Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Real Estate for Dummies

I have gone and done something remarkably stupid and for me to admit it while I am actually smack dab in the middle of doing something stupid means it's a biggie. Typically I like to wait until I've already done it, taken medication to get rid of it or divorced it before I admit it was indeed an act of utter stupidity.

If you've read my articles for very long you know that I create an aura of bull excrement for a living. Basically I use words to convince people to do what I want them to do, which is typically to buy something. It's actually a job I enjoy very much and I'm even told by some that I’m pretty good at it. If only it were a talent that I could use on Mr. Man, I'd be one happy woman. As it is, I can't even persuade him to flush the toilet half the time.

So why, oh why, did I suddenly decide that what my life was really missing was the ability to sell real estate? It seemed like such a good idea at the time…which should most definitely be the name of my autobiography.

"Do yourself a favor and go to the class in the city. It takes four days and then you're done with it," said my soon to be broker, who also happens to be my second husband's third wife. I'm not sure, but I think that makes us wives-in-law twice removed.

"Oh no," said me, the woman who prior to this incident thought I was a pretty smart cookie. "I am going to go against all your experience, training and advice and go online to real estate school. For I am Sher…Queen of doing it my way."  

Famous last words.

I signed up for the class, gave them my $250 and I was off. Sure it's a thirty hour course, but I figured that was for the legally retarded students or people who actually read the directions on a box of Pop-Tarts. With my amazing level of intelligence, I would probably have the whole thing done in about three hours and fifteen minutes, and that's if I stopped to pee.

To say this course is hard is an understatement of epic proportion. It's like saying Scarlett O'Hara was a little bit dramatic or Mr. Man only smells a little bad after he eats three or four convenience store burritos at work.

I have spent my week engrossed in terms I've never heard, ridiculous math problems and words that I'm pretty sure are made up by a deranged monkey with nothing better to do. I've barely showered, my hair looks like my dog licked it clean and I actually dreamt that I showed up at my broker's office for a meeting…naked.

You might say I've been slightly distressed.

My daughter Kitten, who passed her real estate exam earlier this year, called me to ask how it was going. Between the sobs, about all I could get out was, "What in the H-E-Double-Hockeysticks does fee simple mean and who in the crap owns the land underneath a creek?"

"I'm sending you my workbook from the real class, Mom," she said. Thank God for the pity of my way smarter than me daughter. The book arrived yesterday, complete with little drawings of cartoon people throughout its pages who serve to help explain whatever concept is being covered.

Now when I'm stumped about who owns the air space in a condo, I can look at the little picture of the real estate agent on the side. If her eyes are popping out of her head and she's holding her hand over her mouth in shock, I know immediately something has gone terribly awry with Sally Smith's real estate deal.

If there is a cartoon figure of an evil land owner with a big red x through it, I can figure out pretty easily that Sally's landlord has tried to pull a hinkey move that real estate law does not allow.

If I see a stick figure of a frog in a top hat and a cane, I realize I need to stop eating coffee right from the can.

It's real estate for dummies. Thank you, Jesus.

I have no idea whether I will pass this course and become one of those late night real estate people who barely speak English standing in front of my expensive sports car which is parked in front of my abnormally large yacht sipping champagne, but I intend to at least try. You don't see enough abnormally large yachts in Kansas. I blame wheat.

Frankly, as much as I am looking forward to this new experience in my life, at this point my one and only motivator is not to be declared legally stupid by being the only person I have even known to fail the test.

I hear once the State Real Estate Commission says you're stupid, federal level stupidity can't be far behind…and that goes on your driver's license…just like whether or not you're a donor. No way I'm having a big, red "S" stamped next to my weight of 103 pounds.

Yes. I said 103 pounds. I may not be smart enough to know how big a township is, but I'm plenty smart enough to know better than tell the government what my real weight is. Only my hairdresser knows for sure.

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