Chuck Fuery has been characterized as an “exceptionally creative” Realtor. To Chuck, “creativity is really only taking the raw materials that everyone in real estate has at their disposal and then organizing them in such a way as to produce a new and effective result.” All seasoned realtors know the nuts and bolts of real estate. It is not difficult to learn how to post a sign, enter a property into the MLS, or hold an open house. The unique challenges in a real estate transaction that require creativity and exceptional solutions lie in the areas of marketing exposure, design and preparation for the sale of a home, matching the buyer’s needs with the seller’s expectations, and negotiating a satisfactory conclusion to a sale in which the buyer and seller appear, on the surface, to be incompatible.
Below, very briefly, are some of the transactions involving special situations in which Chuck Fuery has needed to draw upon unusual solutions:
- A elderly client with a home in need of repair wanted to sell her property for the highest possible price. She wanted to paint and carpet her home, and make repairs to her roof and fence. As is the case for many seniors, the majority of her net worth “resided” invisibly in the equity of her home. It would have been imprudent of her to have taken the money she needed to repair her home out of her meager savings. Chuck negotiated for her a short-term loan with no interest for the first six months, all due and payable at the close of escrow. The property’s “makeover” required three and a half weeks, and her property sold and closed escrow within six weeks. Her net proceeds from the sale were considerably larger (over $100,000 greater) than they would have been had she not made the repairs and brought her much more attractive property to market.
- Just a few years out of college, two first-time homebuyers had a very good combined monthly income, but only minimal savings. They had only 5% down for a property that required 20% down to secure the most favorable conventional financing for their situation, and to avoid private mortgage insurance. Chuck negotiated a sale for them which included an equity share agreement between them and their parents to cover the needed down payment. Because of Chuck’s extensive experience with “special situation financing,” and with the help of his experienced creative lending partner, the buyers were able to benefit from a loan with a graduated interest rate starting at 3.5%. Additionally, they were eligible for a first-time homebuyers’ tax credit (which reimbursed them for most of their down payment in the next tax year). This strategy allowed them to purchase a home that was considerably larger and more attractive to them than they ever thought possible. And all of this for an after-tax payment of considerably less than what they had been paying as renters for the previous five years.
- A home seller was right in the middle of a heated divorce. While she owned her property as sole and separate property, she could not afford to pay an attorney to defend her and make the mortgage payments on the home. The home went into foreclosure, and she was not permitted to refinance the property because her husband had placed a lis pendens on it, which prevented her from either selling or refinancing. She was five days away from losing the home in foreclosure when she met Chuck Fuery. At this point in the foreclosure process, the bank required full repayment of their entire principal loan balance. Chuck immediately got on the phone and negotiated an “amicable truce” with the lender. They arranged a private loan to pay off the monthly payments that were in arrears, with an additional amount large enough to enable her to continue living in the property long enough to resolve her divorce, clear title, and sell the property for a significant profit! Had she not met Chuck, she would have suffered a significant loss because her property would have been sold for pennies on the dollar at a foreclosure auction.
- A woman in Palo Alto decided to sell her home and move into a home for seniors. Initially, she and her son attempted to sell the home on their own. They advertized it vigorously on Craigslist and in the newspaper and received several offers. When they became uncomfortable about the negotiation process and confused by all the state-mandated disclosures, they gave Chuck a call. He recommended that they step back for a moment, reassess their preparation of the home, and market to a wider audience. They allowed him to bring in his team of experts, which included a contractor, a handyman, a designer, and a stager. Over a period of two and a half weeks, modest improvements were made, including painting & carpeting. Additionally, newer fixtures and window coverings were installed, a splash of color was added to the landscape design, and the handyman was allowed to make simple improvements to the home as recommended by the home inspector and pest control inspector. These improvements delayed their marketing time by approximately two and half weeks, and cost approximately $13,000. Chuck negotiated the payment for these services to be forestalled until the close of escrow. When the “updated” property was re-advertised three weeks later, the same property yielded 17 offers and a selling price that was $120,000 more than their best previous offer. Needless to say, the owner was ecstatic, and called Chuck a “Real Estate Magician!”
- A woman and her advisor called Chuck with an unusual situation. She had a serious health condition which required 24/7 long-term care with a live-in nurse. At one point, her ability to afford this in-home care was no longer there. She was advised to sell her home and to move to long-term hospice care in a sterile care facility. She attempted to get a reverse mortgage to assist her in her sizable monthly health-related expenses, but was turned down several times by lenders as she was an older woman and had no income to speak of. Chuck was called in to consult with her and arrive at a solution. He took the lender’s arm’s-length appraisal on the property, and then used his extensive network to secure an investor who would purchase it. Included in this “miracle sale” was the provision that the woman would be able to live in her home for the rest of her life, uninterrupted. (This is known as a Life Estate.) This gave her the best of both worlds. At the close of escrow, she was able to place her proceeds into savings which were held in safekeeping at her bank, and from which she drew monthly for her health expenses. After the sale, as the terms of her sales agreement stated, she was able to continue living in her home for the rest of her life with no rent or expenses assessed by the new owner. For this transaction, Chuck won the award of “Most Creative Transaction,” a prestigious award given annually by the Bay Area Wealth Builders Organization (BAWB). The client and her advisor remained forever grateful that they had met Chuck, and that he was able to solve her problem in such a comprehensive and creative way. She often told Chuck that, had he not arranged this sale of her home in such a unique way, she would have been forced to sell it in a traditional manner, and to live the rest of her days in a medical facility, which she was certain would have shortened her life considerably.