Last night I stumbled across “Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmare” while channel surfing. Basically Ramsay is chef who takes over a failing restaurant and tries to get it running right.
Ramsay is incredibly profane. He drops F-bombs with the passion of a hockey coach. He has no problem telling a restaurant owner and chef that their food is “f*-ing crap” and that the restaurant’s atmosphere is worse than a sleazy “f*-ing strip club.” He yells, he screams, he belittles, he berates.
Early in the episode Ramsay discovers that the restaurant isn’t preparing anything from scratch. In the kitchen the chef was preparing food ahead of time from a mix, then reheating it in a microwave. Meanwhile, the owner was doing a sound check with an acoustic guitarist in the seating area. It was lunch. The restaurant was empty. They were losing $1000 a day in overhead, and the food was awful.
Ramsay gets the owner and chef in the kitchen and starts blasting them like a battleship. One thing he said struck me like a lightning bolt. I’m paraphrasing here:
“You f*-ing morons are falling apart at the f*-ing seams. No one wants your food. You aren’t selling f*-ing anything and you wrap yourself in this bubble and keep telling yourself everything is alright!”
And I think to myself, “Omigosh that is so real estate.”
We deal with sellers all the time…thank goodness most of them don’t list with us…that are wrapped in that bubble of self delusion about the market. Some property is very black-and-white on price, some isn’t, but everything falls into a range. And then you get a seller who wants to list for $50,000 or more above any rational threshold, and you think to yourself, “What planet are these people on?”
Home sales are simply a function of supply and demand, with a caveat for available credit. There are 2200 homes on the market, only 1000 of them may sell. If the price goes down on the other 1200 the demand might increase enough to generate 1200 more sales. But, “my house is worth more than that.”
I had a Ramsay moment (or two) when I lost it with an irrational seller. Once, in response to the question of “Why isn’t my house selling?” I replied:
“Because you don’t clean up the dogsh*t on the floor John! I’ve been telling you for weeks to clean the house. John, the last person who saw it threatened to call the health department, John. Clean up the freaking house!”
I eventually paid to clean the house, but it was too little too late and it eventually went to foreclosure.
I’ve even threatened to quit. When a seller wanted to counter a very good offer on a very tough to sell home two years ago I told her I wouldn’t present it. I told her I was going to give back the listing and she could find another Realtor to present it, but I wouldn’t do it. Because it was a b*llshit counter on a good offer in the worst market in history and I would not go down that road. So after hanging up on me she called back, apologized and took the offer. And a good thing she did, because the market turned even worse after.
I saved that one but for every one I do save it seems like I have another one that fails, like I had with John, above.
The last one involved, you guessed it, a very good (actually above market) offer on a very hard to sell property. I thought the sellers were rational until they countered at a very irrational price and terms. They seemed normal up until that point. I had educated them every week on selling prices and market conditions…they knew as much as I did. But they stuck on that hard counter thinking the buyer was going to budge, but the buyer just walked away. So after a few days the sellers came back with a better, but not great counter offer. But at this point the buyers wouldn’t even respond. I assume they had a choice #2 and bought that instead.
So, Ramsay, you got kindred spirits in real estate. Maybe not as profane, but a kindred spirit nonetheless.