Jim Colvin & Siobhan O’Malley

Jim Colvin & Siobhan O’Malley

Our journey began with a phone call asking me to keep a secret. A secret from some of the most important people in his life.. A secret about one of the biggest decisions in his life. My response, “You are killing me Jim!  You tell me something this big and I have to keep quiet for weeks. Don’t worry cuz… I am good at keeping secrets.”

Jim and I have been in talks for a few years about work, life, family and the journey from child, to young man and now grown man. I will never forget a lunch, at Lucky 13’s, he and I had. It was like nothing I expected. We talked for 2 hours about everything. As Jim’s older cousin, he asked me about my life’s journey. Things I’ve learned and stuff I did both personally and in business. We shared philosophies in life and I came to realize he is a very sharp guy who is well traveled and enchanting to be around.

On the phone, Jim asks me about Stillwater Minnesota and what I knew. As we talk he learned everything I knew about the community of Stillwater, the downtown area, schools and what people think about raising a family in Stillwater.  He proceeded to ask me about locations in St. Paul, like Highland Park, which offer an old world charm with a smaller city feel, local shops and great food.  As we talked I ask, “Jim, I have a feeling you are inquiring about all of these things for a reason… Now I know you are getting married soon, Siobhan is from the Chicago area (where they currently lived) so why are you asking “Me” so many question?  Wait! let me guess…. You are thinking about moving to Minnesota?”  A hush came over the phone. Jim got silent as he went into deep thought about divulging his secret. He contemplated how this was going to go down but, now it was real. How does he tell me, what will I say. Jim’s biggest question in his mind…  “Will the guy keep my secret?”

After an uncomfortable silence Jim says, “You must keep this a secret. My sister and parents don’t know about it. Can you do that for me?”  I responded, “Well, you didn’t kill anyone did you? hahaha!  If it is anything other than that I will keep your secret. I promise.”  Jim laughed and said, ” No, I didn’t kill anyone. But, we are going to be moving back to Minnesota. The only person in our family who knows in my brother Nick. Can you keep my secret.”  Knowing how much this is going to mean to his parents, My aunt and uncle, I was really excited for them. You could hear the excitement in Jim’s voice. Once I confirmed my promise Jim began to tell me all the stories about moving to Minnesota, how they came to their decision and why Stillwater or St. Paul. He was like a little kid in a candy store.

As we began our quest for a new home I helped Jim & Siobhan understand the process of buying a home. First, you need to iron out your financing, then we get you set up on a home search, plan a face-to-face meeting (of course in Stillwater) to answer questions getting you comfortable with the process and finally start looking at homes.  Jim & Siobhan were very diligent about doing their homework and getting educated on buying a home. Bringing some great questions to my attention. After our discussion and Jim’s inability to stump me on any of his questions, which I knew he was trying to do, he realized maybe I actually know what I am doing. I told Jim & Siobhan, “This is a big decision, just because I am your cousin/family doesn’t mean you should blindly trust I know what I’m doing and will have your best interest at heart. I see more agents in my business everyday who have no clue what they are doing and could care less about their client’s or family members best interests. Really all they care about is getting paid.”  Siobhan said, “Thanks for understanding Tim. Knowing you feel that passionate about your work tells us we are in good hands.”

The hunt is on, that same day we met for lunch in Stillwater we also decided to look at homes. Being Jim & I are efficiency fanatics this only made sense. After looking at 6 or 7 homes they got really excited about 2 of them. One home was lived in and needed a lot of work. But, the view, the view is amazing! I remember all three of us standing in the backyard speechless looking over the St. Croix River and new Stillwater bridge being built. All of us just dreaming about a nice spring, summer or fall day sipping a cocktail watching the sun go down while enjoying an amazing view. The second home offered old world charm both of them were looking for. Like an old ,well preserved, river boat in Stillwater, this home was beautiful. You could see each family who lived in this 100+ year old home left their mark and loved this old home.  While having lunch that day they both spoke with enthusiasm as they detailed their plan for either home. Then Siobhan asked, “Are we crazy writing an offer on the first day?”  Obviously, I have been asked this question countless times and my answer is always the same, “NO, if you find the home you love and it gives you that feeling words just can’t describe… Then be it the first or the 28th home you see.  That is when you know it’s the “One”.” They decided to sleep on it and get back to me.

