To the Editor:
Like many LCN readers, I’ve been saddened to read over the past few months the tragic and avoidable story of the historic little Curley house (21 Pond Rd.) in Damariscotta Mills, whose fate seems to rest with new out of state owners who wish to demolish it in favor of building and moving into a brand new house. Never mind that the house was built before our country was founded, or that it resides close to protected Bald Eagle nesting habitat.
The most puzzling question to me is how on earth did this tragic situation come to be?
What is the role of realtor ethics in brokering the sales of real estate?
On one end we have a purely economic motive to find buyers with cash to execute a sale as quickly as possible, regardless of anything else. On the other end we have a dual motive of finding the ideal fit for both the buyers and the real estate in question.
To me, this last part is key. There seems to be an obligation of realtors to find the right buyers for a particular piece of real estate. Selling an historic house that is over 250 years old to buyers that want to tear it down and build something new doesn’t seem ethical to me, especially when there are dozens of wonderful land lots on the market.
There are also buyers out there who don’t want to build new and are looking for an old house to renovate. From the start, the sale of the Curley house seems to be an ill-advised marriage and a lose-lose all the way around. What role does a realtor have in making sure this type of mismatch doesn’t happen?
I am reminded of the Caldecott Medal winning children’s book, “The Little House,” by Virginia Lee Burton. While it doesn’t fit the specifics of our avoidable story, it too is a story of a charming, sturdily-built little house in the country that, over the decades sees roads, encroachment, and the big city built around it. Lost and neglected but not forgotten, the Little House is ultimately spared by a great-great-granddaughter who saves it.
There is a lesson here for everyone in this story. Let us hope the little Curley house is saved just the same. When something historic survives for this long, it is imperative that we all find a way to help save it. Realtors please take note.