A. “We want to sell that sofa bed. It’s so heavy and you can’t sit on it, but it’s not half bad for sleeping.”

B. “That PC is only 15 years old and it still works. Isn’t there a non-profit that could use it?”

C. “Somebody certainly will want to buy this grand piano! We’ll sell it for half what we paid.”

D. “There must be a demand for an antique étagère.”

No. There isn’t a demand for the sofa bed, PC, piano or what-not shelf. And, yes, this is another post on the theme of “It’s your stuff that gets in the way of your progress.”

One listing out of three, the seller fixes on some thang. A thang that suddenly looms large. A thang that is heavy or unwieldy or weird or outdated or unfixable or ugly. A thang nobody wants. And yet The Thang looms large in the homeowner’s psyche.

Let’s mix metaphors and call it the white elephant in the room. Let’s imagine that this elephant is a white marble statue of a baby elephant that is the size of an actual baby elephant. 

Nobody wants it.

Yet the homeowner purchased the white elephant on a trip to southeast Asia and paid a lot of money to get it shipped to the states. Snowy (as he/she was affectionately called by one of the grandchildren many years ago) isn’t going to make the trek to the new home. But even though its owner doesn’t want it anymore and definitely doesn’t want to pay to have it moved, she proclaims, “Somebody will LOVE this white elephant!”

Nope. Nobody will love it.

This is an example of the importance of assessing present value. We all tend to add value based on our emotions and memories. We suffer with what’s called “mere ownership” effect (see blog post linked here), which says the minute something becomes yours it becomes more valuable. 

That elephant statue became more valuable to its owner as soon as her credit card left her wallet. Fast forward 15 years and her poor agent (me) is posting on social media to discover who wants a (free) white elephant. Worse, property preparation is being stalled in the name of finding a good home for the elephant.

The elephant is the tail wagging the dog, as it were.

The moral of the story: Don’t let your white elephant wag the dog. Let’s talk about how you can get real, let go, and get going. 

Photo Credit: Artem Beliaikin

Cynthia Cummins is the founder of Kindred SF Homes and has been serving homeowners and homebuyers for 3 decades. For information on San Francisco Bay Area real estate visit KindredSFhomes.com. For my writing and mindfulness blog, visit WildHeartWriting.org.