Wednesday, February 01, 2006

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Real Estate Agents

I swear I should devote a blog entirely to the inanity and stupidity of realtors. Truly they are the dumbest beasts to ever roam the planet, and their foibles and gaffes and professional missteps are the stuff of real comedy.

Case in point. I had just walked into the office, and the phone was ringing angrily. I can tell the difference in phone rings. Shut up. I can. I apprehensively answered it and was greeted by a high-pitched, aggressive female voice demanding to speak to Stepfather.

"He's not here," I said politely. "Is there something I can do for you?"

"Are you his assistant?" The voice commanded a reply.

"Yes," I replied hesitantly, wishing I had the balls to say, "No, I am his transvestite luvuh."

"Good. Maybe you will be able to help me. Your listing on Old Fart* is a atrocious. The weeds are 10 feet high, it's infested with mosquitoes, and it's bringing down the value of all the other homes in the subdivision. My homeowners are up in arms. They and their neighbors are going to the homeowners' association with a petition."

Oh no, not a petition! I had images of villagers with lanterns and pitchforks and medieval torture devices.

"You need to take care of this. Stepfather needs to take care of this. It's your responsibility. You're an unprofessional office and this has gone on too long."

"I'll let him know, ma'am." I said politely, but firmly.

"But I'm on a rant and I need you to yell at me to confirm my right to be an utter bitch at 8:30 am."

"I'll let him know, ma'am." I said, just slightly less politely and just a little more firmly.

"But I must humiliate myself further by being such an unbelievable twat that I am now literally walking inside out."

"I'LL LET HIM KNOW, MA'AM. THAT IS THE BEST I CAN DO RIGHT NOW." I bellowed frantically, grabbing for the post-it notes and cyanide.

"Thank you," she said snottily.

Now before you take Beastly Bertha's word for anything, you must know that we'd had the listing for less than a week. The seller is most definitely an asshole and the property is in pretty bad condition. But we can't afford to go around doing everyone's lawn maintenance for them. The best we can do is hope someone can see past the weeds to the beauty within.

But there is no guarantee this home will sell, and if it is going into foreclosure, there is no good reason to spend our money on lawn care, as it will take far more than that to sell this home quickly.

Now I would love it if all our clients were happy little Harry Homeowners and kept their yards nice and such, but it just doesn't always happen. The only reason we take these listings is because you never know who is going to buy them. We had a 2 bedroom, 0 bathroom property on an acre in the middle of deliverance country. The owner wanted 65K for it and wouldn't go a cent lower. It was such an outrageous price for a falling down shack, that I would tell agents who called not to waste their time. Lo and behold, some crazy artist fell in love with both the house and the outhouse and paid full price for it. So you just never know.

But for some menopausal hysteric to demand that I take care of a property is ludicrous. I'm not stupid. I've told the homeowner that the house will not sell at his asking price if the yard is not taken care of. The homeowner (who is a broke real estate investor and a genuine asshole in his own right) absolutely will not pay to have it done. He claims to be on intimate terms with the president of the homeowners association (yeah) and if someone wants it done, they can do it themselves.

That's hardly the line I want to deliver to a foaming psychotic, but that is the situation and the box it came in.

Now for the sake of full disclosure. I am going to be a realtor. I am in the middle of my classes which I should be working on as we speak. And I don't pretend for a second I'm going to be the Great White Redeemer of real estate agents. I'm just as insane. And I love it. Oh sure. I fought it for years, keeping to myself and growling at the insincerity of the whole business. But now I join in happily, secure in my mediocrity and entirely content with The Show.

I could stop to analyze it and I'm sure it comes down to the fact that I'm married to a doctor and I have a blog, but I think I'd prefer to think of it as insanity. It's more romantic.

*There is a street called Old Fort on which the house mentioned is NOT located. But it's a funny street name because so many people, myself included, have accidentally referred to it as Old Fart, which was just too good to keep to myself.

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