Cash flow, a real estate story from the beginning. She had just gotten her license in Massachusetts to sell real estate. She was at the stage where she didn’t know what she didn’t know and she was filled with hope and energy and some strategies. She had recently bought into one of the systems of real estate that promised success, instant success the system’s creator promised. Later in her career she would understand that all real estate systems make promises. Most systems can create success if you follow them in the manner they are proposed. All of us realize that is not the way it really works.
She had secured an expired listing in a high end town near a million dollars using the system for Expired Listings she had finagled. The simple house was on the lake, it had gleaming wood floors and a fantastic porch. The owner was John and he liked Laurie. Laurie had sent John a letter and then she called to follow up, they set an appointment to see the property. Her manner was warm and not pushy, John liked that. The last agent, John complained, “did nothing, she was a no-it-all”. Laurie listened.
Laurie suggested to John that the talk to a stager about preparing the house for sale. John didn’t want to spend money if it wasn’t going to pay off for him. “The cost of the staging is always less than the cost of the first price break because they house doesn’t show well and get offers in the first thirty days.” Laurie shared. She had learned this from the stager, Ben. Ben was standing on the kitchen countertops with his back to the large copper cooking pots hanging above the sink to look across the room at what was above the beautifully built in cherry cabinetry that had souvenirs of John’s family travels. It was time to de-clutter. Ben caught his balance by putting his hand on a large round copper cooking pot as he moved to look further across the room. Out of that pot dropped a huge pile of banded cash. It spilled all over the countertop around Ben’s feet. The room went quiet. Ben hopped down, we all looked at the pile of cash on the countertops, in the sink and now lying on the floor. In an instant Ben had said something like he would send us an estimate for the staging and was out the door.
Laurie turned to Ben in astonishment, “Is there any more cash stashed around the house,” she asked John? “There might be,” was his response. “You have to get it all out of the pots and wherever else it is hidden,” she said quickly. “Why,” John asked, “you’re not going to take it.”
“No, I am not going to take it, but I have a fiduciary responsibility to this property and to you and I can not take a chance something will go missing. If you come home after an open house and you find some secret stash of cash missing, who are you going to go to first.” she asked plainly. “I get your point,” he finished. Laurie had a flash that this business was going to teach her new lessons every day and she was now getting to know all that she didn’t know. This real estate cash flow story was not what she expected.