- For me a home or a car needs just to meet some decent criteria
- Not all realtors are the same, just do your research and find the one that works on your behalf
Last year, after 9 years living in the A house (our first house in Canada) I realized that is impossible to find a different home based on my love requirements. He convinced me that the kids will both leave soon, the home is almost paid and it is impossible to find another one with the same price but different requirements. Therefore I started the renovation process: take the wood deck off and replacing it with stone one, eavestrough with gutter guards, new air conditioner, all the windows (with whatever device that I could clean them in and out), kitchen furniture, appliances and a great beautiful granite countertop! Next project was a new bathroom…but I was looking to enjoy my amazing granite, and the time well spent with my boy, which just returned home after 7 years of not living with us!
During September it’s still nice outside, so we loved going for a walk at least every night and we loved to play on our app… checking the price for the new listed house in our area. This is when on a Sunday night we saw a nice house just being listed. Checked the price, and when we came back asked the guy that was placing the sign when I can see the house. “Do you have a realtor?” was his first question. No. Actually why would I need one; I stopped looking for any home a while ago! Since the next day at 5PM he had another two appointments, he agreed to show me the house. I came straight from work, met with my older son and went to see the house. The owner, an old lady was at home. This is how I found out that the house was build by her and the husband and is my age. They emigrated from Germany as kids and her husband was a carpenter! The house, an amazing bungalow, impeccable maintained, with a shed with one level, a nice canopy for my husband’s boat and a big backyard on a cute, quiet street! My love came from work; eat and I took him for a walk! I showed him the house and asked him to see the inside of it the next day. He looked at me and said: no, call the agent and place an offer! I was thinking he was joking….but he did not! I called the agent, placed a really low offer (actually he felt offended, but since he offered to represent me –the mother was the one that listed the house), he told me he will call the women the next day in the morning.
Plan 1: Obviously we were with no bank approval, and didn’t have any hope that such an offer will be accepted, neither were we thinking that we will negotiate.
Remember, the house was on the market for 24 hours! The agent called me on a Tuesday morning and asked if I wanted good news on a Tuesday: I was shocked, but said: yes! “I called her and told that I have an offer but it is really low and she doesn’t have to accept the offer. She did not ask for how much, but said: if it is the women who came with her boy, she is the only one that will love my home like I did for all this years”. I started crying…what could I say…I have to say no, we were not in a position of buying a new one, we just put money on the renovation, and we did that home for us, not to sell it! I told him that I do not have the bank approval and it is so complicated now for us to buy a new home. He told me you have 7 days, it will be under a conditional offer and if it won’t work, it’s fine.
The Mansion Impossible game started! I have to put a deposit that was big. I took all the money my son saved for his apartment, transferred them in our account and took the deposit. I needed approval, and there would be no bank in the world that will approve us for two houses. I had to put the A house on the market, I need an agent to sell my home!
Plan 2: the bank will not approve us and therefore we couldn’t buy
During my renovation months, I learned you need to do your research and therefore I started my research on real estate life! Read blogs, news about the trend in the real estate market, compared prices with houses like A. For the next seven days, I was delivering everything my mortgage broker asked (bank was not an option) and spent nights until 2am in the morning reading about real estate. The time was ticking and on the Friday night at 8.45PM, just 15 minutes before the closing date the agent called me: can you put the final offer? ‘No, I am so sorry,’ was my answer. ‘My husband’s proof of employment did not come from Ottawa and the broker cannot process the papers. I wish her luck with a new buyer!’
10 minutes after, the agent called back: She asked if giving you another 7 days extension will help you to finalized the papers. I was still in my car, bawling that I lost such a beautiful home built on my birthday! “Thank you, we will try!”
I went back inside the home and told my hubby about the extension. On the next two days the bank approved us for $1.2M. When I saw the amount we got approved, I realized how easy it is to get bankrupt if you are not doing a basic math and feel that just because the bank approved you for such an amount, it doesn’t also mean you should buy a house for that approval amount! Banks win every time. All they care is to check if the house is worth the money, not if you are able to pay that amount!
Plan 3: let’s look for a real estate agent so home A will be sold fast.
