In the Trenches: Sleeping Giant, Bigger Houses, & Reverse Psychology

In the Trenches captures the odd and funny incidents that invariably happen in real estate. Here are the stories submitted from real estate professionals all over the country.

Awakening the Giant

My buyer and her young daughter got an early start so we could see as many homes as possible. We rang the doorbell and knocked on the door of the first home, but no one answered. So we let ourselves in and started walking around.

After spending a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, we went upstairs to look at the bedrooms. The master bedroom door was closed. I gave a quick tap on the door, just to be sure, but no one answered so we went in.

My client admired the size of the room and began planning how she might arrange her furniture and change the paint colors. Then, all of a sudden, the covers rolled off the bed and a man sat straight up! He screamed at the top of his lungs for us to get out of his house! Out of fear, my client and I started screaming too — which of course, brought her daughter to tears.

All three of us bolted down the stairs toward the front door, only to get stuck in the doorframe like the Three Stooges. Later that day when we could finally laugh about our morning shocker, the buyer realized that she prefers homes that don’t come with an angry sleeping man!

Claudia Edge, RE/MAX Advantage, Colorado Springs, Colo.

My House Is Bigger Than Yours!

It was open house day so the sellers and their two young children decided to leave the home early and go check on the progress of their new, very large Colonial home that was still being built nearby. Meanwhile, I hosted a steady stream of prospective buyers into their much smaller (but in great condition) ranch home.

The sellers returned a bit too soon — just before the open house ended — and their son ran in to use the bathroom while the rest waited outside. After he finished up, two more prospective buyers came to the door. Just as they rang the doorbell, the boy ran to answer it.

"We're moving to a really big new house!” he shouted out at them. “Why do you want to buy this old house? This is a really small house!" Luckily, they had a sense of humor and decided to stick around anyway!

Gina Jannace, Keller Williams Realty Partners, Yorktown Heights, N.Y.

Reverse Psychology

On a wintry day, an out-of-town couple came into town for just a few hours to find a perfect parcel of land on which they could build a custom home. I picked them up at the airport at 8:30 a.m. and needed to have them back by 4 p.m. for their flight home, so there was little time to waste.

As we were stopped at the first set of lots, a large construction vehicle approached the car, hogging most of the single lane road. I started up the car to move out of the way, but to my dismay — and embarrassment — the car wouldn’t move an inch. The transmission failed. In reverse the car drove fine, but no forward gears!

I checked my watch. It was 2 p.m., and we were a half-hour from the airport but just about a mile from the office. An easy walk on most days, but on this day it was raining and spitting snow and the cold wind was blowing over the mountains. I had no other option than to drive in reverse to the sales office.

We start edging backwards in the car (thank goodness for rear windshield wipers!) — only to find a vehicle abandoned in our path that had slid off the road and was stuck in the mud. Feeling as though I’d mastered my reverse-driving technique by this point, I maneuvered around the stalled car. But to do so, I had to pass through one of the neighbors’ round-about driveways, leaving a trail of mud through their beautiful paver stones! A wide-eyed, jaw-dropped family stared out their window as we cruised backwards through their property.

We finally make it back (literally) to the sales office. I told my colleague of my mechanical woes, and he was kind enough to take my clients to the airport. Whew! Two weeks later, the couple returned, and this time we were able to move forward on writing an offer on a great parcel.

Jeff Stake, Reno, Nev.