A southern fairy tale... y'all ain't gonna believe this....

You know sometimes in the south people say "hold my beer" and do something stupid.  Well my craziest transaction ever is like the owner said "hold my beer and watch me go off my meds".  It wasn't "MY" listing, but I was the broker so it was one of my agent's listings.  She got an appointment for me and I showed the house.  It was an investor buyer and the house needed a remodel and it was in days of buy, fix, flip.

Showing went well and we got an offer.  Listing agent called, no answer, called again, no answer, no answering machine picking up, seller did not have cell phone.  So we called his soon to be X wife at work and she said "oh he's off his meds".  So we both went over.  

When we arrived we were met by him naked, with a gun at the door.  Obviously we retreated. He was a vietnam veteran with bipolar disorder and possibly PTSD also. So I called the court house and talked to a judge to find out what we could do because the last thing I wanted to happen was for my seller to hurt himself.  Also he had a German Sheppard and we gave the judge this information as well.  We also didn't want anything bad to happen to the dog who might think he was defending his master.  The soon to be X did agree to meet us there with the sheriff's office.  

There was a fight, but he did get taken into custody. He was at the jail for about 36 hours before being transferred to a medical facility and committed with my and the agents' signatures saying we were afraid he might hurt us and/or himself.  The dog went with his son to stay while he was committed.  

After just a couple of days back on his meds he signed the contract. The closing attorney had to go to the medical facility two times, once to meet with his doctor saying he was of sound mind to make a decision about selling his home and a second time to get closing documents signed. 

The buyer actually went into the house after closing and carefully packed his belongings and paid for them to be in storage for 60 days.  About 30 days later he was released and we gave him the key to his belongings. 

That investor was one that had been a "go to the listing agent" before that purchase, but when she knew what we did for that seller and for that transaction to work she became a client and not a customer.  I went on to do 16 transactions with her and help her study for her broker's exam after she became an agent.  She's a commercial agent who still refers residential business to me frequently. 

If this seller was still alive I probably wouldn't be telling this story, but since he's not I thought I'd share the story of having to have a seller legally and forcefully committed against his will. It was definately one of the most crazy transactions ever.  And it's not the only seller who has been forcefully in a medical center when they sold their house.  Had another who was committed for drug rehab after that and knew the drill, knew when we got the offer that we'd have to get a document for recording that he was of sound mind when he signed the offer and the power of attorney for his mother to sign the closing documents for him.

We as agents are always coming across new experiences and this one helped me grow and I was able to help someone in the middle of a crisis to come out on the other side in time. It helped me be prepared for someone in my family with mental health issues later in my life. Some times this business is complicated, but I don't walk away from complicated, I try to help.

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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


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Comment balloon 37 commentsTammy Lankford, • December 21 2019 10:00PM


Good evening Tammy. You are a caring and responsive person as well as a terrific agent and Broker.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) 11 months ago

Hello Tammy - it would be easier for some to simply walk away from a difficult situation so I can understand why this previously go-to-listing-agent only client became a loyal client and eventually a good referral partner.  Thank you for telling the story.  

Posted by Michael Jacobs, Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393 11 months ago

Tammy, as J-Lo would say, this blog gave me the "goosies" in a good way.  What a remarkable effort you made on behalf of a dear war vet at risk and at the same time saving this transaction.  You summed it up beautifully,

"I don't walk away from complicated, I try to help."

Posted by Kris Collis, Associate Broker, Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525 (Smart Way America Realty) 11 months ago

Tammy- I remember that some of the first posts of yours that I read showed me that you are the kind of agent that will get things done. And this shows it. I remember one where you had to take it upon yourself to find a special stove grate or something that might have killed the deal for your seller. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 11 months ago

what i learned

                                            Thank you, Tammy

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) 11 months ago

Dang! You earned your fee on that one and thank heavens the dog was not harmed.
One year, a (old drunk) son kept putting his (VERY OLD, LACKING CAPACITY) mom's house on the market, then taking it off . . . he would pull up my sign and throw it in the street. One time he physically chased me off the property he signed a listing agreement to sell. He did this 3x. Come in lucid, sign, then bazoo.
THEN, I get a call from the County Fiduciary . . . Mom's been put in assisted, you ARE selling the house, WE are your client now. The son has to cooperate or we'll deal with him . . . my broker massaged him into compliance and I got it done . . . but I had to testify to a judge about his behavior and he of course behaved badly and said I was crazy, proving the point. LOL

Posted by Candice A. Donofrio, 928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text (Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker) 11 months ago

Good morning Tammy. No naked guy with a gun story will come from me. Too crazy! Enjoy your day!

Posted by Wayne Martin, Real Estate Broker - Retired (Wayne M Martin) 11 months ago

Wow, that is indeed a crazy story and I hope that I never have to deal with a situation like that.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Vacasa) 11 months ago

You don't walk away from complicated. That says it all!

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) 11 months ago

Tammy, that is a new one, and would definitely have been a challenge.   You forged through, and got it done, KUDOS.

Posted by Joan Cox, Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time (House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373) 11 months ago

Well done, that is one sad situation. I'm guessing this a true one Tammy - too crazy to make up. Lol. 

Posted by Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD, REALTORS® in Clark County, WA (ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors) 11 months ago

Hi Tammy,

Most people who are not in real estate might not understand how dangerous our job can be.  It is nice when it turns out well. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) 11 months ago

Hi Tammy Lankford,  now that is really some story.  Luckily you knew what to do.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) 11 months ago


Wow what a story, and what a dedicated lady you are!  You are a perfect example of what defines a real estate agent/broker in my mind   Brava!  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) 11 months ago

Thanks for all of you for stopping by.  Now I have got to get to wrapping gifts or it won't get done.  Christmas comes a day early for our family this year because my daughter and son in law work on Christmas this year.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) 11 months ago

Your 'will do' attitude is amazing, Tammy. Congratulations to you!!

