In the Trenches: Half Sale, Rocky Road, & Embarrassing Wears

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.

October 1, 2008

I Sold Half of a Doublewide!

A young man came into the office one day and said that he wanted to sell his home. This was hardly a typical home, though. His uncle had given him a 3.5-acre tract of land as a wedding present, his wife's family helped the newlyweds buy a doublewide to put on it. The couple lived there for several years.

But when he and his wife divorced, she left and took half of the doublewide with her. She moved it down the road to another tract of land her family owned and left him the other half. He boarded up the open side and lived in it for another year. Luckily, she even left him the "good" half—the kitchen, dining room, laundry room, master bath, and a small bedroom.

I listed it as a 3.5-acre tract mobile home.

A few weeks later, a young couple came in looking for a starter home. We looked around but couldn't find exactly what they wanted in their price range. As a last resort, I mentioned the tract.

They drove out that day (I had another appointment and couldn't go right then so I called the owner to let him know they would be looking around and if they wanted to come inside I'd make an appointment for them). He came out to talk to them, invited them in, and they fell in love with the half of the doublewide.

They rushed back to the office after to draw up the papers because they were afraid it would get snatched up before they could get back the next day! It closed a few weeks later. From start to finish, the property was listed for less than two months. Who would have guessed!

—Corina Campbell, Home Pro Realty; Stoneville, N.C.

Rocky Road

I was working with a couple that was interested in rural properties, so I put together a list of homes that met their criteria. I followed them in my car as we drove to the first set of listings. Mr. Buyer made a wrong turn and stopped to turn around in a gravel driveway on a hill. The gravel looked a little deep, but I didn't want to get left behind so I followed in my Ford Mustang in about a foot of gravel.

In retrospect, it wasn't the best idea. I got stuck—really stuck.

The buyers jumped out of their car to help. Mr. Buyer pushed on the back end of my car as I tried to drive out but it still wouldn't budge. I was hesitant to give it much gas because I didn't want rocks to fly out and hit him.

After numerous failed attempts, my car finally moved a couple of inches. But then it rolled backwards and went even deeper into the gravel. "Really give some gas, floor it when I push!" Mr. Buyer called out. So, reluctantly, I did. In my rear-view mirror I watched Mr. Buyer disappear into a cloud of dust, with rocks flying everywhere. But in the end, I was still stuck.

I suggested that the buyers move on to look at the homes while I call for help. But they were persistent and did not want to leave me alone. They called a friend who had a truck to come pull me out.

In the meantime, the man who lived next to the driveway came running over to offer his help. My client's friend soon arrived, too. I had attracted quite the crowd.

Eventually, I did make it out of that gravel and we did find a perfect home for Mr. And Mrs. Buyer—and luckily, that home was entirely free of gravel.

—Patti Harland, Legacy Real Estate; Sacramento, Calif.

Remove Before Wearing

I was a real estate broker for a golf course community in Southern Oregon for 5 years. It was a beautiful community but not near much shopping. So when I attended a trade show in Sacramento, I went on a bit of a shopping spree.

The next day, back in Oregon, I was running late for work because my 9 year old had every "emergency" imaginable before leaving for school. I threw on a new outfit and ran out the door to meet some new customers.

I arrived to work to meet the clients and take them to a showing. As I bended over to open a lock box, I felt something weird in my pants and realized the shoplifting security tag was still attached. I knew my customers had seen it but I just kept going, deciding to pretend it wasn't there. Embarrassing? Yes. But if that's where the story ended, I'd be a happy lady.

On my way back to the office, I realized that I had to find a way to remove the security device from my pants without trekking back to the store in Sacramento. I asked a handyman co-worker for help. Being a wonderful handyman, he said that if I gave him the pants, he'd be able to use his tools to quickly remove the device. I asked a female co-worker to follow me to the bathroom so she could then take the pants back to the handyman.

So I handed off my pants and proceeded to wait in the unisex bathroom while relaxing gingerly in a chair without my pants.

Little did I know, my customers came back to the office, wanting to take a quick bathroom break before hitting the road. I had forgotten to lock the door. The door opened, I jumped up alarmed, and we both screamed! I have a feeling that I left an impression they won't soon forget!

—Jennifer McCoy, Russ Lyon Realty; Sedona, Ariz.

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.