Saturday, February 20, 2010

Tales of a Trailer

Remember the trailer? The one that's been in escrow since December 8th? Remember how we needed to get a mold test because underwriting just had to have "one more thing"?

Well, there was mold found. Of course there was. What else should I expect? So, yeah, mold. In a desert climate. Great. Of course, I talked with the listing agent to let her know what was happening. The seller called in a mold guy who "filtered the air" to capture all the mold spores. And then they retested the air. Thankfully the second time they tested it came back clean. So we're home free right? Not so much.

I had an appointment on Friday to take my Texas gal looking at houses. I haven't introduced her but she has the same name as me and we just have a blast together. I mean seriously, anyone that can laugh when we come across not one, but two different guys getting arrested on the same day while house hunting? Yeah, awesome. So anyway, Texas and I were set to go look at houses on Friday. About five minutes after I arrive to pick her up I got a call from the lender on the trailer.

I don't like calls from the lender on the trailer because I have yet to hear the words "we're clear to close!" It's always "one more thing". And sure as sh*t, he was calling because he wanted to send the appraiser back out to the house to get a picture of some tag that was in the trailer. It's Friday. The appraiser can't get out there until Monday or possibly Tuesday and it always takes her 24 hours to get anything back to the lender. And she charges $200 for each additional visit. So I offer to stop by the property, take the picture and send it to him via email when I get back to my laptop.

I hang up the phone and look over at Texas. She's grinning away, asking if the call was about "the moldy trailer". I tell her what I need to do and ask if she would mind if I just stopped in between houses long enough for me to pop in and take two photos. Of course she's game (told ya she's fun!)

Now, as we're driving over, my first thought is to just leave her in the car while I run in to get the photos. Of course, when we arrive she doesn't want to sit in the car, she wants to see what this place looks like. Figuring there's no harm to be had, I tell her to come on in. As I go past the chain link fence, I notice that one of the key boxes has been decimated. That's not unusual, people tear these things up or steal them regularly. I use the other box to get the key and open the door.

The first thing that hits me is the smell, it smells really strongly, but not like it did the last time I was there. Previously, it has smelled like a place that's been closed up for awhile. Kind of musty (the mold maybe?) but not horrible. Now, it smells more...strongly? Foul? Something. But I'm just here for photos, so I head to the kitchen and unpack my camera.

Texas is standing in front of me while I'm taking the picture and we're joking around. Then she says "Nice, they left a banana peel on the counter." I look over my shoulder and what I see isn't a peel, but two bananas. Huh, that's odd. So I say something about the mold guy leaving his lunch on the counter. I squat back down to get a close up picture of the sticker so the lender can clearly see the numbers he needs.

Texas wanders off to the bedroom and calls out "Wow, they left their cloths and everything!"

I freeze. I lean to my left to get eye contact with her and ask "What did you say?"

She replies "They left their clothes in the closet and towels on the floor and everything. It's like they left in a hurry."

And that's when it hits me. The last time I was in this house, there was nothing in it. Nothing.

I call my client closer and say "Texas, you need to go get in the car right now."

She gets big eyed and says "Right now?"

"Yeah. Right. Now."

She turns on her heel and heads out. I stuff my camera in it's bag, grab everything and follow her. I lock the door behind myself and get into my car. As I'm closing my door, I look up at the window that's directly in front of my car. And that's when I see a man backing away from the window. Yeah. There's a squatter living in the trailer. And he's here right now. Fan-effing-tastic.

As we back out, I'm dialing the listing agent to let her know. She's thrilled that there's yet one more thing going wrong with the trailer and will be sending out someone immediately to change the locks and throw the guy out. After I hang up, I start to apologize to Texas about putting her in danger. She just laughs and says I'm more fun to hang with than most agents.

I'm starting to suspect I'm not supposed to be in this business for the purpose of selling homes. I think I'm just collecting stories for my future book.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Best Birth Control Ever

Have you ever seen some teenager carrying around a "baby" for their health class? You know the ones I'm talking about, they're supposed to give teenagers a taste of what having a baby is like. They cry and have to be "fed" every two hours. They weigh about ten pounds to give the kids a feel for what it's like to have to lug it around all day. They get to keep the doll for several days and it's supposed to guide them towards not getting pregnant until they are "ready for the responsibility". Whatever the hell that means.

What a waste of time. First of all, nobody is ever really ready for a child, I don't care how much you prepare. But to prevent teenage pregnancy? If you truly want to stem the tide, it's not having an infant that's so difficult. They eat, they sleep, they need their diapers changed. Sure it's tiring, but really, it's a cake walk comparatively speaking.

No, give the teenagers a taste of the future. Let them have an older child, any age would probably do. A fussy two year suffering through a cold. A four year old that missed his nap at preschool. A seven year old acting out at the mall. But don't just give them the child, let the child do something grand. Blue paint on the new white carpet anyone? How about painting the kitchen cabinets in primary colored finger paint? Or, how about the never ending issues with overflowing toilets? That's always a fun one. Because nothing sucks the fun out of sex like the possibility that it could end in cleaning raw sewage off the tile.

