Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fetch Me a Cold one

It's been another week of marvelous MLS bloopers, friends. Sit back, prop up those tired feet, and have a few laughs. Some of these come straight from the Guinness Book of Bloopers. (That's Guinness, as in the Irish ale. I think a few of these agents must chug that stuff.)

Order Me Another

"Beautiful Curved Spinal Staircase" - (That's called scoliosis, bozo.)

"Three Stunning Decks, Two Walking Closets" (And a partridge in a pear tree.)

"Mother died - Sellers committed" (Pushing Daisies and Bag-o-Crazies)

"Buyers are Certifiable" (Margot Kidder and Anne Heche must be home shopping)

"Bar w/ bankok seating" (Happy hour special: Mai Thais.)

"House on peers" (Cue the music and tell ‘em, Mick: "Don't wanna be your beast of burden...")

"New pipes and antiseptic system (We ream ‘em then clean ‘em)

"Small criminal activity" (I think they prefer the term "little people")

Bottoms Up

"Peek-a-boop city view in main bath" (Referred to as a boop-n-poop.)

"Remodelvated master" (Retarderated listing agent.)

"Plse be confederate of tenants" (...Or what - will they file a Civil War suit?)

"Own a piece of heathen" (I'd prefer a whole heathen - I need a date for New Year.)

Last Call:


Friday, December 11, 2009

Best Real Estate Laughs of the Year

Yes, this is the time of year when we should have nothing but love in our hearts. But you all know me well by now: Take one shot of satire, mix with the greatest office tales one could ever gather, shake gently, and then serve straight up (followed by a few real martini chasers). These are the best dumb real estate questions reported to me this year. Enjoy yourselves while I pour another martini - salud!

They Must Only Let You Out on Weekends

1) "The sellers did not disclose that the neighbor is a drunk, and he passed out on our front lawn. Can we sue the previous owner?" (Hmmm...let me check the drunk clause in your contract. Oh, here it is right here: It says, "You're an idiot.")

2) "Will the sellers be taking the septic with them?" ( Not unless they have S__t for Brains and are in the fertilizer business.)

3) "Can we put a window over the fireplace to increase the light?" (Great idea, and then you won't have to pay for your dead canary to go to college..."

4) "Will the lender let us move in and then defer the mortgage payments until after we do some decorating?" (Of course, Mr. and Mrs. Whackadoodle - I'm sure your happiness is payment enough.)

5) "Can I put up my Rolex as a good faith deposit?" (Certainly - why don't jump into the ‘ol VW bus and drive it over to the lender with an ounce of that pot you've been smoking?)

Home Features and Strange Creatures

6) "Does the garage come with the house?" (Yes, but that family room is going to cost you extra.)

7) "I thought a ‘Jack and Jill' was slang for a ‘well.'" (No, it's a Hollywood dating ritual wherein...


Friday, November 27, 2009

Did You Give That Any Thought???

People do strange things, and open houses seem to encourage a whole bag of crazy. Over the past few months, I have gathered a few choice stories from my beleaguered colleagues - incidents which are too funny not to share. Yes, truth is stranger than fiction, so after every tale, I have added my martini-inspired ideas for book titles. All reader suggestions welcome:

The Smell of De-feet

The gnarly guy who sat down in a chair at an open house, removed his sock, and cleaned the toe jam and lint from between his hairy toes. (Eee-yew and Pee-yew.)

The lady with the designer dog in her designer bag who bent over and dropped the critter into the designer bidet then ran through the house screaming, "Buddy almost went into the light - someone's going to get sued!" (Flash, Splash and Dash for Cash)

The guy who told his two bratty, precocious kids to go sit in the car while he previewed a house in the Valley, and "don't try to hot wire the engine this time." (The Case For Ignition Prohibition - Part II)

The unkempt young couple that was thrown out of an open house for warming their feet in the hot tub while swapping copious amounts of spit. (Bubble Trouble Besets Uncouth Youth.)

The aging "dancer" in an outfit smaller than a kleenex who was trying to pick up men at a Hollywood open house buffet...while repeatedly sneezing all over the food. (Tease, Sleeze, Sneeze and Disease)

The two agents who ran into each other at an open house in Manhattan Beach, and then proceded to get into a loud fight over a sour deal while their current clients watched in horror. (The Case of Procuring Claws.)

And Now For the Musical Portion of Our Program

The man who backed up too far and fell down a hillside in Encino while his loving children doubled over with laughter. (Papa Was a Rolling Stone...)

The old man seen filling a bag with Open House hors d'oeuvres and then shoving the bag...


Friday, November 20, 2009

Barking Up the Wrong Real Estate Tree

I love my dog – I truly do. Sophie has been my dedicated companion for almost fifteen years. To me, everything she does is cute. I even excused the hole in my Persian rug as an accident (aw, com’on – there was a stuffed toy involved.) Nonetheless, when she brought in a mangled foreign object with a tail and laid it at my feet today, I was completely underwhelmed by her cuteness. Eventually I revived myself and decided, out of necessity, that Happy Hour would begin early in the Banta household.

It turns out that the rat-looking object was a stuffed something she had buried in the yard until it had been appropriately seasoned. I was consoled (the Scotch helped), but it did occur to me that there have been many incidents involving man’s best friend that should serve as reminders of why we should demand, and I mean DEMAND, that the little bowsers not be present at an open house. The following true incidents make my case:

1) One seller had an amorous dog that had an obsession with humping. (I never caught the dog’s name, so I will call him Charlie Sheen.) This provided many nervous laughs at one open house, but it is probably not the most dignified presentation a Listing Agent can offer. In fact, a dead body in the corner with a cooler and a sign that says “Have a Cold One” might cause less discomfort. Unless he’s bearing flowers and a diamond, put humping Charlie in the dog house.

2) There was a dog named Bob with a penchant for lifting his leg on foreign objects. Apparently he considered visitors “foreign.” Let’s be honest folks, no one needs pee on their leg – not even if it’s their own. Sure, maybe you could offer hip boots to the guests or give Bob a Bobbit, but a better choice would be to show Bob the door.

3) Scooter did exactly that – he scooted. Everywhere. From tile to Berber, Scooter liked to scoot the pooter. This is not usually appetizing. Of course, it would be worse if the Listing Agent did it, but it is tasteless nonetheless. Unless you can put a Swiffer cloth on his bottom and get him to do the hardwood, demand that cheeky Scooter launch his haunches outside.

4) My client, Lori, had the cutest German Shepard puppy you have ever seen. Cuter than Easter peep. Unfortunately, his new food did not suit his plumbing. Just before one open house, as Lori was about to leave, Bowie suddenly left a pile. And another. And yet another. It was like an explosion in a Hershey factory. As Lori tried to clean up and get him into his cage, visitors began to arrive. I was frantic as I directed people where to step in order to avoid the strategically placed land mines. Bowie and Lori are still my friends, and the house did sell, but I learned that “cute” is not a synonym for “fragrant,” and digested food is not a good decorating choice.


5) Okay, this one involves a cat. But the paw count is the same...

Friday, November 6, 2009

Hollywood Real Estate - Stop the Madness!

There is no end to bad taste. Last week after recounting some of the wacky decorating schemes I have witnessed during my time warp in Los Angeles, I received many comments from others who have witnessed "decorating" madness and mayhem in their own towns as well. From body parts to tasteless "art," here are a few more staging props and flops to scratch your head about:

Wacky or Tacky?
The mask like the one in The Texas Chain Saw Murders hanging over a producer's toilet. (Obviously intended to scare the crap outta you.)

