I got a call from a man who said he wanted to sell his house in the southern part of San Francisco. He was a referral from a client of mine who worked at Oracle who had bought a house from me three years before. Like most sellers, this new client Benjamin Bratt (his last name has not been changed!) had an inflated idea of what his property was worth. He knew a house around the corner had sold for $850,000; however that house had been remodeled, had an apartment in the basement, the yard had been landscaped and it was on a much preferred street.
Benjamin was a bachelor who still had his college futon as a couch in his living room, a beer distiller in the dining room and a second bedroom filled with boxes of books and assorted items as if he had just moved in. (He had lived there 25 years). The kitchen had mismatched appliances including an avocado colored refrigerator. The yard was a dry patch of dying bushes and weeds and there was no bedspread on his bed or curtains on the windows.
Besides the frayed futon there was a nondescript wooden coffee table with a broken leg and a humongous television, topped by a metal box with protruding rabbit ears that reached half way up the wall,. This room reminded me of my years growing up in the sixties. I clearly had a big job ahead of me: first getting Benjamin realistic about pricing, and next– getting his house ready for sale. (more…)