Rural Real Estate Stories

Redneck Real Estate Tour

tractor-crossing-signCare to take a bit of a tour with me?

I could not just leave these Redneck goodies wallowing in the past. They need to be brought forward once more.

In fact, they demanded it.

With rifles.

Oh yes, these stories seriously required being retold.
So here, in all their glory, the best Rural Redneck Realty highlights of this year.

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What’s Awesome About Rural Living: A Photo Tour

The Offer That Nearly Got Me Shot! 

A Day in the Life of a Rural Agent – Dabbling In Tourism

Redneck Adventures – You Know You’re A Redneck When…

Rednecks and Potty Humour

Garden Therapy – A Rural Agent’s Lifeline

 

I hope you enjoyed the tour.  Y’all come back now, ya hear?

 

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Rural REALTOR® Adventures In The Snow

snow-covered-street

It’s coming. You know it is. Go ahead and nestle a little deeper into your cozy sweater. That’s sure what I’m going to do. I’ll wrap my hands around a warm mug of coffee too, and share a few stories of Rural Realtor-ing in the snow. 

First, you have to know, that for much of the time I wear pumps. I love pumps. Pumps love me. But snow and pumps… well, it’s an awkward love-hate triangle that we’re working through. For the purpose of these stories though keep in mind that in each one I’m wearing some kind of fabulous pumps.

So, last year a client arranged to see a beautiful house in the country. That day, a blizzard blew into town. It didn’t deter either of us though. Nor wind, nor sleet, nor crazy whiteout snow shall keep us from our course. Except when her car became stuck in a drift on the driveway… that was a long cold evening…

Another time I had met with my sellers in their home. It was another cold Canadian winter night, though blizzard-less this time. As I returned to my vehicle, I noticed a tire was flat. I tromped around to the trunk (in my heels), hoping to find tools, or a spare tire or something. I secretly hoped opening the trunk would somehow reset reality – that I would close it again and the tire would magically be full. Yeah, that didn’t happen. There was a spare tire though, so that was something.

My toes and everything else began to feel pretty icy out there in my thin business attire. But, the show goes on. So I lugged the spare tire out of the trunk, and leaned it against the car. I stared at it for a minute, wishing I had worn a snowsuit. I have this habit though, of not wearing snow suits to meetings.

The house door suddenly squeaked open, and my seller came out with a jack in his hand. “Having some trouble?” he smiled from under his scarf. He looked pretty warm and toasty in his big snow suit. He pointed me inside to warm up my icy toes and fingers while he changed my tire.

And, in case you were wondering, yes. It does feel a little weird to have your client rescue you.
There are more fun winter stories to share – like the time a client expected me to shovel a path for them (in my heels) – but I’ll save it for another time.

Does your job afford you some awkward fun in winter too?  

Hijacker – A Real Estate Tale (Part II)

Continued from Part I, please enjoy this fictional Real Estate tale.

phone-keypad

The question hung in the air as Gary sat frozen with his calendar in one hand, palm pressed, tie arched. He gazed steadily into Celia’s eyes, waiting for her reply. Alexis perched on the edge of her chair and also made frozen eye contact with Celia. The silence thickened, and Celia’s eyes darted from one to the other.

“I’ll tell you what,” Gary broke in, taking on the tone of a friend, “if you’re worried about telling Ellie, I’d be willing to call her myself. We’ve worked together several times. I’m sure she’ll understand.”

“Oh, I-“

“-After all, how else can you look at this property? It’s completely reasonable that you would allow me to show it. There’s no other way, and if she doesn’t understand that, then…” he shrugged.

“Oh, yeah… I guess that’s true…” Celia trailed off.

“So you would like me to call her for you?” He raised an eyebrow and pulled his calendar closer.

Celia sighed, and her gaze fell to the floor. “Sure”
“Great. Don’t worry about a thing. I’ll take care of it. And don’t worry – Ellie’s a good egg. She’ll understand.”

 

*          *          *

 

Gary smiled as he saw the ladies off. A wider, toothy grin spread across his face as he hurried back to his desk. He tapped Ellie’s number, eager to tell her the news. He had won, and she had lost. Again.  Ellie had worked like crazy to break in to the market here, but she had no chance against old pros like him. And it was such sweet victory to prove it. He stifled a chuckle as the phone stopped ringing, and Ellie picked up.

“Ellie! Hey, listen. I just spoke with a mutual acquaintance – Celia. She asked me to call you.”

