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Opinion Editorials

Humorous real estate tales that you just can’t make up

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Call it scoping out the competition or call it being nosy, but I am always interested in hearing about people’s experiences with other realtors. This weekend I got an earful!

An out of town couple flew into town who were on the hunt for a vacation home up to $1M in my neck of the woods.  Unbeknownst to me, they actually had visited many states and cities this summer, each area with a different realtor.  Whereas most buyers stick with one agent over the course of their search and have limited comparison, this couple got to interact with a plethora of agents in a short period of time.  And I couldn’t believe some of the things that happened to them. They had me in stitches!

Act one: “Don’t tell me. You’re the Milburns.”

One agent in La Jolla, CA called them to say he was going to be a bit tardy for their first showing and to not worry because he was on his way.  My clients took the extra time to drive around the complex and check out the amenities. But as they returned to the parking lot, a car blazes into the lot, rounds the corner and accidentally rams into my clients’ rental car.

The driver gets out of his car and sheepishly says, “Don’t tell me. You’re the Milburns.” After they spend the next 2 hours sorting out the insurance and accident claims, he says “So, let’s continue our tour” (?!)

Act two: “Well there is one thing…”

After that fiasco, an agent in Incline Village, Nevada showed them a townhouse that was his own listing. After spending a while at the property, they went to the agents office to discuss a possible offer.  Being an attorney, my client asked the agent if there was anything else to know about the property, since the agent was acting as a dual agent and had information about the seller.

The agent said, “Well there is one thing. The owner died in the master bedroom.”  “Oh, in his sleep?” they inquired.  “No. His wife murdered him. But don’t worry, she is now institutionalized.” They passed on this property (and agent).

Act three: “Um, who are you?”

A week later, my clients were finishing up a tour with an agent in Laguna Beach, CA, who frankly didn’t show them anything that matched their needs. Maybe in an attempt to redeem himself, he said he had driven by an open house earlier that would be a good fit for them.

So, they arrive and the open house is jam packed. The couple swoon over the house’s architecture, layout and upgrades. They had never seen an open house with such decadent catering and elegantly dressed buyers.  They give their agent thumbs up, “Good job! This might be the one!” As they are piling caviar onto their plates and sipping champagne, a woman who presumably was the listing agent, all of a sudden approaches them. They gush “This is a lovely home. Please tell the seller we are very impressed,”  to which she responds “Um, who are you?”

“We’re here for the open house,” explained the couple .  “This is indeed an open house…. for my friends and family. I am the new owner.” Embarrassed beyond belief, they put down their plates & slithered out.

You can’t make this stuff up!

My clients said each time they went out with a new agent, they felt like they was on a sitcom.  Lucky for me, my tour with her was nowhere near as comedic (although I was holding my breath for something hilarious to happen…no such luck).

Please share any blundering stories you or your fellow agents have experienced with clients.  We all need a good laugh!

Watch Real Estate Expert Herman Chan put the REAL back in REALTY. In his show Habitat for Hermanity, Herman skewers the real estate business and pokes fun at his fellow agents, all the while empowering buyers & sellers with behind-the-scene tips & secrets of the industry! Get a glimpse beyond the glitz & glam of real estate. It's a hot mess! Featured on HGTV, House Hunters & other media outlets, Herman is the undisputed Real Estate Maven whose helpful & hilarious commentary you just can't live without! In fact, his real estate TV show has just been optioned in Hollywood!

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10 Comments

10 Comments

  1. Lauren

    July 26, 2010 at 3:07 am

    Fantastic! Love the accidental gate-crashing story. At least they got a glass of champagne out of it.

    • hermanchan.com

      July 28, 2010 at 2:36 pm

      you must have lots of stories, from your uglybaby experiences!

  2. Ken Webb

    July 26, 2010 at 4:15 am

    Hoy! that is too funny! – We all should have stories of humor in our lives,…I have yet to make a huge blunder,…in Real Estate – But have made very funny faux pas in other high end purchases.

    Keep them coming!

  3. Kerri J Mackey

    July 26, 2010 at 10:18 am

    I was in the process of showing a young couple houses. At one point I realized my blouse had come undone. If that wasn’t embarassing enough going from one house to another I ended up getting pulled over for speeding with the couple behind me. Lucky for me they knew the sheriff deputy.

    • hermanchan.com

      July 27, 2010 at 6:19 pm

      i got pulled over once by a cop , when my client was in the car with me. so i totally relate to your story!
      i’ve never had my blouse pop open, but i did forget to zip my fly during an open house….ugh.

  4. Diana Santos

    July 26, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    Too funny! I also have a few stories – but not as hilarious as these! Who says Real Estate isn’t fun 😉

    ~ Diana ~

    • hermanchan.com

      July 28, 2010 at 2:39 pm

      oh diana, please share! i need someone to brighten my day 🙂

  5. Chandler Realtor

    July 26, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    Haha! Love it!

  6. Pingback: When Help Isn't Help - Home Buying & Anecdotes

  7. Pingback: A Wonderful Source of Information About Real Estate – Primyce

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Opinion Editorials

The offensive myth of getting laid off being a blessing

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There’s an age-old trend in news to look for rags-to-riches stories. People love to hear about someone who’s down on their luck scraping together a genius idea and, through sheer grit (it seems), finding the motivation to finally strike out on their own and realize their dream.

Stop me if you’ve heard this one: Person X is laid off from their long-time but unfulfilling office job, say at an oil company in Alberta, or a marketing agency where their good ideas are consistently shot down.

What seems like a situation to for despair is actually an opportunity in disguise— see, with their newfound freedom Person X has the ability to fully commit to their small business pipe dream.

