A few months ago, I urged readers in the market for a new home to start a revolution. The premise was simple: If it’s truly a buyer’s market, then start telling sellers that you won’t pay their emotionally charged prices. Set your own price. Low ball. So how’s that revolution going?

I’m not in the market for real estate right now — happy renting here — but my husband and I do make a nuisance of ourselves at open house events in my neighborhood, where I waste everyone’s time despite having no intention to buy. I just want to know what they’re charging and what I’d get for my money if I were interested. We don’t go every weekend, but every other month or so, or when we’ve got nothing better to do on a weekend afternoon. On our last outing a couple of weeks ago I noticed a distinct sense of desperation among realtors. You can smell it as soon as you walk in the door. They hover more, they cast a lot of sideways glances and they always make a point of mentioning, more than once, that the “seller is very motivated.”

Of course, I usually guess that going in seeing as I’m in my own neighborhood and know that the house in question has been on the market for six months. But I’ve decided that the next time a realtor tells me how eager his or her client is, I’m going to ask, “Really, because you can’t tell from the price.”

You do it too and check back with me. Let’s compare notes.

CATHERINE MacRAE HOCKMUTH

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