To the best of my knowledge, only two things exist under stairs: little creatures who eat pens and underwear and poop lint, and storage.
I have never seen the little creatures.
Most people innately know that there is storage, or, in some cases, a full-blown closet under stairs because they have their own junk they need to hide or because they currently live somewhere with stairs. It is true.
After getting my real estate license in 1996, I was first introduced to the phenomenon of homeowners who somehow felt that having storage under the stairs made their house the purple cow of the subdivision. I reflected on this strange manifestation of pride today when a homeowner showed a buyer client his own storage cubby beneath the stairs and then paused to behold it for a moment as if it were a sunset or piece of amazing art. It wasn’t a long pause, just long enough for me have a fleeting thought where the 19 year old in me in me wanted to burst out
OH MY GOD YOU MEAN THERE IS TOTALLY SPACE BEHIND THAT LITTLE DOOR WHERE I COULD PUT MY STUFF? WHEN DID YOU FIND THIS OUT? I CAN PUT ANYTHING THAT WILL FIT? WHAT WILL THEY COME UP WITH NEXT? I need to sit down.
It was just a fleeting thought, shorter than the owner’s pause, but I had to share it here.
I have had people tell me in a walk through for a listing interview with a straight face “we love this house because there is storage under the stairs.” Then, they pause and wait for me to solemnly take the undertruss of the stairs in, and nod toward them like we just saw the house pull Excalibur from the rock. Trying to be polite, I might say how convenient it must be to put holiday decorations there instead of the attic, and they agree almost giddily, like they are the only people in the universe who have this special, amazing amenity. Call NASA. Alert the Smithsonian.
This is especially the case for owners of raised ranches, where the entry stairs curl around, giving the little cubby a second compartment, no doubt filled with the wonder of a new dimension in the space/time continuum. These people seriously dig that little area. Do they talk about it when they are alone? Is some women knitting somewhere in the world, then looking up at her husband reading the paper and saying “thank goodness we have that storage under the stairs”? Do they hold hands and gaze at it?
Of course, I don’t need to tell you that buyers have their own agenda, and while I have gotten plenty of requests to find something with a garage, fireplace or finished basement, I have never been asked to make sure that we only see houses with storage under the stairs. And no buyer has ever said to me “let’s make the offer on the house with the storage under the stairs.” The fools. They must not get it.
If there is ever a call to give a Nobel Prize to the inventor of the storage under the stairs idea, I promise you that the guy pushing it just put his house on the market, and he’s got a plastic Christmas tree in a box in his cubby. And he keeps losing his pens.