There was a silent pause, then, “Oh?”

“Yeah,” he grinned into the phone, “Celia asked me to let you know she’ll be working with me now. I assured her you would understand.”

Apparently recovering from a stunned silence, Ellie spoke sharply, “Gary, what are you doing? You know better than this,” her words gained speed, “She is my buyer. I’M showing her houses. I’ve been working with her for weeks! What did you say to her?”

Gary could scarcely contain his glee. He wriggled in his chair, and summoned his most gentle voice. “She came to me, Ellie. She was referred, asked me about a property, and requested that I call you to let you know.” A faint huff was heard from the other end. “I don’t know what you two had arranged, but she is making arrangements with me now. I thought you might appreciate the courtesy of a call.” He hung up, and leaned far back in his chair, nearly tipping it. The sweetest clients had always been the stolen ones. By this time, the major legwork had been done, and buyers were poised to buy. This would be a quick and easy commission.

They usually were.

 

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Hijacker – A Real Estate Adventure

I’m doing something quite different today. This time I just want to tell you a story- a two part fictional tale set in the grand world of Real Estate.  Enjoy 🙂

 

Rain pelted the windshield as she sped down slick highways. She turned onto the gravel road, and slowed to maneuver around potholes and bump across wash-board patches. Even so, she arrived early at the little farmhouse her client wanted to see.

 

Ellie eyed the farmhouse as wipers continued to sweep the windshield. It was smaller than the other houses they’d seen – a lot older too. She opened a file folder and calculated how many hours they had spent looking at different houses – and they were different. They’d seen two new condos, two older bungalows, each in a different town, a log cabin in the boonies, a new build in the suburbs, and now this little farmhouse in the middle of nowhere. All these wildly differing homes did have one thing in common: research, driving, (oh, the driving!) and the actual showing itself, together took about 3 hours for each. She sighed at the math of it. As Celia’s car approached, Ellie tried to push from her mind the bills that needed paying, and focus instead on Celia and the farmhouse.

 

*          *          *

 tall-skyscraperThe next week, Celia set her sights on a two-storey house in the sticks. Her close friend Alexis insisted that they both go meet the listing agent, who happened to be Alexis’ REALTOR®. Not one to say no, Celia agreed. Now, as the two sat across from Gary in his huge office, Celia began to have doubts.

Celia shifted in the leather chair with an awkward squeak, and smiled sheepishly. Gary seemed to tower behind his desk. He leaned forward and grinned a wide, white smile. Even with her friend Alexis seated next to her, Celia felt small in his office, seated at the over-sized desk across from his looming frame. Alexis had been a client of Gary’s for years, and had insisted Celia come see him.
“Whatever questions you have about that property, Gary can answer them.” Alexis smiled, waving a hand across the desk in an oddly dramatic introduction. He waved and grinned.

 

“Thanks,” Celia offered a muted smile, “I don’t really have a lot of questions I guess. I really just wanted to look at the property, I-“
“-Absolutely!” Grinned Gary, checking his calendar, “When would you like to see it?”
“I’m already looking at properties with Ellie. I don’t know-“
“-I completely understand,” One palm clutched his calendar, and the other he pressed against the desk. He leaned forward, arching his tie, “Here’s the thing. That’s not going to work for the seller. They really only want me to show it, and don’t want other Real Estate Agents in their house, you know?” He smiled and cocked his head slightly to the side as one does when explaining the obvious. Alexis breathed a chuckle, and nodded in apparent agreement. Celia had never heard of such a thing, but wasn’t about to say so.

 

…Stay Tuned for Part II 

 

By the way – how would you respond in Celia’s position? 

 

What I Saw That Blew Me Away

red-cardboard-box

I have been a single mom.

I know how hard it is to be solely responsible for vehicle repairs and meals, home maintenance and homework, parenting and bread-winning. I know the awkwardness of Fathers’ Day celebrations all around a fatherless home. Holidays get lonely when custody is shared, and one always feels out-of-place among all the other two-parent families at the park. I get it.

That’s why what I saw blew me away.

I had helped her through the selling process, and loved chatting with her. New to the single-parent life, she was embarking on the journey in her new home. My heart hurt, knowing the struggles that lie ahead of her. With the house sold, it was time to move. Have you ever moved alone? Or hired a moving company on a single income? Everything is difficult and complicated when we’re alone.  The difficult chapter was beginning.

