When she started asking me if I was “prequalified,” I knew the realtor had a problem.
By Robert Plunket
A terrible thing happened yesterday at an open house. I was humiliated by a realtor.
It started when I was driving down the street and saw an Open House sign. So I pull over. It was a cute little house that I had noticed before; for some reason they just can’t sell it. It has been reduced several times and is now about 40 percent less than the original asking price.
So I go up to the front door. It was locked, but immediately opened by a pleasant-looking female realtor in late middle age. I have no problem with female realtors keeping the door locked during an open house. If a man does it, it means he’s a wuss; but for a woman it’s fine, even prudent.
Anyway, I start looking around and the realtor kept asking me if I was “pre-qualified.” I’m not even sure what that means, but I interpret it as signifying one of two things: 1.) I have it in writing, already, proof that I can afford the house, and/or 2.) I am so serious about purchasing a house immediately, right now, that I have all the paper work done. As neither of these scenarios was even remotely true, I gave her some innocuous, deflecting answer and went back to examining the closet space.
But she wouldn’t let it go. She asked again, a little more pointedly. I stopped. Slowly I turned. “Why is that an issue?” I asked. Because she wanted to know my “motivation,” she replied.
Well, that did it. A frosty silence hung in the air as I tried to decide how to handle this. I felt like saying, hey, lady, you’re the one who put the sign up. I don’t owe you anything. If I had called and made an appointment, that would be one thing. But you’ve invited any Tom, Dick and Harry in to look at your stupid house and you should be glad I even showed up, no matter what my “motivation.”
And what’s the problem? Don’t I look like I can afford this house? It’s $169,000, for Pete’s sake. I’m well dressed and that’s my brand new Toyota parked at the curb. How dare you call into question my whole sense of self?
Fortunately, I hit upon the perfect solution. I told her that I always pay cash for real estate and that this house was just what I was looking for. It was perfect. I just had a couple of questions. Then I rattled off a list of things she would have to do some research on. Like, what’s under the siding? Exactly how wide is the lot? Is the garage cypress or pine? She excitedly jots all this down. Then I tell her to call me as soon as possible—tomorrow morning, in fact—and gave her Cliff Roles’ phone number.
The moral? Don’t #@%& with me, lady. This ain’t my first time at the rodeo. Of course, now I’ll have to spend the rest of my life avoiding this woman, but believe me, it’s worth it.