It was fairly early in my real estate career, probably 2002. I remember it was late fall or early winter because it was around four thirty in the afternoon, but already dark. I was sitting in the office getting ready to call it a day when the door opened and in walked a middle aged woman, probably somewhere in her mid fifties. Well dressed and well spoken with a slight French accent, she told me she was interested in buying a home in Quogue N.Y. (one of my area's most expensive zip codes). Naturally, I was interested in helping this woman find what she was looking for.
I began to take down her information so I could contact her the next day to begin our search. "Can we look now?" she asked. "Well, it's a little late and I've got to make appointments etc." I told her. "Can we just drive around and you can show me what's for sale?" The question had a sense of urgency to it.
I really wanted to go home, but this was a very nice woman, and something told me she was a real buyer. I told her we could scout out the area as best we could in the dark so that we could narrow down our search for the following day.
We stepped outside and I opened the passenger side door but she looked at me and asked if I minded if she rode in the back. That's a little quirky, I thought, but maybe she is used to a chauffeur. The thought made me smile and I wished I had one of those little chauffeur caps.
Anyway, she gets in the back, and I slide behind the wheel and start down Main St. It could not have been thirty seconds when I hear this stifled sniffing sound. I look in the rear view and there's this obviously well to do, worldly woman crying and wiping tears from her face.
Ever have one of those twilight zone moments? This was one of mine. "Francene, (not her real name) "What's the matter?" I asked.
Her answer confused the hell out of me. "She made me buy a house." "What? Who? What are you talking about? Who made you buy a house?" Really, really confused here.
Francene went on to tell me between sobs that the day before she was out with another agent and this agent pushed and pushed and told her if she didn't buy the particular house that she had interest in it would be gone by the next day. And prices were going up by the minute and so on and so on. Did I mention this was the listing agent for that particular house?
I know what you're probably thinking. How can a person be bullied into buying a home? Believe me it can happen, and this was not the only time I have seen it done. There were extenuating circumstances here - Francene's husband was over seas and they were on a time constraint to find a home.
The long and short of it is I asked Francene the address and we took a ride by. Truth is, she did okay In that market, which was taking off like a rocket, she could have done a lot worse. I was able to tell her that she really did okay, and she took comfort in that. As the years have gone by, her purchase turned out to be a good one.
But that's not the point here, and you and I know it.
From that day on, I have sold many a house representing on the seller's side. I have actually forgotten some of the homes and faces (we did have a few good years, didn't we?) but I have always remembered Francene. I wonder if that was the impetus of my becoming a Hamptons Buyer's Broker.
I have a lot of friends in this real estate community, and almost to a person, they tell me Buyer brokerage will never work in the Hamptons.
I disagree. I am here to tell you it can work, and it will work. I just have to get the word out.
After all, some one has to look out for the Francene's of the world. Don't you think?