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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

Will shopping for that luxury item actually lower your quality of life?

(EDITORIAL) Want to buy yourself a pick-me-up? Have you thought of all the ramifications of that purchase? Try to avoid splurging on it.

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shopping bags

In an era of “treat-yo-self,” the urge to splurge is real. It doesn’t help that shopping – or what ends up being closer to impulse shopping – provides us with a hit of dopamine and a fleeting sense of control. Whether your life feels like it’s going downhill or you’ve just had a bad day, buying something you want (or think you want) can seem like an easy fix.

Unfortunately, it might not be so great when it comes to long-term happiness.

As you might have already guessed, purchasing new goods doesn’t fall in line with the minimalism trend that’s been sweeping the globe. Being saddled with a bunch of stuff you don’t need (and don’t even like!) is sure to make your mood dip, especially if the clutter makes it harder to concentrate. Plus, if you’ve got a real spending problem, the ache in your wallet is sure to manifest.

If that seems depressing, I’ve got even more bad news. Researchers at Harvard and Boston College have found yet another way spending can make us more unhappy in the long run: imposter syndrome. It’s that feeling you get when it seems like you’re not as good as your peers and they just haven’t caught on yet. This insecurity often arises in competitive careers, academics and, apparently, shopping.

Now, there’s one big caveat to this idea that purchasing goods will make you feel inferior: it really only applies to luxury goods. I’m talking about things like a Louis Vuitton purse, a top of the line Mercedes Benz, a cast iron skillet from Williams Sonoma (or is that one just me?). The point is, the study found that about 67% of people – regardless of their income – believed their purchase was inauthentic to their “true self.”

And this imposter syndrome even existed when the luxury items were bought on sale.

Does this mean you should avoid making a nice purchase you’ve been saving up for? Not necessarily. One researcher at Cambridge found that people were more likely to report happiness for purchases that fit their personalities. Basically, a die-hard golfer is going to enjoy a new club more than someone who bought the same golf club to try to keep up with their co-workers.

Moral of the story: maybe don’t impulse buy a fancy new Apple watch. Waiting to see if it’s something you really want can save your budget…and your overall happiness.

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Opinion Editorials

How to ask your manager for better work equipment

(EDITORIAL) Old computer got you down? Does it make your job harder? Here’s how to make a case to your manager for new equipment without budget worries.

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better equipment, better work

Aside from bringing the boss coffee and donuts for a month before asking, what is an employee to do when the work equipment bites.

Let’s be frank, working on old, crappy computers with inefficient applications can make the easiest tasks a chore. Yet, what do you do? You know you need better equipment to do your job efficiently, but how to ask the boss without looking like a whiner who wants to blow the department budget.

In her “Ask A Manager” column, Alison Green says an employee should ask for better equipment if it is needed. For example, the employee in her column has to attend meetings, but has no laptop and has to take a ton of notes and then transcribe them. Green says, it’s important to make the case for the benefits of having newer or updated equipment.

The key is showing a ROI. If you know a specific computer would be a decent upgrade, give your supervisor the specific model and cost, along with the expected outcomes. In addition, it may be worth talking to someone from the IT department to see what options might be available – if you’re in a larger company.

IT professionals who commented on Green’s column made a few suggestions. Often because organizations have contracts with specific computer companies or suppliers, talking with IT about what is needed to get the job done and what options are available might make it easier to ask a manager, by saying, “I need a new computer and IT says there are a few options. Here are my three preferences.” A boss is more likely to be receptive and discuss options.

If the budget doesn’t allow for brand new equipment, there might be the option to upgrade the RAM, for example. In a “Workplace” discussion on StackExchange.com an employee explained the boss thinks if you keep a computer clean – no added applications – and maintained it will perform for years. Respondents said, it’s important to make clear the cost-benefit of purchasing updated equipment. Completing a ROI analysis to show how much more efficiently with the work be done may also be useful. Also, explaining to a boss how much might be saved in repair costs could also help an employee get the point across.

Managers may want to take note because, according to results of a Gallup survey, when employees are asked to meet a goal but not given the necessary equipment, credibility is lost.

Gallup says that workgroups that have the most effectively managed materials and equipment tend to have better customer engagement, higher productivity, better safety records and employees that are less likely to jump ship than their peers.

And, no surprise, if a boss presents equipment and says: “Here’s what you get. Deal with it,” employees are less likely to be engaged and pleased than those employees who have a supervisor who provides some improvements and goes to bat to get better equipment when needed.

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Opinion Editorials

Minimalism doesn’t have to be a quick process

(EDITORIAL) Minimalism is great and all…but how do you get started if you’re not sold on getting rid of basically everything you own?

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minimalism desk

Minimalism. This trend has reared its head in many forms, from Instagram-worthy shots of near empty homes to Marie Kondo making a splash on Netflix last year. If you’re anything like me, the concept of minimalism is tempting, but the execution seems out of reach. Paring down a closet to fit into a single basket or getting rid of beloved objects can sometimes seem too difficult, and I get it! Luckily, minimalism doesn’t have to be quite so extreme.

#1 Digitally

Not ready to purge your home yet? That’s fine! Start on your digital devices. Chances are, there are plenty of easy ways to clean up the storage space on your computer or phone. When it comes to low stakes minimalism, try clearing out your email inbox or deleting apps you no longer use. It’ll increase your storage space and make upkeep much more manageable on a daily basis.

It’s also worth taking a look through your photos. With our phones so readily available, plenty of us have pictures that we don’t really need. Clearing out the excess and subpar pictures will also have the added bonus of making your good pictures easily accessible!

Now, if this task seems more daunting, consider starting by simply deleting duplicate photos. You know the ones, where someone snaps a dozen pics of the same group pose? Pick your favorite (whittle it down if you have to) and delete the rest! It’s an easy way to get started with minimizing your digital photo collection.

#2 Slowly

Minimalism doesn’t have to happen all at once. If you’re hesitant about taking the plunge, try dipping your toe in the water first. There’s no shame in taking your time with this process. For instance, rather than immediately emptying your wardrobe, start small by just removing articles of clothing that are not wearable anymore. Things that are damaged, for instance, or just don’t fit.

Another way to start slow is to set a number. Take a look at your bookshelf and resolve to get rid of just two books. This way, you can hold yourself accountable for minimizing while not pushing too far. Besides, chances are, you do have two books on your shelf that are just collecting dust.

Finally, it’s also possible to take things slow by doing them over time. Observe your closet over the course of six months, for instance, to see if there are articles of clothing that remain unworn. Keep an eye on your kitchen supplies to get a feel for what you’re using and what you’re not. Sure, that egg separator you got for your wedding looks useful, but if you haven’t picked it up, it probably has to go.

#3 Somewhat

Sometimes, minimalism is pitched as all or nothing (pun intended), but it doesn’t have to be that way. Just because I want to purge my closet doesn’t mean I’m beholden to purging my kitchen too. And that’s okay!

Instead of getting overwhelmed by everything that needs to be reduced, just pick one aspect of your life to declutter. Clear out your wardrobe and hang onto your books. Cut down on decorations but keep your clothes. Maybe even minimize a few aspects of your life while holding onto one or two.

Or, don’t go too extreme in any direction and work to cut down on the stuff in your life in general. Minimizing doesn’t have to mean getting rid of everything – it can mean simply stepping back. For instance, you can minimize just by avoiding buying more things. Or maybe you set a maximum number of clothes you want, which means purchasing a new shirt might mean getting rid of an old one.

The point is, there are plenty of ways to start on the minimalist lifestyle without pushing yourself too far outside your comfort zone. So, what are you waiting for? Try decluttering your life soon!

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