In Time for Halloween: the Buyers and the Ceramic Dolls

Education & Training with Century 21 Keim

In time for Halloween - The Buyers and the Ceramic Dolls...


A Funny Real Estate Story about Client Fears- Fear of Dolls

(Excerpt from Loren Keim's Book - "Life Lessons... from the back seat of my car")

  Out of the thousands of clients I've assisted in selling a home over the years, I've only twice been asked by home owners not to show their home to people of some protected class or minority.  In both cases, I carefully explained that we cannot exclude anyone from viewing, offering on, or purchasing their home because it would be discriminatory.  Besides being illegal, it's wrong, and I won't do it.

            Oddly enough, in both cases, the very first interested clients were people from that particular protected class group that the owners wanted to avoid.  Sometimes life simply seems to work that way.

            I've had several home owners ask me to refuse to show their rental properties to women with children, because they believe children will damage the property.  Again, it is absolutely against the rules to discriminate and we don't practice discrimination in any form.  Strangely enough, every time someone makes a request like that, the first people through the door always seem to have an inordinately high number of children.  


                      Some of my client's requests make me recall Bill Cosby once saying "God has a sense of humor."  This sense of humor rears its head in the most interesting circumstances in life.  For example, a client named Ted once presented me with a unique request.  He was looking to purchase a twin home in Whitehall or Catasauqua and requested that I prescreen any homes he and his wife viewed because he wanted to be absolutely certain that any houses he looked at did not have ceramic or porcelain dolls. 

            I had heard some strange requests in the past, but I had to ask, "Ceramic dolls?  I don't understand." 

            "Everyone has some fear in life.  Some people fear falling.  Some people fear enclosed spaces and avoid elevators.  Do you have any fears?" Ted asked me.

            "Strong women." I replied.

            "Excuse me?"

            "Just kidding." I said. "I'm not a big fan of heights and I actively avoid roller coasters; especially the ones that go upside down."

            "My wife has a fear, a very significant fear, of ceramic dolls.  She knows that she's being unreasonable, of course, but she has recurrent nightmares about their coming to life.  That's her fear and I'm respectful of it."

            "Well, I guess that makes sense," I said. "After all, some people are afraid of clowns."

            "All I'm asking is that you make sure that you preview any houses we're interested in seeing to make sure there's no ceramic or porcelain dolls there." 

            Of course, I said, "No problem, that won't be an issue."  I tried to tell myself that I'd heard more unusual requests although, just at the moment, I couldn't think of any.   

            On the day that I was supposed to take Ted and his wife to view properties, I had planned to preview the houses in the morning, and then take Ted and his wife out in the evening to see the homes.  Unfortunately, I was tied up, arguing with attorneys and other brokers over a pending transaction. The late afternoon was marked by heavy downpours and so I didn't make it to preview the homes. 

            To avoid being caught in a bad situation, I called each of the listing agents, and asked if they had noticed any ceramic dolls around the house.  I was able to reach each agent that had an occupied property, but unfortunately, was unable to connect with the listing agent for the final property.  Because that property, according to my notes, was vacant, I had no qualms about showing it.   

            That evening, we looked at the first three homes without incident, and they all showed fairly well.  By the time we pulled up to the last listing, it was late in the evening and rapidly getting dark.   Fumbling with the lockbox, I finally extracted the key and opened the front door.   

            Peering in, I discovered that it was far darker in the house than on the porch. Unfortunately, since the light switch was not right inside the front door, as it is in most homes, I had to cross the room, searching for it, Ted and his wife close behind me.

            When we arrived at the far right hand wall, I clicked on the light switch, and to my surprise and horror, discovered that three of the four walls were lined with shelves and shelves of ceramic dolls.  One of our agents, Joe Bartera, often says "You can't make this stuff up."  Unfortunately, reality truly is stranger than fiction, and our story isn't quite over.

            Against the far wall, presumably between the dining room and the kitchen, there was a large ceramic doll that was almost life size, perhaps four and a half to five feet tall, which, when I took a step back, incredulous at the sight, proceeded to topple forward, sending the wife screaming out the front door, never, sadly to return. 



Compelling Buyers to Call

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Life Lessons

Life Lessons... from the back seat of my car Now available through Amazon!

A collection of more than seventy stories and essays by real estate broker and author Loren Keim, including funny, sad, off-the-wall, wacky, bizarre, touching and inspirational stories from Keim's unique experiences in the field of real estate as well as his insights into human nature, relationships, economics, society and politics.

"For good or bad, I've had the opportunity - or the misfortune - of quite often being in the right or wrong place at the right or wrong time," says Keim, who, for more than two decades has represented business people, politicians, actors, rock stars, celebrities, and everyday people in the purchase and sale of property.  This collection of those incredible experiences is certain to entertain, inspire, amaze and amuse you.

Best selling author and realtor Loren Keim has appeared before national audiences, on television, on radio and been quoted and referenced in the Donald Trump business series.


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