The Kessler Family Singers: real estate for a song

#460 in a series of true experiences in real estate
April 2004, Hills Newspapers

About 5 years ago we had a listing on a delightful little house, up on a hill in El Cerrito. After absorbing the joys of this house, I decided to describe it in advertising with the words to a song, “It’s a good day for singing a song, a good day for movin’ along.”

As I worked on the flyer for this house, choosing words to best illustrate it – birds singing, trees greening, deer live here – I hummed the song and added more of the lines. “Everything to gain and nothin’ to lose, a good day from mornin’ to night.”

It occurred to me that we should have that song at our agent open house. But in what form?

Anet and I talked this over, thought of playing a recorded version, then hit on a better idea. “Let’s ask Scott and Terrell if they’ll sing the song live – on the front porch! Hey!”

Our very good friends were willing, enthusiastic even, and so, after the 4 of us had enjoyed an evening of life-talking, eating and drinking, we sang several times together, rather rambunctiously, “It’s a good day.” And the date was booked.

On a Thursday morning a couple of weeks later, at 9:30 sharp, Scott and Terrell stood on the small front porch of the brown shingled house in El Cerrito. As they sang out, they bobbed and swayed and laughed.

Terrell was dressed that morning all in yellow, and Scott wore a straw hat and yellow tie. They looked as bright and cheerful as the words of the song.

Agents drove up in front of the house, stopped their cars, got out and looked to see where the music was coming from. Many looked surprised, many looked pleased, and a few, as soon as they recognized the song, sang it, too. It was terrific.

We had so much fun that day. As people arrived singly and in groups, our friends repeated the song over and over again. Only briefly did they pause, usually when we were introducing them to visitors.

Afterwards, Anet and I dubbed them The Kessler Family Singers, Kessler being their last name, and ever since we’ve been urging a return engagement. But the houses since didn’t seem the right ones, or the weather was poor for outdoor singing, or our friends’ schedules prevented their appearance. Until now.

We think we’ve got the perfect singing combination coming up. It’s a cheerful house with sunny side and back gardens; the date, mid-day in late June, should be ideal for sun and lunching, too; and access to the house is by a pretty footpath. Out on the street where agents will park, song may be heard floating on the air.

Anet and I asked Terrell and Scott to join us a few days ago for dinner and song selection. We described the house, its charms and location to our friends, and the date we expect to need them to sing. Then Terrell and I each took a songbook, and we flipped the pages and called out titles. Whenever any one of us recognized a title, when someone shouted “I love that song,” we’d all try to sing it.

Sometimes only one of us knew the words, a lot of the time nobody could remember the tune, or knew only the chorus, but none of this mattered. We had a wonderful time.

There was quite a bit of silliness, suggestions of alternate lyrics that would better suit a house for sale. “I’m gonna sit right down and write myself an offer,” for example, instead of “write myself a letter.”

But most of the songs that appealed to us did so because they’re upbeat and light like the house is, and because the words suggest a possible reaction to it. “I took one look at you, that’s all I meant to do, and then my heart stood still.”

We agreed that the song should be snappy, and warm, a happy tune for agents to carry away with them, something to remember the house by and to carry to their clients.

“Hot diggity dog ziggity, boom! What you do to me!” Also, “You do something to me” and “Ain’t she sweet? …Oh, me! Oh, my – ain’t that perfection?”

This fun madness went on for some hours with each of us declaring our favorite tunes, and we made lengthy lists of possibilities. We don’t know yet if Scott and Terrell will stick to just one song as they did at the other house, or if they might perform a wider repertoire.

I think we must get together for at least one more session, maybe several, before we decide. I love singing, and I can’t wait.

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