Assisting buyers purchase a home, especially their first home, can be a challenging task in a market with little inventory and where multiple offers the norm. Buyers are understandably nervous about the huge financial step they are undertaking, especially in a high-cost area like the Silicon Valley.
One of my memorable transactions was back in 2011.
I had a personal relationship with this particular buyer; she and I were exercise buddies, running and hiking together weekly in the early morning hours before she headed off to her demanding job as a CFO at a Silicon Valley tech firm. Hiking on trails in the dark with only our headlamps for light, watching dawn break from a hilltop creates a strong bond. She often talked about buying her first house, and from time to time we'd check out different areas, different styles and prices of homes.
By early 2011 she was ready; she knew what she didn't want (super large, elegant, remote) and knew what appealed to her (location close to work, privacy in the back yard, room for visitors to be comfortable during extended stays.) We ramped up our search, made sure her financing was in order and had all our ducks in a row. One Saturday evening she called me; she had walked into an open house and had fallen in love. Wasting no time, we went back together the next day, requested a document package, read everything (!!) went back again before writing an offer.
Our market here had turned the corner, prices were rising, multiple offers were back. Four offers were expected on this marvelous house. On the morning of the day I was to present the offer, my buyer flew off to Asia on a business trip--her parting words to me were, "Lottie, you have to get this house for me!"
No pressure there!
As I always do, I wrote a letter about my buyer, trying to make her come alive on paper. I explained she had come to this country in 1985, studied in New York where she obtained her MBA, had been renting here in the Silicon Valley since 1987, concentrating on her career and saving her money for the day she could realize her dream of home ownership.
I told the seller that she had fallen in love with home, including the swing on the back patio which reminded her of her childhood home.
The offer we presented was a good one, 8% over the asking price, clean with minimal contingencies. She was a financially strong buyer, obtaining a loan of roughly 50% of the purchase price.
It was touch and go. Two offers didn't compete; the third was at a higher price and well-prepared and presented by an excellent agent. I waited in the office lobby. I waited. I waited. So did the other agent.
When I was called back in I was handed a signed contract. My relief and gratitude was palpable. Then the seller told me that when she bought the house a handful of years earlier, it was the swing in the backyard that appealed to her so strongly!
You just never know how and when you'll make a connection, but I do know to never cut corners, always write that letter, always let the seller know a bit about your buyer, their hopes and dreams, and their love of the house.
Need I tell you what fabulous emails flew back and forth that day between me and the buyer?
My buyer had the house of her dreams, and I had helped her achieve it. What a feeling!