A bonobo actually — the smartest of the chimpanzees. Here’s why:
1. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), home prices and sales will continue to fall during 2007. With equity at a ten-year low, who can afford 6 percent? Home sellers seeking an inexpensive alternative would do well to hire a bonobo. After all, a Realtor’s job is pretty simple: walk a client through the home, point to the blank spaces in the contract, smile really big. With a largish supply of bananas, and following basic Pavlovian principles, one could easily train a chimpanzee to do the same thing.
2. Furthermore, bonobos are widely considered to be mother nature’s premier negotiators. They never resort to violence, and instead use sex to settle most disagreements. When a bonobo tribe comes upon a new food source, for instance, they immediately and aggressively copulate to reduce tensions. Not that sex should ever factor into a real estate transaction. Bonobos, tailless, would all be required to wear pants.
3. And wouldn’t a bonobo look simply adorable dressed up like a sales professional? Its pelt slicked, wearing a tie, carrying a briefcase.
4. It could be taught basic phonetic sales phrases: “Buy this house.” “Accept this offer.” “I’m Pan-pan, the Sundance King!” “$400,000? And the fridge comes, too? Folks, if you don’t buy this home right now, I’m putting in an offer myself. Come on, I’ll fight you for the contract!” And of course you know the little guy couldn’t actually afford to buy the home, his voice all high-pitched and happy, but you admire his chutzpah.
5. Besides, can you — nay, dare you — resist the bonobo’s bashful gaze when he tells you that the $50,000 kitchen upgrade, when amortized over 30 years, amounts to only an extra $10 a day? “Why, that’s just a latte or two,” he says, his brown eyes limpid and sincere. “Surely you’d give up a latte to make your wife smile, wouldn’t you, Mr. Buyer?”
6. Okay, okay, you’re saying to yourself, but certainly a chimp can’t be trusted with the nitty-gritty of fiduciary duty, boundary disputes, mechanic’s liens, the non-abrogation at closing of certain seller-warranted items, etc.? True, but then neither can many Realtors. That’s why new agents are first licensed under their brokers. In the bonobo’s case, the broker would also need to get a pet license. This is a no-brainer; chimps are way cheaper than people. In fact, before you know it all the national real estate companies will have adopted and adapted the concept for their own purposes — your Coldwell Bankers, your C-21s, your RE/MAXes, your Realty Executives, ad infinitum. All manner of simians, some species more or less suited to sales than others, will rapidly become as common on the ’00s real estate scene as mustard-colored jackets were in the ’80s.
7. We still maintain, though, here at Bonobo Realty, Inc., that a bonobo — neither ape nor gorilla nor pygmy marmoset — a bonobo is the best and only choice for a Realtor. Why? Imagine yourself as a homeowner choosing among competing offers from buyers represented by all manner of shrieking, chest-pounding, ruff-flaring, teeth-baring, fecal-waste-throwing, off-in-the-corner-vigorously-pleasuring-themselves gorillas, apes, spider monkeys, capuchins, marmosets, & co. Imagine yourself in that living room and shudder. Pity the clients those primates represent. Now consider the bonobo in that fractious living room. Could he get your offer accepted over all the others? Think about it. Does a compassionate gaze calm the frightened heart? Does a wrinkled gray hand on her thigh catch a seller’s attention? Yes, it does. Though loudly the other primates may carry on and though tempted to join the bacchanalian fray for purposes of mediation the bonobo might be, yes, most sorely and with every instinct he possesses specifically tempted to impart special knowledge to the little hunched monkey in the corner with the fast hand, to make a special friend of a competitor, as it were, no, never, no, the bonobo won’t be swayed. He will remain on task. He will first get that contract signed no matter what. And then he will address the others, starting with you-know-who in the you-know-what. Thus a Bonobo Realtor guarantees a happy ending for all involved — albeit a discreet and consensual one.