With Terry Story, 29-year veteran Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams in Boca Raton, FL
Commonsense Housing Hunting No-Nos
Ever had an extraordinary experience as you were going about your work? Well, Terry Story did. Her tale starts with Terry driving a client (“Jane”) around, looking for a replacement property to buy after Terry got Jane an offer on her house that would give Jane about $200,000 in home equity proceeds after the sale was finalized. But before completing the sale, Terry wanted to make sure Jane had a suitable replacement house that she could move into after she sold her current home.
Don’t Indulge Your Whims All The Time
As Terry starts driving through Boca Raton neighborhoods, Jane— a huge animal lover—had Terry stop every time she saw someone walking a dog or some other pet and would go out, talk to the pet owner, and hug the animal to Terry’s astonishment and amusement. Indulging in your passions while your realtor is focused on finding a house for you, dear friends, is a strict no-no. But it doesn’t stop here with Jane.
Save Cold Calling For Later
Along the way, Jane happened to see a house she liked, which wasn’t for sale, was clearly way out of Jane’s budget, and not on their list of houses to see for the day. Nonetheless, Jane urged Terry stop the car and went knocking on the door of the house to see if they would consider selling. While people often cold call on houses they like, it isn’t something you should do when your realtor is driving you around, especially when that house is worth well more than your budget allows.
Don’t Cheat Your Way With Pets
Jane’s saga continues as she informs Terry that she would like a first-floor condo because she has a cat she loves very much (!) and would like a home where the cat can roam freely in and out of her house. In Jane’s price range, there weren’t any condos which allowed pets, but that doesn’t deter Jane, our free-spirited iconoclast. She tells Terry she’ll come up with an emotional support letter to allow the cat into the condo. That, however, still wouldn’t give license for the cat to run freely through the community.
Emotional Support Documents Aren’t Easy To Obtain
While Jane thought she could print out any old emotional support template off the Internet and present it to the condo association, Terry notes that condo associations aren’t so easily fooled. Legitimately getting such a document isn’t easy because it has to be issued by a psychologist or psychiatrist who can genuinely verify your need for an emotional support animal. In addition, condo associations want proof that your pets have all their vaccinations.
Don’t Go Looking For Homes Without Money For A Down Payment
When Terry finds a condo that Jane likes (in a no-pets community), Jane urges Terry to present an offer, which she does by calling up the agent and verbal negotiating the price. Then, to Terry’s utter surprise, she discovers two critical things: Jane had no document saying the cat is her emotional support animal, and she did not have money for the down payment since her $200,000 in home equity would only be realized after she sold her home.
Ethical Realtors Feel A Moral Obligation To Stick With Even Difficult Clients
All this leads Steve to wonder why Terry didn’t just ditch this client. Terry says she felt an obligation to Jane after she took her on as a seller. While she got Jane an offer on her house almost right away, she couldn’t sign that contract until she had secured another home for Jane.
Always Have A Plan B
Which leads to Terry’s recommendation to all home buyers and sellers—always have a Plan B. When you’re trying to sell your house and need the proceeds from the sale of your house to purchase something else, there’s a time lag involved. Make sure you’ve thought about where you’re going to temporarily live until you can move into a replacement home. Jane, not surprisingly, had no Plan B!
Always Have Cream If You Offer Coffee!
When Terry finally sorted things out and brought Jane into her office to write up the contracts, she offered Jane some coffee. Idiosyncratic Jane demanded cream with her coffee and was unwilling to settle for powder coffee creamer or black coffee, giving Terry quite an earful in the process. Lesson learned! Terry now has her own little refrigerator stocked with coffee cream.
Sometimes, You Just Have To Let Go
The saga continued. Jane’s lack of down payment money, her desire to deceive HOAs, and her various shenanigans pushed Terry to where she felt she could no longer represent Jane, so she finally ended her realtor relationship with the client. While Terry really wanted to help Jane, she realized that despite her 29-years of experience, this was one that she just had to let go.
Terry’s message here is that sometimes, even with years of experience, you just have to let go and move on.
