Friday, January 18, 2013

A Glowing (Realtor) Recommendation

I've been slightly introspective about the house in the last 24 hours. First, about our realtor, then about how much money we've spent in the last six months (excuse me while I go have a panic attack). This post is not about the panic attack, and you're welcome.

There's a pretty long back story to why we moved and how we got the realtor we did. We had put our house on the market in the fall of 2011 in hopes of buying another home but our house sat and sat and sat on the market (and by that I'm talking about a measly 3 months, but other than a billion showings, nothing was happening). I blame the market, I blame the realtor, but mostly I thank God.

We decided to take the house off of the market and to give ourselves a deadline of May 1, 2012 to get it prepared and back onto the market with no agenda to move until it had sold. We were going to quickly be growing out of the house and wanted to make a move before the possibility of another pregnancy. So we prepped, fixed little things here and there, touched up paint, and then found another realtor.

Before we had gotten serious about selling in 2011, Paul requested a Property Value from Gary. Paul had been following (and been followed by) Gary on Twitter for awhile. He came out to our little bungalow one day, took a look around and threw out $135,000 as a safe Property Value for the house. He wasn't wrong, by any means, but I had secretly hoped for more.

When it came time to actually list the home, Paul was all for calling Gary up. I was skeptical (I don't think Gary even knows this part). I wanted to sell the house, it had become almost a personal necessity to know my house could sell. We'd tried using a small company to sell the previous fall and this time I wanted a guarantee of a sale. I wanted a Keller Williams, or a ReMax agent. I wanted someone to price my house higher and to have like a billion years of experience. I softly mumbled all of these concerns, not entirely sure what I really wanted and Paul moved forward with an appointment with Gary.

He came over to the house, walked through it once more and then sat down at the dining table with us. I remember he didn't ask the same kinds of questions that the previous realtor had done. The last realtor was not skilled at selling houses in historic and old neighborhoods. Things that botheredthe previous realtor and concerned him about our sale didn't even come across Gary's mind. Gary knew that a person or family wanting to live in this type of neighborhood knew that old house "charm" came with the territory.

I cautiously asked Gary if our previous asking price was too outrageous. We had listed the house for $147,000. I was prepared for the answer I thought I was going to receive. And if he truly believed it was listed too high, I was willing to come down (willing enough at least). He thought for a moment (he does that) and then cautiously said, "No, I don't think so." Even if he was lying, I believed him and shortly after our first meeting, professional photos had been taken, there was a sign in our yard and our house was officially on the market.

And the showing requests started pouring in. It was thrilling again, to have three showings on your second day and four scheduled for the day after and two for the next and so on. So much hope. But after the last go around, we knew not to get too excited. And then an offer came in. Not a real guarantee, the couple needed more financial assistance than all three of us were willing to bet on. Just as quickly as we had decided to turn that offer down, a second, much better, much more financially stable, offer came in.

What had I been so skeptical about?! Gary had this.

Within a week, we had accepted an offer for our house for more than our original asking price. Even after inspections and a quick re-negotiation for some repairs, we we're selling for only $1,000 less than our asking price.

Then we made Gary work for his money. He knew we we're fine with a project house, but I'm pretty positive we had him give us somewhere around 15 showings and only two houses were possible enough to really get our attention. Once we had settled on Six Twelve, I asked him if we were nuts and he smiled. HE SMILED.

(I know the guys reading this are probably thinking, "What? He smiled. Big deal." but I know you girls are thinking "Ouch. A smile. I know what that smile meant.")

Gary took care of everything, and followed up until the minute we we're signing papers for both houses. Then he took us to lunch and now that the deal was over, we we're talking about real stuff, you know other than market values and foreclosures and chickens in second floor bedrooms. I'm not kidding about that. We toured a house, in the heart of the City, with chickens and rabbits in cages in a 2nd floor bedroom, LARGE koi fish in a bucket in another. The woman was on her way to the country and apparently couldn't wait to get started on her farming skills. Woman be nuts.

We might have talked about the chicken lady at lunch but we talked about Gary's family, where his kids went to school, etc. It was a really good lunch.

Six months later, we're real life friends with Gary, his wife, kids and even more of Gary's friends. We've had dinner with them a couple of times over the last few months and we couldn't be more thankful for their good company.

I know that any other realtor probably would have been fine selling and finding us a house. But I can't give him enough credit for how well this worked out for us. He still smiles when we talk about the house, because he thinks were insane, but we we smile back thinking the exact same thing about ourselves anyways. And chances of us having a regular dinner with any other realtor probably wouldn't have happened.

If you're looking to buy or sell in OKC (especially the urban core), we can't recommend Verbode/Urban Living enough. We knew that not all selling and buying situations are ever the same and even a good realtor can have tough houses (not to mention the wrench that can get thrown in with lenders). So obviously I can not give you a guarantee on a quick sale or a smile from the realist that is Gary. I also can't guarantee he'll like you as much as he likes us and want to be your BFF. Man, am I in Junior High or what?!

Although, Paul just spoke to someone who was requesting references for working with Gary. She said Paul was the third person to tell her that they were now friends with him. So, who knows, maybe you really can be his next BFF.

But for real guys, if you're looking for someone who gets it (the urban OKC market and the people), this guy is for you.

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