Cardboard Box Showdown

November 1st marks the launch date of the 10th Annual Coldwell Banker Bermuda Realty Toys for Tots Christmas Campaign! We have been gearing up for this event for a few weeks now and we are ALMOST there. Now I wasn’t going to share our initiative with the social media world until the launch date. The plan was to post a lovely picture of our poster and introduce it formally, but this is my life and anyone who knows me well knows that things in my life never go as planned.

I’m actually a new member of the campaign team, which is probably obvious since I joined Coldwell Banker in April. In true Cratonia fashion the campaign hasn’t even been launched yet and I already have a story. But before I get to that, let me first share some of the context: The whole aim of the Toys for Toys campaign is to ensure every child on the island, even those who are less fortunate, receives a NEW toy for Christmas. All it took was the words Christmas and kids and I was sold. There are only a few toy stores on the island but all are on board with this initiative. They allow us to place large boxes right in their store (wrapped in festive wrapping paper of course!) so that after a gift is purchased for the campaign it can be placed directly into this box for collection by the Toys for Tots elves (of which I am one!) Convenient right? So anywoo we are now feverishly in the process of collecting these large boxes, which are due to be in stores before November 1st, and here is where my story begins…

Yesterday afternoon I was driving through town, in 5 o’clock rush hour traffic no less, and through my side eye I peeped what seemed like thousands of LARGE cardboard boxes out to the road for trash collection. I immediately thought SCORE and pulled over to collect a few. While standing next to my treasure find I pull out my phone and call another one of the Toys for Tots elves and I say “I hit the jackpot!” I then start explaining to her exactly where I am whilst grabbing a few boxes in hand to whisk away to my vehicle. Wouldn’t you know out of nowhere this man appeared and started grabbing my box. So while still on the phone I say, “Hey! That’s my box!” At that the elf on the other line says, “Is someone trying to take your box?!” So I said “YES!” I then turned my conversation back to the gentleman, who still had a tight grip on my cardboard box. I knew then that I had to switch up my approach. I quickly hung up the phone and then politely said, “Sir, I have claimed this box, can you let go of it please?” The whole while I’m thinking, ‘really?!’ He didn’t agree or say much of anything, just held on tightly. I thought, ‘oh my goodness am I really going to wrestle this gentleman for a box? Surely it doesn’t have to come to that.’ We began to stare each other down… I thought, ‘be firm Cratonia be firm!’ There were literally tons of boxes. Why he had fixated on the one that I had in my hand was beyond me. So the stare down continued. Finally he said, “Well if you’re going to take it let me help you get it in your car“. Whew! Sigh of relief!

I’m not sure what would have happened had this gentleman not conceded to giving me the box. I guess I would have had to surrender and pick myself out a new box because wrestling over cardboard on the side of a main road really wasn’t on my agenda and totally wouldn’t have been a good look. So thank goodness it did not come to that. I was able to happily drive off with my bounty in tow… all in the name of charity.

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Sure Signs

Now that I have been in the industry for 5 months (almost 6!) I am starting to notice certain changes in my life and I am 100% sure these changes are due to the fact that I am a full-time real estate agent. There really is no other explanation.

The most glaringly obvious change was with regard to my car. And no, I am not talking about the fact that I now have to fill up my gas tank far more often, even though that is a definite change. I am actually referring to the contents of my car. Last weekend it was about that time, the time for me to clean out Sheila. Ok I’m joking I totally do not call my car Sheila, that just came out. Anyway! So I’m cleaning my car and I was shocked at what I was pulling out of it. Once upon a time all you could find in my car was multiple pairs of shoes. This time I found myself sifting through reams of data sheets, bundles of business cards and SIGNS. Yes, signs, as in the big ‘FOR SALE’ Coldwell Banker signs. I’m like really? Then it struck me, literally because said ‘FOR SALE’ sign fell out and hit me, “I am definitely a real estate agent.”

