A blast from the past called me to list his house in High Falls and started the conversation with “do you remember me?” It had been 20 years since I saw Vinny but as soon as he said his name, a flood of memories rushed in about one of my first sales. Vinny was not the seller or buyer, he was the other agent.
Scott and Lanna, a newly married young couple had very specific criteria for what they wanted, and a very small budget to fit all the criteria in. Every morning I would rummage through the new listings that arrived at the MLS office to see if “the perfect house” came on the market for my fussy newlyweds. In the days before the internet listings were sent into the MLS office (via snail mail) and then published every 2 weeks in an actual paper book. I was on a mission, I knew every listing before it was published in “the book”. Since few agents bothered to be as tenacious as I was, it paid off for Scott and Lanna.
A listing of Vinny’s crossed my radar. I called Vinny to show his new listing in Kerhonkson to my young couple and we all met at the house. A very stern old woman answered, she seemed unhappy, angry or both. Uta lived alone, her son had decided it was time for her to leave the home she built and loved and move closer to him in Texas. She was going, reluctantly. Uta motioned for us to come in and as she closed the door said in a heavy German accent, ” if someone comes here I don’t know who is it, I vill use tis to velcome them.”She picked up an ax that stood behind the front door. We all got the message not to mess with Uta.
When I called Vinny to present an offer on the house, he told me Uta had fired him. It made no sense to me, Vinny was professional and patient even when his seller was behaving in a paranoid way. Vinny’s broker told me that Uta had not met Vinny until the day he opened the house for Scott and Lanna. Vinny’s Broker assured me that Uta was old school and insecure and prefered to work with her, but I read between the lines. I knew Vinny had been fired because he was African American. And so did he.
The house closed and Vinny got paid even though Uta would only speak to his broker. Before the closing I learned Uta was a World War ll Holocaust survivor. That made me understand why she was so suspicious and fearful. When I got the call last week from Vinny asking me to help him sell his house of course I thought of Uta. 20 years ago I was starting my career in Real Estate and could not understand why someone who had been persecuted for their race, persecuted another for the same reason. I still don’t know the answer.
I’m proud of the diversity of agents we have at Coldwell Banker Village Green Realty. It’s incredibly infrequent that we meet with any form of discrimination, but I’m happy to stand behind them any time we do.