As the busy buying season draws to a close, relax a bit and chuckle
Q. I'm just curious -- do you own your own home?
A. Yes. It has wall-to-wall carpets, plus back-to-the-wall payments.
One of the busiest spring homebuying seasons in history is winding to a close. So, I'm departing from this column's usual question-and-answer format in an effort to bring a few chuckles to weary sellers, exasperated buyers and my countless good friends in the real estate industry -- most of them are blessed with a great sense of humor, even if a joke comes at their own expense.
• An elderly billionaire gave away his entire estate to his three sons, but with one caveat: Each of them would have to put $100,000 in cash into his casket to prove he really could take it with him.
At the funeral service, the first son sheepishly admitted he had put only $90,000 cash into his father's coffin because he needed $10,000 for a down payment on a home. The second son, relieved at the revelation, admitted he had put in only $80,000 because he needed the remainder to pay student-loan bills.
The third son, a real estate agent, was aghast at the confessions of his two siblings. "I am so ashamed of you two," the salesman scolded. "I'll have you both know I put my personal check for the full $100,000 into the casket at Dad's funeral."
• True story: I have received thousands of letters since I wrote my first real estate story in the 1970s, but few could top the malaprop a reader started with in 1997. "My neighbor has his noisy lawn sprinklers on all day long, and it's really irrigating me."
• A wiser man than I once noted that if you think no one cares whether you are alive, just miss a couple of mortgage payments. He also said the only difference between a real estate attorney and an angry bull is that real estate lawyers charge more.
• What does an appraiser's wife say to her husband when she cannot sleep? "Honey, how was your day?"
• So, a California highway patrol officer pulls over a beautiful woman for speeding in her Ferrari, and asks her to show him her real estate license.
"Don't you mean my driver's license?" the pretty gal asked.
"No," the patrolman replied. "Not everyone in California has a driver's license."
• What does a home seller get from the Godfather and his realty agent? An offer that he can't understand.
• Why do most people take an instant dislike to bankers and real estate agents? To save time.
• A rookie real estate agent was ecstatic after selling his first property, but dismayed to find out that a week after the deal closed, the home's basement and most of the rest of the house had flooded because of a busted water heater and sewer backup. The buyer, understandably, wanted his money back.
The newbie salesperson asked his supervising broker if the buyer's cash should be returned.
"What? You must be crazy!" his boss barked. "Go back to the guy and sell him a houseboat!"
• With U.S. home prices soaring, many American citizens prefer to buy a home in Mexico because they don't have to peso much. (If it's any consolation, dear readers, I also groaned to myself even as I typed that joke into my computer.)
• A small-town real estate broker got worried when a big realty franchiser purchased the building adjacent to her office and immediately erected a sign that said, in all capital letters, "LOWEST COMMISSIONS." Then, another big franchiser bought the building on the other side of her office with an even bigger sign proclaiming "BEST AGENTS IN TOWN."
The small broker, whose office was now sandwiched between the big ones, panicked. But then she decided to make the biggest sign of all. It read: "MAIN ENTRANCE."
This is based on a true story, and suggests why homeowners should always hire a licensed real estate agent with the ingenuity to market his or her properties when it's time to sell.
• For the booklet "Straight Talk About Living Trusts," send $4 and a self-addressed, stamped envelope to David Myers/Trust, P.O. Box 4405, Culver City, CA 90231-4405.
© 2017, Cowles Syndicate Inc.