Memorable Appointments And My Safety As A New York Real Estate Agent
Memorable Appointments And My Safety As A New York Real Estate Agent
I want to share some of my more memorable appointments that were either comical or a bit scary. And I am sure there are other agents out there that have similar stories.
Slow Driving Car
When I first started working as a real estate agent you probably should understand I had just moved to New York from Alabama. So you can only imagine the culture shock. I love New York but it is quite different in terms of friendliness. In Alabama (at least from my own experiences) it is not uncommon to make eye contact with complete strangers and say "Hey", "Hello", "How are you?", or simply make conversation. But here in New York I have noticed strangers don't typically make small talk much less eye contact. And one day when I was out in the Bronx showing a buyer a few properties the funniest thing happened.
My buyer and I were waiting for the light to change so that we could walk across the street. And as we were waiting I remember this car slowly going by us and being that the guy in the car was driving very slowly and staring at us I felt the best thing to do was wave and say "Hello". But my buyer (hahaha) did not agree with my reaction. He threw up his arms to push mine down and said "You are not in Alabama". I was like "What?!?" and then looked at the guy in the car had a confused look in his eyes and drove away quickly. My buyer said "we don't do that here". Seriously????
People in Bed
Another rather comical situation was one day when I was taking a buyer out to look at a home about two years ago. As we were walking through the home and entered the bedroom there was a couple sleeping in their bed and when we saw them and they saw us they simply threw their bed sheets over their head and told us to ignore them. I responded by saying something like "Oh my goodness...I am sorry. We had an appointment and were given the code and they told me we were all good to show". To my surprise the people in the bed laughed and said "We knew you were coming. Just ignore us". HAHA. So funny. And I think the appointment was set for like 2PM. Never did I think I would be walking in on people sleeping.
People In the Basement
Fortunately this next story turned out okay but it could have turned out bad for me. I was lucky and I know it.
When I first got into real estate I would feel bad if I did not know a property before I showed it. I thought I was supposed to know every property. So before this one appointment I went to the home early to go check it out. I remember I walked the entire home by myself and when I was heading into the basement I heard music. And foolishly I wanted to see what was going on. The home vacant and no one supposed to be in the home. So I continued down the stairs and followed the music around the corner and into a room where I found about 4 homeless men sitting around a radio talking and eating some food. I froze. I had no idea how I was supposed to react when one of them said "Who are you?" I said I was a real estate agent and my clients wanted to see the home. One of the men responded and said "We should leave then, right?" I of course said "Yes" and hurried upstairs and out of the house. I was a little shocken up. I was about an hour early for my appointment so when I got outside I ran to my car and about 10 minutes later I watched the men leave the home and walk down the street.
Someone One Told Me They Wanted To Bite Me
Then another appointment that fortunately turned out okay was with a potential seller I met leaving the local court house. We made an appointment for me to meet him the next day. I went and we went out for lunch first. Innocent enough and then went around to local shops where he introduced me to some people. I thought. Man this is great. Networking!!!! Then it was time to go check out his place. We got to the building (It was a commercial property with 4 units up top). To get to the top units we had to go up this narrow stairway. He opened the door and told me to go first. I laughed and said "No, you first". He laughed and said "No I insist". After going back and forth a few times I caved and went first. I wish I never did. I was always told to never enter a room first or an area first probably for this very reason.
As we were heading upstairs he was following me very close and said "When I get you to my empty unit, I want to bite you and tie you up". I thought I heard wrong so I said "WHAT?" And to my surprise he repeated himself. When I got upstairs he was still talking but I was not listening. I started to knock on everyone's door in hopes someone would answer their door and distract him enough so that I could ran away. This lady answered her door and saw the man and looked at me funny as if she knew what was going on and pulled me into her place and closed the door. I honestly do not remember anything else. All I remember was eventually leaving and ignoring many of his phone calls. FREAKED ME OUT!!!! I should have called the police but did not. I felt like I was to blame and did not want a lecture. That I know was dumb.
What a Dirty Dump
I remember this other appointment I had one day with an investor because this place was filled with junk like no other place I had ever seen before. Immediately upon entering the premise I was stunned to see that there was a pathway for people to walk. On either side of this pathway was junk piled up to about my shoulders. I don't remember the place smelling but I was shocked. I remember I did not want to walk the property upstairs because the first stairs leading upstairs were held up by the junk and some of the other steps were missing. I told my buyers that going upstairs was too risky and that we should leave but they insisted on checking out everything. I can still see them going upstairs. It was a sight for sore eyes. Made me laugh. These investors ended up saying the home was in too bad of shape. I was surprised they could not tell this before they went upstairs. Made me laugh and I said "You think".
I am sure I could go on and on but I think those stories pretty much sum up the weird things I have seen while working and the moments that made me cringe or laugh. But all in all I would have to say that being in real estate is awesome, but it requires some safety precautions and requires people to follow their instincts. Something I have learned to do over the years.
Safety Tips That I Now Follow
Never meet a stranger for an appointment without meeting them first in public.
Never walk into a room first. Let the client/customer walk into the room or area first.
Never host an open house alone.
Don't park my car in a manner that will be difficult to leave if needed to get out fast.
If I think a situation is not safe don't risk the danger...turn around and walk away. Trust my instincts.
Have a log of places I go that is shared with someone else just in case (I put all my appointments in a Google Calendar that I share with my husband with the clients name and contact info).
Do not make appointments to meet people at night.
Don't walk a home that appears to be unsafe.
Keep a flashlight and tennis shoes in my car at all times in case I need to go into a home that appears to be falling apartment. And when needed bring gloves and a mask (seriously this is something I have had to do numerous times).
Don't wear expensive jewelry.
Leave purse in car.
But of course there are more things I could do to ensure safety. And reading up on it or discussing safety tips will help me figure out other things I can do to protect myself so that I do not become a victim like other agents.
J. Philip Real Estate is one of Westchester County's premier independent brokerages. Founded in 2005, the firm has grown from a single broker to a strong organization of well over 30 associates despite the housing downturn. The team's commitment to results and client advocacy, as well as our focus on technology and innovation, have positioned us as the "go to" brokerage for Westchester buyers and sellers.