The one that got away...from SOMEONE ELSE!

Services for Real Estate Pros with Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector

Way back when... I was a Realtor, This is the one that got away. (From someone else)

I arrived at the office on a Saturday morning, and parked in the farthest, DISTANT corner of the lot. (Leaving room for customers near the front of the office). As I exited my car I noticed a really bad smell. PHEW!

Dog Car HELPThere was a really beat up car parked near the front door of the office. The closer I got the more pungent the odor became. (I was really glad I skipped breakfast). The car was such a clunker, dented, paint peeling, dirty, donut tire on one wheel, a tent tied to the roof, JAMMED PACKED with 5 LARGE dogs, clothes, boxes, bags, a small Bar-B-Q tied to the trunk, a scraggly, dirty man sleeping in the driver's seat, and a scraggly, greasy haired woman in the passenger seat. They were asleep, and the dogs were hanging out the windows wanting to be petted.

I tried to approach, but SERIOUSLY the smell was so bad I couldn't. I hollered to the man, "Can I help you?" He startled and said "Yes! Please! Help us! We want to buy a house, we've been camping and living out of our car for almost 2 years. No one will help us!"

At that moment 2 gals in the office peeked out the door and motioned me to come in. I told the couple I would be right back.  As I was yanked into the office, the gals said "OMG! We called the cops to get those bums out of here." I said, "they want to buy a house". The girls said, "Yeah, right." Others in the office had gathered and were again calling the police. I said I was going back outside to talk to the OBVIOUSLY HOMELESS people.

Just then the police arrived. The police and I conversed with them (from a distance - because of the smell). They hadn't committed any crime, and just wanted help buying a house, so the officer left. I contacted a motel manager I knew and he said they could come and use the shower. The maintenance man at the motel gave him an old CLEAN pair of coveralls to wear and the woman some clothes from the lost and found.

ICE $Now that I was finally able to get close and converse with them the man told me his story: He had a business and a partner 2 years before. They got sideways with each other, and closed the business. Fighting over the assets brought them to court, which FROZE every dime they had. They eventually lost their home, cars, and all their furnishings and belongings they had put in storage; (It was auctioned when they couldn't pay the bill). Lawyers cost them every dime they made at a job he had taken. They attached his wages, so he quit working. His wife was disabled. They were depressed, they gave up, and wound up camping in the hills, homeless.

Back to the present day...On the day before, Friday, as this was Saturday, his assets were UNFROZE by the courts. He had $186,000 CASH and wanted to buy a house, THAT DAY! The CASH WAS IN THE CAR, in a duffel bag! (He refused to keep it in the bank - can't say I blame him!)

country houseI knew the perfect little house in the country! He put down the FULL AMOUNT of the purchase price as earnest money, the seller let them move in THAT DAY, at 4:00 PM and the deal closed in 2 weeks. I had BOTH sides. The buyers OWNED the home FREE and CLEAR, and had $36,000 leftover. The dogs had a HUGE fenced yard to play in.

So the OTHER agents learned, not to JUDGE people, and to reach out to those in need. I learned how great it feels to HELP folks in need.

Side-note: I took a job selling cars years later, a scraggly homeless guy rode up on a rickety bicycle. I had just had my "UP" so I was last in a line of 5 salesmen that had to take their turn before me. All 5 salesmen in front of me laughed and joked about the "bum" looking at cars. I said someone go see what he wants. The sales manager, acting like an idiot, laughing it off said, "Why don't you!!!" So I did.

The guy lived in an abandoned shed, worked hard doing odd jobs, and had $14,000 cash in his backpack from helping a local contractor remodel a house. He had JUST got paid at the END of the remodel job, and I sold him a truck! The salesman that originally had the "UP" actually had the nerve to demand I split!  LOL, LOL, LOL, I didn't! 

Posted by

Cheryl Dickson
970-462-5100 Wichita Falls, TX

Staff - Wichita Falls AssociationĀ  of Realtors


Retired Realtor-GRI / Retired Home Inspector

Comments (27)

Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

Norma, you are so right, It was, and is, such a great feeling to have helped those folks, and they completely got back on their feet and he started a very successful welding business. (SOLE proprietor) I bet he keeps his cash buried in the back yard too! :)

Karen, Thank You for the contest! It's been a great learning experience reading all the entries!

Nov 19, 2011 03:26 AM
Kathy Schowe
California Lifestyle Realty - La Quinta, CA
La Quinta, California 760-333-8886

What a great post about not judging.  You just never know what you are going to get when it comes to clients.  Sometimes the clean-shiny ones are really pretty stinky!  Thanks for posting!  Kathy

Nov 20, 2011 03:41 PM
Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

You got that right Kathy, you just never can tell!

Nov 20, 2011 04:11 PM
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

Cheryl, I think that you should win the contest.  Your post is outstanding and I know how important it is not to judge. 

Years ago, my wife (now ex) saw a ring she loved and it was well over $1000. I went with her to buy it and I was in old clothes and wearing a cowboy hat because I had been at an equipment auction. Probably kind of dirty too.  Anyway the salespeople just ignored us even when we asked for help. I was just about to make a fuss and pull out a few thousand in cash from my wallet to show them (it was for the auction) when my wife said, "Forget it -- I could never wear that ring, it would remind me of the way these slobs treated us"

Nov 21, 2011 06:02 AM
Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

Gary, Dang that was so bad, I know the feeling. I was a pipeliner in Wyoming making really high wages, but ofen looked a little rough after a hard day's work. I noticed a distinct difference in how I was treated by folks compared to days when I was all prettied up.

Nov 21, 2011 08:29 AM
Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

HOly cow! this is an AMAZING story! I was thinking of doing one of one that got away but mine is DULL in comparison!  