Second change is in regard to my mind, and no I am not going crazy…. well yet anyway. What I mean is my thought process has changed. Or more so how I view certain things, particularly houses. Every time I walk into a new house I instantly start pricing it in my mind. I compare it to homes I have seen, homes that I know have sold and I literally starting throwing out realistic list and sale prices. It’s a little annoying because I honestly can’t even stop myself. And it gets worse. Some may say, ok so you price the house in your mind, that’s not so bad. Well I don’t stop there. I actually then sell the house (in my mind). On a few occasions I have caught people, who also happen to be at this new house, staring at me and I am sure they are wondering, ‘why on earth that girl is talking to herself?’. Well the answer is I am going through marketing strategies, fielding calls and conducting showings… all in my mind.

Now the last change, in a way, relates to my car situation. Has anyone ever seen that Zyrtec commercial where they talk about people stashing tissues like a squirrel stashes nuts? Well that’s me… But with business cards. It’s a little embarrassing how I often find myself trying to find some way to shove a huge stack of business cards into the tiniest little clutch. Why do I do this you ask? Because you never know who you may meet! I have to admit, one day I was caught slipping, and it was totally embarrassing. I was like, “I’m sorry Sir, I don’t have any business cards on me but you can reach me on….” He never called. Now I stash.

So there you have it, a few sure signs I think clearly indicate that I have crossed over into the land of real estate, and I am positive that there will be more as the months progress. I can only imagine what will pop up next.

Mommy & Me

There are certain things that you do not expect to find at a property you were told would be unoccupied when you arrive. People are one. The second, at least in my experience, is a goat. A pregnant goat at that. Well as my life would have it that is exactly what I found at a property I was asked to preview. I actually heard the goat first and was a little concerned until I saw that it was an animal making those noises. You can only imagine what crossed my mind first… But anyway, when I saw the goat, and realized that it was in fact friendly, I was pretty chuffed. I jokinly named him Hector and went about my business.

Now remember I said this goat was pregnant? Well yes she was. When I was told she was pregnant my first thought was ‘Wow how cool!’ My second was ‘Embarrassed how did I not notice she was a girl goat and in fact pregnant.’ And the third? Well that’s when reality kicked in. It was at that point that I began having visions of this poor goat, I now had to rename Hilda, going into labor while in the middle of a showing. I was mortified at the thought. Why? Because that is exactly the sort of random thing that would happen in MY life. So for one month I was on edge. Every time I would show the property I would walk out onto the back lawn and cringe until I saw that Hilda was happily eating her daily meal still with child. There was always that inner sigh of relief.

Well there was that one day where I was showing the property and the potential purchaser, obviously surprised, said “Oh there’s a goat!” To which I responded “Oh that’s just Hilda. She’s pre…. a new mom!” I could see from the window that there was definitely a small Hilda mini-me tucked under her. I almost left the purchasers in the house and ran. I controlled the urge. I continued with the showing, all the while distracted at the thought that there was a baby goat on the property. When it was over I hurriedly thanked the potential purchasers and ran, yes ran and at top speed too, to the back yard to meet Hilda’s offspring.

At first I thought it was only one. Then I saw another, and another! There were 3 goat babies! Excitement! I was probably little too excited. I ended up taking an embarassing amount of pictures and showing them to everyone I came in contact with as if they were my children. So thus began my adoption of this entire goat family. In my mind though because obviously they belonged to someone else, but I was content. Not just at the fact that I had claimed these adorable goat babies but also at the fact that Hilda had graciously given birth in the absense of any prospects. Thanks Hilda.

High Heels? Perhaps Not

Anyone that knows me well is fully aware that I am not the most graceful person in the world. Ok, that’s putting it lightly, basically I am clumsy. I can sashay myself across a runway at any given time and look great doing so but its a toss up whether or not I will make it down and back without falling. This however does not stop me from wearing high heeled shoes. I mean, what can I say? I’m a girly girl and I love them. So the day I decided to wear them on a property showing was not out of the ordinary. Even if this house was a fixer upper and in desperate need of landscaping.

