experts: real estate column Friday, May 06, 2005

Chasing dogs and ladies in pj's

Pop Quiz: In what profession can you have a cat scratch you, a dog pee on your leather car seats and then bite you, the pet owner harangue you - and through gritted teeth, you have to keep smiling?

By Marty Douglas

By Marty Douglas

As published in REM - independent news and opinion for Canada's real estate industry.

Pop Quiz: In what profession can you have a cat scratch you, a dog pee on your leather car seats and then bite you, the pet owner harangue you - and through gritted teeth, you have to keep smiling?

If you answer within two seconds, it proves you're in real estate. It's a test; sort of like the one we devised to prove whether or not you're a Canadian. You're in the woods camping, lighting a Coleman stove. Does the little lever go up to light and down to burn, or the other way around? Not sufficient for CSIS, I'm sure but it works for me.

Back to the animal story. The tooth and claw episode was a part of a sales saga ending with me offering to entertain a pajama-clad lady while she did laundry at my home on a Sunday afternoon.

Our sales meeting echoed with laughter and groans of sympathy when we heard about the Perils of Pauline adventure, which started with our sales rep herding a dog and cat through a house during a building inspection. When confronted with an open door and a missing dog, it was of small comfort to learn later the dog was able to unlatch the door herself.

There followed the chase, first on foot, then by car, then the capture, the peed-on leather seat - on the plus side, apparently urine softens leather - the bite, the scratch and the second escape.

This was on a Thursday. By Sunday, the owner of the house had recovered from her pets' trauma and decided to do laundry. (Many of you are asking, "Where was her man just when she needed him most?" I'm not answering.) She had noticed her hair dryer wasn't working, but didn't connect the events until she tried to fire up the old Maytag.

Nothing.

Okay, it was working last week, what could have gone wrong?

She read the trouble-shooting guide.

"Is the appliance plugged in?"

"At any time were Realtors near the appliance?"

Based on the number of appliances Realtors have purchased over the years, from garage door openers to vacuum canisters, it's a fair question.

Call the Realtor. No answer.

Call the manager. That's where I come in. Hearing her predicament, I did what any of you managers would do - made a note to myself to remove me from the answering service call list.

We explored several solutions but it seemed this person was determined to spend her Sunday as she always did - in her pj's, doing laundry. Given that hers was broken and she didn't do laundromats, the next step seemed to involve my house. So I offered to send my wife over. Just kidding. I did offer our appliances.

But then I made a few calls.

The building inspector came up smiling and offered to go back to her house to see if he could help.

He did.

Hairdryer and washing machine were back online with one flip of the ground fault interrupter circuit, and my afternoon drool in front of the Scott Tournament of Hearts was out of danger.

Real estate - gotta love it!

Marty Douglas is the sales manager for Coast Realty Group (Comox Valley) Ltd., one of nine Coast Realty Group offices on Vancouver Island. He is a past chair of the Real Estate Errors and Omissions Corporation of B.C., the Real Estate Council of B.C., the B.C. Real Estate Association and the Vancouver Island Real Estate Board. 1 800 715 3999; fax 250 897 3933. Email mdouglas@island.net.




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