Funny Business

When I was looking for a real estate professional to call my agent, I had several qualities in mind. But the one that I was most focused on in the initial interview (beyond basic competence, of course) was a good sense of humor.

That’s because I know real estate transactions are often stressful, and the way I get through many stressful situations is with a good hearty laugh. Or sometimes a bubbly, nervous giggle. Or an incredulous snort. The key, though, is humor.

©Ryan McGuire, Gratisography

©Ryan McGuire, Gratisography

Perhaps that part of why I was initially drawn to Cathy Turney’s Laugh Your Way to Real Estate Success (Real Estate Success Press, 2015). But at first, the title gave me pause. Was this was going to be a book about making humor into a sort of business slave, wherein you sneakily use comedy to your monetary advantage? Because I was hoping for a genuinely funny book about how to use your innate sense of humor to navigate the trials and travails of real estate. Thankfully, I got what I was looking for.

See, Turney is just one of those people who happens to be funny and also happens to be a real estate practitioner. She has this whole sorry-not-sorry way of describing the reality behind sticky social situations and pointing out the absurdity of red tape that is so enjoyable to read. She also doesn’t lay it on too thick, and spends plenty of time giving practical, low/no-tech advice on how to manage a real estate career from the humble beginnings to scaling up.

Whether she’s trying to explain why people read her e-newsletters (“Maybe they enjoy finding the typos; I know my mother-in-law did until I dropped her from my list”) or explaining how to not look crazy when you inevitably start talking to yourself (“It’s good to wear a bluetooth so when you’re doing this as you walk down the street people will give you the benefit of the doubt”) her snarky comments are layered within her day-in-the-life composition style. But perhaps the most cathartic for our readers will be her skewering of the behavior of clients, lenders, appraisers, tech support, inspectors, pets, and fellow practitioners.

Humor writing is much like political campaigning: It’s a lot easier to be successful when you go negative. But dour stories about how stressful and expensive it can be to become successful in real estate would only entertain the masochists among us for so long. That’s why I appreciate Turney’s brand of upbeat though sometimes sarcastic humor. She’s not sugarcoating anything, but you can tell she’s exactly where she should be when she talks about her choice to become a real estate practitioner:

“All that aside, why be a Realtor? It’s not just about the money or that you can take naps whenever you want. It’s the gratitude you see on your client’s face when she says, ‘Thank God that’s over!’”

Indeed, as much as I appreciated the humor embedded in my last real estate transaction, I sighed with relief when it was done. As Homer Simpson would say, “It’s funny ’cause it’s true.”

Meg White

Meg White is the managing editor for REALTOR® Magazine and administrator of the magazine's Weekly Book Scan blog. Contact her at mwhite[at]

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  1. Richard Flanzer

    I didn’t know that someone reviewed books for nar. I was a bs in real estate finance and law, and had a great library of texts years ago. Thanks. I will bookmark the page and look for more.

    Richard Flanzer