During a span of four days, I rented a container, brought the container on the driveway, packed 75% from the home and put inside the container, sent the container to the warehouse for two months and delivered whenever the closing date was on the address of home B. Talking about the closing date, the woman was moving in a retirement home and therefore the date was really close. I asked her to move the date to November 14. The agent looked at me and asked: ‘it’s in the middle of the week?!’ I replied: ‘I could care less; it’s my wedding day, every year I must celebrate!’ I am sure he was thinking that I am “cucu” overall or maybe I am doing some magic since everything was working on my side. He asked, and the date was changed!
In less than a week, home A was ready to go on the market, but did I have an agent? NO! I have to say that the dynamic is totally different when you are coming from renting to owing and from owing to owing. Some of my friends told me to sell on ComFree, some told me to take the agent I bought the house with (he will give you the best commission, you gave him a lot of money for doing absolutely nothing!).
During my reading week in the life of a realtor… I read too many horror stories! I am telling you, I am not alone in this!
- The agents commission overall could go from 3- 6% (remember, in Canada as a seller you pay both agents) just 0.5% could make a big difference.
- If the buyer agent commission is too low, the buyer agent will not show the house.
- It’s important for your agent to list the house with different boards.
You wonder…is this true? How you can ask from 3 to double? In my area, there are 100 houses for sale and at least 1000 realtors registered. Can they afford to be so picky? O God, yes, they do! I am working full time, my life is packed and I was not in my best time to be able to sell the house on ComFree!
I first called the agent that just made a few days ago, in less than 24 hours without doing much, 18,000cad plus HST just on his part! I asked him what is his commission, taking in consideration that I gave him business by just tapping him on the shoulder. Such an attitude, he was a completely changed person, in less than a week, not interested to go down any percentage! And by the way, he was totally unprofessional, as he kept sending me emails and inquiring constantly during selling time. I was angry, but moved to the second one!
I was thinking, let ‘s give business to a Romanian! I have few realtors just on my Facebook contacts. No one close to 4%…and I got another type of attitude:
- If you had a house over a million, I might go with 3% (like- I am not wasting my time if I am not making at least 100.000cad/house
- I don’t talk commission over the phone, we will meet and I will show you what I will do for my commission
- Yes, we can talk about this but I will come and see you next week during morning, I am not driving during rush hours, I am not wasting my time on the HWY
This was already the fourth one! I was just tired and so frustrated! It was a beautiful Canadian fall day, while I was staying in my backyard and thinking, maybe I am in the wrong career!!! For the one that know me, I will not give up so easy! I said bye to the Romanian realtors and go for the Canadian that found the home A, ten years ago for us, exactly in the location we were looking under the price brackets we had.
It was Saturday around 7PM. He lived in Burlington, so in less than 30 minutes, he was at our home. He accepted the commission we offered and the papers got signed. In a few days, the house was on the market. A week after the house was put on the market and after the first open house, he had a hart attack and he was in hospital! I was devastated….each day for me was making an impact on the possibility to pay for the home B.
I started blaming myself :
- Why I pushed so much to buy the home
- What if I can’t sell the home
- How I can make the payments if the new mortgage will kicked in
I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t talk with my husband about this since I felt so guilty and on top of everything, my son had ZERO dollars in his account…without a job…without an apartment on his own. I felt horrible…and I realized that I have to change the realtor (my realtor was still in the hospital). I felt bad for him, but also felt bad for myself; I needed to sell my home.
I found HER or did SHE find me…karma just karma, believe it or not, is what brought Daniela Bordac to be connected with me. I told her the entire story and she jumped in to help me. Next morning, we got a new sign, with the face of a new realtor on my lawn! No too many questions asked!!!
I started not feeling well, but I never pay attention and I am not stuck in bed for any reason in general! I did not talk with anyone, especially with my in-house doctor about the fact that I can’t eat anything, no appétit and lost in four days, over 10 pounds. I called my family doctor. In 15 years I didn’t call her for almost anything, she asked me to go right away to a lab to do some test. She sent the requisition, I went, and before lunch I got a call…
- Where are you?
- At work?
- You are going now to a pharmacy and take the medication prescribed, you have 24 hours to kill the bacteria or you are dead.
