A long, long time ago, when I was a senior at Los Gatos High School, I took an art class. On the first day I told the teacher that I expected to fail because I couldn’t draw. Mr. Downs laughed and assured me that I would do just fine. He was right. That year I learned that creative talent and the ability to draw were different things. Mr. Downs taught me not to limit myself with preconceived ideas about who I am and what I can and can’t do. Now, in my career as a real estate professional, I still apply that creative mindset when I sit down with my clients, help them plan for their future, prepare their homes for market, negotiate on their behalf, and overcome their concerns.
Last year, Mr. Downs (now known to me as Scott) and his wife Debbie contacted me to represent the sale of their home in Monte Sereno. Scott had recently retired and they wanted to move closer to their daughter, son-in-law and two grandchildren in the Morgan Hill area. But selling the family home was a difficult decision. Scott had grown up in the house, he and Debbie had lived there for over 30 years, and they had raised three children there. The home had been generously passed down from Scott’s mother and father and was a nest egg that would help shape their family’s future. This home was much more than just four walls and roof – it was a member of the family.
In listening to Scott and Debbie tell me about their lives and their goals, I heard that they too had some preconceived ideas about who they were, what they could and couldn’t do, and what they should and shouldn’t do! One of their chief concerns was that a Realtor would come in and tell them they had to spend endless money fixing up the house and staging it. I reassured them that it was their house – that they would decide what they wanted to do and how much they were comfortable spending. I also assured them that there were plenty of buyers looking for homes just like theirs and that they could sell it for a very good price without remodeling the home.
Together we came up with a manageable plan of action that fit their budget. A few short weeks later (and without spending their life savings) we had cleaned up the house, accentuated space, and highlighted desirable features of the home by moving (and removing) some furniture. In the kitchen we made some big improvements and we landscaped parts of their front and back yards. The house was ready to show.
Along the way we discussed how much their house was worth by carefully reviewing other homes that had sold in their neighborhood, discussing the features of nearby houses, and comparing them to their own. In this way I was able to show them the value of their house, break down exactly what it would cost to sell, and analyze how much money they would have to purchase the next house — and how much they would have left over. We also explored the potential benefits and drawbacks of taking a low-interest loan to purchase the next house and discussed the complexities of Proposition 60, the California law that allows homeowners older than 55 to transfer a property tax base from one home to another.It isn’t often that you get the chance to repay those who influenced you early in life. It was a lot of hard work, but it was also great fun to get to know Scott and Debbie and deeply gratifying to help them through an important life transition, just as Scott had done for me years ago.
What Scott and Debbie wrote on Yelp after we sold their house in Los Gatos and bought a house in Gilroy:
“Having Brian as our realtor was a huge blessing! Aside from his expertise in areas that we were novices, what we really appreciated the most was the way he constantly made himself available to us. We always knew where we were in the whole process of selling our home or purchasing a new one.”