October 18, 2022

Promises Made, Promises Kept

“Hello, Steve. I’m calling to keep my promise.”

On the phone was a man who had asked me to list his Livonia car sales and repair shop in 1998. After we had begun marketing the property, this seller got a contract to fabricate automotive parts in the building. He asked me to cancel the listing.

He expected me to be mad about it. When instead I wished him all the best in his new business, he said, “If I ever decide to sell this building again, I’m going to call you. I promise.” And I promised to work hard for him if that time ever came.

Twenty-three years later, ready to retire, he remembered me and his promise. When we met, it was déjà vu. He was the same warm and welcoming gentleman.

We listed the 18,000-square-foot building with advantages that included 3 different automotive licenses—new/used car sales, automotive parts sales, and auto repair—as well as zoning for both retail and light manufacturing. We fully expected that either the large Chevrolet dealership to the west or the large Ford dealership to the east would take an immediate interest.

So we were surprised when they didn’t. Many other prospective purchasers did take an interest though, and my client accepted a cash offer for nearly full price that could close quickly.

Now enter the Ford dealer, but not in the way we expected. Preparing for the sale, my client’s attorney discovered legal documents that granted the adjoining Ford dealer right of first refusal, should my client’s property ever be listed. The dealership matched the offer we had in hand in both price and terms. The sale closed in about 90 days.

In a world where everything seems transient and undependable, this gentleman remembered and kept his promise to me. And I kept mine to him. If that’s the kind of reliability and relationship you’re looking for from a broker, give me a call.

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