At the last Real Estate Convention I attended, we ended up on the topic of "what crazy things REALTORS do for their clients".
After laughing for hours, I thought that it might make a good blog topic. Below is a small selection of the crazy things I've done for my buyers and sellers.
1. When buying a large franchise restaurant in Drumheller, we heard the day before closing that the exterior lights on the building didn't work. An employee whispered this to the buyer, and the buyer got spooked and wanted to know if this could be true, so on the evening of December 21st (my birthday) I bought two 8 ft fluorescent bulbs, put insulated coveralls over my dress pants, climbed up a 20 foot latter while patrons peered out the window perplexed why Bob Sheddy was changing the light bulbs on the outside of the building.
2. When I travel to out of town showings, I often try to arrive early. With my mobile office, I'm always able to work while I wait, and it allows me to take a quick look around the property, send photo emails to the owner, and make sure everything is okay. I was showing a vacant building in Strathmore in the winter time, and although the building was warm, and the water had been turned off at the meter and the building was winterized, the meter had simply failed! It must have just happened hours before, because there was surprisingly just a little amount of water. I went to Canadian Tire, and bought a squeegee and a mop and started pushing water. When the prospective buyer arrived to view the property it looked as if I'd just mopped the building for him.
3. I was listing a beautiful 4 Plex Apartment building in Taber, AB for a good client of mine. There was some garbage blowing on the lawn when I arrived so I cleaned it up and pulled weeds until the first appointment arrived. When the first set of clients viewed the units at noon, the fourth unit was a complete disaster. The whole house looked like a dorm room, and for good reason. There was a young teenager, at home alone for a few weeks.
The prospective buyers raised their eyebrows and whispered a few jokes.
When they left, I went inside to talk to the young man, who was actually still sleeping in his bedroom. There was a large bag of Marijuana, a sophisticated looking pipe to smoke the contents of the bag, empty booze bottles laying on the carpet, female undergarments in the couch, etc. I took photos to email to the owner of the property and the property manager. Two days later, I had a call from the Tenant (the boys dad) angry at me for "cleaning up his house, touching his personal belongings, and disturbing his son's sleep" I emailed the photos to the dad, and never heard another word.
4. I often pick up my clients from the airport, and lend one of my vehicles to good clients, and I guess I took it a little far when I lent my truck to a new young professional tenant moving into a property of a big client. When I got the truck back 2 hours later, the seat motor no longer worked, a piece of plastic was broken in the crew cab door, and the rear view mirror wobbled all over the place after that. Luckily everything was covered under warranty, but shame on me for trusting the tenant with my truck.
5. Last winter, a buyer paid $18,000 for an environmental report on a 5 year old industrial building and property that my client owned. The ESA came back clean except for one test hole that had a bizarre result. We couldn't understand the results, and began thinking of how this could happen. My client (who lives out of the country) had to decide whether to challenge the results by getting test A for $20,000, or do test B for $9,000. When discussing it on Skype, he remarked that what he really wanted to do was to do his own surface samples and send to the lab for $200 each, and see what came back so he could decide which test was most appropriate. I quickly agreed, borrowed a bobcat, and drilled my own samples, which a week later confirmed that he was correct, and saved him over $10,000.
6. I was going for dinner, and when I got out of my car, I could smell smoke. I looked around and couldn't see the source, but noticed that the front doors of the neighboring hotel (owned by a client I've done plenty of work for) were both wide open. I ran over to investigate and the two front desk clerks were in a panic. Then the power had shut off, and smoke continued to billow under the Laundry Room door. They were trying to put the fire out themselves. I convinced the clerks this was serious enough to call the fire department (I know, sounds silly now), and pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the hotel. When the fire department arrived, the Laundry dryer was fully engulfed.
7. A client of mine owned a retail store and was considering selling after seeing a severe drop in profits. I asked to view the financial statements, and then after a bundle of questions, came to the conclusion there was nothing wrong with the actual business, (and
besides, I can't sell a business without profits). I then asked the owner if I could set up a covert security camera near the cash register. Within 36 hours, one employee was charged, and the others were on their best behavior. The business was profitable once again.
8. I love using technology to speed up a deal, and help reduce hassles. Some of my clients still use fax machines, and while they can always fax my efax (that comes directly to my email and blackberry), they were asking me to fax them documents to their facimile machine. To overcome this dillema, I have spent hundreds of hours sitting with clients to show them how to email, scan documents, and navigate my website. I've found my clients are a really smart bunch, and because they love real estate, pretty much all of them catch on with excitement right away.
To be continued..