Horror Story Pg13

Let me tell you a brief little horror story, designed to convince you to do your homework thoroughly before you show a property. It is embarrassingly true.

I was working with a couple from Los Angeles with whom I had made contact as a result of our Chamber of Commerce prospecting program. Both were executives in a large company. They were articulate, affluent, and an absolute delight to work with. Their daughter, who was a nurse, was moving to our city to work in the local hospital. They were interested in locating a duplex or fourplex for her to live in and as an investment for them.

The choices in our small town were limited, but there were four properties I thought might have potential. Far and away my first choice was a beautiful duplex that had recently come out on multiple listing. I had visited it when it was brand-new a year or so earlier, and it was classy—just like the people from Los Angeles.

The showing instructions said that no appointment was necessary and that the keys were in the mailbox. The three of us arrived and I looked in the mailbox. No keys. "Maybe they put them under the doormat," my resourceful prospect volunteered. He was right.

I let us in and it was apparent I had made the right choice. They were dazzled. It was exactly what they were looking for. You just love moments like that, when it all comes together.

"Oh, it even has a wood stove!" the wife says. Wood stove? I didn't recall the listing saying anything about a wood stove. I got nervous and start checking other features against my listing book. "We may have a little trouble here folks," I announced as I ran out to the front door to check the house number. "We are in the wrong duplex. The one across the street is for sale."

When I saw the blurry picture with the familiar street name in the multiple listing entry, I incorrectly assumed the duplex was the nifty one I had visited earlier. (The one across the street was not nifty.)

The story does have a happy ending, because we found another property that fit my prospects' needs. They never even told my broker about my shortcomings as an address finder—but if the tenant had been home and had suffered cardiac arrest when three well-dressed intruders burst in on her, I would just about now be qualifying for a work-release program.

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