I was recently asked what is the nicest gift a client has given you. I thought about that one for a moment or two. My reply follows.
This easily could be titled “Why I am a Realtor.”
Very early in my career, I was giving business cards to anyone that slowed down long enough to take one. Sales people at registers, waiters, waitresses, gas station attendants were all on the receiving end. One evening, I was standing outside a dressing room while my wife tried on a dress. The sales lady was standing there and I turned to her and asked “Are you or is anyone you know looking to buy or sell a home? If so, here is my card.” She told me that they were living in a 2 bedroom rental unit with their 5 children. They had fled Afghanistan with the clothes on their back and they were trying to make it in this country. Her husband had a job as an engineer with the local government water and sewer agency. She invited me to come to her home at 10 the following Sunday morning. Being eager and wanting to make a good impression I figured that showing up at 830 would dazzle them. They answered the door in pajamas. Rather than be upset, they welcomed me heartily. They made tea and cakes and we sat down and discussed how they could purchase a home.
They had not been pre-approved and I thought that my lender would be delighted to chat with them. I called the lender at about 9 or so. She was not as happy to hear from me as they were when I placed the call. I handed the phone to the husband and waited. After a few minutes, she told him that she would call back. We shared tea and cakes and waited.
She called back. I smiled while the voice in my ear said “John, what are you crazy. They have no credit. They have no credit score. They have nothing.” I cheerfully replied, “Well then, what can we do to fix that situation?” She outlined a plan for them. I left and decided that maybe it was too early for them to be looking and went about my business.
Eight months later I received a call, “Mr. John, I now have credit. Will you help me find a home in this country for my family?” He was approved. We went out that Saturday in the most frantic time of our recent sellers market. We looked at two well priced townhomes. He chose one. I wrote the offer for list price and included a home inspection. Those offers were dying before the ink was dry at that time.
It was accepted.
We went to closing. His wife turned to me and handed my a piece of candy before the settlement began. She explained in her country this was done for good luck. Throughout the settlement, they turned to me and asked “Is this o.k., before signing the “boiler plate” documents. When the last paper was signed and the sellers handed them the keys, they stood and smiled at one another. They then turned to me and took me in their arms with tears in their eyes. The husband softly said “When I came to this country, I promised my wife and children, one day we would have a home of our own. Today, because of you Mr. John, I have fulfilled that promise.”
Perception is reality. I cried and had the understanding of what it is that we do. That understanding and thanks for me just doing my job is the greatest gift I have ever received from a client. Others since then have probably been as grateful, but I will always remember that day.