The Halloween display in Laurel Canyon that consisted of a car, under which were bloody body parts and severed limbs. (And you wonder why our kiddies are in rehab instead of preschool...)

The house of a Psychic Reader in West Hollywood with the sign that said "Out of Business...but I saw it coming."

The house with the beanbag chairs in the living room...and a fake beanstalk in the corner. (If the chairs were rockers, would Keith Richards be in the corner?)

The scarecrow in the garden in Eagle Rock with Pamela Anderson's photo as a face. (Hands off the melons!)

The house with a very timid Maltese looking out the window, and a doorbell that sounds like a pack of ferocious barking dogs. (...Either it was a door bell, or the Maltese is a talented ventriloquist.)

The dummy "plumber," complete with butt crack, propped near a counter at a Silver Lake take out restaurant. (Cracks and snacks.)

The peace sign on the front gate of a home in Laurel Canyon, and the other sign on the garage that says KEEP The F____OUT! (Talk about commitment issues!)

The "vomiting" pumpkins with the beer cans strewn about, strategically placed next to a Big Wheels covered in pumpkin filling with the sign that says "Don't Drink and Drive." (Don't you long for the days when poison candy was enough to explain to the kids?)


Friday, October 30, 2009

Ripley's Real Estate - Believe It or Not!

Ripley's Real Estate:

We all know the importance of staging a home in order to get the best price possible. Some sellers do it themselves, while others prefer professional staging companies. I live in a town where many people work in the film business, so I often see movie memorabilia used as house decor. Not all of it is attractive; in fact, some of it is downright absurd, hideous or hilarious. I would like to share a few examples of poor staging I have actually witnessed with my own bloodshot eyeballs:

Maybe You Should Re-think That, Pal

The morgue table being used as a dining room table in the home of a known Hollywood Actor (Ideal for cold buffets.)

The throne toilet in the Beverly Hills home of a Broadway producer. When someone sits on the seat, it plays 76 Trombones. (For the Rooty Tooty Royal Bootie.)

The in-home bar with an IV bag full of booze, supposedly from the show, ER. (Line up for the ever popular Nip and Drip!)

The soda fountain with stools shaped like open hands. (In case you want a bit of grab_ss with your sweet thing.)

The pot plant in the greenhouse window ('s an "herb garden," wink wink. And I suppose that grow light over the plant is a solar panel...)

The "dead dog" on the floor of one producer's office that looked so real it was upsetting. (The owner cleverly named the dog "Stay.")

The clock that said "In ‘N' Out Burger"...with the ‘B" and the last "R" in burger removed. (The clock was over the the guest room.)

The double closets, staged by a professional staging company, with male clothes in both. (Unfortunately, the absent and clueless seller was a very married rabbi...)

The mushroom shaped table with an Alice in Wonderland sized hookah and a set of cymbals.

(Bang a Gong and Smoke a Bong.)

A pale blue velour arched bed frame with tassels. (Ahhhhh - the mellow bordello.)

Bad Mojo:

The giant White Elephant in a house in the Valley - a house that just...would...not...ever...sell.... (Never ignore the "elephant in the living room.")


Saturday, October 24, 2009

MLS One-liners - Buh Dum Bum

Just when I am convinced I have seen all the MLS bloopers that could possible occur, the MLS rides forth again with a cornucopia of delicious craziness. Hang on for this week's ride:

A Whole Bag of Crazy

"Separate quarters to hose your guests" (Not a B & B, but a Stay and Spray.)

"See attached pigs under main photo" (See agent under bar stool.)

"Oggers presented at 6:00 pm" (Ah...a cotillion for trolls.)

"Watch the sun drip behind the mountains" (The ultimate in Global Warming.)

"EZ access to fleeway" (A home near the Mexican border, no doubt.)

"Metriculous attention to detail" (Somehow I doubt that...)

"Living room offers pastural views" (Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam...)

"Stunned canyon views" (Stoned canyon agent.)

"Must call first - Private Celebrity Confound" (Exclusion and confusion!)


Friday, October 9, 2009

Holiday Open Houses - Fun or Fiasco?

I thought I would share my favorite holiday blooper tales so that some of you could avoid the pitfalls of theme oriented open houses. Those who pay heed may avoid disaster. The rest of you are on your own.

Ditch the Witch

One clever agent decided to increase traffic for her Brokers Open by planning a Halloween fun house. She advertised in the

MLS Open House Guide that there would be a few "Halloween surprises." It never occurred to her that SOME agents just follow the MLS open house lists and do not read the Open House Guide. (Cue the music from Nightmare on Elm Street, maestro.)

On the day of the open house one broker entered, delighted to see the Halloween décor. As she began her tour of the house, she opened the door in the foyer. Suddenly there was a piercing cackle, and a witch dropped down on a broomstick. The agent screamed and nearly fainted from shock. Fortunately there was no pacemaker involved, but the hapless agent unexpectedly emptied her bladder and had to go home - wet, humiliated, and p_ssed. (How redundant!)

Moral of the Story: It's great to come out of the closet, but make sure your audience is prepared...or wearing Depends.

What Day Is It Anyway?

Full of holiday spirit, one agent decided to do a Christmas open house in mid December. The day before, she baked, decorated, and set up for the open house in the seller's dining room. While adding the finishing touches, it dawned on her that a large target group in her area hailed from Israel. At the last minute she decided to do a Hanukkah theme and hurried home to send out email fliers announcing a Hanukkah Brokers Open. She ran out to purchase Star of David cookies and other non-Christmas baked goods so she would be politically correct and oh-so-hip. (Cue the music from Fiddler on the Roof, boys.)

The next day, the open house had steady traffic, but the reaction of many agents seemed unusually reserved. In fact, a few seemed downright curt...


Friday, October 2, 2009

The Real Estate Comedy Tour Starts Here

Usually I have to wait several weeks to accumulate enough fodder from The MLS to fill a blooper blog, but this week was exceptional. It has been a long year, and agents out there are either exceptionally tired...or exceptionally loaded. Here is the best of the week:

Real Estate with a Twist

Proudly erect Old Gory (Try to keep it at half staff, boys.)

Polished Pig-n-groove floors (Who says you can't dress up a pig?)
Depressed property specialist (Motto: We blame low prices on your bad childhood.)

Clotted cheese ceilings have been removed (Clotted brained agent still on duty.)

Kitchen with new farm stink (I'll bet it has pig-n-groove floors.)

Sellers have been dislocated (Apparently Vini "The Squeeze" Gambino represented the buyers.)

House with creeping jasmine and red shingles (A Scratch and Sniff delight.)

Cooktop with gretle (Hansel in oven)

Experienced at shot sales (That's obvious, you lush.)

Many armenities (Upgrades for Armenians)

Entelligent design (Remedial agent.)


Friday, September 25, 2009

The MLS - Bloopers, Bowels and Let's Not Forget the French

Believe it or not, last week there actually was an ad in the MLS Caravan Express announcing a house where you could "Live Near the Hollywood Bowel." It boggles the mind. I suppose the location was "easy in and out." (Or maybe the agent hails from Flushing.) I am not sure how many of these MLS bloopers are foolishness or how many are Freudian, but they sure make for good reading. Here are this week's hilarious contributions:


Fireplace with stone hearse. (For those seeking a ride to their crematorium.)
Nude sculptor non negotiable (I dunno - he sounds pretty easy to me.)
Built-in BBQ and attractive duck (Get your affairs in order, Daffy.)

Gym and handleball courts (I knew that sooner or later men would make this a sport!)

New Irritation system (I suspect this is connected to the Hollywood Bowel)

New deposit roof (A house that's located near a bird sanctuary.)

