In the Trenches: So, What's This Room For?

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

© Steve Musgrave

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So, What's This Room For?

I was giving a listing presentation at a remote property. The sellers were a nice couple, and the walkthrough was going great. We came to the basement, which smelled of bleach. There wasn't a speck of dust anywhere. Then, chills went down my spine. There was a metal table in the middle of the room with hooks above it, a drain underneath and a chest freezer in the corner. My mind began racing for an exit strategy. The look on my face must've been a giveaway because the husband started saying, "No, no, no! I just hunt, I promise!" We doubled over in laughter. I took the listing—but we staged the basement differently to avoid freaking out buyers.

—Brandie Kittle, CRS, SFR, C2EX, Trailhead Realty Group, Essex, Mont.

The Start of a Beautiful Friendship

The seller’s house, a 2,100-square-foot property in an upscale neighborhood, looked like a bachelor pad. There were NASCAR posters in the dining room, kitchen and living room. The seller was in a bad place, having recently lost both his job and marriage. It was 2010, the market was still flat after the financial crisis, and he was underwater on his mortgage. During the listing presentation, he cried. I told him not to worry—I’d get it sold.

I had most of the rooms repainted to cover the nail holes, and I brought in design touches to give the space a hotel-like quality. The house sold in just over a month despite the steep housing downturn, and I helped my client purchase a more affordable home. He was so grateful. After closing, we went to a fancy dinner to celebrate this new phase of his life. We still meet occasionally to celebrate new beginings. We toasted when his son graduated from college, got married and had his first child.

Now the market has softened again. I think of this as another opportunity to have a lasting impact on someone I meet who needs help. How blessed are we as real estate professionals to make a positive change in people’s lives and make lifelong friends during the course of our work?

—Christina James, Realistar, Beavercreek, Ohio