Disclosure: The opinions expressed are those of the interviewee and not necessarily United Capital. Interviewee is not a representative of United Capital. Investing involves risk and investors should carefully consider their own investment objectives and never rely on any single chart, graph or marketing piece to make decisions. Content provided is intended for informational purposes only, is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities, and should not be considered tax, legal, investment advice. Please contact your tax, legal, financial professional with questions about your specific needs and circumstances. The information contained herein was obtained from sources believed to be reliable, however their accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. All data are driven from publicly available information and has not been independently verified by United Capital.
Steve Pomeranz: It’s time for Real Estate Roundup. This is the time every single week we get together with noted real estate agent Terry Story. Terry’s a 29-year veteran with Keller Williams located in Boca Raton, Florida. Welcome back to the show, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.
Steve Pomeranz: I want to talk about one of your experiences that was unusual to say the least. You were trying to do the right thing, trying to help a person out. Tell us what happened. Tell us the entire story.
Terry Story: Oh, gosh. Well, it’s too long to tell the whole entire story, but basically let’s just start off, we’re out looking at property. We’re selling her house, have an offer on it, and now we need a place for her to move. We start driving through neighborhoods. Now, this is a woman who loves animals more than people and all of a sudden she’s making me slam on the brakes, stop the car, because she sees somebody with a dog. She jumps out of the car, runs in front of my car to go talk to another person to pet their animal, and it was constant. It was the craziest thing. It was dangerous, insane. I’ve never had that happen to me before.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, so you’re driving along, you’re headed towards a property that you’re going to show her, and along the way she’s stopping to get out of the car and pet every pet she sees.
Terry Story: Absolutely, and it’s the God’s honest truth. Then to take it a step further, as we’re driving along, and we all have a certain price range, and you know when a house … whatever the number is, you know when one house is going to be a lot more than your budget. She decided she didn’t like what I was showing her, she liked something else that was along the way. Once again, forced me to stop the car, gets out of the car, starts knocking on stranger’s doors to see if they would consider selling their house. Now, okay, I’ve heard of people doing that, but you don’t do it with your realtor in the car, and-
Steve Pomeranz: No.
Terry Story: You certainly don’t do it when I’ve clearly made it obvious to her that that house is way out of her budget.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. What does she think, she thinks she’s going to befriend this person, and be able to negotiate on her own?
Terry Story: Not only befriend it, but she was going to be able to handle the negotiations. She told me not to worry about; she could take care of it herself.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay. Yeah.
Terry Story: All right.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s a non-starter, but okay, moving on.
Terry Story: Gosh, this story gets very complicated. Then comes the part where she has a cat, and she’s used to her cat being able to roam freely in and out of her house, so we’re looking for first floor condos. In her price range there are basically no condos that don’t allow pets, so now we’re going into communities that don’t allow pets. She claims she’ll come up with an emotional support letter, yet I have to find a first-floor unit so that she can allow her cat to freely run in and out of the unit.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: Okay.
Steve Pomeranz: Nobody wants that.
Terry Story: Nobody wants-
Steve Pomeranz: Nobody wants your cat-
Terry Story: Pets running freely. Even if I can get her in as a support animal, you’re not going to be able to let your animal run freely through a community.
Steve Pomeranz: Not, she doesn’t have a document saying it is an emotional support animal.
Terry Story: Right. Here’s lesson number … I don’t even know what lesson I’m up to.
Steve Pomeranz: Let’s say number three. Go ahead.
Terry Story: Three.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: She convinces me to present an offer to an agent. I don’t even have it in writing. I’m like, “What the heck. I have nothing to lose.” Call up the guy. I negotiate a whole thing. Now, I didn’t tell him yet about the cat, so when I go to tell him about the cat, meet with her, put everything in writing, I discover something else.
Steve Pomeranz: What’s that?
Terry Story: She has no money for a downpayment. None whatsoever.
Steve Pomeranz: How is she going to afford a house period? Where’s that money coming from?
Terry Story: Even though I now successfully verbally negotiated a contract, I failed to ask if she had downpayment money. Now, I assumed she had downpayment money because I was selling her home and there was over $200,000 of equity coming out of the house.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay, gotcha.
Terry Story: But she has no money right now to put down as a downpayment to purchase a place.
Steve Pomeranz: Oh, my gosh.
