By Jaime Westman
A confluence of dismal economic news the past few years has created what many consider a nightmare situation for the housing industry. But every once in a while a story comes along that shows that owning a home can still be considered the American Dream.
Matt Swanson, an agent with Trans-Action Realty in Reno, NV, made a life-changing transaction for him and two clients in late June. The fact that the final price for the modest house in the suburb of Sparks was $148,000 was irrelevant.
“It felt like a million-dollar sale to me,” said Swanson, whose first closed sale from a HouseHunt lead will be one he never forgets.
When Pat and Salve Carmac enlisted his help, Swanson wasn’t sure what to expect. Pat was a paraplegic. He fell in love with Salve, his former caretaker who had come to the United States from the Philippines, and the two married and were living in an apartment. A house was very much on their wish list.
“This was a really great couple,” said Swanson, who has been with HouseHunt since Jan. 31. “I just figured I was going to do whatever I could to help them.”
To say Swanson went the extra mile would be an understatement. He compiled a list of houses the couple might be interested in and the three drove around the Reno area in Pat’s specialized van to check them out. After seeing about a dozen options, the Carmacs made their choice and Swanson submitted an offer for the bank-owned property.
About a week after having the offer accepted, Pat was forced to go to the hospital because of respiratory problems, something that is common for quadriplegics. Swanson visited him at the medical center and Pat had only one request.
“He really wanted to close on this house as soon as possible,” Swanson said. “I told him I’d tried to expedite the process as much as I could.”
A week later Swanson called and heard a sobbing Salve tell him that her husband was back in the hospital with a severe case of pneumonia and that both of his lungs had collapsed. The medical staff performed a tracheotomy and put him on a ventilator system, but Pat didn’t have much longer to live.
“It was just heartbreaking, so I did what I could to try to get this house closed as soon as possible,” Swanson said. “I was worried that he wasn’t going to make it to see the house that he wanted so badly to spend his last couple of breaths in … Each day I woke up thinking, ‘What can I do to make this deal go a little faster.'”
Swanson worked closely with financial officials and was able to trim some time off the occasionally cumbersome process. The house closed on June 22, and Swanson went back to the hospital to tell the Carmacs the good news.
“I got scrubbed up, went into his room and handed him the keys,” Swanson said about his emotional transaction with Pat. “At that point he was really weak, but I could still see that smile and tell that he really enjoyed being able to buy a house for his wife, knowing that she would be situated and comfortable and safe for the rest of her life.”
Pat spent a few more days in the hospital until the house was ready for him and Salve to move in. Pat died a few days later, on July 1, and Swanson was at his memorial the following day.
“Every deal is unique in some ways,” Swanson said, “but not all are as inspirational as this one was. It was something that I’m never going to forget. Without the help of HouseHunt I would have never met such a remarkable man and couple.”
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