Real Estate Agent with Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate 303829;0225082372


A TESTIMONIAL FOR KATERINA and NESTOR GASSET of International Properties and Investments, Inc. in Wellington, Florida. 

The first time I read in one of Katerina's posts wherein she stated that she and Nestor have a 100% successful track record closing their short sale listings, all I could say was WOW!  To say that I was impressed would be an understatement.  I know how difficult short sales can be for sellers, buyers, listing agents and buyers agents.  I also know that, when compared with the complexity and degree of difficulty involved in listing short sales, a Buyers Broker's job is far easier. 

Our job, as a Buyers Broker, may be complicated with new and different procedures for each listing, each approving lender(s), each property, etc.  However, it's a piece of cake when compared with the complexity of the listing side of short sale transactions. 

GO WITH EXPERIENCE!  I am a firm believer in the value of experience, particularly for financial advice, products or services. 

If a home buyer is in need of short sale real estate brokerage services, they should be seeking the services of a broker with successful short sale experience. 

If a real estate agent or broker is in need of referring a home owner/seller in need of short sale services, it makes sense to make the referral to an experienced broker with successful short sale experience

Last October 2008, I received a request for information about short sales.  However, the property happened to be in Florida.  So, I did what I always do when in need of help with any real estate matter in Florida, I contacted Bryant Tutas  of Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.  I refer all matters involving Florida real estate to Bryant Tutas.  If it's a buyer, Bryant will either help the buyer himself or, if the buyer is not in his area or for some reason he can't help the buyer himself, Bryant will contact an agent who can. 

When I contacted Bryant about the short sale prospect, he immediately contacted Katerina Gasset who is in the geographical area of the property.  Katerina took over, listed the property, worked through a myriad of problems and finally, last week closed the sale. 

I LOVE FEEDBACK.  I got better and more frequent feedback from Bryant and Katerina about a referral about 1000 miles away than I often get from agents 10 miles away.  I love feedback.  Bryant kept me posted and Katerina would call when things looked like they might not work out. 


  • Ball 1.  The property was listed for about $270,000.  No problem getting a contract with the seller.  The bank turned it down.
  • Ball 2.  Cash buyer made offer of $235,000.  Bank countered to $260,000.  Buyer walked.   


  • Strike 1.  Tenant refused lockbox, access and made it generally difficult to show. 
  • Strike 2.  Owner tried to cancel listing and wouldn't communicate with broker.


The property went under contract in July and the tenant moved out in August.  It appeared from the feedback that Katerina got tough with the owner who got tough with the tenant. 

Over the period of the past 11 months, when the property would go under contract, Katerina or Bryant would call me with an update.  Of course, they also called when a contract would fall apart.

The property finally closed for $235,000, the same price the bank rejected months ago. 

I WROTE THIS RE REFERRAL OFF ABOUT 5 MONTHS AGO.  I underestimated the tenacity of Katerina and Nester.  They are a powerful, experienced, hard working team who know short sale processes as well as anyone in their market.  Of course Bryant Tutas is in the same league which is why this referral had a successful outcome.

LAST WEEK, I got e-mail from Bryant that the property closed and the check was on the way. 

THE MESSAGE IS, when making buyer or seller referrals, go with experience and folks who will keep you in the loop.  You just might be getting a referral check in the mail. 





Map State of Florida 

Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988. 

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Comments (62)

Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Love hearing success stories. Also love hearing good feedback about other agents. Also love knowing that whenever one is in need, someone from Active Rain can help. What a fantastic network we have.

Thanks for sharing.

Sep 08, 2009 05:37 PM
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices


Wow, that's quite a story. Usually when there is a problem with the Seller, it is end of story. I just lost a deal (working with a buyer) when the Seller stopped communicating with the listing agent. Had 2 deals with the same Listing agent, and both failed.

Great story

Sep 08, 2009 05:42 PM
Jim Hale
Eugene Oregon's Best Home Search Website


The success in Florida is not surprising.

Your super post....not just collecting your referral dollars quietly...shows you are the class act, too.

