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DAN'S PAPERS, December 19, 2008 Page 26


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out from under you. If you object to relocating, the agent might go about this covertly. Watch for these telltale signs: 1. You’re admonished to keep the house clean at all times. Your normally easy going real estate partner is constantly Windexing, vacuuming and straightening up. He is making the house a show place because it is, in fact, being shown. 2. Personal effects like family photos, diaries, and intimate apparel disappear in the morning, only to reappear in the evening. 3. Every weekend you’re provided with free matinee tickets or brunch coupons that must be used between 12 and 2. Yes, open houses have been scheduled. If you want to be sure, check the ground near your property line. Deep symmetrical holes, about 2 1/2 feet apart, are clear indicators of signage. Eventually, the disorder progresses until the agent takes on yet another persona: she will become her own customer. After all, if she sells the house she lives in, she has to become a buyer and find another one. This means you will be dragged around from house to house (that you don’t want), and constantly be updated, via email and phone, about new listings or price reductions (that you don’t care about). Selling their own houses and looking to buy another is actually a brilliant self-preservation strategy for agents craving activity — it makes them involved in every step of the process and they earn a double commission! But if you live with an agent doing this and you don’t want to move, this would be the time to seek professional help so things don’t get ugly at a closing table.

Other behaviors to watch for include the following: Nightmares: If the agent wakes up sweating, nervously muttering, “No MLS! No MLS!” calm him by reciting the addresses of his exclusives. Manic behavior: While driving to a movie, the agent slows the car at every other house, compulsively reciting town data in a robotic tone. “That sold for 1.5 in ’07, now they want 1.4. They haven’t adjusted to the market… That house has had three price reductions since June but they don’t have to sell. If it were my exclusive I’d take it off the market until the spring.” Humor agents in these situations. Pretending you’re a customer will help their mood. Ask questions like, “Do they have a current C/O? Is it one or two zone heating?” Knowing the answers is a real boost to an agent’s ego, and if he doesn’t have the facts, finding them will give him something constructive to do. But for god’s sake don’t make an offer unless you’re serious. That could put him over the edge. On the popcorn line, be aware of the agent becoming preoccupied with a discount coupon. “This says 10% off any size popcorn, but the percentage shouldn’t be the same for all price points. A 35 cent savings on $3.50 isn’t incentive enough for me to make that commitment.” If the agent doesn’t succeed in this negotiation, he may turn his sights to you. “I know originally we were planning to split this 50/50, but I was the one who actually got the popcorn. So you pay the first 10% and we’ll split

the remainder.” Best to just go along in this case. Sitting in the theatre, you may notice the agent isn’t laughing at the funny parts. Instead, every time a scene shows a house, he or she leans over and says “Out here that would sell for 2.3 in a good market; now, maybe 1.8, maybe.” Pricing fictitious properties indicates a possible break with reality that does call for professional help. Short of therapy and reassurance, here are a few gift ideas to help real estate agents get through these tough times. An e-Bay account. Great opportunity for an agent to get that selling fix. Just be aware if personal items go missing. Films: Glengarry Glen Ross, The Money Pit, Pacific Heights, The Apartment. Hold off on The War of the Roses until absolutely necessary. Monopoly sets. If you play against an agent, by all means let him convince you to mortgage everything to buy Park Place, but give him a fight. Sell all the yellow properties to him well below market value, only to buy them back later at an inflated price. Buy hotels for each of your monopolies, even if it puts you in a tight financial position. Then, when you go bankrupt, humor the agent who says that you over-invested in home improvements that you won’t be able to recoup. These Monopoly strategies could provide emotional rescue for a real estate agent. But there’s really only one that you must remember when playing the game: Whatever else you do or don’t do, for god’s sake, let him win.

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Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...