Taking Yourself Too Seriously?

After having been in the business for approaching 30 years and my wife having to put up with me being in the business for what will be 25 years this summer (she is a very patient woman most of the time), I thought I would share some of my funniest moments over the past 3 decades.

Like a lot of realtors, I have all the standard stories about drunken clients asking me to let them in their home at 1:00 a.m. (lockboxes don’t work at that time in case your wondering) and a long time ago, I used to have a little old lady who would ask me to show her homes every month around the first of the month. I would pick her up and we would look at one home and she would ask to stop and pick up a few things at the store on our way home. She never did buy a house and I still can’t figure out what I did wrong.

I remember calling to make an appointment to show a home with an owner, who was very sweet, and she said please don’t let my baby “Muffy” out when you use the lockbox. So I trotted to the door with the key to the lockbox on the first day it was available to be viewed and turned the key in the lock. I heard a barely audible, rumbling sound coming from the other side of the door which promptly made the hair stand up on the back of my neck. I cracked the door every so slightly to see one very shiny canine tooth of about a 160 lb, very unhappy Rottweiler I presume named “Muffy”.

My wife of almost 25 years has an especially good trick to keep me in line when I “occasionally” become irascible, sulky, or peevish (I had to look those up because I could not print the words she suggested). After a long day of showing homes, I always empty my pants pockets and wallet the next morning. She has on occasion pulled a key from our dead key file and placed it in my pants pockets so that I freak out the next morning trying to figure out from which house I have stolen a key. She does it in fun (I think) and usually puts me out of my misery with a wry smile but I know I have stepped out of line at that point.

I have also witnessed some pretty funny things in negotiations with clients. Once, a buyer and his entourage asked me how much earnest money he should put down on a house. I gave a fairly normal answer of “the more you put down, the stronger your offer will look”. The buyer calmly nodded to his son who went out to the car and brought in a briefcase with $50,000 in cash and asked if that would be enough. I said, “ A thousand will do.” and asked him to get a money order.

Another time, I had a home listed for $160,000 and the buyer’s initial offer was for $100,000. My seller was very insulted and said “Fine, we will counter at $160,100” which we did. The buyer accepted in about 15 minutes and we proceeded to close escrow right on time. Now I don’t recommend that approach to negotiating but it certainly reinforces my philosophy of offering a good price right off the bat but some people psychologically require that their first offer not be accepted.

The best one was a long time client who had submitted an offer on a short sale just last year. The house was listed for $105,000 and had multiple offers on it at the time we looked at it but it was a pig sty. This being in a tough sellers market, my client decided to offer $116,500 and as it would turn out we were the winning offer. Of course a short sale takes some time to complete negotiating with the bank. Finally, we received the approval letter and is said the approved sales price was $70,000 $46,500 less than what we had agreed to pay. I verified with the bank and tried to point out their error and they would not hear of it. They insisted that we close the home for the lower price. When I called my long time client, he thought I was playing a joke on him. In fact, he did not believe it was real until I had him wire in the correct amount of money. 

My most embarrassing episode was transposing two addresses and walking into a home on lockbox in west Phoenix bright and early one Saturday. Lets just leave this one at I was in the wrong house and THEY WERE NOT PREPARED TO SHOW THEIR HOME!