House has shudders (House needs Valium)

Beautiful bougainvillea and crapping fig (Agent with s__t for brains)

Korean countertops (If you cook on the North side of the kitchen, you'll be shot.)

Soapstoned counters (Well stoned agent.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Real Estate, Frank, Elvis and the Beatles

Isn't it interesting how a person can hear a song and feel as though it were written just for them? Nietzsche said, "Without music, life would be a mistake." Last week I talked about real estate's influence on literature, and today I think we should consider how some of the most famous songs in the world were influenced by our often undervalued profession. Here's my evidence (would I lie to you?):

Happiness is a Warm Gun (A Brokers Open in South Central)

Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds (A Beverly Hills agent on nine cups of java)

Please, Please Me (Refrain of the Greek Chorus at a Listing Appointment)

Another One Bites the Dust (Refrain of the Greek Chorus when your buyer tells you he recently "invested" the down payment money)

Thriller (A 4% commission that requires no sexual favors)

Brown Sugar (A sweet deal that turns to s__t.)

Dancing Queen (A West Hollywood agent at COE)

Straight Outta Compton (A house with bullet holes for air conditioning)

Bang Bang (Name of the HVAC company that services Compton)

You Shook Me All Night Long (Twilight Open near the San Andreas Fault)

Would I Lie To You (An extra credit question on the state real estate exam - the multiple choice selection is: a) Yes b) Why Not? c) Does a turd float? or c) All of the above, bozo)

The Tracks of My Tears (The road from here to your last failed escrow)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Cat on a Hot Tin Real Estate Roof

Some folks think real estate is a boring business, but have you ever noticed the influence real estate has had on the arts? Over a Friday martini lunch, be sure to check out the following famous books, and you'll see what I mean:

Gone With the Wind (Stated Income)

Hard Times (L.A. Agent Driving a KIA)

From Here To Eternity (Time required to close a Short Pay)

The Mousetrap (A Starter Home in Los Angeles)

The Divine Comedy (Housing Prices in Beverly Hills)

A Streetcar Named Desire (An agent’s bus trip home after his Porsche is repossessed)

The Odyssey (Driving around Los Angeles with a flaky buyer)

Cat on A Hot Tin Roof (An agent trying to explain the naked girl in the seller’s pool)

A Confederacy of Dunces (Agents in a conga line at Last Call)

Shogun (Good advice when showing houses in South Central)

The Godfather (A deal where everyone gets bloody, but the pizza at the open house is great)

The Call of the Wild (A real estate convention in Vegas)

Les Miserables (Four agents in a Focus…clipping coupons)


Friday, August 28, 2009


Real estate agents have gotten a dirty rap lately. We are rated right up there with psoriasis and Bernie Madoff. Sure, we have some snarky specimens lurking amongst us, but can't that be said of every profession? I decided to make a Warning Signs list of whom to avoid in real estate. Of course, this is Gwen's TGIF list...but what else would you expect from me? Here you go, Agents, Sellers and Buyers - an equal-opportunity help guide to the perfect real estate relationship:

First for the Buyers and Sellers: Never Hire an AGENT Who:

1) Greets you with his right hand, while vigorously adjusting his crotch with his left.
2) Has a coaster protruding from his shirt pocket that says Bury Me at the Lush Lounge
3) Looks at your house and says, "You need to put some lipstick on this pig."
4) Sits on your dog...and enjoys the experience.
5) Removes his sock and uses it to polish his bald spot
6) Says you look like his old cellmate from county lock-up...who was "a hottie."
7) Tells you you look like Golda Meir..."who was a hottie"
8) Continuously asks your lamp, "Whatdya say?"
9) Talks like Julia Child and brags about his Star Jones wig collection
10) Says "I never miss a detail, Betty," ...and your name is Sue

And for the Agents: Never Work With a BUYER Who:

1) Brags that his FICO scores are lower than his double digit IQ
For More DOG BITES AGENT, please click here

Friday, August 21, 2009

Real Estate Tales From The Streets of Hollywood

After a reader read my rant last week, "R U Networking or NOTworking," he challenged me to try a day of face-to-face marketing. (For those of you who cannot recall what that is, it involves getting out of your chair.) Moron that I am, I accepted his challenge and headed out onto the mean streets of Los Angeles to solicit clients. This is the bizarre story I barely lived to tell:
8:00 am: I pop out of bed. (That's early for us showbiz types.) After donning my fake designer duds I head out the door of my Hansel-and-Gretel-size overpriced house, jump into my leased Mercedes, wave to my stoned neighbor, try to back over a slow-moving kid (hey - this is L.A., not Iowa - speed or bleed!), and serpentine down Laurel Canyon with throngs of other Los Angelinos who feel that driving should never distract them from texting. Twenty minutes later, I finally arrive at Rite-Aid Drugs, which is practically walking distance to my house.
9:30 am: I run into Rite-Aid to grab a few of the props I will need for marketing: 1. Red Bull. (I do not drink caffeine because my synapses are already challenged, but I must have it visible in my car in order to look cool.) 2. Gourmet dog cookies and 3. Pepper Spray, which the somnolent salesclerk insists they don't sell. When I tell her I am about to embark on direct marketing and ask if the store sells firearms, she threatens to call the manager. I slip out the door before the manager/actor/bartender/waiter can find me and assault me with a head shot.
That's Not What I Had in Mind, Waldo!
9:45 am: Outside the store a group of people have congregated. With utmost confidence, I approach the group and hand out my business cards, offering to price their homes or answer any questions they may have, as though I am the Oracle of Re-fi. One guy asks me if I will marry him and have his demon spawn, and another turns his back on me and pees on a nearby newspaper stand.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Social Networking Exhaustion Syndrome

I Can't Take It Anymore!!!

Every time I turn on my computer these days there's a party going on in my room - it's called SOCIAL NETWORKING. No, I really am not a curmudgeon - I am just a sleep-deprived individual who knows that if I don't show up at the party I will be considered a geek and I won't get to sit at the lunch table with the popular kids. Aw, c'mon - you know I'm not the only one who feels pressured to be on the web party circuit. Be there or be square. Yes, it's a way to passively market, but I miss the direct approach: "List your house with me and I'll work for you like a monkey on crack."

Yes, I know - if I am going to rant about social networking, then why am I a blogger? Pot, say hello to kettle. But haven't we taken it to excess? Some of my friends are too busy to go out because they need to answer FB messages, and others think they are going out because they are Tweeting someone Down Under. This is not reality, folks - this is virtual schmoozing! It's about as intimate as kissing a light socket, but not nearly as scintillating.
Noogies and Water Balloons

Pardon my crankiness, but I am exhausted. From now on I am going to limit all FB friends to the Cast of Oceans 11-13. But please, even if you "friend" me, George and Brad - no pokes or nudges, I beg of you. What the hell is with the nudging? That's like a cyberspace noogie - and we all hate those. Last week someone actually sent me a water balloon via FB. A water balloon! If it's not filled with Vodka, why bother? Do I LOOK like I have time to play stupid internet games in the middle of my workday? I sent a Claymore Mine back. So much for a good time.

And what's with the "points" you get on some websites? I can't handle the pressure - it's like getting graded. I'm convinced my eighth grade teacher is lurking in the Network Connection parking lot yelling, "What - only 12 points? You pathetic loser - I told you you'd never amount to anything. Here's a water balloon!"

Friday, August 7, 2009

What'd You Say, Willis???

