HGTV does a beautiful job giving the public the perception that real estate agents lead glamorous lives. We swan around town showing impeccably designed homes that have been cleaned & staged to the nth degree. We host glamorous parties for the who's who at gorgeous homes wearing gowns & tuxedos with the champagne flowing. We show only 3 homes and the buyers choose one and actually close. The fixer upper that is chosen is transformed into a gorgeous home and done on time & within budget (or close to). This real estate career sounds fantastic, where can I sign up? Because that isn't my reality, and it isn't the reality of any of the real estate agents I know or work with on a daily basis.
I want to give the public a realistic picture of what our day-to-day lives entail. There's humor, there's success (sometimes), there's defeat (sometimes) & there are tears, trips to the hospital & many many miles put on our cars. Our day-to-day lives do include showing beautiful homes. Sometimes. There are also days where we show homes that aren't so beautiful. Some homes are messy, dirty, filled with clutter & smell bad. I have shown my fair share of great homes where the sellers have taken our advice & had the home cleaned, freshly painted, furniture rearranged & in perfect showing condition. Those are nice, but not always the most memorable. I have shown homes where the sellers are asleep in the house & have forgotten about the showing. I've shown homes that are in need of a little TLC - my buyer fell through the basement stairs - he was okay. Shockingly, they didn't buy that house. I've shown homes with mold infestations - note to all - mold smells really bad. I've shown homes that have walls covered in taxidermy animals, mirrors on the ceilings & walls as well as homes that need a lot of updating. It's not always glamorous, but there is usually a good story that comes out of these showings.
Another part of our job is to make sure our seller's houses are in good condition. We are often the first call for help when something goes wrong. On several occasions my dad has rushed to seller's homes with his rain boots & a carload of portable fans to help dry out homes that have had a water leak before the professionals could get there.
When we are selling a vacant home, we have to check on it to make sure lights are turned off, doors are locked & there are no issues with the home. When it's very cold, we have to winterize homes, turning off the water & taping toilet seats down & making sure the taps are open. There are many times we get a phone call from a panicked seller that has locked themselves out of the house & we have to go let them in with the key from the lock box. We also deliver documents to sellers & buyers at their home (for those that aren't comfortable with computers). There are times that they answer the door without their pants on. When that happens, you have to pull yourself together, put your professional face on while wiping the shocked look off, hand over the document, decline the invite inside & slowly walk back to your car because if you rush, you will slip down the icy stairs and fall flat on your face on the concrete. (Side note: The gentleman that answered the door without his pants had some memory problems.) (Side note #2: This happened to me, twice.) Jealous? I thought you would be.
Then there are the times that we drive out in a snow storm to meet buyers who don't show up at our scheduled showing appointment. There are times that we show buyers over 100 homes, write 8 offers & they never end up closing on a house. There are also times that we drive hundreds of miles to give tours to prospective new hires for local companies & they don't get the job.
There are also times when we get to show some great homes & deals come together. When we get to work with wonderful clients who become our close friends. When the potential hire does get the job & buys a house. When the client is really appreciative of your help & sends you a thank you note. When things do fall into place, it makes it all worth it.
So what's the moral of this blog post? It's certainly not for pity. It's for entertainment & for a little awareness. It's to put the trendy lives of the HGTV real estate agents into perspective. We don't all live those lives. Buyers and sellers shouldn't go into the process thinking it's going to be just like the TV shows they've been watching & future agents shouldn't think that our job just consists of showing pretty homes. It's a lot more involved than that, however, it's all worth it in the end. We love our jobs & wouldn't change them for the world. I hope that you've enjoyed these stories, that all actually happened to me (or Mike & Sherry) and next time you're with your agent, ask them about some of the craziest stories they have. I bet they have some goodies.