I want to tell this story. It is an oddly sweet and special story and I feel like we realtors always have a lot of stories to tell. I honestly always had the intention to tell this story, but got wrapped up in not giving myself time and not having the right visual to pair with it. You see, I was going to tell it with this cute little photo of the seller and me at closing, smiling and happy that this was finally at its end. But the perfect scenario doesn’t always happen, does it? On the day before closing, the seller suddenly realizes he can’t just change the 10am closing to his preferred time of late afternoon so he has to close after the buyer, and I just can’t make his preferred time at all. It is not like I needed to be there. I missed tons of closings during COVID. What difference was this one? Well, I really wanted a picture of him. I wanted a picture of him smiling. And this story to accompany the journey it took to get him to the closing table with a smile on his face.
We have to start back in 2008. Rebecca and I were in our second year in real estate. We were already teamed up and working in the Gainesville market bubble. It was a year or two before the true burst when the recession hit. We weren’t quite yet working the short sale circuit and we were still the wide-eyed and bushy-tailed newbies soaking in every little bit of knowledge we could get. We were also just starting to get a groove on our self-marketing and listing prowess. When we got a call to go on a listing appointment in the prestigious Golf and Country Club, we were ecstatic about getting into the realm of higher-priced properties and old Gainesville class. It would be a treat! However, when we showed up, it was not the golden ticket to luxury home style we expected. Granted, we had already been to a Broker Open in the neighborhood where the dining room was walled in red plush covering while all of the others were 1970s dark wood paneling. The flooring went from hunter green shag carpeting to 70s patterned vinyl flooring all for the mere price of $800,000. Why did we not realize many of these homes were just pricey relics of the past?
This home, in particular, was built by the seller, John Blassick, an architect, builder, and man of all trades in the 1970s. As time passed, he extended walls, enclosed porches, added an indoor hot tub —in the now enclosed porch living room, mind you. There were (and still are) doors going to nowhere (look up above your kitchen counters to see the door from the master. The only thing stopping the person who steps out from it from falling on you are the wooden rafters in between that door and the kitchen space above your head. I don’t want to paint a terrible picture. I mean this man put his heart, love, life, passion, work, everything into this home. He raised his children, built his budding career and business, held on to it even after his lovely wife passed away. He upgraded with features he loved, enjoyed the soaring ceilings, large spaces, many rooms throughout, large corner lot, and living in the renowned Gainesville Golf and Country Club.
But now he was living in Ocala and wanted to get rid of it and we were there to list it. Problem was, we were still green and too excited. We had a great listing book, presentation, memorized scripts we had made our own, and comps. We had great comps. Sometimes even with all of that, you just don’t get the listing. He sniffed us out as too new and told us he picked a more experienced agent he knew who worked the neighborhood. We were bummed, but also slightly relieved when we saw she listed it WAY over our comps. And when I say way over, she was like $200,000 over. We knew he picked her because she was willing to take the listing regardless of the price. In hindsight, she probably begrudgingly took it at that price in hopes to whittle him down, or at least grab buyers and other sellers from her marketing. At least that is what we would do now. Needless to say, we saw it drop in price, Expire. Come back on again. Switch realtors. List too high for the market. Expire. List again. Become a rental listing. Expire. Finally lease. Back on the market. List as a sale again. Over and over again. And again.
Now we get to about 2017. I am a brand new member of the Gainesville chapter of BNI Results on Fire. I am in the Property Management seat. (Yes, I do PM and I own a separate company that does PM.) Did I want this seat? Well no, I wanted the Residential seat but this got me in the door and, heck, why not grow PM. Anyways, there was this attorney named Katie Floyd in BNI. I was excited to get to know her because I heard she was amazing with evictions and tough real estate law—not the precious title work attorneys do—but the harder litigation and dramatic attorney stuff. Yeah, I don’t know the lingo. This is how I describe it. Anyways, she asks me to do a 121 with her at the Starbucks (that’s when BNI members meet to talk about our industries and businesses so we can learn how to help each other by giving referrals). Like I said, she is someone I really want to meet and get to know. There at the meeting she tells me she has to abandon her seat because she was just hired as the Magistrate at the 8th Judicial Circuit court and she can’t do any more evictions or be in BNI. (DAMN.) But she has this property owner she has been working with for years. In fact, the PM in BNI before me was managing his property but fired him and Katie was currently helping with a really nasty eviction. After this just terrible story she asked if I would I be willing to talk to him about managing him once the eviction went through. You can imagine my sign/groan when she finally reveals his name. Yep, it was Blassick.
A few days later he comes into the Rabell Realty Group office to sit down and talk to me about his goals, wants and needs. Within minutes of sitting down, he recollects meeting me when I was newer in real estate and is pretty impressed to meet me now that Rebecca and I are still a team and brokers of our own company. We sit and reminisce about meeting and he tells me his struggles with his lack of selling, overpricing, and his property management woes. We agree to list as a rental and sale.
In the next few years, I played his realtor, listing it higher than my comps show but to appease him and eventually renting it instead. Yearly we go through the same motions trying to sell, actually going under contract quite a few times but the buyers just not wanting to deal with the price they agreed on, the repairs needed, or details uncovered. Once it was that the house had carpenter bees boring holes into the wooden fascia and the buyer was highly allergic to bees so backed out because of health reasons. Yes, it has been a journey. One with many untold turns and dips (literally), divots, and more. We argued over systems, fought over pricing, growled over ways to repair things, we bit at each other when one didn’t agree on something the other wanted to do. I schlepped him off onto my PM staff out of sheer frustration and took him on again out of sheer frustration. Through time, Blassick and I became frenemies and then just plain respected partners. When we went under contract for sale this year, with one of my own team members, Jackie Mercier, I think we were both finally just at an impasse. If it happened, great, If not, oh well. We knew the drill and it had become simple and successful. Our renters were always pretty decent and Blassick nearly always gave in to fixing or maintaining what was needed.
So yes, it hurt not to get that picture. It was almost tearful. I called him the night of the closing to apologize that I could not make it and congratulate him on finally selling it. What hit me so hard was that after all of the years filled with fighting and arguing, he truly and genuinely thanked me for all of it. I mean ALL OF IT. He was so kind and grateful. He was finally at peace. This home that was so special and loving and filled with memories was finally sold. It was a bittersweet weight lifted from his heart and he thanked me for being on the end of the journey. I was so touched as he had never really been that raw and that sweet. It was one of those many moments when I thank God for being here. Right here in this moment and in this industry. Blassick won’t be part of my life anymore but he has a a story written. Maybe one day I can get that picture…