Thursday, July 30, 2009


The saga of Paco’s house continues. This time, however, the story isn’t about destructive, irresponsible tenants, mysterious, unreachable leaks under the foundation or tornadoes rampaging through the neighborhood (yes, that happened, too.) This time, the culprit is our soon-to-be ex-Realtor.

Ben came highly recommended to us by a co-worker and close friend of Paco’s who had hired him to sell her house. Apparently Ben did just a bang-up job and managed somehow to get not one, but three offers within 2 weeks of listing it. Considering the state of the housing market that was quite a feat. So Paco interviewed him and then introduced me to him for my unfettered opinion. I thought Ben was personable, energetic, enthusiastic and obviously a real go-getter. So we hired him, signed a contract and handed him a key to the house. Paco being the organized, efficient person that he is, also handed Ben a large envelope with every kind of document imaginable to give him a good idea of repair history, foundation and roof report and anything else that might make Ben’s job of selling the house that much easier and faster. The last thing dear Ben said to us as he bounced down the front steps was “Gee, I sure wish all of my clients were this organized. You just wouldn’t believe the information and documents I always seem to end up chasing them for.” Then he was gone in a flash, presumably to get busy selling the Money Pit, urm, Paco’s house. We felt so good about having hired Ben we decided the occasion called for a cocktail. Little did we know that that would be the last time we felt like celebrating.

Because it infuriates me to even think about the ensuing events since we hired Ben I must condense them to prevent myself from picking up the phone and hiring Guido to go break Ken’s legs. The ink wasn’t even dry on the contract before the first signs of trouble appeared. We lost count of the un-returned phone calls asking for updates from Ken, we fumed when we found out there had been a leak in the sprinkler system for 5 days and Ken didn’t tell us despite an open house being held during that time. He bailed out the day of the open house, btw, leaving his inexperienced, clueless wife to show the house. The list goes on and on and on. Then, miraculously one day Ben stopped by, apparently not thinking we were home, to leave Paco a note about the water leak, a week after it had first happened. Unfortunately for Ben, I was just pulling up in our driveway and caught him before he could drive off. I dragged him into the house and we demanded he explain his lack of communication skills, irresponsible behavior and general lack of interest in selling our property. After Paco, who is normally very laid-back and calm, tore Ben a new one, we thought things would finally get back on track and Ben would realize he had crossed a line with us and better get his act together. But that was just a clever ruse on his part. The best was yet to come.

This past Monday Paco received the following mass email from Ben:

From: Ben Smith
Sent: Friday, July 24, 2009 9:00 PM
Subject: Out of the office

Hello My Friends,
I want each of you to know that I will be out of the office beginning tomorrow morning. My family is going on a much-needed vacation to Rome. We depart Rome for a 10 day European cruise and I will return back to the office on Monday, August 10. Most of you know Michael, my wonderful assistant. Michael will be working every day to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks and Cory, a very seasoned agent in our office, will be handling any real estate activity that comes up. Trust me, you are in good hands while I am away!!! If you need either Michael or Cory their information is noted below. I am not taking my cell phone or computer with me, so I will not have any communication with my office while I am gone.
I will touch base with each of you when I return from my vacation!
Ben Smith

Paco forwarded me the above message and as I sat and read it, my jaw dropping to the floor, all of the anger and frustration I had been feeling already over this situation boiled to the surface. How ironic that he would “not be in touch with his office during his vacation”. What would be different from when he is actually in town? It’s a very good thing that Ben was already safely out of the country when Paco and I read his email. We would both probably be wearing orange jumpsuits at this writing, having dispatched Ben with all haste, preferably in the most heinous way we could think of.

Suffice to say, many phone calls have been made since receiving Ben’s missive and at this writing: BEN IS SO FIRED
Paco met with Cory yesterday and told him Ben is never to come near us or our house again. I repeat: BEN IS SO FIRED

To be continued... upon Ben’s return from his European Vacation…