5 crazy realtor experiences

Since real estate is slowing down a bit due to, well, you know why, I thought I would tell you about some of my adventures in real estate.

 

WHY I HAD TO WASH MY CAR WHEN I DROPPED OFF THIS CLIENT

I was working with this couple many years ago.  I would meet them at my office and then we would go see houses.  The strangest thing to me was that both of them would always ride in the backseat together.  So there I am up front all alone.  Front passenger seat empty like I am a chauffeur.  One day I picked them up.  The wife wasn’t feeling too good.  We left my office.  As I was coming to the first stop light, I hear the back door open.  She puked.  Since I had not come to a stop yet, the wind blew her uh, discharge, down the side of my car.  They decided to hold off on buying a house after that.  I found out later that they bought with another realtor, probably because she was too embarrassed to see me again.  So I lost a sale and had to wash somebody else’s puke off my car.  Nice.

TALKING THROUGH THE WALLS

My client told me they were going to be a little late.  I had consumed several cups of coffee that morning and really had to use the restroom.  I saw an opportunity since my client would be late.  I went inside the house, right at the time of the appointment.  As I was using the restroom, I hear a voice asking if somebody is in the house.  LOL, it was the seller.  He had not left yet.  He was in the bathroom on the other side of the wall.  He got done and left.  I never saw him.  Heck, I didn’t WANT to see him.  Minutes later my client showed up.

WEARING DIFFERENT SHOES

For a while, I had two of the same pair of sandals.  One was leather and the other was suede.  I kept them both in the hall closet at my house.  On my way to show a house to a client, I put my feet in the closet and put a shoe on each foot.  It wasn’t until I got to the house that I realized that I had on one leather one and one suede sandal.  I no longer buy different types of sandals.

THE TOOTING SHOES

Probably back in about 2009ish, I had a really comfortable pair of sandals that I loved.  The only thing I didn’t love about them is that every once in a while, at what always seemed like the most inopportune time, I would take a step and they would make a tooting (okay, farting) sound.  I think it was the sound of my heel coming off of the sole of the sandal as I walked.  I never knew what to do when this happened.  The first several times I would try to make it do it again, as if somehow that would proof that I didn’t…..you know.  It would never do it twice in a row.  It didn’t take too many of those embarrassing moments before I decided to throw them away and get a new pair.

NO THANKS ON THE COFFEE

When I was a newer agent, I had this great idea to go after for sale by owner listings.  I dropped off hundreds of fliers and only got one response.  I went to the house to meet the lady.  Her dog almost bit me.  She offered me some coffee.  I told her I loved coffee.  It was the most terrible, sour tasting coffee I have ever had.  I think she kept using old grounds to make new coffee.  Well, she of course decided to let me list her house.  When I came back for her to sign the documents (this was before we did it electronically), her dog almost bit me again.  As soon as we sat down, she says “I remembered you said you loved coffee, so I made you a pot.”  To this day she probably wonders how she saw me drink it but emptied a full cup when I left.  It was because I was just putting my lips on the rim of the cup.  We finally sold her house.  I could dedicate an entire post just to that sale.

Honorable mentions are all the times I have gone to closings or shown houses with my zipper down.  I think I once had a T-Shirt on inside out.

I have others of course, but I hope this takes your mind off of the state of the world and puts a smile on your face.

They got the house!!

I sold a house last weekend.  A real nail biter.

It was an attractive house with a popular floor plan in a desirable neighborhood and in the most popular price range.  All of that means that there were showings back to back all day.  I knew there would be multiple offers and it might go over the asking price.

It did.

We found out the next day that we were one of the 3 best offers they received.  We had to give our highest and best offer by 5:PM.  We did.  We got the house!

I guess all of my sales are personal since just about 100% of my work is people I know or people sent to me by people I know.   This one was very personal.  The buyers are a very young couple.  Married recently.  Just starting their adult lives together.  The wife is somebody I have known since she was a little kid.  Her family lived across the street from me at my last house.  Our family became friends with her family.  Her older brother and my boys were always together, especially in the summers.  They all went to the same school and we would take turns carpooling.

My favorite memory of her is when she was maybe 10 years old.  I would see her riding her bike down her driveway and on the street.  I would always look around to make sure no car was coming and that there were no strangers around.  A couple of times the chain would come off of her bike and I would fix it.  Once or twice I would notice there wasn’t a lot of air in her tires and would go get my tire pump.

I’ve always liked helping people.  It just feels good.

It wasn’t until after we got the news that they “Won” the house that I realized I was doing the same thing for her as an adult that I used to do when she was a little kid.  Instead of riding her bike out of her garage to start her day, she was buying a house and starting whatever she has planned for the rest of her life.  Instead of looking for on coming cars, I was making sure she got the house but didn’t pay too much and recommending a home inspector that I trust.

I have worked with several buyers that I have known since they were kids.  It is always mind blowing to remember them as kids and see them now as adults.  It is nice to see them doing well and making good decisions.  It also reminds me that I am much older too.

I’m glad we found them an awesome house, but I’ve got to confess I was really having a great time seeing her and her husband as well as her family while were house hunting.

Guess the price of these houses

I had an interesting thing happen this past weekend.  I showed a For Sale by Owner listing in an area where few houses are listed with a realtor.  It’s a popular area and about the cheapest route to get in a super desirable elementary school district.

