The Dumbest Move In Real Estate

The Winner and still champion, this place took 21 years to sell (finally closing in 2012 for $8M)

The Winner and still champion, this (lovely, 23-acre) back-country Greenwich estate took 21 years to sell, finally closing in 2012 for $8M.

Maybe “dumb” isn’t the right word, especially since people who do this are often highly intelligent and accomplished in other areas of their lives, but let’s agree that the WORST move in real estate is to leave your property on the market for months and months, years and years, at the same price (or with occasional grudging reductions).

I think this sort of thing is more common in wealthy enclaves like Greenwich, where every listing broker has heard clients utter these three lines s-o-o-o-o many times before:

  1. We don’t need to sell.

  2. We’re not going to give this place away.

  3. All it takes is one! (reflecting the mistaken belief that, if you wait long enough, a rich sucker will finally appear)

I was about eight years old when I first noticed this phenomenon.The family would drive up to Ogunquit, Maine every summer and one year we drove past a nice new for-sale sign posted in a field just outside of town. The next year, that sign was still there, looking a bit worse for wear.

By the fifth year, the weather had taken its toll and the sign was illegible, pretty much just faded letters and peeling white paint. Over the years, I saw this exercise repeated on other fields, with the same results. “What’s the point of that?”, I wondered. And I am still wondering!

Coming in 2nd place (but clearly making a run for the record) is this (also lovely) estate, which has entered its twelfth year on the market!

Coming in 2nd place (but clearly making a run for the record) is this also lovely estate in mid-country Greenwich, now well into its twelfth year on the market! Can the owner hang in there for just ten more years and break the record? Stay tuned!

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