Saturday, December 8, 2007

Sticking with Home Buyers until the Dream is Reality

It’s a bright sunny early spring afternoon in 2006, my cell phone rings.
“Hi my name is Ben Johnson and you worked with my in-laws a few years back. They are in that great home in Scandia.”

“Sure, Ben, I know who you are. I spoke with your wife, Kim, a few years back but you weren’t ready to make a move then.”

“Well we are now! Could you show us a few homes tomorrow? We are interested in a few horse properties that are on the market in Isanti and Anoka Counties.”

“Great! I will set them up!”

So began the journey to the perfect home for the Johnson family. This story does have a very happy ending but the middle was rather a long drawn out process. Ben and Kim had a home to sell. When they sold their first home a decade before, it sold in a matter of days. Like most Twin Cities homeowners a few years ago, they were certain that their home would sell quickly, even in the slower market. Many people had said they were interested in the two-story, centrally located St. Paul home. But FSBO is not as easy as it would seem. After exhausting their contacts, they listed with me at the end of the summer of 2006.

From our first meeting, the Johnsons opted to sign a buyer’s representation agreement with me. I represented the couple in the search for their dream home. Kim and Ben’s dream was to live on acreage so they wouldn’t have to board their daughters’ horses. The Johnson’s wanted land to ride on and prairie views of beautiful private sunsets. Driving from North Branch to Linwood and Stacy to Scandia, we scoured the countryside. We found many perfect places for this family while they waited for their home to sell so they could write a non-contingent offer.

Over the holidays, the Johnsons chose to remove their home from the market. Their busy schedule included celebrating with a number of children and grandchildren. Showings didn’t fit in the plan. During the time their home was temporarily off of the MLS, a buyer contacted me as my sign was still in the yard. She was ready to buy and love the home from the outside and the photos online. The day the house re-listed, she wrote an offer which was accepted.

Of course this was the first big snowstorm of 2007 and the Johnsons and I trekked out in the elements to see new homes. After viewing properties from East Bethel to Chisago, the perfect home was found in Forest Lake. Unfortunately, the person buying their home wasn't a good buyer; the earnest money check bounced. So we were back to the drawing board.

A few weeks into March and my clients were more dedicated than ever to find the perfect home. Kim and Ben had just had a new roof put on the house and made every repair recommended by the truth-in-housing inspector. They decided to offer a warranty on their home so a new buyer wouldn’t have to worry about an older dryer or boiler. They lowered their list price and showings picked up. The home they had their eyes on in Forest Lake sold but new homes were coming on the market to consider.

As spring turned to summer, my clients were home sellers frustrated with the market. The Johnsons dropped the price again. Weeks later, we were contacted by an agent that another offer was coming in. Out we headed again to find a perfect place to call home. This time there were homes in Scandia, Stacy, Columbus, North Branch and Linwood to consider. Again a perfect Scandia home was located.

The offer did arrive by fax the next day. It was from an investor who wanted to close within days. When the sellers countered with a new closing date, the investor rejected the counteroffer and bought a different home. A week later the Scandia home went into pending. Another dream faded away.

As August approached, Ben and Kim remained positive and determined to have a new home for the school year. Another price adjustment and another offer came in. Third time was definitely the charm!

Now, it was crunch time! A perfect horse property was available. It was a second choice to the Scandia home. An offer was written, accepted and on a bright sunny fall afternoon, both homes closed. Their dream was finally a reality.

See, the lesson here is a professional Realtor is in it with you for the long haul. I stuck with my clients through flighty buyers and a rough market. I showed them homes in four counties and several communities for over a year until the timing was right.

When I checked in on the Johnson family a few weeks after closing, Kim and Ben were happy with their new home. Of course there were hiccups that need to be resolved but overall the family was satisfied and at home. Their children were adjusting well, the horses were grazing in the back and life was returning to a new normal on 10 acres in the country.

This is why I am a Realtor. I make dreams reality no matter how long it takes.

*The story is true though in interest of my clients’ privacy, I did change the names.

More Articles on Buying Real Estate that might be of interest:
Are You a BUBBA?
Rent VS Buy? It's Time to Revisit the Question!
How to Choose a Realtor—Why a Good Friend is Not Always a Good Option
How to Choo-Choose a Realtor and Avoid a Train Wreck!


If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007