Spring Break Week

The girls are off school this week, so unfortunately we have to parent more than the usual minimum wage work ethic. We’re at the beach, getting the condo, that I convinced Real Estate Dad we should buy, ready for the summer rentals.

The entire process of buying the condo was quite a saga. For anyone who doesn’t have my blog posts memorized, this was the property purchase where the listing agent went all Sybil-menopausal at the closing table because her commission was wrong. We sat there with our jaws on the floor, as she told anyone who would listen, how she gets 100% of her commission. We patiently waited for her to realize we didn’t have keys to the condo she just sold us. We waited in vain. She was too busy lamenting the woes of her commission check to give a rat’s tiny ass about anyone else. I really hate other Realtors® for giving us a bad name. I also hate having to put that stupid R in the circle, but if I don’t, the NAR will email me tomorrow saying that I’m improperly using their trademark. No, I’m not kidding.

The post script to the condo story is that at Christmas, I went to visit clients at the SW Waterfront with a little holiday gift and they asked me how my year had been. They knew from Facebook that I was in the path of the Logan Circle murder a few minutes prior to when the jogger was murdered last fall, and that it was about enough for me to pack everyone up and get out of dodge. I told them we had just bought a condo in Rehoboth, and that having an escape plan made me feel better. They said, “Oh our neighbors just sold a condo in Rehoboth. They don’t live here full time, they come down on weekends from Frederick.”

I said, “Their names don’t happen to be….” and sure enough, my clients live next door to the people who sold their condo to us in Rehoboth. It was even wilder for my clients since they already had all sorts of coincidental connections with their neighbors. DC and Rehoboth are both small towns it appears.

The other post script to the story is that anyone who has an Airbnb or rental property has to be insane. I’m convinced of it. I have pulled pillow after pillow out of the closets here, and they are all stained, half with blood, half with mysterious fluids. I suppose I’m a believer in my mother’s standard of cleaning: It’s not enough bleach until your hands crack.

Anyway, this week is shaping up to have some real interesting conversations with the girls. I’m not sure if these exchanges happen all the time or if maybe I should listen more.

M, to Real Estate Dad: Your dad was our best best Papou.

Real Estate Dad: You never met him. He died before you were born.

M: I know, but he was our best best Papou.

Me: Uh....how can he be better than the Papou you have that's ALIVE?

M: MOM!!!

My dad is gonna be pissed. I suppose that’s a repercussion of grandparenting solely via FaceTime.

Last night I forgot the Golden Rule with the girls - control the amount of sugar they ingest. They went off the rails crazy. Real Estate Dad and I finally had enough, so we told them they were being annoying and we were going to lock them up in the condo and go out for a drink.

M: You can’t leave us alone.

Me: Why not?

M: Someone could take us. You are parents, you should know that.

Real Estate Dad: No one is going to take you, all you have to do is act like you’re acting now and they will leave.

Me: Or they will take you but they will bring you back in a few minutes.

M: YOU CAN’T LEAVE US ALONE.

M starts to cry.

Me: Oh yeah we can!

Real Estate Dad: You better start behaving.

M, still crying: “NO DON’T LEAVE US!”

Me: Please, have we ever left you alone?

M: No.

Me: Exactly.

Chubs: You left me home alone.

Me: Well, err, I ONLY DID THAT ONCE AND I DIDN’T KNOW YOU WERE IN THE HOUSE!

Man. That was over a year ago and she’s still holding a grudge.

At least the corgis are having a good time.

Deeelicious treatz wash up right down there! Nom nom nom.

Deeelicious treatz wash up right down there! Nom nom nom.

A Tale of Three Emails

It was the best of days, it was the worst of days, it was the Realtor® of wisdom, it was the Realtor® of foolishness, it was the new mom of belief, it was the new mom of incredulity, It was the Amish in light, it was the Amish in darkness, it was a corgi rescue with hope, it was a corgi rescue with despair…

I started my afternoon of Friday, the 25th of January, at a Committee Meeting at our local Real Estate Board. I’m on a committee responsible for slapping the hands of bad, foolish and incompetent Realturds. I’ve thankfully moved on from my three years of service on the Grievance Committee to the next level. How could anyone forget the Grievance Committee? That’s the one that turned my hair as gray as it is now.

