life preserver thrown to woman

© Steve Musgrave

In the Trenches: Curbside Selling

A collection of stories from real estate professionals detailing crazy, funny, or poignant experiences that have happened on the job.

May - June
2019

A Wet and Wild Weekend

One Easter weekend when I worked in Minneapolis, my buyers and I set out to tour three properties, the first of which was a lakefront home in an exclusive area. The listing agent said the owner wouldn’t be present, so after a courtesy knock, we walked in—to find the place in total disarray. Dirty dishes and half-eaten food filled the kitchen sink and covered the countertops. One of the buyers found someone sleeping in one of the bedrooms, curled up in a blanket. I said “hello” several times, but the person didn’t respond. We felt uncomfortable and left, but we stopped to look at the lakeshore.

We walked out to the end of the property’s boat dock, and it was like a Norman Rockwell painting—picture-perfect sunshine and small fishing boats buzzing by. The buyers loved it. But as we turned around to walk back to shore, the dock—with all three of us on it—fell into the lake. We climbed out of the water in shock, but at least we were laughing. After wringing out our clothes, the buyers said they wanted to continue with the other showings on our schedule.

The sellers of the other two properties were home when we arrived soaking wet. Embarrassed, I had to explain our predicament. The following week, the listing agent for the lakefront home called me for feedback on the property. I said, “I don’t think you want my feedback.” But he pressed, so I began to relay the comedy of errors we faced. The listing agent couldn’t get off the phone fast enough after hearing the issues. Later that week, my buyers, who had decided to pass on the lakefront home, gave me a gag gift: a life preserver.—Nancy Freiburger, sfr, Ocean Ridge Plantation, Ocean Isle Beach, N.C.

Honk to Sell a House

While I was out on a walk between appointments one day, a car honked as it passed by me. I instinctively waved back but didn’t see who the driver was. When you live in a small town like mine, you just wave to everyone. After I returned to the office half an hour later, I received a call from a man, saying, “I was just in my car, thinking I need to sell my house. I know every real estate agent in town, so who should I get to sell it? And there you were on the street corner. Did you see me when I honked at you?”

It was a former high school classmate of mine, whom I see occasionally at class reunions or the grocery store. He told me about his property, which his grandfather built in 1958. My ex-classmate had lived in the home for 33 years; he and his wife had raised seven children there.

We made an appointment for a consultation, and I eventually listed the house and got it under contract in four days. This is when I learned that, sometimes, “street corner marketing” really works! —Linda Upton, GRI, Gold Star Realty, Rifle, Colo.

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