“We owned for ten years,” Brian said. “It’s time to be unshackled.”
Brian and Kim owned a house in Broadview, but the travel bug had bit them. Hard. After a long attempt to have it all (home ownership and long, exotic journeys) they realized they had to pick between:
- A house; or
- A life of traveling.
They picked traveling.
It took two long, obstacle-filled years to sell Kim and Brian’s house. The entire housing market seemed to conspire against us, and for a while, the whole RE/MAX office thought the couple had been cursed. But Kim and Brian’s traveling had taught them to face impossible problems and overcome them, and the Real Estate Gals are known for our determination.
Part 3: The Curse
After the first disaster (an unethical agent who concealed a failed loan until a week before the deal closed), we jumped back on the saddle. In 72 hours, we unpacked all of Kim and Brian’s cardboard boxes, re-stage their house, and put it back on the market.
And then, we got another other offer.
This time, the offer was in cash; no bad loans to worry about. A woman had just sold her rental property, and she needed to reinvest in real estate to avoid paying extra taxes. The woman inspected the home and liked it. She made an offer that Kim and Brian accepted, and we moved forward for the second time.
But the buyer’s agent called again. The woman wanted a second inspection, which was unusual, but we agreed to allow the inspection. This time, the buyer was accompanied by her son, a young man in his twenties. The son walked into the house, glanced around, and walked back out. He had stayed inside for less than a minute. The woman thanked us and left, too.
We learned the full story later: the woman was buying a house for her son, but she wanted to give him options, so she made serious offers on multiple homes and then had him look around to decide which one he liked best. In her mind, it was better to show him only the houses that she knew she could buy—the houses she had already agreed to buy—than to disappoint him by going through the normal rejection-filled home-buying process like everyone else.
“We were exhausted,” Brian said. “Johnine was right there the entire time–we had a 45-minute counseling session with her via phone–”
“We were emotionally battered,” Kim added.
For the second time, the couple found themselves on the sharp end of an unethical agent. And now, their house looked fishy, because it had been on/off the market so often. Everyone at the RE/MAX office said the couple was jinxed. These issues just didn’t happen—none of us had seen anything like it, and to have something like it happen twice to the same couple? It felt like a real estate curse. Kim and Brian decided to take a break. They needed time to recover. We all did.
Part 4: Alaska to Argentina
But that persistent need to travel still tugged at Kim and Brian. They wanted to see the world, and their house kept them tied down. So Brian improved the driveway to amp up the house’s curb appeal, and they approached us again.
“How many times have you sold this house for us already?” They laughed.
Twice. But we would sell it a third time. And we would sell it a fourth time, or a fifth time, or however many times it took to break the curse because we stay loyal to our clients, no matter how impossible the obstacles may seem.
We put their house back on the market on April 23, for an asking price of $475,000. On April 28, a bidding war started, and the best offer came in at $535,000 with no contingencies and with the pre-inspection already cleared. Repeat: $535,000. That was $60,000 above their asking price. Johnine rushed to Kim and Brian’s house to tell them the good news.
They didn’t believe her. The disappointments of the last two years had left them jaded.
“We don’t joke about real estate in this house,” Kim had said.
But this offer was real, and it really was that high. All of a sudden, the two-year process had ended, and Kim and Brian had an extra $60,000 to jumpstart their travel plans.
Now, Kim and Brian are renting an apartment in Ballard, and they seem perpetually excited. This summer, Kim will attend a work conference in Singapore, which they will use a springboard for a trip to Myanmar. And they’ve already figured out next year: they’ll put their possessions in storage, quit their jobs, and drive. They want to go all the way to northern Alaska, then turn around and head south. They will drive down through Canada, the U.S., Mexico, the rest of Central America, the Andes–all the way to the southernmost driveable place on the planet. Then they’ll go north again. They’ve already custom-fitted their Honda Element with a camper top. Whenever we see that vehicle and the happy world travelers who own it, a part of us wants to do the same thing that they’re doing.
* * *
We had to follow a rough road to get to this point. Two flighty buyers left all of us emotionally bruised and battered, but eventually, everything turned out well. In fact, it turned out better than we had ever expected.
“Our friends are having their second babies,” Kim said, “and we’re like, ‘See ya!’”