Somewhere before 5:50, there is a noise down the hall. Isaiah is stirring, and his twin brother Jeremiah is up with him. In two minutes, Andrew is awake. I roll over. My wife groans. By 6:03 I’m headed downstairs to grind coffee beans.
Three orders of oatmeal and some cereal for the oldest. The twins and I scarf down cooked oats, brown sugar and dried fruit. Isaiah likes the new Craisins injected with essence of Pomegranate. Jer insists on trying them with his Vanilla Soy Milk. It’s an early one, so I do a sprint shower and forget to shave my head. I’m out the door by 7:30 for a walk through in Powers.
I get a text at 7:55 from the sellers wondering if we’re meeting at the house or the title company. I choose not to text back while driving, call, and announce I’m five minutes away. This is a long road to a closing, and I hate it when I have to sell houses twice. In this case, I sold it three times, since the buyer is my own, buying sight-unseen from Afghanistan thanks to lots of videos and a flight out from his girlfriend and mother. I arrive and start gathering receipts and walk through for a visual inspection. It’s all still here, but the sellers aren’t moving out until Saturday. I give the seller directions on how to follow me to the title company and we leave.
Downtown, we’re 15 minutes early. It’s the only thing in this transaction that has been predictable, the sellers always early, and everyone and everything else moving in it’s own time and space. Mrs. Seller arrives at 9 sharp. This transaction was 16 years in the making. Mrs. Seller was in high school when she was in my wife’s Young Life club at Palmer High School. Amy was still at CC back then. We only figured out that coincidence on Facebook; my CPA was the source of the referral. We quickly sign everything and the closer tells us that she’s tracking the package with Fed Ex and it’s in town, and should be delivered by 10:30. The wire arrives. Now if only everything gets signed and notarized right. We had not just a mailout on a first-time buyer VA, but a power-of-attorney needing to sign the mailout. Talk about a lot of stickies and highlighters. Thank you, Patty. We depart, and Mrs. Seller is still obviously pensive. She should be. We sold the house the first time in eight days for $15,000 more dollars. Maybe that deal was a pipedream, because the lender’s underwriting was certainly suspect. How do you miss that the buyer divorced someone earlier in the year who foreclosed on his house? How do you leave that to the VA to figure out AFTER the sellers have moved out and there’s a final HUD? That deal died at 5:40 the night before a 9 a.m. closing. Mrs. Seller has just signed on the line in blue pen and is leaving another 9 a.m. closing. It takes faith and Fed Ex from here. I grab my day of previews and set up 21 appointments on the land line before heading out.
I leave for an hour long get to know you with the new Executive Director of COPPeR, Christina McGrath. It’s a great conversation. Christina wants to push the envelope on somethings, while staying true to a focused mission. She listens really well and asks great questions. COPPeR 2.0 is going to workout well. As we’re nearly done, the title company calls. I excuse myself to take the call. Everything came back fine. I call the sellers. They’re thrilled. Mrs. Seller swallows a yelp. She tells me that earlier that morning, her boss, who is out of Dallas, started the day by seeking her out to ask if it has closed. Her national company has people rooting for the deal to close in at least three states.
I walk back up Tejon to the title company and get my package and sign the seller side. They leave me with three different folders, one for buyer, one for seller, one for me, and four different checks including one for a painter who is going to do work after the closing at the buyer’s direction.
I head north for Flying Horse. The first house is an obscene bank-owned property that had $538,000 owed against it and foreclosed. The same person bought a half dozen of these homes and foreclosed everyone of them. This is now listed for $315,000. It’s nasty, and smelly, and needs carpet and paint and trim and 18 gallons of Windex, and probably the floors need to be re-done, and the grout is disgusting… but so? Average condition with a halfway decent lot and this could be $410,000 this summer. All the homes around it on this street are in the $500K’s, and my friend who lives behind is over $600K. Why is this still sitting here with piles of business cards announcing people who turned it down? Are they all afraid of stinky carpet?
