What Was the Owner Thinking?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC NC# 218097


As REALTORS, everyone of us at one time or another has wondered “What Was The Owner Thinking?”. We’ve all got our particular real estate irritants when out showing…mine is unreachable homes by normal modes of transportation…yet the advertising “come hither” shows jaw dropping outstanding views with only casual reference as to the access.

No doubt there are REALTORS in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Louisiana wondering what I’m talking about. They have their own irritants that I’m not be familiar with. REALTORS in Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia and other mountainous states know exactly what I mean. During the building boom, people were putting houses where nothing living had been except perhaps goats and eagles. Sometimes it worked out. Ethical builders recommended long roads with switchbacks. Often it didn’t work out so well…as a resale. Sure, the original seller could arrive in a beefy 4 wheel drive vehicle and never gave a thought that at some point an emergency vehicle might need to reach the house.

View From Rose Hill copyright 2012 Mona Gersky

NEWS FLASH ! ! ! Buyers are intensely more practical. They are buying a new house and don’t want to buy a new vehicle to be able to reach their new house. They are considering things like the cost of insurance, or if a fire truck, rescue squad or the police can access this house located at the top of a 12 to 15% grade.

Don’t you think it’s poor planning when buying or building a house to not consider the reality of selling the house at a later date?

This isn’t a rant…it’s not like the only houses for sale are perched at the top of a precipice. This is more a lament for sellers who just weren’t thinking about the future when they built these houses. The buyers I worked with last weekend were game to try anything to find what they wanted. We drove on some incredibly difficult approaches and Mr. Buyer did perfectly with his driving. They wanted to see the modestly priced beautiful house with the jaw dropping view but we could only get within 500 feet of the house. We valiantly climbed the rest of the way. The buyers good humouredly pointed out how far other buyers had made it. I expected to see bleached bones and rusted vehicles of those who didn’t make it at all.

Gorgeous house or so my oxygen deprived brain interpreted it and the view definitely fabulous. List price approximately $200,000. If it had been located even 500 feet down the driveway the sellers might have been able to list for $350-400,000. There are so many “what ifs” but the main thing with this house was “so what”. Our buyers would never have felt relaxed there, every trip in and out would’ve been an ordeal. Friends and family wouldn’t have visited and God forbid there would ever be a disaster because rescue would be delayed.

Avoid the “What Was The Owner Thinking” syndrome … you or your heirs will have to sell sometime.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Alan Brown 03/23/2012 02:54 AM
ActiveRain Community
North Carolina Macon County Franklin Rose Creek
Western North Carolina Mountain Region
North Carolina Mountains
Advice for Buyers
tips for buying real estate in the nc mountains
moondancer realty

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Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

I'm getting shivers thinking of ever having to show such a property - I wouldn't want to drive up there - I'd be freaking!  Of course, I'm from IL and we're lucky to have a hill in my area.  I'd like to see how long that house will be on the market.

Mar 24, 2012 04:18 AM #51
Heather Timm Klein
Timm Associates Adirondack Properties and Businesses - Old Forge, NY
Adirondack Realtor

I get crazy access properties here in the Adirondacks as well.  It's just as ridiculous when a Seller pays to install a very expensive drivaeway and the cost exceeds what any reasonable person would pay for the property.  Sure they have access but now they can never sell it anyway without taking a loss.  People just don't think sometimes!

Mar 24, 2012 05:04 AM #52
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Sandy, being next to a nuclear plant would carry its own set of bizarre directions and disclosures...not worth it at any price!

Jeff, it could be that the family would make it there but be unable to leave.

Marlis...don't get me started on the whole no addresses thing.  Private roads abound here.

Judy, I think its already been on the market for at least a year.  Too bad, it is beautiful.

Heather, that might be where some of the sellers here are.  Roads are insanely expensive to build...even the bad roads.

Mar 24, 2012 07:02 AM #53
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Mona, I sell dirt, so my 4x4 Jeep is an essential tool for business!  Used it today, in fact, to roam around some land tracts.

Mar 24, 2012 07:42 AM #54
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Jeanne, I'll bet you had fun...sure sounds like it.

Mar 24, 2012 08:49 AM #55
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

I guess I would love a house in the middle of no where.  What I always think when I see them on some rocky an lonely cliff is - How do they get the water to the house.  The top of a mountain is not the best place for a well.  pumping it up can be a pain.

Mar 24, 2012 10:39 AM #56
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas


Though I love views, I also love accessibility!

Mar 24, 2012 10:39 AM #57
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Mona, You might be surprised.  Here in Florida I have had the GPS take me through State Forest roads that do not exeist, sugar sand, and swamps to get to a "waterfront"!

Mar 24, 2012 10:46 AM #58
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Thanks for the enjoyable story, reminds me of a nightmare we once encountered engineering a road to one of these priceless views.  Nowadays it would be the perfect home to sell to a doomsday prepper.

