This is the first installment of a series of true stories that I have witnessed, enjoyed, and on occasion engaged in my 30 years as a practicing Realtor in Rhode Island. To protect the innocent, and not always innocent, I have changed the names, but the stories are true. The details may not be as precise. You would, however, be hard pressed to make this stuff up.
One of my most bizarre experiences in Real Estate involved a dog named Bailey. My office had been working with a family that was moving into East Greenwich from Cowesett. It was a family with three children and an old golden, named Bailey. The family selected a home in Cedar Heights. It was a great house, with four bedrooms, two and half baths, on a three quarter acre home site. It was heavily treed, so much so that you could not really see the neighbors. One of the appeals of this property is that the yard was large so Bailey would have lots of room to play. Did I mention that Bailey was very old and could hardly move? The yard was supposed to give him another life. Do we have dogs and cats confused? Dog people, like my wife, tend to be exuberant about their canine family members. This family was among the most dog focused we had ever met.
The negotiations were simple. This was so long ago, that the inspections may have been limited to termites. Everything about the transaction was routine. It was going along perfectly.
Two weeks before closing, the buyers call, very upset because Bailey has died. We feel badly, but not sure why they are calling the Realtor. (Are they looking for a sympathy card or flower?) They are calling to ask if Bailey can be buried in the backyard of the home that they are buying. The request was to ask the listing agent to ask the seller if we could bury the dead dog in the backyard. To the listing agent’s credit and the sellers understanding, we were able to work it out, provided that Bailey was buried ‘beyond the landscaped area in the woods.’ A memorial service with the entire family was scheduled and held and Bailey was buried back in the woods behind the house. Bailey was laid to rest and the family would be closing in 13 days.
Or so we thought. The seller gets an angry call from his immediate rear neighbor. “What are you burying in my backyard?” Apparently, Bailey family interred the dog on the neighbor’s yard. No one knew where the property line was located, so a survey was hired to determine if Bailey was buried on the appropriate property. The conversation as to who would pay for the survey became very challenging. In the end the new home owners, in the hopes of not having to move Bailey paid to have the property survey.
The property lines were marked and corner bounds were established. Unfortunately, Bailey was on both properties. As tempers had flared and everyone was upset now, professional ‘diggers’ were hired to exhume Bailey and re buy him on the appropriate lot.
It was a good thing, because Bailey was decaying and the smell was overpowering.
Incidentally, the digger had dug the new hole first, so Bailey was not exposed to the elements for to long. Ultimately, the property was closed and the family moved into the home. Do not remember which house is Bailey’s final resting place. Am very confident that in the past 25 years his family has moved away.
The moral of the story: No good deed goes unpunished. And if you our going to dig in the backyard make sure you are digging in your own yard.