In the Trenches: A Secret Garden

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

Lose the House Plant

I was showing a lovely home to the local deputy sheriff’s wife. She was giving me all the signs of an interested buyer—the oohs and ahhs—as she entered the walk-in closet in the master bedroom. She was reaching for the door of a built-in armoire when I noticed a hole at the top of the cabinet with light shining through. As my buyer opened the door, she gasped. I looked down to see a giant marijuana plant flourishing under a grow light. I got that sinking feeling, but she brushed it off and said she loved the home and wanted to bring her husband back to see it. When we left the showing, I messaged the listing agent and asked that the plant be removed. I returned to the home with my client and her husband the next day, and the plant was gone. They agreed this was the house for them. Note to listing agents: Have your sellers remove all personal items—especially the ones that could get them arrested!—Michael Anderson, Experienced Real Estate Group, Lexington, S.C.

Doctors—and Baby—in the House

I was working with out-of-town owners to sell a house they had been leasing for several years to a young couple, both doctors. When I listed the property, the couple had just brought home their new baby girl. Wanting to limit the newborn’s exposure to germs, they insisted that everyone wear a face mask and booties during showings. When the couple couldn’t leave on short notice, they would hide in one of the three bedrooms with the baby during showings and wouldn’t allow us access to that room. Seven buyers chose not to tour the home because of the mask and booties requirement. Four-and-a-half months and 29 showings later, the house sold. After that experience, I was the one who needed a nap.—Jill Penman, One Sotheby’s International Realty, Coral Gables, Fla.

I’d Give a Kidney for That 

Last year, I was in need of a kidney transplant. My wife, Heidi—who is an organ donor but not my match—and I joined a kidney exchange program that paired us with another couple in a similar situation. Heidi donated her kidney to the wife, and the husband donated his kidney to me. Heidi and I had to go into surgery at the same time. Amidst all this, we were also selling our house. An agent listed it a little more than a week before our surgeries. We had three showings in four days and negotiated a purchase contract with a buyer. While we were at the hospital filling out pre-op paperwork, our offer on another home was accepted. When I went into Heidi’s exam room to tell her, the doctors and nurses thought we were crazy. But now when a client is “too busy” for showings, I have an anecdote to share.—Scott Bader, GRI, Coldwell Banker The Real Estate Group, Fish Creek, Wis.

Submit your stories for potential publication using the online form, and find additional tales at