Murphy’s Law of the badly timed listing

by Dan St. Yves

You’ve spotted your dream property on your way home from work. It’s perfect!

And better yet, it’s listed for sale. All you must do now is list your current shack, get a satisfactory offer fast and then you can make an offer on that breathtaking vision of residential architecture.

As you wander around your current house, though, you discover a few concerns that may need to be addressed before you’re likely to receive an offer of any kind, any time soon. I refer to this as Murphy’s Law of Timing in Respect to Listing Your Home For Sale. Less wordy types might refer to it as bad luck.

After ascending your ladder to view the condition of the roof, you discover that a colony of rare eavestrough termites have consumed all the long nails driven in to secure the downspout track to your fascia. The ladder and your body weight are the only things securing it to the side of your home. Say, is that thunder I hear?

You’ve hired an inspector to perform a pre-sale home inspection in order to assure potential buyers that your home is rock-solid. While examining the attic crawl space, she discovers that the super-cheap insulation that you had blown in a few years ago is actually pink cotton candy and it’s given the attic squirrel that moved in over the winter diabetes.

While you could level the shelf in your back mudroom with a few coins under the back legs, you’ll need a bit more than pocket change to level the back of the home after an engineer confirms the footings have slowly and steadily dropped four inches since the underground sprinklers flooded the yard a few years back.

Just as you’re signing the listing contract, your kitchen bay window has decided to become more of an estuary, as the tiny roof area slides off and dangles just in front of the window glass.

During a quick trip to city hall to get copies of any paperwork relevant to your land title and residential survey, you notice a few of the clerk’s colleagues being summoned over. They are all studying your file with great interest. Who knew there was an easement across the entire front yard of your property (including the driveway) to allow for a future lemonade stand run by the mayor’s kids?

Two days before your first open house, a water main failure closes the entire city block around your home. There will be a three-month wait for the rare cistern that is needed to repair the main’s failure. In a rare showing of good nature, the local utility and cable companies have offered to reduce their monthly fees by seven per cent during this challenging time.

Just as the real estate agent is hammering in the for sale sign, your neighbour rediscovers his bagpipe collection and sets them up in his gazebo. Wow, that’s the shortest kilt I’ve ever seen. Oh dear, he’s dropped his sheet music!

While trying to clean the wayward bubble gum off your living room wall, the cleaning solution has also removed a broad swath of paint and at least the first two topical layers of drywall. That unsightly blemish also seems to be spreading, like a bad bruise. While the 911 operator is sympathetic, she is unable to offer any assistance. Her calm and dulcet tones fail to reduce your hysteria, as the frame surrounding the picture window starts to smoulder.

In one of the more bizarre examples of Murphy’s Law of Timing in Respect to Listing Your Home For Sale, bison have decided to graze the prairies once again and your lawn looks an awful lot like prairie.

— the article above was originally published in REM (Real Estate Magazine).