Early navigated the room with a panache befitting the guest of honor. The fact that he was but one of the invited many did nothing to discourage the lopsided grin from his freckled face. This was his night.
Spying a familiar couple loitering in the vicinity of the punch bowl, Early staggered in their direction.
“David! Katherine,” Early boomed, thrusting his hand like a bayonet at the former before wrapping the latter in a boozy half-embrace.
“What’s it been, two, three years?”
“What a surprise,” the woman said through a forced smile. Her eyes implored her husband for help as she tried to wriggle out from under Early’s heavy forearm.
“More like six or seven,” David corrected, extracting his wife, Carol, by her bony elbow.
“How’s the house,” Early continued undeterred. Red liquid sloshed over the rim of the punch bowl as he lunged for the ladle, scattering several fellow revelers.
“Outgrown that little place yet? Prices are really on the rise, it might be the time to move on up!”
“We did,” David deadpanned, staring directly into his former agent’s swimming, cobalt eyes. “This fall.”
“Good for you,” Early gushed, clapping the intense, little man on the shoulder. “You should have called me, though. I would have gotten you more money.”
“Funny you say that-” David began, but Early was already on the move.
The couple shared an eye roll as the squishy man in the small, plaid coat plowed through a knot of protesting guests en route to his next target.
“Jathon,” Early slurred as he locked on to another past client. His prey’s eyes darted in all directions for a lifeline, but it was too late. He was caught in the drunken tractor beam.
“Hello, Early,” Jason mumbled, offering a stick of gum to the close-talker that was summarily declined. “How’s it going?”
“That depends,” Early grinned, confident in his wittiness. “Why don’t you ask my jeweler?”
He flashed a turquoise boulder that was the latest in a long procession of candidates to adorn his left ring finger.
“Don’t tell the ex, though,” Early whisper-shouted with an exaggerated wink. “She’ll hit me up for more child support.”
“So you’re back in real estate, then,” Jason stated rhetorically.
“Yessir, back in black,” Early bragged, punctuating the boast with a clumsy attempt at shadow boxing.
“Too bad you weren’t around two years ago when I had to sell short,” Jason lamented, a twinge of spite turning the statement into an accusation. “I called your office. They said you were selling mobile phone plans.”
“Two years ago, you say,” Early asked, his thin, reddish-blonde eyebrows arching. “That means you should be in a position to buy!”
Early fumbled through his jacket for a card. He wiggled the tips of his sausage fingers just far enough into a strained breast pocket to extract one.
“Wait, wrong one,” Early frowned, tucking the card for his event planning business back in his pocket and fishing out another one. “Ah, here it is!”
Jason marveled at the hand-written name and cell phone number before declining the offering.
“Thanks Early, but I’m already hooked up with someone.”
“Come on, Jathon,” Early groaned, nearly falling as he swayed forward. He was now sweating profusely in the cold room.
“Whoth gonna get you a better deal than me?”
“Oh I don’t know,” Jason replied. “Maybe someone who sticks with me in the down times, too?”
“Whath that thuppoth to mean,” Early demanded, his brow beetled to comedic degree with confusion.
Several nearby guests looked at the pair sharply.
“You’re a front-runner, Early,” Jason informed the teetering agent.
“You’re damn right I am,” Early boomed, spilling his drink and missing the point.
The rubber-neckers slowly backed away from the unfolding scene.
“How can I trust you today if you won’t be around for the consequences tomorrow,” Jason asked pointedly. “You hop in and out of the business like a rabbit with ADD.”
“I-uh, well, that’s just …,” Early stammered. “Guy’s gotta make a living …”
“Have a nice night, Early,” Jason excused himself.
“Fine! Who needs you anyway,” Early shouted after him. “I’m knocking down ten k a month! How’s THAT for front running?!”
The room went quiet as all eyes fell upon the reeling agent. A slender woman weaved through the stunned gawkers, the clicking of her heels clearly audible.
“You promised you wouldn’t do this, Early,” the hostess said quietly upon reaching him, her red-sequined dress now attracting attention she didn’t want.
“Do what,” Early croaked, gesturing at the silent throng, “Offer my friends the deal of a lifetime?!”
“MY friends, Early,” she corrected. “Mine.”
“Oh, okay. I get it,” Early announced, hands up in defensive fashion. “I see how it is. Well, the hell with you, sis!”
“The hell with all of you,” he boomed, his face turning a deep crimson.
