In the Trenches: Overdressed for Success

A collection of stories from real estate professionals detailing crazy, funny, or poignant experiences that have happened on the job.
illustration of woman walking though stream in heels

© Steve Musgrave

As a brand-new agent in 1998, I learned how “dressing for success” could backfire. I went to a listing appointment—my very first one—for a farmhouse on 10 acres of mountainous land in Georgia in a dress and high heels. When I arrived, I saw that the home was run-down, and hiking boots would have been more appropriate for scaling the surrounding property.

The owner pulled up in a jalopy and told me to get in. He took off like a maniac through the woods, and I hung on for dear life! We got out at the back of the house and started walking around the property, climbing steep, rocky terrain. When we crossed a stream on the property, my heel got stuck between two rocks and broke off my shoe. By the time we were finished, my legs were cut up from briars, and my makeup was running down my face. The owner looked at me and said, “Young lady, you are a trouper. Give me the listing agreement, and I’ll sign.”

While I was thrilled to get my first listing, I was flat broke and couldn’t afford to buy a For Sale sign. I went home, got some stencils and plywood, and my husband and I made a sign. I cleaned up the house myself, built a hand rail for the front steps, and cut the grass. Two days later, a gentleman called me about the property and wanted to meet me at my office. He came in and made a full-price offer on the spot. I ended up representing both the buyer, who was purchasing the property for his church, and the seller. With a 10% commission on the $110,000 purchase price for the land and home, I felt rich!

—Sharon Everett, Fusion Real Estate Consulting, Douglasville, Ga.

A Day to Remember

I scheduled a showing with my buyers for a Sunday in June. When we arrived at the listing, I knocked on the door and announced that I was a real estate agent. The homeowner seemed surprised. She and her teenage daughter were in the midst of a TV show in the living room, and the listing agent apparently hadn’t told her about the appointment. Still, she kindly let us tour the home. My clients loved the three-bedroom bungalow. After the tour, I called the listing agent to explain that my clients and I had just seen the home, and I would be sending over an offer. She seemed confused by the fact that we’d seen the home. I brushed it off, and an hour later, I emailed over the paperwork. The owner promptly accepted the offer. As the listing agent and I began exchanging sales documents, the date of the offer jumped out at me, and I suddenly realized why the owner was caught off-guard when we showed up. It was Saturday—and the showing had been planned for Sunday. No one said a word about the mix-up, an example of how the days can bleed together in the pandemic. We closed in July, with everyone benefiting from my error.

—Mark Hiatt, Keller Williams Realty, Lincoln, Neb.

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