Sep 08, 2009 09:55 PM
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904

LENN- I just love happy endings!  Great Job by Katerina and Nestor!  BB  -isn't it great when they make it to the finish line?  A win/win for everyone!

Sep 08, 2009 10:39 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Esko.  Indeed.  I can usually find a good referral agent on ActiveRain.  Usually, not always.  No doubt there are some good members who have not blogged or commented very much and I just don't know them.  Mmmmmm.

Wendy,  Yes, tenacity, skill and professionalism.

Patty.  Agreed.  Experience is the key for me.

Kent.  I don't understand the question. 

Frank and Jodi.  It was a tough one and for that we need tough agents.

David.  What's the old saying?  If you want something done, go to the busy person.

Donna.  Thanks.  The credit goes to all.

Lou.  Thanks.  Same to you.

Lynn.  I've figured out how and why they are so successful.  I plan to write about that shortly.

Michelle.  The Florida story is a sad one.  This one has a happy ending for the agents and buyer and their lender.  However it's another statistic for the sad state of Florida real estate.

Carla.  Feedback is important if folks want to keep referrals coming.

Sharon.  Thanks.  I appreciate the thought.

Damon.  You bet.  These folks in Florida are sterling.

James.  Thanks. 

Bryan.  My pleasure.

Chris.  You bet.  I believe that successful transactions beget more successful transaction.  These things don't happen by accident.

Christine.  No surprise indeed.  Experience counts.

Jeff.  I don't make referrals to agents whose experience I can't vet.  Of course, if it's an ActiveRain member and I've been reading their blog, I know quality when I read it.

Pacita.  Indeed.  The best of the best are right here at our fingertips.



Jon.  Name a problem and this transaction had it.  Perhaps you need a new listing referral.

Jim.  How sweet.  Thanks.

Allison.  Indeed.  I recall a successful referral when you were the agent too. 


Sep 08, 2009 10:59 PM
Bill Gassett
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Hopkinton, MA
Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate

It is always beautiful when you are able to find a trusted pro. It can make all the difference in the world!

Sep 08, 2009 11:53 PM
Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ
Weichert - Lopatcong, NJ


This is Win-Win to the nth power! Three great agents working in sync, happy sellers, happy bank, happy buyers.

Sep 09, 2009 12:35 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

It's great to feature people with a tenacity that is so Yogi Berra like, "it aint over til it's over". We have a 95% success rate. Why not 100%. A warning. bankruptcy attorneys know next to nothing about the difference between that and a foreclosure. We had one ready to close in a week until the owner said that her attorney had her file Chapter 7 and thank for your four months hard work, As we say in Oklahoma, "that was a horse that can't be rode"

Sep 09, 2009 01:31 AM
Kent Anderson
Coldwell Banker Resort Realty, Sandpoint, Idaho - Sandpoint, ID
from Schweitzer to the Lake

Lenn - I just was wondering, wouldn't you and Bryant be in Katerina and Nestor's referral stream?  

Sep 09, 2009 02:33 AM
Dan Quinn
The Eric Steart Group of Long & Foster Real Estate - Silver Spring, MD
Dan Quinn

Great story, I love happy endings!

Short sales are tough - no doubt - and clearly when referring these leads you must have experienced agents to handle them or they will fall apart.

Sep 09, 2009 04:50 AM
David Krushinsky
Dk Home Loans, LLC - Peoria, AZ
AZ MB-0949619 MLO NMLS #202115

That's great that you took the time to put together this testimonial.  I don't know Bryant or Nestor personally but I read their blogs all the time and feel like I know them.  I can tell they know what they're doing when it comes to most, if not all, facets of real estate.  Likewise, your experience shows through from the articles I read as well.  They should be very proud the hard work they did to for this testimonial.

Sep 09, 2009 07:00 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Bill.  Indeed.  ActiveRain is THE resource for trusted pros.

Irene.  Yes.  It's great when a plan comes together.

