If someone refers to their REALTOR® as being as dumb as a doorknob, there are several possible meanings. Today, well, he could be just not all that smart. But, in olden days, it could have meant that your REALTOR® was just a quiet sort of guy.
The saying “dumb as a doorknob” appears to be derived from the saying as “dead as a doornail” which was used by literary English greats such as Shakespeare and Charles Dickens (in his well known “Christmas Carol.”) Doornails were driven in to mid-evil wooden doors and bent over on the opposite site to strengthen the door. The nails were basically rendered “dead” and could not be removed. A doornail was also placed so that the doorknocker would strike it when a visitor announced they had arrived. Over time the nail or striker plate would wear out and the doorknocker would become a little more “dumb” (which also means silent, as in deaf and dumb.)
Anyway, it appears that somewhere along the way (perhaps at a real estate closing) the saying morphed from “dead as a doornail” into “dumb as a doorknob.” Either the agent said nothing at all or something really, really stupid and it stuck. I’m not sure. Regardless, both sayings have become widely used and adopted by the real estate industry.
That brings me to the most commonly overlooked but extremely important part of a house; the doorknob itself. Even though you touch this little mechanism many times every day, you probably don’t give it a second thought. You just give it a twist and go in. But what if it wasn’t there? Animal hides hanging in doorways come to mind.
Prior to door knobs in America, a simple thumb latch did the trick. Check out the late 18th century homes in the area and that’s what you find if the home is original. Mortise type locks and handles were manufactured in Britain starting around 1790, but weren’t used in America until the early 1800’s. Most of the colonial period doors were 1 1/4” or less so it was impossible to cut out a section to hold the lock and handle. In the 1820’s and 1830’s doors became a little thicker and accommodated the bulkier mechanism. Ye olde doorknob flourished.
From 1830 to 1873, there were over 100 U.S. patents granted for door knobs. Door knobs were made out of wood, pressed and cut glass, ceramic, potter’s clay, a composite of metal covered with brass or bronze, as well as other materials. One of my favorites has always been the mercury glass ones with the shiny mirror like finish. With improving technology and manufacturing capabilities it was not long before the simple door knob evolved to include locking mechanisms that we are so familiar with today.
If you are selling your home, something as simple as a tasteful new exterior door knob/handle and hardware can make a statement about what awaits prospective buyers when they enter. It can set the tone. Tasteful interior door knobs and door hardware can make a big impact on how a potential buyer perceives a home. The same is true, of course, with regard to the hardware and knobs used on kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Step back and survey what you have. It does make a difference. And, if you are currently using animal hides for doors, you really need to visit Home Depot or Lowes.
As of April Fool’s Day, there were 845 single family residential homes on the market in the twelve communities covered by this market report. The average asking price was $498,472 with the median price point at $249,000. The current inventory represents a 9.8 month supply of homes on the market. Last April there were 944 homes available representing a 12 month supply. Things are looking a whole lot better.
Data compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 4/1/14