“Hello Tina speaking,” I answered.
The male caller said, “Hello, My name is Mark. My wife and I want to see your listing at 123 Country Rd. outside of Winnipeg tomorrow evening. This is exactly what we have been looking for. Your list price is $600,000. We are pre-approved for $650,000, but we really don’t want to spend that much.”
I was pleasantly surprised by his self-awareness and willingness to be open about details.
He continued, “I own 160 acres of land in a completely different direction but I don’t have to sell it to buy. Scotia bank pre-approved us without having to sell first. We would like possession in about six to ten weeks, but we are flexible.”
We parted with my promise to confirm arrangements after I speak with the seller.
The caller was definitely familiar with the questions real estate agents ask. He had been quick to qualify himself and had told me everything an agent wants to hear.
One of the most difficult things to do is qualify a buyer who calls because they saw my sign. Typically, the buyer wants to withhold information. Usually people don’t offer this much information to a stranger on the phone. He’d made it easy.
“Tomorrow evening will work for the seller,” I told him when I called to confirm our appointment.
He asked, “Is it okay if we bring our Real –a – tohr?” I gritted my teeth at the mispronunciation.
“Mark,” I began, “you never mentioned that you are working with a Real-tor.” I made sure to pronounce the word properly and very clearly. “I co-operate with other agents. Please have your agent contact me to confirm arrangements.”
“Oh, well, our real-a-tohr is too busy. He does not have time tomorrow evening.” Something smelled fishy. “Can’t you just show it to us?” He asked.
“Let me ask you something Mark. If I showed you this property and you were interested in writing an offer, which agent would be writing the offer?”
I was a little surprised when he replied, “I will be writing the offer with ABC Realty. I have signed a buyer contract with that office so I have to write the offer with them.”
My spidey-senses were tingling.
“I am very familiar with ABC Realty. I like doing business with them. May I ask which agent you are working with?” I probed.
“John Smith and Jim Tayler.” The names rolled off his tongue effortlessly.
I did a quick mental inventory and realized that both of the named agents did, in fact, work at ABC Realty.
“Hey, I know John Smith!” I said excitedly. “I just did a deal with John recently. He is a great guy.”
“Well we actually have been working with Jim. He has just been so busy. Do you know Jim?” he asked.
“I have never met Jim but he has a good reputation in real estate. I will be happy to co-operate with either Jim or John. Please give one of them a call and have them show the property to you. The agent who is being paid should be the agent introducing you to the property.”
Mark never did come look at the property. In fact, neither Jim Taylor nor John Smith had ever spoken to this caller before this day and neither of them had a buyer agency agreement with Mark.
Mark knew a lot about real estate. He knew that if he told me that he was under contract with another agent that I was forbidden to pursue writing an offer with him.
Mark also knew that if he told me that he and his girlfriend just liked looking at nice houses together, and were not actually wanting to buy, that I would not drive out and spend my evening away from my family just to let them see it.
So Mark lied.
Some people – even some real estate agents – think that every Tom, Dick, and poodle with a whim to see a house should be entertained.
I disagree. For a few reasons.
It’s disrespectful to me and my family for one thing.
I value my time and family. I’m all for charity and generosity and sharing, and definitely give until it hurts. But I don’t fill the tank with gas and leave my family for hours just to humor a browser with no intention of buying – especially when they’ve spent a good deal of time lying to my face. Sorry, no. I will not enable that.
It’s also disrespectful to sellers.
If it was your house for sale, would you want to change your plans for the evening and rush to get cleaned up and out of your own house just so someone could view the house for something to do?
If you knew the people viewing the house were not in a position to buy a house, would you want me to bring them by anyway?
My sellers appreciate their time being respected, so I continue to guard them as much as I can from browsers, looky-loos, and anyone else who just likes to poke around in people’s houses for a good time.
They are free to do so at open houses.
She had bought and sold several properties in her lifetime. This time, it was different.
Perhaps the biggest move was coming from overseas to Manitoba, Canada.
She recalls the move up to Thompson and back. That sale was a nightmare of an experience. Her husband and she had moved together a few times. Then there was the time she moved alone from the country into town where she had felt very pressured by her agent. She would choose an agent carefully this time.
This was the last time.
The realtor arrived on time at the assisted living facility that was now her home. This particular morning however, as a result of pain and stiffness, it was taking a while for the health care aid to get her dressed.
As a child, she had been taught to be gracious hostess. She had entertained many people in her own home. Proper etiquette was something she expected of herself.
This day, she wasn’t able to greet the realtor at the door. She wouldn’t even be able to offer her a cup of tea.
