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The stories agents tell their friends


Real estate agents enjoy insight into our lives; they know our plans and dreams for the future. They know intimately any life changing events that may have caused us to decide to sell or buy.

This means that these agents often go home with funny or touching anecdotes and lessons learned. They pick up experiences, become experts in their field and have bits of information they would share with friends and family that they would not necessarily share with you, their client.

Here are some of the funny anecdotes, industry experience or advice that agents have shared with friends, and now with us.

Please don’t put ugly in your home before I have to sell it


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Michelle Apperley, full title specialist of Seeff City Bowl, says that she has a dear friend with absolutely zero décor ability or taste. “When I was asked to sell the home I simply told the friend to rather not do anything to the home explaining that we will sell it as is,” she says. “Using the old adage of buyers wanting to personalise their new home came in handy in this case.”

There’s more than one way to skin a cat

Manny Testa, area specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Durban North and Umhlanga, shares the story of the clever agent with alternative techniques to sell a home fast.

“This agent does not make any appointments for viewings in the first week that the property is listed, instead she slots all interested persons into 15-minute appointments the next week,” he explains. “She then offers two agents from her agency a share of the commission if the house is sold to anyone viewing that day. The agents then help showing prospective buyers around, and buyers see throngs of people interested in the home.” Testa says this creates a definite buzz and competition amongst the serious buyers and the house sells quite quickly, at a competitive price, as a result.

Real estate is a messy, dangerous business


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Clients with guns who are not afraid to use it, aggressive potbelly pigs and tetanus shots… These are not scenes from a western. Dawn Bloch, area specialist for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in Zwaanswyk, Lakeside and Tokai, chalks these up as some of her most memorable experiences as an agent.

“I have had a client indicate to me that he has previously threatened an estate agent with a gun to leave his property. Luckily, he did not threaten me,” she says. “Another client said ‘jokingly’ that he would bury me in the bottom of his garden if I did not sell his house within 35 days. I sold his house at over R10m in 32 days despite the fact that he would only allow me to use my database; no websites, advertising or show days!”

Another client neglected to tell Bloch about her very unfriendly pet pot-bellied pig on her paddock. When Bloch went to show a client the view of the mountain from the paddock the pet pig charged. “I got my client to safety but was gored on my leg with its tusk and had to have stitches and a tetanus shot.”

And Bloch’s tried and tested weapon? Air freshener, log fires and freshly brewed coffee.

“I have arrived at a show house to find dishes in the kitchen and have washed and cleaned up, removed pet bedding etc. I bring an air freshener with me to spritz in the house, especially near the front door, the bathrooms and kitchen. I have brewed coffee and also requested that some clients bake some fresh muffins or chocolate brownies to radiate a freshly baked ambience in the kitchen. In Winter I request that log fires are filled and lit.”

Look at your weather app before putting out refreshments

Colette Jackson, full title property specialist for Seeff City Bowl, says that clients often forget to consider weather conditions when being so kind as to put refreshments out on show days.

“Thank you so much for the tea/coffee/hot chocolate and sweetener put out so fabulously on this blazingly hot day,” she says jokingly. The same goes for cold refreshments. In hot weather, either have ice on hand or leave the juice/Evian water in the fridge.

The human aspect can be frustrating


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“Obviously you have no damp in your property because if you did, it would be sorted prior to transfer.” Or “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if you had your property staged and cleaned for our show day on Sunday.”

These, says Adrian Mauerberger, sectional title specialist for Seeff Atlantic Seaboard, are the kind of frustrated comments he often wishes he could make.

Always keep it real

David Burger, security estate specialist agent for Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty in the Southern Suburbs and Constantiaberg, says that his biggest lesson from experience gained is to keep it real. According to Burger all the lingo real estate professionals love to use to sell property are just a spin and could leave agents with red faces and damaged reputations.

“The network is so tight that one wrong move will put you away. So avoid putting a stupid spin on properties such as ‘exclusive pocket’. What on earth is a pocket? Or ‘Sylvan setting’ when the nearby green belt is a highway for criminals,” he says. “’Character homes’ are often falling apart, so don’t bull dust your market. Just tell it like it is. Talk about the potential!”

We’re willing to bet that, as long as real estate transactions are undertaken and overseen by humans, there will be funny stories to tell. Now you know just a few.


Mariette Steynberg is a qualified economist with a post-graduate diploma in financial planning. She has enjoyed working on holistic financial plans for clients in various stages of life, as well as a development economist assessing the socioeconomic impacts of new developments. When she is not working, Mariette enjoys parenting her quirky, delightful toddler girl. Cloth diapering, Eskimo kisses and the importance of reading to your child are all causes close to her heart. Mariette is passionate about financial education and hopes to use the experience she has gained to share knowledge with HomeTimes’ readership. Her goal is to provide information that is implementable by everyone.

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