Everyone out of the pool
Two US real estate agents share their open-house tales
Jeannette Spinelli, Spinelli Residential Group, Keller Williams, Austin, Texas: This was about a year ago, in central Austin. It was a multi-hectare property with a 560sq m house. The open house was invitation-only, in the late afternoon, catered with wine and cheese.
Two young guys came in with a young woman, all in their early 30s. They were very casual, in shorts and T-shirts, and had the look of young tech entrepreneurs. I kind of lost track of them as I was mingling and greeting people, but all of the sudden I looked across the lawn and noticed that they were in the pool. The guys had taken their shirts off and were swimming and splashing around, and the girl was sitting with her feet in the pool. Not only that, but one of the guys was drinking a beer he had taken out of the summer kitchen fridge.
There were security cameras all over that property, and I knew the seller kept a close eye via her iPad during showings. My first thought was, “Oh my gosh, she is going to go ballistic.” I walked really quickly across the lawn and I said, “Excuse me, we cannot have anybody in the pool!”
One of the guys said, “I’m so sorry. I know this might seem unusual, but the only reason I would buy this house is to be in the back yard and use the pool with my friends. I wanted to go for a test run.”
“I can certainly understand, but the seller won’t,” I answered. I went and got them some towels and they dried off, put their shirts on and toured the house. The guy who spoke to me gave me his card before they left.
His name sounded so familiar, so I Googled him. It turned out that he was a well-known Austin entrepreneur. He did not buy the house but it ended up selling a week later for over $US6 million ($7.9m). Nancy Brennan, The Corcoran Group, New York: It was at the end of 2011, in Hudson Heights, a neighbourhood in Upper Manhattan overlooking the Hudson River. The apartment was listed for $US397,000, though it could easily sell today for $US700,000. It was a top floor, sunny twobedroom with a gorgeous view of the George Washington Bridge. I took a couple with two young boys to the first open house for this place, and we were the first people to arrive. We toured it for about 15 minutes. We went to the door to leave and for some reason we couldn’t open it. The listing agent came to the door and started playing with the locks. We tried and tried but we couldn’t get the door open.
We called the owner, who said to call the (building superintendent), but he was away from the building. He said he would try to find someone to help get us out. The agent and I tried to laugh it off; we didn’t want to panic anyone. The couple had planned to take their kids to the park, so fortunately they had lunch for them. We waited about an hour and a half, and finally a friend of the super arrived and was able to take a lock off the door and open it.
We never did find out why we’d been imprisoned in that apartment. We went down to the street and I figured, “Oh god, that just ruined it.” But once outside the wife turned to me and said, “I love this apartment.” No one else got to see it that day. They made a fullprice offer and got it. The first thing they did was change the locks.