You really can't buy and sell property in 30 minutes no matter how many shows they have on TV.
I love working with people to turn hopes into homes. It’s not a simple process but along the way I have worked with some wonderful customers and helped most of them realize their dreams. Trust me, no numbers can ever compete with that.
Buying a home is easy. You’ve seen it done on TV many times. You go look at three houses, offer half what the sellers are asking and in an hour (including time to get umbrella drinks on the beach) you’re a home owner.
For sellers it's much more involved than buying low, putting on a new coat of paint, then holding an Open House attended by 100+ people and receiving multiple offers at double your asking price.
The stories I could tell . . .
Betty was a new customer. She is a single woman with a new job who was looking to put down roots in Pensacola. We looked at a few places that were too big, too small or just didn’t “feel right.” Then, after about two weeks we found the perfect place.
Betty put in an offer that was accepted and closed on her new home about a month and a half later. I checked on her a couple of times that first month she was there and everything was going great.
One Friday night about 9:30 as my wife and I were leaving the movie theater I got a call from Betty. I answered and asked her what she needed.
Betty said, “You know the outlet in the laundry room where you plug in the dryer.”
“Yes,” I said.
“Well,” she replied, “it’s on fire.”
“Are you OK?”
“You called the fire department right?” I asked.
“No, I called you first. You’re coming over to put the fire out aren’t you?” she asked.
“No, I’m not,” I said. “I’m going to hang up now and I want you to call 911. Do you understand?”
“I would have called them,” she said, “but I didn’t want to bother them.”
I did get Betty to call 911 and the fire department did put the fire out with minimal damage. I was honored that Betty trusted me enough to call me when her home needed saving.
However, I can’t do everything and I do rely on a team of experts to help me help you with the home buying process.
Betty’s story had a happy ending. Not all of them do.
Jason and Julie’s story
Jason and his wife Julie were newlyweds. Another customer had referred them to me. As first-time homebuyers they had a lot to learn. I put them in touch with my team of lenders to determine who had the best program for them.
We looked at existing homes in several parts of the area and quickly came to the conclusion that best thing for them was going to be a new build.
We went over the construction process in detail. I explained what would happen over the next six months as their home was being built. I went with them to pick out colors, roofing, counter tops, cabinets, tile, and carpet. I cautioned them not to make any major purchases or life style changes until AFTER we closed on their home.
Jason and Julie loved their new "home." They went by everyday during the construction process. In fact, I believe Jason could tell you exactly how many nails had been driven or tiles laid on any given day.
Jason is an avid hunter so he had a “great idea.” He suggested he move his gun safe into the large, walk-in closet in the master bedroom before everything was framed out and the walls were put up. I told him that wasn’t going to happen because, until we closed and money had been exchanged and he and Julie had the keys, it wasn’t his home. He didn’t like it but he trusted me.
About a month prior to closing Jason called me all excited. “I’m going to take a new job,” he said.
After picking myself up off the floor I replied “After we close right?”
“No,” he said, “they need an answer right away.”
“Then the answer is no,” I told him. “Remember when I told you not to buy a new truck, or furniture, or change jobs, or use your credit card too much because any of those things could affect your credit and you could lose the house?”
“Yeah, yeah,” he said, “I remember. But it’s in the same industry and I’ll be making more money.”
“I still think it’s a bad idea Jason,” I told him. “You and Julie have worked hard to get this place and a job change could throw a loop into things.”
“Don’t worry,” he assured me. “I’ll be making a lot more than at my current job.”
So, Jason took the new job.
Sure enough, after reviewing his income, my lending team member called me with the bad news. While Jason had the potential to make more money because of a higher commission rate, his base salary was actually lower than what he was making when he applied for the loan.
Jason and Julie no longer qualified for the loan. They didn’t get their first, new home.
Shortly after they left the area. At least Jason still has his gun safe. Had he not trusted me on that one it would be in someone else’s master bedroom closet.
Mark and Eli's story
I had worked with Mark and his partner Eli several times. They enjoyed flipping homes or buying properties in desperate need of TLC and then selling them once they were fixed up. One house in particular was challenging in many ways.
When you're flipping houses a good rule of thumb is to find the worst looking house in the best looking neighborhood. Mark and Eli paid no attention to that rule. We found a home that, although it needed work, was clearly the best on the block.
This home was custom built for a Naval officer who believed in redundant systems and over-building. It included a spectacular fireplace that went from floor to ceiling in the living room and curved around into the kitchen. There were three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a library, a workout room, a combination laundry room/workshop, two HVAC systems, fruit trees, spectacular landscaping and the pièce de résistance, a covered patio that ran the length of the home and a huge in-ground pool.
The guys spent several months sprucing up the inside with paint, new lighting fixtures, updated countertops and appliances in the kitchen, updated fixtures in the bathrooms, new carpet/tile, and a new pool liner.
As you can expect we received tons of activity as soon as I listed the property and we received and accepted an offer within a couple of days.
That's when the fun began. The buyers' hired a brand-new inspector who nit-picked his way through the home. Some of the items he "dinged" were cosmetic, some repairs were not required by law or the lender and some he was just flat out wrong about.
The other agent and I worked through the "necessary" repairs and educated the inspector on what was actually required and pointed out where he was wrong. Ultimately, he signed off on the general repairs.
Next came the WDO inspector (wood destroying organisms which includes termites). The vaulted ceiling had some beams going across the living room. One of these beams had a soft spot on it and the inspector said we had to replace all those beams and replace some framing in the attic, as well.
We found someone to replace the section of the beam that had the soft spot in it and offered to pay for a second inspection. The buyers, who really wanted to move in soon, agreed.
The second WDO inspection came up clean and we thought we were on our way to closing, until the septic tank inspectors showed up.
Remember when I said redundant systems? This home had not one, but two septic tanks. The inspection report said both tanks were cracked and had to be replaced. The cost for removing the old tanks and putting in new ones was going to run close to $16,000 because of their location and the labor involved in the process.
Again, working with the buyers' agent, my folks offered to get a second opinion and the buyers agreed.
The second company came in and said neither tank was damaged, both were in excellent condition and they gave us the approved certificate and we closed on time.
I have condensed much of this story but the moral is that I didn't let multiple bumps in the road detour this transaction. My experience, diligence and knowledge the process and how to overcome problems led to another happy customer.