In my career, I never missed a day from work or from school. Do not lie, I missed just one day from work, the Friday I delivered Andrei and on Monday I went back to school. I was still thinking that this is a joke on behalf of the doctor to scare me…and I messaged my husband …”if you were not aware, you married a difficult wife, but now it’s official I am C-dificile”…he called me, demanded me to go home and he took the first train home from Toronto. Yes, my doctor was so correct…I started taking the medication and over the 24 hours, I was in and out…talking with my husband what I want him to do if I will die! He told me plain and simple: in my entire career I never lost one patient I will not lose my wife! He was watching me minute by minute the entire night until morning, I wasn’t willing to go to the hospital as I read that in 88% of the situations, patient that are hospitalized died because the immune system is so low that it can’t fight anymore! But, I survived!!! I was out of work for a few days, and on a positive note, I lost over 25 pounds just in time for my big 50!
It was already November, I was already in the possession of my new home and with Daniela the one and only hope I have to help me selling the house. I was honest with her what I believed in doing, in terms of selling techniques, and what I thought was just real estate bulshit (excuse my language)! She was open with me as well, and we felt the connection from the first second! The first thought she told me: ‘Gabi, each house has a buyer!’ And she was so right! We worked as a team during all this time and this is why I appreciated the most from her. Whenever she wants me to do something, she has a way of telling me that I will never feel pushed or forced on doing, and she never argued if I said no. I told her that I do not believe in Open Houses! Who wants to see the house will come anytime! I told her, from my side, she doesn’t have to do it! Who doesn’t want to stay home Saturday or Sunday from 2-4PM, but she didn’t use the opportunity, she did it by the book, even on Sundays when she couldn’t come she sent someone else, another agent. I appreciated so much that she went above and beyond in doing everything she supposed to do in selling a house. She was available 24/7. She knew how sick I was and close to dying, so I felt so relived on having her as an agent. I trusted her as my sister and soon I realized that I was so emotionally invested in our first home in Canada that I couldn’t let her go!
You see, and agent, one that is working for you not for his commission is telling you things that you don’t want to accept because it’s your HOME and it’s like your KID, you don’t want to listen to what people say about your own child! The Christmas was coming and we decided that for this time we would take the house from the market and put it back few days after New Year! I did not have a contract with Daniela during that time and I could easily try someone else on January, as people started finding out about my problem, but I will never let her for another agent. It’s like cheating! If you are happy in a relation you are not cheating, correct?
The house was back on the market and visitations started pouring in. In average 3-4 per day…it was so crazy. In a crazy freezing rain day she was 60 km away from my city and she got a call from a family that wanted to see the house. The agent was from Toronto (and not interested to show them a house in such a horrible weather- talking about other types of agents) Next day, it was the open house but they told her they can’t come. She called me, and asked to leave since she is coming to show them the house. I told her that she doesn’t have to, it’s to dangerous on driving, they will understand, and if they want to see the house they will come next day during the open house or any day with the agent they have. She said: It’s not about them, its’ about you. What if they will put an offer and we will lose it? How do we know?’
She did the other agent’s job without having to just because she was here to make the impossible possible! This is what will make a difference!
Guess what, the next day, during the open house, the guy’s parents came to see the house as well without saying who they are. They just pretended they saw the sign for the open house. But they spent so much time that made Daniela wonder and she realized that the man look so similar with someone else. It was obviously his dad! Calmly, she looked at me, with a big smile on her face: ‘Yes, is not normal what they are doing, but I am here to sell the house not to make this difficult or impossible!’
And guess what…they did put an offer with all the conditions in the world, but Daniela navigated nicely and negotiated everything for us! Daniela is my real estate agent, now she is my friend and I am proud to say she is Romanian! You deserve more than a prize in customer service! You rock girl! THANK YOU!
Yes, it’s true that each house has a buyer! Yes, it’s true that it is complicated to detach emotionally from your belongings, but the agent needs to navigate with you and let you understand the reality, and allow you to detach! But it is not true that each realtor is the same! And unfortunately, as my story proves in at least six other instances, too many agents are not working on the client’s behalf! I am felling like that karma brought you in my life as chosen realtor agent! Lucky to have found you!