Murphy's Law Can Be A Real B Sometimes... Got pets? Put the pets in the remarks section. Seriously...

Services for Real Estate Pros with Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

Murphy's Law Can Be A Real B Sometimes... Got pets? Put the pets in the remarks section. Seriously...

Stephen, the Minion Blur will walk up to a 200 pound dog and get nose to nose to smile in its face. Noah, the Net Geek is the exact opposite and runs from barking puppies (LOL).

Took my boys to work today and as luck would have it the 2 family home I was waiting to show (in 18 degree weather) had tenants with dogs. Barking dogs... Hmm...

It would have been nice if the listing agent had made a note to "beware of dogs on the premises" in the remarks section as (1) there is no indication on the property that they exist, (2) some people are allergic and (3) in Noah's case afraid, but I digress and need to set up the rest of the picture of my Murphy-Day for you so you can get where I am coming from this evening. :-)

Have you heard of Murphy's Law? In sum and substance: Anything that can go wrong will... Wikipedia is building an interesting page on it and you can spoof around here for more info:

I am happy to report that Murphy's Law is alive and well regarding my industry and ML managed to infiltrate my day in spades (LOL).

We can start with the fact that I had to make this appointment a week in advance because the tenants are not thrilled with having to move if the house sells. They have restricted access to their apartments to one hour a week once a week (only on Saturdays). Picking Saturday means my Jewish buyers and my 7th Day Adventists will never get to see this property. Ever. Psssst... Listing Brokers you may want to think about that. Seriously... When people give me the once a week crap I always pick Wednesdays because no religious group has national dibs on that day that I am aware of. :-)

I habitually confirm my appointments before I go because I have kids in tow and hate dragging them out if I do not have to. Family time matters to me so when I am walking out the door for my 1PM and you tell me I am not in your appointment book after your firm denied my out of state buyer access last week because you needed that one week notice and explained the restrictions very carefully to me, I freaked out over the phone because the idea of me having to explain why I didn't merit a jot in your appointment book set my teeth on edge. I apologize for raising my voice a few octaves. That happens when I get upset on behalf of a buyer being pushed through hoops and dissed when we go to great lengths to comply with your firm's rules based upon the sellers instructions and you still forget about me and my people.

It's a short sale, so tenants making it difficult for the landlord to show the property can be a real B when you are an owner going back and forth to court trying to stop a foreclosure with a modified loan and/or a short sale. Brokerage firms not putting Buyer's Broker appointments in their systems compound that bit of stress for owners who have to respond to the scene because of tenant drama. Buyers traveling great distances to view can be out of train/plane tickets when yours is the only property they want to see because they like the outside and work out their hypothetical offers in advance.

I was blessed to be squeezed into today's 2-3pm line up and expressed my gratitude and appreciation for being granted hypothetical access because I treat my buyers the same. 1100 miles or around the corner, my job is to get you in to view, crunch the numbers, do the comps and help you make an informed decision.

I sent a text to the buyer that our schedule had changed, canceled where we should have been at 2pm, fed my kids and took off to get lost in the streets until it was time to show the property. To amuse my boys since I killed their 2 pm playdate, I handed them cameras and let them shoot out the car windows. Guess what we saw?

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

Isn't it gorgeous? We love fire engines and had no idea how it would affect our appointment to view today. We can start with the mild gripe that the people who promised to be there between 2 and 3 pm left while I was parking my car three doors down from the house. We saw them pull off in two vehicles but had no idea it was them until we read the house numbers. Hmm...

I knocked, I rang, but no one answered. My 8 year old became upset because he loves exploring houses and thinks being a mini-Realtor-in-training is mad cool. He had an expectation to be greeted warmly and peek into how the other half lives but instead was left shivering on a stoop that needed minor repairs. He saw the people leave just as I had so of course the echolalic speech started with him repeating there was "no one home, lets go home." Being anal retentive and always determined to engage him in conversation, no matter how brief, I had to keep explaining that we can't leave our buyer, we have to wait.

Back to the car we go to call the Listing Broker's firm and inform her/them no one was home. She says she'll call me right back. Cool. I sit in my car with the shorties while we watch three cars arrive and six people walk into this home. I call my buyer wanting to know where she is. She's lost. No problem. I have time for her to catch up with me because people are arriving and leaving. I see another broker showing the property. Listing  Broker calls back and says the owner is parked around the corner in the drive. Knock and ring on the front and side entrances. Someone will let me in. Cool...

While having this brief conversation a fire truck pulls up. My kids get real excited. Lights are flashing. Firemen are streaming out. We're wondering where are they going while we snap a few pictures. They enter the listing. Oh crap. I let the broker know a half dozen fire fighters have just entered her listing. We're both incredulous... We have no idea what is happening.