It's difficult being an internet moron. I should know. I am always amazed when tech geniuses speak freely in another language that involves pings, tracking, SEO's and a list of other words that baffle me. I am a fossil - a writer who was told I could write if I blog. Heck, I can barely type, so diving into Word Press and Flickr was about as easy for me as getting a sex change. Before my maiden voyage, I thought "blog" was a state of physical distress caused by too much salt on my margaritas. So here I am, in a world gone mad with technology and new phrases, with no translator.

There must be other morons like me out there. Hello? Are you there? Buck up and admit you are as dense as I am! On behalf of all of us internet-challenged relics, I am herein providing a vocabulary of words as we know them, so that maybe those Geniuses will understand that they must communicate to some of us through our own portal (whatever that is.) Here it is folks - straight off the Rosetta stone - Vocabulary of the Internet Clueless:

Website - Vision after 45 (Or after a Colt 45)

Tags - Fleshy outcroppings that should be lopped off

SEO - Serious Estrogen Overload (Not limited to Pamela Anderson...or Clay Aiken)

Upload - A high colonic

Download - The aftermath of too many burritos

Portal - Location of a Download

Search Engine - A drill performed by those idiots who lost that fire truck in Iowa

Twitter - PeeWee Herman on Red Bull

Flash Drive - Britney on Hollywood Blvd.

Tweet - "Sweet" - as pronounced in West Hollywood (and by Clay Aiken)

Active Rain - A serious incontinence problem

Friday, July 31, 2009

Swimming With The Fishes

I heard a hilarious tale about a fish incident that I would like to share with you. Of course, this is the Gwen Banta, two martini, Friday version, but somewhere in here you'll find the naked truth about a real event in the Hollywood Hills:

Patrick, Realtor extraordinaire from West Hollywood, landed a juicy listing in the Hollywood Hills, and Patrick was determined to impress. The home was a standard Hollywood Hills mini-mansion with spectacular views of Tinsel Town, a pool spa, gym, screening room, and a lavish Koi Pond full of gazillion dollar trophy fish - features we all have in our homes. Uh-huh.

Shortly after the first open house, the sellers called Patrick and announced that they had to leave for Cannes and asked if he would check on the property periodically. Oh - and please make sure the Koi pond does not fill up with algae (scum is discouraged in the Hollywood Hill unless it drives a Mercedes.) Patrick, ever eager to please, agreed. It would have been better if had agreed to shave his beard with a chain saw.

As instructed, Patrick waited three days to check on the pond. When he returned to the house, he was quite dismayed to see a thick film of gunk forming on the water. Ever the dutiful agent, he immediately grabbed the algae remover, but he was baffled about how much to add. He could not reach the sellers via phone, so he poured in a small amount, and, unsure of himself, seized a what-the-hell moment and threw in some more. (Cue the chain saw.)

The following day, Patrick returned to check on the fish. To his horror, at least eight of the koi were doing the back swim. We're talking belly up, folks. Patrick went into the biggest panic of his life. He could hear the fish, in their dying breath, mumbling "Koi Killer," and "Je accuse" and "Et tu, Brute." (Apparently several fish were foreign nationals.) The Hollywood Reporter reported that one fish even left a will...


Thank you to my dear friend at Sotheby's International Realty.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Outrageous Client Moments

I heard a funny story from a colleague the other day. He said he was setting up an open house and was ready to open when he remembered to turn on the basement light. To his shock, he glanced down the stairs and was greeted by a "swarm" of chickens! According to him, there were so many chickens that they were climbing on top of each other and vying for dominance like a pack of steroidal World Wrestlers. He immediately called the seller, who explained that there had been a fire on his brother's ranch in Ojai, so they had moved the chickens to the basement the previous evening. "I guess I should have mentioned that before you arrived" the seller mumbled. He then added sheepishly, "Maybe you shouldn't look in the back yard."

It occurred to me that I had experienced a few "Oops Moments" myself, and when I asked around the office, I heard some great tales. Here are a few things the client SHOULD HAVE MENTIONED...but didn't until it was too late:

"Did you see my son's snake - it's gone." (No, but I saw an agent running North on the freeway in her high heels.)

"I should have mentioned that the back step is loose." (Tell that to Mrs. Hinkle's hip, which is now lodged in her diaphragm.)

"Did I mention we got a new alarm?" (No...did I mention that the EMT guy was cute but those paddles on my chest were no picnic?)

I guess I should have told you the toilet has been overflowing. (And I guess I should have told you I was serving La Salsa burritos at the Open House...)


Friday, July 17, 2009

Hi Everyone,
Last week I blogged about the ridiculous comments often heard in real estate. Well, one of my loyal readers, Joe Loomer, a humorist and great Agent Genius contributor, had a delightful idea: Outrageous Remarks Made by Agents About Their Clients. I did a quick survey, and here are a few hilarious remarks my fellow agents claim to have heard (no one will admit to saying them, of course):

Ten People Shouldn't Share One Brain

"I told her this was Exclusive Agency, and she said she was already under contract to Creative Artists." (So that's why you submitted a head shot with the offer!)

"The place looks like Oz - the seller let his estranged wife do the decorating." (So who did he hire as his divorce attorney - Gloria Allred?)

"My buyer needs to buy a place for himself and his girlfriend. He doesn't want his wife to know." (Does he need a good decorator?)

"The seller told me he and his wife had sex on the new granite counter top." (Great - I'm sure my buyers will find butt prints very appetizing.)

"My seller is afraid that the Wonderland murder house, which is two doors down, will discourage your buyers." (Nah - this is L.A. - they'll lie down in front of the house and take photos for Mom.)

"My buyer loves the Carole Lombard Estate...he wants to know if she was related to Vince Lombardi?" ( Yes, and Shaq and Ryan are brothers, nitwit.)

"The seller said he's throwing in his wife's Porche as a bonus." (...No doubt she'll be throwing in a Lorena Bobbit bonus .)

"My seller thinks your buyer is trying to screw her." (Does she have granite countertops?)

"The seller said his mother-in-law had a heart attack and died in the outdoor Jacuzzi."
(Remember these words: Drag and Roll, Drag and Roll, Drag and Roll.)

Friday, July 10, 2009

The Devil Made Me Say That!

Some of you may remember a blog I wrote a few months ago called Un-Real Estate - Shutta Yo Mouth, which quoted some ridiculous comments made by buyers. Well now it's time to buck up and admit that, as agents, we have often said some things that could have been better stated. And sellers have contributed some classic lines themselves. So here are examples of comments made by agents and sellers...followed by the words we maybe SHOULD have said:

Zip It, Please!

We can't go any lower. (Unless you're the governor of South Carolina)

All offers are welcome (Although we may burn them and then stick needles in a doll that looks just like you.)

That's just mildew. (Would you like to borrow my inhaler?)
The elementary school is not much of a problem. (As long as you're Marlee Matlin.)

The high school is not much of a problem either. (As long as you are Marlee Matlin and you're unconscious.)

Sure, we can sell this for more than any other home in the area. (And I can fly upside down in a cow paddy rain storm while doing the Macarena.)

Can You Handle the Truth?

How clever - a cement yard that only needs a quick wash. (Your wife needs a quick shave, and she'll still be ugly, too.)

You probably should have gotten a permit. (The sky needle on your house is interesting, but the sparks off the high wires may discourage potential buyers.)
Yes, odors are objective. (Although the corn processing plant down the street smells like infected feet and brings back fond memories of Uncle Herb, you may want to disclose it.)

No, I do not consider $150k less than list price a low ball offer. (Do you consider a slap upside the head assault and battery?)

