Nov 16, 2022
Margo Christophilis is a Managing Broker in Seattle, Washington who loves to help people get into their first home. When she is not working she is dancing and doing crossfit. Being with family is also very important for her.
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Laura Moreno: [00:00:00] First, I'm S Nation. I am Lara, and I am super excited to bring you our fantastic guest today, Margo Christos.
Margo is a managing broker in Seattle, Washington, who loves to help people get into their first home when she is not working. She is dancing and doing CrossFit. She also loves being with her family, including hate, Her eight year old grandson, Alejandro. Margot, are you ready
Margo Christophilis: to. I am ready to flow. Good morning everybody.
Laura Moreno: Grace, I've given our community just a little insight. Please share more about you personally and then expand upon your business.
Margo Christophilis: So basically I have been in the business 17 years and I have helped many people. We help, uh, between 4 45 and 50 families a year. Uh, first time home buyers are very important to me, very close to my heart as everything is a process and people want to not fear, they want to understand the process.
So, um, out of my [00:01:00] 17 years, I've been down at Keller Williams in Greater Seattle, but I do it two and a half hour radius, so don't worry. We help everybody and we're just here to make the process easy and get people into home ownership and building that equity instead of paying somebody else's. So tell
Laura Moreno: me more about helping First.
I'm home buyers because, um, I am reading right now a book called The Millionaire Real Estate Agent that says, if you want to be successful, focus on sellers. And, and this is why I, I, in my opinion, it's hard sometimes to find really good real estate agents that. Work with first time home buyers. Tell me more about that.
Do you agree with that philosophy or,
Margo Christophilis: I mean, I don't agree with the philosophy. You know, if you look up Gary Keller with Keller Williams, he's written three books, um, and one is the Red Book and then the Shift, and then the one thing concentrated on one thing. With that, I am considered a a mega [00:02:00] agent, which means I help both sellers and buyers.
I don't think you. You know, do that to people and, and, and just try to do one side of something. Everyone is important in their own way. Yes, sellers are important, and you do open houses, and then you bring in buyers. But at the same time, I'm committed to reaching out to people, like on a show, you know, a podcast like yours, lada.
And really meet people and teach 'em the way. So they decide, do I wanna buy? Am I ready? What does it look like? Um, it's scary for people. So I, I don't agree with that. I, I love helping everybody. I do
Laura Moreno: both though. That's awesome. No, and I always say that. First time home buyers are the best people to work with because we end up sending you our friends and family doing more business with you.
So it's like the long term clients, we, we just need some education. I'm talking about education. Tell me, tell me more about how do you do that in your team? Like how do you educate and empower your client? [00:03:00]
Margo Christophilis: So we do several things. One, we teach, um, these home Advantage classes that are with Washington State, and I know every state has their own.
Ours, it's called Home Advantage, where there is programs that are affordable for people if they don't have a down payment. They have to fit into a criteria of what they make, whether it's single, you know, two people with the, you know, a child, how many people, and they, they, this county goes off that, the counties in Washington and we teach people a five hour class.
Um, what to look for, and we'll talk about that in all these processes. And then we match 'em with the lender that we're speaking with. And if they choose to work with us, we help 'em through the whole process. The other way is people come to me online or on Zillow. Um, I'm actually having some of my clients that were referred to me for dinner on Sunday at my house.
I mean, I, I take it seriously and I fall in love with my clients and, and they're, they're family and clients for [00:04:00] life.
Laura Moreno: Um, I love that the, I fall in love with my clients. I've never heard any agent inviting their clients to have dinner at their home because your home is such a personal and sensitive place.
Like I love that. And I love what you said about I fall in love with my clients. Oh my God. Like, do you have any, do you have any specific, like example of like a relationship that kind of like went far above the, the professional relationship with any of your.
Margo Christophilis: Absolutely. So I have my first Zillow clients from 12 years ago.
Laura Moreno: I'm sorry, what do you mean when you say a Zillow client? What is a Zillow client?
Margo Christophilis: So I'm a preferred agent on Zillow, and people will come to areas and they'll see me and they'll call me. Zillow to see homes or to find out about the process of buying a home. And these particular client's, husband and wife, they found me on Zillow 12 years ago.
They had an agent that [00:05:00] wasn't treating them well. Hmm. Um, they're both, they're from Mexico and they're amazing human beings. So, long story short, I've helped them with three homes. I've helped six of their family members, and I am now the godmother. They're two adopted small children. So you know it, It's important to trust, right?
