By Dan St. Yves

Hello colleagues, and thank you for attending my optional seminar/slide show about avoiding potential conflicts while out in the community.

I’m sure many of you are wondering why I’m not just using a PowerPoint presentation, but I thought it would be fun to gather up some pictures I happened to take, or noticed someone taking fortuitously. Hey, if we have enough time left over at the end, I’ll pop in a few of the slides from my trip to Saskatoon earlier this summer!

Okay, here we go. What you see in this picture is the group that kindly gathered to help me when my clients’ prized show cat got out of their home just before I was supposed to start my open house. One neighbour was quick to print posters, even if the cat he used from an adoption group online looked nothing at all like the prize-winning tabby my clients owned. That said, I’m pleased to say the feline was found quickly – and then kept in the basement until the open house was over.

This shot was rather surprising. The owners showed it to me a few days after an open house. Their discreet security cameras happened to catch the exact moment my microwave popcorn cooked a bit too long and caused just a small cloud of smoke to leach out of the microwave, setting off their emergency SOS system. There were a few neighbours taking pictures as they were rubbernecking over the firefighters and such, but this was the only shot I received before I bought the clients a lovely new microwave oven.

If you’ve ever wondered just how handy smartphone cameras are, check out THIS shot as my leg fell through a rotten wooden stair leading up to a terraced area of a new listing I was previewing. My client forwarded this after he snapped the leg of my brand-new dress pants being sliced open like a pea pod in the summertime! On the plus side, we discovered a nest of carpenter ants below the stairs, and were able to have them exterminated ahead of the home going on the market. Quite the biters!

I’m going to just skip over this picture of a big group of my colleagues and I having a pool party, as it was entirely unintended, breaking out rather spontaneously while we were on an office tour of the listed property. Happily, after cleanup I could personally attest in my feature sheet to the capabilities of entertaining in that space!

Before we break to top up our coffees and stretch our legs, this picture was snapped by my partner while I was crouched under the basement stairs, trying to locate a pet boa constrictor that got out of his enclosure by what appeared to be sheer brute force and determination. In the excitement and confusion, it wasn’t until almost the end of my open house that I noticed the hamster cage on the other side of the room appeared unused, or at the least very, very empty. For the life of me, I could not remember if it had been occupied earlier.

Alright, break time people – 15 minutes please, we’ve got a lot more slides to feature before lunchtime!”


  1. Hi Dan ~ picture this… You have a way of bringing back business memories…

    This article reminds me of a frightful situation in a old days’ new listing. The house was what we call a side split. You can see by the sample pictures enclosed…

    Livingroom, diningroom, kitchen on the main level. Up five stairs to 3 bedrooms. Down five stairs to bedroom 4 and a halfway below grade great room (recreation room), below the main level. No basement beneath. But beneath the bedroom 4 area, there was what we call a crawl space. Rather large but only about 5′ tall headroom. Largely designed to be storage since there was otherwise no basement.

    I don’t ever crawl into crawl spaces, although home inspectors do. Likewise I don’t use a ladder to preview attics.

    Almost immediately I had a sign call that requested a viewing. The people calling had always wanted to live on that small street. Great location. And I had been involved in more than fifty percent of the properties buying or selling repeatedly over the years.

    After establishing that they could indeed afford it and had a house to sell, I agreed to show them the property. (sub-agency days).

    It was known in the community that an elderly man had lived there for many years and was recently decreased. I did inquire had he passed away in the home, in case anyone should ask. No. Now the house was owned by his young adult children. And although they lived there, they decided to sell and chose me to list.

    The house was plain but overall well kept, and as I peeked into the crawl space it was tidy but had quite a few boxes blocking any real view. First clue.

    The viewing went well, until… Mr and Mrs. would-be buyer actually crawled deep into the large (maybe 30′ square) low headspace crawl space area. I stood at the entrance as they poked their way through the boxes. There wasn’t even a cobweb in sight.

    They approached me, leaving the crawl space as I watched them and as I said clearly, “be careful don’t bump your head on the overhead floor joists,” I couldn’t help but see the Mr. had lost all his colour. Perhaps from crouching so long? He was white like a ghost, and his wife was speechless.

    But I knew not why. He spoke first: “is this your idea of a joke?” My turn to go white… “What? Why? Huh?”

    “You really didn’t know?”
    “Didn’t know WHAT???

    “There’s a coffin in there!” (I had disclosed the owner’s recent decease.)
    “A what???” Now I thought HE was making a joke. We left. They had fully intended to buy it (until). Oh, my!

    When the seller woman got home, I inquired… And she laughed hysterically. Of course I had to ask what was so funny?
    “That’s an old high school drama shell prop,” she said, still laughing out loud. “Looks like the real thing, though. My brother used it as a coffee table in the living room until recently when it was decided to store it in the crawl space.”
    “Never mind,” she said, “we’ll put it out beside the for sale sign post on the lawn on garbage collection day.”

    “OH, PLEASE DON’T DO THAT!” I said. She agreed to call someone to collect it.

    I still never crawled into crawl spaces. But I surely did, ever after, ask if there was anything in there that I ought to know about.

    Taught me a valuable lesson. Thought you’d appreciate this true story, Dan. As with yours, the picture’s worth a thousand words… LOL

    Carolyne L 🍁

    • Holy crow Carolyne!

      Just goes to show that no matter how vivid one’s imagination may be, real life is FILLED with stories like yours – although I have to say yours may be right up there with the best of them!

      Thanks for sharing!!!


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