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VOL. 42 | NO. 39 | Friday, September 28, 2018

Tender, loving care pays dividends for owner-broker

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After years of strategic and passionate renovation, Tracey DeWire, a real estate broker with American Heritage, has listed the cottage she owns at 1207 Forrest Avenue for $565,000.

She purchased the home in 2005 for $247,500, and her restoration of the property is impeccable. The house and its appurtenances span three centuries, making it tri-centenarian in a way.

DeWire notes that the house is a “1900 Victorian with character and charm,” adding there is an 1800s iron fence on the lot along with “a new roof, 10-foot ceilings and a claw-foot tub.”

Framed over the mantle in one of the rooms is a paean that one might surmise is directed to the house itself: “If I had never met you, I would have dreamed you into being.” This house is more dream than reality-imagined realty.

With tin ceiling and a quartz kitchen, the house sparkles. At first glance, buying a house for $247,500 and selling for $565,00 would appear to be a neat $300,000 profit. However, with the renovation expense and sweat equity DeWire has invested, it is doubtful she earned the minimum wage, whatever that number is these days.

And the garden, oh that garden. Filled with hundreds of plant and flowers, their colors blending and melding in varying sizes and unwithering heights. John Lennon sings of “Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun” in “I am the Walrus,” a phrase that conjures Buckingham Palace-type quiet, elegant gardens. Lennon must have known of the garden at Forrest Avenue.

In the same song, the clairvoyant Lennon mentions “expert textperts” and Tracey DeWire is a textpert expert, bi-lingual in English and text, as demonstrated by throwing in that the house has “4WBFP,” or four woodburning fireplaces.

The home has two bedrooms and two bathrooms in its 1801 square feet, which breaks down to $314 per square foot.

Having owned this dwelling for 14 years and being a connoisseur of construction, the vinyl siding on the home next door apparently was a source of great irritation for DeWire, whose Forrest Avenue home is constructed of wood – not plastic, paper glued together or formed concrete – hewn lumber created by lumberjacks.

And they’re OK, those lumber jacks. They sleep all night and they work all day. Consequently, their wood is better than fake wood.

And help is on the way for the house next door, she writes: “Of note, house next door is being renovated, and vinyl siding will be removed per owner.” Now she can sleep like a lumberjack.

When licensed real estate agents list their own properties, there are two disparate forces at work, and only one of those will prevail. The forces are the id-like passionate, biased, personality of the seller versus the objective, professional, experienced real estate professional, Freud’s super-ego.

The problem in this model is that there is no ego to mediate between the id and the super-ego, both captured in the seller/agent’s body or psyche.

This allows for statements like DeWire wrote in the remarks of her listing: “800-square-foot unfinished attic. Add a staircase and finish for a master suite.”

It’s just not that easy. A staircase does not a master suite make. Finishing would require framing, new electrical, plumbing, HVAC, a couple of vanities, a commode, a shower – preferably tile – and a tub, along with flooring, walls, ceilings, paint and some lighting and plumbing fixtures. There is a master. Unfortunately, it is on the second floor, and no one wants that anyway.

Mike Post of Post and Company real estate is a man of balance and brains. He knows construction inside and out and can spot quality from miles away without a scope.

Once he noticed the spray foam insulation, the finishes and the garden, he knew that his buyer could buy a “once in a lifetime” home. Within hours of seeing the listing, he had the property under contract and closed within 40 days, all the while negotiating $14,000 off the list price. Perhaps Tracey could not take another day of the vinyl siding next door.

The “add a master suite” comment could have been made to allow buyers to see that the square footage could be acquired as so many buyers fall into the price per square foot quagmire. For those, the comment was reassuring.

One thing almost all sellers do as they don their homeowners cap is to seek offers from people who do not like their properties. It goes like this:

A Realtor brings a buyer to a listing, shows the house, and they leave. The buyer’s agent never calls the listing agent with any questions, nor does he provide feedback. Weeks go by, and no one else sees the listing. It is dead. It has gone to the great beyond, devoid of interest.

The owner is losing patience and wants results, and the listing agent is pulling every trick he knows to get someone, any one, to look at the house. Suddenly, out of nowhere, a buyer appears and submits an offer. As the listing agent joins the sellers, the agent is giddy, filled with joy and purpose.

The seller says “Shouldn’t’ you call the agent that showed it two weeks ago before we deal with this offer?”

One person sees the house, likes it, takes the time to write and offer, an earnest money check, and get a letter from a lender. The other person breezed through and went away, never to return. Let’s find him. He is obviously a better buyer. Sounds like a sound plan.

Richard Courtney is a licensed real estate broker with Christianson, Patterson, Courtney, and Associates and can be reached at richard@richardcourtney.com.

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