They trust you, but you have to trust them and you build upon that. And I'm not saying I'm gonna come into everyone's home or bother you after a transaction closes, but I'm gonna touch base. You're gonna hear from me quarterly. I wanna see how you're doing in your home. How can I help you? Do you need to manage a new bathroom?
What do you need? Why? How can I be of.
Laura Moreno: I love that so much. So I want to touch upon two things. The first thing is, um, let's talk about the experience about working with Zillow agents, because I've heard so many things like, um, usually you pay a fee to be in Zillow and then Zillow sends you clients, but then I've heard of agents maybe not showing up or [00:06:00] new agents being advertised.
There. I'm giving the best experiences to clients, but then I hear about you, you know, an amazing agent that is there. Like how can we really judge an agent and how can we really work with a great agent? . Okay,
Margo Christophilis: So with Zillow, we do pay to be preferred agents and I have been on there 12 years. What happens is you'll go to an area and it'll show my face in a, in a couple of those areas.
When you reach out to someone like me, you should ask, um, do I work full time? What are my hours of operation? How am I successful with my clients? And you should expect a meeting from me so I can give you my buying book that I've created for everyone and that I update every four months. And we're gonna go through the process of stepping into a property.
We're gonna go through the process of what it's like to go to an open house and to be really careful because if we are bonded and [00:07:00] we're working together, sometimes you get misled as a first time home buyer, you sign in and. Agent on site for the listing. They're trying to get business too. They're trying to do this, but you should always have your own agent that you hand picked, because those people, no matter what, they're working on the seller side and buyers don't understand that.
So we go to open house and I tell people, We're going to pick the house you love. I'm not picking up for you. I will know when you go into the home. Don't wanna leave and it's our 15, 20 minutes in that home are up and you wanna take pictures and look around. I already know that. Then we go and we have a discussion.
I have you look on the internet. You know, to make sure that's where you wanna live. I tell you to drive to your job so that you're not away from your loved ones too long. I want you to know what's going on when you make that kind of a choice. And then we start talking about the offer and what that looks like and why, and what the market value is around that [00:08:00] house.
Right? And as we write the offers, I always let people know we might not get the first one. We will get the home that we are meant. That's the home we're gonna get. And I've not had anyone say, I'm still thinking about the other home. No. They're like, I'm so glad we found this home. And then we work on, the lender takes over and, and then the, through all of that, I always tell people, Please do not hire moving vans, carpet cleaning, anything.
The day of closing, because in Washington right now, sometimes things don't record at the county. So let's say it goes through the lender and all the, the loan funds, sometimes it doesn't record cuz they're so busy till the next morning. So don't make any of those calls until I hand you your keys. And the reason I say that is because here in Washington we don't give people keys till it closes.
Let's say it's five hours before closing and you go in to clean the oven and you light your sleeve on fire and the house burns down. You have no insurance on that house. So I don't let [00:09:00] people step into their property till they own it. Yeah.
Laura Moreno: Got it, got it. Wow. Okay. So what you're saying is like, make sure you interview that agent and make sure you are giving the service that you deserve.
Kind of like what you were saying about, um, meeting up, talking about the process, talking about where we going to do, like, establishing the expectations and educating buyers. Uh, I absolutely, instead of just like showing up somewhere, showing a house and then , and then that's about it.
Margo Christophilis: I mean, there has to be a strategy la there has to be a strategy for people from start to finish, otherwise they feel lost and you haven't done your job.
Laura Moreno: Yeah. And I've, I've gone through that in my in my own experiences for sure. And then the other, the other question that I have for you is, um, We know that when, well, we not, not all of us know that, but actually what you want to get with a new, um, with our client, with a realtor, sorry, with a real estate agent, is establish a relationship with someone that is going to be a lasting relationship [00:10:00] that is going to keep on adding value to your life.
And to that questions like what do you do to keep on adding value even after you've closed the home?
Margo Christophilis: Okay. After we close, we, um, obviously. Ask for a review just to make sure that everything went well. Um, they get a newsletter every month. They get a phone call, if not every other month from me, quarterly.
They get a gift quarterly in the mail from, um, I love that a company called, Yeah, Client Giant. And they're cute things Like this month it was these games and some of my clients send me a picture, We're gonna play this game now. It's starting to rain, not, and we're gonna be inside. So I always try to touch 'em and we try to do two client appreciations a year.
