Angel Nicolas, real-estate adviser and president, the Nicolas Group at Compass, Miami
It was in the middle of Covid, when clients from New York were dying to come here. We would schedule showing for properties that people liked, and by the time they would get here the properties would be gone. So we started doing virtual showings—if they liked the house, we would make an offer with a 10- or 15-day inspection period.
So I’m on my fourth virtual showing of the day at a beautiful waterfront home in Gables by the Sea and the listing agent is, like, 30 minutes late. I literally have these people on FaceTime, so I say, “Let me show you this house from the outside, so when he gets here, we can just see the inside.”
There was a side entrance to the backyard, which is all waterfront with a pool. I open the gate as I’m FaceTiming my clients and make a joke: “There should be no one there and hopefully there’s no dog.”
The backyard was U-shaped, with a set of steps going up to a wooden deck at the far end. When I get to the steps, I see a dog. He’s outside on the deck. I’m talking about a real big dog. Have you seen the movie “Sandlot”? Like that dog—a mastiff, like 200 pounds.
I’m kind of walking toward the deck and we literally lock eyes. And in my mind, I’m like, “What do we do now?” The customers also see the dog.
Those two seconds felt like 20 minutes. I took a step back. As soon as I took the step, the dog started to move. Then he was springing toward me, and I’m running. As soon as I started sprinting, I didn’t look back. I ran around the pool toward the gate. I didn’t have time to pull it open so I decided, “I’m gonna jump.” It was a pretty high gate—it must have been 6 feet. I don’t know how I jumped the fence so fast with a phone in my hand, but when you have a 200-pound dog running after you…
After that it was another 15 minutes before the listing agent showed up. It turned out that this dog, who had just scared the life out of me, is the sweetest dog in the world. The cleaning lady happened to be in the house. She and the listing agent are laughing their asses off, telling me, “This dog will never attack anyone!” Meanwhile, the customers are saying, “Oh my goodness! How did you jump over that fence so fast?”
They didn’t buy that specific house, but they ended up buying another one I showed them, so it all worked out.
Veronica Mannarino, real-estate agent, Douglas Elliman Real Estate, Smithtown, NY
These homeowners just loved their Great Dane. He was like their child. They thought nothing of having people come to see the house and letting their gigantic dog stay. I did explain, over and over, “I know this is your baby, and he’s precious, he is! But a big, big dog like this… many people are going to be intimidated.”
But these people didn’t get it: “Oh, he’s fine! He loves people!”
I was trying so hard to be diplomatic and not hurt their feelings, but I’m thinking, “Get your dog out of the house!” And I always had to make sure they had cleaned up the backyard.
Whenever I was there, the dog would jump up on me. I’d be sitting at the table and he’d be right next to me, paws on the arm of the chair, looking at me eye-to-eye. If I went upstairs, he would wait at the bottom of the staircase and his eyes didn’t come off me. It was so hard to concentrate.
It wasn’t until after he bit me that the owners took him out during showings. We were walking through the house, going room to room, and the big guy was by my side the whole time. I guess at one moment he wanted to give me a friendly warning, because I felt a little chomp. It might have been a love bite. It didn’t break the skin, but he was letting me know who was in control here, and it wasn’t me. I said, “Oh! He just bit me! He just bit my butt!”
The owners didn’t make a big thing about it. They didn’t reprimand him—nothing. But they did take him out during the open house.
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