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Sometimes, Realtors Have To Do A Little Extra To Close The Deal

By Sherri C. Ranta

Helping people buy homes is what Realtors do for a living, but many go above and beyond the call of duty to make sure a deal gets done.

Among the most complex and sophisticated deals Kevin Tomlinson of Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell has been involved in was the sale of a penthouse floor at La Gorce Palace, 6301 Collins Ave., Miami Beach.

"There was a mistake in the way the terraces were assigned in the condominium documents," he said. "The owner realized that at some point she would have to make it interesting for all the owners in the building to be interested in her saga."

The owner offered the condo association $100,000 if it would help her get the documents changed. A vote of half of the owners of the 208 units was required. The deal took about four months to complete, Mr. Tomlinson said.

Kevin Tomlinson: Owner of a Miami Beach condo paid $100,000 to get glitch in documents fixed.

"All odds were against us," he said, "but she smartened up right away and did what she needed to do - which most owners would not do."

Ultimately, the deal made her units more valuable, he said, because the terraces were then assigned to each individual unit on the floor, making them more attractive to buyers.

Owner of a Miami Beach condo paid $100,000 to get glitch in documents fixed.

Veteran Veronica Cervera of Cervera Real Estate said she finds herself and her family helping out-of-town clients settle in their new homes well after the deals are done.

Once, she said, she rushed a client to the hospital to be there in time for the birth of his baby and to hold the wife's hand during the delivery. The couple had no family in Miami.

"I think a Realtor is sometimes the 911 for a lot of people," Ms. Cervera said.

Another time, an Italian client called her from Mercy Hospital because her husband had a diving accident, Ms. Cervera said. The incident happened 10 years ago but produced lasting friendships, she said.

In another incident, she met a client at Miami International Airport and took him to a cardiologist after receiving a frantic long-distance call from his wife, "A Realtor is what you use when you have an emergency in Miami," she said.

Jackie Marks of Turnberry International Realty in Aventura said she helps out-of-town clients buy homes here, often sight-unseen.

One Northeast couple spent a long time looking for a condo within walking distance of a synagogue in Aventura, she said. After finding one, Ms. Marks said, she called them to approve a contract. The wife came on the next plane and decided to buy the condo.

Another client, she said, bought a unit at pre-construction prices and brought his 80-year-old parents to see what he purchased. The group went up multiple stories on a nearby tower under construction to check out the view.

Ms. Marks took a picture of the group and e-mailed the picture to the client, who wanted the picture of his parents in hardhats. "He enlarged and framed it," she said.

Realtors at Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate in Coral Gables find interesting ways to close deals, said managing broker Charlotte Seidel. Selling a single-family home in Coconut Grove took some time, she said, until the buyer saw an old sailboat in the owner's carport. The buyer then agreed to meet the price if the seller would throw in the sailboat. That closed the deal.

"It all really worked out because the agent was a sailor and could sell the idea of having a sailboat and going a few blocks down the road to the Coconut Grove Sailing Club," she said. "Agents really put things together through their creativity."

Another agent poked a little fun at her clients, a couple, when she picked them up to go look at a home with her suitcase in the car. She told them the house is perfect, Ms. Seidel said, and she wasn't leaving until they bought it.

"They had looked for so long," she said, "They weren't difficult buyers, but they hadn't found the right house." She brought her suitcase as a little joke, and they said, "You're right, this is our house."


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