Laura Moreno: Mm. I love that. I mean, I love those client appreciation events and those presents, like, why not? If you're going to work with an agent and you're not going to pay anything for that agent, why not getting the best one that also invites you to parties and sends you [00:11:00] presents? I, I'm, I wanna say I'm a sucker for all that
Margo Christophilis: Yeah. I love, I just do for people what I would like someone to do for me, you know? So,
Laura Moreno: That's awesome. So tell me more about, um, the, the main message that you want listeners to take away from this episode. And, um, you said something that is, it's okay. Scared to be, It's okay to be a scared of the unknown. As a professional, you are always there to answer any questions.
So tell me, uh, do you have any experiences with any situations where people were really scared of what was going to happen and you came in there to help?
Margo Christophilis: Um, yeah, there's, there's always situations, like I have some clients right now that are past clients and I'm friends with their parents too, who live in a different state, and the dad is a agent over there and they've chosen me.
to help their family in Washington. And basically we were, you know, in a property the other day, we stay long enough to check everything out. We talk about what's going on outside in this particular [00:12:00] property, they might start building a home. So when you see the fence and you go to the basement part of this home, you can see the the dirt.
And so I always tell them we would want an inspection. We wanna make sure, even though they did a beautiful job remodeling, that this won't have water intrus. But I said that's what insurance is for. I will tell you not just what you wanna hear, I will tell you what could be, what may or may not be. But at the end of the day when the gal called me the next day, we talked about the fear of rates.
We talked about the fear of somebody building a house. You don't know when you buy a home, what neighbor you're gonna have, cuz you could go knock on the doors and pick your neighbors. They could move next month. Same thing. Someone could tear their house down and build. You, you try to not fear the unknown anymore because you know that it's a positive to buy a home and to build equity, you need to more concentrate on yourself and does this feel like home.[00:13:00]
So that's what I would say. Talk everything out. Talk to your family, talk to your agent, talk to each other, and you'll know if it, you really want to live there. All the other challenges, we can work. Got
Laura Moreno: it, got it, got it. Yeah, no, I mean, you have an amazing experience. Do you guys, tell me before that you were building your own home?
Are you doing that right now?
Margo Christophilis: We, we are, We haven't broken ground yet. It's, it's, um, it's just like being a doctor. When you're sick yourself, you learn a lot different things. So we're learning patient. We're learning, why aren't those building permits done? So yeah, we are building here in Washington on a beautiful last piece of acre in a specific area up north, and we're very excited to, to do it our way.
Um, and if I'm ever invited back, we can talk about land and what that looks like cuz I do get lots of calls this past couple of years where it's hard to get a house cuz there's 20 offers and people think they're just gonna build, but there's [00:14:00] so much to building and you need to, That's another thing I just want people to be aware before they get into project.
Laura Moreno: So you bought the land and you hire a contractor, a builder to build in the land? Yep.
Margo Christophilis: Yes, I have stopped for. , were
Laura Moreno: you ? So were you stocked the builder? Is he not like dying to have your business?
Margo Christophilis: Well, I stocked. He is, but I mean when, when I say stocked, it means I watched him build for the past six years, like walking or jogging in the neighborhoods cuz he only does specific areas.
And I saw how he built and then I met him through our. Um, they, he came highly recommended, which I would recommend to anybody who's building, and we met with him, brought my dad with, did all of that. We've been to his home. We've been out to dinner with him, and really we've been, they've, the architect has done our project and sketched it, and now they're doing the final permitting so that we can break ground next month.
Laura Moreno: Are you, I mean, tell me about your feelings [00:15:00] because you are a realtor and you've done this many times in your own homes, but now also with clients and now you're doing it again. Like, how are you feeling? Are you like, totally cool, like, I've done this hundreds of times, or no,
Margo Christophilis: I, it's made me appreciate my clients even more.
We feel lost, my husband and I, cuz all we do is help people. We make solutions, we make things happen. Now I'm waiting for somebody else to control my destiny on this home we trust. But also the rates are high. We're gonna participate in that high rate . So, um, although I know. What, how this works. I don't know.
Some of the intricacies, I'm not a builder and so I am learning, like I said, how to reach out to my clients who do want their next home to be, you know, starting with a, with land and explaining to them, Hey, I'm not gonna turn you off to it, but I'm gonna tell you kind of how long it's taking and what to [00:16:00] look forward to.
Laura Moreno: How long is it taking for you and what have you learned?
Margo Christophilis: So we bought the land. August, the end of last August, right after my birthday. Happy birthday to me, . And we've been talking That's a good present. Yeah. Yeah. And we've been talking to the builder and the architects. Um, Since then, and now we're almost the November and they said we're gonna break ground in June, then July.
