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As Long as We Remember...

March 19, 2006

Researching the Market - Everywhere

Tom McLaughlin

Humor by Tom McLaughlin

Real Estate? Will the bubble burst? Is it bursting? Is Realtors heaven descending into trailer parks? Will they soon be on welfare sitting on Market Street with a sign "Will Work for Leads?" I decided to find out.

The first lady I talked to I will refer to as bosom woman. She is a Realtor in Georgia. I telephoned after searching the Internet and saw her picture. I flew down there to interview her. (That should disguise the location!)

I met her at the office and she wore tight black jeans; so tight the varicose veins made ridges in them. She had on a very low cut blouse proudly displaying her very ample (insert any adolescent term here).

In the deep canyons of her cleavage, rested Fort Knox. Gold chains, crosses, and other figures (I didn't get THAT close) nestled and sparkled distracting me and I assume other male customers. For me it was taking notes. For a male customer, he may have been surprised that he had purchased a home a few hundred thou more than he intended.

"People don't know how to price their homes," she wailed. "They all think their home is worth a fortune!" she whimpered. "Why, I spent the last three months in Monaco and only one of my homes sold," she complained bitterly.

"Don't you have to hold open houses, call people and prepare newspaper advertisements," I asked gently.

"No! Homes just sell themselves," she countered. They used to, I thought.

My next interview was in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, in a new subdivision of luxury homes under construction. I had an appointment and walked into the double-wide sales trailer festooned with "Open" and "For Sale," notebook in hand.

I was given a balloon and told to grab a bag lunch sitting on the table. Suddenly, in came about 30 other people and a woman clearly from the old "Howdy Dowdy Show," or for those much younger (which now, for me, is everybody) Katie Couric on more uppers. (I can't imagine her reading the evening news).

Then, she gleefully told everyone to pop their balloons and reach inside. "One Flew East, One Flew West" I thought looking for the men in white coats. People reached in and found gift certificates to Starbucks and free Rodeo tickets (I guess that's where they go in South Dakota for fun).

Following this display, I learned I had become involved with a group of Realtors who were being introduced to the property. If I had been handed a balloon and given a bag lunch, that would be the last place I would take my client, damn the 3% base price commission.

I met with the sales manager and her boss, Susan and Susie. I never did get the two straight. They pumped me for information about real estate trends.

I told them the political adage "Everything is local" and they agreed. I had the distinct impression they were about to crack the whip over the sales associates and buck them off the bronco if they couldn't make the sales.

They had this glint in their eyes similar to a mountain lion just before the kill. They told me absolutely nothing about their sales except everybody better come to get the good locations overlooking the tumbleweed before it moves.

I left and had to make sure I still had my family jewels.

I decided real estate sales were fine for those agents who had continued to work hard through the good times but those who slacked off would be moving to the slums - so to speak.

Woodsboro - Walkersville Times
The Morning News Express with Bob Miller
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