For More Laughs, Please Click Here

Saturday, June 27, 2009

A Dog's Life in Real Estate

This story made me laugh so hard that I spewed egg salad on the person who told it to me. The story involves a guy, a “frisky” dog, and a bath tub – the sellers’. At first I didn’t believe it could be true, but after checking with my dog’s vet, I found out it could have happened indeed. Just be glad this did not occur at your open house. But I would have given anything to have been there!
Not All Rules Were Made to Be Broken
Jeff was hosting a Brokers Open at his neighbor’s house, which he had just listed. The sellers had recently purchased a new dog, a young German Shepherd, whom the seller left in a cage for open house day. As Jeff was setting out listing sheets, he found it difficult to avoid the doleful eyes and the sad whimpering of the cute little canine. Although the seller had left directions that the dog be kept in the cage, Jeff, being a dog lover, decided to play with the dog briefly before his guests arrived. Having been a dog walker in college, he felt confident in his ability to control the playful pup. Note: Jeff is a dolt.
Just as the first arrivals opened the door, Jeff was putting Frisky back in the cage when the dog bolted. The other agents immediately closed the door so the little guy could not escape, but little did they know that they would become the victims of Frisky’s, uh, “excitement.” (Cue the music from “Jaws,” please.) Frisky did not run away from the agents. Noooo, he ran toward them. With overwhelming energy. And urine spewing. And tongue dripping. And paws galumphing. And uncontrollable libido. For the agents, the excitement was just beginning.

Getting a Leg Up on Things
Frisky was a humper. An uncontrollable, undiscriminating, indefatigable, obsessive, non-stop humper.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ozzy Osbourne's Influence on Realtors

There was another rash of typos in the MLS and property ads this week that I collected for your entertainment. These descriptions can provide hours of fun. We Realtors are such a saucy group - I think we should take this show on the road. We can open for Ozzy Osbourne. He can hardly talk, and we can hardly spell. We’ll bill ourselves as “Dazed and Confused.” Who's on board?

Let The Show Begin:

Lushs back yard (Did you hear that, Uncle Timothy?)

House in movement condition (It’s enough to scare the crap out of you.)

Great Shit Pay Opp. (Another house in “movement” condition.)

Dog pack nearby (A new form of Neighborhood Watch.)

Vertical blonds (Horizontal after a few drinks.)

HOA covers water, trash, pest and pubic areas. (Just not pests in the pubic area.)

Pottery kild in shed (Psycho hiding in attic.)

New styptic (Because the purchase will bleed you dry.)

New draimage needs inspection. (Brain draimage is likely diagnosis.)

Bask in the hot sin by the pool. (An age-old Hollywood tradition.)

Lakefront with swim area marked by boubys. (Yeah, a good set sure can float.)


Monday, June 15, 2009

Realtors, Juggling and Juice Boxes

Agents, beware! We all know children are darn cute...but they can do more damage than a Claymore mine. They are lurking everywhere, ready to set off small explosions while flashing irresistible, angelic grins. Be especially vigilant at open houses, or YOU may be the poor sucker who ends up on a milk carton. I offer you this report as proof...
The Clock Was Ticking
Marcia is a dedicated real estate agent who tries very hard to balance her roles as mother and business woman. We all know that sometimes the real estate Gods are MIA or out playing eighteen holes, so sometimes the juggling becomes precarious. Thus was the plight of our friend, Marcia.
Marcia was packing her van for a Brokers Open when the nanny called to say she could not make it. Marcia immediately called her husband, but he was on the golf course - apparently fraternizing with the irresponsible real estate gods - so he didn't answer. Unable to rouse anyone else, she gathered up her adorable three year old son, Liam, and went off to show her listing.
Marcia was setting out a luncheon and warming quiches when Liam decided the crayons in his pocket would improve the minimalist design of the kitchen walls. Upon discovering Liam's bold mural, Marcia's voice went from zero to sixty as she reprimanded the young artist (freedom of expression for younguns be damned) and told him to eighty-six the crayons. She then grabbed the cleanser and attempted to repair the wall. As distracted Marcia tried to remove the wax road map before her, the compliant child ditched his weapons. Unfortunately, he disposed of the crayons in the sink. Clever little guy.
Beware the Silence
Believing (foolishly) that disaster had been averted...


Friday, June 5, 2009

Caravan From Hell Revisited

A few months ago I told you about the caravan with bats in the fireplace, but this story would make you wish for a bat...maybe even a pterodactyl or two. It takes place in Los Angeles of course. What better place to get a healthy heap of crazy on a sunny Tuesday morning? My friend told me the story, and I swear she's not a candidate for re-hab. Of course, after this incident she would have had justification. Please enjoy:
Yes, it was a sunny Tuesday morning and agents were gathering for a lovely L.A. caravan day. Jan was doing a second brokers' open, as her listing just wasn't getting any action. In order to re-new interest, Jan had ordered the usual nice luncheon to entice hungry realtors and their (hopefully) hungry buyers. The bill of fare included a selection of Mexican dishes from La Salsa and home made guacamole. Jan was humming, birds were singing, and the bougainvillea was bougaining. You get the picture.

Jan was nearly ready to go when Neighbor Nate blew in like the fresh scent of septic. Nate padded through the door wearing mangy bedroom slippers, gym shorts and a Tee shirt that looked like a death shroud. He said he was a neighbor, but he wasn't sure what direction he had come from. Jan, sympathetic to the challenges of the elderly, could not see past the wreckage that was Nate, or she might have been wary of the crazy captain of his shriveled ship. But noooo, she asked him to make himself at home and have a bite to eat while she set out desserts.
Bring on the Entertainment
Nate crammed a mini taco past his mine field of yellow teeth and mushy gums, and he was reaching for another when his body thanked his hostess with a loud bit of rumbling, accompanied by an odor that made the burritos smell like hibiscus. Assessing the sitch, Jan moved quickly to steer the gas-filled octogenarian away from the Mexican food and toward the cookies. Alas, whatever he swallowed was accompanied by a hearty gust of flatulence that he either couldn't hear, or just heartily enjoyed. Jan said the fumes were so bad they could only have been covered with formaldehyde. She may have even momentarily considered blowing out the candles due to the flammable nature of Nate's gift that kept on giving.

Jan, always quick on her feet, did a body blockade of the table and thrust some carrot sticks at the old relic. She plastered a smile on her face and cheerfully insisted that Nate and his internal fumigation machine go look at the rest of the house. Nate complied, dragging his shriveled frame out of the kitchen and down the hall, his spindly legs lost in his baggy gym shorts like abandoned Popsicle sticks. He left her with a whiff of Nate before moving on his merry way. As the first group of cars pulled up out front, Jan heated cookies in the oven to create a delicious fragrance to try to disguise Nate's toxic cloud.
Always Keep the Party Lively
When the first group entered, they signed in and proceeded to head for the table like buzzards on carrion. The group was friendly and conversant, so much so that Jan forgot about her other visitor. When a second wave entered, the first group proceeded on a tour of the house, and Jan continued the friendly banter.

Suddenly there was a scream in the bedroom. In a flash of memory so vivid that Jan thought she was passing into the Light, she remembered Nate. She said she doesn't remember her sprint down the hall, but she does remember the scene awaiting her. There on the bed, stripped of all his clothes, lay a beaming Nate. As the group stood in horror, Jan tried to pull the spread around him, but his seersucker body was anchoring it down.

Several agents came to their injured senses and fled down the hall to head off any newcomers while Jan picked up Nate's shirt and threw it over his deflated package. Unfortunately, Nate did not WANT his package covered, so he kept tossing off the garments faster than she could retrieve them and telling her to "get out of my room or I'm calling Celia."
Good Manners Can Go a Long Way
Her patience shot, Jan ran back to the kitchen to call the police. Before they could arrive, Nate appeared back in the kitchen, carrying his clothes. He grabbed a cookie and flashed a crumpled grin. "Thank you for a really nice time," he said. "I'm going to get Celia and bring her over to say hello." Nate turned as Jan stood speechless, watching while the sun reflected off two atrophied buns as they dutifully followed their master out the door.