And then, you know, I'm like, I really wanna have next year, my 60th birthday in my house. Not gonna happen maybe Christmas. So it just takes time. Why do they,
Laura Moreno: why do they have to wait until June, I suppose?
Margo Christophilis: Well, we'll start in November, but I mean, in June they said, Oh, we're gonna start soon. Oh, in July we're gonna start the never.
It didn't happen. You just again, don't. Expectations, , . Pick, pick the right land, pick the right builder, pick the right bank, have your [00:17:00] money ready. And because it, it's gonna be a, a, a process. Get ready for the ride. That's what we've been doing.
Laura Moreno: So tell me, um, last question. Tell me more about the market today.
What are you seeing in Seattle? And if I am a first I'm home buyer in Seattle now, like what can I expect and how can I position myself in a very strong way to buy a.
Margo Christophilis: Okay. That's a great question. So again, it's best if you have an experienced agent. And an agent that also knows a lot of other agents, because all as peers, we work together and if you have a good name out there, that's gonna get you further and it does get you further with your clients.
So basically, Seattle has become a normal market. It is not a bad market, It's normal. So we still on in certain areas, might see two to three offers. Realistically though, we're sitting for at least 32 days. I have a listing that's gorgeous up in Edmond's. [00:18:00] Gorgeous. It should have been gone since June. This has not happened to me in years, and it's still not sold.
So there's gonna be a few. Why isn't that gone? And people are being a little more nitpicky so you can go home and think about it for a couple days. Right. But then there's an area called Sam Amish where I was with my clients last Saturday, and we had three. To decide if we wanted it. And I just could tell my clients were scared and I said, This isn't the one.
They loved it, but I said, You, you're not okay. I can see it in your eyes, making an offer in three hours. So we passed on it.
Laura Moreno: And is, was it because the, the, the seller really had like many offers to make it, you know, many offers or they were just like, I don't
Margo Christophilis: know. No, this the, the sellers went to a. They were not living in the home anymore.
They're elderly. And the agent got a strong offer early in the morning and I said, Could you at least give us till the morning? And he said, I don't wanna lose this offer. So there was really only one or two other offers besides ours, but he wanted to [00:19:00] get it signed around. That was his deal as an agent. He said it was over asking, It's waving everything we're gonna take.
Well, my clients don't wanna waive everything, especially in this market. If you're gonna spend a couple million dollars, you should have your inspections. Especially, it doesn't matter if it's new or old. I always say, Do your inspections.
Laura Moreno: It's always crazy when people, when people, uh, wa their inspections.
For me, it's like playing the lottery rate like. I know the market was crazy over the last couple of years, but making the biggest investor in your life and just not even having anyone to, to see if there's any big problem, and I'm just just talking about fixing the fridge. . I'm talking about a big a structure problem.
Margo Christophilis: Absolutely. Well, and I watch people around and again, I love my peers and I, I. Everyone, I'm, I'm not ever gonna slam anybody, but in my 17 years, never once in this crazy market did I waive anything from my clients. We just got the next house and sometimes it took eight houses, but it was always the one they wanted.
[00:20:00] I'm not gonna waive rights of people and I don't want that phone call that something didn't work out. They won't remember me in a positive way, and I've. W helped ruin their life. I'm not doing that. So I take, I don't do gray area, I do black and white, and we stay in our lane.
Laura Moreno: Oh, I love that so much. So much.
It's all about the clients and protecting them so much. So, Mark, have you share with us amazing information today. What can we do for you, our listeners in the podcast? What can we do for
Margo Christophilis: Well, you know what, uh, this is gonna sound corny, but I say do an act of kindness. Just try to do an act of kindness and have, you know, grace for people that are, might be having a bad day.
And if you're in the Seattle area and you wanna grab coffee or you wanna know about home buying or selling, reach out to me and gimme a call. I'd love to hear from you.
Laura Moreno: And how can we reach out
Margo Christophilis: to you, Margo? Um, my information is, my phone number is area code [00:21:00] (206) 963-5525, and my email. Margo, M a r r g o, M as in Mary, B as in boy, A as in email@example.com.
Old school .
Laura Moreno: Well, Marco, the Hotmail. Is there anyone else with ? Of course there are. Of course there are. I'm always amazed when someone gets like firstname.lastname@example.org. I was like, How old is this person? How did I get that name? . Well, thank you so, so, so much for being the first I Home Buyer podcast.