Fake baby indeed. Pshaw!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Shouldn't somebody know this information?

So for the following story, you must envision Master J and what he is wearing today (and honestly, quite a few days lately). Over the jeans and tee shirt he wore to school, he is wearing a green hooded sweatshirt. The hood is pulled up. On top of that, he has added a burgundy bathrobe. Because he got the belt to this bathrobe caught in his ceiling fan a while back (yeah, don't ask), he has to use one of his leather belts to hold it together. Tucked into the leather belt is a Jedi lightsaber. He walks around whipping out the lightsaber at times and "fights" with whatever is in front of him, swirling around and making the appropriate noises that would accompany such a fight. Got that vision in your head? Okay, then you're ready for today's story.

I've been trying to work with Master J again lately about not interrupting me while I'm on the phone. We had this problem when he was two or three years old and I thought we had it beat. Evidently not as it has come back with a vengeance.

Several weeks ago, when I was on a business call, he danced around holding candy up in front of me, trying to get me to nod my head that he could have it. While I was on a business phone call. With a client. Trying to answer their very specific questions about what was going on with their deal. I dealt with my client as best I could, all the while shooting daggers out my eyes at my wayward son. When I got off my call, I calmly informed Master J that he could not have the candy. I let him know in no uncertain terms that had he asked me at any other time than when I was on the phone, the answer would have been "yes". It was because he chose to ask at a time when I could not reasonably be expected to think about his request that he could not have it at all. I further informed him that in the future if he interrupted me, whatever he was trying to get from me would not happen. He was not happy, but I did have several weeks with no phone interruptions. Until today.

Today, while I was on the phone with Miss Lee, Master J walked right up to me and started talking at me like I was just standing around. I couldn't believe it. I turned away from him several times, pointing at the phone in my hand first. Each time, he would circle around to my front to try and talk to me. Finally, he gave up and went into the other room. My phone call ended and I started thinking about what just happened. Now here's the thing, it's been several weeks since the last time this happened and for the former incident, I had kind of made up the consequences on the fly. So now, I knew I needed to follow through and be consistent with what happens when I get interrupted on the phone, but for the life of me I couldn't figure out what the hell the consequence was supposed to be. So I got smart.

I called Master J back into the room and...

Me: Master J, do you remember the last time you interrupted me while I was on the phone a few weeks ago?

MJ: Yes.

Me: What did I say would happen if you interrupted me the next time on the phone. (See what a genius I am?)

MJ: I don't know. What did you say would happen?

Me (oh shit!): Ummm, I was...kind of hoping you would know.

As I'm looking at him in his full getup, I see the hint of a grin on his mouth. He knows I'm screwed. He knows I have no freaking idea what is supposed to happen next. But he also knows enough not to say anything too snarky here. He just looks at me with wide eyes, that slight smile still tugging the corners of his mouth, full Jedi stance with his hand resting on his lightsaber. And I can feel the laughter coming. From me. I can't help it, it just starts bubbling up until I totally lose it. I start laughing so hard I have tears running down my face. And I can't stop. I do manage to choke out "go to your room" in between laughs and amazingly, he goes. I think I might have had a chance of holding it together had he not been dressed the way he was. Unfortunately, the combination of his goofy outfit and the fact that my complete blondness got called out (again) made that impossible. I think we can safely give the points on this one to my Jedi knight.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Vintage Style

I dragged Mamoo through four properties today. The first one was pretty bad. The second one was better but the location sucked. The third one was really nice, but unfortunately was pending. But oh, the fourth one. The fourth one was wonderful. A pristine, 1968 vintage home that's sitting on a golf course lot. It starts at the front door...

Solid wood, blue side panels and a mail slot.

Original light in the foyer

The view of the golf course out the living room windows, not a great shot I know

The family room with bay window and built in bookshelves. There's a fireplace in a full stone wall behind me.

The pink counter tops in the kitchen. Note the original curtains in the window.

More pink counter top.

From the other end. The counter was at least fifteen feet long.

The base station of the whole house intercom system. I didn't try it out, but I wanted to!

The view of the looooong counter when standing by the patio doors in the living room.

The master bathroom is blue.

The vanity in the jack-and-jill bath is a really pretty light green.

The tub surround in the jack-and-jill bath is the same light green.

The doorknobs throughout the house.

The floor to ceiling, whole wall of cabinets in the laundry room.

All this vintage glory, almost 2800 square feet, sitting on a third of an acre golf course lot can be had for $425,000. Currently, this home looks like it was built yesterday. I didn't see a single cracked tile or discolored anything. The wood paneling is gorgeous and looks like they buffed it regularly. My only hope is that this home gets purchased by someone who really appreciates the vintage style and would love to keep it's beautiful look. It would make me very sad to see this house purchased by someone who wants to "neutralize" the vintage in order to resell it to the masses. Let's hope that doesn't happen.

Saturday, February 6, 2010


If you know what's good for you, don't wake it up.

