REALTOR® arrested for hosting sexy time in her listing

Oh, boy!

A Texas real estate agent apparently thought is was cool to bring her date over to one of her vacant listings at 5:00 am in the morning for what ABC News described as a “passionate rendezvous.”

Alerted by roving flashlights, a neighbour called 911 naturally assuming something untoward was going on in this vacant home. Man! He had no idea!

Police arrived to find REALTOR® Kayla Seloff and her companion doing the horizontal bop on the living room floor. The lovers tried to pass themselves off as newlyweds christening their new home but the whole gig began to fall apart when the cops searched their car and turned up weed.

As it happens, the two entered the recently sold home without permission (no doubt!) and were charged with criminal trespass.

Oops.

This will be a hard lesson for this young couple to learn but having access to someone’s property is obviously a position of great trust. As a home seller, you have the right to expect your home to be accessed only on your terms.

In Canada, I believe the crime would be “unlawful entry”. No, I’m serious now.

Have a great weekend,

Norm

Sorry about your deceased wife, but we’re here for you when you’re ready to sell the family home!

 

Nobody likes real estate agents!

We probably all know an agent whom we like, sure, but when they think about this business as a whole, real estate agents are not well liked and there are some pretty good reasons for that. This story is a perfect illustration.

Just when you thought the real estate industry couldn’t earn a lower reputation than it already has, this happens.

The headline reads, “Grieving family approached by realtors after funeral”.

A man loses his 72-year old wife and shortly after her death he receives what “looked like a card expressing condolences…”.  In it, two business cards and a note that reads, “We’re sorry to hear of your wife’s passing…please let us know if we can help in any way with your real estate needs when the time is right”.

I mean, WTF? Right?

Truly cringe worthy.

But is it shocking?

Hardly, and that’s unfortunate in itself.

I doubt that too many people will actually be surprised to hear that a real estate agent would do such a thing, seemingly oblivious to the fact that this could not possibly be seen as anything but selfishness, masquerading as kindness.

I’m certainly embarrassed by it, but shocked? No, not really.

Unfortunately, a culture that focuses primarily on getting the sale does little to help agents develop business acumen. Pretty much every bit of training offered in this business is focused on one thing, closing the sale. Present, close, use your scripts kids.

Earlier this year, our national association’s own commissioned study found, “A growing number of incompetent, poorly trained, or part-time salespeople destroy industry credibility,” as one of it’s largest concerns.

I bet that’s not news to you, though, right? It’s a problem that’s been hounding us for years with little progress. Perhaps studies like this one will move our industry to address these shortcomings. The public deserves better.

We’ll talk about this problem more in the weeks ahead.

Norm

Home buyer beware: Your private home viewing may not be so private

It’s only been a few years since I first saw a serious home surveillance system installed in a Saskatoon home I’d been hired to market and sell. It was an impressive and sophisticated system that enabled the home owner to look in and listen to what was happening in their home while they were away. They used it regularly to monitor the home.  I later learned that they used it to look in on buyers who were viewing the home.

At the time, systems like this were rare because they did cost a lot of money. The value of this particular system was in the tens of thousands of dollars.

Just a few years later, surveillance systems are a dime a dozen. In fact, a $5.00 iPhone app can monitor up to a dozen audio and video feeds using simple equipment like webcams. Small cameras and microphones can easily and inexpensively be used to monitor activity in the home.

The same equipment can be used to look and listen in on your “private home viewing.”

When viewing homes as a prospective buyer it’s best to behave as if you’re being watched. Avoid judgmental comments about the home owner’s lack of taste. Try not to get too excited. Put on your poker face. Save your negotiating strategy discussions for the car ride home.  Behave as you would if the home owner were right there with you. They just might be.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Beware: Your open house may be more than just a marketing opportunity

Some agents swear by open houses. Some swear at the thought of hosting them.

Love them or hate them, any opportunity to expose your home to buyers should be taken seriously. Even if they don’t do you much good, they can’t hurt. Can they?

They can hurt if you’re a victim of theft and make no mistake, incidents of theft do occur at open houses, even here in Saskatoon. According to a bulletin issued by the Saskatoon Region Association of Realtors® yesterday, one unfortunate Saskatoon home seller came up short after their weekend open house when about $800 worth of personal effects walked out the door with a “prospective buyer.”

If you’re having an open house, understand that’s it’s not going to be possible for your Realtor® host to be everywhere at once. If there’s more then one prospect in the house, someone is going to be unattended. Your would-be thief may even arrive as two adorable looking couples. One of them engages your agent with lots of questions of interest while the other explores the home. Texting technology would make it very simple for one to cover the other. “He’s coming your way now!”

