A DESPERATE HOME OWNER. Yahoo has been headlining a story by a Wall Street Journal reporter—in fact, the personal-finance editor—about his efforts to sell his house in Dallas. The Yahoo headline reads: “One couple’s desperate attempt to sell a house” and the article is headlined: “We Managed to Sell Our Home And Keep Our Marriage Intact.” The reporter tells the story dramatically, but I will tell it in terms of numbers. The couple bought the house in 2004 for $360,000 and with improvements the owner estimated the total investment in the house as $390,000. The couple posted an asking price of $490,000 based on past selling prices. They wound up selling the house for $429,000. The reporter’s summary is: “Our selling price amounted to a 12% discount from our starting price.” Another way of looking at what happened is that they sold the house for 10% more than their investment after living in it for four years (of course, there are expenses to buying and selling a house that are not included). Kids, people are influenced by price histories. There was a housing “bubble” that changed the home owners’ expectations.

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