In The Trenches: Is Anyone There?

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

Is Anyone There?

One home I showed my client in Inman, S.C., gave us a chill. When we arrived, the house was dark and apparently empty. After I flipped on the light switch in the living room, we headed to the bedrooms in the back of the house. While we were in one bedroom, we both heard banging and what sounded like someone moving around in the other bedroom on the other side of the bathroom. “Hello?” I called out. There was no response.

Though we were sure we were freaking ourselves out, neither of us was brave enough to check the other bedroom. When we went back into the living room, the kitchen light on the other side of the dining room had been turned on. Neither of us had done it. That was when my client decided the house wasn’t for him. He was nice enough to turn off the kitchen light, and then we left pretty quickly.

—Charlotte Riddle, -Century 21 Blackwell & Co., Boiling Springs, S.C.

A Child Ahead of Her Time

Several years ago, I received a call from someone who sounded like a young child asking me to help sell her home. There was so much sincerity in her voice that I dismissed the notion it was a prank call and set up an appointment. When I arrived at the home, I quickly understood the situation: Both of this 9-year-old girl’s parents were deaf, and she was the ears and voice of the family.

I will never forget how dedicated this child was to her parents as we worked through the process of listing their home and countering offers. As I explained the paperwork and later the contracts, she would listen intently and then, with patience far beyond her years, translate what I said to her parents in sign language. I laugh when I remember the times she thought they weren’t paying attention closely enough. She would put a frown on her face and slap the top of her hand, and she’d get them right back on track.

Their house eventually sold, and they moved out of state. I often wonder what that little girl is doing now.

—Kathleen Burnett, ERA Advantage Realty, Logan, Utah

Different Vibes

I arrived at a listing appointment to find a 16-foot-high wall in front of the house, which the seller had built in three haphazard sections. The property looked like it had never seen a lawn mower, and there were random vegetables growing in between the weeds. The seller led me to a pergola-type structure in the backyard where he grew ginkgo plants and kept a statue for blessing all the nettles, he said. He then showed me his shed, which was chock full of wasps and hornets.

I hoped the inside of the house would be better, but the first thing I saw were three large bondage posters on the wall in a room lined with books about witchcraft and sorcery, The bathroom had a steel bowl in the toilet that he said he used to collect fertilizer and he kept barrels of “amazing” fermented sauerkraut in the basement.

When we sat down to talk listing price, he mentioned that the land was sacred because you could feel its “vibrations.” I listened to his pitch, but didn’t feel those vibes. His proposed asking price was wildly divergent from mine, so he took his listing elsewhere. That was fine with me.  

—Amy Gilpin, ABR, Production Realty, Jackson, Mich.

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