Three of the most brain dead people in the world were on the committee last year. It was truly unbearable to be in the same room with them. They amused and infuriated me the most when they would announce that the entire time we were voting on a specific case - through 17 articles of our Code of Ethics and 100 some odd standards of practice, that they were voting on a different case than the rest of the room was voting on.

Here’s a photo from our last meeting.

130925-dumb-dumber-cheat_bwjdd5.jpg

Back to today’s meeting. Because today’s meeting and this year’s Committee will be nothing like last year.

When I walked into the room I was greeted by a few dozen unfamiliar faces, at least one of whom thought it was a good idea to swim in a pool of cologne this morning. I choked through two hours of legalities. When I got bored, I made the mistake of checking my phone where I quickly learned that all hell was breaking loose in various corners of my world.

In my work email, I found this gem, addressed to me:

We have several questions in regards to the building / condo association and are hoping that you can help. It is our understanding that you are very familiar with the building and unit itself. Any insight will be greatly appreciated. 

1. Is this unit is a condo or coop? What are the %'s for both in the building (can affect financing)?
2. What does the HOA/Condo Association cover?  
3. Any special assessments in the last 5 years?
4. Any information about why some units went condo, while others stayed coop?
5. Can the purchaser install a washer/dryer within the unit?
6. Does this unit come with storage?
7. Is there an underlying mortgage for the Coop portion of the building?
8. What entity covers the cost of new windows?
9. Are there any financing restrictions?
10. Are pets allowed?

We look forward to receiving your response. Thank you!

That email was from another agent. I had a whole lineup of possible replies, to include:

  • Why the f*ck are you asking me? Do your job and find out yourself!;

  • Do you see the guy who works at Burger King being pulled from the line at McDonalds, where he was just trying to get some fries, man, and the McDonald’s guy asking him to jump behind the counter and cook the burgers for them while they sit there and collect their paychecks for his work? No? Good, don’t ask me to do that either.

  • #Loser

I told her I thought she had the wrong person. I gave her a chance to back away slowly. But, nope.

Have you listed and sold units within the building? We were informed by another agent that you had and that you were very familiar with the building... 

Is this bitch serious? Yes, let me go find the answers to these questions about your listing. I can’t wait to do your job so you can collect your commission! This time I was a bit more clear in my response.

You need to get this information from the management company or your client. It is not appropriate to ask another Realtor for this information who has no official role with the condo

She thanked me and told me to make it a great day!

Moving right along. Next up we’ve got my Yahoo email where all my Rue La La and various email subscriptions land. In that inbox is a post to one of the neighborhood mom message boards.

I am a single mother and I just gave birth , before this decision I have taught a lot and the only solution is to get the child a good ,caring and God fearing home. The child deserves nothing but the best and I will do everything in my power to see that the child is adopted . I don't care if you are single or married. I really want to bless a home out there who had not had the cry of a baby. I will really prefer a home where they have not had the cry of a baby or a home with a maximum one child looking forward for a second child. I am really sorry about my preference but I have made a lot of research about this. if you are seriously seeking to adopt, please send me a direct email.

I wrote to her because I couldn’t not write to her. Scam or not, I needed to go to bed tonight with a clear conscience. She hasn’t written back. But I’d totally take the baby. I mean, it’s not every day your neighborhood message board is offering a free baby.

Then I went to the rescue email. And this is where I find an email a woman just sent 20 minutes prior, that there’s a corgi at an Amish Mill Farm in PA that they are giving up. Here’s the thing with the Amish. When they say they are giving up a dog, you have to fire up your buggy right-that-very-second don’t-stop-to-pee because they can change their mind faster than electricity travels.

