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Well, That’s Just Spiffy

September 13, 2009

When Mark Twain wrote The Adventures of Tom Sawyer in 1876, I doubt he could imagine what a literary classic he had created.  One of my favorite parts of the book is when Tom is asked to whitewash a fence and, being a young boy with Much Better Things To Do, decides to palm off this mundane job on the first person who crosses his path.  Twain gifted the silver-tongued Tom with superior selling skills and the ability to make others lust after the chance to perform even the most boring task.  It’s a wonderful example of literary bait-and-switch.

Twain was required reading in school when I was a kid and even though I don’t pretend to understand why it’s not anymore, I take comfort in knowing that this great work of his has been adopted by the real estate industry as a Strategic Planning Guide.  At least someone’s reading it.

I make this assumption because of a news story from KDVR, the Fox News affiliate in Denver, Colorado (slogan: “Fair, yet somewhat chemically imbalanced”) which reported the plight of Jonathan Kyte, a first-time real estate buyer who was told that the apartment unit he had purchased and received the keys to — Unit Number 4 — was his and would be Home Sweet Home for him and his lovely wife and was completely worth the money he had paid for it, but would he mind doing just a bit of repairs here and there first?  Just a bit of fixing up, tidying really, to make the unit the kind of place they could call home?  The company that listed and sold him the unit, Coldwell Banker, said they TOTALLY would have done it, except that they are heinously slammed with meetings and closings this week and have also been feeling a bit depressed lately what with the market being down and their Mom in the hospital for gall bladder surgery.

And Mr. Kyte, being the nice guy that he is, said sure, happy to help out.KDVR Anything that will make the building a better place in which to live and possibly increase his equity in the investment, right?  So Mr. Kyte spent the next six months doing renovations on Unit 4 to the tune of $30,000, and after pouring all that love and their life savings into the apartment, he and his lovely wife lived there happily ever after.

No, that’s what we would like to have happened, except that it didn’t, of course.  What actually happened next was that some brainiac sent them a map of the building and it gradually dawned on Mr. Kyte that they were in the wrong apartment.  I think that bears repeating, so I’ll say it again slightly differently:  the Coldwell Banker people had given him the keys to Unit  Number 4 and said “Have at it!”  Except that what the Kytes actually owned was the title to Unit Number 5.

This is where it gets good, although not for the poor Kytes.  When he called Coldwell Banker and the title company to ask the requisite “WTF???” question, they were both conveniently out to lunch.  They never returned his calls and, adding an impressive touch I’m sure even Mark Twain wouldn’t have thought of, declared him a squatter in Unit 4 and kicked him out.  Thanks for playing, Kytes.

God, I SO hope he sues.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Wendy Golden permalink
    September 18, 2009 10:33 PM

    I think Coldwell Banker is damn lucky the man didn’t show up in their front lobby packing an Uzi. People have gone postal for less.

  2. September 15, 2009 6:54 PM

    I guess this is a case of Not Being For The Benefit Of Mr. Kyte. He *should* challenge the world, dammit.

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