Regardless of your age, most people will revert back to undergrad life when college football season comes around. Loyalty to your alma mater is above all else … almost.
Being true to your school
As a Chicago transplant dating back almost 30 years, I remain a diehard Southern Cal football fan each fall Saturday. Whether or not they are a national contender (which they’re not this year, btw), the dedication to my school runs deep. When your team is playing their arch-rival — a game considered by many to be one of the biggest rivalries in all of college football — there’s nothing else quite like it.
Just about every team playing Notre Dame gears up for their chance to play the Irish. As a Trojan, I appreciate the fact that Notre Dame generally considers USC to be their #1 rival. And this week, these two storied college football traditions (having played every year since 1926, except during WWII) collide once again.
Given that Notre Dame is 87 miles from Chicago and USC over 2000 miles away, it’s no wonder that for every Southern Cal grad you meet here, there are several hundred Notre Dame alums. Long before I became a realtor, I was used to meeting an ND grad on every block. Chicago is such a draw of alumni from all over the midwest (and the country), but their largest single contingent may well be Notre Dame.
The most important role
In simplest terms, an agent’s primary job responsibility is to look out for your client’s best interests. That can mean numerous different things — but bottom line, you are to put the needs of your clients above all else. I knew this when starting in the business almost 20 years ago, I still enjoy and appreciate the trust that clients put in me every day, and will steadfastly fight tooth and nail for them every time.
Loyalties put to the test
A decade ago, I was helping a young couple find their first home. They knew what size home they wanted, knew the neighborhood they preferred to be in, and their ideal layout and level of finishes. As often happens, there are a few other things that come up after actually having seen a home that become important to put a deal together — as was the case with them, except this scenario was unlike anything I’d done before or since.
They found a home that fit their criteria — they loved the location, the layout, the finishes, etc. They also saw one thing during the showing that they also knew they wanted: a Fighting Irish trash can that was in one of the bedrooms. (Often times there are items that get negotiated into a deal one way or another, and this was something that they knew they wanted.) Ugh, I thought with a pit in my stomach. The leprechaun I always hated, sticking up his dukes ready to fight.
Above all else is loyalty to your client’s best interests. And … if there’s anything I love more than Trojan football on Saturdays, it’s negotiating. It is the challenge that I look forward to in every transaction — strategizing about the best approach to an offer, anticipating the moves the other side will make, and achieving the goal of a happy client and a beneficial deal. With that in mind, I flipped my attitude and fought hard on all terms of this deal, including that garbage can.
Negotiations were getting near the end of the road, and final terms were being given by both sides. My buyers found a price and terms that worked well for them, but only if they got the trash can. I was straightforward in telling the other agent their final offer and made sure the sellers were aware that the deal hinged upon it. While the sellers had owned it for years and really did not want to part with it, they decided that the best choice was to move forward, garbage can and all.
To this day, getting that trash can included for my clients was one of my most rewarding and enjoyable accomplishments.
Given the large ND alumni population in Chicago, I have likely represented several dozen Notre Dame grads throughout the years. I make a point to let each one know upfront that I went to Southern Cal — and also share this true story about how a Trojan battled on behalf of his Notre Dame client to land them that very prized possession.