Agent Discovers Giant, Untapped Homeless Demographic

Charlotte-based real estate agent Bill Michaels was desperate for buyers. With several homes on the market and no bites, something needed to change. Little did he know the solution was right outside his door.

I met up with Michaels underneath the Highway 16 overpass for one of his outreach events. His bright J. Crew suit and shiny hair unique among the downtrodden crowd.

“As a listing agent I’m always looking for buyers. I had been advertising on social media, MLS, the paper, everywhere… but still no one was coming to my open houses,” says Michaels.

“Then one night I’m walking downtown and I see this man sleeping under some wet cardboard and a light goes off… Who needs a home more than the homeless?”

Doing some online research, Michaels discovered that there are thousands of Charlotteans who don’t have a home. Michaels couldn’t believe what he was seeing.

So, Michaels did what he always does — he got to work. He started placing flyers, business cards, and roadside ads all around the city’s homeless camps and shelters. Then he started holding outreach events like the one we are currently at. Today he is giving away a new Titleist putter.

From what this reporter can tell, Michaels is the only one interested in talking about homes. In fact, throughout his presentation, most people continued to lie motionless on the ground.

When it’s all said and done Michaels gets a few newsletter signups — including one from a man named Piss Jones — but essentially leaves the event empty handed, the putter going to a legless veteran.

In his car after the event Michaels can’t help but feel a little disappointed. Among a number of witnessed dampers, he watched one of his more promising leads use last week’s newsletter as toilet paper.  

But his mood brightens at a stoplight off of Tryon Street, where Michaels sees a man wearing a trash bag as pants. He calls the man over and hands him a business card. “I’ve got a beautiful colonial home in Eastover I think you’ll love. Give me a call. I’d be happy to show you what’s on the market.” The man accepts the gift with a resigned grunt.

After driving through the stoplight Michaels turns to me with a smile, “I have a really good feeling about that one.”

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