The Best Deal!

by | Aug 31, 2021 | Housing, Lifestyle, Mindset, Real Estate

“The best deals are not about what you get, but what you give, what you learn and who you become in the process… and this is priceless.” 

Today was  an important day to me in my real estate career. Not because I made some deal happen that hasn’t happened before in real estate, or I made a crap ton of money or I closed on some amazing number of units of Multifamily. 

Today was important and momentous because I saved someone a home that they had worked hard for and almost lost. Today was momentous for me because I used my knowledge to help someone without worrying about what I got in return. And I got more from it than I anticipated. 

Let me tell you the whole story…

I was flying back to Austin from an out-of-town trip a few months ago when someone called me just as I landed. A male voice called and ask me “Who is this”? to which I responded “Who is THIS?”, you called me 🙂

This sparked off a conversation which was interesting and led me to this closing today.  

81-year old Richard called me more than 3 months ago asking me for help renting his home and said his wife found my name on some rental listing off Riverside (I was renting my own house around there). One thing led to another and I figured out that home was nowhere habitable at all as a rental and he didn’t have any money to fix it up. Also, I hardly use my real estate license beyond helping investors buy single family and smaller-MF properties. I’m mostly focused on syndications and insurance brokerage and happy doing it! I got my real estate license to help me lease and sell my own properties initially and now help friends and investors buy properties. So I told him I couldn’t rent it and blew him off.

Richard persisted that I should help him. He called back a week later asking for help. I told him he couldn’t rent the house in the current condition and he should consider selling it for land value. He said that was not possible because he didn’t own it!

What?! Why was he wasting my time if he didn’t own it – was the first thought that entered my head. I was so wrong about how things really were.

Richard’s son, Ray, a veteran had lived in the house for a few years, he had since been paralyzed and moved into a nursing home near San Antonio. He hadn’t paid taxes since 2016 owed $20K in back taxes on the home and it was going to be on the chopping block soon by the county. I was astounded by how someone could let a property worth 100s of thousands of $$$ just in land value go because they couldn’t afford to pay taxes,  but it happens all the time due to ignorance. To make matters worse Richard had transferred the deed to his son 10 years ago and he didn’t own the property and his son was in the nursing home and we couldn’t do much.  When I heard his story I was immediately drawn into it because I felt like I was in the right place at the right time to help him. What I didn’t realize was, he was there to help me too.

In ways I couldn’t foresee at the time.

Once I got wind that the property was going to tax auction in a few days, I got to work quickly and with a sense of urgency. First worked with Travis county to negotiate his tax payment and set him up for a payment plan hoping we’d find a buyer before the first payment was due. I helped Richard transfer the deed back to his name so we could list the property for sale just for the land value. I spent hours driving back and forth South Austin because Richard didn’t have a computer and couldn’t e-sign things I needed. We finally listed the property and got offers! Yay! Well not quite yet!

We had two buyers who backed out and didn’t perform for various reasons. The buyer who did go through dilly dallied and surveys were delayed. Delayed to the point that I had to call the county and buy more time to pay them. Next were title issues. I spent hours with title company on the phone due to a broken chain of title and helping fix that which meant ton of documents, affidavits and more.

Overall, every conceivable thing that could go wrong DID in fact go wrong in this deal. Some days I felt like no amount of commission I could earn from this deal was worth the frustration but I just had to remember the bigger cause I was fighting for…and that kept me fighting!

This was possibly the worst deal I ever did in terms of the hours I spent on it and what I got paid. 

It was also the best deal I did because of what I learned from it and the relationships I built. Besides the feeling of truly putting my knowledge to use to help someone.

That was infinitely more impactful to my life.

I learned so much from Richard the past 3 months. All that time I spent driving back & forth to South Austin to get documents signed were full of deep conversations about life, living, loss and grief. And positivity in spite of it all. 

Richard lost his wife to cancer 25 years ago. He lost his daughter in 2011. His only other child, his son was laying paralyzed in a nursing home. Richard was  paralyzed a few years ago and the doctors said he had very low chances of survival. Today at 81 years – this man is a picture of positivity – full of humor, life and love. 

His stories reminded me more than ever to focus on the present. To enjoy my health. To be grateful for what I have. That losses and problems didn’t have to determine how I felt. That it was a simply a choice to be happy.

He chose happiness in spite of all his losses and setbacks. Who was I to do otherwise? I had lived half his life and experienced nothing close to what he had. Who was I to complain about my petty problems?

We closed today August 31st 2021 (right on the deadline county had given us to pay taxes) but the closing dragged on even after Richard had signed the documents this morning. The buyer wanted some deed changes that were unreasonable and we went back and forth until 530 pm today The buyer signed the documents as-is at 530 pm finally. We are expected to fund tomorrow. Whew! 

Some battles are worth fighting. This was one of them. 3 months long. Seemingly endless when I was in the middle of it. Extremely testing and frustrating. 

It taught me a lot about perseverance, life, love, losses, attitude and much more.  I bought a piece of art yesterday as a gift for Richard and his now-wife Rosa which said “See the Good in Everything” which was the lesson I took away from this experience.

I was writing a “Congratulations” card  and I thought to myself that perhaps  Thank you” would have been more appropriate. 

Thank you Richard for all the life lessons learned. 

I believe that there are no coincidences in life and that people are put in our path for good reasons. To learn and to grow in ways we need to. I needed this. Possibly more than Richard needed me.