He lurched towards the door after making a circuitous detour to refill his dixie cup. He stopped in the doorway and turned to face the hushed crowd. He held the cup aloft as if making a toast.
“Early Croffort, proudly not serving any of your real estate needs since 2012,” he spit.
Early took as deep a bow as his equilibrium would allow, downed the contents, crushed the cup in his fist, and extended his middle finger.
“Happy new year, fukerths!”
With that, he turned and stormed into the night.
The silence in the room lingered for a full minute.
“And here I thought the downturn weeded agents like him from the industry,” a man’s voice chimed in, breaking the silence.
“It did,” another assured him. “For awhile, at least. Now that the market’s getting better, all the zombies are coming back to life. Agents like him are straight Freddy Kruger.”
“Where did he come from anyway,” a bewildered woman asked.
“Personal referral,” yet another party-goer answered. Nearly everyone in attendance cast a look at the mortified hostess whose head was now buried in her hands.
“Just goes to show there’s only one place to find someone you can truly trust these days,” someone else decreed.
The guests looked around at each other, nodding. Murmured agreement rippled through the gathering before numerous voices made the proclamation in unison.
June 20, 2012
Scottsdale, AZ – As anyone who has attempted to buy or sell a home over the past seven years can attest, the Real Estate market has proven unstable at best. New findings released by the Phoenix-based American Behavioral Coalition this morning may explain why.
“The Scottsdale Real Estate Market suffers from Schizoaffective Disorder,” Dr. Angela Merkins of the ABC claims.
You mean it’s mental?
“Well, it suffers from a personality disorder anyway,” Dr. Merkins affirmed. “Comparing the peaks and valleys of the past decade to the market’s baseline history, we can only conclude that an acute trauma, brought on by a specific event, caused a psychotic break with consciousness that has yet to be fully repaired.”
Dr. Merkins expanded when pressed on the nature of said event.
“Could have been anything,” Dr. Merkins explained. “A chance encounter with a cash-poor investor triggering a suppressed memory from the 1980s, an episode of delusional paranoia spurred by an influx of Californian speculators, who knows? All that is clear is that the Scottsdale Real Estate Market went bugshit crazy on February 14th, 2005.”
From high-rolling night-owl that snorts Alka Seltzer off the bare stomachs of $5000 a night showgirls, to indigent transient that smells of four day old cat food and sour milk, the Scottsdale Real Estate Market has seen more ups and downs in recent years than a Mount Everest sherpa. Until recently, the market had been under the care and supervision of the mental health staff at ABC, but its current whereabouts are unknown after budget cutbacks mandated its transfer to a less secure facility.
“I’m worried about it,” Dr. Merkins confirmed, acknowledging that the patient, disguised as JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, recently checked itself out of a halfway house. “After a long period of clinical depression, the market was finally coming around. But now, all that progress hangs in the balance.”
This is often the most dangerous point for a psychiatric patient.
“The concern is that the patient will feel the medication and therapy that has brought him or her back to a point of normalcy is no longer necessary, especially if the pull to experience the rush of a manic phase is too strong to resist. They think they can just go back on their medication once they’ve experienced the exhilaration of the high and avoid the low, but it doesn’t work like that.”
Asked if she saw any particular danger of that occurring in this instance, Dr. Merkins was blunt.
“Look at what’s going on out there,” she lamented. “Multiple offers, bidding wars, pictures on the internet of the market passed out at a frat party with a lampshade on its head … the only thing missing is stated income financing for jobless meth addicts.”
When asked if she had had any communications with her former patient, Dr. Merkins blushed.
“It left me a message at two AM this morning,” Dr. Merkins confessed, holding up her cell phone as evidence. “Mostly slurred speech to the point of being incomprehensible, but I distinctly heard the phrase Colombian bath salts.”
So what does this mean for Scottsdale home buyers and sellers?
“Buckle up and keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times,” Dr. Merkins cautioned. “And don’t take any open beverages from a stranger. Trust me on this.”
– Paul Slaybaugh, BSRE News ©2012
Max Welling sipped from the “Denny’s” emblazoned ceramic mug, gritting his teeth against the watered-down confection masquerading as coffee within, the inviting aroma nothing more than a ruse. A useful diversion as he mentally composed his argument, the swill was nonetheless an affront to his connoisseur’s sensibilities.
“Good, huh,” his smug companion inquired, seeking less an opinion than an acknowledgement of the self-evident truth.
“You were right,” Max agreed, nodding at the moon-faced young man as he set the mug down on the Ms. Pacman coaster on the metal table between them. “Definitely not the usual.”
