In The Trenches: Dude, Where's My House?

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

Last year, I started working with my first luxury buyers, who were looking for properties in the $500,000 to $600,000 range. We found a few four-bedroom, three-bathroom homes on the MLS—all on the same street—with beautiful photos. They seemed perfect for my clients, and the location was great, so we headed out to see the properties.

The buyers followed behind me in their car as I drove out to the listings, but once we got there, we found empty lots where the homes were supposed to be. Confused and hoping I had just mixed up the addresses, I said, “Oh, I bet they’re on the other side of the block.” Again, they followed me, and we ended up in a cul-de-sac with no sign of the homes.

Finally, my clients pulled up next to me and rolled down their window. “Uh, the listings say ‘coming in spring 2016’ in the descriptions,” they said. The homes hadn’t even been built yet! It turns out the agent was using photos from previously built comps. The listings clearly said “coming soon,” but we had missed that detail.

We had a good laugh that day, and we’re still working on finding them a home. The good news is the houses are built now! —Crystal Liles, Keller Williams Realty Elite, Yukon, Okla.

Don’t Be Alarmed

I was preparing to show a home with a security system. The listing agent told me that the seller had disarmed the system, but when I arrived and entered the house, all the alarms went off—and the sound was earsplitting.

The security company called the house and asked me to confirm the code to turn off the alarms. I had no idea what the code was. I screamed into the phone as the sirens blared around me, trying to explain that I was a real estate agent. The security firm rep finally gave me the code, which I remember to this day—“Valentine.”

After shutting the alarms off, I waited in the driveway for the police, who had been notified of the disturbance. Thankfully, they understood the situation and didn’t arrest me. Since this happened 20 years ago, I’ve always requested that the listing agent be present during a showing if the home has a security system or I won’t show it. And luckily for me, I’ve never listed a property with a working security system. —Diana Hoyt, GRI, SRES, Lakes Region Buchanan Group, Ossipee, N.H.

High Time for a Showing

I was walking my buyers through a listing, and when we came to two bedrooms in the back, I noticed one of the doors was closed. In case there were any surprises, I told my buyers to go check out the rest of the house while I looked in the room.

Thank goodness I did because when I opened the door, there was the sellers’ teenage son and his girlfriend making out and smoking pot. I had been told the house would be empty during the showing, but someone missed the memo.

I told the young couple to open the window. They snuck out of the house, and I turned a fan on high as my buyers came back to view the room. Afterward, the buyers said they weren’t interested because the house had a weird smell. Hmm, I wonder why. —Lyndie House, GRI, Homeward Real Estate, Tampa, Fla.