Post by Rob Minton   
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All of the media attention to the Swine Flu, or whatever they are calling it now, has reminded me of a very embarrassing showing I had several years ago. I can't believe I'm going to share this story. I still shudder when I think about it. Here goes…

It was the middle of February and it was cold here in Ohio. I had an appointment set on a Sunday to show an investment property to some very good clients. These clients had purchased three investment properties with me previously, which simply meant they were extremely important to me. I always went out of my way for my best clients.

The Friday before the showing, I started to feel a little sick. By Saturday morning, I was throwing up, had a fever and was completely miserable. My wife told me to reschedule the showing appointment for later in the week so that I could stay home in bed. I didn't listen.

To avoid lockbox problems, I had a rule to always arrive at my showing appointments early. You've probably had the pleasure of fumbling around for 20 minutes trying to open a lockbox while your client stands there waiting. Well, I learned to eliminate this awkward situation by always being early. It's hard to look like an expert, when you can't open a stupid lockbox.

On this particular showing, the lockbox opened with ease. I decided to walk through the home on my own because it was vacant. After about a two minutes in the home, I instantly felt like I was going to be sick. I ran to the bathroom and you can figure out what happened. I was so thankful that I had been early until I tried to flush the toilet.

I reached over to push the toilet handle down and nothing happened. I tried again and nothing happened. Then I realized the horror of all horrors – the pipes were frozen in the home.

Ah – oh….

I had just completely destroyed this toilet and had now way to hide the destruction. You can probably imagine that the bathroom didn't smell very good. I began to panic because my clients were supposed to arrive any minute. What was I going to do?

I quickly closed the bathroom door and went to peak out the window. They were just pulling into the driveway. I had to run with the situation because I had no time.

I welcomed them and we began to walk through the home. Within minutes, they asked:

"What's that horrible smell?"

My reply: "It was like that when I got here. I think something happened in the bathroom. I'll call the listing office to let them know." Yes, I lied and I would probably lie again today if in the same situation. You probably would too!

My clients never attempted to enter the bathroom. We laughed about it and exited the home. On the drive home, I was thinking of what I was going to tell the listing agent when he called. I didn't have the courage to call him. I was certain he would hear about this sooner or later. He would probably want to know who did this and would go through the showing log to find out. I pictured him telling my story to his office and everyone having a big laugh at my expense. I imagined being teased every time I setup future showing appointments. "You're not going to blow up this home's bathroom, are you?"

Thankfully he never called.

Here are a few lessons from my showing:

  1. If you're at a vacant home and need to use the bathroom, test the toilet first.
  2. Don't try and show homes if you get the Swine Flue. Reschedule your appointments.
  3. Always listen to your wife. She does know best.
  4. Keep some air freshener with you for all showing appointments.

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