Buying and selling a home can be, for the most part, a very personal experience for everyone involved. More often than not, friendships are formed, and relationships carry on well after the sale itself. If there is one thing I have learned as a realtor, it is that there is more to buying and selling homes than just showing properties and writing up contracts. It is recognizing and acknowledging the needs of my clients and doing whatever I can to help out. This very important lesson was made clear to me recently while helping a very dear client of mine sell his home.
Several months ago, I was introduced to Dave by a fellow Hawai’i Life agent who works primarily on the Hilo side of the island and felt he would be better served by an agent in his neighborhood. When I initially called Dave to set up an appointment, he was clear with me that he planned to interview several agents to find the right fit for him. I told him I thought that was a great idea and that finding the right fit for him was a critical part of the selling process. We agreed to meet later that week, and I began working on comparable sales and gathering information I thought would be helpful. From the moment that I met Dave, I knew that if I got the listing, he was going to be a lot of fun to work with. He was a jokester and an animal lover, right up my alley.
Meeting Kenji & Cali
When I came to the door, he took the time to introduce me to his dog Kenji and was not the least bit irritated that I spent a few minutes acknowledging him before formally introducing myself. He then proceeded to tell me that Cali, the Calico cat would most likely not make herself known but that I should not be offended as she kept to herself and rarely came out to meet people. We proceeded to move ahead with our meeting and low and behold Cali actually came out too. Both Dave and I were pleasantly surprised as she came over to give me a courtesy nudge. We finished up our meeting, and I was on my way. A few days later, I received a call from Dave. “Kenji chose you to sell our home,” he says to me. I laughed and said that’s funny to which he replied that he was serious. Apparently I was the only person that both Kenji and Cali had come out to meet, and he felt comfortable with the fact that I would take care in showing his home while they were there.
Fast forward a few months through many hours of house preparation and time spent with Dave. He took great pleasure in sharing his love of music with me and loved to tell me about his accomplishments here on the island. He was especially proud of his involvement in the legislation to ban plastic bags. The night before we were ready to go live with the listing, I spoke with Dave about the photos we were going to use to make sure he was happy with them. He said that he was, and I finished up the listing to send to him for approval. After a few unresponsive phone calls texts and emails, I began to get concerned.
The Bad News
It was not like him to take more than a few hours to get back to me about anything as he was always very prompt. I began to get concerned, and I called his neighbor Tina who is also a mutual friend. It was then that I found out that Dave had passed away unexpectedly that morning. To say that I was shocked is an understatement. Once I was able to wrap my head around what I was hearing, my next thought went right to Kenji and Cali. Tina assured me that they were being taken care of for the moment but that they were going to need to find a new home as all of Dave’s family lived on the mainland. This was one of those times that I was so grateful to live in the area that I work. I connected with a few other neighbors, and we jumped into action to take care of the things that needed immediate attention until Dave’s sister Joan and son Kris could get here. I met with them several times so that we could game plan and get things ready to put the house on the market. Because neither one of them live here, I knew that they were going to need help with several things. One of which was to find fur-ever homes for Kenji and Cali. I immediately began networking with the various animal rescue people on island to get the word out about them. One of the people I called was Rebecca, who is also fellow realtor and animal rescue friend. We had worked together in the past helping a neighbor with some abandoned cats. Rebecca shared with me that she had recently lost her beloved Pomeranian of 15 years and that she was open to meeting Kenji to see if they would be a good match.
Fur-Ever Homes for Kenji & Cali
A few days later, Rebecca came to meet Kenji at Dave’s house. Joan and Kris were also there, which was important as they both knew how much Dave loved Kenji and Cali and would want only the best for them. After the initial greeting, we all sat and talked while Rebecca and Kenji got to know each other. At one point, Rebecca turned to me and asked what the listing price was on the house. When I told her she told me that after seeing the house in person versus online, she thought she might have a buyer for Dave’s house. I am happy to say that Kenji went home with Rebecca, and her clients are now the happy owners of Dave’s house. Cali also found her fur-ever home with one of my Starbucks friends, so I get frequent updates on her too. If you ever thought that being a realtor was all about contracts and showings, I hope this story makes you think twice.