Real estate and the bad date
Breaking up with a client is hard to doBy Alisha Alway Braatz, Wednesday, August 24, 2011.
"Stop!" I hollered into the phone. "He's not serious! He's a lying lookie-loo!"
I had just sent a referral to my good friend in another town, a "deal" I regretted almost immediately.
Stupid me; I thought he was serious this time.
He had promised he was ready to make a commitment; to stop dillydallying around with "Tour of Homes" weekends and real estate magazines. He had promised to finally list his home for a reasonable number and do what he had wanted to do all this time: settle down with one house for the rest of his life.
We'd get through the listing paperwork and then he'd meet with his accountant and then waver. What if he listed his home and it sold and then he couldn't find what he really wanted? Shouldn't he find the perfect house first and then list his? Oh, the decisions. He would call me.
Every time he came back to me, I believed him with my whole heart. Of course, I would forgive him! I understood -- he didn't want to live with regrets. And who am I to ask him to live with regrets? I couldn't. "We'll find something else!" I said, "When you're ready, you'll know."
Months passed. He told me that he was moving to another city. "But what about us?" I whimpered. I thought of relocating, or joining their multiple listing service. I could still help, couldn't I? No? I was heartbroken. But not all was lost! I could refer him to my good friend, Lori. She is amazing: smart, organized, in the know.
She would find him the elusive pearl, I just knew it. Meanwhile, I would sell his house -- and fast! Why, I knew it like the back of my own hand.
So I was a bit surprised when I saw the front page of my comparative market analysis in a for-sale-by-owner box in front of his home last week. I thought we were together! Hadn't he promised me? Weren't we going to fill out that listing paperwork tomorrow? I bit my lip and wiped my tearing eyes as I took the fliers and quickly drove away.
Life goes on. But let me tell you, I found it difficult not to throw a head of lettuce at him in the grocery store yesterday. Instead, I ducked behind the parsnips and pretended to be busy choosing just the right potatoes: big, but not too big. Then he saw me.
With a million-watt smile he told me that he had loved my help! That I was the smartest Realtor in town! Without me, he'd be lost. And if he had only had the equity, he would certainly have listed the home with me. Sadly, however, he had to do it all by himself because, well, he would need some kind of down payment for his new home in the new city. Would I, could I, forgive him? Hmmmm ... that depends.
"Did you call Lori?"
"Oh, Lori," he said, slicking his hair back. "Yeah, she's nice. But I'm not sure I'm ready to commit to just one Realtor," he said. "I think my best play is to look for a builder who's in trouble. Maybe swoop in and take something off their hands, if you know what I mean."
Well! I did know what he meant!
Note: The following is a dramatization, loosely based on imagined events, that contains graphic descriptions of produce-aisle violence.
I walloped him good with a 20-pound sack of Idaho bakers and stomped on his brass-buckled loafers. Cheating on me is one thing, but then you go and play my friend? I kicked his sack of lettuce and elbowed him in the Adam's apple.
And he used my fliers! My fliers? My fliers?! I left him lying prone on the linoleum, begging to take me back, crying that he wouldn't use my fliers ever again if I'd just help him stage his home for an open house. I came back and stood over him, listening to his plea.
But instead of agreeing to forgive one more time, I twisted produce ties in torture knots around his fingers, and tightened them slowly until at last he promised never to ask for any favors from Lori and that he would pay me a 23 percent commission just to walk away.
So I'm walking away. Finally. What can I say? Breaking up is hard to do.
Alisha Alway Braatz is a buyer's broker for Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties in Eugene, Ore., and a real estate humorist.
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