Of course, this was aptly timed with the arrival of Dan, an agent from her office who heard Nate's expression of gratitude. Dan sized up naked Nate and grinned at Jan like a fourteen year old who had just gotten his first glimpse of his teacher's cleavage. Red-faced Jan didn't bother to explain, knowing that the story would take on a life of its own back at the office.

Ever the dutiful agent, Jan went back to straighten the bedroom and noticed that poor Nate had left a carrot stick on the pillow...and a urine spot on the bedspread. When she glanced out the window, she saw a policeman gently guiding Nate into the back of a police car, hopefully to help him find his way home.

Of course, no one ever found out who Celia was, but if she's hiding from Nate, who could blame her? And if Jan now has a fear of old men in gym shorts, who could blame her?
I think we can all learn something from this story. 1) If someone seems dyspeptic, usher them toward the door, not away from it. 2) Always keep track of your guests, especially the ones whose eyes are like Jack Nicholson's in The Shining. 3) If a guest cannot remember where they came from, or what they came for, chances are they won't remember why they should keep their clothes on. 4) Never let anyone leave without your business card. The one odor worse than flatulence is the odor of an old listing!

Thank you Jan, and all my friends at Nelson Shelton, Sotheby's International Realty and Keller-Williams for your great stories. First posted on Agent Genius on 06/05/09

Friday, May 29, 2009

Words to Avoid in Real Estate

This post in UnReal Estate was inspired by a recent conversation with an agent who told me that the house on the hill above was slipping, “but only a little.” I live in earthquake territory, folks. There’s no such thing as “slipping a little.” That’s like being “partially pregnant.” Thus, I asked around and gathered some contributions to the Words to Avoid list. Please enjoy:
First, the Absurd…
“Oh, heck, we all grew up with black mold.” (Is that why your eyes roll inward and your tongue hangs out?)
“They had a pot-bellied pig that ruined the carpet.” (I had a pot-bellied husband that ruined the couch.)
“The old lady next door is crazy but nice.” (So I should ignore the face in the window?)
“The place was busted because the owner’s father had a brewery in the basement.” (No problem – my grandmother had a meth lab in the bathroom.)
“The heating lamp in the bathroom needs attention.” (No wonder your hair is on fire.)
“This was used as a grow house.” (No wonder I have the munchies.)
“The four dogs next door seldom ever bark.” (Then I will “seldom” ever use my tranquilizer darts.)
“The lights flicker and dim sometimes, but it’s nothing to worry about.” (Sell that to the guys on Death Row.)
“It may be showing some wear and tear, but it’s obviously not going anywhere.” (That’s what they said about the Titanic.)
And now, the Sublime…
“A little baking soda will get rid of the smell.” (But will it get rid of their bad taste?)
“The lime in the crawl space is to absorb moisture.” (So what’s with the hatchet and the duct tape?)
“The odor was from something that got trapped in the crawl space.” (Has anyone found the agent?)
“Although it’s filthy, they never had vermin.” (Oh yeah…that explains the 14 morbidly obese cats.)
“The house isn’t bolted, but it’s very secure.” (No problem -The buyer is with Indymac - they’re very secure.)
“His score is low…but he’s working on it.” (My patience is low…so get outta my face.)
“That’s a pine cone in the pool.” (And I suppose that’s lemonade in the toilet.)
“The cracks in the foundation are small.” (So is our offer.)
“You should see the garden when it’s lit.” (You should see my uncle when he’s lit…)
“Can I still get zero per cent financing?” (Let me explain the signs of mercury poisoning and its effects on the brain…)
“The soggy area above the septic tank is from the sprinklers” (You’re full of crap.)
“All those steps will keep you in shape.” (So why are you carrying that defibrillator?)
“The pool leaks.” (So does Aunt Bea when she sneezes.)
“The lawn sprinklers don’t work.” (Then call Aunt Bea.)

And Those Words We Hear Most Often:
“Can you reduce the size of your commission?” (About as easily as I can reduce the size of my butt.)
“It’s been sitting for months with no activity!” (So has Aunt Bea, but she doesn’t complain.)
“I think we’re backing out of escrow.” (Fine. Now grab this frayed wire and touch your tongue to this metal pole and…)

Thanks to my colleagues at Sotheby’s International Realty and my friends at Coldwell Banker and Keller Williams for all your funny stories. First posted on Agent Genius on 05/29/2009

Friday, May 22, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh My!

Recently I have heard some hilarious tales of wild animal capers at open house events. Many of these anecdotes come from my agent friends in Lake Arrowhead. And you thought YOU had problems...
Easy Rider
I'm told there are bear travel routes at Lake Arrowhead. I'm not sure if there are biker bars for the critters to hang out and knock back brewskis, but the routes are detours created by the animals themselves as they cruise around the mountains. As a result, there are many bear sightings in the area.
An agent I know was with a client when they parked at the cabin she had just listed. As they approached the porch, they glanced at the pickup truck parked in the driveway and were delighted to see a baby bear asleep in the flatbed.
They observed the little guy for a short time, ooh-ing and ah-ing and discussing whom to call. Duh. Suddenly the answer came to the form of a shadow the size of the Statue of Liberty. Paralyzed with fear, they tried not to move a muscle. Finally, when the words "main course" permeated their individual skulls, they turned on cue and walked slo-o-o-ly to the front porch. They managed to get inside without losing any limbs, but not before the frantic client had wet her pants. After the bears eventually left, the hapless women departed. The agent was shaking uncontrollably, and the client had to sit on a towel all the way home.
(Moral of the story: Ya' know how you just want to pick up a little bear and cuddle it? Well Mama Bear wants to cuddle you, too...and then crack your head open, rip out your eyeballs with claws the size of hedge clippers, and then suck the meat off your skinny little flailing legs...accompanied by a fine Pinot Noir of course. So avoid even baby bears, fool!)
Bears Need To Relax, Too
One agent had seen bears in the area of his listing and had dutifully informed his clients. While preparing for Brokers Open, he set a bag of dog food on the back porch in his efforts to tidy the kitchen. Halfway through caravan, there was pandemonium in the back forty. When he and several agents ran outside to investigate the chaos, they saw the dog food scattered everywhere.
As the agent stooped to retrieve the bag, he looked across the yard. To his shock, a brown bear was splashing lazily in the spa right under the hand-crafted "Don't Piss In Pool " sign. The group high-tailed it inside, barricaded the doors, and armed themselves with whatever they could grab. The agent had to scream out the window at any latecomers, warning them to get outta Dodge, while everyone already there remained holed up in the house until animal control arrived.
When Animal Control finally burst in, they admonished the agent for a lapse in judgement, but only after they had a good laugh. It seems that one guy was brandishing a fireplace poker as a weapon, and the listing agent was armed with a lovely umbrella. The agent was very embarrassed, but the worst insult was the floater left in the spa by the annoyed bear.
(Moral of the story: If you are on a bear route, never place Dog Food outside unless the bears on your route are Harvard grads and can read the words "Dog Food," and "Don't Piss in Pool." Less educated bears may think the sign says "After enjoying the bear bidet...please help yourself to the squealing agents huddled inside and screaming like girly-men.")

