In The Trenches: A Day You Can Never Forget

A collection of stories from real estate professionals detailing crazy, funny, or poignant experiences that have happened on the job.

I was helping a retired mortician and his wife relocate to the area in 2011. He was a gun hobbyist, and while we were out on showings one day, he asked if there was a shooting range nearby. We happened to be close to the local gun club, so I told him I would take him. As we drove to the entrance of the club, two men frantically ran up to my vehicle and told me to call 911 because someone had shot himself. As I looked in the direction they were pointing, I could see part of a lifeless body lying behind a truck.

As I dialed the police, my client nonchalantly walked right up to the body, looked it over carefully, and casually walked back. He told me that an ambulance wouldn’t be necessary, but a hearse would be.

Within minutes, several police cars sped into the gravel parking lot, and volunteer firemen fanned out everywhere. A deputy sheriff rushed up to my vehicle, recorded my license plate number, and ordered my clients and me to give independent written statements. Our peaceful morning had turned into something unreal in a matter of seconds.

After we left, I was overcome by sadness about the apparent suicide we had encountered, but my client was not rattled at all. “Doesn’t it bother you to see stuff like that?” I asked.

“Not one bit,” he replied. He had seen far worse over his 40-year career as a mortician.

Ultimately, my clients decided to move further south than my town. I’ve had many unusual experiences out on the road with clients, but this will always stand out as the most bizarre—well, let’s hope. —Steve Lukemeyer, F.C. Tucker Emge, REALTORS®, Jasper, Ind.

A ‘Teched-Off’ Buyer

I recently sold a gorgeous home with several state-of-the-art gadgets, such as a wireless combination indoor sprinkler and smoke detection system, as well as landscaped ponds with remote-controlled pumps. The use of all these systems required some guidance. My seller, who was an engineer, wanted the chance to explain to the buyer how the gizmos worked.

My client and I went to the home inspection and offered ourselves as an onsite resource. We were taken aback when the buyer’s agent asked us to leave. I advised her it was in everybody’s best interest for us to be present. She again asked us to leave, and now we were skeptical about the outcome of the inspection.

Later that night, the buyer’s agent called me. I was expecting a request for a $10,000 discount because of all the high-tech gadgetry the buyers probably didn’t want to learn how to operate. Instead, “my buyers want the missing piece of trim reinstalled in the living room and the spare set of keys hanging in the laundry room removed,” the buyer’s agent told me. Really? That’s it?

Some 30 days later, the buyer was doing a pre-closing walkthrough. The buyer’s agent called me in a rage. “The seller is not completely moved out!” she yelled. “They left a bunch of books and manuals in the garage workbench!” They were the manuals for all the home’s gadgets—neatly tucked away— that the buyer would certainly need to reference. I was astonished at how this home’s souped-up tech apparently meant so little to the buyer. —Scott Jesnig, Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel, Macomb, Mich.