That’s when her friends noticed how difficult this was for her, and did something about it.  They pooled resources to hire movers to help her. I can’t imagine anything more loving than to acknowledge need – to understand and recognize it – and then to serve in that. Who does that? (And for the often ignored single mom?)

I was completely blessed to be a part of that process – to help her how I could out of my own experience, and also to watch others love and serve each other. Seeing people’s happiness is my own happiness. Her friends didn’t just help her when they saw a need and worked to meet it. I was moved and encouraged.  And now you’re reading about it and maybe you’re encouraged too.

We never know how far our invisible acts of kindness reach, but we know one thing- it’s farther than we think.

 

 

 

Why Real Estate Agents Should Work For Free

imageIn the past, I have been asked –as a condition to a sale – to reduce my commission.

Think about that for a second.

In order to make the price more affordable for the buyer, I should forego my wages? I am constantly baffled by the widespread belief that a Real Estate agent should somehow work for free.

I wonder how that theory would pan out in a different industry. Let’s run that scenario, shall we?  

I sit down in a restaurant and order a meal from the menu.

I understand what is offered on the menu, and can ask questions and make adjustments. I can request off-menu specialties like ‘Does this come in a half-order?’ and ‘Do you have that in available in whole wheat?”

We discuss terms, reach an agreement, and I await my order.

After I’ve consumed every tasty morsel, the waitress brings my bill. The bill includes a mandatory 15% tax and 15% gratuity. I agree to pay the bill as long as the gratuity is waived.
She expected that fee as promised by her employer, but that’s not my problem. I view the gratuity as optional- an extra.  And why should she get paid extra? Her wages, I decide, are enough for her to live on without exorbitant ‘extras’. When I became an expert on her finances is none of her business. She owes me in a way. I could have gone to any restaurant in town, but I chose this one. She should be thanking me for being a customer at all. And I don’t need to explain that to her either, since it’s none of her business anyway. I want to pay less and that’s all that matters. She should really wipe that annoyed look off her face before I decide to take my business elsewhere…

If that logic makes you want to throw something, congratulations – you have common sense and are aware of the needs of those around you.
If that logic makes perfect sense to you, then I suggest becoming a waitress. Or a Real Estate Agent. Or a missionary. Or any number of professions where one is expected to work and then not get paid.

 

Thanks for reading.

Remember to tip your waitress! 

 

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The Offer That Nearly Got Me SHOT!

9-nine-mm-pistol-and-ammoIt was November and, after the moneyless summer I’d had, I needed to make some sales. So when an offer came in for a country property, I was ecstatic. I knew my client would be excited too.

I called her immediately, leaving a message on her machine that I could come right away, offer in hand. I imagined her grinning as she got the news. Soon after, I received a voice mail from my client.
“Don’t come onto the driveway… I don’t want you to get shot.”

Um… what? I didn’t think the offer had been that bad. I racked my brain, going over and over our conversations.What reason could there be to shoot one’s agent? 

Clueless, I called the client to see if we could remedy the problem. I would have preferred to drive out and see her face to face but I did not want to get shot…

“What don’t you like about the offer?” I asked carefully.

“Oh, no – it’s not the offer.” She explained, stifling a chuckle, “It’s hunting season and my husband is out in the bush until dark. He might accidentally shoot you if you drive on. He’ll be done at 6:30 – can you come then?”

Of course! Hunting season in the sticks!

Crisis averted.

Rural Agent Adventures – You Know You’re A Redneck When…

old bus in bush cropped

I meet all kinds of people in this job. Some of the most interesting to me are the backwoods type.

I love rednecks. I AM one! I may not grace my lawn with old sofas or bathroom fixtures, but I secretly enjoy banjo tunes and, for Christmas, our family hauls out rifles to celebrate with some good old target practice. Nothing says party like gunshots ringing out across the sparkling December snow…

Maybe it’s the straightforward simplicity of country folk that I adore. The lack of pretense is so refreshing. Maybe it’s the checked shirts and country music. Either way, I love those backwoods, rough around the edges, say-it-like-it-is bumpkins!

I couldn’t help but smile when I showed this couple a wooded country property once. The house was nestled in the trees and looked great inside and out. But the gem that  caught their eye was a broken down old bus among the trees.
“Does that bus come with the property?” He asked, eyeing it dreamily.

“Do you want it to come with the property?” I asked.

“Yeah!” He pointed a finger to the house, “I’m going to pull it up to the deck and turn it into a bar and use the hood of the bus for a beer cooler!”

Yup, gotta love them bumpkins.

