So there I was, walking through an elegant luxury home (as we real estate scribes like to call them) when I told the owner that her two cats were absolutely adorable. Yes, she replied, rather reluctantlybut she would have to send one to the shelter when she sold the house. (I am not making this up). Pro that I am, I still did my best to describe the ELH to its best advantage. Therefore, I did not mention that the buyer would be using up all of Kittys nine lives. But I am still devoutly praying that that house would remain unsold until the poor little creature died of old age.
Now, please note that I did not ask the owner what she planned to do with her pet when her house was sold. She simply offered the unwanted information, while the Realtor agonized in the background.
From that day to this, that had to stand out as the worlds dumbest seller trick. It also proved vividly why so many Realtors tactfully try to convince the seller client to get the heck out of the house when they bring the buyers there. I believe that these agents are generally known as top producers.
But wait, theres more. I toured yet another home where the library was devoted to Civil War memorabilia, dominated by a portrait of Robert E. Lee. And I do mean dominated. Every single artwork and artifact was devoted to the Lost Cause. This time, when I was driving away with the realtor, I mentioned as tactfully as possible that some prospective purchasers might actually be happy that the Yankees had won, since they might hail from Yankee-land themselves. They might even take some inspiration from looking at Abe Lincolns portrait.
But I had seen nothing yet, thankfully. She told me that another client had a teen-aged son who kept pictures of half-naked ladies down in the cellar. Under those circumstances, all she could do was try to convince the shoppers that the basement was not worth looking at anyway.
Actually, a realtor need not be a top producer in order to urge the selling public to follow one simple rule: keep controversy out of your house. And that goes far beyond forecasting the cats doom or setting up the Confederate Museum. It means avoiding any display or discussion that any buyer might possibly disagree with. Just to be on the safe side, you might want to consider keeping yourself out as well.
Believe it or not, that could even extend to the signed biography of John McCain on the family room shelf. Now, if you have a photo of you two together on that same shelf, it might be another matter. No matter how the shopper might feel about the Senator from Arizona, he is likely to be impressed by the fact that you hobnob with celebrities that way. You could call it prestige by association.
Of course, if you had your picture taken with bin Laden, displaying on the mantle might definitely put you in that really dumb class. Short of that, everyone wants to live in an elegant luxury home that features prestige by association. Although not if it means sacrificing the cat.