Updated: Apr 5
I almost didn't go to the backyard BBQ where I was destined to meet Jenna and her partner. I felt I hadn't been productive enough that week to treat myself with some socializing. Instead, I thought, I should stay home, put my head down, and find more leads. Luckily, the social butterfly in me was easily convinced to play hard and hope things work themselves out (or however that saying goes).
A lovely evening connecting with old and new friends quickly turned into an opportunity when I met Jenna, a social worker who addresses sexual violence. From the start I was blown away by her bubbly sarcasm and quick-wit. She was so full of jokes and laughter that I didn't think she was serious when she said she was ready to buy a home after learning that I was a real estate broker.
Still, I shot my shot and asked her out on a hot date (AKA a buyer consultation). The following week we met at her Cheesman Park apartment and got to know each other more. I walked her through the steps of buying a home, answering and asking questions along the way. I learned that she'd been dreaming of a home with lots of original charm to start a family in! She was eager to get pre-qualified and dive deeper into the process, so I cranked up the hustle and got started on her search.
For 11 straight days we were up bright and early touring homes, often the first buyers to step foot into a new listing. We vacillated between the Baker and Clayton/Cole neighborhoods to find a home full a charm in her price point. We toured many beautiful tudors, bungalows, and Victorian style homes, all of them rich in unique features like mottled marble fireplaces, lofty, sun-drenched spaces, ornate details, and even a door to nowhere!
Yet, the most unique part of each home was Jenna and her partner, Toshi. They created a space of abundant laughter and curiosity in every house. I don't think I've ever laughed so much while on the clock and now I couldn't even tell you what was so funny! Watching the two of them interact in each new space as they discovered their wants and needs made me feel proud to be their real estate guide. It's a special experience to watch a first time home buyer fall in love with a home. Jenna was searching for a home that matched her quirky character and Toshi's support was both the comic relief and backbone of the journey.
In no time at all, Jenna fell in love with a 1892 Victorian home in the Baker neighborhood, complete with updated floors, two claw foot tubs, skylights in the main bedroom, a gorgeous back deck, and a garage with a workshop!
After connecting with the listing agent and discovering his seller's needs, I wrote a winning offer at only $5,000 over asking price, which is unbelievable in this high demand market. Just like that, we were under contract and working through the steps of the transaction. We weren't sure what would come up at inspection, but for a 130 year old home, there were very few notes that caused concern for Jenna. She felt safe going forward knowing that our in-house handyman would be available to help with most projects and we were able to negotiate $6,500 in seller concessions for bigger projects, like fixing the garage roof!
We worked with an incredible agent, Gregory Strompolos at Compass, and his seller to make the transaction as simple as possible. It really sweetens the deal when the agent on the other side is equally as committed to their craft and client. We worked together to ensure both of our clients felt comfortable and assured through the process. Gregory and his seller were so accommodating and responsive and it was a joy to meet them at the closing table!
Holding Jenna's hand through this process felt more like skipping through a field of wildflowers than guiding someone through the purchase of their first home. It was just so much fun! She has such a strong head on her shoulders and knew exactly what she was looking for in a home, I was simply there to offer support, answer questions, and negotiate my little heart out when the time came.
Jenna closed on her home in November and since then we've become full-fledged friends. That backyard BBQ led me to my biggest sale of the year and the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Jenna and Toshi both came to my 30th birthday party, I celebrated Hanukkah in their new home, and recently I've had the pleasure of joining them for dinner in their newly decorated space! I've even met Jenna's mom, so I guess you could say things are getting pretty serious (Hi Ruth!).
I love what I do. I am so fulfilled by helping others create "home". There were so many moments during this breezy transaction where I found myself in disbelief. I can't believe I've found the thing I love doing and that I've discovered what it feels like to be truly proud of myself and the people I have the honor of helping. Jenna, thank you for trusting me and thank you for your friendship. I hope it goes without saying that I can not wait for the next backyard BBQ.