The city slickers move to the burbs

I’ll give you a brief description before getting into my two stories of city buyers moving to the suburbs. I am originally from Yonkers, NY. My immediate family eventually moved up to Putnam Valley, NY. With much of my family remaining in Yonkers, I grew up with the benefits of learning the ropes in both a city and suburban setting. However, it is rather annoying when everyone South of Yonkers refers to our location as “upstate”.

I guess I take my knowledge of how things work “in the country” for granted. When I first got into this business I assumed that everyone knew the basic information that I’m going to mention in a minute. I guess this is why I find these two stories so amusing. I’ve had my share of buyers that wanted no part of houses with oil, wells or septic systems. They also had to have natural gas. I’m pretty much able to calm down most buyers and educate them about the area. Once they realize that those amenities aren’t available outside the city (and Urban areas) they accept the alternatives. Here are two of my funnier stories:

1. I was showing around a young couple from Yonkers. They wanted to buy a home in Upper Westchester/Lower Putnam to get into what they felt were better school systems. This was one of those cases in which I had to explain how the well and septic systems work. The husband had a very concerned look on his face. I laughed and asked what was the matter. He then started with his question; “You guys have a lot of deer and animals that run through your yards, right?” I laughed and answered yes. He then asked, “Well, don’t they go to the bathroom on the ground?” At that point I was hysterical and cut him off because I knew exactly where he was going. I explained to him that the wells are over 200 feet under the ground and are safe from deer urine…..LOL. You better believe I teased him about that one for the duration of our home search!

2. Another couple that I just represented invited Marcie and me over for dinner to celebrate the new house. They are an awesome couple and we had a blast. The real fun began when we moved to the living room. They started to tell us about their adjustment to the rural life. After talking for a while the husband told us that they had a great mail day earlier in the afternoon. I wasn’t exactly sure what he was talking about so of course, I asked. I was anticipating some deliveries of large packages or furniture. This was the answer; “We haven’t checked the mailbox since we moved in (just shy of two weeks). I looked inside today for the heck of it and it was full of mail. There must have been the whole two weeks worth of it. Our stupid mailman never put the flag up!” Well, Marcie almost choked and nearly spit her food all over their couch. The both of us were laughing so hard that we started to tear up. He was quite embarrassed for complaining about the mailman, especially when he realized his mailbox theory was incorrect. It’s easy to forget that if you lived in the city your entire life, you probably never used a mailbox. By the way, you put the flag up when you have a piece of outgoing mail. The flag lets the mailman know there is mail waiting to be picked up.

To Key or Not To Key – That is the frustration

This isn’t an issue that comes up too often, but when it does it drives me crazy! Some of you who read this may have done this. Hopefully, I don’t offend you. If you have, please comment and tell me why this makes sense to you because…. I DON’T UNDERSTAND THIS! Ok, let me get to the point here. I was scheduling appointments for a buyer of mine yesterday for single-family homes. As usual, I was scheduling about four appointments back to back. When getting the showing instructions from the third listing office I became quite agitated. The woman said, “You’re set to show and you have to come pick up the key.” I’ve come across this a few times showing co-ops in Long Island. I work mostly in Westchester and Putnam Counties in New York. It’s only happened a couple times here with co-ops but never with a single-family house. Who has time to stop at an office to pick up a key and then return it when you’re showing multiple listings spanning several hours? There is another catch. This particular office closes at 5 PM and I wasn’t scheduled to show the house until 6:00. So, I go back to my original question. Why isn’t there a lockbox at this property!!! I was trying to think of a reason. There’s no way a seller requested that a lockbox not be present. It doesn’t make anything easier for the agent. It better not be to save the $20 on a lockbox. Most importantly, it could cost you showings!

The end result was a disaster. I called the office to let them know I was going to get there at 5:15. The secretary panicked and said that she couldn’t stay because she had a doctor appointment. She then checked the logbook to confirm my appointment and said that I wasn’t in the book. She finally found me as someone jotted me down in the wrong spot. Because of this another agent showing the house in the morning took they key. It’s a good thing I didn’t rush to get there before five! She gave me his number and told me to give him a call. Turned out he was showing houses as well and asked me to meet him at his location. The heck with that, I was already out with my buyers. We drove by the scheduled house to look around outside. From that, they concluded we’d just scratch that one off the list. Now, for all we know the house could have been a masterpiece. Too many sellers and their agents have the attitude of, “well, they’ll just come back another time”. Here’s a reality check… no they don’t! Besides, why would you take that chance? Maybe I’m wrong but to me this was just stupid!