Yes, it’s a seller’s market. Maybe a soggy basement or plaid wallpaper won’t deter desperate buyers these days, but consider how much more you could fetch with an atmospheric open house — including with a soundtrack that really, ahem, hits home. (In a 2019 survey of real estate agents conducted by the National Association of Realtors, 39 percent said a staged home attracts offers that are between 1 percent and 10 percent higher than a non-staged home.
In that spirit, here’s a proposed house-hunting soundtrack drawn from the annals of music, designed for buyers eager to land a home in a frustrating market where the typical single-family house now tops $750,000.
”Love Shack” The B-52s
Here’s a romantic spin on a 300-square-foot, $2 million Somerville starter studio. (Fred Schneider mentions a Chrysler that “seats about 20,” which also seems like a viable shelter option in the current market.)
“Small Town” John Mellencamp
Millennials, blare this every time you realize you’re priced out of the suburb where you grew up.
“Our House” Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
Graham Nash’s 1970 paean to the simple Laurel Canyon bungalow that he shared with Joni Mitchell, describes a roaring fire, cats roaming the yard, and flowers. The current average home price in Laurel Canyon is now $2.6 million.
“Homeward Bound” Simon & Garfunkel
Paul Simon and Art Garfunkle paint a melancholy picture of a rootless troubadour, lonesome in a train station, longing for the comforts of home. They sing:
“But all my words come back to me
In shades of mediocrity
Like emptiness in harmony
I need someone to comfort me.”
Substitute “shades of dusty mauve” and “emptiness in my bank account,” and the tune captures your typical open house.
“Burning Down the House” The Talking Heads
Sounds tempting, doesn’t it?
“Money for Nothing” Dire Straits
Mark Knopfler wrote this after overhearing a conversation between delivery men complaining about their work, but he really could have written it about a 23-year-old who magically produces an $800,000 all-cash down payment, thereby outbidding 20 other buyers who’ve been saving for a decade.
“Move on Up” Curtis Mayfield
Impossible in this market.
“Stuck With You” Huey Lewis and the News
Huey Lewis intended this as a love song:
“We are bound by all the rest
Like the same phone number
All the same friends
And the same address”
Croon this to your disgruntled longtime roommate after yet another failed attempt to move out.
The house-hunter’s lament.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” Rick Astley
The anthem for every homeowner who bought in suburban Boston before 2006.
“House of the Rising Sun” The Animals
This growling ode to a New Orleans brothel could also help sell a New England abode facing eastward, with dramatic floor-to-ceiling windows and captivating sunrises. The only torture will be the mortgage.
“The Tide Is High” Blondie
Who cares about the flood zone and lack of drainage in the basement?
“Take the Long Way Home” Supertramp
Once you realize that you’ll never find a home in Greater Boston, resign yourself to spending the majority of your waking hours sitting in traffic.
“(I’ve Been) Searchin’ So Long” Chicago
You’ll find your dream home … eventually.
“Take the Money and Run” Steve Miller Band
This one’s for the sellers: Hopefully before your prospective buyer discovers mold in the attic, knob-and-tube wiring in the kitchen, and the assortment of mysterious bones in the ceiling.
“Black Water” The Doobie Brothers
Remember to test a home’s plumbing before making an offer.
“Please Come to Boston” Dave Loggins
If you can afford it.
“U Can’t Touch This” MC Hammer
Best to be realistic.
“I Go to Extremes” Billy Joel
Wail this before signing your mortgage.
“Wild Wild West” The Escape Club
Worcester is looking awfully appealing.
“The Old Apartment,” Barenaked Ladies
“Why did you paint the walls?
Why did you clean the floor?
Why did you plaster over
The hole I punched in the door?
This is where we used to live!”
Answer: We painted the walls because they were lilac purple; we cleaned the floor because it was a health hazard; and we plastered over the hole you punched in the door because winter in New England is cold. Just the same, we still overpaid by $150,000 for your hovel, so stop asking stupid questions.
“Welcome to the Jungle” Guns N’ Roses
Hum this anytime you tour a home with frighteningly floral wallpaper.
“Dancing on the Ceiling” Lionel Richie
And you could, judging by how much glue is holding those beams together.
“Against All Odds (Take a Look at Me Now)” Phil Collins
Congratulations: You found a four-bedroom Colonial within 15 miles of Boston for under seven figures — and you didn’t even need to waive the inspection!
“Dirty Laundry” Don Henley
Do you really expect a working washing machine these days?
“Don’t Stand So Close to Me” The Police
Which is impossible when the kitchen is the size of a stick of gum.
“Another Brick in the Wall” Pink Floyd
A crumbling foundation is merely inconvenient at this point.
“Dust in the Wind” Kansas
Ah, the cozy feeling of touring a home that hasn’t been updated, redecorated, or cleaned since Nixon resigned.
“Handy Man” James Taylor
Surely you can fix the faulty wiring by yourself. (Don’t!)
“Good Vibrations” The Beach Boys
When the siding has woodpecker damage.
“Life on Mars?” David Bowie
Prices might be better there.
“Mother-in-Law” Ernie K. Doe
Your future roommate if you don’t make an offer quick.
“Our House” Madness
“Our house in the middle of our street” ... You will overlook all sorts of flaws, even a highway running through your living room or absolutely no front lawn, to nab an abode in this market.
“Ain’t Too Proud to Beg” The Temptations
Because there’s no shame in a sentimental, overwrought offer letter.
“Money (That’s What I Want)” Barrett Strong