Everything was going as planned. I showed the inside of home without incident, even though the ground had no sort of floor covering, was littered with dust and debris and let’s not forget, I was in high heels. However, like I said, there was no issue. It wasn’t until I stepped out onto the lawn, which if you remember from a couple lines up was in desperate need of landscaping. I had my speech ready. I was fully prepared to describe the vast size of the lot, the entertaining potential and the privacy offered by the mature trees. That is until I tripped and fell into a ditch…

I’m sure you can imagine my horror. I’m new to the industry so of course I had never met these potential purchasers before. I was trying real hard to make an impression. A positive one! But as life would have it I ended up in a ditch. “Are you ok?!” The prospects proclaimed. “Uh… (as I’m wiping the dirt from my skirt and picking grass off my knees) …I’m fine. Let’s continue shall we?” Embarrassing right? Totally! But I did learn my lesson. No high heels at fixer upper listings with landscaping issues.

Just a towel?

Continuing on the theme of “nakedness” I actually had my own near experience not too long ago. You see every Wednesday morning the Bermuda Realty Sales team goes on what we call “Property Tours”. It allows all the agents to preview every home that comes on the market so that we can gain some familiarity with the property in case we have to market it to any of our prospects.

So anyway, one faithful Property Tour Wednesday we were all making the usual rounds when we came upon a home that consisted of a 3 bedroom main house and a studio apartment. We viewed the main house with ease. It was quite nice actually, needed some upgrading but with the HGTV mentality that I have seen recently it was a project that most buyers would love to undertake. But I digress… Next up to view was the lower studio apartment, and that’s when it happened… We walked in and there he was, an attractive young gentleman in nothing but a skimpy towel. “I’m so sorry ladies!” He exclaimed.. “You caught me at a bad time!” Now I have to interject here to say that I am the youngest sales representative on my team and even I was floored at the response of my female colleagues.  Their collective reply was, “Oh no we didn’t.”

Basically, I could have died. The young man was a good sport and laughed it off and retired to get dressed but I could not stop laughing for pretty much the entire day. Partly at the fact that had we walked in 2 seconds earlier I may have had a more PG13 scene to report but mainly at the response of my coworkers. It was definitely a hilarious start to my day and all I could say to myself was ‘welcome to the unpredictable life of real estate’.

Buyer “Concerns”

So I am a brand new sales agent, and as a part of my brand newness I have been enrolled in various training sessions. It’s great really, as a part of the Coldwell Banker franchise I get to participate in online courses which are often attended by agents from around the world. We get to share a ton of ideas and learn some really great skills to help us in the industry, but I think my favorite part is hearing real life while in practice stories from various countries worldwide.

One day as we were discussing “buyer concerns” a classmate of mine began recounting his most recent experience with this topic. He had encountered several buyers who insisted that their home meet certain tests, which were all relatively normal. That is until he told us about the ‘Naked Kitchen Test’. I said, “Pardon? The Naked Kitchen Test?” At this point I wasn’t entirely sure I had heard correctly. This class is administered online and for all I know there could have been an internet glitch and I had lost signal for a moment. Well I had not. Despite my sheer fear at the response I said, “What in the world is the Naked Kitchen Test?” Well, apparently his buyer needed a home where someone could get from the Master Bedroom into the Kitchen stark naked without being seen by anyone passing by, which surely makes you wonder what they’ve been getting up to in their current living space!

As I am sure you would have guessed this invoked an uproar in our class with such comments as “well I hope you didn’t have to be present for that test!” and the like, which all left us rolling in laughter. This really got me thinking about the outrageous “buyer concerns” that I may encounter on the job. Anyone who knows a Bermudian personally knows that we are pretty peculiar bunch when we’re ready. So people stay tuned! I may have something just as outrageous to report in the very near future…