Terry Story: Plus, doesn’t have an emotional support letter. Again, you can’t apply to an association without that documentation, which means you have to go to a doctor to get a letter. Which brings up another subject, a lot of people think they can go on the internet, and print out a certificate that says that they need this pet as an emotional support. That’s not going to fly too well through these associations. They’re smarter than that. They want letters that are documented by a psychologist, psychiatrist. They want proof that the pets have all their vaccinations. There’s protocol. You just can’t randomly say, “Ah, this is my emotional support animal,” because really it’s your pet, even though you really need your animal. We all love animals, and they do offer emotional support, but there’s a fine line.
Steve Pomeranz: Well, look, I mean, first of all she doesn’t have any money. How is she going to do a transaction if she can’t put down a good faith deposit? She probably had, what, less than $500 in her bank account or something?
Terry Story: Yep.
Steve Pomeranz: I’ve got lesson number five. Ditch the client. Why are you still hanging on here?
Terry Story: Well, you know what? As a realtor, I feel we have an obligation to give back and I took her on as a seller. I had an offer on the table right away, but we couldn’t sign that contract until we knew where she would go. Here’s another very important issue. You have to have plan B. When you’re trying to sell your house, and you need the proceeds from the sale of your house to purchase something else, there’s a time lag there. It’s very possible that you have to have a plan B. Where are you going to go temporarily until you can move to the place that you’re trying to go?
Well, I did tell her upfront, “What’s your plan B?” She never had a plan B. I could never have been able to move her into where she wanted to go for multiple reasons. One, the cat. Two, no deposit money. Even though all of it would be …the purchase contingent on the sale of her property, that new seller does not want to go into a deal with that no money down. Lots of lessons learned in all of this.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, so that’s lesson number six. Lesson number seven is-
Terry Story: Seven, eight. Throw [crosstalk 00:06:10] –
Steve Pomeranz: Ditch the client.
Terry Story: Yes.
Steve Pomeranz: Then you invited her to your office to write the contracts.
Terry Story: Oh, yeah. Then I brought her over to the office to write up the contracts, and another lesson I learned, always have cream for coffee-
Steve Pomeranz: God, so what happened?
Terry Story: When you offer somebody coffee, make sure you have cream, and not that powder stuff.
Steve Pomeranz: No.
Terry Story: Because nobody likes that powder stuff.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s true.
Terry Story: I don’t know why they even make it.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah.
Terry Story: I had to steal cream from another agent in the office, and I’m being kind and polite about all of this. If I told you what was really said and went through, the yelling and screaming over the coffee.
Steve Pomeranz: Oh, my God.
Terry Story: Now I have my own little refrigerator and I keep cream-
Steve Pomeranz: You have your own cream, yeah.
Terry Story: So if anybody wants to come to my office for a cup of coffee and needs cream, I’ve got it.
Steve Pomeranz: Finally, what happened?
Terry Story: Finally, I ended up calling her and telling her I just can’t do this anymore.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah. Lesson number eight, to me, is what took you so long? I mean, I could see if you were a brand-new agent and you’re just so hungry.
Terry Story: I know. That’s what … This is the lesson in all this. 29-year veteran, and I put up with this, and I tried, I tried, I tried.
Steve Pomeranz: Yeah, you tried.
Terry Story: I didn’t give you all the details, but it is a hardship case, and I really-
Steve Pomeranz: Wanted to help her.
Terry Story: Wanted to help her out, but sometimes you just have to let go. You can’t help everyone.
Steve Pomeranz: That’s right.
Terry Story: Sometimes by letting her go and you fall to your absolute lowest level, you’ll figure it out.
Steve Pomeranz: Okay. Well, you’re a good person. My guest, as always, the good person, Terry Story.
Terry Story: We all have these.
Steve Pomeranz: 29-year veteran makes mistakes on occasion, but mostly out of the goodness of her heart. An agent with Keller Williams and you can find her at TerryStory.com. Don’t forget, to hear this again and to pass this along to your friends as a warning to them, or whatever, your emotional peacock that you try to bring into the airport, I saw that on Facebook. Anyway, you can find Terry at TerryStory.com and you can find this episode at Stevepomeranz.com. Thanks, Terry.
Terry Story: Thanks for having me, Steve.