The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

Dream House

The first day after you get your license as a real estate agent, when you’ve gotten all of your red-tapey things squared away and you’re officially a member of your association, you spend 7 hours straight searching the MLS for your dream home (and calculating all of the potential commissions you would make on each of these homes).

You investigate all of the amazing neighborhoods you’ve always wanted to live in and you scour the high price ranges looking for that very perfect house you kind of have to have right now even though it costs 8 times what you can afford as a newly licensed agent. Oh sorry, did I say you could afford an eighth of what you’re looking at? Because I just realized that 8 times zero is actually still zero. It’s actually infinity times what you can afford PLUS 3 million.

Eventually you tire of looking at pictures of amazing houses you’ll never have and move on to the number 2 activity of newly licensed agents: looking up what people you know paid for their houses in the tax records and reassembling your opinions of them accordingly.

The sad thing is that when you become a real estate agent, you think you’ll spend your days strolling through amazing properties with titanium and diamond bidets and hologram butler services and your evenings hammering out deals with independently wealthy buyers and sellers over cocktails and tapas. But really you spend more time stepping gingerly through houses trying not to get on your shoes whatever the previous owner let their dog do on the carpet before the bank foreclosed on the house and holding your breath to keep from retching on the dried out sewer trap smell (or explaining what a dried out sewer trap smell is). And the only ‘cocktails’ involved in contractual debates are the glasses of cheap wine you have to pound back to de-stress after spending 5 hours stalking a ‘busy’ listing agent who won’t call you back because he already has 3 offers on that property anyway. But I digress.

The point is, although I’ve had occasional clients looking for expensive and/or unique properties, they certainly aren’t the bread and butter of my business. So I have decided to start a new feature on my website that is almost completely and solely for my own entertainment and call it: Dream House.

The Dream House blogs are going to involve me picking a ‘client’ out of my own social sphere and setting up an afternoon of showings of houses that they (or maybe just me) would love to live in if they won the lottery (or were able to successfully train their baby to be a Disney star).

I know, you’re thinking this sounds unethical on my part. I’m touring houses without a buyer who could actually afford them? It’s actually totally not. They tell us all the time in the How to Be a Fabulously Wealthy and Awesome Real Estate Agent seminars we should be constantly previewing homes on the market, even if we don’t have a buyer for them, just to have a good understanding of what’s going on in the market. So it’s actually research. Super fun, expensive houses with rad design features we could never afford, research.

And don’t worry: if the listing says it’s occupied by an 87 year old couple who is on oxygen and has 11 golden retrievers and a niece with a 3 week old baby staying with them, so please make an appointment 5 days in advance so the sellers have time get everyone (and the oxygen tank) out of the house for the showings, I will leave that one off the list. I’ll stick to houses that are slightly less of a hassle to show for everyone involved.

Plus, please. It’s really in the seller’s best interest to have me see their house and know its features. Who knows when I might meet the Lithuanian heiress at a soccer game sitting next to me in her camping chair cheering for her North East Valley 6 year old nephew, who’s thinking about buying a house in Arcadia with a pot filler and surround-sound controlled by Ipod docking stations built into the walls? It could totally happen.

All of this is a build up to my Friday post on 5 homes in Arcadia I took my sister (who is the heiress to a small Dobson Ranch fortune split three ways) to last week. It was really fun. Although her newborn, Colby, was not amused by the part where I tried to teach her how to carry him in one of those baby slings but I showed her how to put him in wrong, so he had to tour three houses with his feet sticking up out of the top of the sling and his sweet little face smashed into the side of her boob. I think he’ll get over it, though. Babies have short memories.

Tune in Friday for the Arcadia Dream House Tour!

14 Responses to Dream House

  1. Will you take suggestions from the peanut gallery on our dream houses?

  2. Hey Elizabeth! Love this idea! Great way to see property as well as showcasing the home in your blog. Love the way you think outside the box. Good luck with the agents in your area, unfortunately I think there are agents in every part of North America that probably won’t agree with your approach. I for one do…All the best!

  3. I love Arcadia and am looking forward to Friday’s post! The agent who sold me my current home generously called our neighborhood south Arcadia. But it didn’t fool us.

    On the topic of the #2 activity of newly licensed agents: Since becoming tangentially involved in the real estate industry via the association (notice reference to your blog’s name!), I have developed this temptation to look up what people I know paid for their homes on Zillow. It’s public information, sure, but the activity seems like it might bring along bad juju. Thoughts?

  4. Kelli – TOTALLY.

    Sage – Anyone can look up what a house was purchased for in the tax records. It’s public record. And honestly, as a new agent you find it very interesting and scandalous, but after awhile you see so many situations and stuff about money and what people pay and what people make that you become a little desensitized to the whole thing. And you realize that it’s not that interesting or important what people paid for their houses because it’s so relative. So I think if you want to, go ahead and do it. It’s not bad juju. It’s public record. And you’ll get bored with it too.

  5. Can I volunteer to be shown dream houses? I love looking at houses & have been known to go to the open houses in my neighborhood. The only problem is that I really enjoy renting.

    And I had an assignment in library school where I had to find the selling price of certain homes. It was fascinating and I love to look up how much people purchased their homes for. Especially when they are trying to sell them way too high in this market.

  6. I’m free next Monday and Tuesday – I’ll treat for lunch!
    I’m not in the market, but just as nosy as the next person. That’s why I like taking walks after dark to see how everyone decorates. Also? I don’t go driving around to look at Christmas lights. That’s just a ruse to see into peoples homes at night.
    I want a pot filler really bad and when I read the word it dawned on me I could probably get one here. I’ll work on that some day.

  7. I’d like to be considered for a Dream House tour. In fact, I can probably give you a very good list of what our Dream House would have in it. Ryan and I keep a running tally.

  8. I’m wanting a chance too! Of course I need my husband to like triple his salary, but it isn’t out of realm. WOOT!

  9. I’d love to be a fly on the wall of those homes, especially when the listing broker finds out that you have no buyer, oy vey!

  10. Elizabeth, you crack me up! I was a realtor in a previous lifetime, and I once showed a house which just oozed the smell of bologna — rotting bologna. I was unable to get the buyer’s wife to even walk into the house. I was really expecting to find a dead body in the house but it just turned out that an old man lived there.
    Could never explain that smell but I will remember it forever.

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