A Tale of Two Care Homes

The other day I was showing property to my client interested in purchasing a care home business. I’m enjoying working with her on this project for several reasons. One, because she is a woman, jumping out of her regular job and venturing into becoming a business owner. An Entrepreneur, which is close to my heart.  I love business. I love the challenge and I love that I get to be a part of encouraging and supporting another motivated woman to make that jump.  Two, she is a registered nurse.  Like many of you, I have spent too much time in a hospital dealing with major crisis of my loved ones.  From when I lost my Dad when I was 20, my Mom when I was 21, to just this week when my man Mike had surgery.  Every time I think of those nurses, the love and care and comfort they provided during our weakest and most painful moments I tear up.  All nurses are heroes in my book.

So to see that my client already a nurse plans to help the elderly, it means something to me.

We looked at two very different homes/businesses the other day.  One is a normal sized 3 bedroom home with room for 6 clients.  The home is run by another nurse already.  She had the softest warmest hands, she gazed into both our eyes when she spoke about treating her patients like family.  The home was decorated with taste and meticulously clean.   In the hallways there are framed photo collages on the walls of all the senior clients.  Pictures of birthday parties and celebrations.  The nurse who is selling it is looking for a new owner she can trust to provide the same level of care to her clients.

The income for the property is strong and the price is fair.

The second property we looked at could not be more opposite.  It is a long term residential care home for level 1 psyche patients with mental health issues.  The income to run it comes from State subsidies and Social Security Income.  When we walked it it felt institutional.  Functional but old.  It smelled of stale cigarette smoke and although there are no smoking signs everywhere there were cigarette butts on the floor in the rec room.  The patients are certainly low income and they don’t’ have a ton of visitors.  In talking with the staff we were told they aren’t’ dangerous at all but they are free to come and go during the day.  My client asked the listing agent why they didn’t fix up the place more.

“Why not paint and replace the dirty worn furniture?”

The agent said “You can but it will just get dirty again.”  I could see this bothered my client a lot.  She was saddened to see that the owners didn’t feel it was worth it to provide a nicer environment for the residents.

We talked later by phone about which of the two properties she wanted to make an offer on.  The second property was a good deal more profitable.  Then there is the added bonus that the income is guaranteed by the state programs.

She asked me for my opinion. She wanted to know which one I would choose.  I told her…

From a profit perspective, the second property makes more money and has less risk of losing money.  However, my goal is for my clients to be as happy as possible after every transaction. I asked her if she felt comfortable in that home?  Would she be happier in the first home with the seniors.  I said “You are the one that will be spending hours there each week managing your business, you should make the choice that you will be happiest with.  Not everything’s about profit”

Later we met in person to take care of paperwork.  She told me that she and her brother wanted to thank me for my advice.  She said they had been working with another agent 6 months ago who they felt constant pressure from to write offers. To hurry up and make a decision.  And always the agent guided them towards the most expensive properties.  She said, “Not only did you care about my comfort and happiness, the property you were suggesting (the senior care home)  is $200,000 cheaper.  That means less money for you in commission but you still said what you did.”

See many agents are taught from the day they get the license to Sell! or ABC – Always Be Closing!  They are taught to pressure clients to decide quickly and spend more.  There are classes on “overcoming objections” “Every no leads to a yes”  All of the standards of Sales Culture in our society.  I’ve always hated that culture.  I’m the type of person who automatically says I’m fine when a salesperson asks if I want help in a store.  I don’t want to feel pressured.  So I know my clients don’t either.   I’ve learned to practice the golden rule in my 11 years in this industry that when I treat people the way I would want to be treated they end up happy and satisfied.

Are you wondering which property she chose?  Well, after checking with their loan officer, she is making an offer on BOTH homes.  I hope she gets them both. She said she is looking forward to fixing up the second property and giving those clients the comforting home they deserve.

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