The Real Estate Truth Behind “Funny Farm”

Have you ever watched the classic comedy Funny Farm starring Chevy Chase and Madolyn Osborne? The story is centered on The Farmers, a couple who buy a farmhouse in rural Vermont after the husband quits his day job as a sports reporter to write the Great American Novel. Little do they know they are moving to a small town filled with eccentric characters. Quirky situations ensue and their marriage reaches a breaking point. They decide to sell the farmhouse and what arises is a situation that I think some homeowners wish they could pull off – a staged sale, town and all!

The Farmers realize that they won’t be able to sell their home if buyers get to know their neighbors and the townspeople. At the monthly town meeting, they tell the residents that they will donate $15,000 to the town and $50 to each person who acts like the iconic characters portrayed in Norman Rockwell paintings. The town agrees, but little do they know what kind of chaos will be created. Everyone wants their $50, so when the potential buyers arrive to get the grand tour with The Farmers, they’re subjected to a town that has been so transformed a normal person wouldn’t believe it (like the Christmas Carolers who stay outside the farmhouse singing all night). Yet, the buyers are so sold on the home’s perfect features that they are ready to buy the home and everything inside, including the dog!

Of course, as much as a homeowner would love to have that much control over the sale of their home, it’s unrealistic. The movie is based on a book that was popular in 1985. Today, buyers and sellers typically leave the negotiating up to Realtors, and they certainly don’t spend a night in the home. Paying off the town would most certainly break some misrepresentation laws and, in today’s economy, I’m not sure they would work that hard for $50.

Still, in typical Chevy Chase fashion, we get the chance to laugh at the honest truth. No home is perfect. In The Farmers’ case, the neighbors left something to be desired. When you list your home for sale, you can’t help but run every quirk and negative feature through your mind, and wonder, “Is this going to turn-off buyers?” But you need to remember – you bought the home for a reason, right? There was something about it that you loved and, even though you’re ready to move on, that’s still going to leave you a little biased.

One of the benefits of using a Realtor is that they are constantly in and out of houses seeing what buyers like and what’s getting sold. They can pinpoint potential issues and suggest ways to compensate for those negative features when marketing and selling the home. Some sellers can predetermine what might hold the home back from attracting a buyer, but it’s not uncommon for sellers to be surprised when they get negative feedback on their home. Maybe the feedback is for a feature that originally attracted them to the home, like the fancy fixtures that are now outdated, or maybe the neighborhood doesn’t have the amenities people are looking for now, but the market changes and Realtors are the best at staying on top of it.

If you’re thinking of selling your Wilmington area home, we would be happy to take a look and show you our marketing plan. We’ll share the weaknesses and strengths of your home, and suggest some easy changes you may want to make prior to listing it. Just give us a call at 910.202.2546 or send us a message through our Contact page.

About the Author
Meghan Henderson
Meghan is the Marketing Specialist for The Cameron Team and a published author of two young adult books. She also creates digital and printable planners and trackers, as well as coloring pages for Larkspur & Tea.