Why THIS sale means so much to me

I just sold this townhouse.  Know why it is significant to me?

1156 Appian 305 - 001

Because it was the very first house I ever sold.

It was late Spring in 2005.  The ink was still drying on my real estate license when some friends of mine were in the market for their first house.  We looked for a few months and they decided on this place.  It was brand new.

I’ve got a few funny memories of this sale and this townhouse.

It was closing day.  I was really stressed out since this was going to be my first closing ever.  It seemed like such a huge deal at the time.

One of the things a Buyer’s agent has to do is get the Buyer’s earnest money check to take to the closing.  I had not thought about the earnest money since I turned in the Buyer’s original check to my office manager.  Here we were hours before the closing and I am in a mad rush to get my office to cut the check.

We get to the closing.  This was the last 15 minutes of a super hot market.  The closing was at 5 on Friday.  The title company probably had 15 closing that day.  Everybody was eager to get home.  I remember the closing attorney and the listing agent talking about the emerging trend of getting granite countertops.

Once the closing was done, I went out to my car and made sure I had all the documents I needed to take back to my office.  I was so relieved to have it done.

Then I realized two things:  That the closing attorney did not ask for my Buyer’s earnest money check AND they did not give me my commission check.  I had to run around the parking lot looking for her.  LOL, yes, I forgot that I was getting a paycheck since I was so focused on getting everything done and doing it correctly.

What did I do with that paycheck?  I bought a couch that we still have in our living room.

A while after my friends moved in, the husband and I were going out on a Friday night with another friend.  I picked up the other friend and we went to this townhouse.  The seller was on his computer watching some silly Star Wars Lego video.  I asked what it was and he said Youtube.  I was like “WHATtube???”  He explained that it was a site where people could upload videos for anybody to watch.  I remember thinking “Why would I want to watch a bunch of homemade movies when I have cable TV?”

I’ve remained friends with these sellers and this will be their 4th time using me.

I’ve probably never said it this directly, but I am incredibly thankful that they decided to put their faith in a guy with zero experience.  Getting started in real estate is very tough…or at least it was in 2005.  And now 14 years later, almost to the exact date, they have trusted me again.

(NOTE:  While that red BMW in the picture does look nice, I wanted to disclose it is not one of mine.)

 

 

 

What’s it like being The LEXpert?

I guess I have been busy.  I’ve closed 15 sales and have 9 pending sales, plus a few buyers out looking for that perfect place.

I feel like I never work and at the same time, I feel like I am always working.  It’s a strange thing.  I guess where it doesn’t really “Feel” like a job, I don’t notice how much I do it?

9 of these clients were referred to me by people I know and/or past clients.  8 were people I knew, some of whom have used me multiple times.  6 were past clients wanting to use me again.  Only 1 was a brand new client.  This family found THIS blog you are reading and called me.

What’s it been like this year for me?  Pretty nice.  I really enjoy working with people I know and those who are referred by people I know.  There is a level of built in trust that comes with being referred.  I normally don’t have to put on a polished presentation to try to win over a new client.  They’ve usually already decided to use me based on a recommendation of a friend, who I assume has told them I am a car crazy, short and sandal wearing, big guy who wants the best for his clients.  While most realtors are always looking for new work, my work always finds me first.

This comes so natural to me that I honestly sometimes feel like I don’t deserve the commission checks I get.  I mean, I wake up, look at houses, tell people what I think they should do, determine what a house is worth, come up with the best strategy for achieving a client’s goals, talk a lot, drive around in my cars a lot, listen to 80s music, see people I know.  Go to bed.  Rinse.  Wash.  Repeat.  It’s really just a nice way of spending your days.

Why a reality show about me would be boring

#7.  It is easier to prevent a problem than it is to solve one.

Years ago, I wrote a list of things I’ve learned over the years.  This was one of them and it has really helped my clients.

I recently wrote an offer on a corner lot house.  Any seasoned agent knows that there might be an issue with where a fence can be on a corner lot house.  I told my people that I suspected they could only fence from the rear corner of the house, which means that the space you can fence is smaller than a normal lot, and you have all this space outside the fence that you can’t really use.

They liked the house, so we called the city to see if it was okay.  The city gave a verbal “Ok” to fencing all the way to the sidewalk.  We wrote an offer.  I wrote that the offer was contingent on both the city and deed restrictions allowing a fence to be put up where my clients wanted it.

