‘Tis the season to share holiday cheer — and a few real estate professionals were kind enough to share a few of their favorite holiday moments with Inman.
Debbie Biery, Expansion Ambassador for eXp, Bellingham, Washington: “My client’s kids invited me to their new home and presented me with drawings they made, cookies and hot cocoa — thanking me for finding them their new ‘playground.’ The pictures really got me — one had me holding hands with them — so sweet!”
Erinn Nobel, broker, eXp, Bellingham, Washington: “I represented first-time buyers that had been renting for many years. I connected with them at an open house; they disclosed that they were just ‘shopping and dreaming’ and could not afford to purchase a home. The wife was heavily pregnant, due with their first child just after Christmas.
“In brief: I walked them through the process; they were able to purchase the home for less than they were paying in rent and they moved in just in time for Christmas. Their first child was born in the home (planned home birth) right after Christmas.
“They invited me over to meet their ‘best gift ever’ the next day — a healthy baby boy!”
‘My idea of Christmas, whether old-fashioned or modern, is very simple: Loving others. Come to think of it, why do we have to wait for Christmas to do that?’ – Bob Hope
Dusty Baker, Realtor, Keller Williams, Santa Barbara, California: “Right now I have clients selling their condo to buy a new home. They have an adorable 7-year-old daughter, and it has been extremely heartwarming watching all parties come together to make sure they get moved into their new house in time to have a proper Christmas for her.
“Due to the contingent purchase, there are a lot of factors in play, but everyone is being very understanding and going out of their way to streamline the process so that this 7-year-old girl can have her Christmas at home and not be moving Christmas Eve.
“The seller is even allowing the home to be fumigated and worked on prior to close of escrow (which is extremely rare) to allow for more days inside the house before Christmas.
“It is a reminder that we, as agents, aren’t just completing business transactions. We are facilitating life experiences and memories — for both our clients and their kids.”
Michelle Korosy, Realtor associate, ERA Justin Realty, Rutherford, New Jersey: “I honestly feel that I’ve had a year of heartwarming real estate moments, involving everyone from babies (six of them born to my clients!) to retirees.
“There is no better feeling for a real estate professional than standing on the porch of a house with a couple that has just become a family or grown their family, knowing that you have helped find their home.
“Another standout for me this year was helping a widow sell the home that she and her husband had shared for so long, and seeing her move into a beautiful ‘over 55’ community that had been a dream of theirs. Tear-jerking and bittersweet — but she knew it was what her husband would have wanted for her.”
Kristy Gonzalez, Realtor and broker-in-charge at ERA Evergreen Real Estate, Beaufort, South Carolina: “I always enjoy working with military families, and I’m especially amazed by military spouses.
“In one particular closing this year, the husband was deployed and his wife was in charge of taking care of two young children while managing the sale of their current home and the move to a new state. Talk about stress! She handled it with grace and efficiency.
“Military spouses are sometimes the forgotten-behind-the-scenes heroes that help to make their deployed spouses’ lives a little easier. I’m so thankful for what they do for our country, and we are extremely fortunate to be able to contribute to the safety of our country by helping things go a little more smoothly back at home.”
Anthony Askowitz, broker-owner, Re/Max Advance Realty, Miami: “I recently completed a grueling six-day climb of Mount Kilimanjaro, traveling across the globe and almost 20,000 feet above sea level. It was definitely one of the most intense and challenging adventures of my life, marking both a personal goal and a charitable one as well.
“At every stage of the ascent, and especially before the climb itself, I was reminded of issues we face in the world of real estate, and how much better we represent our customers when we clearly set our goals, train properly and practice good teamwork.
“I returned from Tanzania just in time for Thanksgiving and the busy 2016 holiday season, and am just now able to reflect on this unique adventure. I am reminded again of how blessed we all are to be in this business, despite the challenges we may face from time to time.”
Mara Gemond, real estate agent, Redfin, Arlington, Virginia: “I had a buyer client who was going through a divorce and needed to stay in a particular school district, which was very small, due to the terms of their divorce.
“We were under contract for one home, and the sellers refused to abate an asbestos issue, which was a health concern for my client and two young boys. The sellers then suddenly withdrew any offer to correct home inspection items and withdrew the home from the market, leaving my client back at square one.
“I was able to find them another lovingly-cared-for home, in the school district they needed, with wonderful sellers who bent over backwards to work with us throughout, even going above and beyond requested home inspection items.
“The second home was at a higher price point, which she could not have afforded had we not worked closely with the sellers to resolve the issues and keep the costs within her budget.”
Judy Richardson, real estate agent, Red Oak Realty, Oakland, California: “Late last November, I walked into Vanessa [Bergmark]’s office and showed her an email that I had received from a client.
“In essence, it was regarding a dog that was owned by my seller’s mother, who had recently passed away. They had found placement for two of her three other dogs within the family, but not Skipper.
“Skipper was an older dog and had not been well cared for. He had fleas, desperately needed a bath and there was something wrong with his ears. Family and friends had done their best to care for him, but the house was being sold and his temporary caregivers were moving elsewhere.
“So back to the email: The owner had subtly given me the address and name of a local vet and asked me to drop him off there to be euthanized. I was extremely upset, and Vanessa, in her typical fashion, told me that I should pick up the dog and bring it to my vet, and that she would take care of any bills, within reason.
“The next day I went to the house. Skipper was reluctant to come with me, but I was finally able to slip my collar on him with a leash and put him in my crate. Off we went to my vet, who took one look at him and started to list a number of procedures, starting with a flea bath and having his ears cleaned out — which I learned were infested with gnats.
“After I dropped him off, I set an email out to my entire office with pictures, asking if agents could spread the word — if anyone could take him. Andrea Gordon in my office, who had several animals, stepped up and she said she would foster Skipper until he could be placed in a permanent home.
“However, after a few days at the vet, we learned that Skipper did not like cats — and since she has three of them, this was not going to work out. The vet stepped in and said they would keep Skipper free of charge until he could be adopted.
“Andrea also had contacts at a local animal shelter, and they snapped a picture of Skipper and put him on their website.
“After about a week and thousands of inquiries, a couple from Marin reached out and said they would love to take Skipper. Andrea had generously offered to pay for his ongoing medical care since he was an older dog, and so Skipper went off to his new home.
“I periodically receive updates from the couple, who sent us all a picture of him sunning himself on their deck. He had a huge smile on his face.
“I know this story is not your ‘typical’ real estate story, but it demonstrates the type of office that Red Oak is, and how we were able to save a dog from needlessly being put down.
“As Vanessa stated, ‘we followed the same protocol as we would for preparing a listing for sale, and we were able to find Skipper a new home.'”
My favorite part about this year is that most people are usually a little more willing to come together for causes outside of their own interests to make things happen for others.
Real estate transactions are increasingly becoming more complicated and stressful for many parties involved, so take extra care to plan ahead during this busy season. Remember to embrace the happy, share the joy, and of course spread some holiday cheer!
It’s important to remember that although this time of year is special, it can add additional stress for clients.
If you have some additional holiday stories, please share them below! We would love to hear from you.
By day, Rachael Hite helps agents develop their business. By night, she’s tweeting for listingdepot.com.