Real Estate 101 Ann C K Nickell


Real Estate 101

by Ann C.K. Nickell

	I frowned as I stared at the old white house in front of me.  It wasn’t as nice as the pictures online, a regular occurrence in my search for a home.  I sighed, my sister’s words reverberating in my head.  You’ll never find a house at this pace. Get an agent!  I enjoyed the lack of pressure in searching for a home on my own, but my sister wasn’t the only one tired of me living in her basement.  I needed a place of my own – soon. 
I crossed the rickety old house off my list and flipped to the last page in my stack.  As I looked at the picture and description of the two-story home, I made a deal with myself.  If this house didn’t work for me, I would find an agent tomorrow.
I found the address on the map and slowly drove there, checking out the surrounding neighborhood.  The elementary school didn’t sway me.  Still single at age thirty-two, children were nowhere on the horizon.  I pulled up in front of the pretty yellow house and compared it to the picture.  Seeing nothing amiss, I stepped out of the car to take a closer look.  It was a nice home, but there was something missing.  I stared at the big house, trying to figure out what was wrong with me.
“Can I help you?”
I jumped, the deep voice interrupting my train of thought.  I turned to find a handsome stranger with kind green eyes and a sincere smile.  “Is this your house?” I asked him.
“No,” he answered, “but I know the owner.  Are you interested?”
“I’m looking,” I told him honestly, “but I’m not sure this is the house for me.”
“Do you have an agent?”
I shook my head.  “I wasn’t ready for that extra pressure, until now.”
“Until now?” he repeated.  “What changed?”
I sighed.  “As of today, I’ve been living in my sister’s basement for three months.  Finding a house wasn’t supposed to be this hard.”
“Maybe I can help,” he grinned and held out his card.  “I’m Scott Thompson.”
I chuckled as I read his card and shook his hand.  “I can’t believe you’re an agent.  Maybe this is a sign.”
“Maybe it is, Miss…”
“Daniels,” I finished for him.  “Robin Daniels.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Robin.”
“It’s nice to meet you, too,” I smiled.  “So, Scott, do you think you can help someone who is way too picky and on a budget?”
He grinned at me.  “It’s how I make a living.  Come by my office tomorrow morning at ten o’clock, and I’ll prove it to you.”
I once again shook his outstretched hand, admiring the strength I felt in it.  “I’ll be there.”
The next morning, Scott surprised me with some of his questions.  “What do you do for a living?”
“I’m an artist,” I told him.  “I own a shop in Johnston.”
“Why are you looking outside the city?”
“The homes are less expensive,” I admitted.
Scott nodded.  “So what drew you to that house last night?”
“The style and the color.”
“So white is out?” he grinned.
“It depends,” I answered.  “Let’s just say that simple and understated are not in my vocabulary.”
Scott laughed.  “I think I understand.  You need an interesting home with at least two bedrooms, room for a studio and a yard big enough for both a flower and vegetable garden.”
“You make it sound easy,” I smiled.
“You just have to put yourself in your client’s shoes.”
“I’ll make you a deal,” I grinned, enjoying his confidence.  “If you can find me the perfect house in two weeks, I’ll give you a piece of art from my shop as a thank you.”
“Any piece I want, free of charge?”
I nodded.  “Any piece.”
“You’ve got yourself a deal,” Scott smiled, and we shook on it.
A week later, Scott walked into the shop with a big grin on his handsome face.  “It’s time to pick out that piece of art you promised me.”
“You found my dream home?”
“Yes,” Scott smiled.  “When can I show it to you?”
“Right now,” I answered, too excited to wait.  I hung the “out to lunch” sign and followed Scott to his car.  
“You’ve been my most interesting client,” Scott told me on the drive to the house.  “I’ll miss working with you.”
“I will too,” I admitted, already missing the daily calls and drives to nearby towns.  Was there a rule against falling for your agent?
“Close your eyes,” Scott requested as we pulled down a quiet street of quaint older homes.
I did as he asked, not wanting to ruin his surprise. 
“Keep them closed,” he insisted as he stopped the car and got out. 
I smiled when my car door opened.  Scott took my hand and carefully helped me out and down a sidewalk.  Finally, we stopped, and he asked me to open my eyes.
	I smiled as I stared up at the big red house that resembled a barn.  The color of the siding made the white trim stand out, and I admired how it matched the white picket fence enclosing the front yard.  I pictured myself standing up on the deck above the screened front porch, looking out over the pretty shaded yard, and I shook with excitement.
	“Scott, it’s beautiful,” I gushed, and he sighed with relief.
	“Do you want to see the inside?”
	“Of course,” I said, squeezing his hand.
	Scott watched my face closely as he led me through the three-bedroom, two-bath home.  I found no reason to disappoint him, loving everything I saw in the old, distinguished home.  I squealed when I saw the enormous backyard and the flower gardens that already bloomed there.
	I turned to Scott and smiled.  “It’s absolutely perfect.”
	“I knew it would be the one,” he told me.  “Do I now get to choose the piece of art?”
	“Of course,” I agreed.  “When can you come by the store?”
	“I don’t need to,” he told me.  “I already know which piece I want.”
	“You do?”
	Scott nodded.  “I’m looking at her.”
	“Me?” I blushed.
	“There’s a beautiful self-portrait of you in the shop,” Scott smiled, “although it doesn’t do you justice.  I’m hoping I can start with that, and a chance to get to know the artist a lot better.”
	“Do all of your clients walk away this happy?” I smiled up at him.
	“Creating a win-win situation is the first lesson in Real Estate 101.”
	“What’s lesson two?”
	“I’ll tell you,” Scott smiled, “over dinner.”