Greyson “Graze” Mays smirked as he swiveled away from Max on his chrome bar stool, only to jolt back a moment later, arresting his indulgent spin with a pair of green Converse One Stars. He steepled his fingers under his chin as he redirected the conversation back to the matter at hand.
“So in light of recent developments,” Graze began, indicating not the half-inch thick ream of subdivision data that the Realtor had spent the previous hour belaboring, but newspaper clippings from various periodicals that were haphazardly spread about the table. “This is clearly a seller’s market, and buyers will pay a premium for a unique home such as this one.”
Max looked about the three bedroom ranch, thinking the shade of formica on the kitchen counter tops might have been slightly different in the home of the same model that sold down the street in January for eighty five thousand less than his erstwhile companion had in mind.
“It’s true that the market has turned,” Max allowed. “However, there has to be some basis for-“
“I showed you the new crown molding in the master bedroom, right,” Graze interrupted.
“You did,” Max affirmed. “It’s lovely.”
“And the chandelier I added in the dining room?”
“Beautiful choice,” Max replied, craning his neck to take in the garish atrocity that was the self-styled hipster’s attempt at retro ironic.
“Look,” Max began, changing the arc. “You have a great house, and it will likely sell above recent comps due to the work you’ve done and the lack of competition in the market, but within reason. We can’t jump comps by the better part of a hundred grand and realistically expect to find a buyer.”
“There’s no way my house is worth less than I paid for it,” Graze objected, adjusting his black, horn-rimmed glasses. “All these articles say prices are up twenty percent!”
“Three things,” Max said, holding up three well-tanned, corresponding fingers. “First, you have to remember that you bought the home in oh eight. Unfortunately, the market experienced three straight years of heavy losses before this recent resurgence.”
“Second,” Max interrupted, returning the favor. “You can’t directly apply general market trends and percentages to any one specific property. Yes, the median sales price for the Valley is up approximately twenty percent in the last twelve months, but we can’t throw out the most recent neighborhood-specific sales in favor of such broad generalities to determine current market value.”
“The people down the street-“
“Are smoking crack,” Max finished over Graze again. “Just because they are asking an egregiously stupid price for their home, doesn’t mean we have to hop in the idiot bus to clambake with them. People can ask whatever they want for something. It’s irrelevant to value until they get it.”
“Third,” Graze challenged.
“Third is the inconvenient matter of the appraisal,” Max obliged. “Even if we luck into a buyer who just fell off the turnip truck, it means nothing if the home doesn’t appraise. And you can bet your bippy that an appraiser will review the very same sales I’m looking at when I tell you that the house is justifiably worth no more than two ten, max.”
“Great Scott,” Graze moaned, removing his spectacles and face-palming himself. A prematurely receding hairline did nothing to mitigate the fact that he looked all of thirteen years old without his glasses.
“The good news is that prices are finally heading in the right direction,” Max volunteered. “Another year or two at this rate and we’ll be able to break you out of here.”
“But by then I won’t be able to afford the new house I want to buy,” Graze lamented.
“That’s the rub,” Max ceded. “But there’s more than one way to skin a Kardashian.”
“I’m listening,” Blaze allowed, smiling despite himself at his elder counterpart’s clumsy attempt to bridge the generational divide through pop culture.
“You might consider renting the house out for the next year or two,” Max obliged. “As long as you qualify to carry both loans, you can lock in a new place at today’s prices while someone else pays the rent on this place until it gets to a point where we can sell it.”
“Not real keen on being a landlord,” Graze worried, taking a sip of his own iced coffee through a purple twisty straw. “Can’t bear to think of a tenant on the new shag carpet. You sure you can’t sell it for two ninety?”
“I’m good, but I’m not that good,” Max assured him. He stood and gathered his things. “I’ll run some rental figures this evening and let you know how they look. In the meantime, why don’t you call this guy.”
Max placed a business card on the table.
“My go-to lender. He should be able to tell you whether or not it’s feasible to buy without having to sell just yet.”
Graze looked at the card, but made no move to retrieve it.
“No offense, but I think I’m going to get a second opinion,” he informed the agent. “There’s a Realtor that specializes in this neighborhood. I get her flyers and mailings all the time.”
“By all means,” Max welcomed. “If she really knows the neighborhood, she’ll give it to you straight.”
“Well, thank you so much for the good news and enthusiasm,” Graze muttered, straightening his Napoleon Dynamite t-shirt as he walked Max to the door. “Want to kick my dog on the way out?”
