For Real-Estate Agents Trying to Sell Property, You Never Know Who Might try to Sink a Sale

Katherine Clarke reported this week at The Wall Street Journal Online that, “A home sale can have many potential deal killers. Emotions can run high. There can be hidden agendas. From tenants who don’t want to move to the child who doesn’t want to see the family home sold, third-party players can block or undo a transaction. For agents, it can mean playing a combination of sleuth and therapist.

Sometimes the culprit is easily identified. A couple of years ago, a disgruntled teenager who was upset that his home was about to be sold decided to throw a blow-out party at the large Brentwood estate while his parents were away, recalls real-estate agent Joseph Montemarano. The boy and his friends painted graffiti all over the tennis court and guest house the day before the final walk through—smiley faces, tags and different versions of “Bob woz ’ere” were sprayed all over the property.”

The Journal article explained that, “More common is the angry-tenant problem. A renter in a townhouse in the Upper East Side of Manhattan, who was paying just $1,500 for a parlor-floor apartment in the top location and didn’t want to move, took to chilling it to freezing temperatures before every showing and leaving rat traps lying around. There were no rats.”

Ms. Clarke also pointed out that, “A different strategy suited the second-floor occupant in a four-unit building in Culver City, Calif. ‘My name is Mr. Bravo. State your business,’ he announced in a booming voice when real-estate agent John Hathorn brought a prospective buyer of the building around for a final inspection.

“Mr. Bravo tried to convince the pair that the building’s garage had a ‘demonic force’ in it, describing objects randomly falling from shelves and telling of a time he was attacked by a ghostly presence.”

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