A smile, tranquility and responsibility

The phone rang at 2 p.m. as planned. I agreed to meet his partner in person at the property.

We arrived early. She was already there, ahead of schedule.

Her knowledge of the building, neighborhood, community and the market was considerable. She was not the “local Realtor”, but she might as well have been.

My wife and I hadn’t planned to buy in this market, but circumstances led us to the decision. We knew we had to buy right. We had to buy smart.

A lot rode on the advice and representation that we’d get from our agent.

As it should.


It was love at first sight. The space faces west. It has a fireplace. High ceilings. Lots of concrete inside. I love concrete. And I love being above the center of an urban jungle.

The building is called The Edge.

So is U2’s guitarist.

The universe abides.


Agents talk about negotiation skills. But defining what that means can be elusive.

The condo was listed as a two-bedroom, but there was only a master and a space where a second bedroom could be built. How could the listing agent get away with that?  

Our agent went in below asking price, despite the hot, multiple-offer sellers’ market. She also requested credit toward building the second bedroom. She composed a letter to accompany the offer based on our conversations and her observations about us. It was better than anything I could have written.

Yet I had little faith.


Getting a mortgage sucks. I qualify. I have zero debt. I have the best possible credit score. I have a secure job.

None of that mattered.

For months, we would be one signature away from getting the loan when another, more ridiculous request than the last delayed the inevitable.

The building has a commercial tenant that occupies more square footage than average. This complication narrowed the lender field, exposed us to a higher rate and required extensive paperwork. It was only a matter of time before they would ask for a DNA test to prove we were human.

I used our agent’s mortgage guy. I was dubious at first, but booked an appointment to hear him out. He arrived at the exact time we had scheduled.

Several requests made of us were so confusing we had no idea how to comply. Twice he came to our home and walked us through the requests in person.

Each time, he arrived when he said he would.


At times, we believed the obstacles were a sign from the universe. Our agent went back to work showing us other properties. Most were more expensive than the one we had put an offer on. Many were equally or more beautiful. A third team member took us to all of them. She never once missed an appointment.

These are the moments when you realize the power of an agent. I had many options. I had no idea what to do. So my wife and I asked the team of agents for help.

“Stick with The Edge,” they said. “We can tell it’s right for your family and lifestyle.”

The Edge was the lowest price of the bunch. Closing on it would yield them a lower commission.

That was not lost on me.


We had to submit plans for the second bedroom to the building HOA for approval by a specific date. Where were we going to find a contractor with integrity, skill and experience to do this right in a city with so much new construction?

Our agents had a guy. We scheduled to meet him the next day at the condo. He and his crew were already there when we showed up.

He provided a quote.

Promised to start the day we closed.


We closed. We got the price our agents asked for. We got the allowance for building the bedroom. We all celebrated at the title office. They brought us a gorgeous gift.

Their contractor showed up as promised. I arrived on time, but he was already there with his crew loading materials off his pickup.

They built and painted the second bedroom in three days, as promised. The contractor volunteered to fix a few additional things not included in his quote. The final invoice was nevertheless the exact number he had quoted me months earlier.

That never happens.


Chris Heller from MelloHome made the agent referral. I wanted a great agent. At the time, I was unclear what great really meant.

I am no longer unclear.

A great agent isn’t their brokerage. They are not their technology nor their volumes of written content, social posts, awards and designations. They are not their logos.

Greatness can’t be bought, licensed, leveraged or manufactured. Greatness is simply an extension of what a person possess deep inside. It is triggered by the love of a job, a passion to provide services tailored to a client’s needs, and executed with a smile, tranquility and responsibility.

Maybe it’s as simple as checking your watch.

My agents never once asked me to give a referral or to pass them on to my friends.

Nick Shivers, Amy Oliver and Cassidy Edge – you three along with Ricky Guadarrama, your mortgage rep, and Chris Hekekia, your contractor, define great. What you did and how you did it for my family was great.

You made the worst real estate transaction the greatest real estate experience ever.

Thank you.