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Honesty is the Best Policy in Ann Arbor Real Estate

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Missy Caulk TEAM

Are you honest?Several years ago, I met a professor in the Psychology Dept. at the University of Michigan. She had found me on the Internet and wanted me to preview her lake house to sell.

The house was a cute cottage on the Horseshoe Chain of Lakes. We walked around the cottage, it was only about 30 feet to the water. Really cute cottage.

As we continued to walked around the house, she told me that the air conditioning unit was encroaching on the house next door and she asked me if she should move it?

My response was, “What is your relationship to the neighbors next door?”

Lake cottages are notorious for being close together and it is not uncommon for there to be some encroachment into the next person’s property with a side-walk to the beach etc…

The seller informed me that the relationship was not great as her neighbor’s brother had wanted to purchase her cottage and they did not sell because he only wanted to pay $200,000. for the lake house.

We went inside and sat down. I had already pulled some comparables before I met with them so I had a rough idea of what she could get based on the square footage and lake frontage.

Which of my 5 kids is tubing?

At that point, I was honest with her and said, “Listen the cottage is worth about $220,000.

If you decide to list with me, by the time you pay the commission, transfer tax, title insurance you are really close to netting only $200,000. which is the amount your neighbors brother offered you.

I suggested to her: “go back and tell them you would like to reconsider the brother’s offer”. “If he doesn’t want to purchase then I will list the lake cottage and we will probably need to have the air-conditioner moved to the other side.”

Did I say she was shocked?

A few weeks later, I ran into her at the Lexus Dealership and she was so excited, she ran up to me and said that   the brother did indeed, accept her reconsideration of the offer of $200.000.

Iowa A month later, I received a  call from a couple from Iowa, who told me, they were moving here to teach in the, ( guess where )  Psychology Dept at the University of Michigan and Dr. XXX had told them to work with me.

How exciting is that?

Well, it gets better….

We found the couple from Iowa a home in May of 2005, a wonderful family who attended my Client Appreciation Party and we have stayed in touch the past 3 years.

baby number 3 is comingOver the holidays this year,  I got a call that baby number 3 was on the way and they needed a larger home.

We were able to find them the perfect home within walking distance to the University of Michigan.  (only looked at two) We just closed on their new home in Ann Arbor this month and I am listing their original home the first of March.

Let’s see, that is FOUR transactions all because I told the seller of the cottage to not list with me but try to work it out with her neighbors.

I believe you really can’t out-give to anyone, it will always come back to you 100 fold.

Honesty is always the best policy. 

It's not about the money, but about doing what is right? 


If you are looking for someone who will be honest with you, even though it means no commission, please call: 

Missy Caulk

Keller Williams 


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Missy Caulk, Ann Arbor Realtor

Missy Caulk, Broker/Owner of Savvy Realty Group can be reached at 734-926-9797 or email: Missy@MissyCaulk.com

Our Team of 6 agents are available to help you relocate to Ann Arbor, Saline, Dexter, Chelsea, Milan, Ypsilanti Township, Clinton, Manchester, Whitmore Lake, or throughout Washtenaw County, MI.

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Stay strong, stay faithful, stay honest, stay loving, stay true to who you are, most importantly stay true to who God is as you'll be who you are, and you'll be happy, you'll be you, you'll be free. -Jamie Caulk



Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Michael, yes they were, GO BLUE!!

Vance, thanks bunches.

Diane, yea unfortunately they don't

Bill, good for you and you are right it is all about the sellers bottom line.

Adam, honestly will never let us down. All we can do is tell them the truth. They decide.

Dan, always starts in the home, doesn't it?

Matthew, LOL I'm in the same boat, wouldn't remember what I told. Tee hee.

Kris, I have one couple in Saline that has referred me many times, they have been in their house for 30 years and probably won't move, but it is wonderful to get their referrals.


Feb 22, 2008 03:55 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Jill, Kathy, Thesa, Karen Anne, I would expect nothing less from any of you all.

Jan, no you are not being stupid if you are being honest with them and yourself.

Michele, I think there are always going to be agents that just care about the bottom line.

Ginger, AMEN!! 

Jeff, I know you will make it work out, unfortunate for the buyer though, new agent? of just dumb?

Patricia, thanks, I appreciate your email so much. 

Feb 22, 2008 04:00 AM
James Downing - Metro DC Houses Team REALTORS®, CRS, GRI, ABR,MRP, MilRes
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
When Looking to Buy or Sell - Make the Right Move
Missy - so true!!!  You cannot be afraid to lose a potential "deal" with 1 client.  Truly putting THEM above your needs means they will remember you for a very long time!
Feb 22, 2008 04:03 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
James, thanks for the comment and that is the point to make clients for life and not the "deal"
Feb 22, 2008 05:18 AM
Jean Doyle
RE/MAX House Values - Mount Arlington, NJ
Morris and Sussex NJ Real Estate

Great story. It all comes back to you if you do the right thing.

