The highs and lows of parenting and real estate.

It's Just All About The People

Houses Shown: 30

Miles Driven: Dude! I forgot to push that little mileage button in my car again! My tax guy is going to be so ticked at me…

Bottles of Febreze We’ve Gone Through This Summer: 4

The people who know me best know that at least 50 percent of what I like best about real estate is getting to know people and their lives. I confess: I’m a total voyeur. Yes, that was me peeking in your kitchen window eating popcorn while your family was having dinner last night, why do you ask? I just wanted to hear the ending to that story you were telling your husband about the guy at work who’s sleeping with his wife’s twin brother. It was fascinating.

Last weekend I had a fairly hellish schedule of three different sets of buyers, each with between 8 and 12 houses to see. Throw in the fact that approximately 50% of all of the houses had no power on (and thus, no A/C) and it was a recipe for exhaustion, dehydration and crabbiness by the time I got home. My husband just loves it when I stomp through the door, kick my shoes off into the middle of the room, demand a margarita (on the rocks, no salt) and collapse on the sofa (which will consequently require a thorough Febrezeing to rid it of my showing stink). Luckily he’s fairly used to this and usually has a drink and a snack already prepared. I know, you’re thinking, ‘Wow, what a sweet husband you have!’ but really it’s a self-preservation technique. He’s finally realized if he would like to keep his head attached to his neck it’s best to be prepared for my arrival on days like this.

Anyway, the only thing that kept me going during the showings last weekend was that I had three sets of ridiculously entertaining and likeable clients. I personally consider ‘quirkiness’ the seasoning of life (in fact, I like to think I bring it out in people; if you have a quirk, I will find it) and let me tell you, this was an adorably spicy group.

My first set of showings Saturday morning was with a brand new client couple and this was our first meeting. I’m always a little nervous on occasions like this. I worry that we won’t ‘gel’ or I’ll make some sort of weird, unfavorable first impression that will stick with them or something or that they’ll be total lunatics with whom I will have no desire to work. It’s like a first date. Luckily, by 2 houses in I was totally charmed and fascinated by this twosome. To begin with, the male half of the couple has a condition called Anosmia, which means that he can’t (and has never been able to) smell at all. When he told me that the way they discovered this was because when he was 7 or 8 years old and at school, one of his friends farted in a big group and everyone ran away but him and the kid who dealt it, and he turned to the kid and said, ‘That really smelled bad? Hmm, maybe something’s wrong here…’ I knew that I kind of loved him a little bit. Because anyone who can tell a story involving their own fairly serious medical condition and tie in someone else farting, is kind of my best friend. For the rest of the trip I felt the need to point out to him when a house smelled bad, just so he would know.

“This one smells AWFUL.”

“It’s ok, doesn’t bother me.”

I was also fully amused by the fact that he wanted some sort of a ‘man cave’ in the house we were attempting to locate for them, and she kept pointing to the most emasculating room on the property and labeling it the ‘man cave’. “Oh, honey, look, you can have a sweet little ‘man loft’!” Or “Look, this one is pink and has pictures of Snow White on the walls; it’s the ‘Princess Man Cave’!” They were too hilarious. It was a successful first date for me, for sure.

Sunday morning I took out a dear old friend and her husband and 1 year old. They were too fun and in general, it was low pressure. Their quirks tend to be of the good-natured, sarcastic husband/wife bickering variety, which I relate to.

Him: I’m not sure about this neighborhood. It’s a little sketchy.

Her: Why, because there’s Mexicans here? You do realize that I’m Mexican, too, don’t you?

Him: I didn’t say that! What are you talking about? I said NOTHING about Mexicans!

Her: You were thinking it, I could tell. And there was a brown skinned guy on the corner when we drove by. Our son is brown-skinned, you know. But you’re right, it’s a terrible neighborhood. Too many Mexicans. *

Plus, we saw one house that smelled especially awful inside and the husband pulled the neck of his shirt up over his mouth and nose while we walked through. The wife was like, ‘Really? That helps keep the smell out now, does it? Because it’s attractive and mature looking. Just so you know.’

Monday morning showings were with a couple who I’d been out with a couple of times before. The other showings had gone ok and I really liked them, although I couldn’t tell how the husband felt about me. He’s a police officer and I’d had them follow me to 5 or 6 houses the last time through the winding section of Ahwatukee where the streets all merge and unmerge and do unexpected things right up against the back side of South Mountain. I had inadvertently set up the tour so that with almost every house I had to make a left hand turn out into traffic. Usually I’m pretty good about having people following me, but left hand turns into traffic are my nemesis. I lost them at least twice and at one point was almost rear-ended by another car and got honked at. Humiliation does not even sum it up. When I apologized to them at the next house, the husband said, with a totally dead-pan face, ‘You’re lucky I don’t give traffic tickets anymore.’ I shook my head and giggled nervously, but honestly, he said it so seriously, I started to think, ‘Uh, oh, this guy is not at all amused by me. I am so screwed. And probably going to jail if this doesn’t all work out well.’

So on Sunday, when the husband sent me a list of houses they wanted to see, with a note about how he even put them in a showing order for me to save me time, I had to take one more attempt at an apology for my atrocious driving and wrote back, ‘Did you make sure to avoid all left hand turns into traffic?’ His response (verbatim this time, I swear) was, ‘I didn’t account for your vehicular shenanigans.’ And that was when I realized that not only does he totally have a sense of humor, he has one of those really dry, completely hard to tell when they’re kidding sense of humors that are my very favorite! Like Jeff Lewis on that Flipping Out show on Bravo. I think that email will remain one of my favorite client emails ever. You just can’t beat ‘vehicular shenanigans’. I may even have to have a shirt made, “Please excuse my vehicular shenanigans.”

The point of all of this is, that even when I work all weekend over a holiday and it’s 1000 degrees out and every other house smells horrendous or is carpeted in animal excretions, the people I work with make my job worth it. My clients are like my kids, worth their weight in gold, if only for entertainment sake.

*Conversation is not verbatim. And I totally made the last part up. Plus they were clearly mostly kidding. But they did have a hilarious discussion about a neighborhood and her Hispanic ancestry.

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