In fact, the story goes, getting laid off was actually the best thing to ever happen to this person.

This story is a myth.

Although I don’t want to discredit anybody who has had the willpower, luck, and resources to succeed at launching their business, there are many people who are laid off who are truly in critically terrible times.

The insidious underlying message of this myth is that anybody who is truly devastated by being laid off is being weak or lazy.

It serves to alleviate the guilt of those who may have survived the lay off themselves; it helps organizations justify the fact that they might have had to let an otherwise good employee go for their own, corporate-level problems.

The characteristics that many of these laid-off-turned-successful-entrepreneurs have in common are the same sort of privileges that many take for granted – health, youth, a personal support system to help keep the lights on, and an established network of people that can be turned into a market of clients.

What happens to the many workers who are victims of ageism when they are laid off in favor of younger, less expensive workers?

What happens if you’re laid off and you can’t use your newfound time to work on your business plan because you’re raising young children?

The entrepreneurs who find opportunity in being suddenly jobless were probably already on their way to striking out on their own, with their being laid off acting as the defined starting point for a plan they might not have known was forming in their heads.

If you, a friend, or a colleague have the unfortunate luck to be laid off, don’t let this myth get under your skin.

It’s okay to have a rough time with a huge life event that is absolutely terrifying and difficult.

Hang in there.

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Opinion Editorials

3 things to do if you *really* want to be an ally to women in tech

(EDITORIAL) Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce.

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More and more women are leaving their positions with tech companies, citing lack of opportunity for advancement, wage gaps and even hostile working conditions as some of the reasons why.

What’s better for the tech industry and its employees than cultivating inclusive and diverse departments? Diversity is known to strengthen the overall performance of a company and its teams, and there are a number of ways you can be an ally to the talented women already on your workforce. To name a few:

1. Be open to listening to different perspectives.

It can be awkward to hear so many reports of workplace politics stacking against women, especially if you’re not a woman!

Instead of getting uncomfortable or defensive – ask open ended questions and be interested in a perspective that isn’t yours and may be unfamiliar.

Don’t seek to rationalize or explain the experiences you’re hearing about, as that can come off as condescending. It’s common for women to be interrupted or spoken over in team gatherings. If you notice this happening, bring the conversation back to where the interruption began. Offering your ear and counting yourself as responsible for making space will improve the overall quality of communication in your company.

Listening to and validating what women have to say about the quality of their employment with a company is an important step in the right direction.

Expressing something as simple as “I was interested in what you had to say – could you elaborate on your thought?” can help.

2. Develop an Employee Resource Group (ERG) program.

An ERG is a volunteer-based, employee-led group that acts as a resource for a particular group of employees. An ERG can help to foster inclusiveness through discussion, team-building activities and events. It’s common for a department to have only one or two women on the roster.

This can mean that the day to day feels disconnected from concerns commonly shared by women. disjointed it might feel to be on a high performing team, without access to relatable conversations.

3. Be responsible for your company’s culture.

Chances are, your company already has some amazing cultural values in place. That said, how often are you checking your own performance and your co-workers performances against those high standards? Strong company culture and values sound great, but whether or not they’re adhered to can make or break the mood of a work environment.

Many women say they’ve experienced extremely damaging and toxic cultural environments, which lead to hostility, frustration, and even harassment. Take action when you see the new woman uncomfortable with being hit on at team drinks.

Call out those who make unfriendly and uncouth comments about how women perform, look, or behave.

Setting a personal threshold for these kinds of microaggressions can help you lead by example, and will help build a trustworthy allyship.

(This article was first published here in November, 2016.)

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Opinion Editorials

How the Bullet Journal method has been hijacked and twisted

(EDITORIAL) I’m a big fan of the Bullet Journal method, but sticker-loving tweens have hijacked the movement. Worry not, I’m still using black and white bullet points with work tasks (not “pet cat,” or “smile more”).

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bullet journal

It’s taken me some time to come around to the Bullet Journal method, because it took me some time to fully understand it (I have a tendency to overthink simplicity). Now that I understand the use, I find it very beneficial for my life and my appreciation for pen-to-paper.

In short, it’s a quick and simple system for organization tasks and staying focused with everything you have going on. All you need to employ this method is a journal with graph or dotted paper, and a pen. Easy.

However, there seems to be this odd truth that: we find ways to simplify complicated things, and we find ways to complicate simple things. The latter is exactly what’s happened with the Bullet Journal method, thanks to creative people who show the rest of us up.

To understand what I’m talking about, open up Instagram (or Pinterest, or even Google) and just search “bullet journal.” You’ll soon find post after post of frilly, sticker-filled, calligraphy-laden journal pages.

The simple method of writing down bullets of tasks has been hijacked to become a competitive art form.

Don’t get me wrong, I like looking at this stuff because I dig the creativity. But, do I have time to do that myself? No! For honesty’s sake, I’ve tried just for fun and it takes too much damn time.

With this is mind, this new-found method of Bullet Journaling as an art is something that: a) defeats the purpose of accomplishing tasks quickly as you’re setting yourself back with the nifty art, and b) entrepreneurs, freelancers, executives, or anyone busy would not have time for.

Most of these people posting artistic Bullet Journal pages on Instagram are younger and have more time on their hands (and if you want to spend your time doing that, do you, man).

But, it goes against the simplistic method of Bullet Journaling. The intent of the method.

And, beneath the washi tape, stickers, and different colored pens, usually lies a list of: put away laundry, feed cat, post on Insta. So, this is being done more for the sake of art than for employing the method.

Again, I’m all for art and for people following their passions and creativities, but it stands to reason that this should be something separate from the concept of Bullet Journaling, as it has become a caricature of the original method.

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