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For every ugly house, there’s an ugly buyer – Writer Debut

Some Realtors…

…think they are too good for a listing. They may feel it does not fit their clientele, or it doesn’t reinforce their brand. Believe it or not, some agents try very hard to live up to their reputation of being purveyors of properties and arbiters of taste. Well, that ain’t me.

Case in point.

After landing a listing, out of curiosity, I asked what made them pick me over the other agents. I thought they were going to say it was because I was a top producer with a UC Berkeley degree under my belt, or because I could speak Chinese to the sellers who spoke little English, or at least because I looked amazing in a suit. But no! They said, “You were the only agent who didn’t run away”

Truth be told, their house was never going to be featured on Million Dollar Listing.  That’s putting it kindly. It was a small dilapidated 2bd 1ba straight of the 1960’s. The sellers clearly didn’t want  to leave that decade. The house was painted turquoise paint with sea green trim, had awnings that screamed “retirement home” , and inside was cobalt blue carpeting and floral wallpaper.

But worse of all, next door was a dubious night club, that attracted ruffians all hours of the day & night.  No wonder some agents wouldn’t touch this with a 10 ft pole. Not only was it going to be a really hard sale and very little earnings, but you didn’t know if you were going to  get mugged at the open house (I made a mental note: pick up a can of mace on the way home).  Nevertheless, I took the house on to assist out these nice folks. My rationale: “For every ugly house, there’s an ugly buyer.”

Low and behold, in less than two weeks, an offer appeared! Two lesbians snapped up the property. Now, I’m not saying lesbians are ugly (I actually never met them in person, so I can’t tell you for sure), but I am saying that it’s a good thing I didn’t think the property/sellers were beneath me. Why? They immediately bought their next house from me, and also referred their son to me. All cash deals! Who knew! I’ll take an ugly house or ugly buyer any day!

Please welcome Herman Chan to the Agent Genius family! We are excited for Herman to join the folds- his energy is contagious and his writing and video will have you laughing as he analyzes the real estate industry. You can find Herman at his video blog Habitat for Hermanity or on Twitter. Please welcome Herman in comments (and razz him for being another writer with a hoity toity Berkeley degree)!

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Written By

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!



  1. Bob Phillips

    July 5, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    While your story is a good one, I can’t help but think that you’ve overstepped your boundaries in your unnecessary description of your clients.

    I think it would have been sufficient to simply say that someone actually bought the place, without resorting to labeling them as “ugly” buyers, or unnecessarily divulging their sexual persuasion.

    • Shanna Lafontaine

      July 6, 2010 at 3:41 pm

      I have to agree. Did your clients give you the OK to publicly talk about them and show a picture? I love the story, but maybe the delivery was a little rough?


        July 6, 2010 at 9:02 pm

        thanks for the input y’all! shanna, the photo is a random stockphoto, not really my clients’ house. (were that the case though, that would be in poor taste!) bob, you’re right, i should have asked them to sign a disclosure statement about their sexual persuasion as well as show me proof of their gay membership card. i know i never leave home without mine! 😉

  2. Vicki

    July 5, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Hi Herman –

    I’ve always heard “there is a butt for every saddle”, but “for every ugly house, there’s an ugly buyer” is much more fun.

    Nice first post – it made me go to your website and watch your videos. (They are wonderful!) I’m now one of your loyal fans. 🙂



      July 6, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      thank you vicki! maybe i will try to use “there is a butt for every saddle” in a future webisode 🙂

  3. Fred Romano

    July 5, 2010 at 8:39 pm

    Just checked out your website – loved your vids! Good to see an outgoing queen work it like you obviously do – You go! Gays and real estate go together like peanut butter and jelly, like bagels and cream cheese, like …. well you get my point. You gotta new fan here!


      July 6, 2010 at 4:05 pm

      hola fred! you know that is a very interesting observation about gays and realtors. there does seem to be a high incidence of us in the biz , eh?

  4. Property Marbella

    July 6, 2010 at 1:08 am

    Welcome Herman to the Agent Genius. You are right in “for every ugly house, there’s an ugly buyer”. But what you think is ugly, is maybe beautiful for other. Everybody have different taste. Otherwise had the world look exactly the same everywhere.


      July 6, 2010 at 4:08 pm

      property marbella, how true, beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder…(it’s just that some ppl have cataracts! ) on serious note, yes diversity can be beautiful, not just in homes but in ppl.

  5. Benn Rosales

    July 6, 2010 at 11:29 am

    It’s a test of character to take on challenging opportunities, and take risk, and the listing was a calculated risk. Living in Austin, we’ve gotten used to diamond in the rough mentality and are often surprised at what folks find as valuable here. It’s often a mcmansion a few short months later or restored and called a bungalow… 🙂

    In the future, don’t hold back, tell us what you really think! 😉

  6. Joe Loomer

    July 6, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    Welcome aboard, Herman!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  7. Jonathan Benya

    July 6, 2010 at 3:50 pm

    welcome aboard Herman! great to see another take on the wild real estate market!


      July 6, 2010 at 4:14 pm

      it certainly can be a jungle out there! but all we can do is try to make each day a safari! 🙂

  8. Joe

    July 6, 2010 at 11:44 pm

    …and I’m thinking, “For every ugly buyer, there is an ugly house!” [grins]

    I tell my wife to never say no to a sale. Perhaps some sales we put less effort into, but never say no. We’ve had many clients who were ‘borderline’ to do business with, but we decided to stick with them and as a consequence have benefited from great business relationships. In fact, one of them is our friend (let’s hope they do not read AgentGenius,eh).


      July 7, 2010 at 12:49 am

      on the same page as you, Joe! At the end of the day, “A deal is a deal” right?

  9. Fred Griffin

    July 8, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Great article, Herman… welcome to AG. See you on Twitter and elsewhere!


      July 8, 2010 at 7:15 pm

      thanks for all the support everyone! i’m happy to be part of this niche community

  10. Greg Zeck

    March 14, 2011 at 1:14 pm

    Your language, rough and rude as it is, is a necessary and inevitable corrective to the tippy-toeing most realtors (and insurance agents) do. God forbid a little truth in housing.

    • herman chan

      March 14, 2011 at 1:48 pm

      thanks greg. sometimes the truth hurts, but we (and clients) are better for it in the end 🙂

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