A recent news story reported that Eve Plumb, the actress who played Jan Brady on the iconic 1970s sitcom “The Brady Bunch,” just sold her Malibu bungalow for slightly less than 4 million dollars. She bought the house when she was 11 years old for only $55,000, using her earnings from the TV show. So in about four-and-a-half decades, the value of her real estate increased 7000-percent. Not too shabby.
As they say in the real estate business, the three most important things about a piece of property are: “Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!” Oops, I’m sorry. That’s Jan Brady’s famous lament about her older sister. The three most important things about real estate are: “Location! Location! Location!”
Now, let’s consider a different piece of real estate, owned by a certain humor columnist for this newspaper. It’s a lovely 3-bedroom ranch on the east side of Torrington, which was purchased 30 years ago for $127,000 (and not with earnings from starring in a TV sitcom, but instead with a pile of money from the bank and my promise to give the bank most of my income each month for the next three decades).
This lovely home in Torrington is now for sale. Am I expecting to sell it for a 7000-percent profit? Of course not. I’ve only owned it for 30 years, not 4-1/2 decades. So I’d settle for a mere 1000-percent profit. However, this house has been on the market for over 5 months now, and it’s becoming clear that in order to get someone to make a serious offer, the sale price needs to be no more than 20 to 25-percent higher than what I paid in 1986. As they say in the military: Whiskey Tango Foxtrot?!!
I asked the real estate agent why my house increased so little in value while Eve Plumb’s house skyrocketed in value. The agent replied, “It’s because of Marcia! Marcia! Marcia! Um, I mean, Location! Location! Location!”
Fine. Let’s review these two locations. My house is located in Connecticut, where we experience four distinct and delightful seasons, including oppressively muggy summers and bone-chilling winters. On the other hand, Malibu has to endure a monotonously similar climate all year long: sunny, 75 degrees, and dry. Who could possibly enjoy that tedious existence?
Next, let’s compare the views. Eve Plumb’s bungalow is located right on the beach and looks directly out at the Pacific Ocean. This means every evening she is forced to deal with a brilliant sunset on the water, which requires everyone to wear sunglasses, even indoors. Also, those sunsets reveal unsightly streaks if the windows are not cleaned properly. How annoying!
In contrast, the picture window in my cozy living room offers a breathtaking view of the high tension power lines running along Route 183. And speaking of Route 183, that’s the road I take to get to Walmart and Taco Bell in less than three minutes. In congested Southern California, I bet Eve has to sit in traffic for at least 45 minutes whenever she needs to purchase a pair of $7 stretch pants and a Burrito Supreme.
Finally, although Connecticut consistently rates just behind Venezuela regarding oppressive taxation and government regulations, California is even worse, beating out only North Korea in those particular categories.
So the bottom line seems pretty clear to me: the east side of Torrington is obviously a much better location than dreary ol’ Malibu. I’m the one who should be pocketing the four-mil, while Eve should be settling for the measly buck-fifty. There’s only one explanation as to why Eve’s cashing in big and I’m not: preferential treatment for Hollywood celebrities. And we know who’s behind it all: Marcia! Marcia! Marcia!