In the Trenches: Mistaken Identity & Forgiveness

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.

May 1, 2008

Mistaken Identity (Hopefully!)

I was a rookie practitioner (not even two months into the job) and mostly just trying to drum up leads by holding open houses for other listing agents in my office. One day I was at a gorgeous new home to put the "Open Sunday" rider on the For Sale sign. The grass wasn't planted yet and the ground was a little soft, so I knew my shoes were likely to get a little muddy. I just underestimated how muddy.

As I took my first step, my foot slowly sunk little by little until the mud was above my ankle. I knew this rider really needed to go up, so I kept going even as my foot sunk deeper. To keep myself from falling over, I instinctively brought my back foot (the dry one) into the mud — and then both feet were covered.

I managed to get the rider on the sign, but as I tried to step back out of the mud pit, one of my feet came out of the shoe. I lost my balance again, and this time nothing was keeping me from going down. As cool mud oozed through my toes and fingers, I spotted the builder parking his truck across the street.

After I got myself out of the mud and back onto dry land, I quickly walked back to my car — hoping that he thought I was the listing agent whose name is on the sign and not the rookie practitioner holding the open house!

Linda Crowton, The Danberry Co., Toledo, Ohio

Forgiveness, Please

I often scan Web sites and newspaper ads for FSBOs who I can approach. I generally make it a point to call with helpful hints and news about recent sales in their neighborhood so that they won’t be turned off by me contacting them.

One man I called was very friendly and invited me to tour his home so I would keep in it mind for my clients. In return for his gratefulness, I thought I’d give him a helpful tip. I told him I had viewed the photos he posted on the Web site of his property and that it would probably be a better first impression to buyers if he omitted the one photo with his laundry hanging out on the line alongside the house.

There was an awkward moment of phone silence. He politely informed me that the photo was not of laundry hanging out on the line, but of his Tibetan prayer flags. Oops!

Christine Harvell, associate broker, RE/MAX of the Poconos

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.