The Girl Who Strayed With Buyers

Posted on August 2, 2010


more fun than a door

If you’ve been in the real estate business as long as I have, you’ve probably accumulated a lot of fun experiences that, in retrospect, could have been used successfully in POW camps.

I’ve locked myself out of houses, and once, another agent and I had to climb in through a high window to get in. We succeeded in knocking over an entire row of potted plants that were lined up on the radiator. Once, I locked myself inside a house. I had to bang on the window until someone walking by could let me out. I’ve been mildly threatened by a tenant who had a restraining order against him but showed up at the listing appointment anyway. He kept glaring at me and finally hissed that I looked a lot like his ex wife. I smiled nervously. He yelled, “I HATED my ex wife!” I considered that a gratuitous comment.

I’ve walked into bedrooms where people were en flagrante (I think every realtor has a story like that). I’ve seen more sexual apparatus than you could shake a stick at (in a manner of speaking), some of it in the same bedroom that displayed very large religious icons. I’ve seen blood on a ceiling and a lot of large sheets of plastic in a washing machine (all in the kitchen of the same house). I showed one house that had a lower level built like a bunker, with professional theatrical lights and black walls throughout. I was told the owner was a filmmaker.

I had an appointment in a house where the owner had a locked side porch that had cardboard taped over all the windows. When I went to reach for the doorknob, he screamed, “Get away from there!” The entire time I was in the house, there was a woman lurking around, wearing a negligee. The man explained that he ran a limo service.

Another owner decorated his house with old metal office furniture in his house. Many desks, many file cabinets, many typewriters, a couple ancient computers. Basically, he spent all of his time looking after his financial affairs. He had no staff, but I guess he needed to feel like he was working in an office. He told me he always carried his attorney’s phone number in his sneaker, in the event he would drop dead on the street. I asked him if his attorney would then notify the next-of-kin. He said there was no next-of-kin. The attorney would be the only person who was to be notified.

Many years ago, I showed houses once to an important CEO who was considering a move from Ohio to DC. My manager made me take his brand new Mercedes for the occasion, since, at that time, I drove a modest compact car. I’m not very good with driving other people’s cars or driving strange people around or driving to places I’m not familiar with. As a result, we ended up in a lot of cul-de-sacs. Eventually it got dark and the CEO asked me if I planned to turn the headlights on. I hadn’t, since I had no idea how to do so. I scanned the dashboard as I drove and located a knob with a semi-circle and rays coming out, so I pushed it. The windshield spray and wipers were immediately activated. We drove along in the dark, listening to the melodic sound of water spraying on the windshield and the wipers doing a great job of getting the water off. At the end of the tour, the CEO told me he wasn’t sure what he accomplished that day (other than completing the tour with his life intact) but it certainly was enjoyable. I heard later that he remained in Ohio.

I conducted a settlement in a maternity hospital, with a seller who had just had an emergency delivery. I guided her hand carefully in order to sign the documents, as she was hooked up to all kinds of tubes. I also had a transaction in which a deceased person signed a contract, but I won’t go into details about that. Not only would I like to stay in business a bit longer, I don’t want to stir up an ex-client, if you know what I mean.