By Debbie Hanlon

Odd as it sounds, and as hard as it may be to believe, there are real estate agents among us who specialize in selling properties that nobody wants to buy. What makes these places so hard to even get people to step inside them is what happened inside them – usually tragedy or crimes that make it really tough to think of the place as home sweet home.

For instance, Jeffrey Dahmer’s former home in Ohio should be a breeze to move. It’s a lovely home, well maintained, in a good neighbourhood with large rooms and modern amenities. It’s 2,170 square feet with a nice yard for those with an interest in gardening, although on second thought, it might not be a great idea to go digging in that yard. Yet, all in all, the asking price of $329,000 seems quite fair. Some might even consider it a bargain.



Now there is one small point that full disclosure makes sure everyone knows – Dahmer murdered his first victim inside that house. Kind of takes the shine off the welcome mat, doesn’t it?

Sometimes I think of the great stories those Realtors could tell about the days they’ve had and the deals they’ve done. Usually it’s when I’m struggling to keep a deal of my own together to remind me that things could be worse. “At least I’m not trying to sell Jeffrey Dahmer’s house” is sometimes the only thought that keeps me going. Not that I haven’t heard and lived my share of horror stories, which are just a part of doing the job of a real estate agent.

Like every salesperson, I’ve been through stuff that people who aren’t in this game wouldn’t believe, let alone understand. And we all get together at staff parties and industry events and tell war stories about our lives in the real estate trenches. You know what else we do? We laugh at those stories. It’s like therapy really. If we didn’t laugh, we’d climb up on the roof of the highest house we have listed and jump off.

The number of hoops we must jump through while carrying clients, the details we have to make sure get done, the personalities we must massage, the egos we must stroke, the clients we must talk off ledges and the obscure laws we have to know and adhere to would drive a normal person around the bend before lunch. Luckily, we’re not normal; we’re Realtors. After the dust settles, the smoke clears and the docs are signed, what we had to go through to reach that point becomes a new story we’ll tell and laugh while we do.

In my own experience, a story comes to mind of a showing that ended up showing a lot more than expected. That’s the danger of having the keys to other people’s homes. Today it’s easy to get in touch with clients but not long ago if you didn’t reach them for a showing before you left the office, you didn’t reach them at all.

So, when you got to the door of the house with your buyers, you had no idea of what was waiting behind that door. For me it was two naked men. My elderly clients probably still haven’t gotten over the shock.

That’s nothing really compared to other stories I’ve heard. One of my salespeople went on a showing once and, upon opening the master bedroom door to show the nice-sized room with ensuite, she discovered the homeowner dead in his bed. Needless to say, the deal died shortly after.

It’s these stories, which are funny, shocking, maddening and more that I want to collect. And that, my friends, is where you come in. Send me your best real estate story, be it good or bad, and I’ll include it in my book with full credit given to you. It’s a way for all of us to share common experiences and gain insight for others who may be going through something similar. It will be therapy for all the shocks and fools we suffer every day.

Send in your story and we’ll roll them out. If nothing else it will remind us that no matter how bad our days or deals are going, there are others out there who have survived worse. And who know, maybe it will help us get what we want more than anything else – closure.

Debbie Hanlon is the owner broker and Realtor at Debbie Hanlon Real Estate, a new boutique brokerage in St. John’s, Nfld. She is also a motivational speaker, real estate coach, author, former city councillor and children’s entertainer. She lives in St. John’s with her husband, Oral Mews and her dog Fisher.