Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Strangest Places to Make a Deal!

I was reflecting recently about the strangest places that I have struck a real estate transaction...the cabin of a private jet sitting on the tarmac waiting for departure, a coffee shop...doesn't sound strange, but it was, and a condo in Mammoth Lakes.

Wheels Up:
Recently, we represented a local investor in their purchase of a former body shop. The building was owned by one of the wealthiest (and busiest) individuals in Orange County...David Wilson, owner of several local auto dealers. The body shop had housed the operation for Toyota of Orange. A decision had been made outsource the body work and consequently the body shop operation had been sold to another operator but the real estate had been retained by Wilson. Wilson had listed the building with his brother in law from Trammel Crow. A purchase of the property had recently blown up so I perceived that the owner was motivated to make a deal. My instincts were correct as our offer was favorably received but a few changes were necessary before the Purchase and Sale Agreement could be signed. The problem was that Wilson wanted to meet the buyer, qualify him and sign the contract in person. We discovered this the evening before Wilson was scheduled to leave for two weeks. The only "meeting time" was prior to his departure the next morning. You can imagine the smiles on my buyer and my face as we were asked to meet Wilson aboard his jet (idling in front of the hangar) prior to his departure. The meeting went well, we left with a signed P and S and closed the deal a few weeks later.

Look Who's Coming Breakfast:
We were competing against several buyers for the same building. We believed that we were the correct choice but were receiving some resistance from the listing broker. It was apparent that he was championing his deal. The listing broker mentioned that he was meeting his seller the next day for breakfast at the seller's favorite coffee shop in Villa Park...Rockwell's Bakery. I called my buyer and asked him to go to breakfast with me the next morning at...you guessed it, Rockwells. Having never met either party, we scanned the tables and made our best guess as to the seller broker conversation. Sure enough, the seller and his broker were considering all of the offers when we asked their waitress to subtly "pick up their tab" which we knew would prompt a thank you and an introduction to my buyer and me. It worked perfectly! We got the deal and closed a few weeks later.

All Nighter:
Before the days of faxes and with too few days to wait for Fed Ex, we drove all night to our buyer's condo in Mammoth to get a document executed which allowed a close to occur by the end of a bank's month. If the deal hadn't closed, the bank was going to renege on the deal points...disaster averted!