Readers and clients often ask me, “All that crazy stuff you write about on your blog – does that really happen? Seems kinda far fetched.”
Well, this story unravelled as I told my client how I’d write aaaall about it on my blog…
Last week, April 1st represented three things: it was Friday after a long and labourious week, it was my good friend Jess’ 29th birthday, and it was also April Fool’s Day.
I had a full slate of appointments on what would ordinarily be a slow day, and my afternoon was spent with my client, Sara, looking at houses in the west end.
Sara is one of my best and most favourite clients, as she is currently embarking upon her third real estate transaction. This time around, she and Andrew are looking for a starter-home in the west end; specifically Bloor West Village, High Park, Roncesvalles, and maybe, just maybe, Parkdale.
With Andrew away on vacation, Sara and I set out on Friday afternoon to view four houses all within a reasonable distance of one another, and we figured the job could be accomplished inside of an hour.
I often feel that I’m blessed with having some of the best clients one could ever hope for, and I’m constantly amazed at how the personal/professional lines often blur when I really get to know my clients, and vice versa.
Two weeks past, I sat in a unit in the Candy Factory with my client and her best friend and the three of us talked like old pals for an hour as we sat in “some guy’s” living room, trying to get a feel for the space and the lifestyle.
I was lucky that on this past Friday, I found myself in a predicament with one my clients who I know well enough to make small talk with for an hour…..while the owner of the house drove over to rescue us…
Let’s start from the beginning…
After viewing two of the four houses on our schedule that day, Sara and I pulled up to a house in Parkdale with high hopes. The property had been completely renovated, but still kept a lot of its original character and charm.
I unlocked the front door, went inside, and took my shoes off.
I placed my leather “man-folio” on the dining room table and began to thumb through the home inspection.
Sara made a b-line for the newly renovated kitchen, and we explored the main floor of the home.
The back of the house had a small, curious extension that contained a small two-piece bathroom and exited to the backyard through a rustic old door. We looked through the stained-glass and remarked that the backyard served its purpose – it was large enough for a BBQ, a six-person table, and perhaps a “conversation set.”
We opened the door and marched down the back steps to investigate; poking our heads into the garage to find, well, that it was a garage…
But upon re-entering the house, that is when the adventure started.
Sara tugged on the back door and said, “It’s stuck.”
“What do you mean it’s stuck?” I asked. “Do you mean it’s stuck, or do you mean it’s locked.”
“Oh, yeah, I guess it’s locked,” Sara said.
She turned around with a smile and said, “Too bad this isn’t an April Fool’s Day prank.”
“What? Is it?” I asked.
I assumed at that point that this was a prank, and that was her way of breaking the news to me, yet she stood there looking around for a solution.
She then took out a set of keys, and I thought “Thank God! She had the keys all along.”
She jingled the keys a bit and tried it in the lock and then said, “It won’t fit. I was hoping this would work.”
“Hoping what would work?” I asked, and she replied, “Well, I thought maybe I’d try my own house key!”
Oh my God. Were we really locked out?
“Sara! Be serious for a moment!” I feigned with a laugh. “Are we locked out? Do you have the keys?”
She told me, “No, I don’t! You’re supposed to have the keys! You’re the Realtor! I swear – I’m not playing an April Fool’s Day joke!”
I swore she was. She had to be!
I said, “Okay, well, I can walk around to the front of the house and open it from there.”
Sara and I were both in our socks, having done the polite thing and taken off our shoes at the front door, and I assumed a little mud on my socks was all that stood in my way of a solution.
But then Sara said, “Oh boy. You won’t believe our luck, but, well, I locked the front door from the inside when I came in! The door wouldn’t close and the wind kept blowing it open so I locked it from the front! What are we gonna do?”
I was waiting for her to say, “April Fool’s,” but it seemed that it wasn’t forthcoming.
I looked around the side of the house, and sure enough, there was no path to the front. There was a rickety old fence next to the neighbour’s driveway, and no way to the front of the house!
But even if we did make it to the front of the house, what were we going to do?
The back door was locked.
The front door was locked.
And the keys were inside along with our shoes!
We walked along to the side of the house and took a look at the first obstacle: climbing over the fence.
We were both in our socks:
When I was younger, I climbed a LOT of fences! In fact, I prided myself on the fact that there wasn’t a fence I couldn’t climb!
But now I was thirty years old, wearing a full suit, and standing in my socks.
And just to complicate matters, I had a laser taken to the heel of my foot the day before to try and cure the latest in a never-ending rash of sports injuries…
So I climbed up on top of the air-conditioner, and began to plan my assault. But suddenly, I was jolted by somebody saying, “Hey! What are you doing?”
I looked up and saw another guy in a suit, and he asked, “Are you the owner?”
“No,” I said, “Are you?”
“No,” he said. “I’m here to show the property. I’m an agent.”
“Oh,” I said. “Well we were here to see the property as well, but we’re locked out and the keys are inside the house.” I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time.
“Well I have an appointment,” he said, as if I were just a snotty receptionist refusing to book a showing and not just a stupid agent who had locked himself out of the house.
“Well,” I replied, with little care at this point, “I hear they’re having an open house on Saturday and Sunday from 2-4PM.”
That’s when he exited, stage right.
So I went back to climbing over the fence, in my suit, with no shoes, and I hopped over top and landed right on my sore heel with a “thud.”
It might not look tough, but under the conditions, it was!
See – no shoes!
With a background in gymnastics, Sara whipped over that fence with ease and made me look like a geriatric trying to sit down for 4PM apple sauce.
But with no shoes, we now had to negotiate the neighbour’s driveway which was filled with debris – including an old door that left shards of glass all over the ground:
I looked at the obstruction and couldn’t help but think of John McClane from Die Hard, picking shards of glass out of his feet in the bathroom sink in Nakatomi Towers:
Okay, so I’m no Bruce Willis.
I wasn’t being chased by guys with machine guns as I ran barefoot through broken glass.
But it was still more than I bargained for when I got up that morning!
Sara and I were now standing in our socks on the sidewalk on a very quiet, very quaint street in Parkdale, and everybody that walked by couldn’t help but take a look at our footwear, or lack thereof.
We tried our luck with the front door, but our efforts were futile.
We were locked outside of a house that didn’t belong to us, and our shoes were in the front hallway!
I called the listing brokerage and explained our predicament, and the receptionist could not stop laughing. She paused for a brief moment, but then chuckled for another twenty seconds before she said, “I’ll call the owner.”
We were told that the owner was thirty minutes away and he would have to come and open the door for us, so Sara and I had no choice but to stand on the pavement and wait.
And then wait some more.
We chatted about life, real estate, and real estate as it pertains to life, and like everybody else – she told me that I work too much and I should take at least one day per week to myself. It’s amazing how well some of my clients get to know me.
I told her my story about my “worst clients of all time” from a few months back, and she told me about a co-worker of hers that just moved into CityPlace. I spared her my rant…
About forty-five minutes later, a car pulled up and I prepared my “I’m so stupid; I’m so sorry” speech, but the owner turned out to be the nicest guy in the world. He apologized to us for the fact that the back door locked automatically!
We went back inside and toured the rest of the house, and of course – I put the house key in my back pocket.
We decided to pass on the house, although it had nothing to do with being locked outside, hopping fences, dodging debris, and waiting on the sidewalk like morons.
If you work long enough in this business, incidents like this become common place.
Many of my clients find me via this blog and ask me “Do all these stories on your blog really happen?”
Well, I guess if we work together long enough, you just might find yourself being a part of one of the stories and reading about yourself the next day…