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“Hal cares about those he works with not just as clients, but as people. I can send [my friends] to someone I know will take care of them.” Fe and Tessa, First Time Home Buyers

Posted by Kevin Stuckey on 26/01/2018
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“Hal cares about those he works with not just as clients, but as people,” says Fe Nguyen, who bought a house with Hal at the end of November in 2016. She’s referred a lot of friends and colleagues to him because, she states, she can “send them to someone I know will take care of them.”

Fe, and her fiancé Tessa, approached Hal Cone of Realstar Realtors on Electric Road in Roanoke as a pair completely new to the homebuying process. Both were clear they wanted a home in the Greater Raleigh Court area. A porch was important. Staying within budget was also a critical concern (“Hal stayed in the exact middle.”) Neither wanted a kitchen that needed work. Safety was of paramount importance because the young couple likes taking walks and had already experienced the fear of being mugged. Besides that, both looked to Hal to guide them through a new experience that they saw as exciting, but also potentially hazardous.

Prior to starting a home search, the pair lived in the city where they enjoyed the convenience of apartment living that allowed them to walk to just about anywhere they wanted to go. What didn’t appeal to them was the transient nature of renting, not being able to enjoy gardening as part of their outdoor creative living space expression and missing out on establishing good relationships with neighbors.

Since they chose the Grandin Village as their new center, it was important to find a home close enough to the main drag without the need to get in a car. They found a 1,500 square-foot, 3 bedroom, 1 ½ bath that was an easy walk to the Village, within their budget which also boasted the porch both wanted.

“It’s important to know your real estate agent has no qualms with you,” explains Fe. She’s encountered homophobic people in the past so wanted to ensure whoever they worked with to find a home didn’t harbor such prejudice. It was also important to have someone who understood the area and associated neighborhoods to ensure a good fit.

In total, the couple toured five houses over about a one-month period. “Hal had our curb aesthetic down,” Fe asserts. The place they settled on was an older home, built in 1939, so Hal ensured the sellers provided a home warranty as part of the negotiations. “Hal had a handy checklist as we went through the house,” Fe explains. Throughout the process, “If something was important, Hal would tell me,” says Fe, explaining that this was comforting and confidence-building throughout a new experience for both Fe and Tessa.

One of the things the couple really valued about working with Hal was the way he encouraged them to narrow their choices. They also enjoyed the time he took to ensure each understood issues along the way, were comfortable that all their questions were answered fully and operated as their advocate always – even at times when they didn’t know he was doing it. He also offered options they hadn’t pondered, including buying a lot and building on it. “This was a very interesting option I hadn’t considered before he brought it up, so I appreciated that,” Fe says.

Fe delights in the ample storage space and closets in the house along with an attic and basement. She’s also enjoying having friendly neighbors and the responsibility of maintaining a yard. But there are two items she can’t stop talking about. The porch isn’t the front facing structure they had imagined. It’s better. This side porch is south-facing, very private and screened in so the couple can enjoy evenings without bugs and days without onlookers. She’s also become passionate about gardening – particularly tending to flowers around the property.

Hal was a friendly relationship before the couple engaged him in the home search, but Fe indicates she was more impressed than she imagined with how he handled every detail of their search and continued to be an advocate and resource during closing and after the sale. When asked what excites her most now about the home, Fe says, “It’s ours!”

Tessa and Fe got engaged during their house hunt. They’ll be married in April.

“Hal is a genuinely good person,” Fe says. “He just wants to make sure the world is a better place!”

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