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By Megan Montemarano

When Westport agent Susan Vanech was asked by The Wall Street Journal if she believed buyers should be allowed to sleep in the house before they purchased it, her response was simple—why not? “We often spend more time trying on shoes than ‘trying on’ a prospective house. Investing in a home is one of the most important decisions one will ever have to make. The ‘sleep to sell’ concept offers potential buyers to become more intimate with a residence, reaffirming that, just like a shoe, it’s the perfect fit.”

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This is exactly what happened at 107 Valley Road, a classic Cape-style residence in Westport, Conn., which recently sold for $632,800. The home was one that Vanech had renovated herself, transforming it into a luxury country retreat. Upon receiving interest in the listing, she presented the prospective buyers, Brooklynites in search of a weekend retreat, with the unique opportunity to sleep over. “They jumped at the chance,” comments Vanech. “Grabbing a foam mattress pad, toothbrushes and their dog, they spent the night, and the very next day made a full asking offer on the home. It closed within 30 days.”

While an avid proponent of this valuable buyer experience, Vanech does realize its limiting qualities. “It was a unique circumstance that allowed me to open the doors of 107 Valley Road to interested buyers. Of course, in many cases liability issues among other restrictions can make ‘test driving’ a residence a bit more tricky. It is my hope, though, that more agents and homeowners will recognize the true value of this offering in the home search process.”

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107 Valley Road, built in 1959, boasts sophisticated finishes throughout including glass, stone, Waterworks ceramics, metals and woods that mirror today’s alluring aesthetics from top to bottom. The three-bedroom, three-bath residence features a bright and spacious eat-in kitchen with quartz counters and stainless appliances, as well as a three-season sunroom. A finished walk-out lower level completes the property, which resides close to all the highly appealing offerings of the coastal Connecticut town of Westport.

Now happy weekender residents, the buyers are forever grateful to Vanech for allowing them to sleep over prior to purchase—a one-of-a-kind memory that is sure to stand out for years to come. “I took a shower and tested all the toilets. It’s one of those little things that you don’t want to be a letdown once you buy a house. Also, of course, you want to make sure the house isn’t secretly haunted. Much to our delight, our new home passed the water pressure and ghost test.”

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Beyond the surface, the residence also passed the test that matters most—the incredible fact that an essentially empty house, besides the bottle of bubbly and chocolate soufflé graciously left for them by Vanech, still truly felt like home. The current homeowners are thrilled with their decision to make this charming abode their own, and continue to love the house more and more each day.

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“There was something really special about the sellers letting us spend the night. We felt simultaneously like a loved guest and an old friend, which is exactly how you want to feel in what’s going to be your new house.”

Stay tuned! 107 Valley Road will be featured on an episode of “House Hunters,” coming soon to HGTV.

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