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    “One-of-a-kind, custom designed retreat for tall family. Ten-foot regulation ceilings, light switches in place for dramatic vaulting, MBA basketball embedded in living room fireplace, multilevel commodes, over-sized Jacuzzi, that can be converted into a garage. Sacrifice for quick sale by formerly famous retired athlete. For information, call Zelda Zigzaggle, the Million Dollar Club matchmaker of the really, really customized home”

    Some realtors specialize in homes so customized that a buyer has to be blinded by love for that particular house. They build reputations with whiz-bang ideas, and imaginative listings, that magnetically draw buyers to abnormal abodes. Their job is to convince a buyer that he really wants to be somebody else—the kind of person that fits into the house they want to unload.

    The really customized home is not an easy sell, but all a realtor needs is one buyer. For instance, Zelda proudly brags about the Andy Gustafson farmstead, now the Minnesota headquarter of the National Organization of Women.  “In 1888, Andy’s big boned daughter, Olga, gathered, lifted and cut the foundation’s boulders for the 22-room house all by herself, after pulling the family plow in the wheat field all morning. NOW liked the fact that she worked so hard to help her family, but it was the motto hammered above the front door that sold them: “Once you’ve done the groundwork, watch your buttress!”

    Several Zigzaggle houses have a historical connection. The Toll House, a simple frame saltbox in Indiana, originally served as a way station on the pioneer trail. Zelda said, “When the expressway came through the house in 1985, I convinced the new owners they could pay off their mortgage in six months. Collecting fees from the passing traffic, in their upholstered toll booth, wasn’t an inconvenience but a frontier tradition.

    A good realtor is always hustling for the next big sale, so Zelda sent this note to President Trump. “Mr. President, it’s never too early to scout out a retirement home. I have just the place for you. With your esteemed position and your history, you will feel right at home in my client’s revolving house on a pedestal. And in keeping with your domestic policy, the house turns 180 degrees every 24 hours. Well, I know you don’t want to be set adrift too soon, Mr. President, but remember that ‘Time and tide wait for no man.”’

    Zelda sold the Pendulous Mansion to a family, who decided to hang in there while their daughter moved in with them yet again until she found herself once more. She also said, “Of course I also handle homes for people with inordinately contemporary taste. Face it, most shoppers just can’t drive by a house coated with iridescent paint that glows in the dark. No fumbling around for keys at night with this one.”

    Two critical elements of real estate sales are: bagging the seller and razzle-dazzling the buyer. Also, a realtor should keep quiet when buyers and sellers accidentally meet, unless the seller puts a hammerlock on the buyer. Then the agent should say, “I hate to break this up, but we need to get to the next house before dark because the owner grows hair in funny places when the moon comes up.”

    And what about that custom home for sale by the formerly retired athlete? It turned out that a troupe of Bavarian tumblers was interested in the “tall family house.”  However, before making an offer, they needed to know how many trampolines could fit into that Jacuzzi.

    Esther Blumenfeld (Based on “Southern By Choice ” by Blumenfeld and Alpern, Column in ACCENT ON HOMES AND LIVING MAGAZINE, 1992 c. Blumenfeld)

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