“Nah, I like dogs,” Max grinned, reaching down to pet the yipping, over-sized rodent that joined them in the foyer. “But your coffee tastes like shit.”
Taken aback by the affront, a slight gurgle emanated from the younger man’s fleshy gullet.
Judas, his watery brown eyes hissed.
Max shrugged, hardened into the role of executioner by the last half decade.
“Call me when your listing with the neighborhood expert expires.”
“Why is his skin all splotchy?”
Chip Donaghue stared at the pathetic, grey man on the gurney. Tubes ran in and out of his crystallized body, connecting him to a bank of beeping machines and monitors.
“Sublimation is typical,” the humorless doctor beside him announced.
“Freezer burn,” the doctor clarified, his high-pitched voice at odds with its gravelly undertones. He struck Chip as a man who had spent considerable time exploring the outer edges of life’s spectrum.
The beeping intensified moments before the patient sat straight up.
“He’s awake,” Chip shouted, taking a step toward the bed before being restrained by a vice-like grip.
He looked back to find the doctor’s skeletal hand clamped to his meaty shoulder.
How can he be that strong? Chip wondered.
“Keep your distance,” the doctor rasped. “He’s not lucid.”
“Like hell,” Chip argued, struggling in vain to free himself. “Look at him!”
“That’s just gas,” the doctor informed him.
“Gas,” Chip protested, incredulous. “He’s sitting up for crissakes!”
“The cells in the core are the first to awaken,” the doctor assured him. “They expand as they release CO2. Get too close during the herky-jerky and you’re apt to get clipped by an errant limb.”
The patient’s mouth remained a frozen “oh” as his sightless grey-brown eyes stared into the infinity. His right arm suddenly shot straight up.
“Pow, right in the kisser,” the doctor whispered. Sensing resignation, he relaxed his grip on Chip’s shoulder.
The two men watched in silence as random body parts took turns flailing about over the course of the next few minutes. Chip was reminded of a fish flopping around on dry land, desperate for breath. The room took on a gamey odor as life returned to long-dormant flesh.
The chaotic symphony reached the patient’s face.
“Now remember,” the doctor reminded Chip. “He’s not going to recognize you. Not at first, and maybe not at all.”
Chip sighed. He’d been waiting for this moment for six years. Now that it was finally here, he wasn’t sure he was ready for it.
The patient’s left eyelid spasmed. Then the right. His nose twitched.
This is it, Chip gulped. Please … oh, please …
The patient did not respond to the doctor’s query.
“Mr. Niedelman,” the doctor tried again, in a stronger voice. “Can you hear me?”
Ed Niedelman broke six years of silence by barking like a dog.
“This happens sometimes,” the doctor assured Chip. “The synapses of the brain are especially prone to bursting and misfire upon rapid thaw. Give it a minute for the connections to reestablish themselves.”
“No,” Chip said shaking his head as the woofing continued unabated. “It worked! By God, it worked!”
The doctor raised a quizzical white eyebrow.
“This is how Ed celebrates a big sale,” Chip explained. “If you remember, we had him frozen at the closing table for the Meyers transaction. We had no more leads to feed him, so figured we’d put him on the shelf while we rode out the storm. Wanted his last memory to be a good one. Bless his heart, he still thinks it’s 2006!”
“Welcome back, big dog,” Chip, the managing broker at Prickly Pear Properties, gushed as he approached his sales associate. “You ready to eat?”
Niedelman jumped out of the bed, howling. He nearly lost his footing as he landed in a pool of water on the polished concrete floor.
“Outstanding,” Chip bellowed, clapping his underling on the back as he helped free him from the wires and tubes that bound him. “Let’s go wake up Peterson.”
The doctor attended to the vacated station as the awkward pair lumbered over to the next cryogenic chamber.
“One second, gentlemen,” he sighed, eyeing the half-naked, born-again charlatan and his Svengali with despair.
He had lost nearly fifty percent of his clients to reanimation since January first. The recovering Real Estate market was exciting news to everyone but him it seemed.
Time to start farming for new clientele.
But who? As Realtors began their rise from the ashes, which demographic was ready to take its place at the precipice of a great unknown … and in his freezer?
A thin smile spread across his narrow face as it came to him.
Of course, he thought. Moderate Republicans.
