House Poor: The Perils of Progress
A Friday Funny by Steve Cook
Posted by: RET Staff
My real estate agent, Bea Meriwether, is one of those real estate people who thrived in the days when the business was all about personality and people skills, like selling houses face-to-face and negotiating like a poker star. She still bakes chocolate chip cookies just to scent the air at open houses and carries an extra hanky for teary sellers saying goodbye to the family home.
Bea has little use for the new Internet world that has transformed her business. She'd rather blab than blog and viral marketing makes her queasy. She calls the big real estate sites "Neverland" because they attract thousands of rubberneckers who fantasize over houses they could never afford. Bea prefers her reality anywhere but on a video screen, thank you very much, which is why her vanity plates say "B-REAL-T."
So one day last month, she ran into an old family friend, Wayne Parsons. She'd nudged him for years to sell his creaky old Cape Cod and downsize into a super modern condo or town house. But with the housing depression and living in Mirage Mills, known as the Chernobyl of American real estate, he decided to wait until the nation's housing economy came to its senses.
We were still taking bets on how long that was going to take when, amazingly, prices in Mirage Mills actually rose two percent for the first time in memory. Bea was on the phone to her friend in a flash, eager to land a listing before the next price report came out and corrected the mistake. By golly if she didn't convince him to sell. He probably realized that the way things are, he'd better take his two percent and run.