Do It for Love, It Doesn't Always Have to be About Money

Real Estate Agent with Florida Supreme Realty SL514814

It was in the Spring of '83 when I first met William. Our office was in a location which attracted a lot of walk-ins and even though associates were scheduled for "floor times" if they wanted them there were always that handful of agents who could never make their appointed times. I intentionally avoided being scheduled but would take floor when others did not show up if I had the time. I could work just as well at that desk, located steps from the front door, as I could from my desk upstairs.

We were one of a 17 office realty corporation having about 600 agents at the time. Everyone there knew what our ultimate goals were and it was preached throughout the company via its principals and managing brokers. I can't think of another brokerage and agents that cooperated so, so swimmingly. This was my first venture outside the family business.

William came through the door and approached somewhat sheepishly. He said he had been to 5 other offices asking if anyone could help him. He was losing his apartment and was fed up with renting. He decided he wanted to buy something! With virtually no cash and minimal income, every office he  went into he kept hearing "I can't help you" and was really shaken at this point. I offered him some coffee and he sat on one of the love seats to gather his thoughts. 

Mortgage rates were hovering around 13% then but money was available in spite of that. I knew I could get him qualified for a small home maybe a twin. The problem was his cash or lack thereof. Where are you gonna turn? Why FHA of course, I never understood the negative stigma these loans had and they were actually much better then than they are now. We talked for about an hour and I showed him what he might be able to afford if he had about $3,500 to spare. He didn't, but at least I didn't send him on his way like the others. He appreciated that.

Then the subject of hobbies came up. His passion was model trains, specifically Lionel. The bulk of his collection was attributed to his Grandfather having the wherewithal to regularly purchase his trains from a relatively young age and continue that regiment throughout his life. How he knew that someday Lionel trains would reach six figure values is beyond me. His son, William's Dad, also had a penchant to do the same and subsequently those genes must have passed to William whose hobby along with that history was now quite impressive.  Then the touchy subject of parting with his prized possessions came up. At first it was a no go although he called me back a few days later and he said let's see what we could do. I already had two other collectors lined up to see what he had and a hobby shop owner that also wanted a piece of the collection. Fortunately, the need to dig deep into his most sentimental pieces was not necessary. I'm not sure he really knew what their value was until the offers were doled out. In all honesty it surprised the hell out of me also.

We looked at three homes and the fourth was a stone single with a great basememt that had plenty of natural light peering through. He didn't need to look any further. His only concern was where his remaining tracks and trains were going to call home. The layout was already visualizeded and our initial offer was accepted . William was ecstatic since he was able to keep the bulk of his family treasure and now had a place to call his forever home.

I moved to Florida in 1986 and had only returned North a few times in the interim but in 2006 I went up and stayed for a few days and for kicks went to see William's home again. He wasn't there however his daughter, whom I had never met, was and after offering her some background information she let me in to see his sprawling tracks and miniaturized countryside. If there were no clues to its scale and Wawa was added to the buildings you might think you were Gulliver. It was & is magnificent, exactly as he explained they would be some 20 years earlier. I left my card with her and said my goodbyes. A couple of days later I got a call and a tearful William thanked me profusely again and again for changing his life. As you can now guess he had started his famly in that first home and was now married with two fabulous children. He could not have been happier. Give them a few more years and I'll probably be selling him and the wife their a Winter home here. I don't think he'll need to sell any of his Lionel collection but if he did it's value today would most likely secure his not needing a mortgage. Such a generous man who although somewhat frugal has the riches of Soloman in family. Wonderful to see and know!

I still have clients that I've sold homes to and their children and their children's children. Hoping that I can capture that 4th generation also. When you hear that this is a people business that's true but it's also much more than that. It's a life changing business the longer you're in it, both for your life and that of your customers! All aboard!


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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Kathy Streib 02/12/2019 06:28 PM
Just for Fun
floor time
1st time buyer
fha mortgages
anything is possible
all aboard
predicting value
generations of clients
choo choo

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Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I had a feeling that you were that kind of a guy...and I really enjoyed the story as well as the fact that you went back to visit the family...When we lived in Napa there was a lender that had the same type of family lending you spoke off.  Well done.  A

Feb 11, 2019 02:14 PM #1
Candice A. Donofrio
Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker - Fort Mohave, AZ
928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text

What an awesome story! Twice blessed.😇

Feb 11, 2019 02:22 PM #2
Brian England
Arizona Focus Realty - Gilbert, AZ
MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ

Where there is a will, there is a way and I am glad you helped him purchase a home that he loved!

Feb 12, 2019 05:59 AM #3
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Kevin- I love that you took the time to see what you could do to help William!  (although I'm not surprised!!!)  What a beautiful story and who knew how valuable those trains would be!!!

Feb 12, 2019 06:26 PM #4
James Dray
Fathom Realty AR LLC - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Kevin.

What a great story, I found this due toa re-blog from Kathy Streib.  Carol Williams here you go, this is great

Feb 13, 2019 01:27 AM #5
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

What an amazing story. It sounds like it was a great thing for both of you that he wandered into your office that day. 

Feb 13, 2019 03:26 AM #6
Ginny Gorman
RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate - North Kingstown, RI
Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond

Kevin J. May what a fabulous story of help & connections.  Love this story that you contributed so well to!

Feb 13, 2019 03:47 AM #7
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Hi Kevin,
Great story.  You never know what people can do until you dig a little deeper.  You had the patience and kindness to do that and found a way.  I think it's awesome that Williams ancestors unknowingly helped him buy a home. 

Feb 13, 2019 06:53 AM #8
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Kevin J. May you took the time to make things happen and this client was so fortunate to have walked into your office that day.  Well done and thank you for sharing all three of your wonderful love stories for our contest!

Feb 13, 2019 07:11 AM #9
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Oh my goodness, what a heartwarming story, Kevin! I love the way you operate - it's NOT about the money and you actually listened to his needs, acted and guided accordingly and WOW, what a wonderful ending. 

I love that you went back and that he followed up with another 'thank you' call - you made his dreams come true. 

Thank you so much for sharing this story.

Feb 16, 2019 09:51 PM #10
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Carol Williams - this is a fantastic post for your second-chance Saturday list (if it didn't make it already)!

Feb 16, 2019 09:52 PM #11
Hannah Williams
Re/Max Eastern inc. - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-953-8818

So glad  Carol Williams included this  Kevin J. May in SCS as I missed your wonderful story.  You are so right it is not always about the money. It is about helping people find a house they can call home, isn't it? That is just what you did. Love your post.

Mar 09, 2019 10:31 AM #12
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

I love this story and appreciate you sharing it with us. You most definitely made a difference in that man's life - and he touched yours, as well.

Mar 09, 2019 12:21 PM #13
John Henry
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

What a great story.  It helps to find out what makes clients tick and try to work with them.  Great way to get a mortgage and house for this train loving person!

I grew up with this stuff so it makes it more poignant!

Mar 13, 2019 09:48 AM #14
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Kevin J. May

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