By Dan St. Yves

According to my records, which admittedly are about as reliable as betting on a scratched long shot at the racetrack, my first column for REM appeared in October 2000.

Not much on word count back then, I was somehow able to convince the esteemed editor to take a flyer on this wacky series of short quizzes and commentaries I had started to run in a self-published company newsletter, which inexplicably ran monthly for six years when I was an active Realtor.

I may have amended the columns a bit for my submitted pitch, but this is the one as it was featured in my own newsletter…and ended up in a (hopefully) more polished format as my first REM appearance.

Top 10 closes for indecisive buyers

10) “Should we call your mother for permission?”

9) “Trust me, this is the only home on the market.”

8) “If you buy before midnight tonight, we include patty-stackers!”

7) “Sure, you can think about it, but did you ever see that scene in Pulp Fiction?”

6) “At XYZ Realty we try not to advocate violence, but…..”

5) Honestly Mr. and Mrs. Jones, it isn’t binding…”

4) “If you don’t accept this offer my parole officer will need to talk to you.”

3) “Who said I make money if you buy anything?”

2) “Please decide, the home is sinking rapidly.”

1) “And the nice cosy stuff is asbestos… makes a great pillow.”

Top 10 closes for reluctant listers

10) “As high as five per cent commission? You bet your a** I’ll get showings for you!”

9) “Okay, okay, no lockbox, no sign, no showings on days ending in Y.”

8) “Can I do open houses? As long as I can bring dates…”

7) “Advertising? Oh, yeah, every day. Have you ever heard of network marketing?”

6) “Testimonials? Well, my uncle Herb likes my glazed ham with pineapples.”

5) “Yes, my marketing plan does includes a hope in hell, sir,”

4) “Well, I’ve never done this for anyone else before, but for you folks…”

3) “Experience? Sure, I have a townhouse for sale in Glen Meadows, lowest priced unit in there…”

2) Continuing education?? Well, I drop my kids off at pre-school…”

1)  Comparable market analysis? Ha ha ha…seriously folks, what price would get us listed tonight?”

I’ll be the first to admit, that may not have been my finest work. However, given the continued moral support and free hand from editor Jim Adair over the past 19 years, I’ve been able to poke good-natured fun at cold-calling, real estate slogans, advertising, attending conferences, mascots, open houses, technology and many other aspects of the business.

Given that all of the other three columns I had started to write this month had NOT made the cut for submission, I hope you have enjoyed this trip down Memory Lane, and I look forward to starting my 20th year with more original chuckles for your reading pleasure!


  1. Interesting, isn’t it, when one considers how much of anything would sell if not for the efforts of commissioned sales people. Buyers of homes need somewhere to live, other than via renting and, sellers of homes need to sell in order to move, or move up…or down, as the case may be. Beyond that we need food and water to survive. Some of us need clothing too. Sales people who operate within that ‘beyond’ genre are retail sales people who simply try to get you to buy anything within their particular store. Much (most?) of the stuff available out there is not a necessity, and thus, might not sell very well without the efforts of commissioned sales people, which begs the question: Just how much stuff do we actually need anyhow? Wait! I know! We need exactly what the sales forces convince us that we need, not to survive, but to keep up appearances, aka keeping up with the Joneses.

    Ah, the Joneses. Not the Kardashians: the Joneses. And there you have it: Without salespeople, the consumer economy would fail. No wonder so many dream of being the ultimate sales person—aka a Realtor—raking in big bucks. The money machine lives on. The forever-newbie Realtor crowd daily tries to navigate the high wire act between falling due to being honest, or competing on a level playing field by balancing due to unethical behavior. The odds are stacked against the honest, ethical newbies right from the get-go, because marks believe the biggest liars just as they believe wannabe politicians promising not just the moon, but a harvest moon, for votes. The DNA of all marks dictates the ongoing survival of the masters of deceit. The world of sales does indeed too often work on the greased axle of misrepresentation, lying by omission, feigned ignorance and, just plain old in your face bullshit (aka corruption). Sad.

    We need to cull the Realtor numbers and start over, right from scratch. Homes will still sell in the interim. Why would they not?

    Let’s make being a Realtor a real profession, one to be striven for by ethical people at heart. Get the lure of undreamed-of-wealth out of it. That false promise only attracts the unethical-by-nature.

    • Thanks Brian! Well, they did try to maintain a single occupation ideal/mandate in B.C., which was a part of the reason I decided to focus on my writing as that developed and hang up my license. However, I think moonlighting and straight-out balancing acts are not going away no matter what – a crystal ball might be a handy tool to have available…

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