Have you ever had a special business transaction that made you happy, where the glow stayed with you long after the transaction had finished?
Over the years I've had some very special transactions, including one several years ago that doesn't fail to bring a smile to my face whenever I think of it.
A neighbor spotted me in Trader Joe's one day and after we said hello she went on to say, "I've been meaning to call you....."
This woman, who I'll call Grace, is the mother of 6 grown children. Most of the children are out in the world, self-sufficient. One son, let's call him Dan, has some difficulties in life that are simply a part of him, a part of who he is.
Grace and her husband Max (in his late 80s at the time and not in the most robust of health) were getting up in years, and concern for their son Dan was weighing heavily on them. What would become of him when the time came for them to sell the family home? Where would Dan live?
For Dan, being close to familiar surroundings is important; a short well-known commute to his job is necessary. He is a valued employee at this job, where stocking shelves is a big part of his day. This is not a high tech job, no Silicon Valley stock options, huge year-end bonuses or hope of a buy-out to create instant wealth.
And our San Francisco Peninsula is one of the most expensive places to live in the country!
On a very limited budget, we started investigating studio units in condo buildings. The north end of San Mateo County had a couple, but that was too far away from the anchors Dan needs; so was San Jose and Santa Clara with less expensive opportunities.
Finally we found a studio close by, in a location Dan was comfortable with, but the list price was more than the family could afford. Fortunately, our market was slower than it is today, and condos were languishing. We made an offer, about 20% lower than asking; it was all the buyers could do. No dice.
I kept my eye on the property. About 6 months later it still hadn't sold, and the price was reduced a bit. Grace and Max and Dan had found an additional $5,000 so we went back with an offer $5,000 higher than before. Now we were only about 10% lower than the revised asking price.
This time the seller accepted my buyers' offer!
Grace and Max and I have stayed in touch; Dan is very happy at his home; Grace and Max have a huge worry off their shoulders. Their dream was accomplished. And the icing on the cake: with our rapid appreciation in housing prices, the condo is worth today at least 40% more than the purchase price they struggled so hard to reach.
When I think of a lovely transaction, this is the one that pops into mind. But there are others, too!