Fischer: Putting out fires all in a day’s work for a Realtor
Welcome to Utah, where we have now officially entered “fire season.” As defined by state law, Utah’s fire season runs from June 1 to Oct. 31. During this time, people cannot openly burn fires in most areas, with the exception of campfires.
Although I have little interest in campfires, and even less interest in sleeping on hard, cold ground in the forest, I do like to sit around a gaslit firepit and char a few marshmallows now and then. For this very purpose, we have installed two firepits in our backyard. One is right outside the back door and the other is located on a deck in an area of our yard that we call the “Upper 40.” One has to ascend the “Stairway to Heaven” to reach this area, but eventual arrival is imminent, and serenity is inevitable upon arrival — with the exception of the time we were unexpectedly joined by the Layton City Fire Department with the impetuous news that we were breaking the law. Despite our invitation to join us for hot dogs and s’mores (which they did), we were also educated on the current fire prevention laws in Utah. Although we may engage in Upper 40 firepit parties on or before May 31, the party must come to an abrupt halt by midnight and cannot be reconvened until Nov. 1.
While this particular fire was quickly extinguished with the turn of a knob, most fires require a more arduous effort. Although I had no immediate knowledge of current fire laws before the fire department brought us up to speed, I am acutely aware of the consistent flames that need to be extinguished during a real estate transaction. Essentially, we are firefighters in the proverbial sense.
This new moniker was suggested to me by my hairdresser. As I was sitting in the chair last week, having my hair painted and foiled (if in question, Google it), I received a number of calls and texts. The first was a buyer I had been working with. “Jen, I just drove past the house we have under contract and the police were there. They said the neighbors called them to report that the grass hadn’t been mowed and was too long.”
“The neighbors,” I retorted, “need to get a job or something else to occupy their time. The home is vacant, and the list agent has tried to get a landscape company to mow it, but everyone is booked. No worries. I’ll get it handled.” This small “grass” fire was able to be quickly extinguished.
No sooner than five minutes passed when I received another phone call. This time it was concerning water that had pooled near the furnace at another vacant home I had under contract with an unfinished basement. I hung up, called my plumber and told him I could meet him there in the next couple of hours (assuming I could get out of these foils in time despite my consistent interruptions).
Meantime, speaking of pools, the pool contractor failed to show on the listing we were slated to close in the next two days. The pool wasn’t functioning and we needed to be sure it did before closing. I got this news via text. Left unattended, this spark could ignite quickly and fuel a fire that would rage as hot and intense as the tempers that would follow. I needed a ladder truck for this one. I got on the phone with the pool contractor, who didn’t pick up. I texted, I left a message and then began calling every person who worked there. When I couldn’t get anyone on the phone, I began to call other pool contractors. I left many messages but was not able to get a person to answer. While Googling “how to troubleshoot a pool malfunction,” I finally got a call back from the initial contractor. “We just need an electrician to go out there and hook up the electrical and I can’t find anyone.”
“I’m on it,” I told him. I hung up, called my electrician who agreed to go out first thing in the morning. While I had that fire under control, it was not yet extinguished. Meantime, there was no way for me to make the appointment with the plumber at the vacant listing that I had set earlier. I had to call another agent to help.
“You’re a firefighter,” my stylist said. “It looks exhausting.”
Little does she know, putting out fires is like oxygen to fuel the fire in my soul that provides the energy to extinguish the fires around me.
Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 81-645-2134 or firstname.lastname@example.org.