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Kevin H., Buyer, 2014

Posted by Johnine Larsen on May 9, 2014
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The Real Estate Gals team works very, very hard to exceed all of your expectations when it comes to navigating Seattle’s spicy real estate market. We were introduced to Johnine by friends in 2012; she helped them rise above multiple offers and buy their dream house in a high-demand neighborhood, which we saw as a very glowing endorsement indeed. When we met her the first time, we perceived her as someone with that almost superhuman ability to “get things done.”

The task we set before her was to find us a long-term home with 3+ bedrooms under $300,000 near our home on North Beacon Hill. She quickly introduced us to Scott and we began viewing fixer after fixer. Scott is a great listener and has a lot of nuanced insights into Seattle properties. We told them we loved the house we were renting and were in no rush to move until “the right” home revealed itself.

Over the next two years, we were always able to view a home within two days of sending them a listing, and usually within a few hours. Their responsiveness and availability is second-to-none. And they always answer their phones! On top of that, they always maintained a high level of optimism that we’d find a home together. We were less optimistic, but appreciated their moral and logistical support.

Between 2012 and 2014, Beacon Hill real estate went from quite active to ridiculously mind-blowingly competitive. And so we began exploring homes above $300,000 and opening our search to include most of South Seattle within a reasonable commute length to downtown. It was really fun to get to know more neighborhoods and to imagine ourselves in a variety of different home layouts and construction/architectural periods. We kept finding ourselves drawn to early 1900s fixer-uppers that garnered a lot of interest from buyers, agents and contractors, and after several letdowns, opened ourselves to 1950s homes.

On a Wednesday afternoon, a 1954 South Beacon Hill home with 4 bedrooms and a forested double lot hit the market and we immediately asked Scott & Johnine if we could view it. Hours later, Scott reported that the key box wasn’t even installed yet. On Thursday after work, we viewed it with Scott; there was already a huge pile of agents’ cards on the kitchen counter and buyers were all over the property. We asked Scott if we stood a chance at owning this home. He thought about our question and said yes, but it would be very competitive. We asked him to pull out all of the stops to make this home happen.

And did they ever! By Friday, they arranged a pre-inspection and sewer scope, and we were overwhelmed by both the positive reviews from both of those outcomes and the “revolving door” of agents, buyers and developers cycling through the home and surveying the double lot’s construction potential. We went home that night and wrote a personal letter appealing to the sellers, because Scott & Johnine said we’d need to do everything we could to stand out among the crowd.

photo (3)On Saturday morning, we submitted our initial offer, waiving inspection, holding substantial earnest money, shortening up the closing period and escalating up to our maximum loanable amount and beating competing offers by $5,000. We were told we were competing against up to five cash offers from developers and multiple offers from financed buyers.

Scott and Johnine already had a relationship with the seller’s agent and they worked hard together to advocate on our behalf with the seller; we were even allowed the chance to amend our offer to make it more appealing to the buyer: We waived our financing contingency (after a LOT of frantic phone calls and discussion with our lender, of course!).

On Saturday evening, the sellers accepted our offer! We offered $27,000 less than the offer that escalated our purchase price, but amazingly, the seller went with us due to Scott & Johnine’s personal touch, the competitive offer they helped us craft and the fact that we were personally appealed to the sellers on a family-to-family level.

As we write this, we’re sitting in our new home, distracted by the views of the Cascade Range and Lake Washington and thankful for the opportunity to put down long-term roots on Beacon Hill. Thank you to Scott and Johnine for their tireless advocacy and hard work over the past two years, for their patience as we asked them to show us fixer after fixer, and especially for their expertise and advice on what it takes to go from dreaming of owning a home to the reality of breakfast on our deck.