Mar 24, 2012 12:24 PM #59
Dorte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Mona,

If you move into cougar & bear country, do not be surprised to have close encounters! If you move into snow country, prepare to stay the winter on occasion. That happened to a friend once, who said that the worst was running out of salt in April, so the rice & beans became pretty bland. No more bullets meant not even squirrel meat in the stew.

Mar 24, 2012 12:58 PM #60
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Gene, middle of nowhere would be okay as long as I can get to it!

DeeDee, you and me both.

Bob Miller, sometimes nothing beats a good old fashioned paper map.

Bob Crane, a priceless road to a priceless view, huh?  Do doomsday preppers call REALTORS?

Dorte, we have bears but I don't know about cougars...catamounts maybe.  Squirrel meat? yecch.


Mar 24, 2012 01:41 PM #61
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I agree with Erv - the same privacy and inaccessibility that attracted the builders will be just what some buyer is looking for.

My neighbors live 2 miles above us on a mountain road that I don't like to travel even in summer. Some winters they keep it plowed and open all the time - some years they use snowmobiles to get up and down. One of their sons is in the process of building a home for himself and his family on the parent's property.

Mar 24, 2012 02:24 PM #62
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
Wow, wow a gorgeous photo and this is coming from a Beach girl. Like the part about your heirs will have to sell. No one escapes this forever!
Mar 24, 2012 10:10 PM #63
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Marte, I hope you are right...and I hope it happens soon.

Cheryl, who knows...maybe the heirs would love it and their heirs will have to deal with it.

Mar 24, 2012 11:05 PM #64
Marilyn Robertson


Northeast TN has some of these, too, as you probably know! Locals usually understand. Others don't! A CA couple contacted me once, wanting "secluded land on which to build a log home." I took them to a beautiful pasture on a hill with a gorgeous view. No 4-wheel was needed, though I didn't take my sedan. The rough country road and the overgrowth of blackberries made the couple literally quiver. "Secluded" to them was within sight of an interstate highway!

Stating in the listing that a 4-wheel is needed is more than helpful--it's courteous to fellow agents and buyers.

Mar 25, 2012 12:28 AM #65
Tina Gleisner
Home Tips for Women - Portsmouth, NH
Home Tips for Women

Fascinating story & even with public roads, there are places I've seen in New Mexico which seem just as isolated. Good points

Mar 25, 2012 12:51 AM #66
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

NE TN would totally have those kinds of drives, Marilyn.  It is pretty funny what some people consider to be too isolated.

Tina, thanks for your comment.  I lived in NM as a teenager and I think since I wasn't a driver then I wasn't really concerned with it.  It would be so different now.

Mar 25, 2012 05:25 AM #67
Lottie Kendall
Compass - San Francisco, CA
Helping make your real estate dreams a reality

Our hilly area of the peninsula between San Francisco and San Jose has many houses perched on hillsides with impossibly steep driveways, and houses with many steps. They certainly present challenges when selling, but when priced properly, they find buyers. In areas like these, average price/sq.ft. is meaningless.

Mar 25, 2012 11:48 PM #68
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL


I have enjoyed reading the posts from fellow realtors. I didn't realize that such a small minority of practitioners are comfortable with "handling" remote listings. I live forty-five minutes from the nearest stop light. If the house starts on fire, burn baby burn, it will be approximately one hour before the volunteer fire department arrives. Same for a response from the local county sheriff's deputy. As a consequence, we learned how to prepare ourselves for living in remote territory. We made a decision to balance potential risk versus reward. We regularly service and run the generator, (used at least once a year for extended periods during power outages) check the condition of numerous fire extinguisher units, practice our firearm marksmanship skills and last, remain ever vigilant for those who might perpetrate a crime against our fellow country folk. While there are drawbacks to living in a remote area of this country, there are numerous benefits - too many to mention here. What's great about America, each and everyone one of us can live almost anywhere without interference from others. It all boils down to how we look at a particular situation. I wouldn't feel comfortable having a veternarian examine me for back pains, therefore why would I enlist the services of a realtor who sells tract homes show me secluded rural properties? Realtors - continually practice keeping an open mind, it's good for business.  

Mar 26, 2012 12:12 AM #69
Mona Gersky
MoonDancer Realty, Dillsboro,NC - Sylva, NC
GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.

Lottie, thanks for commenting.  I forget that San Francisco has those hilly areas too.  Pricing properly is a good point.

Sharon, interesting contribution.  People would need to keep certain skillsets honed if they choose to live remotely.  thanks.

Mar 26, 2012 12:20 PM #70
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Mona Gersky

GRI,IMSD-Taking the mystery out of real estate.
Ask me...we'll figure it out!

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