Never trust a Boston Real Estate Agent. Those are the words that echo in my head not only any time the topic of apartment seeking comes up, but even if I so much as walk across the street from a realtor’s office. Shady realtors. They are all over Boston.
I should’ve kept in my brain for safe keeping the memory of the first shady realtor I ever came across as an adult. My mom and I had flown up to Boston from Florida and had two days to find my future apartment. I called around, not yet savvy with the internet, so I couldn’t really investigate any comparisons or areas of the city, it was pretty much just wait and see. And I saw alright. I saw a debacle of a shady realtor industry, a shockingly hugely profitable industry at that. The first Boston Real Estate Agent, Douglas, after promising me a goldmine of a sunny apartment right in the nicest area of Boston not only showed me a dingy closet of a room with the smell of animal fecal matter seeping out of the woodwork, but he maneuvered the whole operation completely drunk. He showed us- by walking, thankfully- three different equally as hideous apartments and before we left with an “I’m looking around, but I’ll call you”, he declared with a slushy merging of vowel sounds that “Ha! If you think you can find anything better than this ha! Good luck.”
Luckily after the shady realtor, drunken Douglas gave us our first impression of Boston Real Estate Agents, we were successful in finding a nice professional Boston real estate agent and subsequently, a very nice apartment. But as I would soon come to find out, one must be extremely careful in trusting realtors. Because there are drunken Douglas’s out there everywhere.
A few years into my Boston residency came only more catastrophic Boston Real Estate Agent relationships. The first of the two featured a couple of yahoos, or shady realtors, of an unknown nationality and what we discovered as an extremely friendly working relationship. My roommate, Jessica, was with me this time, as I had finally given up trying to pay Boston rent alone. The real estate office was a major one, its name all-awash to me now, but the fact that it was on the infamous high end commercial Newbury street of downtown Boston dictated it as quality. We really were clueless. No one else was in the office but the two men, who looked alike come to think of it, and could’ve easily been brothers. From the get go they emitted the energy of being shady realtor amateurs. They couldn’t find the keys to the apartments, they didn’t explain anything and then giggled gossip back and forth across the room from desk to desk like it was perfectly natural to ignore your client (although I’m now tempted to conclude that for Boston real estate agents, their behavior was normal). Finally they broke into English and instructed us to follow them, we’d have a few apartments to see. We were taking Yahoo One’s car. Jessica and I sat taciturn in the back of the jeep-like vehicle while Yahoo 2 in the front seat continues to giggle and google with his pal. We didn’t question the destination, which appeared shortly into the venture to be somewhere in Allston, a small suburb just outside of the city. In fact it wasn’t until Yahoo 1 parked his car into an abandoned parking lot of a lone house at the end of a side street that we mentally started to wonder. We looked at each other in front of a desolate looking shack and matched grimaces as we realized these characters had no intuition whatsoever regarding what type of place we wanted to live in. So we figured we’d suck it up and tour the apartment anyway to be polite, but as we proceeded to open our respective car doors, the yahoos told us they’d be right back. We started to have a hunch that perhaps these were shady realtors, but we kind of half expected that just from living in Boston and knowing how it goes, so we weren’t petrified yet.
We waited patiently in the Boston Real Estate Agent’s car for thirty minutes. Neither of us were hip enough to have a cell phone yet so we really had no contact with anyone beyond the abandoned property we were parked at. For some reason, though, it was not fear that we experienced but bewilderment an amusement about how typical this was. We had no idea what was going on. The yahoos, aka shady realtors were pacing around the shack, peering in the windows, triggering doorknobs and repeatedly calling who we could only imagine was the owner of the place. We still at this point weren’t even sure if we were soon going to tour the place as a prospective new apartment. Yahoo 1 was very obviously searching for a key of some sort while Yahoo Number 2 sort of watched dumbly. And when that 30 minutes had passed it was also Yahoo 1 who told me they were almost ready with no explanation, when I left the car (and Jessica) to figure out what the hell was going on. Eventually, a Yahoo #3 showed up and we expected the threesome to either go inside alone or with us in tow.
They did neither. Yahoo 1 and 2 waited outside while Yahoo 3 went in. yahoo 23 came out and after glancing at us sitting like idiots in the car, they go around a corner. Less than two minutes later, #’s 1 and 2 emerge, hop back in the Jeep, mutter an apology that wasn’t even feigned heartfelt and took us to see one legitimate place.
The Boston Real Estate Agents were definitely shady. But there must be been something about the situation that lessened the signs of danger and replaced it with an amused hilarity because for reasons I cannot recall, we went along to fake it through the one apartment tour, never once trying to do anything short of jumping out the doors and making a run for it.