It was the winter of 2014, and my buyer David was struggling to find the perfect condo to purchase that would fit his needs. This often happens in this business, and tends to lead to the loss of a client for a Realtor. In my case, I knew there must be more to do in order to get him something he would love.
His focus seemed to keep coming back to a condominium complex in Norwalk where we had seen multiple properties. We placed some offers, and even had an inspection on a unit, that ended up falling through because of the price we had placed - the bank was not interested in what we (homeowner included) considered a good offer. Ultimately, there were no good options remaining there, and it was either wait, or take action.
The great thing about this market, is there are other transactions that don't get completed, called 'expired listings'. In this case, I recognized a unit that was on the market, that didn't get sold for reasons I couldn't comprehend (considering the price wasn't too high). Through a complex process, I was able to get in touch with the homeowner, Eliana. Eliana and her family were in dire straights, holding a mortgage they couldn't afford. They hadn't been able to sell because of the inability to get the money back that they had lost in a purchase when prices were higher. At times like this, my first thought is, 'How can we help this family?' There is no reason why a family should be held hostage by a liability like real estate, especially when there were options on the table.
Immediately I knew there was a solution that would get her and her family out, and get David a property in a complex he was very interested in. I approached David with this option, and we immediately placed an offer, off-market, that would get sent to the bank. I signed papers with Eliana and Dave, and we were off to the short-sale-races!
This transaction was not as easy as making a phone call, signing some papers, and sitting back - it was a difficult short sale that required negotiations with a bank that was difficult last time around (when Eliana had the home on the market previously). The first thing I needed to do was find Eliana an attorney that would make sure this came to fruition, and with some suggestion and seeking, I found the perfect firm. Now Eliana was well-represented, and just needed to make sure she did everything the attorney asked.
After several months of difficult work with the bank, as sometimes happens, we ran into an additional problem. Because this transaction was more difficult than others the law firm had dealt with, the attorney was requesting more money than the bank was offering. Of course, the seller had no money to give her. So there were options, but asking David to pitch in wouldn't have been fair. I knew I needed to step up - because this was a short sale, with no Realtor representation for the seller, I was going to get the whole commission (and a higher one at that), instead of the half I usually get during a transaction. So, to make up for the attorney's loss, I sacrificed part of my commission, knowing this was the last piece of the puzzle, to get it closed. This is not something I can do under normal circumstances, but in this case, it was feasible.
Ultimately, we closed the property successfully, and Eliana and her family were able to move on, and David was now situated in a condo, at a lower price than market value, where he was happy.
I come across many different scenarios in this business, and I never give up. Had I just said, 'let's wait' to David, we might have not found something for a long while. This type of complacency causes buyers to leave, and find the Realtor that will work for them. Instead, we got creative, and were rewarded for this unique strategy.
It's stories like this that make my time in this business worth every minute. I hope to continue to share these stories, as it gives a great example of what can be done with a Realtor that goes the extra mile. But, it also shows what pitfalls you might encounter in a purchase or sale, and how you can overcome those hurdles.
We (Joe and Chris Balestriere) are Realtors in Fairfield County, Connecticut. Our blog is meant to educate buyers and sellers and equip them with tools to get the most out of their Realtor, whether it is us or someone else. We focus on technology and how it enhances the work we do for our clients--we are not top CT Realtors by accident.