I had just co-listed a home with my mom Micki, and we were
getting ready for an open house when I met the owners’ cat.
Buster was hissing, screaming, and waving his claws like
crazy—so much so that I was scared and left the house.
My mom was putting signs in the front yard, and I went
out and told her what was happening. She said, “Oh Heidi,
if you’re going to be in this business, you can’t let a little
cat scare you.” She went into the house saying she’d put
Buster in his kennel. I felt a little embarrassed as I waited
in the trenches
A collection of stories from real estate professionals detailing crazy, funny, or poignant experiences that have happened on the job.
Submit your stories for potential publication using the online form, and find additional tales, at realtorm.ag/trenches.
Caught on Camera
When I landed the listing for a huge, high-end home in 2007,
I went all out and hired videographers to put together a sleek
online home tour. I even convinced The Boston Globe to highlight
the home in its “House of the Week” feature. The newspaper
sent its own photographer to shoot the home, and the home
owner was there to point out several antique items such as a
grandfather clock and numerous paintings.
After the article ran, the seller, who worked at a regional
hospital, told his coworkers about the story so they could go
online to see it. But once they took a closer look at the pictures,
they noticed that some of the expensive antiques that had gone
missing from their workplace appeared to be in his home.
If the seller had told photographers, “please don’t photograph
these items—I’m afraid of being robbed,” no one would have
thought twice about it. Instead, my online home tour for the
listing was requested by police as evidence. —Lissa Deminie,
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty, Salem, N.H.
Nope, Not My Listing
I’ve seen it all in real estate. That’s why I tell people that, even
in a market low on inventory, you might want to take a pass on
the listing when the home has
b;Motorcycles, cars, and mattresses parked on the
b;A pit bull named Trouble
b;A shotgun leaning against the wall—that the seller
used to threaten his last attorney
b;Table lamps designed to look like human skulls
b;A refrigerator magnet that reads “Inmate of the Month”
b;A seller who claims his home is the nicest on the block,
as he leans against exposed studs
These tips are all based on real experiences. The questions
these encounters raise are better off left unasked. —Paul Valva,
Valva Realty Co., Oakland, Calif.
outside. But after another minute, I heard a scream and
a door slam shut and I saw my mom coming toward me,
dragging her leg. Her pants were torn from the middle of
her calf down to her ankle, and she had bloody scratches
on her leg.
We had to call the owners to come and take Buster
away and make sure he was removed from showings. I’m
sure Buster was happy the home sold in a week. I learned
that day—and so did my mom—that small pets can
sometimes be a big problem. —Heidi Haaland, Keller Williams
Classic Realty Northwest, Maple Grove, Minn.