A Customer Made Me Cry Today…

    by: Cindy Harringtion

    I’d like to share a story, take you on my journey, their journey… well, our collective journey.

    It began about 2 years ago when a friend asked me to help her husband and her find a home. One day while riding his Vulcan (one big-ass bike) down a long, dusty lime rock road, they came upon a For Rent sign in front of a 7 acre parcel, a red brick house and a two story barn larger than most homes. They got off his bike and were trying to get a better look at the place when a neighbor appears, a neighbor who just happens to have a key as he is the unofficial caretaker of his neighbor’s property, the unofficial “Mayor” as I call him to the long dusty but well maintained road in a small section of Heaven. They jumped at the chance to walk the property…through the house, the over-sized barn/ man cave, and then ….through a pasture and into the woods with each step slowly unwrapping the present hidden by the extensive expanse of trees, an unexpected and tranquil pond, a link to the vast and wonderful wildlife in the area. Suffice to say, they both fell in love that day with the lifestyle this property could afford – privacy, no HOA’s, no one to tell you what to do, just one big therapeutic and blissful exhale every time you drive up to the property….and sheer solace.

    She called so excited – “Harrington, we love this place, we want this place. Find out who owns it. We wanna buy it.” So I checked out the tax appraiser link like a dutiful Realtor and friend, though as a Realtor and my fellow Realtors can attest, we understand the difference between For Rent and For Sale. Turns out I actually know the owner….what a coincidence! But I could not convince her to sell at that time. She’d be taking a big loss, but thanks anyway. In the meantime, my friend seeks out some guidance from one of her friends on buying a house. No, she did not visit a loan officer, nor an accountant, no, no, not another Realtor (very funny, she’s got me!)…well, did I mention my friend/customer is a woo woo kind of person? As in spiritual, as in intuitive? She sought out a similar friend for guidance. Her friend told her she will buy a home with a creek associated with it. THAT home has a creek name associated with it but it was not for sale.

    Disappointed but on a mission to buy, we looked around and finally found a great pool home (oh, yeah, the OTHER house has a pool, too), they bought it and got a great deal. And, yes, the community name has a “creek” in it. Time passed. They liked their new home but they admitted to one another one evening while relaxing in the pool that the place just didn’t feel quite like home. It was nice enough, for sure, but it didn’t evoke the emotion they, especially she, experienced at the other property.

    Less than a year passes when the owner of the 7 acre homestead calls me on the phone and shares her frustration – her tenant who was to stay for 2 years was leaving after only a year – the owner lives out of state and what a hassle being a long distance landlord – the house is costing her a fortune – lawn cutting service, pool maintenance, taxes, and so on- and she was over it. Are your Buyers still interested in the house? Really? That was well over a YEAR AGO! Being dutiful once again, I would ask and let her know. So, I spoke to my “Buyers” who purchased a house less than year ago and they want to what? Without hesitation they said YES. They will do whatever it takes to buy that home. And so, it was ON. Despite the difficult real estate market, they were about to realize a nice profit allowing them to buy that place after all. We managed to overcome a huge price differential, then had to include a contingency to sell my “Buyers” current home, the home that was purchased less than a year ago, the house that, although had been given some needed attention still needed more. We needed to finesse this so we had a legitimate shot at selling their home yet get the other homeowner, the seller, the For Sale By Owner Seller, to agree. I committed to getting it under contract in 90 days, pretty much a nail-biter even for the most seasoned Realtor . Despite that I was able to get the seller to agree to a one month extension a week before the contingency and contract ended, we literally had an
    executed contract on the 90th day. Nothing short of amazing.

    What I haven’t shared with you up to this point is during this time my friend’s husband was having some health issues and was hospitalized for several days for his high blood pressure. There have been some challenges in this home buying process not unlike many other transactions – the reveal of issues on inspection, a second septic we didn’t know about, the threat of a huge HO insurance bill (was it or wasn’t it in a flood zone) etc, but I will spare you the details, not germane to this story.

    My friends and the Seller did a Pre-occupancy Agreement 30 days prior to closing. The general public does not know how much Realtors loathe Pre-occs but it made some sense here and I trusted the parties. The Pre-occ was not so much to move in early as it was to tidy up the new home, move their stuff over, then clean their current home for their Buyers.

    Yesterday, my friend was at the new house, cleaning windows, when The Mayor stops by to say Hi. He comments, for no reason at all, that he had just come back from seeing his doctor. Who cares, right? WRONG! SHE cares and says, is he the same Dr. So and So who is built like my husband? He says yeah, I see him for my high blood pressure. She says her husband also sees him for the same condition. Hmmm.. The Mayor then adds, “I also see him for Hemochromatosis.” What’s that, she asked? All she heard was “Well, it means I have excessive iron in my blood and blah blah blah , it can be fatal.” Hmm, she thought, her husband, an avid blood donor, had been told he could no longer donate blood because of high levels of iron.. She went online and was shocked to see her husband exhibited many of the symptoms of this dreaded disease. The average life span for individuals who suffer from this is 58. Holy S#!¥.

    She ,herself, had been feeling very ill and couldn’t distinguish her own pain from what possibly could be an intuitive pain coming from her husband. She knew one or the other had better seek medical attention and do so quickly. It was then that he admitted it was he who felt so poorly. For the very first time he confides in her that he thinks he has the onset of diabetes. She shares with him what she had learned, that this condition is extremely difficult to diagnose. It can be misdiagnosed for years, but here it was, just dropped in her lap by a friendly neighbor on a random day on a dusty road, cleaning windows outside a house she doesn’t even own yet, a house that was never really for sale.

    That emotional feeling she feels when she visits this property has now revealed itself and it just may have saved her husband’s, her best friend’s life. There was a greater reason this property had drawn them there, a greater purpose. All the other stuff can take a back seat.

    She called me today and told me how grateful she is that I have gone on this crazy journey with them. Neither of us believes in coincidences. She said to me, “Cindy, you don’t just sell houses; you affect people’s lives. People need to know that.”

    That’s when I cried.

    If you don’t think we are all connected, if you don’t believe there are paths presented to us, if you can’t acknowledge we meet each other for a reason, if you don’t see the lessons or the gifts out there as we wander along through life’s journey, you are just not looking.

    Be present, be open, bump into someone, and make someone cry.

    Cindy Harrington
    (352) 359-1434

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