My own aunt ignores my advice about selling

Old Town Hall, Boca Raton (flickr photo by StevenM_61)

My 79-year-old aunt became a widow last year and put her home in Florida on the market with the idea of moving to a much smaller place and probably giving up her condo in the Boston area later on.

We happened to speak four days after it was listed for $884,000 at the end of December.  There was one buyer who visited the house in that short interval.  He professed interest, but my aunt is smart enough to have conceded that his interest likely will be fleeting.

The buying season was getting under way, she noted, correctly pointing out that it was too early to draw any conclusions about her prospects.

“The broker wanted to price it lower,” she told me with some reluctance.

“For how much?” I naturally asked.

There was a pause before she answered: “$784,000.”

I suppressed my gulp but then charged ahead, urging my aunt to reconsider.

After $10,000 in closing costs and the broker’s 6 percent commission, she said, she’d end up losing money for the residence, which is adjacent to a golf course and custom-built just before the Florida market tanked.  My aunt added that she wanted to have room for negotiation.


It turns out that there aren’t any good comps for the property, but her broker is highly regarded in the area.  So his judgment is worth heeding, as, of course, I volunteered.

What you wish for, I reminded her, is not necessarily what a buyer will want to pay.  In fact, I went on, it almost never is.

She gets it, my aunt acknowledged, while at the same time insisting on moving forward with an asking price that must be too high.

“If I don’t sell now, there’s always next year,” she declared.

There’s a phrase in the world of psychology for knowing one thing but refusing to believe it.  It’s like understanding that there’s a good chance of dying from smoking cigarettes but continuing to inhale anyway, thinking you’ll be the exception.

It’s called cognitive dissonance.

Another phrase comes to mind as well when I contemplate the situation: Hope springs eternal.

Tomorrow: Weekly Roundup

To take your own bite out of the Big Apple, you have the option here to search all available properties privately.

Subscribe by Email


Malcolm Carter
Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker
Senior Vice President
Charles Rutenberg Realty
127 E. 56th Street
New York, NY 10022

M: 347-886-0248
F: 347-438-3201
Web site

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s