Well, it’s official: I closed my first real estate deal last week, almost 10 months after I obtained my salesperson’s license.

I couldn’t be happier. For me, the excitement of closing my first sale ranks right up there with the winter afternoon I had my childhood braces taken off decades ago, the summer night when I received my first kiss, and the autumn morning when my first child was born.

Unfortunately, my first closing did not remind me of my wedding day–the anniversary of which happened to arrive the next day.

I had been so caught up in the hustle-and-bustle of “closing week” that I forgot all about the annual celebration of the wedding vows I shared with my spouse several years ago.

My spouse, however, definitely did not. To mark the day, I was given a new CD player for my car and lots of other goodies.

I was also treated to a breakfast that was prepared by my school-aged children. (The oatmeal was good, though it could have been even better if my kids had put raisins in it instead of Lifesavers candy.)

My spouse didn’t hassle me (much) about forgetting our anniversary, perhaps so I could enjoy the euphoria of closing my first sale for a few hours longer.

The deal itself had hit its share of bumps on the road on the way to closing day. The first problem arose when my buyers’ home-inspection report uncovered some problems that would cost a total of about $4,000 to repair, but the seller refused to pay for the work or to lower the agreed-upon sales price.

A week of negotiations ensued. Finally, the two parties decided to “share the pain”: Though the seller wouldn’t knock off $4,000 from the sales price, he at least agreed to provide my buyers with a $2,000 closing credit to help pay for the needed work.

A bigger problem arose when my buyers, about mid-way through the closing process, decided to switch to a lender that was offering them a better loan deal.

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Though the buyers knew that canceling with the first lender would cost them more than $1,000 because their application had already been processed and approved, they figured the charge would be recouped within a year or two by the lower rate offered by the new lender.

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However, the new lender apparently hadn’t been told that a big chunk of my buyers’ down payment would be coming from their parents–and the particular loan program the lender had offered didn’t permit such a large amount of parental aid.

So there we all were, just two weeks before our scheduled closing date, and my buyers were facing the possibility of starting their loan hunt from square one.

Fortunately, another compromise was reached: After more days of negotiations, the new lender agreed to switch my buyers into a different loan program that allowed the parents of borrowers to provide up to 100 percent of the down-payment cash.

The program’s interest rate is about one-quarter point higher than the rate the new lender originally offered, but still slightly below the rate that the first lender would have provided.

My buyers were happy, even though it will take them a little longer to recoup the cost of canceling their application with the lender that had initially approved their mortgage application.

The sale was finally completed last week. The closing came about 15 days later than its scheduled date, but who cares? The seller received a good price, and my buyers scored their first home.

And, I closed my first sale.

I don’t want to make this column sound like some sort of speech made by an Oscar Awards winner. I realize that my first real estate deal is only one of about 6 million sales that will be made this year.

However, I’d like to thank all the people who’ve given so much useful advice, or simply words of encouragement, during my first 10 months in the real estate business.

I’m particularly grateful for the help I’ve received from all of the Realtors–veterans and newbies alike–who have flooded me with answers to each question I’ve sent to Inman’s special “Rookie Talk” Web site.

But I’m the most appreciative of my spouse, who has supported me throughout my first year in the real estate business.

“Honey,” I promise not to forget our wedding anniversary next year.

After all, it’ll fall one day after the one-year anniversary of my first real estate deal.

***

Got tips, ideas or advice for the Rookie Realtor? Send them to Rookie@inman.com.

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