What I love most about selling real estate at Lake Sinclair

First time home buyers are what I love best about selling real estate. Donald often asks me when I get one of these clients if I have "adopted" another child. My usual answer is yes. 

They aren't the easiest clients.  They sometimes are at the bottom price point and always have tastes that exceed their budgets, but I don't mind digging to find out what the MUST haves are vs. the "but I really want" that list. I have several that really stand out in my memory.

One was a cash buyer. And a lot of you will probably laugh when I tell you that I helped this buyer find a house she could live in for $14,000. It did need new carpet and that was also in her budget. But she really wanted to stand on her own two feet and not have a mortgage payments and she'd saved money for three years and came to me with her dream.  I wasn't the first broker she'd approached, but I was the first that said I would work with her. 

It's years down the road and she still lives in that house. On moving day her movers broke her water line.  And although the bill was just slightly less than the amount of my commission I paid a plumber to go over and fix that water line and I negotiated with the water company to adjust her bill for the leak.

Another is a young college professor who was a renter and wanted a house where she could grow her family. I found her a loan officer who was willing to find the best fit for her mortgage which turned out to be a USDA 100% financing loan. Now that meant that not only did she have to qualify for the loan, but the house did as well.  In her price point again, it was no easy task. She ended up with an REO that required some repairs for the loan to close. Now the listing agent was certain that the bank was NOT going to make these repairs. But we sent the request in writing and the repairs were approved and made. She wrote my very first unsolicited review on Zillow and has sent me countless other buyers over the years.

Then there was the young man who I had done a bit of work for his grandfather who was a builder years ago... He also bought a prior foreclosure that was being flipped by an investor. When we found out that it was going to cost $3,000 to get the water turned back on we negotiated the seller to pay that cost to keep that buyer in a position to buy that home. He has since married and become a county commissioner. I later also sold his brother in law his first home which was the house he's brought all three of his babies home to for the first time. They are currently in the market to find a bigger house.

The most recent stand out first time home buyer that captured my heart was Connecticut. ( that's my pet name for her) It was one of those late night I picked up the phone times and we chatted.  I signed her up on my web site and she planned a trip through my town where were had ONE day to find THE house. To date that 12 hour experience was my longest one day appointment. Granted she ended up with a fixer, but she ended up with one heck of lake view and she's really just my other daughter now.  In May she's going to be one of my daughter's bridesmaids. 

All of those first time buyers come from different walks of life, but the thing they have in common is I'm still in their phone contacts and I still hear from them all on a regular basis.  Buyers and sellers have come and gone from my life, but never have I lost contact with a single one of those first time home buyers.  I'm delighted to call each of them a friend. And I feel like each of them know that if they picked up the phone and told me that there was something they needed from me that I'd be right there with it just as quick as I could get there. 

So yup, without a doubt, first time home buyers are what I love best about my job. And honestly I've learned so much from each of them as well. When last year about this time my daughter was under contract for her first home it was a much easier task because I had such a vast amount of experience with first time home buyers. When she would spaz out and they ALL do when it's their first time I was prepared.  They range in age from not much younger than me to almost right out of high school and I love all of them. If it's not part of your niche and you're feeling a little eh about what you do for a living, take on a first time home buyer and I promise you'll get excited about real estate again.

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Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


Broker License # 169695  Lane Realty License # H-11420

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Comment balloon 13 commentsTammy Lankford, • February 25 2017 08:40PM


Good Evening Tammy - that is very gratifying to have all those adopted children.  That they still have your contact really says something about the connection you established.

Posted by Grant Schneider, Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes (Performance Development Strategies) almost 4 years ago

A lot of your words hold true for me in my real estate practice Tammy Lankford, Thanks for your love story 

Posted by Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS, South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker! (Fathom Realty Washington LLC) almost 4 years ago

Hi Tammy, what a great story, who knew that she would become part of your family. One of the things I love about this business is the opportunity to meet so many great people.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) almost 4 years ago

Beautiful post Tammy, you are an amazing real estate agent broker.  These stories are just great! -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) almost 4 years ago

Great post about why you love your job, Tammy Lankford, It's a real pleasure to help first-time buyers, even if they do require a LOT of time and effort.

Posted by Nathan Gesner, Broker / Property Manager (American West Realty and Management) almost 4 years ago

Grant Schneider I've always believed I should have had more children so I just got them this way.

Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, Broker, Tacoma Washington it really is a very persaonal relationship and we do bond with people because it's such a big part of their lives

Beth Atalay my daughter instantly love her when they met.  And they are relatively speaking close in age. 


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 4 years ago

That is really cool that $14K will actually buy a home!  I don't think it would buy anything here.

Posted by Brian England, MBA, GRI, REALTOR® Real Estate in East Valley AZ (Vacasa) almost 4 years ago

Tammy, Quite the variety of first time home buyers!  And no doubt, the first timer on a tight budget can be a real challenge to find a livable home for.

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) almost 4 years ago

Kasey & John Boles and the team at Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC my company has two "slogans" one is "We treat you like family".  My office operates like a family and we treat our clients and customers the way we want to be treated.  When I see people operating outside of that scope and thinking of clients only as income it just infuriates me.

Nathan Gesner I enjoy many aspects of my career, but those first time home buyers are my absolute favorites.



Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 4 years ago

Brian England that house being in that condition was a real fluke. The owner had died and had no heirs that did anything and it went back to a local bank. They just wanted enough for payoff and commission to get rid of it on an as is sale.  Just so happened I knew about it before it hit the market and my gal got her offer in really quick when it went live in the MLS and they took it.  Our average is well above that, but we have pending right now that is just $32,000.  It's going to take a little work and I'd guess for under $50,000 it will be habitable, again, rare, but still happens sometimes.

Liz and Bill Spear and it is always an inventory that is tight too.  Sometimes it pays to be in the know... watch the legals for which homes will be foreclosures, so I know who the lender is so I know who is likely to get the listing and because I have great agent to agent relationships they will heads up me when they are about to put it in the MLS.  Last December I had one pending REO about 15 minutes after it went live in the MLS.  Agent gave me heads up and I had a prepared offer ready for my buyers to esign and we just put the dates and the price and it was the fastest REO close ever.


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) almost 4 years ago

Tammy what an inspirational post! So happy to see you back and writing your terrific and honest stories. I have worked with them all, first time, umpteenth time, those with no money, those with LOTS of money and an attitude (yeah, get over yourself). Buyers, sellers, neighbors, curmudgeons, all of us are humans and deserve to be treated with integrity and respect. And a bit of that pay-it-forwardness from your realtor. What a winning combo!! You have it in spades.

(I loved that she'll be in your daughter's wedding--too funny).

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) almost 4 years ago

Okay, Cuz, this is what I love about you.  You "collect" people.  Even me.  These stories should be amazing, but knowing you for all these years, they aren't.  

They are what make you one of the best brokers AND one of the best people I am proud to call a friend.

Posted by Ron Marshall, Birdhouse Builder Extraordinaire (Marshall Enterprises) almost 4 years ago

Just keep adopting them.  So many are in our circle of friends.

Posted by Don Baker (Lane Realty) almost 4 years ago