My husband bought a bar for our house. Like, he bought a huge, actual bar complete with cushy barstools and two guys named Norm and Cliff to occupy our family room. The bar was supposed to replace the eye sore of little tables he set up for himself in the living room, but instead, he left all that junk there and plopped this new, giant bar into the family room, thus squeezing the three kids and me into a little space just big enough for us to curl into balls and cry. He did this after taking over: the entire master bathroom, both master closets and every drawer in our bedroom. I share the bathroom with our three daughters - an area he sold me as, "a lady retreat!".
The bar thing pushed me over the edge. He wants a bar? Fine. Get a bigger house. After some hemming and hawing and pushing around furniture, we realized last Sunday that we just don't have enough square footage for
the egos in this house our hobbies, so we need to move. Again. Right then and there, we set a budget and cracked open the interwebs, found some houses we liked, spotted an open house in our school district and walked out the door.
It's been a few years since I shopped for a house, so I forgot about the dog and pony show buyers have to do to "qualify" themselves. Strut! Walk! Show! Face!
To be treated well at an open house, you have to dress up. Get your jewelry on. You have to get the car washed and put the kids in School Clothes so you can look like a real buyer. If you don't, realtors will pretty much shove you out the door. I guess without our weekly bath or our wedding jeans on, our family looks like a brood of hillbillies because the realtor really didn't like us at her open house on Sunday.
I walked in the door and this woman rushed over to me, blocked me with her body and said, "who are you?"
Who am I?
Well, nobody. I was here to see the house, which according to the website and the sign out front and the basket of booties sitting by the door, was a real estate open house. To be sure, I asked if it was open.
"Yes. But who are you?"
Um. Jenna? A lady who lives around here who needs a different house in this same school district, looking for something at this price point with this number of bedrooms and hopefully on this block because I've been eyeing this street since 2012? I mean, we did get an offer this week on our rental property in the city and have a closing date set for next month, so we can really kind of go ahead and check out an open house. No?
"Oh, well then, come right in."
It just pisses me off that since I didn't preen myself up like Liz Taylor going to the prom or flash any status symbols, the realtor didn't take me seriously. Hasn't she learned by now that the things people adorn themselves with have nothing to do with their ability to buy other things that don't fit on their bodies?
As a former salesperson myself (cars, advertising, girl scout cookies) I can tell you, "never judge a book by its cover" is not just a saying. I've sold expensive things to people with farmer's tans and been stunned by the credit reports of people dripping in Gucci. Some rich people look rich. Some poor people look poor. Some poor people look like rich people and vice versa because in a credit card/cubic zirconia economy, it's impossible to tell who is a serious buyer of anything.
This means some medium people look like white trash and that's probably where I come in because I was technically wearing a pajama top at this open house. (What, it was black!) I still don't know how I'm supposed to answer the question "who are you?" Maybe she was hoping for people who are People who say things like, "Don't you know who I am?!"
When you qualify a buyer, you can't do it by what they are wearing or carrying. It's not just rude, it's unreliable. Ask about their time frame of purchase. Ask about their needs. Ask about their goals. Shoot, just ask for their email because if they don't want to give it to you, they sure as hell aren't buying this house.
Being a salesperson myself and married to one, it makes me absolutely cringe to even be writing this right now. In fact, salespeople are my favorite breed of human. We like to talk, we're fun. Our mistakes don't even kill people. One of the worst parts of my job selling cars was dealing with people treating me like "the bad guy". I cried at my desk a few times after dealing with particularly defensive, nasty buyers. I HATE IT when people are painted with a broad brush, even realtors.
I'm just saying this particular thing that happened to me Sunday is the exception that proves the rule about salespeople. It's that one bad apple that gives the bunch a bad name and that apple was hosting the open house I went to last weekend.
Maybe I should just learn to love living in a man cave. Cheers?
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