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How this guy lost a fortune, right over the back fence

How this guy lost a fortune ... right over his back fence

My partner, Michael, is – as they say here in North Queensland – “spewing”. Not in a gastro way; he’s just really, really mad …

There’s a good-sized block of land behind ours with a condemned house on it. Somehow that house has stayed lived in via a succession of renters who don’t mind. We’ve enjoyed a cool procession of alternative types, each with their own brand of kids, dogs and party vibes.

Michael had his eye on the block because it would make the perfect place for all of his boat gear. There are a few dozen sails and assorted boat bits that he’d love to store closer to home.

Finding the ideal buyer isn't hard; there is likely to be somebody who needs what you sell, right under your nose.

And he’s a shed guy. Michael’s idea of bliss is to fix anything that’s broken and literally have it working better than ever.

Anyway, he’s talked about buying this block for years.

According to the long-time neighbour on the corner, it seemed that Trevor, the owner, would rather rent it out forever than sell it.

One of the most recent renters, an arborist, wistfully mused to Michael that he was trying to buy the place. The block’s not only spacious, but the arborist had a few kids and chooks and the yard was shaded by big old mango trees.

Find out how this guy lost a fortune over his back fence, by not knowing where to advertise.

Then a few weeks ago, we realised they had moved out.

Another couple moved in; a sign went up on a newly-built front fence. ‘Lionheart Dreadlocks’, it said.

The dreadlocked lady proceeded to cut every tree on the place down and bring in a truckload of river rocks.

With the week-long tree cutting happening, Michael realised it was the arborist back on the property, doing the work. Being curious, he stopped to say hi.

Turns out the dreadlocked lady got herself a great deal. She’d picked up the property for a song … $50,000 less than what the owner paid for it roughly 15 years ago.

And turns out he’d had it for sale for years.

No ‘For Sale’ sign.

Didn’t want to pay an agent.

No listing on the usual channels, because Michael had been watching for it.

The only post, said the arborist, was a lone listing on a ‘for sale by owner’ site that obviously wasn’t doing its own marketing, because it never came up in a search.

Trevor had a hungry buyer, literally over his back fence, who would have bought it as soon as it was listed.

The price Trevor sold for was 25% less than what Michael would have expected to pay.

Don’t be like Trevor.

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