was the home cared for? Was it abused? Was it neglected? Did a happy family live there and did they simply grow out of the home? Did a happy family live there until they were foreclosed upon? You can tell when you walk into a home how the home was treated, and that’s often what we respond to when we choose a home. We have a visceral reaction to the story the home is telling us.
I’m a Dayton native. My mother and father are proud Stivers alumni. Mom grew up in the Oregon District “before it was the Oregon District” as she likes to remind me. It was in the 40’s and 50’s and my great-grandmother owned a small neighborhood store, and my mom and grandmother Rose lived in an apartment over Grannie’s Store.
My dad tells the story of making his first visit to Mom’s apartment. Granny Rose had made some soup and offered Dad a bowl. When Dad looked into the bowl, he saw it was only half full. “Stingy” he thinks to himself, until he sat down at the table. The floor was so slanted, and thus the table, that the soup nearly spilled out of the bowl. “Stingy” quickly became “smart, and a good cook to boot!”
I had a client ask me to show them a property in the Oregon District, and by weird coincidence it was Grannie’s Store, made into a 2-unit, the store was now an apartment. I asked my client if he minded if I piggy-backed a brief showing for my mom. She met me there and we stood in her old block while she told me stories about throwing water balloons off the roof of Grannie’s first store. She stood in the middle of the street and showed me where her best neighborhood pal lived and how they both got grounded once for some infraction, and had an 8 o’clock curfew. She remembered how they stood “right here in the street and talked” until one minute before curfew, and took off running for their homes. “The people who lived in this home had wonderful parties! Oh look what they did to the Store! The meat locker was here… They’ve added a closet- that used to be stairs…” Story after story was contained in this home, in this block, in this neighborhood.
Today in the City of Dayton, there is a battle over real estate stories. As we demolish our homes, the stories go with them. The neighbors look at the now-vacant lot and shake their heads and remember the stories of the families who lived there. Happy and sad, life-altering stories are demolished along with the bricks and mortar. We cringe at shiny new infill housing. It’s not the same, is it? Where are stories that match the rest of the neighborhood? We have to make a leap of faith that the lot itself can be nurtured into new life and will someday have new stories tell, and that those stories will be an integral part of the future of Dayton, as the stories that came down along with the home, were an integral part of Dayton’s past.
Real estate tells stories. I’m a Realtor and I’m so honored to be given the chance to share some Dayton stories in this space, and my hope is that you will be enticed into sharing your stories with us.