Ha ha. Oops. Those jokes never get old.

In all these conversations about said corgi, who has been bred over and over for puppies, who has been living outside when it’s below freezing, someone told me to buy one of their pies when I get there. Absolutely not. They may have infected it and I’ll catch their “I don’t give one iota about animals except for the money they can make for me” disease.

So, after spending the rest of my afternoon on the phone trying to figure out how to get this dog off this farm asap, finally I arrived home. Real Estate Dad was outside with the corgis. I bust out of the car with “I’VE GOTTA GET A CORGI TOMORROW IN PENNSYLVANIA AND I’M PICKING UP SOME CORGS IN FREDERICKSBURG IN THE MORNING AND I’M GOING TO BE DRIVING ALL OVER FOR THESE DOGS ARGH.” He’s used to having a manic wife. I chatted with him for a second, then walked up the stairs to our house when someone drives by and screams out the window “NICE ASS!” Real Estate Dad looked at me and I said, “I think they were talking to you.”

Time for this day to be over.

Where the Realtor Becomes the Client

I’m over this rain. It’s making everyone act like idiots. Today my work-wife and I were almost impaled by an umbrella some doofus was swinging around like Fred Astaire

This Real Estate Family was at the beach this past weekend because we had to finish off one of my crazy ideas from earlier in the summer. Flashback to June, as we are driving out to Rehoboth for our first beach weekend of the season. As soon as we started crossing bridges I said, "I'm in the mood to buy a house."

"Where?" Real Estate Dad asked. My parents had this condo in Florida when we were little and some of my best memories are sitting there at night, watching bad-Florida-cable and listening to the ocean. I said I'd be open to anywhere as long as we can hear the ocean.

We talked through coastal towns up and down the coast, ruling out places which were fated to be underwater in the next few decades or places that were too far to visit regular. Rehoboth for the win! Which isn’t bad news at all, three of us love it there. The other one of us loves Ocean City but we ain’t reliving your youth of trashy girlfriends and fleabag hotels, Real Estate Dad. So, the girls won this one.

The next morning we were looking at condos.

By noon we were writing a contract on a place which was so gross (to me) and in which I channeled my mother by saying, "This place is disgusting - It needs to be gutted." Real Estate Dad thought it was in good condition He’s either right and I’m a spoiled little brat, or he’s comparing it to his old Ocean City haunts.

Even though the place was on the market for a month and a half (a death sentence in DC,) there were somehow multiple offers. This apparently never happens in Delaware. They called for highest and best. Real Estate Dad and our agent suggested going to asking price. Pshaw. You people must be new here. You think I'm rolling over that quickly? I had a strategy, honed from working in this city of crazy. After I explained what I wanted to do, our agent said, "Wow, you are teaching me things, we never do this here." Real Estate Dad didn't want to lose the place.

Him: What if they have cash? It looks better if we offer full price.

Me: What if? Maybe they offered $100K less than we did.

Him: The sellers see the escalation though. They can just counteroffer a the max.

Me: That's not going to happen. They have to show the front page of the other contract. The escalation has to do its job otherwise the whole thing is bullshit.

We waited the rest of the day for a response. I wasn't mad. I wasn't on edge. I'd done this wait with clients before and while I know it's impossible to wait for a response from the seller, I also know that the more you contact them, the more desperate you seem. Real Estate Dad kept asking if I heard anything and I was like, Come on man, we gotta play it cool.

In the end, the sellers accepted our offer when the other offer capped out. We paid less than asking, we didn't waive the inspection, and we kept our financing contingency.

Throughout the entire negotiation and loan underwriting process, we were sort of astonished at how freaking slow people are. “Welllllp, this is lower slower Delaware.” Get it. Lower Slower Delaware. LSD. They even put it on bumper stickers.

It took 3 months to get this thing underwritten because we had to go through 3 different lenders. Each one would come back saying that the condo operates like a hotel and they couldn’t do the loan, whatever the hell that meant. Finally the loan was done and we went to closing.