Let's Not Forget the Raccoons
This story was enough to make me stop serving food outside. An agent had set up a lovely luncheon at a house near the lake. Out of nowhere, there was a blur of action on the hillside. A raccoon scampered down the hill, a barking dog with a beer belly close at it's heals. The raccoon ran around the trash bins and then took shelter in a tight space behind the pool equipment. The determined dog apparently had gone to a Tony Robbins seminar and did not know the meaning of giving up. He did everything possible to get the raccoon to expose himself (so to speak). However, the wily raccoon, while less educated, had street smarts and was waiting for his posse to show up and ice the dog.
Enter the agent. Upset by the ear-splitting chaos, the agent grabbed a utensil and a metal dish and created a cacophony of noise, hoping to scare off the intruders. It worked. Sort of. The raccoon screeched, tore out of his hiding place, and for a split second in time, he stared down the source of the mind-numbing noise. Finally he headed for elevation...the luncheon table being the nearest high spot. The portly dog was too fat to jump onto the table, so he tried to claw his way up the table cloth. The agent, frantically banging her bowl, watched helplessly as inch by inch the entire spread headed south in slow motion. The food explosion was followed immediately by the sound of the table collapsing. The last she saw of the quiche-covered dog or the crazed raccoon was a departing blur back up the hillside. She gave up and threw the bowl in disgust before collapsing in tears.
(Moral to the Story: If you're going to Bang a Gong, know your audience, Wang Chung!)

And This One is For The Birds
Picture a lovely summer day in California. French doors were open wide, flowers were in bloom, and the agent was preparing for the first Public Open House. Suddenly a Blue Jay flew into the living room and became disoriented. Confused and frazzled, the feathered intruder attempted to fly out via the skylights. After being thwarted in its numerous attempts to escape, the bird landed on a beam to rest. The agent, also confused and frazzled, decided to deal with the party crasher after the open house was over.
Enter the public. As the agent showed the house and gave her pitch, a menacing kid turned on a screeching musical toy that set off the downfall of society. The bird, already confused and excited, began to circle overhead frantically seeking an exit. As the voices of the startled group melded into a chorus of screams, the bird responded back in crapping all over the well-appointed living room. The more the visitors screamed, the more the bird emptied the contents of his well-stocked bowels. By the time the agent managed to herd everyone out, the seller's furniture was upholstered in cottage cheese. The bird remained for several hours more, no doubt taking photos and texting his friends.
(Moral of the Story: If a bird crashes your party, call the wily raccoon to chase the feathered interloper outside. Then call the dog in as an enforcer to offer the raccoon a deal he can't refuse. Then hire the bear to scare the beejeesus out of the wiseguy dog. Then call animal control to drag the bear away after he uses your spa as a bidet, but before he gets out his dining utensils and slaps you onto a plate. After that, call all the agents who called you "fool" and invite them to a party in the spa...and leave the floater.)
And a Short One For the Road
Did you hear about the German Shepherd who knocked down the agent's tent sign and relieved himself all over it as the caravan was arriving? I actually witnessed the performance...and the two curtain calls.
(Moral of the Story: It seems everyone is a critic. Go do the same thing in his bowl - that will teach him to be a bit less judgmental next time.)
Thank you, Lake Arrowhead!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Back By "Poopular" Demand - More Agent Bloopers

It's Un-Real Estate, folks...and just when you thought you heard ‘em all -
How About These Marketing Strategies!
Kids Play Rum (And agent apparently drinks it.)
Main house and carnage house. ( Bugsy Siegel must have lived there.)
Home Made Hiney rolls served (Do I get Wipes with that?)
Two minutes to Strip (Can you buy me dinner first?)
Club foot tub (Getting those special shoes on the tub must have been a killer.)
Sheik contemporary (A modern house in Dubai?)
New pole in back yard for outdoor fun (Must be the Bunny Ranch.)
Bring your fuzziest clients (Including your hairy mother.)
Special tanks to those who donate. (Wouldn't an AK-47 suffice?)
Beautiful Sanitarium for Sunny mornings. (Electro-shock anyone?)
Major stone coming to the neighborhood. (Ouch, that will be hard to pass.)
Newer constriction. (Try a colonic.)
Own a piece of heathen. (Ah...the Bunny Ranch again...)
House rises above the street. (The David Copperfield Estate.)
New cemen driveway ( I'll bet it's near the Bunny Ranch)
More Kinky and Quirky:
Private Studo above garage. (How convenient - give him my number!)
Large dick for entertaining (Hmmm, does this belong to Studo?)
Dog runs on one side (Maybe he only has 2 legs)
Built in stereo and TB (Is this the house with the sanitarium?)
Bogus room downstairs (Can I submit a bogus offer?)
Room for bunker beds (Archie and Edith lived here.)
Seasonal creep runs alongside the road (Is his name, Studo?)
Stoned patio. (Someone Bogarted that joint.)
Statutes in garden (Was this a law library?)
Owen doesn't work. (Kick his butt to the curb... Then call Studo.)
EZ access for mountn sports (An elevator to Studo's pad above the garage?)
Rede Twice, Use Spell Czech, and Lern Englesh
"Dance andf art studio" (For classically trained farters)
Disclosure: Pet ceminary nearby. (For pets going into the ministry.)
New lightening in pool area (That's a killer deal!)
Submit with FUCO scores. (Because this is a FUCO house?)
Proof of funs needed (Isn't the pole out back proof enough?)
Low interest rats (Vermin that are bored easily)
Seller is a crapenter (He obviously does sh-y work!)
Rod in bedroom goes with seller, so please don't ask. (Don't flatter yourself, Studo!)
Diamond in the Ruff (Well, pump the poor dog's stomach!)
Bar-B-Q Pet in Back Yard (Apparently Ruff didn't survive.)
Looking for Hot Buyers (Ugly folks need not apply.)
Big yard with "squirls and Rabies." (Sellers frothing at the mouth to make a deal?)
Comes with dick and dingy (Sean Penn and Jessica Simpson?)
Drawing for Special Prixe (You ain't that special, Studo.)
And This Week's Favorite:
Hind End Recessed Lights (Designed for the place "where the sun don't shine")

Thanks again to the MLS, the LA Times, the New York Times, and LA Magazine for your unwitting contributions. First posted on Agent Genius 05/15/2009

