Price should not determine the quality of real estate service.
I provide quality real estate services no matter the price of the property. These four projects exemplify this, three of them were listings, one was a purchase. The four properties were not only different in price but unlike each other in many other ways. Each had its own challenges, some of them I anticipated, others were unexpected.
Where is the land?
Real estate service: $40,000 purchase price
The hard part
When it comes to land, the real estate mantra “location, location, location” has a whole new meaning. The most difficult aspect of this transaction was determining the exact location. Surveyors were booked for several months out.
My client, already living on the peninsula, was determined to find out on her own. Walking the property it became clear that some features of the landscape restricted its usefulness. Since it still served the intended purpose, I negotiated a substantial price reduction.
The easy part
My client was formerly a real estate agent and able to assess the risk. We understood the process. Still, some people wonder why I would do business as far away as the Olympic Peninsula.
It’s because I love the beauty of the pacific northwest, and if I can combine a day’s outing with business why not? This wasn’t my first client for whom I found a piece of land around the Quilcene area. The first one was a German buyer eight years ago. His five acres has proven to be a good investment.
You did w h a t ?
Real estate service: $300,000 sold price
What made it hard
When it comes to condos, the letters HOA can strike fear in the minds of buyers, owners, and sellers. In this case, the concerns were justified. I was a few days away from listing this Bothell condo when I learned that my client had replaced the carpet with wood flooring.
They should have asked permission from the Home Owners Association. My stager and I found out indirectly from the downstairs neighbor who was quite vocal about it. Faced with the facts, I assumed the role of the mediator between the HOA and my client.
What made it easy
The only way to resolve the issue was to replace the wood flooring with wall to wall carpet. This cost my client money and delayed the listing by one month. Why does this fall under the easy part heading?
The homeowners association management company was very professional. They kept the peace with the downstairs neighbor. I knew my clients well because I had helped with the purchase of the condo eight years earlier. The same year, I also bought a home for their adult children. We shared history and trust.
How much over list?
Real estate service: $782,000 sold price
The hard part
It can be challenging when someone you have not met before trusts you with the sale of their largest asset. What made it easier is that I had been referred to this new client by the owners of the above Bothell condo. They were colleagues at work and shared a similar heritage.
My trusted stager and I met with the owners at the rental home in advance of the renovations. Together, we decided what needed to be done and prepared a schedule. Working as a team we met several times until the home was ready to list. As it concerned the selling price the client had a number in mind.
I was able to convince them that we would sell it for that price only if we listed it below. We received three offers with escalation clauses and the final sales price exceeded my clients expectations. The video below reflects their happiness.
The easy part
This Kirkland home was located in a desirable neighborhood of similar homes. It was easy to compare this home against the few others on the market. What set it apart was that it had two stories while many others were split-level homes. It also had a traditional floor plan with a family room and a living room.
Like the Bothell condo, the home was vacant. Given the pandemic, this made everything about preparing and selling it easier. The sellers had owned the home as a rental investment property for 12 years. They did everything that can be expected to make the home look its very best.
They also had many questions about selling a home and I was happy to spent whatever time it took to answer them. I know from experience to take nothing for granted when it comes to what people know, what they don’t know, and what they thought they knew.
You said this was in Bothell?
Real estate service: $2,100,000 sold price
The harder parts
In retrospect, the hardest part was to convince agents and buyers that a Bothell home was worth more than $2 million. Adding the original purchase price and the cost of renovation, the home was worth even the original listing price. However, that’s not how the market saw it.
The owners had renovated the home for themselves, and intended it to be the family estate for several decades. That was reflected in the top quality of all features and finishes. That was also reflected in the lodge-like style of the home with an exterior color that may not have been the first choice had the owner known that they would have to move so soon after the renovation was completed.
For some buyers in this price-range, the home’s front did not say “look at me, I’m wealthy.” I observed some people come into the cul-de-sac and without getting out of their car, drive away. They had no idea of what they were missing.
The easier parts
Everything is easier if you’ve known your client for 17 years and embark on the sixth transaction with them. After the Seattle Maple Leaf home, this was the second substantial remodel. The result was even more stunning and as it concerned the exterior, even more unconventional.
It was not difficult to market the qualities of the 6-bed, 5-bath Bothell home. There was the estate-like size of the lot and privacy with in-ground swimming pool. There was the additional structure with a complete apartment and a two-story garage large enough for a 16-foot boat and an RV. There was a home fitting the lifestyle of the work-from-home office world and the kind of amenities especially appreciated during a pandemic.
I had never more fun marketing a home. One theme was “bold and beautiful, not your average McMansion.” In the end, the agent who brought a client at noon, submitted an offer at 4 pm and we had an agreement before midnight.