Monday, October 27, 2014

Jerry Buys a House

This is a funny story, along with a valuable lesson about buying a home.

Jerry flew through the door at our real estate office one day with more energy than anyone I know.  He was a body builder, huge man, about 6 foot 5 or 6 inches.  He very loudly announced to our petite receptionist that he was buying a house, and could he talk with someone.

I happened to be the agent on floor, so Sarah led him to my office.  He towered above her, looking like he could have picked her up and snapped her in half.  Her eyes looked like saucer plates.

He quickly told me that his mom had told him that at 35 years old it was time to buy his own home and move out.  He was like a kid at his Birthday Party.

We talked for a couple of hours, went over the process, discussed what he could afford and what he wanted.  At the end of the meeting, he promised to be at my office Thursday at 5:05pm (He got off work at the gym at 5:00) and we’d look at the three or four best homes on the market.

Promptly at 5:05 Thursday, he barged through the door.  I could hear him from down the hall.  “I’m here to buy a house.  Where’s that Mike Moger?”

Sarah scurried down the hall with her saucer plate eyes to my office, Jerry towering behind.

He loved the third house.  He needed no time at all to make the decision.  This was it.  What do we do now?  “Mom is going to love this house.  This is so exciting.”  We were still on Birthday Party energy levels.

As I wrote the offer at my desk, he asked if we could negotiate a bit.  “This is so exciting,” he kept saying.  I told him that we could, that the home had been on the market for a month with no offers, so we could risk a bit if he wanted to.  The asking price was $68,000.  “Can we try for $65,000?  I’ll pay $67,000, but I’d like to try.”

We wrote the offer, he signed it all, and I told him I’d call him at the gym the following day.

I was so happy when the listing broker called me the next day to tell me that the sellers wouldn’t do $65,000, but countered at $66,500.  Looked like Jerry was going to get his house.

When I told him over the phone, he shouted so loud, I had to move the phone away from my ear.  “Ya!  I’m buying a house!”  I could hear the cheers in the gym.  “What do I do now?”

I told him that all he had to do was write his initials next to the change on the contract form, and we could start the move toward closing.  He told me he’d be in my office at 5:05 that afternoon.

I warned Sarah that he was coming.

Sure enough, at 5:05pm, Sarah and Jerry were coming down the hallway.

“I’m buying a house!  What do I have to do?  I’d have paid $67,000.  Mom’s so happy!”

I have never seen anyone so excited about buying a home.  With no warning at all, he marched around my desk and picked me up in a big bear hug.  It being Jerry, he wrapped me in his arms, my hands dangling at my hips, feet hanging off the floor.  I wasn’t sure if I was dying or going right to heaven without the formality of suffering an earthly demise.

When I finally landed back on the floor, I sat at my desk and told him again that all he had to do was write his initials next to the change in the selling price on the contract, turned it toward him and pointed out the line.  I laid the pen on the desk next to it.

His eyes were alive with energy.  He kept talking about the house, his mom, what his favorite rooms were.

Six o’clock, he still hadn’t signed the contract.  Sweating a bit, he called his mom and told her again about it all.  She told him to just do what Mike says and sign the contract.

At seven, he called a couple of friends, who came over to the office to cheer him on.  “Jer-REE, Jer-REE, Jer-REE”.  They were all from the gym.  I felt like a kindergartner at a junior high party.  They left for dinner and told him to report back.

We walked around the block a few times.  We talked about lifting weights, vacations he’d taken with his mom to New York, what colors he’d paint his house when it needed it.

At 10pm, sitting at my desk, I told him it was time to call it a day.  Maybe this wasn’t the right house after all.  I told him that we’d meet again at 5:05 tomorrow and review our options.

“NO!” he yelled, pushed the chair back and threw himself on the floor and furiously started pumping out pushups.  After a quick 25, he jumped up, grabbed the pen and signed his initials.  “I DID IT!”    My feet flew up off the ground in another bear hug, and as I was dangling in his arms, I wondered at the stack of papers we was going to have to sign at the closing.

I write this story not because it’s a very entertaining story about a past client, but simply to let you in on something that’s very real.  Buying a home is not a little thing.  It’s a huge thing.  I know that, and different people do this in different ways.  Not everyone is like Jerry, but at varying levels of energy and fear, excitement and joy, the process is sometimes not an easy thing to do.                

