Recently I sold a condo at 1931 W Diversey Pkwy, that closed for just under list price and sold in the first weekend with two offers. And while that’s great and all, this one was especially important to me because how it came to be was a roller coaster ride that can be traced back to a sale in 2013.
One of my first clients bought a place in 2013 in Lakeview and ended up staying there for 6 years before moving on from Chicago. I got the pleasure of selling that place when it came time as well as a referral for a new buyer. While that buyer was a ways off from buying, we found them a rental for the interim and then started looking to buy in 2020.
Now, normally I’m very patient with clients because I am fully aware how stressful and nervous they can get when buying or selling. It’s a big purchase or sale and I’m more than happy to make it as smooth a process as possible. However, this client proved to be the most challenging client I’ve had and it was quite the learning experience.
Without going into too much detail, we found an awesome place, negotiated the price way down, and were all set to close earlier this year. However, we had a bad appraisal that was $25k under the contract price. This shocked me because while a lower appraisal happens for me from time to time, this was incredibly low. Then I noticed the appraiser had tons of errors on the appraisal including using data from the wrong neighborhood, and comps that were over a mile away while ignoring two SOLID comps that were within a half mile on the same exact street! We disputed it, but they stuck to their original assessment. It was ludicrous.
I suggested a 2nd appraisal because the seller did not want to come down in price, and they shouldn’t have had to. It was well worth what we were under contract for. However, my buyer client thought it was a waste of time if a new appraisal still came in low-ish and the seller wasn’t budging. So it fell through. (That place came back on the market and had 4 offers the first weekend, ultimately selling for $5,000 more than we were under contract for).
We went back out looking for a new home and found one that was brand new to the market, and one I knew would go fast. I clearly articulated this to my client, but they still wanted to try and negotiate. Eventually we had a verbal agreement on terms a few days later, but then another offer came in and the seller changed their mind, asking for highest and best.
Now, in Illinois, verbal agreements regarding real estate are not binding. But no matter how I tried to explain this to my client, this person ultimately ended up firing me. Reason being that I did not put an offer deadline time on the offer to purchase for the seller (which has no bearing since the seller would just take another offer). However, it didn’t matter. My client was frustrated and took it out on me. Despite bending over backward, cleaning the first place myself with the other agent to get it pristine, and doing everything in my power to get them to the closing table, I was fired and left feeling confused and discouraged.
It was the first time a client has fired me and it took a week for me to get over it. However, this is where things turned around for me and gave me confidence again that I’m doing everything right. That ex-client’s first attorney loved how I operated, my work ethic, and noticed everything I did that she referred me to several people, including her brother, the owner of the condo on Diversey.
Originally listed with another broker, he had me come through to look at the place and give my professional opinion on what needed to be done to get the place sold as it had lingered for 3 months. Right away I knew the living room had to be staged. There was a large sectional in there which is great for living in the home, but makes it difficult to show the space. There also needed to be a price drop, which he knew. Using recent comps from the area and my experience, I gave a range we could list and sell at if we staged, as well as another range if we had it vacant or with the current furniture.
I was complemented on the way I presented the data, my expertise, and ultimately we did everything I was recommending and sold it the first weekend. I owe much of what I learned to my time on the Stephen+Ryan team, and this experience showcased that to me.
I felt all these years, the route I took, the ups and down, eventually came full circle. From one of my first clients, to the experience I had at S+R, to a challenging buyer, to being fired, and then being hired by someone who recognized the value I bring to the table, was very humbling and satisfying. I could’ve let that buyer bring me down, doubting my abilities, but sometimes there’s a twist to the story-line that makes it all worthwhile. This was one of those times and something I’ll always remember.