Friday, May 8, 2009


I have collected so many hilarious stories from my colleagues about open house debacles that I have titled this post, "Ham on Wry: It's NOT a Good Idea To..." If you recognize yourself in any of these tales from the trenches, my advice is to plead the Fifth :
It's Not a Good Idea To:
...To ignore the dead parakeet in the cage (Unless you killed him - then play dumb and whistle a lot.)
...To decorate the serving plates with an unidentified shiny leaf from the hillside. (Unless you are serving Calamine dip and Benedryl punch.)
...To set the hand made lace tablecloth ablaze with your Crème Brulee butane torch, and then pour the Chianti on the fire to extinguish it. (Unless you can beat it the hell out of Dodge before the owner arrives home with a can of fava beans and a fork.)
...To serve spaghetti at your open house where the carpets are new...and white...and the owner is a Red Bull addicted L.A. Agent with a bad attitude. (Unless Dr. Kervorkian just wasn't available to assist you in your time of need.)
...To serve a Stilton cheese tray on a warm California day (Unless you're expecting a swarm of podiatrists who are accustomed to the smell of foot fungus.)
...To forget about the tree house until the moans from above interfere with your sales pitch. (Unless it's here in Laurel Canyon - the canyon of "Piece and Love." Uh, I mean "Peace and Love.")
...To disclose that there is a crazy woman next the crazy woman next door. (Unless you want to be ground into pate and thrown into a cement mixer that's in the driveway...of the crazy lady next door.)
...To put the space heater on the table near the fish bowl. (Unless you advertised a Fish Fry.)
...To allow the old lady with flatulence to wander through your open house firing gas rockets in every room. (Unless you can blame it on the Stilton cheese.)
It's Also Not a Good Idea To:
...To set up your open house food table on the lawn...without checking the timer on the sprinklers. (Unless you are planning on serving your famous flaming Crème Brulee, in which case it may be a good idea.)
...To set up the luncheon table near the compost pile in the garden out back. (Unless your food already tastes like s__t.)
...To whisper with compassion that the sellers are "splitting up" the unsuspecting mother-in-law. (Especially if she is the crazy lady from next door)
...To use the seller's vodka laced ice cubes in the punch. (Oh wait; maybe that's a good idea!)
...To ignore the boisterous voices and sounds of clinking ice cubes and "GO, BILLY" coming from the bar in the basement while you're upstairs schmoozing. (Especially if it is in the house where the ice cubes are laced with vodka...and there's a tree house out back.)
...To set the cat box (with the cat in it) outside on the patio table...above where the dog hangs out. (Unless you don't mind the complete mayhem when the frothing dog jumps on the table, toppling the cat box, wherein the cage breaks open releasing the screaming cat, after which the hapless cat scampers up the tree and jumps onto the new canvas awning... and ends the SRO performance by puking a giant hairball.)
...To try to ignore the answering machine while the endless "I hate you, bitch," message is being recorded for all to enjoy. (Unless ripping the plug from the wall is something you cannot do nonchalantly while disposing of the dead parakeet and trying to wrangle a puking cat.)
...To assume the sound of the shower is just someone testing the water pressure. (Unless you got the homeless guy pre-approved before he wandered in.)
...To forget to insist that the seller remove the urine samples from the refrigerator. (Unless you want revenge on Billy and the other drunks down in the basement...or on the crazy lady next door who is now peering in the window.)
And It's REALLY Not a Good Idea To:
... To allow the seller to put ol' Sparky, the excitable German Shepherd, in the RV in the sloping driveway with the keys inside. (Unless Sparky is planning on taking the dead parakeet, Billy, crazy lady, puking cat, the sex fiends, and the homeless guy with him on his unexpected tour of Highland Park. Go, Sparky!)
...To use the lovely can from the shelf as a door stop for your open house.(Unless you are POSITIVE the dog is riding shotgun with his buddy, Sparky...and is NOT in the lovely can.)
... To set off the fire alarm by burning the quiches, then drag out a chair, grab the broom, swipe at the alarm overhead, tumble moon-over-Miami off the chair onto the couch with your skirt up around your waist like an inner tube, and then meet the prospective (and shocked) buyer with a cheeky, x-rated "Butt Greet." (Unless...unless...oh, forget it - there is no "unless." I can tell you from experience that it sucks!)

First posted on Agent Genius 05.08.2009

Friday, May 1, 2009


Disasters in Un-Real Estate: (For the public as well as agents - you'll all enjoy these stories)
Have you ever had anything go awry at an Open House? C’mon – tell the truth – I can’t be the only one who has made some memorable blunders. I’ve decided to share some of the more bizarre stories I’ve heard just so we can all feel a bit less foolish about our own mistakes…unless you recognize yourself below. In that case, I can’t help you, pal…
A Rubber Nose Would Have Sufficed
Did you hear about the realtor in Hancock Park who hired a clown? It might have been a good idea if the clown hadn’t been celebrating St. Patrick’s Day before his spectacular arrival, which involved parking his clown car on the curb and victimizing a street lamp. After crawling out of the pile of shrapnel, his first stunt was to sing “I’m a Little Tea Pot” while peeing all over the bushes. The poor kids were scared out of their Crocs when, after christening the bushes, the singing tippler fell head first into the ammonia-fragrant foliage. Prospective buyers and their agents continued to arrive as the clown tried to re-attach his rainbow wig and rubber nose. Suddenly the listing agent appeared from the side yard, dragging a rubber hose with her and hell-bent for revenge. To the kids’ delight, she hosed the clown until he ran away, leaving his pathetic car shrinking on the curb in a pile of shame. (Moral of the story: Always keep a hose available in case someone whips theirs out.)
Crimes and Crackpots
A colleague of mine arrived at an open house right about the same time the listing agent was arriving. They walked through the house together and then stopped in their tracks when they spotted yellow Police Crime Scene tape roping off the door to the bedroom. Backing out as fast as they could, they exited through the back door. To their horror, they discovered a chalk outline of a person at the bottom of the drained pool. While the agent frantically tried to reach the seller on her cell phone, they heard laughter from the side yard. As they rounded the corner of the house, they came upon the seller’s fourteen year-old-son and his friend, who were snapping photos and laughing hysterically at their devious prank. (Moral of the Story: It’s a good idea to arrive early to remove all signs of death at your Open House. Homicide is not a big seller.)
Short Takes:
“Your Neighborho Specialist Invites You to a Holiday Open House.” (Yay - even ho's have holiday spirit!)
“Open House - Easter Egg Hunt, Drinks and Ham Salad Sandwiches served. House located just East of Beth Israel Temple.” (Moral: Know your neighborhood… or call your "Neighborho" Specialist.)
Fertilize and Amortize
One clever agent decided to offer pony rides for the kids during his Memorial Day open house in Beverly Hills. Unfortunately, the pony had the trots (in every way imaginable) and fertilized the lawn with gusto. Several hours later, the seller returned to discover a lawn that looked like an explosion in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Moral of the Story: Keep Pepto Bismol on hand for all occasions. And get the phone number of the agent with the hose. )
Short Takes:
1) The open house where the balloon guy and the agent were talking to prospective buyers with helium-induced, munchkin voices.
2) The open house where, when the agent arrived, he discovered a naked guy in the kitchen chugging a brewski. (Moral: It could have been worse: The naked guy could have been singing “I’m a Little Teapot” in a munchkin voice and wearing a rainbow wig while peeing into his brewski, and the agent and the balloon guy could have been naked…juggling Easter eggs while riding a dyspeptic pony. Hey, this is Los Angeles - we’ve seen it all! )

Always Check the Beds
A friend told me about an open house she was giving where she arrived to discover a blow-up doll in the teenager’s bed. She struggled to shove it under the bed, but the recalcitrant limbs kept popping back out. She couldn’t think of where to put it so it would go unnoticed. Finally she dragged the doll to the front porch, placed it in a lawn chair, and then piled an afghan and the listing sheets onto the doll’s lap. The doll slowly deflated in the hot sun, so by the time the open house ended, it looked like grandma had expired on the porch. Nonetheless, the Open House visitors loved it, and they all wanted to know who the “agent” on the porch was. (Moral of the story: Carry sharp pins wherever you go, or at least a referral agreement in case Grandma claims Procuring Cause.)
Short Take
The pregnant agent who hung pale yellow balloons all over the porch for her open house. When they deflated, they looked like condoms. (Moral: Condoms Do Not Always Prevent Pregnancy)
So Who’s the Dip Here Anyway?
At one Open House an agent served homemade salmon dip, which was always a favorite with her guests. As expected, the visitors scooped it up with crackers, enjoying the flavor. Out of curiosity, one agent asked what the ingredient was that was so chewy. My friend, somewhat perplexed, tasted the dip, and indeed it seemed “chewy.” A bit baffled, she shrugged it off and continued with the business at hand. She returned home that evening and was cleaning the blender she had used for prep when her jaw dropped open. There in the bottom of the kitchen sink was half of a rubber spatula. (Moral of the story: Chewy salmon dip and pony excrement have a lot in common: they both stink, and neither belongs at an open house!)
Good luck out there!