Joe.  You bring up a very important.  Attorneys are fine.  I love mine.  But, when it comes to real estate brokerage, an experienced real estate broker is the best place to start.

Kent.  No idea.  For one thing, few are coming to my area.  However, many are going to Florida.  I don't really look for referrals.  I make them.  I rarely take them.

Dan.  I make a lot of referrals and I start with "experienced needed".

David.  Goodness.  When a short sale closes after 11 month, a testimonial is in order.



Sep 09, 2009 10:10 AM
Sherry Siegel, Managing Broker, EcoBroker, ABR
BrokersGroup, serving Sequim and Port Angeles - Sequim, WA

Lenn, being on AR is like "found money." The stories and testimonials are inspiring. And the tutorials stagger the mind. Every time I consider paying BIG money to attend a national conference, or even a State conference, I think about whether I can get the same information here on AR. Most times I can. If my potential buyers from Florida are serious about getting their property sold, I definitely know who to call.

Sep 09, 2009 11:02 AM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Sherry.  After 11 months of hard work, this fee will definately be "found money".


Sep 09, 2009 11:30 AM
Katerina Gasset
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Wellington, FL
Get It Done For Me Virtual Services

Lenn- After we spoke on the phone and right before you wrote this post- I fell to a high fever, sore throat and ear ache like you would not believe! By the time I got home from a dr appt ( that had nothing to do with the fever) I dropped into bed and slept until today! Today I had to do my SEO webinar so I was not on AR until now.

Thank you so much for this wonderful testimonial and we are certainly going to use it for our prospects:)

Bryant was great- even when it was finally over- he even said- are you sure there is enough money there after all your time and work to pay me a referral fee. Nestor is a man of his word and when he agreed to the referral it does not matter if we lose money or not, it matters that Bryant gets his check.

And I must say that Bryant and I could not have done this deal without Nestor's help and with Milet's help. Milet went above and beyond what one could ever expect with a tenant from haides and Nestor's communication skills with the negotiators are above high quality- no bias intended!

I will tell everyone here that this one was a lot harder and tougher than a post could ever explain! Lenn's post could have been pages long but she was able to take all that and break it down to some simple points. Katerina

Sep 09, 2009 12:27 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Katerina.  Thanks.  We all know that you and Nester run a very professional shop. 

We also know that you work very hard and know your business.  The real key to success for the consumers. 

Sep 09, 2009 09:37 PM
Jim Frimmer
HomeSmart Realty West - San Diego, CA
Realtor & CDPE, Mission Valley specialist

I always read about you and experience, so I'm wondering how your agents get their experience? Working for someone else and then you hire them away? That's one way to do it, I guess.

I think it's just as important that one know where to go to get the answers one needs. I've met many an experienced agent who doesn't have a clue. I suspect it's because he has so much experience that he figures there's no need to keep up with changes.

Under your experience mantra, there is no need for any broker to hire new agents without any experience. Where would that leave the industry once the old fogies die off?

Sep 16, 2009 08:07 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Jim Frimmer.  You assume a lot and are wrong on all counts. 

Experience comes from transactions.  You appear to equate a completed real estate transaction as similar to something as simple minded as ringing up a book sale. 

New agents learn the same way, one transaction at a time, with the institutional knowledge and experience of a their broker. 

Folks who have no respect for experience will simply fail to learn from their own or others. 

When we bring on an agent from another company, they have to be retrained before they have the understanding and benefit of our experience. 

Old fogies who die off will be replace with other successful experienced old fogies. 

I've been in this business for a very long time and I know enough to know that I learn something with every single transaction and the transactions of the agents and brokers in my network.  The value of experience cannot be denigrated except by those who think that selling a house is like ringing up a cash register. 



Sep 17, 2009 12:03 AM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

Lenders continue to change Short Sale requirements, processes and timelines it seems like weekly if not more frequently!

Jul 27, 2010 01:49 PM
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

Tony.  Indeed.  It almost appears that they don't really want the sale to close.  Mmmmmmmmmmm.

Jul 27, 2010 10:25 PM

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