A few days later I got the call, “Tim, let’s do this!  We want to write an offer on the home with a view. We see a ton of potential and are excited to remodel the old girl and make it our own.”  However, we need to get this house for $625,000.” being this home was listed for $725,000 I was given the challenge of getting this home for $100,000 less than list price.  I told Jim, “No worries cuz I have the perfect plan.” “Hahaha!” Jim laughed, “Really, you really think you can get us this house for $100,000 less than list price!!”  I said,” Jim, I live for challenges like these. You know there is no guarantee but, I have worked miracles before.”  Jim’s response, “How in the heck do you plan on doing that?”  Well, being you and Siobhan are smart, articulate and gifted we will craft a message which touches the sellers and brings them into your life. Because there is nothing more powerful than a story.  With that said, I helped Jim and Siobhan craft a message to the sellers. The message was about a young couple on their next journey in life. The journey from being young adults to one of Marriage, Family and Home.  Needless to say, this letter was a work of art. Upon delivery with the purchase agreement even the listing agent couldn’t help but be impressed with Jim & Siobhan’s story. She thanked me countless times for it.  Unfortunately, it was not the ticket. Another buyer came in at a much stronger price, which trumped our $625,000 offer.  Like I always say, “Everything happens for a reason.”

So off to home number two, all be it number two in order but number one in their heart. When we walked through this home you could see the excitement on both of their faces. “The One” If I have ever seen it I saw it that day. They both couldn’t stop talking about the view, location, old world charm and everything just seemed to fit.  “Tim, this is the house we both really want!  But, we can’t go over $625,000 and the house is listed for $665,000. Let me guess.. we are going to use the letter?” said Jim. “Of course” I responded knowing it was our secret. I thought to myself, “It may not be a $100,000 letter but it sure as heck could be a $50,000 letter. ” Upon delivery of their offer I positioned the letter with the listing agent. Knowing this was a much more realistic scenario I was pleasantly surprised at the seller’s response. They didn’t come all the way down but, they came down on price significantly. Knowing this wouldn’t cut it I got to work. One thing led to another and after a few days of back and forth we did it!  $609,250 NET Purchase Price!!!  $55,750 off the list price. Bam, I was pumped. Yes, we got that much off the list price but, more importantly I was pumped because I just helped them find their dream home. The home where they will raise their kids and create memories for a lifetime. Man I love when this happens 🙂

The call, “Hey Jim, guess what…  The seller’s accepted your offer.” Jim asked, “Yeah, but for how much?” I proceeded, “Well, you know you wanted me to get the deal done for $625,000 or less right?  How do you like $609,250?” Jim almost dropped the phone, I could feel Jim’s smile on the other end of the phone (now if you have not seen Jim’s smile, you must. It will brighten up anyone’s day) as he said, “YOUR ARE KIDDING ME RIGHT?” of course this is the best part of what I do, “Nope.” Jim then started laughing and he couldn’t help himself but to burst out, “Siobhan is going to be ecstatic about this!!”

After all of the excitement and elation wore off it was back to work. We needed to conduct inspection, complete financing and the closing process. After closing almost 1,000 homes in my day there is one thing I know.. It ain’t over until the keys change hands. All in all everything went smooth as silk and 60 days later they moved into their new home. I couldn’t be more proud of them and I am excited to see their journey.

Oh by the way, that same day we had lunch in Stillwater, Jim & Siobhan ended up telling Jim’s parents, at dinner, they were moving to Minnesota. My aunt Mary Jo & Uncle Dan were overjoyed. Could you ask for a better gift in life than to be close to your family and grandchildren.

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