My buyer did some of my job for me.  They found pictures of the FSBO listings on zillow.  I try not to use zillow for a main source of information because their data is often incorrect and they do not list if the seller paid any of the Buyer’s closing costs or if there were any other concessions…..but pictures are helpful to see the differences in the houses.

There were four houses that were all roughly the same size…..so close that we don’t even need to make any adjustments in value for 3 of them.  All sold within a few months last summer.  The range was $280-$330k.  Everything is sounding pretty normal so far, but this is where it gets odd.

I’ll describe each house and let you pick the sale price:

  1.  Sale #1 was 2400 square feet.   It backs to a city park.  It is all original and even has a green kitchen counter top which doesn’t look that nice with original cabinets that have been painted white.  Did it sell for $302k, $280k, $330k or $310k?
  2. Sale #2 was 2300 square feet.  It recently had $45k in updates including new white shaker style cabinets, trendy lighting, subway tile in the kitchen and around the fireplace.  Did it sell for $280k, $330k, $310k or $302k?
  3. Sale #3 was a 2300 square foot house with different types of laminate flooring.  It looks like the only newer thing in this place other than maybe the furnace filter was granite counters in the kitchen and bath.  This one has an odd shaped lot.  It is sort of a triangle so your backyard comes to a point.  Did it sell for $330k, $280k, $302k or $310k?
  4.  Sale #4 was just over 2000 square feet so it was a little smaller than the others.  It might be worth $12-15k less just due to square footage differences.  The kitchen was just remodeled and was equally as impressive as the one in Sale #2.  This one had new flooring too.  Did it sell for $330k, $310k, $302k or $280k?

Okay, you ready for this?

Sale #1 sold for $330k.  It was equal to Sale #3, which sold for $302k.  That means somebody paid $28k for the nicer lot.  That is nearly a 10% premium.  That is higher than anywhere else in town.  This was a great deal for the seller and a bad deal for the buyer.

Sale #2 sold for $280k.  Yes, the one with $45k in recent updates sold for the least.  Bad deal for the seller and great deal for the buyer!!

Sale #3 sold for $302k.  This was the house that had more flooring types than Home Depot offers and the worst lot out of all of them.  This one was listed with a realtor.  This was a fair deal for both the buyer and seller.

Sale #4 sold for $310k.  A good deal for the buyer.

So, what is my point in all this?  That these people needed the help of a realtor.  As a buyer’s agent, I would have advised my client not to pay $28k more than an equal house just to get a better lot.  I would have told the seller of #2 that their price was waaaaay too low.  I would have told both the buyer and seller of #3 that they got a fair deal.  I would have told the seller of #4 to ask for more.

 

 

What’s been on my mind lately?

I always joke that I am a bad combination of OCD and ADD.  A lot goes through my mind, especially as I drive around Lexington.

Here are some things that have popped in my mind lately:

1.  Masterson Station is no longer the “Affordable” side of town.  I don’t know if you have noticed, but a lot of the new homes in Masterson and the various new neighborhoods that have their own name but in 15 years will be called Masterson are not cheap.  I am seeing more and more houses for over $300k.

2.  The giant dice looking metal things by Local’s are really cool.  I enjoy seeing the murals, art and other well designed structures around town.

3. There are more and more small condo/townhouse projects all over town.  I still think they are a little risky.  Lexington has always been mostly a single family home type of town.  Condos or townhouses were always a niche market with most of them being geared towards first time buyers or empty nesters.  I’ll wait to see how well they sell in a soft market and if they appreciate before I give them a Thumb’s Up.  I guess the issue is nobody plans on staying in one forever.  You’re going to need the next generation to want to live in them too for there to be a future market.  Also, way to many of the 10-15 year old condos downtown are rentals now.

4.  I’m turning into a curmudgeon Gen Xer I guess because I miss the old days when you dropped some quarters in a meter to park downtown.  Now you have to enter your license plate number, hit a bunch of buttons on a keypad and then drop in your quarters.  What was wrong with the old way??

 

My first day of being a Realtor

The prep work to become a realtor is sort of crazy.  Take classes.  Take a test.  Pass the test.  Take the state test.  Pass the state test.  Find a broker to hold your license.  Transfer your license to them from the Real Estate Commission.  Join LBAR.  Take LBAR new agent classes.  Set up the LBAR profile.  Get an agent ID number.  Get your picture for cards.  Order cards.  Get set up at your new office.

Then nothing because you don’t have any clients.

I do remember sitting at my computer at home in March of 2005.  It was the first time I ever logged into the “Agent only” access to LBAR.  I was so excited.  I got to see selling prices, what type of financing the buyer did, who the buyer’s agent was, the agent only remarks, seller disclosures, if there were any seller paid concessions, etc.

After I spent about an hour playing around on that site I think I went outside and played with my kids because there was nothing to do.

That was the last day I ever had nothing to do.  I think I have worked literally every single day since then, at least a little.

I would have never imagined what today was like.  Doing about everything online.  Back then I would send maybe 10 texts a day and spend hours on the phone talking to people.  Now I spend 10 minutes talking to people and all day texting.  I would have been shocked that there would be a giant website to look at houses for sale anywhere.  I would have been even more shocked that the Great Recession would wipe out about 20% of the property values here and make being a new realtor a bit more challenging.

Sometimes when I log on to LBAR in the morning to see new listings, pending and sold houses, I remember sitting at my old computer that day.  Keeping up with the market is one of the few things that really fascinates me…..the other two are cars and the beauty of nature.  It’s been a good time and I sure hope to be doing this for at least the next 15 years.