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Written By: ?Nick McKinney
Happy Front Porch Friday
I caught up with Chris Bury and Charlie Howarth this week on what has become an epic brokerage story; like, next level kind of stuff.
Chris and Charlie lead our religious, education and not-for-profit group out on the West Coast. California is a huge hub for our clients and has become a critical part of our not-for-profit business. So much so that Chris, Charlie and John were invited to co-office with our largest not-for-profit client, Lutheran Church Extension Fund (LCEF). LCEF has been a client for more than 20 years and selected Foundry Commercial to be their outsourced real estate team, which handles everything from REO, brokerage, property management, asset management and strategic consulting.
LCEF is the internal bank for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod and just like all lenders in the country, they have been strategically working with churches and organizations that have struggled to perform on their loans. Loan losses can have a large impact on the profitability of lenders and this year was no different. Their fiscal year ends on June 30 and their profitability for the year was hinging on one large sale that HAD to close by that day. If the property was not sold and it slipped to the next year, the associates of LCEF would be impacted financially.
IT WAS ON!
Chris had been working on this deal for months but just like most real estate transactions, he hit a few bumps in the road in the home stretch. Primarily, the Buyer was having difficulty obtaining financing in time to close before June 30th. However, the team was able to brainstorm and create a strategy, along with LCEF, that solved that problem. As the Foundry team was approaching the final week of closing, it came to their attention that the Buyer was going to be on an Alaskan cruise and unable to sign and return the closing documents! To have put all the work into getting the deal to the one-yard line and then not succeed because of this one detail was bonkers!
But sometimes genius sparks when the pressure is on. After learning the Buyer was not going to be available to sign and deliver the documents, Chris and Charlie went into superhuman mode. Chris quickly researched when the Buyer was going to be at port in Alaska. He then researched where the closest notary was, so, if the stars aligned the Buyer could hop in a cab, go to the notary, sign the papers and overnight them back to California – everyone wins! Not so fast! Everyone Chris spoke to could not guarantee that the documents would arrive back to California in time for them to be delivered to the title company and recorded by June 30th. With defeat starting to settle in, Charlie quickly searched for flights to Alaska. Yep, sometimes you have to take things into your own hands.
After finding affordable red eye tickets from LAX to Alaska, they were out the door within 30 minutes and the journey to save LCEF’s year was afoot. So many things could go wrong. The flights could get delayed, the Buyer could not end up being able to sign the documents, etc. However, after they arrived in Alaska and quickly set out to locate the small shop where the Buyer was supposed to have signed the documents. With little sleep, and hours to think about whether this was going to be really cool or an absolute failure, they walked into the office and, lo and behold, there was a nice, older woman with a package in her hand who said, with a huge smile on her face, “You fellas must be the ones looking for these documents.” You can imagine the joy that swept over Chris and Charlie as they took possession of the documents. We have all experienced that feeling in some form or fashion. It’s an unexplainable high.
They were on the ground for five hours and made it back to California in time for the deal to close and be recorded. When you think about the dedication and passion around this it really makes you smile. Chris and Charlie (and the Foundry platform) love serving clients. The level of how we serve is what really sets us apart. This story is a living example of how that plays out week to week.
Above is a picture that Charlie texted me captioned,
“The eagle has landed.”