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.
First 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.
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.
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”?
A career in Real Esate – it’s rarely dull!