I think back on my own experiences with Realtors in 1982 when I had decided to get serious about moving back to Ulster County. First, I checked out the local newspaper for open houses and went to see a few. I didn’t know it then but I was looking for a Realtor and someone to help me as much as I was looking at houses. The first house was so small I felt claustrophobic, it was clear I was not interested in the house so the Realtor lost interested in me. I left with a promise I’d get a call in a few days to see what else was available but, that never happened.
After a week I called the number on a sign of a pretty Cape Cod style house, the agent was very nice and I spent a lot of time looking, in fact I think I even went back a second time. He never asked me if I could buy the house, which I couldn’t, because I had to sell the one I had on the market first. He never offered to show me any other houses but just said to call him if I wanted to make an offer. Since I didn’t think the people would wait until my house would sell I never called him back, I did think it was strange he only had one house to sell. He stopped calling me after a few weeks.
Finally my father told me to talk to his friend, he was a good Realtor. John invited my father and I over and handed me the Multiple Listing Book so I could see what was available. I was in heaven while John drank coffee and talked to my father. I wrote down a bunch of addresses and the next few days drove by the houses (which is what he told me to do). When I asked questions he did not know any of the answers, and worse I had little confidence he would find out. After narrowing down my list, I called him to see a few of the houses but, he was working his day job, after a bunch of failed attempts I stopped calling and he never called me. Then, my mother came to the rescue and told me she knew a “serious Realtor”, to her credit the broker actually asked that my husband and I meet with her at her office and fill out some paperwork while we chatted about what we wanted. She quickly calculated a bunch of numbers and told us we could buy a house for $150,000 based on our income and expenses. I wanted to spend less than $100,000 because I knew we were going into debt for Jim’s law school but she was assuring us we would be fine. I think her words were something like “the bank will only lend you money if they know you will pay it back”. I had narrowed our search to Woodstock or Hurley. Our professional broker was one of those who did not work out of her comfort zone so as soon as we saw all the expensive houses in Hurley that we did not want to buy, she was very reluctant to show us Woodstock, so …. we dropped her and moved on.
Now I’m back to the newspaper and I am only asking to see Woodstock properties when I call on an ad finally I think I found my house, and I am so excited. I am waiting for the Realtor to arrive to open the door, he makes me wait for 20 minutes and then proceeds to tell me he was with one of his very important customers. I like the house so I put my feelings aside, I asked, “why are the people moving?” He tells me that the owner has so much money and is building a house overlooking the Hudson River for almost a million dollars and just can’t wait to get out of this hovel she has had to live in until the new house is built. I am crushed! I start thinking “this guy is so arrogant” and even though I was thinking this could be my house, I would sooner slit my wrist than put a penny in this guy’s pocket. I finally decide on “FSBO” which means FOR SALE BY OWNER. It was a simple townhouse that would be adequate for a few years while my husband Jim was finishing school and then we would move to our dream house. I was resigned and was going to settle.
I happened to stop at yet another open house and I met Kathleen, it seemed I was being saved from making a bad decision. She got me in her car the following day and immediately started to find out who I was and was listening. She echoed what she thought I wanted and, she helped me clarify my needs and prioritize. She asked me to tell her after each showing what was “right” and what was “wrong” with the house so she would understand me better. I felt like I was her priority and she was never distracted or bothered by my many questions, she was a wealth of information on the community and nearby activities. When we went into a house my Realtor Kathleen never said a word and I never felt any pressure. We talked but only if I asked questions, she left me space to see if I would feel comfortable in the space without distraction or cometary. When we finally found my house I was confident my Realtor had educated me on the market and the values in the area, she was an excellent advocate and I knew she had our best interest at heart. I never felt alone and relied on her every step of the way until the day we closed.
We lived in that house for 15 years and raised our children there, it was the perfect place for the time we had it. I will always be grateful to my Realtor for making my dream a reality and knowing what an important role she played in our life. She was an inspiration to me and a role model when I decided to make real estate my career. I have told that story to many about how hard it was to find someone who really cared enough to listen and guide appropriately. It has been my goal to serve all the clients I ever had the privilege to work for with as much care as I received. Thank you, Kathleen Kenyon.