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Blunders & Bladders

Disasters in Un-Real Estate:

Have you ever had anything go awry at an Open House? C’mon – tell the truth – I can’t be the only one who has made some memorable blunders. I’ve decided to share some of the more bizarre stories I’ve heard just so we can all feel a bit less foolish about our own mistakes…unless you recognize yourself below. In that case, I can’t help you, pal…

A Rubber Nose Would Have Sufficed

Did you hear about the realtor in Hancock Park who hired a clown? It might have been a good idea if the clown hadn’t been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day before his spectacular arrival, which involved parking his clown car on the curb and victimizing a street lamp. After crawling out of the pile of shrapnel, his first stunt was to sing “I’m a Little Tea Pot” while peeing all over the bushes. The poor kids were scared out of their Crocs when, after christening the bushes, the singing tippler fell head first into the ammonia-fragrant foliage. Prospective buyers and their agents continued to arrive as the clown tried to re-attach his rainbow wig and rubber nose. Suddenly the listing agent appeared from the side yard, dragging a rubber hose with her and hell-bent for revenge. To the kids’ delight, she hosed the clown until he ran away, leaving his pathetic car shrinking on the curb in a pile of shame. (Moral of the story: Always keep a hose available in case someone whips theirs out.)

Crimes and Crackpots

A colleague of mine arrived at an open house right about the same time the listing agent was arriving. They walked through the house together and then stopped in their tracks when they spotted yellow Police Crime Scene tape roping off the door to the bedroom. Backing out as fast as they could, they exited through the back door. To their horror, they discovered a chalk outline of a person at the bottom of the drained pool. While the agent frantically tried to reach the seller on her cell phone, they heard laughter from the side yard. As they rounded the corner of the house, they came upon the seller’s fourteen year-old-son and his friend, who were snapping photos and laughing hysterically at their devious prank. (Moral of the Story: It’s a good idea to arrive early to remove all signs of death at your Open House. Homicide is not a big seller.)

Short Takes:

Your Neighborho Specialist Invites You to a Holiday Open House.” (Yay – even ho’s have holiday spirit!)

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“Open House – Easter Egg Hunt, Drinks and Ham Salad Sandwiches served. House located just East of Beth Israel Temple.” (Moral: Know your neighborhood… or call your “Neighborho” Specialist.)

Fertilize and Amortize

One clever agent decided to offer pony rides for the kids during his Memorial Day open house in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, the pony had the trots (in every way imaginable) and fertilized the lawn with gusto. Several hours later, the seller returned to discover a lawn that looked like an explosion in Hershey, Pennsylvania.  (Moral of the Story: Keep Pepto Bismol on hand for all occasions. And get the phone number of the agent with the hose. )

Short Takes:

1) The open house where the balloon guy and the agent were talking to prospective buyers with helium-induced, munchkin voices.

2) The open house where, when the agent arrived, he discovered a naked guy in the kitchen chugging a brewski. (Moral: It could have been worse: The naked guy could have been singing “I’m a Little Teapot” in a munchkin voice and wearing a rainbow wig while peeing into his brewski, and the agent and the balloon guy could have been naked…juggling Easter eggs while riding a dyspeptic pony. Hey, this is Los Angeles – we’ve seen it all! )

Always Check the Beds

A friend told me about an open house she was giving where she arrived to discover a blow-up doll in the teenager’s bed. She struggled to shove it under the bed, but the recalcitrant limbs kept popping back out. She couldn’t think of where to put it so it would go unnoticed. Finally she dragged the doll to the front porch, placed it in a lawn chair, and then piled an afghan and the listing sheets onto the doll’s lap. The doll slowly deflated in the hot sun, so by the time the open house ended, it looked like grandma had expired on the porch. Nonetheless, the Open House visitors loved it, and they all wanted to know who the “agent” on the porch was. (Moral of the story: Carry sharp pins wherever you go, or at least a referral agreement in case Grandma claims Procuring Cause.)

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Short Take

The pregnant agent who hung pale yellow balloons all over the porch for her open house. When they deflated, they looked like condoms. (Moral: Condoms Do Not Always Prevent Pregnancy)

So Who’s the Dip Here Anyway?

At one Open House an agent served homemade salmon dip, which was always a favorite with her guests. As expected, the visitors scooped it up with crackers, enjoying the flavor. Out of curiosity, one agent asked what the ingredient was that was so chewy. My friend, somewhat perplexed, tasted the dip, and indeed it seemed “chewy.” A bit baffled, she shrugged it off and continued with the business at hand. She returned home that evening and was cleaning the blender she had used for prep when her jaw dropped open. There in the bottom of the kitchen sink was half of a rubber spatula. (Moral of the story: Chewy salmon dip and pony excrement have a lot in common: they both stink, and neither belongs at an open house!)

Good luck out there!

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Written By

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn,, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.



  1. Missy Caulk

    May 1, 2009 at 9:39 am

    You crack me up,continually!!

  2. Gwen Banta

    May 1, 2009 at 1:05 pm

    Thank you, Missy. I am so appreciative of your support.I think it’s the funny part of life that keeps us all going. We might as well have a good time while we’re here. I laugh at my own mistakes all the time. Someday I’ll reveal which stories belong to ME!

  3. Mike Bowler Sr

    May 2, 2009 at 6:27 am

    You just made my morning with this post. Thanks for added some humor, smiles and LOL to my day.

  4. Jennifer Giraldi

    May 2, 2009 at 2:23 pm

    These stories are hilarious! I guess we should make sure we carry these objects around so we can defeat drunk clowns and pop blow up dolls! You have proved just about anything can happen at an open house these days!

    Thanks for the great humor Gwen! These cracked me up!

  5. Paula Henry

    May 3, 2009 at 8:26 am

    Gwen – You are a creative Genius – each post funnier than the last. These would seem unbelievable, except, i have learned, anything can happen in this business.

    Laughter is great medicine!

  6. Gwen Banta

    May 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks, Paula. Anything CAN happen in this business – we just don’t want to admit some of it. But if we laugh at ourselves, people we either laugh with us…or let us off the hook due to suspected insanity!

  7. Lani Rosales

    May 5, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Gwen, my ribs hurt any time I read you. Does laughter cause physical fitness? That would be awesome. HILARIOUS!

  8. Gwen Banta

    May 5, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Thank you, Lani. I laugh every time I read the MLS, but I’m still in lousy shape, so I don’t think it’s a calorie burner. However, I think laughter does increase lung capacity. I read today that one agent was offering a loft with exposed bean ceilings. Now that’s a “green” house for for you! And there was another one with a floating stares. I just love that!

  9. Ares

    May 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

    I’m so glad I found this site! HILARIOUS. Even your comments are creative and funny. Thanks for making me smile, can you do it again tomorrow?

  10. Gwen Banta

    December 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm

    Thanks, Ares – Please check in to Agent Genius every Friday for my satirical, warped stream of consciousness.

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