My philosophy was simple: buy new, then sell before the HVAC system fails, the landscaping is at its home marketing peak and there are plenty of years left on the roof life.
Realtors are in the business of purchasing and selling homes every day. Their customers are involved doing the same, on average, about every eight years.
Then there are people like me. Until this year, I’ve averaged owning a home for about five years. My philosophy was simple: buy new, then sell before the HVAC system fails, all reasonable improvements are made, the landscaping is at its home marketing peak and there are plenty of years left on the roof life.
Periodic changes in life’s circumstances contributed to that cycle as well.
Just as they did to my latest skewing of the home ownership duration average.
As you read this, I’m in Fort Myers. Still working with the Observer Media Group, owner of the Daily Record and Realty-Builder, but in a different capacity. I’m still helping the gang back in Jacksonville as needed as well.
Yes, you remember correctly. It was only last September when I introduced myself to you in this space. We had sold our home in the Charlotte, North Carolina, area in only two hours and purchased a home in St. Johns County following an exhaustive search over several months.
I figured I was in for another average-length stay in the house, but life’s circumstances again deemed otherwise. My wife received an offer too good to pass up in Fort Myers. So, nine months after moving in, our house was back on the market. Fortunately, with the aid of one of your colleagues, we were under contract in four days.
Now, I’m not saying this experience makes me some kind of real estate expert. However, selling, buying, selling again and buying again within a 10-month period (we were scheduled to close on our new Fort Myers home on May 30) along with covering your industry over the past months equips me with considerably more knowledge that I had previously.
I know now that your industry is complex. It’s meticulous. It’s time-consuming. It requires no small amount of risk at first to get started in the real estate business, but also risk in the marketing expenses of each home. I know the legal knowledge requirements are significant. I know a Realtor must be marketer, representative, liaison, confidante and nearly continually accessible, all at the same time.
All this so you can achieve top price for your seller or best value for your buyer while weaving the strongest fibers into the fabric that is the American economy.
Our buyer’s representative helped us make a solid purchasing decision in a highly desired neighborhood in northern St. Johns County. Our listing agent assigned by the relocation service helped us sell it quickly and for top dollar. Together, their work helped us come out ahead even after only 10 months of ownership.
It’s an example of what Realtors do every day … your best to help homeowners advance within the American dream.
That’s a pretty big deal.
‘Buyers are liars’
Another quality Realtors must possess is patience. And lots of it. I know firsthand that our Realtor here in Fort Myers is a testament to that.
The weekend I moved my wife in to our temporary residence, we spent a full day with our Realtor identifying potential neighborhoods, finally choosing a house. We wrote up an offer and agreed to meet with the builder’s site agent the next weekend to execute the contract.
Amid such a whirlwind, you don’t always make the best choices.
That’s the genesis of a saying our Realtor here, Debbie, said she learned in real estate school. On the board was written, “Buyers are Liars,” the instructor explaining that while buyers will describe in great detail what they want, until they start looking, they really don’t know. She told us that story the first day we worked together.
Apparently my reputation preceded me.
I was adamant in my parameters: I want new construction in an amenity-rich neighborhood, maintenance-free, and no carriage house because I don’t want to live below anybody or worry about having to tiptoe above anybody.
A match is made
The following Saturday, after another Friday night drive to Fort Myers, we revisited the house that checked almost all the boxes, a partially furnished new construction twin villa home (the modern take on the duplex), but after spending 30 minutes there, we reluctantly decided the home wasn’t right for us.
Deflated, we drove out of the neighborhood, then stopped in the sales center of another neighborhood nearing completion across the street. We learned of two carriage homes still available. These are quadraplexes of two upper and lower units. Although convinced to not consider this type of home — they are quite prevalent in the Southwest Florida market — we took a look.
I was sold. The details of the construction practices of these homes addressed my concerns. Sensing there was greater value in a resale within the neighborhood, we called Debbie, told her were not going to contract as planned, and asked if she could arrange showings of two upper-floor carriage homes that were available in the neighborhood we felt was perfect for us. We met the next day — on Sunday — toured the two homes and made an offer that was accepted.
‘It felt like home’
The following Friday night, I moved to Fort Myers for good. While taking a ride through our new would-be neighborhood on Saturday, we saw there was an open house on the same street, a ground-floor unit. For no real reason, we went in for a look.
“Which one of us is going to call Debbie?” I asked my wife the second we stepped outside. It was exactly what we were looking for, from floor plan to outdoor living accommodations to storage.
For the first time, it felt like home, and Debbie knew it.
Three hours later — after interrupting her Saturday — we were back in Debbie’s office for the third weekend in a row, writing up a third offer. Three hours after that, Debbie called to tell us the offer was accepted. By 10 p.m., all documents were executed, and we’d finally found our new home, the first one we saw that checked all the boxes.
“Buyers are liars,” she reminded us with a big laugh.
And Realtors are patient.