As is so often the case, the best defense is a solid offense. Prior to your open house, ensure that all valuables that could be easily slipped into a pocket or under a coat are securely stored or removed from the home. The odds of someone walking off with your 60-inch television or your dining room table are pretty slim. The most popular items are for thieves are cash, jewellery, prescription drugs, liquor, entertainment media, firearms, collectibles and small electronics.

When that’s all done, check these tips for a successful open house.

Best wishes.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions. All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call of email me.

Get the most current market intelligence with our FREE Market Snapshot including prices of homes recently sold in your area. Get it here, now.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate

Open houses can be a mixed bag of dangers and delights

Most agents will admit that the likelihood of finding a buyer for your home through an open house is quite small. For the most part, agents conduct open houses with another objective in mind; coming into contact with prospective buyers and sellers who might work with them, now or in the future. Sure, I know of people who found their dream home by attending an open house but I also know of people who won the lottery. It happens, but it’s a long shot.

I got a bit of a kick out of this story about a recent study of open houses which found that almost half of the people who attended them weren’t even in the market to buy a home. Fifty-seven percent admitted to getting some kicks out of the opportunity to “check out the seller’s personal property” from opening closets to reading notes on the fridge. I’m guessing it’s more than fifty-seven percent.

I suppose having your fridge notes read or your medicine cabinet raided by total strangers and neighbours is fairly harmless, at least compared to some of the other possibilities. It seems that there’s no end to the dangers and delights that can occur between 2 and 4 on a Sunday afternoon.

Just a few years ago, a very strange idea crept into the mind of one Saskatoon dude. Over the course of couple of weekends he made a number of open house appearances, all of which were hosted by women. After entering and greeting his host, he would take the first opportunity to sneak away to a private spot and undress to his underwear, underwear which was selected to accentuate his feminine side. Then, to the horror of the attendant REALTOR®, he would parade through the living room to make himself seen. Perhaps I have a keenly sharp sense as to what the average woman may find sexy, or perhaps it was just a lucky guess, but it came as no surprise to me that this was not a real turn on for the women who happened to be there. I was surprised to learn, however, that this is not actually an illegal activity. Fortunately, police were able to convince the man that no good could come of such exhibitions and after one firm talking to, he stopped.

Being cornered or assaulted by a kook is probably the worst case scenario for an agent at an open house but theft of the seller’s personal property is always a concern, and rightly so. Over the course of my career I’ve heard several stories of items gone missing, but frankly, I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often than it does. It seems that open houses can be a pretty easy and lucrative target. Here’s a news story about an Oshawa couple in their 50’s who were recently charged with stealing over $500,000 worth of property from a number of open houses. It’s quite a way to be making a living after 50. Sad but true.

Open houses can be more than fun and surprises for agents and home sellers. It seems that buyers find their fair share of delights as well. In this interesting blog post, New York Times readers share their fondest open house memories, from tales of intimate boudoir photos proudly displayed, to people fast asleep in bed. One of the stories reminded me of an open house I hosted early in my career, before I had a good sense of what staging a home really means. The seller was a hunter, and not just a regular hunter. He had visited Africa on numerous occasions and quite a collection of trophies had accumulated on the walls of “his room” as it was affectionately labeled by her. There are few things uglier that a warthog. Gazelle’s, water buffalo and zebras are all quite magnificent, but when you chop their heads off and attach them to the walls of a sixteen by twelve foot room they have a tendency to dominate. They can also send people fleeing. One woman literally ran down the stairs and out the front door without so much as a goodbye.

Perhaps the most shocking and sad open house story I’ve ever heard was this one. It seems that the home owner, distraught and grieving the recent death of his beloved spouse, hanged himself in the closet of the master bedroom. His lifeless body was discovered by a “prospective buyer” who just had to open the closet at an open house. Some fifty-seven perent of you might like to keep this story in mind the next time you have the urge to sneak a quick peek inside a closet at an open house.

Do you have any fun or scary open house stories? Please share it with us by leaving a comment.

I’m always happy to answer your Saskatoon real estate questions.  All of my contact info is here. Please feel free to call or email.

Our Saskatoon home search tool offers MLS® listings represented by all real estate brands, presented with more detail than you’ll find anywhere else. Check it out here.

Norm Fisher
Royal LePage Saskatoon Real Estate