In the Trenches: Tape Fix, Santa Faux Pas, & More

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.

January 1, 2009

A New Use for Electrical Tape

I was a brand new agent, and hadn't been dressing very professionally recently, so when I pulled on one of my old black skirts, it felt a bit tight. But I was in a hurry so I rushed out to show a customer a $6-million apartment complex. As I entered my car, my skirt seam ripped in the back!

I only had 10 minutes to meet the customer and the owner of the complex and I was frantically trying to figure out what to do. I went into a little store and found black electrical tape. I taped my skirt together from the inside seams, and no one even noticed!

I am sure, though, that my two male clients thought I was a bit strange that I kept insisting that they walk through doors ahead of me!

—Dawn Cales, GRI, Keller Williams Realty Inc.

It's Not What You Think

I recently rejoined the ranks of the REALTOR® community after a hiatus of almost ten years working in the title business. I immediately recognized the need for developing a Web site.

Our local association provides a free Web site that I wanted to use while I researched Web providers. I felt that it was important to set my site up as a resource for buyers and sellers so I included many links that I felt were important to area resources. One of the questions that we sometimes get asked (and it's a sensitive one) deals with sexual predators/offenders. I thought that I would be doing a service by providing a link on my Web site to the Department of Public Safety (DPS), which maintains that information.

Imagine my surprise when I did a "Google" search of my name and saw in the summary "Texas Sex Offender." I had labeled the link to DPS "Texas Sex Offender Search" but the word "search" was left out on the summary of Web pages.

Needless to say, I immediately dropped that link off of my site and now I just tell people where they can find that information on their own.

—Steve Spicer, Bill Chess Real Estate; Bastrop, Texas

Watch Who You Call Santa

My father-in-law is also a real estate agent, and one day we went on a appointment together. Everything seemed to be going fine; the couple liked what we had to say, and they seemed eager to list. During the tour of the home, we saw a few pictures of an older man with a long white beard.

After our tour, we came upon a larger picture of this person, and without hesitation my father-in-law asks; “Who is the man in the picture, Santa Clause”?

I could have fallen over as they replied, “No, it is the leader of our church!”

Up until that point I considered myself a well rounded person, so I was surprised that I didn't recognize Abdu'l-Baha of the Bahai faith. After a long lecture about the fundamentals of the Bahai faith, we left the appointment empty handed, a bit embarrassed, and whole lot more knowledgeable than when we arrived.

—Jonathan W. Ward, Richard T. Kiko Agency Inc., Canton, Ohio

Who's the Dummy Now?

We were finally at our last home for the day after a long day of touring homes with my sister-in-law in San Jose. The home was beautiful and we went upstairs and started to admire the view. My sister-in-law asked me about the upstairs closet, so I opened it up. Behind the door, two eyes stared back at me from the darkness.

My sister-in-law almost fainted and I screamed so loud they probably heard me through the next city. We then both started laughing when we realized it was only a mannequin staring back at us.

—Susan T. Kuramoto, Alain Pinel Realtors, Los Gatos, Calif.

An Innocent Mind

I was new in the business and I was on a caravan previewing homes. It was so much fun and I just loved looking at all the decorating in the bedrooms. We came to the master bedroom and there was a stand-alone coat hanger. On that coat hanger were all kinds of horse reins, leather chaps, a leather whip, etc. So I asked the other agents in the caravan—is this area horse property?

They all laughed, and I didn't get it until someone later explained it to me. Apparently, some people have other uses for these things! I couldn't stop laughing from embarrassment.

—Liza DiGalizia from Pro-One Investments, Ltd, Moreno Valley, California.

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.