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Adventures in Real Estate

Did you know Real Estate is one of the most popular topics of discussion at cocktail parties and other get-togethers? Perhaps that’s because it’s a common denominator among all guests (everyone lives somewhere, right?) Or maybe it’s because there always seems to be at least one real estate agent in the room. But trust me: The stories agents tell each other when you’re not around are far more interesting.

Don’t get me wrong. The agents I know and associate with are absolute professionals. We don’t share confidential client info or “speak out of school.” But, like every other business, we all have stories of crazy occurrences and uncomfortable situations when we may not have come off looking our best; stories just begging for a sympathetic ear.

You can probably guess the most common disaster: Getting locked out of a property at which you’ve scheduled open house in 20 minutes. Or locking yourself out on the balcony of a property because the key ring in your hand doesn’t include a key to the patio door. Crazy agent? No. Crazy seller? No. Usually it’s because the door now locking you out is one the sellers never used and only locked after they’d handed the property over to you.

I’ve been in the real estate business for over fifteen years now and have found myself stranded on a balcony or a rooftop more than once. But the more time you spend in this complex business, the more savvy you become. So, anytime I’m showing a property, there are three things I make sure are in my pockets – not in my hands:

  1. Fully charged cell phone
  2. Keys to the property
  3. Keys to my car

If you’re a real estate agent, these three items help protect you from both danger and embarrassment. If you’re not a real estate agent, don’t be afraid to ask yours if they have all the keys and their cell phone before you walk through a door that could lock behind you.

Another smart move for agents is to let a spouse, partner, friend or business associate know which properties you’re showing and when. (It’s a safety thing).

Once upon a time I had a beautiful listing in the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco. The condo was absolutely fantastic; primarily due to a fabulous rooftop deck that was easily accessed by an elevator in the boutique-sized building. It had bridge to bridge views, a built in BBQ kitchen, dining table with chairs and chaise lounges. When I went up to check the deck before my open house, I took the elevator to the top floor and stepped up to the door that opened outward for access to the deck. It was heavy and tended to stick a little, so I pushed it – hard – and watched it rebound to slam shut behind me.

Of course, I didn’t know this door had its own separate lock with its own separate key; a key that I hadn’t been given. So, I did what all cool-headed professionals do. I called another agent. Being the awesome partner she is, Bethany Patten left our other listing, ran to her car and came to my rescue.

Which reminds me: Number 4 on the list of items you want in your pocket (figuratively speaking) is a fabulous business partner.

Have your own real estate story? I’d love to hear it. (Especially if it’s really embarrassing). Please share it in the Comments section below.

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Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini

Lee Ann Monfredini is the founder of 360Women and a life-long advocate of women’s issues, political activism, social volunteerism, organizational accountability and personal responsibility. A graduate of the University of San Francisco with a degree in Non-Profit Management, she’s not only served on the boards and executive teams of some of the most respected health organizations in the Bay Area, but built a successful second career as one of the most respected realtors in the market. She can be reached at leeann@360women.net.

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