The Youngest Homeowner - My Most Rewarding Transaction

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Solutions and RE/MAX House of Brokers NRDS #2000172379

www.ozarks-realestate.com10 years in this business has afforded me the opportunity to work with hundreds of people from all difference backgrounds, in all different price ranges.  Recently, I had the PRIVILEGE of working with the youngest buyer that I ever had, in one the lowest priced transaction I've ever worked, and in the end, it was one of the most precious experiences ever, professionally and personally.

I received an email in April through my website from a girl who wanted to see a $40,000 home in downtown Springfield, MO.  She didn't leave me a phone number, just an email address.  I looked up the home and thought, "What a piece of crap."  I am ashamed to admit that I actually considered ignoring the showing request.  This was during April when I was so busy working with the first-time homebuyer tax credit clients that I didn't have any spare time.  Did I really want to spend time going downtown in one of the worst areas in town for such a small sale when I was putting together so many larger, more attractive deals?

I finally emailed her back and agreed to show it to her.  I arrived at the home on the date and time agreed upon and met Allie.  Allie was very shy, very soft-spoken, and EXTREMELY YOUNG, only 18 years old!  Her parents were with her, but they just stood back in the background and watched over her.  It was clear they were letting her do this on her own, but they all were incredibly nervous, especially Allie.  I walked her into the home she asked to see, and as we rounded the corner and spotted the ceiling in the living room that had collapsed and dumped insulation all over the floor, and smelled the atrocious overwhelming stench of mold, you could almost visually see her heart sink.

I turned to her and said, "Were you wanting to put this much work into something?"  She shook her head.  I asked if she had spoken with a lender.  She said yes, and she rummaged through a stack of papers in her hand and nervously handed me a prequalification letter from a small-town bank located about three hours away.  The letter said she qualified for a conventional loan.

I looked at her and said, "I know we can find something better than this.  Did you drive all this way to see this house?"  She nodded.  Her mother finally stepped forward and handed me crude printouts of several other homes in Springfield, and asked, "Do you know how we can get into these today?"  None of the homes were priced above $50,000.

I thought for a moment.  Truth is, I had already sold 9 homes that month, and still had 3 more contracts to write, I didn't have time, and I was worn thin.  The idea of dropping everything I had planned that day and spending the day looking at homes in a price range I quite honestly had rarely even shown was not appealing to me at all!!!!  But this pretty little girl was staring at me with the biggest, most innocent eyes I've ever seen, looking so awkward and scared, and my heart just went out to her.  I said, "Follow me to my office."

I got in the car, and started calling every appointment I had scheduled that day and shuffled everything around.  We got to my office and I pulled several other possible properties for her, in better areas of town, and scheduled appointments.  It was going to be a long day.

As the day went on, Allie and her parents slowly warmed up to me and began talking a little more.  I learned that they were a decent, hardworking, close family that had raised their only daughter to work hard in hopes that she could make a better life for herself.  Allie had worked two jobs throughout her senior year to save enough money to put 20% down on her first home!  She obviously had worked hard and planned and prepared for this for a long time.  They had taught her old-school values when it came to her finances.  Allie had received a scholarship to Missouri State University in Springfield and would be starting college in the Fall. 

By the end of the day, we had written an offer on a home, and Allie and her parents left to go back home and await the news.  I called them the next day and gave them the good news, Allie's offer had been accepted, and she was under contract. Allie didn't react like a typical teenager, or even my adult clients for that matter. She just softly said, "Oh, okay, thank you."

www.ozarks-realestate.comThe day of closing, Allie and her parents came up for the final walkthrough.  As I opened the front door, Allie had the biggest smile I'd ever seen on her face.  As she stopped and turned to her parents in the living room, her mother broke into tears and grabbed and hugged her.  Her father's chest pumped out with pride.  And yes...of course....I started crying, too.  She wasn't MY daughter, but at that moment I was so incredibly PROUD of her!

Of all the transactions I've closed in the past 10 years, this one netted me the least amount of money, but the privilege of working with Allie and her parents, building a relationship with them, earning their trust, helping a beautiful young woman take her first step in achieving an honorable dream, and the feeling of incredible accomplishment was PRICELESS! 

Allie won't move in until closer to the beginning of the school year.  Her parents are too far away to check in on her regularly.  But they won't have to worry.  I plan to be there for her.  She has become MY inspiration and my role model.  She is one of those rare people that you come in contact with in life who is so easily overlooked and undervalued, but who leave the most profound impression on you.  Who would have thought? 

When I think about Allie, I think about that moment when we were standing in that first home and I was faced with the decision of working with her, or just walking away.  I still don't know what it was that compelled me to drop everything for her....but I'm so glad I did.  Otherwise, I would have been the one losing out in the end.



Re-Blogged 5 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lizette Fitzpatrick 06/05/2010 09:53 AM
  2. Michelle King 06/05/2010 02:09 PM
  3. Vic Steele 06/05/2010 03:40 PM
  4. Tom Ramsey 06/05/2010 08:28 PM
  5. Jodi Danziger 06/10/2010 07:47 AM
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Tom Ramsey
Century 21 Northland - Traverse City, MI

Lina, wow what a great story.  I'm glad you didn't pass it up and it was so rewarding for you.

thanks so much for sharing


Jun 05, 2010 05:16 PM #62
Ron T. Weems Jr.
Weems Property Group | KW Northwest - Marysville, WA


Great story! I wish more 18 year old kids had her discipline. Lina, I bet this will be a long lasting relationship. Good for you not blowing her off. Thanks for sharing.

