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?)