People pour out of the house. Hmm... More fire trucks materialize... I'm thinking, I could be watching Netflix, hugging a blankie with my kids instead of wondering if the place wll burn down before my buyer sees this house. I am praying that this is not going to result in serious damage or someone being hurt. The suspense is stressing me out to no end. I realize I may have to shred the binder sitting on my dashboard (LOL).

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010 Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

It doesn't burn down ten minutes later. Yay! The hoses never come out. Doing the snoopy dance! I'm excited because my buyer really likes the outside and has been speculating with me as to the condition of the inside of this property. We can't wait to see it but don't want to go near it while fire fighters are inside. The wee people and I wait, and wait, and wait... What the heck are they doing in there? Are they using extinguishers? I start to freak out again (LOL). Eventually, the fire fighters trickle out. We watch the fire trucks slowly roll away. I suddenly realize my buyer is missing in action (LOL).

We get out of the car and immediately regret not being warm and toasty. We march up to the front door to ring the bell and knock. The top floor gentleman lets us in and promptly locks his apartment door never to be seen or heard from again by us. Noah is bummed out because we can't get in. He's not used to having a door closed in his face unless it's Stephen slamming the bathroom door during the toilet wars (LOL). We do hear a TV and a dog barking behind the door, so Noah decides it is definitely time to go home because he realizes we're being ignored in a strange hall.

I talk my 8 year old into giving me five minutes to show my buyer the first floor apartment. We knock. The landlord opens the door and Stephen strolls in and starts exploring the living room while Noah executes a backwards broad jump back into the hall upon noting another dog.

Being in a cage does not matter. It's a dog. It is barking. Barking means threat. He has clamped onto the banister and I can't pry his fingers off. Little Dude is stronger than I am when he gets upset (LOL). My buyer goes to tour the place with Stephen and the landlord. The landlord and tenant have a conversation that gets heated while we are all there that triggers my buyers making a hasty retreat. Visions of evictions and landlord/tenant court are materializing in our heads... Bummer... I need a two family delivered vacant. I need a two family that provides unrestricted access to view. I feel bad because it didn't work out even though this place is minutes from the highway on a quiet street, has a lot of potential and is a corner property.

Who knew one argument, a MIA tenant, two dogs and a half dozen fire fighters could blow optimism right out the window.  My buyer has kids. I have kids. Watching a child negatively react to a jumping, barking dog can make parents go into protective mode and not feel safe because we zone into how they feel about a home.

Got pets? Put the pets in the remarks section so we know who needs to be left at home and who should not see your house to begin with. Seriously... I have buyers who can't stand cigarette smoke too so you might not want to dismiss this little ditty too quick out of hand. Smells and noise affect some people in the most peculiar ways...




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Kathy Schowe
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886
California Lifestyle Realty

I am with you on giving fellow Agents a heads-up on what to expect at a listing.... pets, alarms, elderly tenants--- all fall under this category!  I just did a blog about an "alarm" situation.  Hate it when the Sheriff comes to a showing!  Kathy

February 02, 2010 12:07 AM
Susan Brown
Keller Williams NE, Kingwood Texas (Humble & Atascocita too)

Carolyn, What an adventure that was! I did love the fire engine pictures and parts of your blog (the sarcastic parts :)) made me LOL.  We had another pet discussion at work the other day.  Just because you think your pet will do one thing doesn't mean it will plus not everyone loves pets.  It sets off all kinds of things (smell, damage to carpet, woodwork, etc) in buyers' heads. 

February 03, 2010 09:26 AM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.

Hi guys. My wee people and I are about to embark on a shoe buying adventure... That can mean just about anything (LOL). We've got people flying in from GA and we have to find them a two family so I am off to run the streets and write another post on the fly. Shall return and chat with you all later. :-)

February 03, 2010 02:54 PM
Russell Lewis
Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate

I am a fan of dogs and they of me...HOWEVER if I don't have a chance to get to know them and vice versa it can be dangerous! I once entered a listing of MINE and a dog came charging at me full speed. The owner yelled, "just stand still" and I complied but the dang dog still ripped a hole in my trousers knee and would have done worse if I had not punted the 50 LB beast across the room. I hated doing that but it worked and the seller was...well that's another story!

February 28, 2010 08:39 AM
Anonymous #16

the stories we can tell!!!!

I was showing a home that had a remark about dogs in the backyard.  The listing agent told me that the sellers had taken the dogs with them over the weekend.

I look out back. no dogs.  I open door and whistle.  no dogs.  I step outside and whistle and yell.  no dogs.  just to be more cautious, I tell my clients to wait inside, and i walk around to the side yard.  Two Rottweilers chase me back into the house.  My clients didnt know I could move so quickly.  Neither did I.

I guess what's worse is when there is no mention of a dog.  The agent tells me to go direct.  I open the back door to see a pit bull charging at me. 

once bitten, twice shy.