Jun 05, 2010 05:51 PM #63
Allen Shipman
Shipman Partners - Austin, TX

I think most of us who have been in the business for any length of time have our own version of this story.  I know I do, but I couldn't convey it near as eloquently as you did.  Congrats on your rewarding success story and thanks for sharing.

Jun 05, 2010 06:21 PM #64
Donna Rattee
Coco, Early & Associates - Portsmouth, NH
Turning Dreams Into Reality

Great story...this young lady will go far in life and she will always remember buying her first home!

Jun 05, 2010 10:56 PM #65
Coral Gundlach
Compass - Arlington, VA
Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.

Wonderful story.  It also is heartwarming to see a story like this on Active Rain, rather than just stories about how to make more money or how we are not in the business to help people.  Some of us are.  Bravo!

Jun 05, 2010 11:46 PM #66
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD
Roy and Dolores Kelley Photographs

Thanks for sharing. Very nice story. Brings back memories of long ago transactions that were small but important to the purchasing families.

 Blooming for Maryland home buyers.

Jun 05, 2010 11:57 PM #67
Kim Brown
Keller Williams Realty - Keene, NH
Keene, NH - New England at its Best!

A moving and humbling story, beautifully and honestly told.  With tear-blurred eyes I say "this is what it's all about."

thank you, Lina.  :)



Jun 06, 2010 01:39 AM #68
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

This is a great story about hard work and personal discipline. When I read the title, I thought you might be selling to some child actor. This has a much better ending!

Jun 06, 2010 03:02 AM #69
Stephanie Reynolds
Integrity First Financial Group, Inc. - Santee, CA
East County San Diego Homes 619-838-4408

What a fantastic story! These are the times that make our jobs even more rewarding! I am glad you made the time, the reward was obviously much greater than monetary. Sounds like you both have made a friend for life!

Jun 06, 2010 03:53 AM #70
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Lina - What an inspirational and heart warming story.  I too have worked with many young buyer's, where I may have lost money taking them on as clients, but they were some of the most rewarding deals and those are the clients that are forever grateful.

Jun 06, 2010 04:03 AM #71
Mark Montross
Catamount Realty Group - Burlington, VT
Listing and Buyer Specialist

Lina, what a wonderful story. Thank you for opening your heart to this young girl and making such a profound difference in her life.  If you didn't help her, maybe no one else would have and she might have wound up disspirited and renting. You helped change her whole life!

Jun 06, 2010 04:27 AM #72
Lina Robertson
RE/MAX Solutions and RE/MAX House of Brokers - Springfield, MO
REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO

Thank you so much for all the great comments.  As luck would have it, I posted this, then immediately left town and came home to an overloaded inbox and a surprise feature!

Honestly, I do not take credit in this one.  Allie did this one all on her own.  I consider myself lucky that I'm the one she contacted, and that I had the opportunity to have this experience with her.

Jun 06, 2010 07:58 AM #73
Dimitri Matsis-REALTOR® (818) 599-6083
Troop Real Estate Inc. Westlake Village CA - West Hills, CA

Lina WOW!

As a music teacher I love working w/young students. It's extremely rewarding, especially when you help them concur big obstacles. Good for you on dropping everything in order to help this family out that day. The reward of helping, influencing and directing a young ambitious woman/man is absolutely as you well pointed out PRICELESS.

Not only for now, but you know, you’ll have a LOT of referrals for quite a few years to come given that she’s only 18.

What a great little story with big potential!

Jun 06, 2010 08:25 AM #74
Jennifer Grace
Elk Grove, CA
Jennifer Grace

We are in a people business. 

And people will inspire us.  When we least expect it.

Jun 06, 2010 09:55 AM #75
John Zappia
Maine Custom Realty - Portland, ME
Maine Custom Realty

That's why I enjoy the 1st time home buyers the most but I've never had such a young client...good for her!...and good for you!...great story.

Jun 06, 2010 01:08 PM #76
Alice Broadway
Parker & Rankin (Ms) & Azalea Realty (AL) - Mobile, AL
Real Estate Broker

Youe story made me almost cry. you are a great story teller, and you learned a lesson in life that many REALTORS will never have the chance to experience. I always feel compelled to help those less fortunate financially, and get a blessing each time I do.


Jun 06, 2010 01:25 PM #77
Barb Szabo, CRS
RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio - Cleveland, OH
E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes

I shudder to think what might have happened to her if you did not feel compelled to help her. I think God was guiding everyone. Congratulations on a job well done.

Jun 06, 2010 01:46 PM #78
Debbie Konter-Danville
FC Tucker - Avon, IN
Avon Indiana Agent

Good For you. It's not always about the money. Just closed one last week under $40,000 had been working with this couple since December. I'm sure she was very appreciative of your work for her. Thanks for sharing.

Jun 06, 2010 05:09 PM #79
Rita Fong
RE/MAX REAL ESTATE TODAY, Executive Broker 901-488-9590 - Marion, AR
Realtor - Marion Arkansas Homes for Sale

Lina, this just made me cry!  I did.  But crying for joy, for you and Allie.  I know you would do it no matter what, I can tell what kind of person you are from the very first blog I came across your way.  This is what makes our job so fulfilling sometimes.  Congratulations!! 

Jun 09, 2010 11:21 AM #80
Jodi Danziger
Re/Max State Line - Kansas City, MO

Amazing story Lina! Sounds like you have a new daughter :) Congrats to Allie on her purchase at such a young age!!

Jun 10, 2010 07:46 AM #81
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Lina Robertson

REALTOR® Serving Springfield, Nixa and Ozark, MO
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