Scottsdale, AZ – Recent studies suggest that consumers still envision salesmen as fast-talking, slick-haired, turquoise-pinkie-ring-flashing hucksters who would sooner eat their own gold teeth than hesitate to push their mothers into traffic if caught standing between them and a sale.
Which makes the case of Agnes Friedman all the more unusual.
“I’m more of a go along to get along type,” Mrs. Friedman, a Real Estate agent with As You Wish Realty, LLC told BSRE news.
Admired by her peers for an amicable disposition which makes cross-transactions a breeze, she has come under fire as of late for her “path of least resistance” model of client advocacy.
“Nobody likes a salesman,” Friedman explained. “Well, I mean, maybe some people do, but I … I’m not saying it’s wrong if you do, just … what do you think?”
Bethany O’Leary, a former client of Friedman’s, was originally drawn to that very unsalesy manner when selecting a REALTOR to list her 4 bedroom McCormick Ranch home last May.
“She was such a breath of fresh air,” O’Leary told reporters when reached for comment at the same 4 bedroom McCormick Ranch home. “All the others wanted to talk about the market and toot their own horns. Agnes was willing to listen … and to ultimately do whatever I told her to do.”
Asked to corroborate, Friedman smiled and offered reporters coffee.
“No, the house didn’t sell,” O’Leary admitted. “But it didn’t sell on my terms.”
Dennis LeGrudge recently purchased a home utilizing Friedman’s services as a buyer’s agent.
“It started out great,” LeGrudge said over the sound of running water. “Agnes showed me everything, whether I was qualified to buy it or not. She even brought snacks.”
Things went awry once Mr. LeGrudge located a property that he wanted to purchase.
“At first, her advice made a lot of sense,” he allowed. “I didn’t want to insult the seller, so I gave him full price.”
In hindsight, LeGrudge thinks that may have been his first mistake.
“I wish I’d known the house had been on the market for fourteen months,” he lamented.
Problems compounded for LeGrudge when the home inspection revealed a bad roof and a missing air conditioning unit. Rather than banging heads with the seller on the deficiencies, his agent convinced him that all homes had issues, and not to upset the seller by requesting frivolous repairs.
“Frivolous,” LeGrudge scoffed. “Hear that burst pipe? I think they plumbed this place with twisty straws.”
One competitor, who chose to remain anonymous, hopes Friedman never lets the industry change her.
“It’s inspiring to see someone so determined to remain true to her benevolent nature in this dog eat dog business,” Agent X said. “I hope she never loses that.”
When pressed, Agent X admitted he has an ulterior motive for Friedman to continue with her current practices.
“Yeah,” he confirmed with a wink. “As long as Agnes negotiates like Bambi, I’m more than happy to thump’er.”
– Paul Slaybaugh, Disassociated Press
BSRE NEWS – In a long anticipated move, an obscure Real Estate blogger has announced she is completely out of fresh content ideas.
“I just don’t know what to write about now that my cat died,” Dolores Pentupangst of Katy, Texas lamented. “Frolix was good for one, maybe two posts a week with his wacky antics. Now that he’s gone … you don’t just replace that kind of hole in your blogroll.”
Long considered a black hole for creativity by her peers despite a prodigious output, Pentupangst has been reduced to trolling the Real Estate net for content to take issue with in recent months.
“Trolling itself is an art,” she assured reporters from her basement via Skype. “You have to wait for just the right moment to jump in and piss all over the original poster and the sycophants in the comment stream. Too soon and you kill the thread prematurely, limiting the damage. Too late and no one is around to witness it.”
Pressed on whether surfing the interwebs 23 hours a day in search of a fight is the highest and best use of a Real Estate agent’s time, Pentupangst assured reporters that she had more than enough time left over to sell a home this year.
“Not everyone has the gift of original thought,” Bob Stuartson of ReTopBlog admitted of those who utilize his online Real Estate writing platform. “Some are better suited to what we call ‘reblogging’ and ‘counter-posting.’ If you can’t write your way out of a wet paper bag, your options are pretty much limited to reconstituting someone else’s work or calling them stupid.”
“Not original, huh,” Pentupangst countered, chuckling. “Tell that to the clown in Delaware who authored the piece about dual agency last week. I bet he didn’t wake up on Tuesday expecting to find his name hyperlinked to a picture of a sow’s ass in comment number thirty seven.”
While Pentupangst may be reduced to critiquing the work of those who contribute original material to the collective mainframe for the time being, she doesn’t figure to be out of circulation for long.
“I adopted a Yorkie.”
Paul Slaybaugh, Disassociated Press