How I got Fired

True story. Many details have been left out!

I was working for a seller who was out of province. The house they had for sale had no one living in it. They did however have the house partially staged with their own items and had left behind some things with sentimental value as well.

When I took the listing, I put up a secure lock box so that no one but a REALTOR would be able to access the lockbox. As a matter of fact, I can scan that lockbox and see who the last ten agents were that showed the property. All agents that show a listing must first schedule an appointment through the listing agent. I am very opposed to lockboxes where one can turn numbers like on a bike chain. They seem unsafe to me. I have gone to showings where those lockboxes have not had the numbers scrambled and anyone could have had access to the keys! My fear is that a buyer would be able to watch and see what the code is and return to get the key at a later time. (If your house is listed and the agent has put up an unsecured lockbox, ask them to exchange it with a secure lockbox. If your agent is asking you to leave the door open for a showing, please ask them to put up a secure lock box! It is the responsibility of a listing agent to make the key accessible for other agents and keep it safe. To leave the door open is irresponsible and puts the property at risk!) This property had a double detached garage which was locked by a padlock. The key to the padlock was inside of the house.

On with my story: One day, I had an agent call to schedule a showing. I had driven by the property just a few days before and saw that the driveway was covered in deep snow. I asked the seller to have someone clear the drive for the showing and postponed the showing for the following week. The driveway was never cleared. The agent that showed the property trampled through the deep snow to show the house. After the showing, he called me to notify me that there had been vandalism at the property. The padlock on the garage had been cut with a tool and the shop had the Doorway tampered with as well! I immediately called the seller and let them know!

Nineteen days later, I got a call from the seller. They were livid! They informed me that something had been stolen from inside the house! Of course, the item that was stolen had a huge sentimental value for personal reasons. I still cannot comprehend how anyone can have so little regard for the property of another person! It is shameful to take something from someone else!

What I heard next, was a probable theory from the perspective of the seller. Their theory was that an agent had booked a showing, and that the person who had seen the house had opened the front door lock so that they could return later and steal the item. They demanded to know who the last agent was that showed the house. I spoke with the last agent who showed the house and the item(which was very large and noticeable) was not in the house when he showed it. I let them know that the last agent to show the house before the theft, had been ME. I was then told that they expected me, and my insurance, to reimburse them for their loss as they thought it was my fault that the item was stolen.  My thought was, I am not Jesus. I am not required to pay for the sins of a thief!  I didn’t say that, but it is what I was thinking!

I had two showing requests by two other agents that had buyers for the property in the week that followed. I called the seller to ask if they wanted me to allow the showings. I also suggested that they should have the RCMP do an investigation.  I was told that I could not allow the showings and that they were done with me! I was informed that they would be transferring the listing to another agent. Once again, I was being addressed about getting them money.  The listing was transferred. I let the new agent know that there were two agents with buyers waiting to show the property.  Sometimes, when there are several interested parties, there are competing offers and the seller gets more money. I was told by one of those agents, that they had not been allowed to show the property because there was already an accepted offer on it.  Indeed, one of the agents who requested a showing while the listing was with me, had written an offer that was accepted. I lost that paycheck of course and the countless dollars I spent marketing the property.

So, that’s how I got fired! I was accused of being responsible for a theft that happened on one of my listings! I was let go by a seller, not by my broker.

It is known by the locals, that there has been a group of people who have been taking advantage of vacant properties to have a place to party. They are targeting vacation homes and vacant homes.

IF YOU ARE GOING TO LEAVE YOUR PROPERTY VACANT:

1.  Find out from your insurance how often you need someone to check up on your house in your absence, in order for your insurance to be valid. Then arrange for someone to check up regularly. You may want to consider getting someone to house sit.

2.  Arrange for someone to clear your driveway and leave tire tracks in the snow or have the lawn mowed regularly.  An unkept yard is like an invitation for a thief!

3.   Remove heirlooms and valuables into safekeeping.

IF YOU EVER GET YOUR HOUSE BROKEN IN TO:

1.  Call the RCMP and let them investigate!

2.  Do not tamper with the evidence. Do not clean up until the RCMP have done an inspection! If you clean up the evidence it may be construed as interfering in a crime scene. I was told by someone who is involved in insurance that when evidence is tampered with, the insurance company could possibly charge the victim with fraud.

3.  Let your neighbours know that you are gone and tell them what kind of vehicle will be coming to to the property to check on it. Ask them to watch for suspicious behaviour.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny