The day-to-day for most REALTORS® is probably pretty similar. You find clients, then do your best to help them buy or sell a house. But like most professions, there are occasionally moments or events that stand out.
Maybe it was a lucky break, or an out-of-nowhere detail that led to a sale. Or perhaps something emotional happened that caused the client to realize that what REALTORS® do has real meaning.
Here are a few stories that highlight the unexpected nature of real estate sales.
An agent’s departed mother inspires the sale
“One day I was meeting new clients from New York City to show them three homes in the nearby Hudson Valley. They had quite a wish list: 10-plus acres with two livable houses, pool, privacy, outbuildings and more. Not an easy task. So, after quick hellos, they followed me in their car a few miles away to the home I had found that I thought might work for them.
“Amazingly there it was…a beautiful 1920s completely renovated farmhouse, with the acreage and an extra house! We were excited when we walked in and saw all the architectural finishes and warm vibe of this incredible home. We were buzzing around the main floor exclaiming how gorgeous it was when suddenly my eyes fixated on a landscape painting at the other end of the room.
“I had already walked through once, but now I was at the other end. Something looked familiar about that painting, so I went right up to it and I saw in the lower right-hand corner: ‘Phyllis Klein’—my late mother’s signature. I turned to the clients and said, ‘Well, you simply have to buy this house because my mother’s painting is already hanging on the wall.’
“And they did buy it. Turns out I had donated the painting several years prior to an area fundraiser for therapeutic horses, and the current owner (a horse lover who I had never met) purchased it. When I returned home, my husband Bob, also a painter, summed it up: ‘Ars longa, Vita brevis.’ Translation: art is long, life is short.”
–Julie ‘Pip’ Klein, Real Estate Salesperson, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Green Team, Warwick, New York
The agent becomes the landlord
“My buyers were moving with their three kids from a community about 45 minutes away from us last summer. We were putting the contract together in late August, and since the school year was about to begin, the kids either needed to start school in their current town or where they were moving to. The sellers were not able to close quickly, so the buyers were deciding if they should relocate and find temporary housing until the closing in November. There was a lot of uncertainty, and there were just a few days for the buyers to make major life decisions. We had by chance recently completed a renovation on my family’s first investment property in their new town, which ended up being the perfect fit for a short-term housing solution, and it was a key factor to making this deal happen.”
–Annie Royster Lenzke of the Dawn McKenna Group With Coldwell Banker Realty, Lake Forest, Illinois
A curt reply leads to a successful result
“A blueberry farm listing in Sterling, Connecticut, came to me through Century 21’s referral system. Upon taking it, I immediately started to call other blueberry farms to see if they wanted to expand their operations. I must have called 60 farms in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. I also called about 20 breweries to see if they wanted a farm for their special brews. I put the listing up on Connecticut Farm Link and looked for similar sites but didn’t find anything.
“On one of the calls, the lady who answered was very short with me. She said, ‘New England Farm Finder,’ and hung up. Well, I went to New England Farm Finder and wondered why it didn’t come up on my original search. I entered the listing there and a few days later I got a call from the site. That call turned out to be my buyer, and I was also the dual agent. If I never made that call to the woman who was curt, I might never have made the sale.”
–Linda M. Byrne, Broker Associate, CENTURY 21 AllPoints Realty, Avon, Connecticut
The agent recommends the sale
“I remember one couple with young children, and I found out that the husband was going to be out of town on moving day. So, I went over and held the baby and did their laundry while the wife unpacked boxes. A few years later when they were moving again, the wife was out of town and the husband found his dream home and had to make the decision of whether or not to make an offer before the wife had seen it. I was at the house when the husband called his wife and excitedly told her all the great things about it. Then she said, ‘Okay. Put Leisa on the phone, I want to know how she feels.’ They bought it. So, agents really can become part of the family!”
–Leisa Wilcox, REALTOR®, RE/MAX Homes and Estates, Nashville, Tennessee
The emotions of a first-time homebuyer
“There is one closing that I will never forget. My buyer clients signed all of the paperwork and when the closing attorney congratulated them, the husband started to cry. We were all stunned, and the attorney and I both asked if everything was okay.
“With tears streaming down his face and a big smile, he announced that he was the first person in his entire family to ever own their own home. His parents had never owned a home. His grandparents had never owned a home. This was more than he had ever hoped for. The modest little house was a dream come true for this family of four. There was not a dry eye in the room! We do this every day, and sometimes take for granted what a gift owning a home can be for many. I will never forget it.”
–Rebecca Brennan-Laird, REALTOR®, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate The Shanahan Group, Winchester, Massachusetts