Real estate professionals share the crazy, funny, and poignant experiences that have happened on the job.
In the Trenches

© Steven Musgrave

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A Big Step

I had a client who was looking to get out of the city and searching for a piece of land where he could build a small house, a cabin or even a “barndo” as a weekend home. We looked at several pieces of property and eventually nailed one down.

One day, while scouting the woods on the property, we came to a small creek no more than four feet wide and three feet deep. My legs are long, so I stepped over it and kept going. When I turned around, my client was still on the other side of the creek, assessing the obstacle in front of him. He kept backing up and starting forward, stopping at the edge of the creek and thinking.

He said he didn’t know if he could jump to the other side of the creek. I said it was an easy step and he could do it. Finally, he made his move but was directly over the creek when he went down. He grabbed me for support and pulled me on top of him. We were covered in mud, grass and cold water.

A neighbor was outside and had seen the whole thing. It wasn’t the best first impression to make; I think my client wanted to crawl under a rock. Instead, before starting the hour-and-a-half drive home, we asked for use of the neighbor’s garden hose and cleaned up as much as possible, wringing out our clothes to avoid smearing mud on my client’s leather seats. Thankfully, they were heated.

—Brad Hughes, XC Realty, Gunter, Texas

Plan B

A few years ago, there was a bidding war on one of my listings. The winning bidder was paying significantly over the asking price but was upset about one of the smaller fees on his settlement statement. The closing agent tried to explain the fee, but the buyer wouldn’t hear it. He finally said, “I’m not closing.” I politely explained that if he didn’t close, he’d lose his earnest money deposit. “As long as none of it goes to you,” he replied. I prepared the termination notice and release of earnest money.

While the buyer was wrapping things up in the closing room, I went into the hallway and called an agent whose client had narrowly lost the bidding war. I asked if the client had found another home to buy. “Yes,” the agent replied, “but he doesn’t like it as much.” We were under contract with the second buyer on the same day and for the same price. After the short-lived drama, the seller and I both came out on top.

—Jim Smith, Golden Real Estate, Golden, Colo.

Of Mice and Men

I was showing a listing to a young couple who were buying their first home. They noticed mouse traps in every corner of every room. “What are those?” they asked, knowingly. “Don’t worry,” I said. “Only the big traps are a problem.”

—Kevin A. McNulty, McNulty Realty, Berkley, Mich.