Boost your appeal for the 2021 summer sales
“You should write a book.”
I often hear this from clients and friends when I tell a real estate story that most people wouldn’t believe unless they’ve experienced something similar. My colleagues understand.
Most of us have stories of Cujo-like pets, lost keys, stubborn safes, and unusual things we’ve experienced in the industry. And not to forget, what would a great American novel be without sex?
Posting directions will often say, “Don’t let the cat out.” You’ll carefully open the front door hoping the cat isn’t on the alert, waiting to escape as you enter the house. If the cat goes out despite your best efforts, the natural inclination is to pick it up and put it back into the house. If you are successful one of two things will happen: first you will have to stop at the pharmacy to buy Neosporin to heal your wounds or second you may get a call from the seller’s agent asking why it is. there is an additional cat. in the House.
Playing “Find the lockbox” is a rewarding game we play, but like a mouse looking for cheese, there can be dead ends and pitfalls. On an excursion, the box had not yet been found when my client and I spotted a door leading to a back door. We went over there, I pushed the latch on the door, and we were inside. Unfortunately, the safe was not found.
So what are you doing? You go back to the door and press the latch to exit, right? Except that some do-it-yourselfers have installed a one-way latch. Your client is trying to call her mother, who is on the street in the car with the air conditioning on, listening to a Barry Manilow CD. Oops! Her phone is back in the car with mom. You call the listing agent and receive a voice message. You sit down on the concrete bench to think.
Concrete bench, you say? Yes, a 450 pound concrete bench, which we push past the door. My client, who is taller than me, stands on it and I push her over the door. Finally, we have completed our exit strategy! We never entered the house.
You also never know who you might find in a house, especially since COVID-19 has limited the number of people who can be present at a screening to three. I’m sure that didn’t count the vagrant who ran out the back door and left the gas burners he used to heat or the construction workers who left their hamburger wrappers and half consumed the shakes in bedroom.
Agents can get pretty awkward when you lock them out during your 15-minute date (yes, that’s a thing now). It gets worse when they find you on your knees with your butt up in the air, using a wire shed (sorry dear mom) to try and pull a wrench through a 1/8e inch space between the deck boards on the porch where you dropped it. (The owner finally came up with another key.)
Sometimes you have to put on your Sherlock Holmes cap and look for a special feature listed on the spec sheet. “Storage near the front door” could actually be an elevator shaft that was never completed. And sometimes you open a door to an eaves in the attic and find your client’s 9-year-old girl, wide-eyed, looking up and saying, “This is where they’re playing Dungeons.” and Dragons ”as her mother drags her out of the room.
Many of us have encountered the surprised tenant or landlord who does not receive notification of an appointment. They are found asleep naked or simply hidden under the covers, flushing the toilet, taking a shower, or in the throes of passion. Despite my habit of calling “Real Estate” when opening a front door, sometimes they just can’t hear me.
Years ago I had a date with a man who, after making me wait on the porch for 20 minutes, opened the door wearing nothing but shower wrap and a soap-on-a-rope. I didn’t bother to postpone.
Then there was the geriatric nymphomaniac who started sniffing lines of cocaine on the marble kitchen counter as we discussed the sale of her house while the pool boy hung out in the cabin next door.
By the way, has anyone heard of him? I’ll check.
Valerie M. Blake is a licensed associate broker in DC, Maryland & Virginia with RLAH Real Estate. Call or text him at 202-246-8602, email him via DCHomeQuest.com, or follow her on Facebook at TheRealst8ofAffairs.