KEYS TO NOWHERE

I confess.  I never quite know how to take it when some of you take me too seriously.  Not that real estate isn’t an all-too-serious business these days. But if everyone starts taking everyone else too seriously, it could go viral!  We might miss that last little bit of endangered humor that’s hiding out there, cowering under a rock.

Last week, we discussed an exceedingly odd phenomenon that’s been occurring. Properties put on the market by Sellers going out of their way to make homes hard to see and/or make showings they do get, less inviting for prospective buyers.

Almost like they don’t really want to sell them at all!  Almost like they are just going through the motions to satisfy some other strange agenda!  Almost as though they think the showing process itself should be a kind of modern-day Spanish Inquisition! Trial by fire, weeding out true buyers from those masquerading as such to indulge their penchant for kicking tires!  The premise?  Prospective buyers should be judged guilty until proven innocent and of pure intent – by first surviving the experience!

We speculated what the underlying psychology might be but didn’t come to any conclusions.  We just left it as one more contradiction in a growing list of contradictions. Symptomatic of a marketplace turned inside-out and upside-down by recent events.

But one of you picked right up on the theme without missing a beat.  An anonymous entrepreneur claiming to be a lifelong Santa Cruz tenant immediately e mailed me a 50 page catalogue called Buyer Be-Gone (Products to Make Sure Your House Doesn’t Sell.)

Apparently he has been waiting for just the right moment to step up and promote his wealth of experience. And this is the right marketplace – with so many ambivalent sellers becoming more ambivalent each day. I suspect ulterior motives. An April Fools joke perhaps. But I’m just going to pass on some of his offerings and let you be the judge.

PREEMPTIVE STRIKE:  Buyers will Be-Gone before they even get there: Insist on 24 hours notice prior to showing.  Purchase one of our cheap answering machines guaranteed not to work. Can’t get ahold of you? They can’t show the property.  Also comes with free Mobile App that diverts calls to an automated message declaring voice mail cannot receive any new messages.

FAKE HOSE-BIB: Fool the Agents.  Convince them to put their lockboxes on what looks like the real thing. After they are gone, simply slip fake hose-bib off the handy exterior wall mount.  Dig a hole in the garden and bury the lockbox. Replace fake-hose bib and repeat same. As often as necessary.

KEYS TO NOWHERE:  Purchase this new I Phone App showing the location of all local hardware stores and key-making kiosks that have proven themselves incapable of making copies that actually work.  Locks that don’t turn, don’t turn into sales.

PETPOURRI: Buyer Be-Gone’s equivalent of new car smell.  Handy spray can that duplicates and distributes the distinctive aroma of Old Dog Smell.  Apply ten minutes prior to showing for maximum effect. Also available in Old Kitty Litter.

SECOND HAND SMOKES:  What do you think they do with all those cigarettes they collect at the beach on clean-up day?  We buy, recycle and package them in five-pound bags.  All the stale butts you will ever need.  Each order comes with a free decorative ash tray and a 30 day supply of inhalers. Want to turn off prospective buyers? Smoke ’em out.

TAKE THE PLUNGE:  Cheap plungers, made in China. Six for a dollar. They don’t actually work, but place several next to each toilet in the house and watch them flush buyer fears about the old plumbing right to the surface.

FAUX FINISH:  Apply our special line of faux mold paint to the inside of closets, behind dressers, along baseboards and underneath bathroom sinks.  For most effective results, we recommend black.

NIGHT AND DAY:  Sturdy blackout blinds, made from recycled plastic trash bags.  Guaranteed to darken any space and make any room feel small and depressing.  It’ll be curtains for prospective buyers. Don’t miss your window of opportunity.

DIM BULBS:  How many Realtors does it take to screw in a light bulb?  Have fun watching and counting after you purchase a large supply of our burned-out bulbs, packaged to look like new. No matter how many times they try to screw and unscrew them, you’ll still screw up the sale.

Other Items:  Rusted Fifty Pound Hazardous Waste Drums for Backyard Staging,  Handy Stick-on Foundation Cracks. Bulk Termite Droppings,  Wide Selection of Cracked Roof Tiles,  Limited Supply of Edvard Munch prints of “The Scream.”  Special Eerie Doll and Owl Collections Available Upon Request.

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