For Mother

[photopress:for_mother.JPG,thumb,alignright]I found this photo on my desktop titled “For Mother”. Isn’t it amazing what kids can do with their cell phones.

Anyway, I really shouldn’t tell this story, but it’s going to fade away if I don’t. I met this young fella at an Open House. He was just the cutest thing and he was all excited about buying his first place. He was asking me if he could make a cutout in this wall between the kitchen and the dining area. Then he wanted to know if he could move the washer and dryer from in the kithen out to near the front door away from the bedrooms. The next day I called him and told him I found a place like the one he was trying to “make” out of the one where I met him. He came over and bought it.

It was dirt cheap. $130,000 for a two bedroom (two years ago in May) and it had a jacuzzi! A huge “yard” open space, fabulous upgrades and it had been on the market for awhile. Crazy. None of the mls photos had any of the upgrades. No real sign on the property. It was just sitting there waiting for someone to steal it. We were so happy.

Then he looked sad, and when I asked him why, he said his Mom in Eastern Washington was very ill, cancer, and she couldn’t come and see his first home. I went over to the property and took photos of all the things the listing agent didn’t. All the upgrades. I made a book that I bound with my GBC of 8X10 color glossies titled “Xs First House”. I went around the complex and took pictures of every different variety of Rhodie in bloom. I made a “frame” with all the Rhodie pictures in pink and red and purple flowers. I gave him two copies of “the book”, one for him and one for his Mom.

His Mom passed away before we closed and he couldn’t express how happy she was to “see his first home” with him before she passed. He brought the book to the hospital and they “walked through the condo” together in book form.

Recently I sold that same condo. He had a net return of $50,000 in two years. Now most people look at the King County appreciation rates at whatever…12%, 20%, whatever per year. The reality is this. He only spent $4,500 out of pocket. He had no downpayment and I wrote most of the closing costs into the offer.

So what is the return on $4,500 that turns into $50,000 in two years? Did his neighbors see that kind of return? No. Why. Why were we so darned lucky on both ends of this transaction? It just had to have something to do with his Mother, don’t you think? It’s just amazing that someone can turn $4,500 into $50,000 after all costs, both the costs of purchase and the costs of sale. And I adore him and he trusts me implicitly and that is really what “selling” real estate is all about. Helping someone else’s kid. Just like someone helps my kid when I’m not around. Everyone is someone’s kid to me…but I really shouldn’t have voted for George for Barbara’s sake 🙂

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ARDELL is a Managing Broker with Better Properties METRO King County. ARDELL was named one of the Most Influential Real Estate Bloggers in the U.S. by Inman News and has 33+ years experience in Real Estate up and down both Coasts, representing both buyers and sellers of homes in Seattle and on The Eastside. email: cell: 206-910-1000

14 thoughts on “For Mother

  1. That’s a sweet story. Just getting his mom those photos made you his agent for life. I would even say that everything else you did is secondary, in comparison to that magic you created.

    Is that your daughter? Wow! Spitting image! Very sexy while demure. 🙂

  2. While the article I’m linking is not personal in nature it does have some great comments on the issue of agents not using any or enough pictures to sell a home.

  3. What kind of financing did he get that allowed only $4500 in payments in 2 years? Even for an option ARM that seems very low.

  4. Payments are a wash. Only flippers need to add that to cost, not owner occupieds. As long as after tax cost equals what they would have paid to rent…it’s a wash for someone who lives in the property.

    Flippers have been upside down lately because the monthly is a direct cost, and they are taking way too long to get the improvements completed.

    He shouldn’t have had to pay anything, but the $4,500 was locked in, as his lender was locked in before I met him. You can’t live anywhere for free. How are you doing the calculation?

  5. And THAT my friends, is what selling real estate is all about!

    Great story Ardell.

    I don’t think you did it to snag a “client for life”. You did it becaus eit was the right thing to do. A side-effect was gaining a client for life.

  6. Jesse, you are right on this one! Too many pronouns period! The nuns would have cracked my knuckles on that one. In my defense, of the 60 pronouns, 2/3rds were the client and his Mom and not me. But definitely way too many I’s for sure, for one article.

    I would edit it, but that is considered bad blog etiquette. I can strike them all out if you like. I could use some practice on the strike out feature.

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