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Saturday, April 1, 2017

EXPERT REALTOR and Other April Fools

  "The Internet is populated with self-professed experts."
                                                                    Doc Martin
A few years I was watching a reality show of some sort where the participants would be recognized for their knowledge or achievement of some sort. I remember a particular girl who was in her early twenties responded to the question as to why she deserved the recognition. She said something like "I earned it". She had lived; therefore she deserved to be deemed superior to all others. How arrogant, I thought!

One of my favorite Internet sites is Instagram. I use it to post new listings, open houses, and solds. I follow a lot Realtors and have learned a lot about how they promote their business using Instagram post. I have noticed that some agents have very healthy opinions about themselves and refer to themselves as being an EXPERT REALTOR. I am dumbfounded as to what an EXPERT REALTOR is. Is expertise achieved by extensive real estate education and certification or years and years of practical experience?  Is it reflection of active and sold listings? Or is it just punk arrogance as a real estate marketing ploy go to solicit new business?

Can one just proclaim oneself to be an EXPERT and get away with it? Think about it. Is a Realtor who markets himself as an EXPERT more liable than a non-expert if something goes afoul in a real estate transaction?  I do not have an answer for this, but my gut tells me that anyone who holds himself out to be an expert in any profession has a higher duty of care and performance than a normal practitioner.

On this April Fools Day I thought it would be fun to share some true and funny real estate stories.

Several years ago the Key West Association of Realtors  held its annual installation of officers dinner  at the Westin Hotel. After the gala was over and folks were making their exits there was a brew-ha-ha. (I know it's not spelled that way, but methinks it was the brews that precipitated what happened.) Two well known male Key West Realtors got involved in a bloody fist fight and wrestling match over a woman - not the wife of either man. Clothes got torn, there was at least one bloodied nose, and hotel property got destroyed. So much for professionalism.

A few years ago I was showing a recently built house which was leased to several young adults in Key West. The listing agent took me and my buyers into one bedroom where a young lady was sleeping. We quickly got out of there and moved into another bedroom where we stood several minutes discussing the house. I stress the word several because we were all shocked when a tall muscular young man wearing a black bikini emerged from the bathroom.

I met with a man to discuss listing his house a few years ago. We were standing in the master bathroom when I looked down into the sink and saw a dildo. If you have ever had a nightmare where you could not speak, you'll understand my inability to discuss listing the house.

Nearly twenty years ago I remember showing what used to be a gay male guest house located in the Meadows Area of Key West. A fellow agent from my office lived across the street from this guest house had warned me what to expect but I really did not expect to see what we encountered. I rang the doorbell, the front door opened, and the manger appeared totally naked and invited us inside. My potential buyers were a nice and normal straight couple from the midwest. We walked through the place not knowing what we might see next.

A couple of years later I showed an "All Welcome" guest house located near Duval Street. When we arrived at the pool we got to see a lot of old people wearing birthday suits. I stress the word old.

A few ago I went to a house in Mid Town to take photos for a potential buyer. I showed up the next day about ten minutes early.  The listing agent, who I will call Betty Lou, was standing in the street talking to four or five people about the house.  I presumed they were other potential buyers because one person had a camera who was taking photos of the area. I got out my camera and started snapping photos of the house from various angles. I moved to the front porch and took photos of the porch and the view from the porch looking across the street.  I framed the palm trees for best effect.

The other buyers were walking on the east side of the house toward the back. I walked toward Betty Lou who said "Hi, Gary. Go on inside and take your photos. The house is open." "It's open?", I asked. "Yes, go on inside" Betty Lou responded. So I walked back to the front door and walked inside. Betty Lou walked down the side of the house toward the rear. The house was very nicely furnished, but it had a horrible odor from years of cigarette smoke. I immediately liked the house despite the odor knowing that it go away after being cleaned and painted.

I walked over to turn on the lamp next to the sofa. Then I walked toward the dining room to turn on the overhead light fixture when a female voice said "I live here!"  Betty Lou had told me the owners were in town in our phone discussion the day before. She said the owners were supposed to leave by the time I arrived to take photos. I assumed Betty Lou got the timing incorrect and then wondered why she sent me inside when the owner was still there.

I touched the dining room light switch and turned on the light anyway. "I live here!" the female voice said again.  I responded "I'm sorry. Betty Lou is outside. She said to go inside to take photos."  The voice now had a body, the body of a smallish older woman who had emerged from the bedroom as she walked into the living area where she repeated "I live here!".  I repeated myself saying that Betty Lou had sent me inside to take photos. I said "She is showing other buyers the back of the house". The lady said "Betty Lou is selling the house next door!"  My complexion must have turned beet red. I felt like such a dummy. I reached over to turn off the dining room light and then the light by the sofa.  The lady stood her ground. She was not angry. "Miffed" would best describe her countenance.
I headed to the front door to make my exit. I said "Thank God you did not have a gun!"  The lady emphatically stated "My husband does!" whereupon I felt it best to get out of the house - quickly. (You know in Florida we have that 'stand your ground' law that gives people the right to kill people in their homes if they feel threatened.)

I exited and went outside to find Betty Lou who I told my little story. I was perplexed as to why she would tell me to go inside having seen me taking photos of the house, especially as I had initially walked toward her from the front porch of the wrong house. At first Betty Lou had a shocked expression on her face. She brought her right hand to cover her mouth and then she let out a chuckle. I thought it was funny too, but not that funny because I could have got my ass shot off.

I have been a Realtor in Key West since 1996. I think I do a pretty good job of helping my principals get deals done. Prior to moving to Key West I was an attorney and a banker in Denver. Later I worked for the Resolution Trust Corporation handing very large assets held by failed subsidiary corporations of failed savings and loan associations. I have had more years of experience making deals happen than some self-proclaimed expert Realtors have lived. If you are looking for a competent agent, please consider calling me, Gary Thomas, 305-766-2642. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties Key West

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Key West, Florida, United States
I first read about Key West in a magazine called "After Dark" sometime in the mid 1970's. But it wasn't until March 1984 that I made my first visit to the island that would become my home. I had two weeks for a vacation and reserved a room at Colours Guesthouse (now Marrero's Guest House) for one week. I thought that if I didn't like Key West, I could always go back to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale for the rest of my trip. But after a couple of days in Key West, that was no longer a consideration. But when I wanted to extend my stay for the extra week I found there was no room at the inn. The guesthouse owner did find me a room at LaTeDa, the infamous guesthouse/restaurant. That's a story I'll write another day. But those two weeks in Key West gave me the realization that I had found Paradise. Key West has been my home since 1993 and my only regret is that it took me so long to get here. I am a full time Realtor at Preferred Properties CRI. Let me help you find your new home or business in Paradise. Living in Paradise is not a slogan, it's a way of life.