Feb 22, 2008 05:56 AM
Ginger Wilcox
Sindeo - San Francisco, CA
Where is the star on this one??  FEATURE, FEATURE!  Honesty is always the best policy, even when it doesn't seem so at the time.  This is really the only way to work!!  Did I say...FEATURE!
Feb 22, 2008 03:19 PM
Midori Miller
Talk 2 Midori, LLC - Daytona Beach, FL
Online Marketing For Real Estate Professionals
Missy-now that is awesome and oh so true...I have found by doing the right thing...more comes back to you!  You may loose this transaction...better to loose one now and then enjoy the referrals trickling in!  Excellent Post
Feb 22, 2008 03:30 PM
Michael McEleney
Urban Acres Real Estate - Coralville, IA
' Honesty. Integrity. Loyalty.'

I thought so. Keep up the good work and doing things the RIGHT way.


Feb 23, 2008 01:41 AM
Kelly Sibilsky
Licensed Through Referral Connection, LTD. - Lake Zurich, IL
Right on, Missy! I've had several referrals from a company that assists seniors in relocating to retirement communities. One of the referrals had some land she was considering selling, but did not need to do. After doing some research, I told her that I honestly thought now was not the time to sell. Anyway, to make a long story short I got a phone call from the original company that referred me thanking me for my honesty. They said, "see, this is why we refer you...you are honest and look out for the best interests of the client." Honesty is always, always the best policy!
Feb 23, 2008 01:55 AM
Chris Tesch
RE/MAX Bryan-College Station - College Station, TX
College Station, Texas Real Estate
Missy, it always pays to treat everyone you are in contact with exactly the way you would want to be treated.  I've made it a hallmark in my business and I believe it pays you back and then some!  People usually are shocked when you tell them something like that, but they will work to send you other people then!
Feb 23, 2008 06:35 AM
Cathy Tishhouse
RE/MAX Showcase Homes - Royal Oak, MI
Royal Oak Real Estate
Missy:  What a great story to support the integrity you have as a realtor and a person.  When we care about the results of our actions, it leads us down a narrow and unfufilling path.  Doing what is best for people will always give us a certain peace of mind without the intensity of always trying to get somewhere.  I have seen many instances of where things always work out for the best but, in this market, I can get caught up in worrying about the outcome.  Good reminder to relax and enjoy the journey.
Feb 23, 2008 11:29 AM
Tom Plant
WINEormous.com - Murrieta, CA
Missy - Right on! It makes me very happy to hear what you reaped for telling it like it is and doing the right thing!
Feb 24, 2008 12:07 AM
Derek Bauer's, www.DoorToDreams.com Door to Dreams Home Selling Team
Real Estate One - South Lyon, MI
Missy - Not sure if I've gotten the widget to work yet or not.  I have to post a blog and see if the widget pulls it into the blidget, as it wasn't working before.  Thank you for asking!  Have a nice Sunday!
Feb 24, 2008 01:13 AM
Katerina Gasset
The Gasset Group & Get It Done For Me Virtual Services - Provo, UT
Amplify Your Real Estate & Life Dreams!

Missy- We tell sellers not to sell if they do not have a place to go or do not need to sell if the market will not warrant it for them. They are always surprised. We just told one of our sellers to take their home off the market. And they were shocked too. But it it the best thing for them. 

But I differ about the money statement.

Why does it have to be OR. Why can't it be, it is all about being honest and the money, because you will be rewarded monetarily for being honest in the long run, you see, it is still about money. Or else I would not be in this business!  

Feb 24, 2008 08:24 AM
Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate
Katerina, my point was that in doing the right thing, the money will always come. It may not be in that situation but it will come unexpectedly. I agree, of course I don't work for free, but by being honest with clients about their particular situation the money will follow somewhere down the line, as in my example. :)
Feb 24, 2008 11:58 AM
Sharon "Toni" Brown
Exit Realty United - South Ozone Park, NY
South Ozone Park - New York City Real Estate

You know I feel empowered when I read these stories Missy.  It reinforces my belief that there are great professionals out there who put honor in front of a dollar.  "We need to recognize from where the blessings flow" and for those that don't believe, I hope they have an understanding of karma or sowing a good seed that reaps a bountiful harvest in its' time.

Great post!

Feb 25, 2008 12:04 AM
Ed Vogt
Midwest Properties of Michigan - Grandville, MI
Grandville, MI Midwest Properties
As RE Agents, we are looking out for our client's best interest. Period.  We actually just discussed this in our meeting yesterday.  Doing the right thing will reap you benefits in the long run, as it did for you.
Feb 26, 2008 12:02 AM
Sharon Simms
Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International - Saint Petersburg, FL
Missy - it's all about putting their interest first, and understanding that they make decisions based on their set of circumstances, not to "do" something to us. Some of my best sources of business are "clients" who never completed a transaction with me.
Feb 26, 2008 10:35 AM
Sarah Brink

I love this. I love that you were honest with your clients, and I adore that you're sharing this to show that you shouldn't just worry about the money. Thank you!

Nov 21, 2022 02:45 PM
Jade Moore
Pest Control Oakland - Alameda, CA

Lake cottages are notorious for being close together and it is not uncommon for there to be some encroachment into the next person’s property. | san fernando valley tree service

Apr 26, 2023 01:19 AM