I think it’s time for some more eye-candy, to get me—and you—through today. It's below.
What's the scariest and/or funniest thing that ever happened to you as a realtor? How about as a renovator? How about as an author?
I left this question until last, and worked my way through all the others first, because I had no idea how to answer it. Maybe it’s a lack of imagination on my part—although I don’t seem to lack imagination in other areas—but I swear to God, nothing scary, funny, or exciting ever happens to me. That’s why I write, see? So I can actually experience scary and funny and exciting things!
As a realtor... let’s see. There was that time with the sex offender and the parole officer. It sounds like a stupid joke, I know. And it pretty much is. Not very funny, either, except in retrospect and a rather ironic way.
We had this listing for a townhouse a client was trying to sell. It was in a desirable zip code, but not the best part of the neighborhood. Not the worst, either, though, so when a young single mother called and asked about it, we could say, with all honesty, that she’d probably be just fine living there.
(Note: realtors are not allowed to say whether a neighborhood is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or ‘safe’ or ‘unsafe’. Those things are subjective, and anyway, we don’t want to be sued later, after the client moves in and is robbed or raped or whatever. Because you really don't wanna hear, “But you said it was safe...!”)
The young woman was worried, though, so hubby agreed to meet her over at the townhouse and show it to her. It was about nine o’clock in the morning, the school bus had just gone past, and he was sitting on the steps waiting for the potential buyer and her small child to show up when a car screeches up to the curb, stops at an angle, and two men jump up and flat out run through the yard toward the house.
“Where is he?!” one of them yells.
Hubby, of course, having no idea what’s going on, says, “Who?”
Turns out they were looking for the tenant, who happened to be a paroled sex-offender. He was long gone, so our client ended up having to bag up and toss all of the guy’s belongings. The potential buyer got there too late to see any of the excitement, and then it turned out she didn’t like the place anyway, which was just as well, really.
There's the eye-candy. -------------->
Couldn't resist, sorry.
Renovating... there was this house hubby and I put an offer on. A run-down craftsman bungalow in a transitional area, I think the price was $44,000, which should give you an idea of the condition that it was in. Not real great, although not too bad, either. Nashville's still pretty affordable, for the most part. The place needed a total overhaul, of course, to the tune of 50K or so, but we were excited about it.
About a week before we were set to close, we went over there, for approximately the thousandth time, to gloat and discuss, for the thousandth time, what we were going to do to the place once it belonged to us. Only to walk in and find the living room ceiling on the floor, with a gaping hole up above.
The really funny thing, though, was when we said we wanted to back out of the deal and the owner tried to tell us the house wasn’t materially changed by the fact that the ceiling had fallen in.
No, not at all.
Of course I’ve found the occasional bloody knife or slab of raw meat sitting around, as well. Yes, I have. Really.
And writing... nothing exciting every happens when you’re writing. I scare myself with my research sometimes, although I don’t write about anything too scary, so I can avoid most of the really creepy stuff. That’s why the ripe dead body in Fatal Fixer-Upper is in the dark, by the way: Avery can’t see him, and that way I wouldn’t have to describe him in too much detail. I think I did a pretty good job with the pieces that didn’t fall off, though...
At signings, people are mostly nice. I did my first table-by-the-front-door, didn’t-sell-a-single-book signing this weekend, though. Before, bookstores have always set out chairs and had me do a little spiel to make people interested in the book I’m hawking. Not this time. They just showed me to the little table by the door, asked me if I wanted a drink, and that was it. I had the entire magazine section at my back, so I spent the time looking at DIY and home renovation magazines, to get ideas for the do-it-yourself tips in the next book. (I found a great tip for turning an old door into a porch swing, too, so it wasn’t entirely wasted.)
Anyway, I’m sitting there, making eye-contact with people walking in, and going back to my magazine when they walk past, when this guy stops. He looks around, sort of furtively, before he bends down. Voice lowered, to make sure no one can hear him, he hisses, “I’m sure you know this already...”
I smile politely.
“...but you should never do a signing where they won’t let you read.”
Yeah, no shit, Sherlock.
Hopefully that’ll cover it. Sorry I don’t have anything more exciting to share. I’d love to hear your scary and funny stories, though, if you have any. I’m sure exciting stuff probably happens to you...