September 30, 2022
I just renewed my real estate license for the 20th time which means I’ve been a REALTOR® for 40 years. I sold for the first 10 years and have managed on one capacity or another for the past 30.
Obviously, a lot has changed in 40 years. Computers replaced books, scanners replaced fax machines which replaced handing purchase offers to listing agents and presenting them to the Sellers ourselves. It made us far more efficient though it didn’t make the transactions any smoother.
I could go on about changes, but I’d rather focus on what has stayed the same. Buyers and Sellers need us. They need the good ones among us, anyway. They need help understanding the 10-page contract that has evolved from 1 page. They need help conducting due diligence and finding capable home inspectors and researching financing. They need someone who has their best interests at heart and who can provide competent and fair representation. They need a REALTOR® who is constantly learning, studying and evolving because our industry is, too. You’re reading this publication so there’s a good chance you understand that.
Why the nostalgia? Because last week I announced my retirement as Long Realty President. After September 30th I will no longer have to go to the gym in the dark, be anywhere before 7:30am or even wear clothes that match. No more upset client calls but that means no more opportunities to help straighten out problems for people and enjoy doing it. I feel a little like I’m preparing to go to a health farm or rehab of some kind. I’m nervous about what I’ll be giving up but know that ultimately it will be good for me.
I’m tempted to give a lot of advice before I go. But no one really wants advice. Instead, I’ll share some of the worst real estate stories I’ve heard or lived through for your entertainment.
- There was the corporate transferee who left his pregnant dog in the back yard after he moved out. We figured he didn’t like the buy-out price. We listed the house and re-homed the dog.
- There was the Seller who didn’t disclose prior termite treatments, covered the evidence, and the house had to eventually be torn down after it sold. That one took years…
- And then there was the time the Seller asked me to go check his house because his alarm went off. When I entered there were blood stains all the way down the hallway on both walls. They led to an open closet that was absolutely filled with guns and rifles. I got out of that house so fast! It turned out his exuberant Labrador had escaped from the kitchen and cut his tail by wagging it against the wall. He proceeded to wag his way down the hall spreading blood in all directions and set off the alarm. Nothing to do with the guns but the Seller and I did have a serious meeting of the minds over that. And DON’T go check on a house when an alarm goes off! So dumb.
- I’ve heard countless stories of agents walking in on naked people. So many of those that I have a theory it isn’t always an accident on the part of the homeowner.
- One agent showed one of two vacant listings next door to each other. The Buyer’s offer was accepted, they inspected and closed…. before discovering they had bought the house next door and viewed and inspected the wrong one. Be careful with those tax codes and addresses.
That’s just a sampling. Maybe I’ll write a book in my new spare time.
I will remain a REALTOR®. I know better than to go back into selling but I have great agents all over the state to refer to. I’m the incoming treasurer for the Tucson Association and will remain on MLSSAZ Standards. It’s always about raising the bar.
I’m following fine people who came before me by leaving the field so new players can start. People who may still have a grand slam in their future and a few strike outs. We learn from our mistakes as well as our successes. There’s a great leader replacing me and another one moving into his role. That leaves one for hers. More people will get to do this fine work, learn and grow and hopefully inspire.
Here’s something I’ve already figured out. You don’t have to be president of something to be important. You just have to have a positive impact on other peoples lives. I will continue to try.
Laura Kelly Mance, President
Long Realty Company