The University of Chicago
Graduate School of Business
5807 South Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Jean-Pierre H. DubÃ©
Sigmund E. Edelstone Professor
March 5, 2013
To whom it may concern,
It is with pleasure that we write to you on behalf of Kate Huff, who has helped us several times with our realty needs. Unlike many realtors with whom we have dealt over the years, Kate was patient, attentive and extremely understanding. It is no surprise that we have subsequently become very close friends with Kate and her family. On several occasions, we have strongly recommended Kate to our friends and colleagues when they have sought real estate advice or help.
We have known Kate since 2009, when her husband Matt, a local builder, renovated our previous home. Our experience with them was so positive that we asked them for assistance when we decided to move to a new house in 2012. The move in 2012 was very stressful. Selling a house in such a weak economic climate is very risky. This stress needs to be compounded with the additional burden of securing financing for a much larger home. Instead of pressuring us into buying the new house and putting our previous property on the market, Kate first provided us with a very realistic picture of our prospects. For starters, it was unavoidable that we would take a loss on the sale of our previous house relative to the price at which we had purchased it in 2006. Second, it was clearly going to require some delicate balancing to ensure that we could sell our home fast enough to precede the closing date on our new home, a non-negotiable requirement for the bank issuing our new loan. Kateâ€™s approach consisted of setting realistic expectations for the selling price on our old home relative to the speed at which we could hope to sell. She made sure we understood the risks and the odds. To quantify these odds, she provided us with reams of data on comparable property listings in the area, selling times and selling prices. In the end, we decided to go through with the sale, feeling confident that the â€œaskâ€ price for our old home was realistic and that our expected loss was manageable in light of the purchase of the new home.
To put this situation into perspective, this was the third time we have entered the home-buying market and it was also the first time a realtor impressed upon us the facts, both positive and negative. As we are both very analytically-minded, we appreciated the perspective!
Before putting our house on the market, we submitted our bid on the new home and entered into a weeks-long sequence of negotiations with the seller. During that time, Kate took us to visit several other property listings in Winnetka to help us understand the â€œgoing rateâ€ for households with comparably amenities. This perspective was very helpful for our negotiations. In the end, we realized that we were getting a very good deal on the new home and we reached an agreement with the sellers.
â€¨With a deal in hand, Kate then put our new house on the market. We were very concerned about selling and immediately pushed to do some cosmetic renovations on the old house, such as painting and other â€œtouch-upâ€ work. Kate talked us out of this. She was very patient, but firm. She reminded us that most buyers would be hooked on the â€œlookâ€ of the house. So, instead of doing touch-up work, we instead spend several afternoons moving around furniture and re-organizing the space (with 3 kids clutter accumulates quickly!). Within a week, we had two couples in a bidding war over our home. Within two weeks, we had an offer in hand that was very close to the expected level we had anticipated before beginning the process. The quantitative predictions Kate had made (both in terms of price and timing) were dead on.
The buyers for our old house were not very easy. In spite of the deal, we went through three agonizing weeks of additional negotiations. In spite of the fact that the house was only 6 years old, the buyers brought in two separate inspection teams, including a team to conduct an infrared test that is extremely rare for residential property. Even the inspector felt a little embarrassed about the superfluous level of attention. We gradually became frustrated and angry with the situation. At one point, we were ready to call the entire deal off out of exasperation. Thankfully, Kate maintained calm throughout the entire process. She sat us down with all the facts in front of us and walked us through the various scenarios available to us: call it off, put the house back on the market, work things out with the picky buyers. In the end, we decided to work out a compromise with the buyers. In retrospect, we are extremely glad we found a compromise. Our new home is wonderful and the deal, in net, was outstanding even if it required incurring a stressful week of negotiations with picky buyers.
We cannot over-state our recommendation of Kate. This was by far the most positive house-buying experience we have had. Kateâ€™s balance between patience and professional courtesy along with logic and analytical reasoning made this a very reasoned and, as a result, very satisfying home-buying experience for us. As we have subsequently become close friends with the Huff family, it has not surprised us in the slightest to discover the large network of friends they have built through their realty business. Clearly our experience is typical in Kateâ€™s network.
Please do not hesitate to contact us should you wish to discuss any aspect of this letter or our experience in more detail.
Teresa and Jean-Pierre DubÃ©
Jean-Pierre DubÃ© Teresa Mascarenhas- DubÃ©