In The Trenches: Avoiding a Death Trap

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

Avoiding a Death Trap

As my buyer prepared to make an offer on a house, she consulted with her financial adviser about whether to take out a mortgage or pay cash. Pulling her credit score, her adviser discovered that, according to the credit bureau, she was dead.

Apparently, the mortgage on her current home was still in both her and her late husband’s names. It turns out that when she went to the bank to have his name removed from the mortgage after his death, the bank accidentally recorded both of their deaths. When she contacted the bank to fix the problem, they gave her the runaround. She was told that she would need to contact the credit bureau to fix the problem herself.

My client decided to move forward with a cash offer, which was quickly accepted by the seller, and deal with her status with the bank after closing. She took the whole matter in stride and even joked about it. I would say the unusual foul-up made us “die of laughter”. . . but that seems crass. —Stavrula Crafa, GRI, Future Home Realty, Tampa, Fla.

False Alarm

Two weeks prior to closing, the local fire department came to my seller’s house to inspect the smoke detectors. They worked without a hitch, and my seller received a certificate of compliance. After that, I visited my client one more time before the closing to pick up some papers. As I walked through the front door, I heard a loud, piercing noise that sounded just like a smoke detector going off.

“Are you having a problem with any of your smoke detectors?” I asked the seller. I dreaded the answer because we had already completed the inspection, and I wasn’t sure what I would do if one of the alarms malfunctioned just before the buyer took possession of the house.

“Oh no,” my client said. “That’s Peter, my parrot. Ever since the firemen were here, he has been imitating the smoke detector alarm.” —Peggy Yalman, AHWD, Coldwell Banker, Concord, Mass.