Just Because She Listened
Lisa Costa and her husband, Joseph, relocated to Metro Atlanta from Rhode Island. They arrived in Atlanta with a list of 23 homes found online and only two days to make their selection. “Tonya took us whirlwind house shopping,” says Lisa. “It was totally exhausting, but she was absolutely tireless.”
The Search Was On
The Costa’s list of homes covered three towns, all within a 20-mile radius of Lithia Springs. The first day before they started out, Tonya put all the homes in order, planning their tour route to avoid traveling back and forth from one side of the county to the other. They toured homes from 8:30 in the morning until 5:00 in the evening.
“Since this wasn’t our first time buying a home, Joseph and I knew we’d have to make compromises,” Lisa says. “And as we walked through homes that day, we talked between the two of us about each one’s features and what we could deal with living without and what we couldn’t. Not once did we realize that Tonya was listening to every word the whole time, even when we weren’t speaking directly to her.”
That night back in their hotel room, Lisa and Joseph searched online and added eight more homes to their list. And back with their agent the next morning, they handed it over. Tonya surprised them with another three homes she’d found that weren’t on the Internet.
“They were very recent foreclosures,” Lisa says. “That’s why they didn’t pop up like all the others when Joseph and I searched online. Thank goodness Tonya knew where to look, because the home we bought was one of her three!”
This home had everything they wanted and then some. “We literally walked around this house with our jaws dropping, saying oh my, are you sure that’s the price? This can’t be. It was as though Tonya had walked inside our heads and then built our house for us!”
One of Lisa’s favorite things about working with Tonya was how much fun she is. “We enjoyed each other’s company and had a lot of laughs. At our dream home, my husband took his time looking around, so Tonya and I got upstairs before him. We entered a huge bonus room built over the whole width of the three-car garage. When Tonya and I first saw it, we looked at each other and burst out laughing. It was painted a shocking fire-engine red. I called down to Joseph, ‘Honey, I found your man cave!’”
Lisa and Joseph had been preapproved for a mortgage, but when they showed the papers to Tonya, she said she could definitely get them a better deal. “She got on the phone with somebody that day,” Lisa says. “And we filled out the application from our hotel room and had a letter of approval that night! Everything she did, she did really quickly. And whenever I emailed her, 10 to 15 minutes later I’d get a phone call back.”
Time To Negotiate
Lisa says that when it came time to negotiate with the bank, Tonya fought tooth and nail for them. “I hear it’s unusual for a bank to pay any repair costs on a foreclosure because they’re sold as-is. But Tonya managed to get some repair costs paid. She also negotiated a good part of the termite treatment cost for the year, and she negotiated for almost all of the closing costs to be paid by the bank. Joseph and I knew she’d had to fight for every penny, but of course, she blew it off like it was no big deal, because that’s the way she is.”
The Costas’ whirlwind trip to Atlanta had been in the second week of November. Joseph was scheduled to start work on January 4th. But because the home was a foreclosure, they knew it would be a long wait to close and they’d have to rent for at least a few months. “Imagine our shock when Tonya called and said to mark our calendar to come down for a December 28th closing. We’re still wondering how she made it happen so quickly.”
To top it off, the Costas arrived at the closing to see Tonya pulling a gift from her car. “That made me cry,” Lisa says. “I’d never in my life expected to have a home like the one she found. That same home up North would have cost me more money than I’d ever have in my life, unless I won the lottery. And for Tonya to find it for us and then to make it so easy to close and move into, I felt like she’d already given us the best gift ever.”
Lisa says she’s been amazed and grateful every day since. “Joseph has all the workshop space he’s ever wanted, and I’ve got this beautiful home with a fabulous kitchen and three beautiful decks for entertaining. It’s everything we ever wanted. And it’s all because Tonya listened.”
Recently, one of Lisa’s friends up North phoned to say she and her family were moving to Atlanta. When the friend asked Lisa if she knew a real estate agent, she replied, “I’ve got the best Realtor® in the world for you!”