Nov 21, 2011 10:43 AM
Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

C'mon Kristen please do your story, everyone has a great chance. All the stories have so much to offer and so much we can learn from. All the topics are different. Thank You for liking mine. -Cheryl

Nov 21, 2011 03:39 PM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Cheryl, that is just fabulous that you did not let the outward appearance of these folks get in the way of your treating them like human beings.  I think your spirit is just awesome.  Good for you.


Nov 22, 2011 11:28 AM
Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

To Kevin in #3:  Yes... comments number three and six are both "points triggers'... (gee, where did you hear that ?  LOL).  BUT... you really should also add something to the comment dialogue.  You know, just to be extra nice.  :)

Nov 22, 2011 11:30 AM
Kristin Moran
Owner - RE/MAX Access - - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio,TX - Real Estate - 210-313-7397

LOL @ Karen Anne above.  Add something #3!

Nov 22, 2011 02:30 PM
Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate
John L Scott Market Center - Birkenfeld, OR
"Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905

Cheryl~you are an absolute HOOT!  I'm subscribing RIGHT NOW! And I just had this conversation today with a very close friend in the Rain about judging people wrongly. There is a book/movie? called Conversations with God and it is about a man, down on his luck who was a business person and became homeless and it shows how very hard he tried just to stay alive and then had actual conversations with God that woke him up in the middle of the night and he started writing them down. He became very successful as a result.

I watched the movie, which no one ever talks about, and I think it's of the same name. VERY POWERFUL.

Nov 22, 2011 02:36 PM
Alan May
Jameson Sotheby's International Realty - Evanston, IL
A moving experience!

I love this one...  Back in a former life, I was a graphic designer.  A "bum" walked into my office... scraggly hair, stained t-shirt, torn shorts, flip flops, and an odor all his own.

He sat down and asked about a couple of expensive graphic arts projects... I quickly gave him a high-estimate figuring that would quickly get rid of him.  He agreed, right away.

A little flummoxed, I said.. "it's company policy" that we take 50% payment upfront.  He reached into the pocket of his torn dirty shorts, pulled out a few checkbooks, and tried to decide which checkbook to use.  He wrote me a large check.  Immediately after he left, I called the bank and asked if the check was good.

They asked how much the check was for... I told them $12,000.00.  As I expected the banker on the other end of the phone guffawed, and said ONLY $12,000??   You bet!

This guy turned into one of my best clients for the next 6-7 years.

Nov 22, 2011 02:37 PM
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta, GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Love our Great City - Love our Clients! Buckhead - Midtown - Westside - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Dear Cheryl,

Love your story!  It is impressive when someone doesn't judge folks by their "covers", eh?

Have a happy day -

Nov 22, 2011 03:26 PM
Tim Bradley
Contour Investment Properties - Jackson Hole, WY
Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY

Love the stories...we've got lots of millionaires in Jackson Hole. And they work on their own cars, spend all day fishing, and ski hard. At the end of the day (or even at lunch), they're not always shaven or clean.

Nov 22, 2011 03:57 PM
Joni Bailey
101 Main St. Realty - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTORĀ®

Okay... I am on your third post and I am already hooked. BOTH of the stories tell me a lot about who you are. Now I want to know more.  Subscribing!

Nov 23, 2011 12:01 AM
Larry Atkins
State Wide Realty Co. - Farmville, VA
Veteran Owned & Operated

I'm on your third post and have already reblogged, suggested and subscribed. If I was a betting man, I'd say you'll be getting quite comfortable on the featured wall before to long.  Others have already taken the words out of my mouth, I always pays not to judge a book by it's cover.

Nov 23, 2011 02:02 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Cheryl -- what a great story.   I can almost hear the snickering from your office mates when you told "but they want to buy a house".   They had a need and you saw opportunity.   Well done!

Nov 23, 2011 08:33 AM
Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

Something happened to my reply on here way back in November. I guess my computer froze, and it didn't load. I just noticed it today, so I am Re-Responding! LOL!!!

Karen, Thank You, We all have probably looked rough around the edges at some point and time in our lives, I KNOW I have! Pipelining, training horses, training dogs out in the field, working on my vehicles, I can think of lots of times I looked pretty rough. It was very obvious these folks had been through very tough times. They needed and asked for help, I just felt I could in some way. Thank You so much for the suggest!

Kristen, LOL! :)

Gayle, I'm going to try to find the movie, it sounds Powerful! I'm subscribing right back at ya! Thank You!

Alan, See, good things come from not being afraid to reach out, you were rewarded too.

Lynn, Thank You! You have a great one too!

Tim, Me too! Been pretty rough looking coming off the pipeline. OMG, I wish I had pics. Let's just say... Cleaning ME up STARTED at the car wash!!! Many a night! And that's no joke! Brrrr!

Joni and Larry, Thank You! I'm subscribed to you both too! Enjoying your posts! Thank You so much!

Mike, Thank You, Yes they were a bit cold, You're hearing the "snickers" right. I also think that they were AFRAID more than anything. Probably had not been around many folks that looked so rough and didn't know what to expect. I had been around just about every kind of person imaginable, and am comfortable in almost any situation.  (I'm a retired Deputy from the San Diego County Sheriff's Dept)

Dec 03, 2011 02:23 PM
Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Cheryl, You are reminding me of several situations where I responded when no one else would "touch" the clients. Some of my best transactions. Thanks for sharing.


Dec 13, 2011 12:24 PM
Cheryl Dickson
Retired Realtor / Retired Home Inspector - Oklahoma City, OK
Retired Realtor, GRI / Retired Home Inspector

Your Welcome Margaret! There's lots of folks like us, willing to help Thank Goodness!

Dec 13, 2011 12:33 PM