This letter serves as a letter of recommendation for Jan Hart, whom we had the pleasure to partner with this year as we sold our old and purchased our new residence.
Our story begins in April 2014, with an urgent need to move to a better school district before August. We’d settled on moving to the Riverwood High School area and needed a real estate partner who could help us sell our house and find a new one- preferably with some of the upgrades that we didn’t have today (e.g., pool, media room, etc.). To further complicate matters, there were already 5 other houses in our 35 house neighborhood for sale at the time (some for several months) and, while the housing market was getting better, it still seemed like it was going to be a real challenge — if not impossible — to recoup any of the $150k of investments we’d put in our current house.
We’d received and flipped through the Beacham magazines in the past with all of the gorgeous homes for sale in the Atlanta area and we’d always remembered Jan’s name and picture. So, the day we made the decision to upgrade our school and house, we gave Jan a call.
Over the phone, she immediately put us at ease – giving us confidence and encouragement that we could accomplish what we wanted to do in the timeframe that we needed. After visiting with us that next week in our home, she was even more encouraged that our house would sell quickly. We were surprised, but even more confident that we’d made the right choice in engaging Jan. She was extremely polished and professional and we knew she would represent us well throughout the process.
Fast forwarding to the happy ending, we had an offer on our house 8 days after it went on the market. We came in very close to our asking price and recouped much of our investment. We also found and purchased a wonderful house in the Riverwood school district that had all of the upgrades we’d always wanted (and more). We felt that we got our new house for a great price – under market for the neighborhood. We closed with our buyers on 7/1 and with our sellers on 7/2 — all without incident.
When we look back on what made our experience with Jan so great, there are too many qualities to mention. For the sake of brevity, we’ll limit it to the following highlights:
1. Jan made us feel like her top priority – We knew from Jan’s reputation that she was a “mover and a shaker” in the Atlanta real estate scene, so we weren’t sure what to expect in terms of getting her time on weekends. Without any hesitation at all, Jan ended up dedicating the first half of every Saturday to us- we were able to see 3-4 homes a weekend. Everything was meticulously scheduled out to maximize our time. We knew she had other clients, but it never felt like we had to wait for anything- whether it was setting up a house showing or returning a phone. We are still not sure how she balances it so well.
2. Jan provides great advice and council – From the moment Jan stepped foot in our house, she coached us on what we needed to fix and/or adjust prior to listing. Details down to what colors to paint and which personal effects to put away. She let us know which things would not be worth the money or effort to change. Furthermore, when looking at options for our new house, Jan was great at letting us know what features were overvalued or undervalued. Once we’d settled on the house we wanted, we had the tricky situation of having to make our offer contingent since we needed the money from our sale. Obviously, many sellers don’t like that and ours wanted to be able to pull out if they got a better offer in the month prior to closing. Jan came up with a really creative compromise/ counter offer strategy that appeased all parties. Jan was also able to negotiate the ability for us to spend a few extra nights in our old house after we closed so that we’d have more time to pack and clean.
3. Jan is a great listener with superior emotional IQ – I’ve seen some agents take a “heavy handed” approach (e.g., “you need to do this” or “you need to do that”) marching to the drum of their own agenda. Not Jan. She spent a lot of time listening. She really got to know us as a family – and that includes our two teenagers as well. When we’d be walking through a prospective house for the first time, Jan would hold back on any commentary so that our first impressions would be our own. She would purposefully give us our space – not trying to sell us on this feature or that. But she’d be right there with us to answer questions and all of the time listening to us to fine tune our expectations/ requirements against the next house to be lined up for a showing. That is not to say she didn’t tell us what she liked or disliked about a house – because she certainly did – but she had a great knack for when and how to pass this information along.
In summary, Jan became a confidant and friend through the process. We offer our highest recommendation to any and all looking to sell or buy a new home.
It is late July now and as we are consumed with the laborious box unpacking process, we constantly tell ourselves: “we never want to move again”. That said, we’d consider it if for no other reason than to work with Jan again (smile).
-Dan Staley, PricewaterhouseCoopers