As she made her way from the bedroom to the living room she looked up from the wheelchair to meet her Realtor for the first time. She felt like she already knew her through her writings. They had enjoyed several telephone conversations over the past few weeks.
“You are a beautiful woman.” she said as her hands went up to sweep the fly away hair from her face. Her ponytail was loose and she had not been able to groom her hair in a while.
She was self-conscious about her disheveled appearance. The woman she saw in the mirror that morning was quite different from the impeccably groomed style she had once presented.
Gone were the days of elaborate gowns and fancy hats. She had a large collection of dramatic hats. Those hats displayed her pride in her English heritage. This day her gown was a robe.
This aging lady was clearly a woman of class and elegance. The robe and wheelchair did not disguise her beauty.
In her distinct English accent, she asked the agent a lot of questions. They viewed properties on the laptop together and she became well informed of the market value of her home that she had just moved out of. It was not as high as she had hoped.
She made the choice to list her property.
She was not at home to witness the for sale sign go up on her property.
Some of her belongings were being packed and moved into the garage. There were family heirlooms and antiques that would not be following her into her next home. She had an appreciation for beautiful things. What would become of all these things, she wondered.
The month that followed was challenging. Since the death of her husband she had been a very independent woman. She didn’t like to ask for help. Now this unrelenting pain had her at the mercy of others. She said goodbye to the small room in the villa and was transported back to the hospital.
She worried about how her daughters would handle all the arrangements of the move. These beautiful women had busy lives and she was feeling like a burden to them. That was the worst part.
Then came the offer. If she signed those papers she would be faced with the brutal realization that she was never going to go back home. She would never again play in the gardens that she had planted. She would never sit on that deck to watch the sunset over the view of the park.
The buyer had allowed for a day’s wait before she needed to respond to the offer. She needed that time. She needed to be alone with her thoughts.
She gathered up some strength overnight. Perhaps the Realtor’s silent prayer had seen her through the anguish of emotions that came from letting go. She signed the contract. The house was sold.
With a worried look on her face she clasped her daughter’s hand and asked, “How are you going to manage getting everything moved so quickly?”
“Don’t worry about it Mom, I’ll take care of it,” her baby said as she leaned toward her on the hospital bed. They were comforting, re-assuring words. At least, that’s how they were delivered.
She bit her tongue and tried to keep her lips from trembling. As a third person in the room, the Realtor observed a million words that were translated between Mother and Daughter that were never spoken.
As she awaits being transferred to a nursing home, she spends her time thinking about the life she has lived, the memories she has made and the inevitable truth that like 100% of others, one day this life will end.
Perhaps she will make new friends in the nursing home and have much laughter over the next season of her life. Perhaps the pain will subside and she will go for walks this summer. For now, let her grieve a little. She is saying good-bye to more than just a house.
Senior Real Estate Specialist
Years ago, I had the honor of helping a young couple buy their first home. They were the first, and very proud, owners of that home, and had enjoyed it a lot.
Now, with baby number two on the way, they decided to move. With their eyes on the future, they wanted to live in a community where they would want to send their children to school.
As we checked out a few houses, he carried one child in his arms, and she carried the other one low in her belly. The little one would arrive soon. From house to house she rubbed her belly and pressed her palms to her aching back.
They wanted a floor plan similar to the home they had already lived in, and we found one. They imagined the toddler’s room here, and the new baby’s room there…
Her face glowed with the dreamy expectation of a first-time mom.
This location and home suited them perfectly, so we immediately marketed their home. It sold, and they made an offer on the house they’d chosen.
Then something happened that’s never happened in my career before.
At the same time the conditions on their house were removed, their baby was being born!
It was a doubly fantastic day for them.
Now came the awkward part. I needed to get their signatures to complete the deal on their purchase.
I drove over to the Ste. Anne hospital.
A nurse led me down the hall toward the birthing room. That’s right. I was going into the very room that she had just given birth. It was a generously sized room with high timber frame ceilings.
I felt like an intruder as I entered the room. I felt like a huge interruption to their glorious first hours with their newborn son.
But she held the wrapped baby, beaming. She seemed so deeply satisfied. And my arriving, whether it was the signing of papers or the sharing of the moment, seemed to only heighten their joy.
They were the happiest clients I have ever encountered.
These are the moments I live for!
I adore being part of the process, watching people (and families) grow, learn, and become.
The deepest, most rewarding part of my profession is the people. It’s a deep honor to be invited into these intimate moments, to glimpse people’s beautiful hearts, – even nearly get shot by them! – and to help them find that home in which to make memories.
In ten years, I may forget the addresses, siding, or square footage, but I’ll always remember the people.