Our agent was there and so was the listing agent. I liked her because she was playing with the girls. Then I stopped liking her real quick. I can turn on a dime like that.

Papers were signed, and everyone said “Congratulations!” Then we asked for the keys. Everyone looked at each other like, “Do you have the keys? I don’t have the keys.”

The attorney left the room and when he came back he foolishly handed the listing agent her commission check, first. And this my friends, is where the day took a dive.

Listing Agent: “This isn’t right.”

The lawyer sort of whispers. Then there’s math. Then there’s discussion about how she’s “capped out” at her company and she should be paid 100%.

The lawyer looks at us and says we don’t have to stay. We said we were waiting for keys to the house on which we just purchased. But we continued to watch this agent make a spectacle of herself. I texted our agent who was sitting right next to me and said, “Is she serious? I would never do this at the settlement table in front of clients.”

If she had a modicum of self-awareness she would have realized we were all shifting and whispering and she should have waited until we all left. But nope, she kept going.

She got on her phone. Lawyer said he will try to call to find the keys which was nice of him considering this isn’t his job. We thought she was calling to figure out who had the keys.

Nope. She’s calling her company to complain about how her commission check is wrong. Then she looks up as if we are going to agree or actually give a shit. She says, “I’ve maxed out at my company, I get 100% of my commissions.” Real Estate Dad is looking at her without a shred of sympathy and she still doesn’t get it. I mean, I’m sorry but if you’re doing so well that you maxed out your commissions at your multi-level marketing of a brokerage, then you really shouldn’t be hounding everyone for payment at the table. I’d like to think you can wait a couple days like the rest of us do.

We finally learned our keys were at an office across Rehoboth and we had to go fetch them ourselves. When we walked outside I said to Real Estate Dad, “This is why people hate us. This woman is why people hate Real Estate Agents.”

School, Corgis & Realtoring ~ Hitting Snags

I'll start with the good.

M: Mommy, when we say the Pledge of Allegiance at school, the Principal makes everyone wearing a hood take off their hood. Why?
DCREM: Because it's a sign of respect, and the Principal is right, people should take off their hats.
M: Then we sing the National Anthem.

I'm not sure why, but when M told me this, I was so happy I felt my smile spread slowly across my face. Like the Grinch.

It was news to me that they still say the Pledge of Allegiance in school but I'm pretty happy to hear that tradition is still going strong. M buzzes around the house singing the National Anthem and it's several kinds of awesome. Real Estate Dad said she learned it on "America's Got Talent" but M claims they sing it in school.

The littles are still in the trailer park. Or as the school calls them, "The Demountable Classrooms in the West Wing." Nah. They're trailers. In the parking lot. Trailer Park. Supposed mass-trapping of mice occurred this past weekend but the scores are in. Zero point Zero mice were caught. Now the mice story has evolved to "last year a child was bitten by a mouse." This, too, is becoming all kinds of awesome. There is not enough popcorn for this show.

And then, Realtoring this week. Yes I know that Realtoring is not a word! It is when stuff like this happens.

Some asshole obviously needs to borrow my Labelmaker. I love that Labelmaker.

Some asshole obviously needs to borrow my Labelmaker. I love that Labelmaker.

By the time I worked through each of those keys my clients could have had their loan underwritten. What a nightmare. I'm not sure who thought it was a good idea to toss that many keys in a lockbox. Jerks.

Then someone flew half way around the world to surrender a corgi to the rescue. No. Literally. Flew from Korea to surrender a corgi. A board member picked up said corgi at the airport, and not even like an hour later the prior owner wanted the corgi back so it could be given to her friend. All these conversations back and forth necessitated the "a lawyer is going to have to weigh in here." Lo and behold, one of our board members located a corgi-loving litigator who brings his corgi loaves to the office and lets them run around. Yes, this is really a thing. And we are loving it!

So this is what is currently making my world go round. Kids. School. Mice. Corgis. Keys. Real Estate. That's all I got for you.