I spend most of my waking hours struggling with words and the many means we have nowadays of putting our words out there. Sometimes I make very bad mistakes with words. My latest very bad mistake was assuming that, having been involved for many years in the selling of horses, I could, similarly, sell a house. I mean, there is only the difference of an “r” and a “u.”
And there is obvious overlap: Clip and groom the horse (stage the house), make the price right (have the house appraised), advertise (use the MLS), make sure the horse has a decent set of shoes for whenever it may be vetted (make any needed repairs to the house before it is inspected).
I have quickly discovered dissimilarities:
1. In selling a house, you are at the mercy of realtors and their clients whose schedules are sacrosanct and who have no need to be mindful of such inconveniences as turnout, lesson and feeding times. This is how phone conversations go on Saturday mornings, after houses are posted in the MLS:
Realtor: Hi, I’m in the area with a client, and I’d like to show your house in an hour. I understand there’s a lockbox. (Meaning, we don’t want you to be there.)
Me: Sure! That would be great! Within an hour I will be out of my pajamas, my horse trailer will be moved from the middle of the driveway, and I will have cleared the kitchen of my latest brain-health experiment involving measuring cups and spoons, paper towels, clarified butter, coconut oil, stevia, coffee, a whisk, my Vitamix, and a disgruntled man who wants chocolate chip pancakes! No problem!
2. It is much, much, much harder to quickly clean a house than it is to quickly groom a horse, even a horse mired in Virginia mud (unless it is a gray). This is how private conversations go on Saturday mornings, after houses are listed on the MLS:
John: Guess I’ll go do some welding on the jeep.
Me (shrieking): What!? NO! NO! NO! Hitch the trailer to the truck and pull it around so this hulking, white thing is minimally visible—in March—from floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room and family room! Haul the vacuum to the basement and vacuum up behind the sad, drippy overwintering fern and the sad, drippy overwintering geraniums! Bake cookies! Get the ladder and replace the burned out light bulbs! Shake out the doormat! (etc.)
3. When selling a horse, the conversation between seller and buyer may go like this:
Buyer: I like your horse a lot. He has three good gaits, and he’s really cute.
Seller: Thanks, but he’s only for sale to a good home. He needs an owner who will guarantee him a peaceful, happy retirement for 10 to 15 years at the end of his life. He needs to wear a blanket in the winter. He does not like apples. Do you have a professional saddle fitter?
When selling a house, the conversation between seller and buyer may go like this:
Buyer: I will consider buying your house for a price insultingly less than your asking price. I am a former convicted felon who plans to raise pigs. I will chop down every tree you lovingly planted over the past two decades.
Ah, well. Such can be the difference between a consonant and a vowel. Please email me if you know anyone who wants to buy a nice place, which has thus far been home to the following (not all at the same time and aside from a few responsible, nonsmoking adults): seven horses, three ponies, four dogs, three cats and one fish.