You Always Remember Your First Time.
It has been 36 years ago but I remember it like yesterday. I was newly licensed and was in my second week of being in the real estate business. It was a cold day and early winter weather was setting it. The wind was howling and precipitation was heading our way.
I was snug and warm inside my new real estate office. This was a branch office and only a half dozen agents worked there so floor time was going to be plentiful. It was my first time as duty agent. The duty agent answered phones and scheduled appointments for the other agents in the office. I was learning the ropes, how to operate the phone system, figure out the showing roster and how the office setup worked.
In walks my first walk-ins. They were a newly married couple and luckily I knew how to qualify them and see if they were real buyers or just lookers. I quickly found out they were real buyers and wanted a home close to Ft. Campbell. I checked the inventory sheet and found 2 new homes that were right in their price range.
Armed with my new city map we headed out to my car. Remember they were newly weds, were holding hands and both wanted to sit in the front seat with me. This was before seat belts so we crowded in to the front seat and off we went to find these 2 new houses.
Now the problem was I wasn't sure where these houses were located. I had only lived in town for a year and knew major streets but not many side streets. This was a major mistake. New agents need to know their way around town so I was just going to have to fake it.
With the map as a guide I let my buyers be my navigators and track the route. We took multiple wrong turns but I don't think they really minded. They were on an adventure to buy their first home. They thought they were with a real estate professional and had no idea that I didn't know what I was doing and that I was as lost as they were.
It started to snow. At first it was mostly flurries but then it started to stick. We spotted 2 new homes and figured out they had to be the ones. We had to hurry. These were small starter homes but cute as can be and the buyers eyes lit up. Both were the same price so all they had to do was pick which one they liked better. It took about 10 minutes.
We headed to the main office which was closer since it was beginning to get dark and the snow was falling faster. They wanted to write it up and didn't even want to sleep on it. I would just have to figure out how to write a contract.
When we got to the office I offered them coffee and got them all situated in one of the conference rooms. In those days the contracts were one page. The sales contracts had a few blanks to fill out and then about an 2 inch blank area to write in about the financing. The buyers were getting a VA loan but I still needed help with knowing how to word it.
I went looking for someone to help me write a contract. I stood in the hallway waiting for an agent to walk by. An old timer stopped and asked if she could help me. She gave me the right wording to add to the contract. I went back into the room and started writing. I again came to a blank I had no idea what to write in it.
It turned out I had to leave the room 2 more times before it was complete and they had signed the offer. I blamed it on having to go to the bathroom. The truth was I really did need to go because all this uncertainty was scaring me to death and making me nauseous.
The good news is it turned out okay and the snow stopped so I could take them back across town to get their car. This became my first sale. The bad news was that I was not prepared in any way. I didn't know my way around town. I didn't know the new streets. I didn't know the inventory. I didn't know how to write a contract. I promised myself that I would never be in that situation ever again and I would be prepared next time.
My first floor duty produced my first walk-ins that became my first buyers and my first sale and my first VA contract. The closing was about 45 days later. This taught me many lessons but the most important lesson was to anticipate the unknown and get ready and prepared. I practiced writing contracts and learned the streets and subdivisions in my town.
The newly weds never knew they were my first buyers and first sale. Three years later I was a much better agent and able to help them sell their house when they got orders to leave for their next duty station. It sold in just a few weeks. The house looked much like the house in the photo above. Not too big, but just right.
My First Time Was Many Firsts and Also Many Lasts.
This is my entry in Patricia Kennedy's Your First Time- The Real Estate Edition.
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"The Real Debbie Reynolds"
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