By Dan St. Yves

Artie Behr’s day was starting just like any other in his fledgling real estate practice –  setting up appointments in the morning, making sure his car was clean and ready for showing his client around, and being well-rested to prepare for whatever the day might bring.

What this day brought was Goldie Loxx.

After Artie picked his client up, as they drove to the first listing, Goldie again went over everything that she wanted in a house. He had spent numerous hours ensuring that every home they would see that afternoon had the widest variety of inclusions from her wish list.



The first home was a rustic bungalow on a nice-sized suburban lot, with plenty of mature trees and privacy. As they entered the house, Artie could see that Goldie didn’t share in his opinion that this might be a proper fit – she became very quiet as she peered around the interior.

After a moment, that awkward and uncomfortable silence was broken. “This house is far too small. The trees block all the sun and the hardwood flooring is far too… hard. Those birds outside chirp so loudly I swear I would spend all my time firing cannons to chase them away!”

“But, you said specifically that you wanted a rustic bungalow on a private lot with plenty of mature trees and hardwood floors!” countered Artie Behr.

“Yes” replied Goldie. “But this one is much too hard on my soul, and I need something softer.”

Locking the home up, they drove to the next appointment, which was unfortunately quite a bit like the last one. There were a few less trees and it was situated on a busier road, but it was nonetheless a rustic bungalow.

Entering the property, Goldie peered around again, before allowing the faintest curvatures of a smile to appear on her face. “This is TOO soft! There’s wall-to-wall carpeting instead of hardwood flooring and all the mint green walls make me feel like I’m trapped inside of a Keebler Elf breath mint factory!”

Cordially pointing Goldie towards the door, Artie made a mental note of the remaining homes where he had pre-arranged appointments. This second home had been the gem, the pick of the litter. He had to devise a new plan, perhaps try faking a severe allergic reaction to his chewing gum. Then, out of nowhere Goldie cried out enthusiastically, “There!”

Artie looked over, to see an open house. The home was three storeys, on a tiny city-sized lot that allowed just enough room for a hummingbird to glide between the neighbouring house. It was just off the major intercity turnpike, with a train coupling yard behind the residence.

There was one tree, if you will – although that could have just been the best-fertilized dandelion ever.

The inside had mismatched linoleum floors and all the ambience of an aircraft hangar, given the gaps between the windows and the drywall.

Out of the living room window, the house featured a predominant and fulsome view of the long-abandoned Woody Meadows Porridge Factory, or what was left of the crumbling frame of the building.

“This house is just right!” Goldie exclaimed, “It’s absolutely everything I told you I wanted, right from the start!”

Artie wrote up the offer of purchase and sale as quickly as he could, as he thought to himself that there must be a moral to this story somewhere. He would likely have that come to him over drinks later that night.

4 COMMENTS

  1. Dan:
    Good to see your thoughts again!
    Back in 1980, when I was a newbie, I acquired a young recently married couple (renters) who desperately wanted a farm property which would enable them to fulfill their dreams of owning horses. I showed them three appropriate properties. On the way back to their apartment in the City of Peterborough, Ontario, they continuously discussed the three properties, and the young lady decided that all were too far away from here job re commuting time. As we neared their apartment building we passed a small bungalow on a side street in Peterborough with another brokerage’s “For Sale” sign on the front lawn. “What do you think of that property?” I asked my clients. “Hmmm” they said in unison. I parked my car in the drive way and approached the front door. (We could do that sort of thing back then; at least I did it.). A little old lady answered. After I identified myself I said “May I ask how much you are asking?”. “Forty-two thousand, but the listing expired yesterday, and we have decided to stay put.” she answered. “Oh, that’s too bad, because there is forty-thousand dollars sitting out there in my car. Would you like to reconsider?” I countered. I was invited in. After about twenty minutes of discussion with the lady and her husband, and a quick trip to the office where the twenty-four-hour listing and APS were drawn up, the deal was struck soon thereafter back at the little city bungalow. “What about your horses?” I asked my clients. “Some day.” they mused. Every body was happy except the original listing salesperson who did not know what had hit her; she was dumbfounded. People.
    True story.

    • Brian, I just loved this article, too.
      Brought back many memories, as it likely did for many long time reps.

      Your buyers must have been thrilled. And the senior seller, too.
      Synchronicity? It is said by some that there are no coincidences.

      My almost identical situation almost got me fired. Heavy snow and lots of winter freezes had caused an out of town brokerage’s sign, in late winter early spring, to be still frozen in ground, tilted at a windswept angle and bleached by the winter weather. Could hardly read the sign.

      Managed to find the brokerage but the front desk said they had no such listing at their place. Hmmm! What to do? The address didn’t show on our then local Board.

      I had sold a few houses on the million dollar street, both my own listings and co-brokes.

      But that particular house had not appealed to my prior buyers. Apparently not to anyone else’s either, since it had not sold.
      Maybe it had been an exclusive. I couldn’t find out any information.

      No one knew who the listing rep was. And her name had bleached along with the other signage info. I inquired of a couple of neighbours first. No one knew anything except the seller had been away for the winter.

      But being of the researcher mindset, and not knowing what else to do, like you said, Brian, we did that back then, even agents canvassed expired’s that way, saying they suddenly had a buyer even if not so, just to get a listing. I knocked on the door.

      And I did know that the house had a uffi history. My client was a medical person. I told him up front. He still wanted to see the house.

      So, I knocked on the door, with my client alongside; but I had asked him not to speak, and he was loyal. I wanted a witness to my conversation with someone else’s seller.

      WOW! Did I get an earful of unexpected information, in a quiet voice, because I let Mr. Seller know this was my buyer with me. They shook hands as businessmen often do. But I had asked my buyer not to identify himself, so he didn’t.

      Long story short, the listing had expired and the seller was not a happy camper; had no intention of relisting with his out of town agent again. In fact he had been thinking of calling me, actually, knowing my local history.

      He had been away down south and had just come back to do other business temporarily.

      So, stupid me (???), I sold the house and prepared the trade record showing the company name that was on the sign, as the listing brokerage, and id’d the agent using information from the seller.

      He said it wasn’t necessary to pay the initial listing rep. So did my manager at the time, who threatened to fire me for splitting the 60k commission down the middle. And initially refused to sign off on the trade record.

      He called head office to complain about what I had done.

      I had written more than 400k, in a then small city that year, and I figured without having seen that out of town for sale sign, not on our local Board, wouldn’t have known the place was for sale.

      Yes, it was a nice surprise for that out of town agent. But I thought it was the right thing to do in that case (not to criticize you, Brian, not at all).

      My local integrity was my reward. And I was only about five years in the business maybe at that time. The listing agent bought me a nice leather handbag as a thank you. Her broker never called me to say thank you. And never did return my initial inquiry phone calls.

      Yes, I was naive. Would I do things differently today? Maybe. Can’t say for sure. I was not impressed by how I was treated by the listing office. The industry has changed so much.

      Carolyne L 🍁

      • Carolyne,

        Good karma has to count for something – as does a good night’s sleep for doing what you feel is right.

        Great to hear you enjoyed the piece :-)

        Dan

    • Hey Brian!

      Thanks for your kind comments, and great story – yes, while I didn’t say outright in the piece that old axiom that buyers are liars, it is funny how the best-intended can work so hard, and lose a chance to help their clients when those very same clients do a 360.

      Here’s to happy endings, wherever they may be found!

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