We got the deed restrictions.  They said that no fence is allowed closer to the road than the building set back line.  While that is better than my worst case scenario, it only bought my client about 11 feet more of yard.  They didn’t want the house.  All I had to do was tell the other agent and it was over.

Can you imagine what it would have been like if I hadn’t put those contingencies?  The buyer might have found out later and lost their earnest money for backing out of the contract.  Even worse, what if they had moved in, paid for a fence to be put where the city approved, and then get a letter from the HOA saying they had to remove the fence?

I just closed a deal where the buyer’s agent kept telling me that the buyer may change their lender.  This doesn’t happen often, especially when you are already past the closing date on the contract.  I told the other agent to let me know when we had a closing date and THEN I would have the seller schedule a mover.   There was no way I was going to let my seller move out and be paying for a vacant house while we waited on this buyer to decide which lender they wanted to use.

I just sold an old friend a house that has propane heat.  When we saw the house, it was very cold inside.  My buyer got the home inspection scheduled.  I texted the listing agent to make sure the utilities are on.  Sure enough, there is no propane in the tank.  That would have been a problem on inspection day if I had not asked.  We would have needed to extend the inspection timeline, paid to bring back the inspector to check it out, etc.  The other agent tells me they will have propane for the furnace by inspection day.

I guess a reality show about me would not be worth watching.  I try to think things through and prevent as many problems as I can.  It would be pretty boring to have a show with very little drama.  I doubt people would continue watching it after the commercials.

How you made 2018 my best year ever

100%.

That’s the amount of my 2018 clients who have used me before, were referred to me from a past client, or are people I already knew.

Ever since I started this back in 2005, it has been my goal to get to where I am right now.

Was 2018 the year I made the most money?  No, it is looking like it might be my second best year.  Definitely the third best if not.  Was 2018 the year I sold the most houses?  Nope.  That would have been 2014.

How much money you make and how many houses you sell is usually the criteria used by real estate agents to gauge their own success.

Back to the 100%.

That is a huge deal in real estate.  It makes me really proud to know that many people came back to me when it was time to buy and/or sell, or trusted their friends and family to me.  See, doing what I do is a lifestyle and not really a job.   I want to wake up everyday and just feel like I am helping people I care about.  Life is better that way.

What I don’t want to do is spend my day trying to find work-meaning chasing random leads, or trying to market myself.  When I started this in 2005, I was told there was no way I could ever get to where I am now.  I was told real estate is a numbers game.  You just keep going through people until you find one that wants to buy or sell.   You send out postcards to random people and other tasks that promote yourself.  I responded by saying two things:  1)  I didn’t get into this to lick stamps.  2)  If I have to remind people that have used me that I am a realtor, I don’t deserve to be remembered when they need me again.

So, I want to thank everybody who has used me more than once, who have referred their friends and family to me, and those of my friends who used me despite knowing how silly I am outside of real estate.

And thank you all for allowing me to fulfill my dream and prove that it can be done my way.

100%.  That is how sure I am that 2018 has been my favorite year (so far!)

I am Superman, and I can do anything

“Faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than a locomotive! Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound!”

Know who I am talking about here?  Not Superman.  I am talking about how every realtor perceives themselves.  I know because I have watched all their videos on how to choose an agent.  They say things like:

“I sold that house the first day on the market” at a time when they all sell fast.

“My team sold 30 million dollars of real estate last year” and since there are 5 agents, that means 6 million each, which isn’t that exciting.

“I have a unique marketing plan that sells houses faster and for top dollar” which would be really impressive if all houses were not selling fast and for top dollar.

“I specialize in residential, commercial, farm and investment property.”  Ok….so you specialize in EVERYTHING?

I get it.  We are all in business.  You have to self promote.

Want to know what I say?

There are many great agents out there and many more who are not.  I may be the ideal fit for you.  I may not be, and that is okay.  I once had a buyer who was interviewing agents.  I didn’t think it was going that well so I gave him the names of a few agents that I knew would take care of him.  He ended up picking me, but for a while there I didn’t think I stood a chance.  If he wasn’t going with me, I wanted him to have somebody good. That’s just the right thing to do.

So, who am I?  Probably more like Clark Kent than Superman.

I am a realist.  I am not afraid to tell you what I think.  I like to think through all your options and help you make the best decision possible.  I point out things I think you may not have noticed or thought about.  I have a lot of experience.  Nearly all of my work is repeat clients or referrals from past clients or friends.  I am not greedy.  I don’t take on more work than I can handle.  I want to give you my best and enjoy the time I spend helping you.