In the Trenches: Tech Mistake, Taken Cake, & Missing Agent

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

February 1, 2008

Tech Novice Mistake: Hotmail or Hotmale?

When I got my real estate license 10 years ago I did not know a thing about computers so, needless to say, I began to enroll in every class I could find to learn.

I went to a class on e-mailing, and we learned how to get a free e-mail address on At the end of the last class, the instructor tested us on how much we learned by having us close all of our computer windows and then log back on to on our own.

Piece of cake, I knew how to do that.

Maybe my spelling could of used some work, though. When I typed in “hotmail” I accidentally misspelled the word hotmail with “hotmale” (you can just imagine what came up!). It took me a second, however, to realize I was somewhere I didn't want to be. It was close to Valentine’s Day and I was distracted by reading a lot of the banners on the Web page about love, flowers, lingerie—wait a minute!

Suddenly, I realized my mistake. I began to scream when I got a full view of the Web site. The instructor rushed over to see what the problem was.

He quickly shut down my computer and in a loud voice said: "There has to be one in every class."

— Wanda Looper, CRS, GRI, Churchill-Brown & Associates, Oklahoma City

Gimme my Cake Back!

I had sold Mrs. Seller's house 10 years ago and she always would greet me with fresh baked goods and little trinkets and treasures to take home to my small children. When her husband passed away, she decided to downsize her home and gave me a call. I was excited to see her again, as she was always the most gracious of “grandma sellers.”

As she opened the door of her home I immediately got a whiff of a familiar fresh baked cake, which she had just taken out of the oven.

"Oh for me, you shouldn't have!" I said.

She placed the cake on the kitchen counter and smiled politely as she always did — as if her gesture of kindness should not be recognized.

We previewed her home and talked about the good ‘ole days. When it was time for me to leave, I grabbed my coat, my cake, and then left.

Later that afternoon I received a frantic call from Mrs. Seller. "Did you take my cake?"

“It was for me, wasn’t it?”

"No, that cake was for my ladies group! I have been looking all over my house for that cake — I thought I had lost my mind. Then it dawned on me when I was sitting with my friends telling them about my cake disappearing. My REALTOR® took my cake!"

I was mortified and embarrassed. And, what’s worse, the cake was history — my family woofed that cake down after dinner.

— Debbie Palmer, Palmer Properties of Virginia, South Boston, Va.

Forgotten Agent

Last summer, I took a caravan tour of new listings with several other real estate agents. We went through a grand old two-story Victorian, and it took a while to get everyone through the large home. Finally everyone was out so we locked the outside set of front doors.

But what we hadn’t realized is that one agent still remained. The stray agent had been spending quality time with the owner's dog and had gotten separated from the rest of the group. She had made her way out the interior set of doors, but they locked behind her. She was trapped in the 2-foot space between the interior and exterior front doors.

Meanwhile, the caravan left. Luckily, someone in her vehicle noticed she was missing. They drove back to let her out.

The sad part is, that wasn't the first time she'd been left behind.

— Jeff Hefel, Dubuque, Iowa

Submit Your Story

Have a funny real estate story? Send an e-mail to Melissa Tracey, Associate Online Editor,

The above stories were submitted by readers via e-mail. They’ve been edited for clarity and style.