ONE HOUSE NOW, ONE HOUSE LATER
he bank that very year. We had rented it out to three different families. The house was in good shape so we didn’t change much other than new carpet, new paint and a few repairs to some plumbing that was giving way. But other than that, the cabinets in the den, that her dad had built, were still intact. They were still very pretty. She was buying back from me, the house that her mother had lost. Now she and her mother live in that house. I’m so glad to be a problem solver. IN HER DREAMS
After owning a house on Twin Brook for about nine years, it was time to sell it. I was moving to Montana. I really didn’t want to have a rental house left in Houston, Texas. We put the normal signs up that the house was going to be sold. We put a normal sign in the window describing how many bedrooms, how many bathrooms, what the down payment would be, and what the monthly payment would be. As real estate investors [not the real estate agents] it meant that: we could control those kinds of things. We could advertise anyway we wanted to. And I knew what the down payment would be. I had already talked to the mortgage company and I knew what the monthly payment would be within a few dollars. Knowing what the interest rate was made this a simple calculation. So that’s how the advertisements were placed.
We also announced in the window of the house, that we would have an open house. The open house was to be on Tuesday at 6:30 pm. I got tied up and had other things to do that evening. I asked my daughter, who was 19 at the time, to cover for me. She knew very well how to show that house, and how to take applications from those who wanted to buy it.
That evening she came back to our home and office and said: “I have six applications. Six different couples want to buy the house.” I thought, wow, that’s great. She said: “Yes, but we really need to sell it to this one girl named Alesha. Well, we hadn’t even run credit reports for any of the six couples. My daughter told me that Alesha was very sweet, very friendly, and some of the other applicants were rushing her to get inside of the house. They were running around trying to be first giving her their application. She thought a couple of them were downright rude. Well, I don’t really count rudeness against someone when they are trying to buy a house. I’m looking for good credit, job stability [two years in the same line of work] and enough down payments because that’s what FHA looks for. I never discriminate against anyone trying to buy a house from me. Age, sex, religion, sexual orientation … none of that matters, particularly race. But Clarissa, my daughter, really believed that Alesha should buy the house.
We ran the credit reports at night. We had set up with a company to be able do it with our very own computers. Alesha had a few problems that if she solved them she would actually qualify to get a new loan. I told my daughter: “Look, Clarissa, if Alesha really wants to buy this house, she needs to clear up these problems.” I told my daughter what her problems were. Clarissa called her, and to my amazement she had done it by the following evening. Now I was still hesitating, but my daughter was so insistent that this was the true buyer, that I called the mortgage company on my team. I had a loan officer, who would meet me at any Dennys. I told him to meet me at the Denny’s close to that house. (I used Denny’s for loan applications because I want the people buying the house to be honest with my loan officer. I don’t want them intimidated. They need to tell him all the truth about a situation. I like a place where no one is intimidated. Dennys would always serve coffee, soda pop, ice tea, or simply a glass of water. Whatever we needed to keep us comfortable. The atmosphere wasn’t really great, but the temperature would be cool inside Denny’s)
That particular day, Alesha got there before my loan officer arrived. She sat down at the table where I was sitting. I started saying: “Gee, you know your house payments are going to be less than rent. Because you’re single, should you find mister wonderful, you will have your choice of, him living in your house … or maybe a house that he’ll buy for you. But, if you choose a house that he would buy, you could rent this out for more money than your house payments. Isn’t that a great deal? I also commented that, because her rent had gone away and she was making a house payment. It will be her home. If she invited a young man in and he didn’t act right, she had the privilege of telling him to leave. That changes the attitude of many young men. I had seen that happen with girls that I had sold houses to prior. Alesha said: “I’ve got a surprise, let me tell you.” This was at the same time my loan officer walked in. So Alesha’s surprise had to wait. We finished her loan application. My loan officer gave me the nod. Yes, she would qualify for a brand new FHA loan. We did the earnest money contract right then, and there. I basically had it filled out, I hadn’t signed it and Alesha hadn’t signed it. We actually signed three copies. One for Alesha, one for me, and one for the loan officer. The one that I had would be going to the title company, so that they could open up title work. The loan officer left with his paperwork. Alesha and I were left at the table by ourselves again. I looked over and said “O.K. so what’s the surprise?” Low and behold she started to tear up. She said, “This is the house of my dreams. I’ve dreamed of living in this house, since I was a little girl … and actually when I was a little girl, I used to live in that house.” And I said: “Really!” She said: “My mom and dad got a divorce, and my mother couldn’t make the monthly payment. She lost the house to the bank.” She told me what year. I realized we had bought it from t
It was all a result of doing things a little differently. All because of the persistence of my daughter that this was indeed the buyer to that house. Every time I think about Alesha [who now has a daughter] and her mother living in the house. To this day it makes me smile.
I am so happy and grateful my daughter paid attention to the way she felt. Helping me solve a problem I didn’t know existed. Most buyers have a problem to find a house in which to live. Alecia’s problem was to restore her family home.