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What experience taught me about how to be a great Realtor

Ever since I was a child I dreamed of having my own home. Maybe it's because I lived in 7 different places before I turned 11. But I digress. I decided that instead of going to an expensive university in Orange County, that I would stay home, attend UNLV, and get a space of my own. I worked and saved, to match the amount in my college fund, and when I was 19, I bought my first property. It was a 1,500 square foot condo that was the top two floors of a three-story four-plex, as in, I had an upstairs in my upstairs unit. I had it made.


In the years that followed the condo, I purchased a brand new home, a foreclosure, and a short sale. But I may have never owned the last two homes if it wasn’t for my own determination and grit.


It was 2008. We had seen a foreclosure prior to it hitting the market. When it was finally listed, we put in an offer above the asking price and told the bank we would pay $1,000 over any other offer.


I checked the listing daily while we waited to hear back, when suddenly one day I saw that it turned to “pending” status. I called my realtor who hadn’t heard back, but would later find out that the bank accepted another offer. But that was MY house! We resigned to find another home, but my gut kept nudging me to put up a fight for the foreclosure.


Through emails and phone calls, I climbed the ladder of Bank of America and made it to a corporate VP, politely demanding to know why our offer wasn’t accepted. As it turned out, the listing agent never presented our offer to the bank. In a surprising turn of events, the bank rescinded the accepted offer with the other buyer and asked all parties to submit their highest and best. We submitted ours and waited another week to find that the bank had accepted our offer - and that the other party never even submitted another offer. It was proof something shady was going on between the listing agent and the buyer.


We lived in that house for 8 years and completely changed every single room. The original owner had painted the downstairs with gritty, rust colored paint to look like suede, and had drenched one of the bedrooms upstairs in blood red and black paint.


Fast forward to 2016. I found a one-story home that was listed as a short sale. It had been on the market for almost five months, and the renters living there were doing a great job dissuading buyers with their hoarding of books and crafts.


My agent, Toni, who had also helped me buy the previous house, submitted my offer and we waited. The expiration date of the offer came and went. No response. What the hell? No counter offer, no rejection, and spotty response from the listing agent. She and I joked that we were cursed with bad listing agents, and I don't think we were wrong!

A public records search led me to learn more about the owner of the property, and eventually I found her email. So I wrote her a letter. I introduced myself and shared some of the things I believed she and I had in common. I told her that I would take care of the home and that I felt a strong impression that I was meant to live there. A few days went by as I pestered Toni, yes, I am THAT client - to confirm with her agent if she had received my email. Not long after, the listing agent requested we submit a new offer. It was accepted by the seller and then accepted by the bank four months later.


What I learned in these two transactions alone far outweigh any training I could have received in becoming a real estate agent. I learned that the combination of assertiveness and persistence are two traits that an agent must possess to be successful, and that the recipe doesn't work if you have one without the other.


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