I move on. Vanguard builds a nice home. There’s nothing spectacular about the other two. A couple specs on lousy lots are a no and I head towards Pine Creek. The first one is on a superb lot, but way overpriced. Another two are intriguing, but likely way too expensive. My buyer is finalizing their pre-approval today with Tim. Pending that outcome, I’m looking from $220,000 to $400,000 today, and while that should be an impossible comparison, certain requirements for value for this buyer are pretty obvious. It’s the fifth time we’ve worked together. I grad a sandwich at the Cordera Target and stupidly get a Starbucks in my dehydrated condition. I get some drinking fountain water but it’s not going to last. Getting back in my car, I notice that they’re a little weak on the carpet management at this location: the cart rack is actually blocking an entire lane of traffic as every red cart on the planet apparently is crammed into this one cart rack.
Cordera has no rhyme or reason. There are specs at great prices on more lousy lots, a couple of ranchers over $400K, and then one golden nugget on a really nice lot that’s in mint condition. I sold the same floorplan 18 months ago for a pretty fair amount more; and we were the new standard lowball in the neighborhood when they got it. This home is off $80,000 from original list price. Again, why is this here? 75 gallon recirc hot water heater, slab granite, great trim, great hardwoods, private lot, covered patio, great master, three car, under $350,000?
Wolf Ranch… weird. One house smells terribly. Another is like going into a $700K custom, except the basement isn’t finished? Who buys a two bedroom, three car rancher around here? I see a couple that are the right plan on lots that are small, but the plan is really good and take note. One more in Briargate, a great value under $300K, then off to Powers. One has sold during the day, three are on ridiculously small lots, all of Indigo Ranch is in play, and I drop off my sellers’ package at their house. I just catch the seller on his way out the door dressed in fatigues for an emergency meeting in Denver. Continuing south, one is in a sad little stretch of homes with 100% rock yards (at least they’re different colors to break up the monoscape), and then see one that has to be grossly over-built… but it’s not. Anywhere else in the city, and this home is $475,000, and it’s under $400K in here. Probably too much house, but an appealing location. Another stinky home and I’m done. I head for the office to send my report.
On my way, I stop by the old office. My closing included two for sale signs, including one from my old company that was stolen and was found by the sellers three miles away after I changed companies. I drop it off, say hi to Laurie, and get the privilege of an elevator ride with The Alan. High Five. Congrats. Pick up a check from my last closing there and head to the Outpost (the old office was The Mothership) where Gordon is blogging and Rachel is performing her role as puppet master. The oil guys are outside for their afternoon cigar break. They comment about my comings and goings with signs, and I nod, thinking later that I should start playing guess the stoagie with them based on their smoke cloud. There are cigarette breaks, then there are ‘gar breaks. A good ash takes a half hour for the love.
I get in, scan my closing package, scan my receipts, plug in my nearly dead phone, reschedule a listing appointment, and bang out a half dozen large emails about what I saw today and what I found that is also on the market. I was sent an initial email with 115 matched properties, and I have that down to 12 for Friday for the buyer who sold their home in 10 days in a crummy market because they did absolutely everything I told them to do, without compromise. I send a 7th email to my buyer in Ohio about the first property in Flying Horse. It’s a dream flip. Then I send an 8th showing all the sales on the street historically. Not one under $500K. Then I send rancher floorplans in this neighborhood for the last 13 months. Gordon is oggling the property. “Bro, it’s cool, it’s your find, it’s your buyer.” I like this place. I take out the trash and head for the door.
I get home and the kids are watching Jabba insult Luke with J-Man and Abba. Cherie brought lasagna over. The adults dine, Luke drops into the Sarlac Pit, the kids all cluster together, and then it’s time to go home. My buyer in Ohio has called. We get the kids chilled out, I call Ohio briefly, we read Frightful, they head to bed early, because dang it, they got up early! Amy gets ready for girl’s night, I reply to a couple dozen email feedback requests, kiss her good night, go back up and speak Australian with Andrew and pretend his Kitty is escaping from marine iguanas that “just want a taste, mate!” and for reasons only God knows, that calms him down and he’s immediately asleep. Amy leaves, I call Ohio again, we finalize the contract plan and I fire off an econtract. It’s 8:30. Time for the PJ workout. I’m tight and inflexible. It’s good. I get release. I drink a half gallon of water and smell like the bottom of a Starbucks trashcan. My phone is filled with new emails when I’m done, econtract signatures, buyer queries, where to send earnest monies, etc. I reply. I drink some more water.
Then an Odells. And tell you about the day. Spring is here.