My Murphy Mantra

I always say there’s never a problem until there’s a problem.

Of course, I only end up saying this after discovering said problem. As y’all know, the one central truth about real estate involves Murphy’s Law—anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

So, today we’re exploring the theme of what to do when it can (and will) go off the rails.


It’s Not My First Rodeo with Mr. Murphy

No lie, I have seen it all. From naked sellers to appraisers inspecting the wrong HVAC system.

For us agents, our job is to mitigate the damage that stems from anything going wrong that can go wrong. I mean, how many of us during the course of a sale have thought to ourselves, My stars, this is going great! only to discover the neighboring unit is on fire during the home inspection.

I am living proof that problems can be overcome, such as:

When the inspection reveals major problems with the property… because the buyer falls through the termite-ridden wall.

When the appraisal comes in too low, making it difficult to get a mortgage.

When the seller leaves the buyer in the dark, literally.

Or how about this? When I’ve gotta collect the bodies to get the sale closed.

Of course, not everything that can go wrong will always go wrong, unless maybe there’s a curse on you, and if so, that is not my area of expertise.

Now, being prepared to pivot is always super important, whether you’re a client or an agent. Understanding the market will help. Leaving nothing to chance and getting it all in writing is tantamount. If you’re a buyer or seller worried about Murphy’s Law, here are the rules you should heed.

If you’re an agent, what will save your tiny little behind almost every time is having an established relationship with your clients, in the rare instance that grace must be extended. They must know beyond a doubt that you are on their team and you are working for them, because that way, problems become speed-bumps and not deal-breakers.

I will demonstrate an example of this in my Storytime. Buckle up.

Oh, rats. This is why I always carry rubber gloves.


Cross Every T, Dot Every I

The best way to keep Murphy from showing up is to be prepared and proactive, with a system and process in place.

For example, there was one weekend a while back when we had more than fifty offers between five properties. Fifty-two to be exact!

Here’s the one simple step that separated the agents with the accepted offers from the agents who should be fired:


When to fire your real estate agent. #GlenndaBaker #RealEstate #AtlantaRealEstate #RealEstateTiktok #RealEstateAgent 


I Swear I Am Not Making This Up

There are agents who’ll chalk up failing to get to the endzone to Murphy’s Law.

No. No, ma’am.

A lot of times, Mr. Murphy takes the blame when it’s the agents who can’t land that plane. For example, I worked with a client whose previous agents had gotten him five offers, but none of them made it to closing. Five offers! To me, that was insanity.

The first thing I did was to sit down with the seller and unpack why those buyers didn't get closed. I discovered that they weren’t bad offers. Instead, the previous agent didn't explain to the seller what the buyers’ expectations would be. My poor seller didn't grasp that people were going to ask for closing costs, he didn't understand that people were going to ask that the refrigerator should convey. He went into the process blind, and the first agent made him feel like every ask was unreasonable, when in fact, these requests were all part of the process. That agent failed to manage the seller’s expectations. In the seller's head, he was giving up all this money. In reality, who cares how the contract is constructed? What matters is the bottom line. But his feckless agent didn't explain that to him. The most important part of Glengarry Glen Ross’s ABCs—Always Be Closing—is the close. Which, of course, I did.

That said, let me tell you about the time I sold the wrong house.


In my career, I’ve had plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. I would be lying to you if I told you I had a perfect record. If agents are like cats and we all have nine lives, I swear I used up a handful of them with this incident.

Bottom line, I sold the wrong house.

“But, Glennda,” you may say. “That’s impossible.”

Again, no, ma’am; it’s entirely possible.

See, I had been showing this guy some houses. After viewing a whole bunch of them, tells me, “Okay, I want to make an offer on the house on West Paces Ferry.” I'm like, “Oh my gosh, that's so awesome!” I'm so excited because West Paces Ferry is the fanciest street in Atlanta.

Unfortunately, I forgot I had shown him two houses on West Paces Ferry.

Again, whoops.

I obviously wrote the contract for the house I liked the most. He was going to tear it down to build some fancy-schmancy house so we didn't go to the walk-through the day before closing. The night before closing, he was driving by the place and he called me. He told me, “Glennda, somebody's living in that house.” I laughed him off, saying, “No one is living in that house.”

Apparently he believed his own eyes over me and he repeated, “I assure you, someone is living in that house.” I called the listing agent and I said, “What is up? Is there someone living in that house?” And that agent confirmed to me what I already knew to be true; that house was unoccupied and my client should get his bulldozer ready.

We go to the closing the next morning, and after the closing, I have the new homeowner in the car with me as we’re going to see his new property. He says to me, “Glennda, get in the left lane.” I knew the house was on the right, but I decide I’ll play along and I get into the left-hand lane.

I turn left and I see the For Sale sign and my life flashes before my eyes. I had sold him the wrong house! I’m thinking, I’m going to go to real estate jail for this. Not only had Mr. Murphy showed up, but he had perpetrated the wrongest wrong to ever go wrong in the history of real estate, outside of a seller accepting an offer of $24 for the island of Manhattan.

I made what could easily have been a career-ending mistake. It’s not like when I was working at Macy’s and I’d accidentally rung up the pair of pants he didn’t want and I could just swap them out or process the refund.

Oh, no… I had sold him the wrong damn house! You can’t return that, even with a receipt!

Then I remembered that I am Glennda Baker and only good things happen to me, so I did what any savvy professional would do—I leaned into the sale. I flipped that car around and drove the opposite way and pulled into the driveway of the house I did sell. Then I jump out of that car like I am Vanna White in a sparkling one-sleeved sequined mermaid dress, throwing my arms wide, pageant-smile pasted on my face, saying, “This is the house you bought!”

After the longest, most awkward pause of my entire life, he looked at me and goes, “Did you seriously sell me the wrong house?”

Yes… but mostly no. I tell him the unvarnished truth, saying, “No, I've sold you the right house. Obviously, who would want to live on that side of West Paces Ferry, for God's sake?” Then I walked him through exactly what was right about the house because it was the far better choice for his purposes, obviously how it got stuck in my mind in the first place.

Oh, my stars and stripes, I was shaking in my boots, thinking about all the ways in which I could be sued, the rapidity of which my license could have been revoked. I’m pretty sure I had stopped breathing and my heart was beating entirely outside of my chest while he deliberated.

After what felt like a lifetime, my client looks at me straight in the eyes and he says, “I think you're right. This is a much better lot.”

By the grace of God, not to mention the power of persuasion, Murphy’s Law flipped itself around a lot like I did in my car on West Paces Ferry. Instead, I was blessed by the far more rare instance of Yhprum’s Law, where anything that can go right will go right. Of course, I did an after-action review to make sure I put more processes in place so this could never, ever happen again.

But, really, what saved the situation was that I’d built a solid relationship with my buyer. Which is why I’m not currently living on bread and water in real estate jail.

Here’s me telling the whole story:


This Is Worth Repeating