February 28, 2010 08:49 AM
Jenna Dixon
Assoc Broker, NW Metro Atlanta
DRA Homes (Atlanta, GA)

I am a dog person and will willingly go nose to nose with any dog.  And I am not a fan of doggies in a listing, disclosed or not.  Especially when they are not caged.  It's dangerous, it's a liability.

If you won't tell me there is a dog in the house, whatelse are you not telling me?  That the basement step is loose?

February 28, 2010 09:12 AM
Steve Moore
Steve Moore/David Massey Real Estate

At the risk of offending all of motherhood, I must say it.  Why were you hauling your kids to a showing?  While there were centainly problems with the Seller and listing agency, your actions do nothing to promote the professional image of Realtors.

February 28, 2010 10:01 AM
zeta cross
Smart Green Realty

Pets...where do I start? The well-loved Bassett House who guarded the front door. Somehow I spotted a jar of treats across the house in the kitchen. While my clients distracted the surprisingly strong dog--I am a major dog lover + I could not restrain him...I managed to get in the kitchen...get a treat and throw it to the back of the house so the buyers could run up the stairs. The Hound was smart. His goal was to bolt out the front door and after a few treat throws to the back of the house, he wouldn't fall for it anymore. We had to escape. I got the clients out of the house...but he jumped on me...barking enthusiastically. He could have knocked me down. I was very lucky to get out myself without letting him loose. Then there is the fear and allergy factor. A lovely,very smart teacher/buyer is terrified of cats. A sophisticated 30-something agent in my office is truly scared of my little lapdog poodle. I once had a client who was so allergic to cats that she would send me in to look all around before she would set foot in the house. I wonder what the liability would be if she ever had an attack? Then there was the "attack cat." It was de-clawed, but it followed clients around and bared its Vampira.

February 28, 2010 10:53 AM
Doug Patterson
CRS, ABR, Broker-In-Charge
Park Place Real Estate, Broker-In-Charge

I have a well behaved Schnauzer, but would never subject him to stranges roaming through the house.  It always amazes me that other people selling their homes can't understand the basics of why buyers do not buy. 

Great post!  and man, what a day...I was exhausted just reading what all went on.  

February 28, 2010 11:02 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Turning Houses into Homes
Home Point Real Estate

I have been bitten twice.  I am very careful around strange dogs.

February 28, 2010 11:36 AM
John Cleek
Keller Williams Realty Diamond Partners Inc


A lot of issues here that concern me. As a dedicated Buyer's Agent (but also a holder of two short sale certifications) I carefully pre-screen short sales before agreeing to add them to my buyer's view list. The worst case is to show a short sale and have my buyer's fall in love with it only to discover that the listing agent doesn't have a clue about the handling of short sales.

Of course listing agents have an obligation to disclose to the buyer's agent all pertinent information that helps the buyer's agent determine if a property is really a good match for a buyer; makes it possible for the buyer's agent to set up the showing to improve the likelihood of a good experience for the buyers; and gives the buyer's agent an opportunity to say, thanks, but no thanks, before wasting time discovering this information with buyers in tow.

I understand your need to include your small children in your showings but in spite of my strong kid-orientation and my empathy for realtors, male or female who may have no choice if they are going to show a home, I would, as a minimum, inform my buyers in advance and obtain their approval before arranging to show a home with children included. Although when I represent buyers with children, I encourage them to include their children in the decision process, I discourage them from including their children on the first visit. Having said that, I am conscious of two recent clients who included their children in every visit. It was never a problem and the children were real troopers, never complaining about how much time we spent in a house or that we were going to view 'one more house'.

I don't mean this to be critical of how you handled this situation or even suggesting that you change the way you handle buyer representation. I am simply sharing the kinds of conditions I impose hoping to avoid this type of experience.

Hopefully you and Murphy will not become frequent companions. ;0)

John Cleek, Ph.D., The Buyer's Agent
Author, Seven Steps to Home Ownership

February 28, 2010 12:03 PM
Connie Harvey
Realtor - Nashville TN Real Estate
Pilkerton Realtors

Carolyn, all I can say is thank God it's over! I agree, let us know there are animals. People think that their sweet little 7 pound dog isn't a problem, and it probably isn't to them. But I'm not going to enter a house with a barking or growling dog. Too much liability.

February 28, 2010 12:27 PM
Margaret Mitchell
Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate
Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty

Hi C - I'm with ya - need to have pets on premises in the notes.  The smoking issue is another story.  Not sure how to handle this - Can't put "Smells like an ashtray" in the notes, lol.  It would be interesting to read if anyone does put notes on smoking in the MLS.

Congrats on the feature.  Your days are never dull, huh?

February 28, 2010 05:00 PM
Georgie Hunter
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers

That was a very interesting peek into your world!  And yes, I have to agree with you about the dogs and the comments.  

