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Today, I inject some humanity in an otherwise buttoned down industry – commercial real estate brokerage – by sharing a blooper reel.
ALL of these stories actually happened – although only a few happened to me.
I will let you, dear reader, figure out which ones are mine. So, in classic Letterman order – least embarrasing to most – here goes.
So, how much? Many times, commercial real estate professionals speak a different language than their clients. Never is this more apparent than when quoting prices. Brokers talk about a price per square foot – occupants want to know the total price. Hours of preparation end with blushing when you must whip out your calculator and do some math when a client asks, “how much?”
An alarming situation. Two brokers showed up early to preview a building. Carefully dialed was the lock-box code. Once inside, the agents realized there was no electricity As they stumbled around in the dark pretending to clear the rooms akin to a SEAL team, their spines stiffened and bowels trembled when they heard – FREEZE, hands up. Apparently, the only ones who knew there was a silent alarm – yep, two of Anaheim’s finest.
Reply to ALL. A vendor was railing against an office for not updating their listings through a series of terse emails. Finally, one of the professionals responded to his manger – “how long are we going to put up with this clown?” You guessed it – the clown received the “reply to all”.
You rang. An owner was telephonically expressing his dissatisfaction with an agent’s marketing efforts – rather loudly. Relief was a button away as the front desk announced another caller was holding. Dissatisfied was asked to stand-by. The holding caller was engaged and received an earful – problem was dissatisfied received the earful – ooops!
Will the real buyer please stand up? As a couple of listing agents anxiously awaited the arrival of a buyer – many panhandlers approached. Concerned were the brokers. After all, would the buyer discount the offering because of the number of transients in the area? Their dismay heightened as another bum approached – except this time, he happened to be the buyer!
Lock-out. One of the first lessons a young agent learns is to twist the deadbolt when exiting a building – especially when viewing the fenced staging area – lest you lock yourself and client outside. One new broker missed the tutorial. While touring a new high rise, he managed to lock himself and his prospect on the eighth story balcony. As no other tenants were in residence and cell phones in those days lived in a car console – surprised was the passerby who heard the screams yet earned twenty bucks for springing the embarrassed broker.
Excuse me, you own it? Many swings and no hits describes a professional who had attempted countless times to appeal to a buyer. Finally, the broker was convinced he had sourced THE DEAL that would end the batting slump. You can imagine the pink face that resulted when the buyer responded – “uhh, we own that building and are trying to sell it.”
A door to nowhere. A brand new German automobile was used as a tour guide of a newly constructed industrial building. As the prospects un-belted and prepared to walk the property – the proud driver encouraged them to say put. He would motor around inside the building so they could view the improvements in luxury. The tour went well. Unfortunately, the exit – through an elevated door this time – resulted in a face plant for the Benz – which from that point forward sported a “Dock-Hi” vanity plate.