When I helped sell my parents’ home in Las Vegas earlier this year, pricing it was like catching a falling knife. Finding a good Realtor was also an unexpected challenge.
I reviewed agents at HomeGain, of course. I checked out sites such as Realtor.com, Zillow and Trulia. I was intrigued by a couple of agents on ActiveRain because their blog posts offered color on Summerlin, the area in Vegas where my parents live.
I also called the CEO of a large real estate franchise who worked me down their food chain to a top producer in my parents’ neighborhood. She sounded smug.
I set up appointments with three Realtors — two from ActiveRain and one from the franchise — to meet when I was in Vegas. The personal story: My parents are ill and my brothers and I have spent the last six months helping them move into a life care facility, manage their life and give my mom ample room (an "Obama Mama") to express herself about how President Bush and Bill Clinton are wrecking the country.
FYI: No pity here; they still think the cup is half full. Amazing.
I packed three Realtor meetings into moving day while I read love letters from my dad to my mom during World War II, looked at my old report cards, and read a letter that I wrote my father about "Tricky Dick" and why he should vote for George McGovern. P.S.: Do not tell my older brother, but my dad did the right thing.
The agents from ActiveRain are good bloggers, were nice enough and were eager enough, but they had slim experience. One had no listings and another had only one. There seems to be a home listing for each resident in Las Vegas, so the qualifications of these two agents were a problem. I canceled the meeting with the smug one.
My dad brags about my brothers and me with his golfing buddies and anyone who will listen, including strangers in the grocery store and mafia-looking guys in the sports book at the Bellagio. He, of course, put the job of selling his house in the hands of his real estate and Internet guru son. "He is on CNN!"
From his hospital bed with tubes all over, he politely asked, "Bradley, how is it going with the house sale? I know you are handling this wonderfully; you are the best." That is how he has talked to my brothers and me for 40 years. The first 15 years of our lives were different because he was teaching us math and ambition and he was very busy.
I came clean with my father that I had not found the right Realtor from my expert contacts and from the Internet. For a dozen years I have bragged to him about the power of the Web.
He asked me to get his wallet, and tucked inside was the card of a local Summerlin Realtor. He said, "This guy is good, Bradley. His for-sale signs are all over Summerlin."
I called John, dad’s Realtor. He knew the neighborhood; he understood the Summerlin housing market; he knew most of the MLS listings; he was sober about the challenges; he was accessible; and he arranged his schedule around his church duties. He did not know what Trulia was and he did not read Inman News.
John priced the house right and we sold it in 30 days. My father and mother now brag about how smart their middle son is and how quickly I sold their house when nothing else on the market was moving.
My dad may be closing in on his last lap but with a twinkle in his eye he cannot stop bragging about his sons. I am a lucky guy.
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