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

© Steve Musgrave

The day of closing, I met my buyers to do the final walkthrough of the home they’d purchased. To our surprise, the home was a greenish-blue. It had been beige when I showed it!

There were painters, drop cloths, and ladders in the driveway. The buyers looked at me like, “Why are they painting our house?!” I called the listing agent, who had no idea what was going on. After the listing agent talked with the seller, we learned that about six months earlier, the seller had been notified that the homeowners association was going to repaint his and other properties in the neighborhood. Since the seller was already planning to leave, he let his next-door neighbor choose the color. The seller forgot to mention this to the listing agent. I asked the buyers whether they wanted to amend or back out of the contract. They decided the color wasn’t so bad, and they didn’t want to lose the house, so they calmly proceeded with closing.

I had in my possession a closing gift from the buyers’ home inspection company: a hot plate with a picture of the house when it was beige. I decided to hold onto the gift. Two months later, after some distance from the experience, I gave my buyers the hot plate, and they were able to laugh about it.

You may want to ask sellers, especially those who live in a community with a homeowners association, whether there are any plans to repaint their house in the near future.

—Jacqueline Ann Robertson, ABR, GRI, Coldwell Banker Realty, Venice, Fla.

Dumpster Diving for Clients

I was helping an out-of-town buyer search for homes. During her search, she was staying in a condo near my office, so I arranged to pick her up to view properties. She emerged from the condo building with a small bag of garbage. As she walked by the dumpster, she tossed in the bag—along with her condo keys. It was a hot Florida day, the dumpster smelled bad, and, of course, she was dressed in white.

Always one to go above and beyond in the name of customer service, I got out of my car and helped the buyer start moving boxes and bags to look for the keys. We spotted them sitting at the bottom of the heap on the dumpster floor. After trying to fish the keys out, I decided to expedite the process by crawling into the dumpster and grabbing them. I was wearing flats, which made it easier to climb over the mountain of trash, but I was sweating up a storm! There’s no staying dry in the South Florida heat.

After this brief mishap, the buyer and I were able to find her dream home, and we became fast friends. In social settings, she always manages to tell this story and adds: “If you find an agent willing to dumpster dive for you, you know you’re in good hands!” Her best friend recently moved to our area, and I was able to find her a home, too. No dumpster dive needed.

—Roberta Murray, GRI, SRES, Water Pointe Realty Group, Stuart, Fla.