Hudson Valley Real Estate / Real Estate Stories

My Career In Real Estate, Part 1

Or: A Funny Thing Happened On The Way

People often ask me to tell them funny stories about my career in Real Estate. “Who was the craziest person you ever worked with?.”, “What was the worst house you ever managed to sell?” That sort of thing. Well, I have had some extraordinary experiences throughout my career in Real Estate, so I thought I would dish…just a little.

I won the Pweter award! It was like the Oscar’s in Real Estate terms, awarded for extraordinary efforts and  valor in the face of adversity. Mr Pweter, who was the namesake of the award had a house for sale and every time a prospective buyer arrived  he would sit in his living room polishing his guns. On top of that Mr Pweter’s demeanor was sour and unwelcoming; it did nothing to help sell his house. Prospective buyers left in a BIG hurry. Two years and three listing companies later Mr Pweter’s house was still on the market. Finally the fourth broker was enlightened and realized Mr. Pweter was his own worst enemy. The broker asked Mr. Pewter if he would agree to go into town for coffee during showings and he readily agreed.  The house sold immediately.

I was not the broker who worked with Mr. Pweter but was the second  recipient of the Pweter award for two separate incidents in the same year.

Crazy SquatterFirst incident: I was showing a house that I was told was vacant to  a single dad with two small children and his then girlfriend.  As we got to the second floor landing there was a jammed door and as I pushed to get it opened. I heard someone come to the door, it flung open and it nearly knocked  me down. A bare-chested man with Medusa-like hair was furiously screaming at me in a foreign language. Staggering to stand, I looked up to see he had a gun pointed at my head! They do not train you how to deal with this when you set out for a career in Real Estate!  Using the most soothing voice I could muster  and as calmly as I could I kept the madman engaged while my clients were descending the stairs to get out of the house . We all managed to escape unharmed and I called the police. The squatter was arrested and deported.  I found that buyer a house two years and two girlfriends later. I went to the wedding.

The second incident: I had a verbally accepted offer for my buyer to purchase a parcel of land in August, it was a cash deal.  The agent informed me she can’t get the binder signed because her client just checked herself into a mental institution. Four months later I get a call from the listing agent, we have 48 hours to get the paperwork done, her client is home for the holiday.  Can’t fax, she wants to meet us  in person. We jump in the car and drive to Westchester and back. It’s Christmas Eve.

Merry Christmas!

Five hours later, the binder  is  signed. Deed restrictions, right of ways and encroachments have to be sorted out plus it needs a DEP/DEC engineered septic because the property is in the New York City Watershed and a major creek runs through it. We slug through all the permits and paperwork and are ready to close. It’s a sweltering 95 degree day in August of the year following the December when contracts were signed. The closing is scheduled half way between the attorneys offices at the Nanuet Public Library in Rockland County.  Paperwork in hand and driving together down the Thruway the listing agent and I are about 10 miles away when her car just slows to a halt. The car won’t move. I am going to this closing.


We weren’t as happy as this guy!

I stick out my thumb out and we start walking. Kay, the listing agent  who is about 70 years old has nearly expired from the heat keeps saying “I’m out of this business”.  A public works truck picks us up and makes us promise we won’t tell anyone who gave us a ride because he could lose his job. He drops us off a block from the library. The closing is in the Non-Fiction section of the library and when we get to the table everyone has to whisper. Cash deal, closed  in 20 minutes and we have no way home. But everyone is happy. My buyer takes us to the train in Tarrytown and we get a ride from Rhinebeck back to Woodstock. On the way home we talk about our career in Real Estate.  A few days later Kay calls me up. “I have a great new listing, do you have a buyer”?

“Just when I thought I was out…..they pull me back in!”

A career in Real Esate – it’s rarely dull!


17 thoughts on “My Career In Real Estate, Part 1

  1. This is so why we love this business!!! It takes a special person to work thru it all ( we do it day in and day out, although not to this extent) to make sure we get the best outcome for our clients.

  2. I wish I had written down all of the insane things I have encountered over the years in Real Estate at Coldwell Banker Village Green; from pet pigs to holding ferrets while I showed a house to crying at a listing appointment because my client burst into tears…not to mention almost driving into a frozen pond! It’s all been very interesting!

  3. It’s always comforting to hear how CRAZY this career can be for other people as well…(I thought it was just me)! It’s a roller coaster ride as good as Coney Island’s Cyclone!

  4. Joan and Jim: How ’bout working on some scripts for TV pilot? So many cops and lawyers and doctor shows, I think time is right for RE Broker show. Seriously.

  5. Two great stories from one of the best realtor – and person – in the business.

    Back in 1997, I called Joan to simply RENT my little cabin in Woodstock and 24 hours later, I hold sold it, which made sense as I was moving to Europe and getting married. I made profit on the sale of my cabin and the person who bought it, still owns it and loved it as did I.

    Years later, after my misadventures in Europe, when I returned to Woodstock, I rang Joan up and told her I wanted to buy another house. Joan’s business by then had grown exponentially and she hooked me up with yet another great realtor, Susan, who helped me find just the right house…and I still own it…But now it is listed with Village Green Realty since I live mostly in the Midwest and only travel to NY every few months.

    I never fret about whether or not my listing agent or Village Green Realty is doing their job. I know they are! I receive constant communications from my listing agent; when my house is being shown, feedback, open houses, ads, and their huge Internet presence is a must-have in this market today.

    Excellence – going above and beyond – as these two stories indicate starts at the top and Joan Lonergan’s example filters throughout the agency, which is filled with the sort of creative, smart, and experienced realtors, many of whom I consider my friends.

    I trust Joan and Village Green Realty. Keep truckin’ Joan! Thanks for sharing these stories which vindicate my experience with you and your company – plus they made me laugh and that’s always a good thing.

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