Posted by Lottie Kendall, Helping make your real estate dreams a reality (Compass) 11 months ago

Caring & concerned; you're just the type of person I'd want to think is looking out for my family & friends if they were ever in need of compassionate care.

And it sure does ensure every day in your life is a potential adventure. 

Good for you for this, I'll hope the elf on the shelf saw that.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) 11 months ago

And people say we are overpaid!!!!! Interesting story that shows anything can happen in real estate !

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) 11 months ago

My jaw is to the ground reading this post!  Kudos for you for seeing the situation as a person in need and that you had the know-how and determination to help when it seems like no one else cared or could help.

Posted by Francine Viola, REALTOR®, In Tune with your Real Estate Needs (Coldwell Banker Evergreen Olympic Realty, Olympia WA) 11 months ago

Wow-what an amazing situation, This would make one feel sad and scared all at the same time. You did a great job of handling the situation. 

Posted by Laura Filip, What can we do for you today? (Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life ) 11 months ago

Beer is turned into mint-juleps with Tammy Lankford, 

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) 11 months ago

Hi Tammy:

Wow, that is quite a tale. What a learning experience. Glad to hear it worked out in the end!!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California, Inc.) 11 months ago

Reminded me of a sale I got involved with one time. I was contacted by an attorney for the owner. WA Dept of Social and Health Services had placed a lien on the home. I was to sell it for the court and the funds would be used to help the owner who was in assisted living.

The home was a 1950s rambler with a basement. About 1400 sq ft up and down. Three bedrooms and one bath up. Basement unfinished. 

The owner was a single woman. She had lived alone for a number of years. Her son was supposed to be taking care of her and paying her bills...he wasn't. When we got to the home it was a mess. First Class hoarder. You could not walk through the house with all the things, and garbage stacked in every room. Several feet high in many places blocking the windows. The cabinets in the kitchen held dirty dishes and cans of food that had ruptured due to age. Refrigerator was full of spopiled food. Further, the electricity and water had been shut off while the woman lived there. A neighbor was able to get her to come out and go over to her house about once a week for a shower and fresh food. With the water turned off the plumbing did not work. Toilet was full to overflowing so she had used a bedroom as a latrine. Her SSI was about $900 per mo which her son apparently spent for over a year. 

We sold the home for about $70,000 all cash no contingencies. They buyer took 8, 15cu yd Roll Off dumpster loads out of the house. Fly specks bled through two coats of Killz. Had to steamclean the floors and refinish and take out the floor and sub floor in the latrine/bedroom. 

Anyway the house was rehabed and subsequently sold. Six months later I got named in a law suit by the son (she had since died) and as her only relative he was suing because we did not sell the house for enough, according to him. 

The sale had all been approved by the State and Superior Court so it didnt go anywhere... but it sure makes you wonder about some people. 

Posted by J Perrin Cornell, Broker, ABR, VAMRES (Coldwell Banker Cascade Real Estate) 11 months ago

Tammy I have to say, you really know how to get things done and don't back down from a challenging situation.  You did a great job for these clients. I don't know if i would have made it past the nudity and the gun!  Thanks for sharing this one!

Posted by Brenda J. Andrew, Professional Realtor in Corpus Christi, TX (ULTIMA REAL ESTATE) 11 months ago

Tammy that's one for the ages. I have had guns pulled on me during my life selling Mack Trucks for a living, and it is very scary 

Posted by Tom Bailey (Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc.) 11 months ago

Have not experienced anything as cray-cray as that Tammy...knock on wood and throw salt over my right shoulder...or is it the left?

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Red Rock Real Estate) 11 months ago

Tammy, OMG, that was scary, even if you were aware of mental issues. You did an exceptional job. Glad it worked out in the end.

Posted by Rose O'Reilly, HomeSmart 11 months ago

Tammy Lankford, This is a new one for me.  What a story!  Happy Holidays!

Posted by Elyse Berman, PA, Boca Raton FL (561) 716-7824 CRS, ABR, GRI,ePR (Best Connections Realty, Inc.) 11 months ago

OMG...now that is a CRAZY real estate story. What a nightmare for all involved.

Posted by Sharon Tara, New Hampshire Home Stager (Sharon Tara Transformations) 11 months ago

Great story. You handled it with care even though everyone around you was literally loony. 

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) 11 months ago

Oh my gosh that's a scary story.  You were the only sane one!  Although, sad that so many suffer from mental illness

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) 11 months ago

yup thats a wild one.

I did have an instructor for a course who told us about when her client kidnapped her...

but thats not my story to tell...

Posted by Brian DeYoung, The Realtor with personal investment background (also affiliated with Howard Hanna) 11 months ago

You certainly don’t walk away from complicated, Tammy Lankford, you just push forward and get the job done. Congratulations! That was quite a story.

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) 11 months ago

WOW! What a story, Tammy and you handled the situation with amazing grace. How fortunate for that seller that YOU were the broker. 

Love this & live by it too, "Sometimes this business is complicated, but I don't walk away from complicated, I try to help."

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) 11 months ago

This is definitely a story that takes the cake -and the beer! Glad that you were able to help the seller - even though he didn't want the help - and that even the dog had a good outcome. 

Posted by Lise Howe, Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC (Keller Williams Capital Properties) 11 months ago

Meeting a naked guy at the door with a gun is way above and beyond.  And scary.  Good job working through it.  Some agents might retire after something like that.

Posted by Raymond Henson, SRES, GRI, Realtor (eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277)) 11 months ago

Hold my beer!  Haha I've never hear of that saying.  What an incredible story!

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) 10 months ago