The Weird, the Wild, the Wonderful

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The people who help buy and sell homes see it all.

Every day they interact with clients who are experiencing what can be the most exhilarating and stressful financial transaction of a lifetime. They glimpse people's quirks, their tastes, their finances, and some of their most personal and awkward moments.

And then there are the animals. Lots of animals. Here, some real estate industry veterans share a few on-the-job stories.

-- Dina ElBoghdady, Washington Post staff writer


"I was meeting a client for the very first time at a house that was under construction. To get in, we had to climb a board propped up against the house. He must have upset a bee's nest on his way in because when we got into the foyer, bees were swarming all around him, attacking him. They were going up his shirt, and he was yelling at me: 'Get them out! Get them out!' So I'm reaching up his shirt, batting at the bees, and then they start going up his shorts. He had to strip down to his boxers. It was awful. It was also the most interesting first meeting I'd ever had."

-- Susan D. Fadoul

W.C. & A.N. Miller Realtors, McLean

Full Disclosure

"A long time ago, I sat in on a settlement. The buyers, a married couple, were signing the final loan application. The wife got to what we call the obligations page, where all the buyers' debts are listed. Normally, most people just sign it, but she paused to read it and spotted her spouse's alimony and child-support obligations. She questioned this and he said, 'I thought you knew.' She just turned red in the face and said, 'I never even knew you were married before!' She got up from the table and walked out. That delayed the deal a day or two. We redid the loan in his name because he qualified on his own. I don't know what happened to the marriage."

-- Ray Hrabec

SunTrust Mortgage, Vienna

Dark Side of Paris

"I worked on this house that was absolutely crazy. It was owned by an elderly gentleman, who said he'd attended design school in Paris. The floor was black and white checkered. There was red shag carpeting on the spiral staircase, old chandeliers and gold fixtures everywhere. Then there was the toile wallpaper. . . . It looked like the house threw up. I was micromanaged every step of the way. He didn't want to put much money into revamping it, and he argued with me about color theory. I won part of the battle. I stripped the carpet and cleaned up the wood floors. I took the wallpaper down and painted the walls a soft white. He absolutely would

not budge on the checkered floors."

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