Susan was tempted to lock up and head for home like the rest of her colleagues. Floor duty was never thrilling, but the last few hours had been truly tortuous.
No calls, no walk-in traffic — just the lonely sound of the Muzak echoing through the empty office space.
If it weren’t for that darn goal setting class last month and the oh-so-close Cabo sweepstakes, she’d call it a day. But one more sale and she’d be the tanning beauty sipping Margaritas in February.
With renewed determination, Susan dialed another past client and practiced smiling into the phone.
Susan nearly leapt out of her skin!
She hadn’t heard the door bell, yet a lovely (but very pale) couple stood in front of the reception desk.
The wife clutched a Homes & Land magazine in her well-manicured hands. Susan couldn’t help but admire her blood-red manicure, and those very muscular fingers with the princess-cut diamond rings (four!).
"Yes?" Susan stammered. "How can I help you two this afternoon?"
"Is it really afternoon?" said the wife, "We thought it was closer to evening."
"But anyway," interrupted the tall statuesque man, "it doesn’t matter what time it is. We’d like to see some property." He gestured towards their Homes & Land magazine. "Do you have time?"
"Well," Susan said, trying to contain her excitement. "I suppose there’s still enough light out. We could see a few."
"Oh goody-goody!" said the wife, licking her lips. "I know exactly what I want!"
"Perfect!" said Susan. "That will make this go much more smoothly."
"It certainly will," agreed the man, winking.
Susan ignored the ill-feeling in the pit of her stomach, and focused on a sale. It was obvious these two had money: highlights without grow-out, impeccable suits, and the Mercedes in the parking lot. She reached for the magazine.
"We’ve marked the ones we like best," said the woman.
A number of the listings were dog-eared and shredded. Photos of competing Realtors had their eyes blacked out or funny beards drawn over their pictures. Susan’s broker sported devil horns. She couldn’t help but giggle over that doodle.
"Let’s start with this house," said Susan, pointing to the most expensive of their selections. "Can you follow me?"
"Why don’t we just hop in with you?" asked the man. "It’ll be so much easier that way, don’t you think?"
"I do!" agreed the wife.
"Uhm," said Susan. It didn’t feel right. But she glanced outside and saw the light was fading. Soon they wouldn’t be able to see the curb appeal.
"Okay, let’s go," she said.
Listing number one was a cavernous Gothic-revival.
"This is it!" said the wife, sweeping through the front doors.
"Just look at the size of the fireplace!" cried the man in excitement.
"We’ll take it!" they said together.
Susan beamed. THIS is exactly why floor duty paid off.
Back at the office, Susan put the final touches on the contract. Outside, trick-or-treaters ran through the parking lot on their way to the next neighborhood, yelling and throwing candy at one another. Usually, she’d be home handing out Tootsie Rolls to these same kids. But not tonight! Tonight, she was making money.
Certainly, she might not have worked so many hours into the evening if she’d known that the couple’s pre-approval letter was a year old. But that could be amended!
It wasn’t everyday a perfectly awesome couple wandered in off the street and bought a $1 million listing. For full price. And waving all inspections. Susan smiled.
"Last signature!" said Susan, pointing at the bottom of the contract.
"I’m so excited, I’m nearly spitting blood," said the man.
"I know," agreed his wife. "A deal this good, I can taste it."
She signed her name with a flourish.
"I’m so glad you’re happy," said Susan. "This is why I’m in real estate, you know. To make people happy!"
"You’ve pleased us enormously," said the man. "And I’m sure you’ve pleased Christopher as well."
"Is that your son?" asked Susan, clearing the table of paperwork.
"Oh, no," said the woman with a cackle. "Christopher Beams! He works here, right?"
"Yes," said Susan. "Why?"
"Well, he’s our agent! We’re under contract to buy a home off 38th, but we like this one much better. I’m sure he’ll agree," said the man, loosening his tie.
Susan’s heart skipped a beat. "What? Another agent? Another contract? Another house? But, but, b-"
"But this is just how things go!" said the man.
"It’s real estate," said the woman.
Susan held her chest. Her heart had begun to beat very, very fast. She put the paperwork down on the conference table and slowly backed away. Very slowly.
"Where do you think you’re going?" asked the woman, licking her lips.
"Yes, where?" questioned the man, rising.
Susan ran for the door. Behind her she heard a POP, and the rush of flapping wings. Two large, black bats swooped in, pulling Susan’s hair and nipping her ears.
She screamed and pulled her cardigan over her head. This wasn’t how the night was supposed to end! She was going to Cabo! CABO!
She ran for the front door, screaming for help and throwing Junior Mints at the ravenous bats. Suddenly, the office went dark.
"Nooooo!" howled Susan."Not me!"
Later, some passing trick-or-treaters said they thought they heard a haunting scream when the power went out — something to the effect of, "I thought they were my clients."
But we’ll never know for sure.
Alisha Alway Braatz is a buyer’s broker for Coldwell Banker Advantage One Properties in Eugene, Ore., and a real estate humorist.
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