Sitting at the end of a full table of people I look around and see nothing but smiles. The sellers of 542 Higgins kindly pass the keys to the new owners, my buyers and now friends. This mental snapshot I have is the central goal for every settlement: all clients and agents are happy with the outcome. This particular journey started a bit unconventionally with a handwritten love letter of sorts…
Higgins Drive is located in a quiet neighborhood of Odenton, MD; tucked away behind Arundel Middle. The homes here were built in the 60’s and 70’s. The style is colonial suburban brick-front with a twist of quintessential mid-century modern. Elements like picture windows and a retro front door paired with whole-house fans, wall sconces, wood paneling and a basement bars are all things you’ll have if you call Higgins ‘home’.
Higgins Drive is physically a wide street ending in a cul-de-sac with a 25 mph speed limit. The trees soar so high above the homes and provide the perfect backdrop for the indoor/outdoor life you can live here. The homes are built really well, some have most of the original structural components passing our modern-day home inspections with flying colors.
When you hit the stop sign to turn onto the street you come face to face with a brick ranch. This home has a picture window at the front door that allows the rising sun from behind the house sneak it’s rays right through. It was at this stop sign that my client realized Higgins Drive was the only place she’d want her family to live.
Well easy then, Nina, your buyers found their house and that was that?
Um no… There were no houses for sale on Higgins and there hadn’t been in almost two years.
Together we developed a plan, I asked her to flag their favorite homes on the streets. I reverse searched each of them and found out most of the homes were on only their second owners! I hand wrote letters to each home and explained that I had a buyer who fell hard and fast for Higgins. This was not a sales pitch to get a listing, it was genuine, there was nothing on the market and we needed a home. I signed my name at the bottom and put it in the mail.
Fast forward four days, I get a call from a fellow Realtor who said her new clients got a love-letter from me. The couple who lived at 542 Higgins Drive called her for a listing appointment earlier in the week. They had been contemplating seller but the house wasn’t ready just yet; they wanted to know if we wanted in.
We saw it before it hit the market and had our offer in that day.
Friends, not every transaction works this magically. When a buyer and seller can be reasonable, keeping the end goal in sight, a true collaboration occurs. To me, this is magic: flexibility it the secret sauce to success. They wanted something that wasn’t available without even seeing inside. Needless to say, the gears clicked into place as they were meant to be. When glitches came up with the sale of their previous home, they handled it with grace: the end goal constantly within sight of all of their choices.
Another win? The home was essentially a time capsule of the best of 1962. But everything was M I N T condition with original cabinets, wood paneling and a BAR in the basement. Naturally those stunning custom chairs ended up staying for my buyers. The aesthetic of the interior of the home was a slam dunk just as much as the community. Mid-century modern for the coolest family in town. The cliche of ‘a match made in heaven’ was born out of moments like this.
So now you know a little bit more about my friend, 542 Higgins Drive.
Want to know what my clients thought of the journey?
My wife and I had been following Nina on Instagram long before we ventured into the house buying/selling market last year. Her humor and knowledge of the local area captured our attention pretty quickly. Once we decided to sell our house and get a new one, we knew who we wanted to use. In previous years we went down this path and found other local realtors in the Piney Orchard area to be rather impersonal and money-minded. Once we contacted Nina to represent us in our pursuit, her responsiveness and interest in US was immediately realized.
My wife fell in love with Higgins Drive while making the commute to and from Arundel Middle school for our kids. So a plan was formed with Nina to send out “feelers” to see if any of the current residents were considering a move. Letters were sent to several home owners and sure enough someone got back to us! Nina had already taken us to a few available houses in the Odenton area, but none of them felt like home. It only took one visit to a house on Higgins drive to know we had found our home.
Nina mapped out a chronological plan for the entire process of buying/selling. She had specific dates for us based on our needs and ability to get things done. She wasn’t pushy with the timeline but kept us motivated with her enthusiasm. Needless to say, her timeline was almost perfect. Each step of the process was handled with care and she pretty much held our hands through the tough times. Her constant reassurance of “you got this” and her tireless negotiations with the buyers and sellers pushed us easily through the tough times.
Nina was always available to answer our questions and believe me, there were tons of questions! No matter what time of day or night we sent her texts/emails, her responsiveness was so quick and kind…despite the fact she does have her own life! Now that the process is done and we our finally living in our new home (and have sold our previous home) we have such an overwhelming sense of relief and we give all of our thanks to Nina.
She wasn’t just our realtor through it all, she was our friend. She brought us DONUTS to the closing of our new home! How cool is THAT?? I’m telling you, other realtors should look upon Nina’s professional and personal process to learn a thing or two. We couldn’t have done it, and remained sane, without her.