When it’s your time to move, know that working with someone who honors your energy and concerns, who takes the time you need, makes this whole thing much easier and more comfortable.

And yes, Jerry signed the closing documents without incident.  Just as much energy and excitement, but without a moment of hesitation.  I got another bear hug when it was over.

Call me.  I’m always here for you.

Enjoy the day,
303.541.1920 office
303.859.4467 mobile

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Free Gift

I have a gift for you.  It’s fun and useful and easy to use.

Most people now have Smart Phones, and we seem to be using them all the time.  Hopefully not at all while we’re driving, operating heavy machinery or trying to get some sleep, but the rest of the day, they’re with us.  We budget and bank with them, buy about anything we need, and are in constant communication with any number of people and news stories.  We search, post, tweet, pin, schedule, ask questions about anything that comes up and on occasion even talk to someone.  They seem to be the newest lifestyle choice in our existence.  Most importantly, they’re always within reach.

So why not easily and quickly find out how much your neighbors down the block are asking for their house?

You’ve been there.  A sign goes up three doors north and your first impulse is to wonder how much the asking price might be.  In the past, perhaps you walked over and took a brochure (assuming there were brochures, and assuming the asking price was listed somewhere on it).  If not, you may have called the listing company.  As a last resort, you asked a neighbor or the actual owner of the home.

Why is it so important to know the asking price?  Knowing what’s happening in your neighborhood is important.  It determines the value of your home, one of the most significant investments you’ll make in your lifetime.  You may know someone who might want to buy into the area, a relative moving to town, parents who are getting older and may need some help at times, or a best friend. 

Or honestly, you’re a naturally curious and snoopy human being.  Nothing wrong with that.  It’s how we’re wired.

Here’s another scenario.  You’re in a new area driving to a social event and pass through a very interesting neighborhood.  Wow.  You might like to live in a place like this one day.  You wonder what that might cost, so you pull out your phone, open the WKRE app, and it immediately shows you a map of where you are, along with an icon for every home currently on the market in that immediate vicinity.  If you’d like, it will show you what homes have sold over the past two years, and where the Open Houses are this weekend.  You can tap on any of those icons to preview photos, find out the square footage, number of bedrooms and baths, schools, homeowners’ association and dues, property taxes, and so many other things that I can’t list them all here.  Listing and selling prices are included, and whether or not they’re under contract.  If you see a home you really like with a For Sale sign in the yard, you point your phone at it and take a photo.  All of the information appears on your screen.  No walking over for a brochure or calling the listing company.  You have it all on your phone.

If you’re at home or on your lunch in a cafĂ©, and you want to search different neighborhoods, pull out your phone or tablet and move the map around to check out what values are in any area you choose.  Make a big map or keep it down to one specific block.  You can search for all 3-bedroom homes in the $400,000-500,000 price range in a specific city, or draw a map of where you want to look.  It has all the searching functionality of my website, and is available for you with the convenience of picking up your device.

If you’re curious about a specific home, look up that one address.  You can use the map as drawn, or by zooming in a bit, you can see the aerial photography, including the rooftops, trees, streets and whether or not there’s a big toy play structure in the park down the block.  The map will show you the location of schools, parks, rivers and creeks and railroad tracks.

Depending on how easy you navigate and use these new devices, you may choose to walk through a short tutorial that shows you all you can do with it.

When you first open the application, you’ll be asked to register and choose a favorite agent.  Don’t worry.  I won’t call you or bother you about selling your home.  It simply allows me to put my photo and name in the corner, so that you remember who gave you this entertaining and valuable tool.

I’ve always believed that knowing what’s going on around us is important, sometimes very much so.  The more information you have about the most significant purchase you’ve ever made – your home – is not only for the curious, but the smart.  Download it.  Use it.  Plan and dream with it.  Pass it on to others.  Wright Kingdom did this for you.

To begin, search in your iPhone or Android apps page and type in WKRE (Wright Kingdom Real Estate).  The icon is green with a big WK in the middle of a white border.  Click Download.  Again, it’s free.  There’s no enticing additional feature that asks you to pay extra.

When you need me, call.  I’m always here for you.

Enjoy the day,
303.541.1920 office
303.859.4467 mobile