Fischer: New agent gets wild introduction to life as a Realtor
“Welcome to real estate.” Those were the words I spoke to the new agent I was training who had just had his first of many horribly awkward experiences showing homes. Jack (whose name has been changed to protect the little bit of innocence he may have left in him) had just gotten his real estate license and had, perhaps misguidedly, been directed to me to train. I gladly took him on board and decided to initiate him with his first solo showings with a familiar client. We had six homes in total to show and I was having him show the first three solo and then I would meet him at the third and continue with them to the last three. Since I had worked with these clients several times before, I could get feedback from them after as to how Jack did on his first showings.
When I arrived at the third showing, a newly constructed townhouse, he was just closing the front door. “How did it go?” I asked.
“Umm, I think I set off the alarm, and contrary to what the listing says, someone lives there. There were toys on the floor and dirty dishes on the counter. I knocked first, before I used the key box, but no one answered, and since the listing says it’s vacant and still under construction, I opened the door,” he responded, unsteadily.
“No worries. I’ve set off an alarm or two as well in my career. Let’s just wait for the police to come and I’ll explain what happened. Meantime, I’m going to call the agent.” I called the number on the listing and, fortunately, the listing agent answered. I explained where I was and that we had gone ahead and used the key in the key box for entry and an alarm went off.
“Oh, did I not put the specific unit number on the listing? Hmm. Thought I did. There is no key box, it’s still under construction and the door isn’t even on yet, so you can go right in. It’s unit three in the very back. You probably can’t see it unless you walk back there.”
Wondering what kind of time I was going to be serving for breaking and entering, I had Jack take my clients back to the actual unit that was available, while I waited. It was a quick trip, as my buyers were not interested (and possibly somewhat traumatized), and while they were walking back up, the garage door to the home we “broke into” was just closing. I told Jack I would handle this and began making my way to the front door. Jack volunteered to go with me since he wanted to take responsibility for “his mistake.” I would have done the same thing and he was under my watch at the time, so I couldn’t really place the blame on him.
We approached the front door and rang the doorbell. The door opened and a dude that very much resembled Aaron Gibson, the 6-foot-6-inch, 410-pound linebacker for the Dallas Cowboys (and Detroit Lions, as well as Chicago Bears), loomed over us. As a reminder, I am 5-foot-1 and not quite 100 pounds. Jack is certainly taller, but still no match for this angry homeowner. “What the *bleep* is going on here? Why is my *bleep* *bleep* alarm going off? Who the *bleep* are you guys?”
I had told Jack I would do the talking (this was before I saw the size of the homeowner). “I’m so sorry, sir,” I said. “We are Realtors, and we were showing our clients a listing here. There was no unit number on the listing report and since you had a key box on the door, we assumed this was the one. We had no idea the home was occupied.”
“How the *bleep* *bleep* did you get a key to my door? Who gave you the code to get into that box?” I gingerly explained how the box works; any Realtor with access to a Supra lock box has access. He explained that he had closed on the place two months before and he didn’t understand why the box was still there. I explained to him that I didn’t know either. I told him to call his agent and tell him to remove the box and give him the key that is still inside it. I told him that should have been done at the time of recording. He said he just had the builder’s agent represent him, so he didn’t really have an agent. Exactly.
Again, welcome to real estate Jack … and you’ve been officially initiated.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or email@example.com.