February 28, 2010 06:16 PM
Lottie Kendall
Serving San Mateo County and San Francisco
Today | Sotheby's International Realty

As someone else has already said, I'm exhausted after reading about your day. Your point about needing to mention animals is well taken. Agreed!

February 28, 2010 10:10 PM
Jirius Isaac
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage

What a day that was.  I couldn't agree with you more about the pets and the hassles

March 01, 2010 12:00 AM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.

Russell, sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Pets can be unpredictable when meeting strangers.

Greg, I have been bitten and so has my sister. The shots you have to take really hurt. I love dogs and enjoy pets but wish people would remember that everyone does not feel the same about their little pet pookies. Some people are afraid and/or allergic.

Jenna, I once went into a basement where half the steps to the bottom where gone. The owner would jump down and use a chair to climb back up. My buyer was not pleased, especially since there was no outside entrance to use. We kept wondering what would happen if another step broke... I hope the seller fixes it.

Steve, you are not just risking offending motherhood, you have offended some fathers as well (LOL). Having children does not make someone unprofessional if they are about. It simply means as a business owner I can choose to associate with who ever I please while I work. I tell everyone up front that I frequently take my kids with me everywhere I go. They can choose another broker if they don't like kids. I wont work with anyone who does not want my family around. It's my choice and those are my terms. Don't ever assume family oriented people are unprofessional. Showing a house is not rocket science. My lawyer, doctor and a host of other professionals have taken their kids to work (and still do). My Godmother worked in government and had me underfoot every Summer. Her boss hired me as a government temp twice when I became of age. Those early part time jobs contributed to my credited service and early retirement. Kids should be introduced to working at an early age. Because of her I retired with a government pension at 40. Who the hell retires at 40 with 20 years of credited government service? So now I do real estate to keep from being bored. BTW, having me around as a kid certainly didn't hurt her career and my government mentors taught me how to move around in government so I could retire young. I'm simply adhering to our family tradition of fostering a work ethic on the young. I appreciate you expressing your opinion but do take offense at being called unprofessional on my blog post simply because I am training my kids in my profession. If you read me you would know my son Noah has discovered photography because of it. I'm opening doors for my kids and I'm teaching them about life while enjoying their company. I am not the only parent who does this so you may want to rethink your comment and hesitate from repeating it to the next person you want to insult by calling them unprofessional because they are not functioning the way your perceive things should be done. The City of New York has designated bring your daughter bring your son to work days. Does that make the 225,000 plus municipal employees unprofessional for having kids come to work too? How about the mayor and city council for thinking it up? I can designate any day little minion day and bring them to work because I own my small business. I can do what I want with it and am very blunt about them being my frequent traveling companions before I accept a client. If my potential and actual clients don't mind then you should not be making such assumptions and should not be putting it in writing on a public forum. Private e-mail may have been better because we'd be chatting there instead of here. I bet if I came with a full price offer on your listing you would not give a damn about my kids being underfoot for the writing of the binder. I am big on relocation. Most of my clients are retiring government employees I worked with in four mayoral agencies. You have no idea just how professional and gorgeous my database and client list is. We've never met. How could you? Unprofessional for having kids about? Seriously? My kids bring me clients. I've several teachers alone from their school and six mommies from their playdates. You have no idea just how much fun having kids at work can be. :-)

March 01, 2010 07:22 AM
Martin Kalisker
Weichert, REALTORS - Synergy: MA Real Estate & Mor

I don't know what's a bigger distraction.  The home owner with the pets or the realtor that brings her kids to a showing (LOL).

March 01, 2010 10:31 AM
Steve Moore
Steve Moore/David Massey Real Estate

I guess I, too, could write a mainfesto.  However I will refrain.  I will simply state that we are each entitled to our own opinion.  I have stated mine, and I stand by it. 

March 01, 2010 03:22 PM
C Tann-Starr
Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.

Steve, stay off my blog since you feel that way. Thank you for not bothering me about my kids anymore.

March 01, 2010 04:02 PM
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Disclaimer: Any comments and contributions provided on (or other electronic or print media) does not establish an agency relationship with any third party. Blog posts are intended to be informational only. Please be advised that real estate practices vary in regions and from state to state and market to market. The information contained herein does not constitute legal advice. All parties in need of legal, accounting, tax, or real estate guidance are directed to consult with the licensed professional of their choice. Please seek specific guidance from a retained professional in the specific field(s) required to service your interests. I and/or team blog writers make no claims, promises or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in or linked to this web site and its associated sites inclusive of but not limited to ActiveRain Group Club Chaos CTannStarr Outside Blog CTannStarr Localism Blog © Carolyn Tann-Starr, 2008-2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the re-blog authors (when appropriate)and Carolyn Tann-Starr is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Carolyn Tann-Starr, (the re-blog authors when appropriate) and Wordy C's Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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