Friday, February 5, 2010

The Wild, Wild West

Heading in to my local library one day last week, I noticed something I'd never noticed before. It struck me as odd to have a keyed locker outside of a library. I mean, what could you possibly need to lock up here?

Ahhh, that explains it!

Apparently, we don't want any gunfights breaking out in the library. Making me believe that our state motto isn't so much "Ditat Deus (God Enriches)" as it is "Welcome to Arizona, we've got ya covered!"

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I need to be more prepared for beauty

All I have to say is this...if this is the picture that I got on my cell phone, through my side window while driving down the highway at 75 mph, what could I have done with my Nikon, pulled over and out of my car?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

At least someone is using the weight bench

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Calgon, Take Me Away!

Remember those old Calgon commercials? Where the woman of the house was being surrounded by screaming kids, ringing doorbells, barking dogs and other chaos? She would look pleadingly up at the sky and utter the phrase contained in the title of this post. The next scene would show her sinking into a large tub filled with bubbles, but more importantly, she's alone. Remember that? I wish I could do that.

My day started with phone call from a client. This client had an accepted offer on a bank owned property that I worked my backside off to get. More so because the property wasn't actually listed yet. The listing agent was going to list it for $245,000. After several times back and forth, we had an accepted offer of $190,000. And that phone call this morning? Was to tell me that after all of the negotiations and the bank coming down substantially from what they believed it was worth, my clients decided not to go through with the deal. Seriously?

I had a dental appointment not long after that phone call. I truly dislike the dentist. I mean, I like my dentist as a person, and everyone of his office staff is fantastic. But I truly dislike dentists in general. I have sensitive teeth and inevitably something hurts. They are really good about not using that supersonic crazy cleaner that really drives me insane, but I never leave without flinching. Today was no exception.

After my dental appointment, I stopped off for lunch with Mamoo. Right about the time I finished my last bite I got a phone call from Scott asking me to call a client that wanted to see a house. I call, thinking I can show them the property in an hour or so. No, they are sitting in front of the house and want to see to see it "right now". Well, the property is forty five minutes away from where I'm at so I suggest they go get a cup of coffee because it's going to be a little while. I throw on a different shirt, give my hair a lick and a promise and head out the door. I get there and they are not there. They arrive fifteen minutes later.

They're a very nice older couple looking for a winter get-a-way from their home in Denver. The house they want to see is in a somewhat seedy part of this little town. They picked it because it had a nice fireplace in the pictures. And only cost $30,000. They seemed a bit shocked with the bars on the windows. Needless to say they didn't put in an offer.

So I head back home, because now I have to pick up my boy from school. I get there with enough time to sit in front of the school for about twenty minutes with a book. It is the most peaceful time I will have all day.

I got back home and started cleaning my fish tank (again). I got thirty gallons of disgusting water pulled out of the tank before the phone started ringing. The first call is from a lender on a property that has been in escrow since December 8th. Two months ago and we're still trying to get it through. It's not my buyer's issues, it's the bank and their underwriting department. And this phone call is just one of the dozens I have gotten from this lender, always asking for "just one more thing". At least this time, the lender was saying we finally got approval, we "just need a few more things". Most importantly, it's going to cost my client more money. The bank is demanding a mold inspection by a certified mold inspector. Another several hundred dollars is required. I got off the phone with the banker and call my client to give him the news. He's not thrilled, but he's a good guy and he just wants to get into his house so he agrees.

I call the banker back to let him know to go ahead and order the mold inspector. I want to follow up the call with an email, but I get side tracked by another client. A client that has already gotten fairly pissed off that the offer we have sent in has not yet been submitted to seller because the listing agents office is being super picky about what is being submitted. I tell this client that they still want "one more thing" and he explodes. Ex. Plodes. At me. Because I am on the other end of the phone. My attempt to keep this conversation directed to what we can do goes unheeded. He tells me he's going to call the other agent and "get it straightened out". I try to suggest that might not be such a great idea but he hangs up on me. Seriously? Who does that?

In a somewhat bad spot, I call my team leader, Scott and ask him how much trouble I'm going to be in with our broker. He laughs and says "Welcome to real estate. Get used to it." He also assures me that our broker will back me up unless I do something unethical which I have not so I'm fine. When I hang up with him I call my client back. He apologizes for yelling at me but says he's done dealing with this house. He still wants to work with me though. I thank him for that, but inside I sigh deeply and layer on some skin thickener. I'm going to need it. I finally hang up the phone at 5:55 pm.

As soon as I hang up, I start making food for Master J. Mister C comes home and starts wondering where his dinner is. I haven't had a chance to think about that yet. Thankfully I had shrimp thawed out already. A quick saute with garlic and some angel hair pasta and fifteen minutes later we have a decent, healthy meal.

My phone rings again. I look down and it's my client again. What else can he yell about? I answer with a smile, as I usually do. He sounds humble and says that his wife wants the house. He'll get me the paperwork I need tomorrow.

I think I feel a tic coming on.