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This article was published on: 08/01/2006

In the Trenches captures the odd and funny incidents that invariably happen in real estate. Here are the stories submitted this month from real estate professionals all over the country. When you're done reading, submit your own story.

A Mimosa for the Road

I worked in New Orleans 10 years ago when I first started out real estate. To find my first clients, I spent one sunny Sunday morning strolling through the Garden District and knocking on doors, armed with my marketing paraphernalia and business cards. I approached one stately home and rang the bell, big smile on my face, as it was a glorious morning. The door was answered by a portly gentleman wearing an even bigger smile and nothing but a tiny towel stretched around his waist. He had a mimosa in each hand and welcomed me in to his home with open arms. I followed my gut instinct and declined his offer with a sweet, “No, thank you.” But the mimosa was too hard to resist! “But I'll take one to go” I joked. He must have been in a good mood because he nodded, handed me the glass, and closed the door behind him. Still one of the best mimosas I've ever had!

— Gena G. Winstead, ABR®, a sales associate with Intracoastal Realty Corp. in Wilmington, N.C.

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Years ago, I was showing houses to a family of six. The parents of the four girls, ages 2 to 6, were driving a Ford Taurus station wagon. Between showings, the 3-year-old decided that she wanted to ride with me to the next house. It was fine with me, and her parents agreed, so the two of us took off. At the time, I was fresh to the business and was still driving my old 1987 Plymouth Horizon — not a glamorous vehicle, to say the least. Even the little girl took notice, and remarked that I had a very small car. I told her I knew it was small and that I hoped to get a new car sometime soon. Not long after, she asked me to look at something that was in the back seat. “What is that?” she asked. “What’s what?” I replied. “That” she said, gesturing at something that I couldn’t see from the driver’s seat. “I can’t look back there right now, honey, or we’ll crash,” I told her. She thought about that for a moment and said: “Yes, but then you could get a new car.” I couldn’t argue with her logic, so I just laughed.

— Kelle Sparta, a former real estate practitioner, created and runs classes for the Relational Real Estate certification program and is a certified trainer for ERA. She also authored the book “The Consultative Real Estate Agent” (AMACOM, 2005).

Time for Some Fresh Air

Back in the 1980s, I was selling real estate in Pennsylvania. It was a sunny but bitter cold winter day at 7 degrees. I was showing homes to a couple who were relocating to the area along with their two young sons, ages 3 and 5. Well I don’t know what the 5-year-old ate for dinner the night before but he seemed to be having a gas problem. The aroma in the car was similar to skunk. My eyes started tearing as I was driving in this encapsulated vehicle. Finally, I cranked up the heater and put the window down almost gasping for fresh air. I made some remark about enjoying the crisp air blowing through the open window, hoping no one would be offended. The buyers must have understood, because the next day, they suggested they follow me in their own car!

— Susie Gruber, CRS®,GRI, a sales associate with Professional Realty Consultants of Lee County Inc. in Cape Coral, Fla.

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