The Unscrewable Pooch

Tom Wolfe, in his book “The Right Stuff” talked about how pilots feared making mistakes or doing something stupid that could often ruin careers, or worse, end up in tragedy. The pilots called it screwing the pooch. Don’t screw the pooch, they said. When the few select pilots were chosen for the astronaut program those guys found themselves in an environment where they didn’t think they could do anything that could have negative consequences anymore. The astronauts were so incredibly popular they felt they had discovered the unscrewable pooch. No mistakes were big enough to hurt them.

Sometimes that’s how the current market seems to me. Most of the time real estate agents go to great lengths to manage their listings to insure their clients get the best possible result. It’s sort of routine and almost everybody expects that. This week we saw an example of the opposite. A house came up for sale in Foster City, whose location will remain nameless, and if there was any possible way to screw up its marketing it had it. No lockbox and no showings were allowed outside of a 3 hour open house on Saturday. No, sorry, you can’t see it other than that. The seller doesn’t want to be bothered. One of the bedrooms was locked and inaccessible. The listing agent and the seller hadn’t done any disclosures or inspections. If this house had come on the market last year it would have been on for months. It’s ridiculous, a text book example of “how not to sell a home”. Except it’s 2012…so of course it got multiple offers and sold anyway. Amazing. This market is the unscrewable pooch.

Well, actually it’s not completely unscrewable. I heard a story this week about some sellers who sold their condo to some nice buyers off the market because they didn’t want the hassle of listing it and didn’t want to pay for staging and a buyers agent commission. They sold it WAY under market as a result (and these buyers REALLY did well!). In this market where places like the one above get multiples these sellers gave their place away. This time the sellers did indeed screw the pooch. If you’re thinking of selling this year…let the market take it’s course. It’ll be worth it.

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