Sunday, March 20, 2011

GET REAL: Buying or selling this spring? These Columbia Realtors can help

In fourteen years, I've used the services of over two dozen real estate agents in Columbia and Boone County.  Though each agent has particular market strengths -- historical properties, commercial properties, suburban houses, for instance -- I've assembled a group of my favorites based on more personal qualities like bedside manner, client commitment, ethical demeanor, courteous service, and importantly in the often high-pressure world of real estate -- a good sense of humor.

Topping my list for all of these qualities, David Townsend of Remax Realty's Broadway Team has proven time and again he can get the sale closed with professionalism and a smile -- as both buyers' and sellers' agent.  Townsend handles a variety of owner-occupied and investment properties, and always presents as solid, prompt, well-groomed, and ready to work.  He returns phone calls and emails promptly, and spends any time necessary to go over contract terms, property conditions, and other issues that buyers and sellers may encounter.   I watched him clear a significant portfolio of what I'd call "difficult" properties quick and clean -- a good sign for folks wondering how fast he can sell their home. 
Though he represents all varieties of real estate, Brent Gardner, also of Remax, is a well-known favorite in historical property, where he not only represents buyers and sellers, particularly in the Old Southwest, but also advocates -- vocally and passionately -- for historic preservation on the Columbia Historic Preservation Commission.  As a business owner concerned with preservation of public treasures such as Columbia's downtown brick streets, Brent is one of "those historical people" lovingly referred to at a recent City Council meeting by Columbia public works director John Glascock.   

Buyers and sellers in southern Boone County should consider Carl and Sandy Freiling, House of Brokers real estate agents who've mastered a tough niche:  the vast diversity that is Ashland, Hartsburg, Pierpont, and points south of Columbia.  As Missouri's fastest growing region -- population nearly doubled in 10 short years, compared to a 28% jump in Columbia -- Ashland and southern Boone may host the area's most diverse population:  Farmers, surgeons, attorneys, state employees, Mizzou faculty, and a fascinating array of artists and artisans in virtually every medium.  Freiling himself is an expert on Mark Twain, and expert enough in the area housing market that he never resorts to a hard sell, and plays the devil's advocate when the situation requires.

When he's not making policy or attending a work session as Columbia's Second Ward City Councilman, Jason Thornhill of Weichert-First Tier Realtors might be using his wry sense of humor to get clients over some unexpected hump in the buy/sell process.  Sharp, professional, and focused, Thornhill also represents a variety of local property types, from investment to commercial, new and existing construction.  A good student of human nature, Thornhill has a keen understanding of peers on the other side of the negotiation table, and is often able to interpret behaviors and circumstances that would leave the uninformed or inexperienced scratching their heads.  He returns phone calls promptly; his paperwork is always neat; and he gets deals closed, small or large.
Last but certainly not least, while Ben Gakinya isn't representing as much real estate as he has in the past, he's done a marvelous job fixing and filling Columbia's Parkade Center, a once forlorn enclosed strip mall that Ben and Columbia's storage pioneers -- the Burnam family -- have completely refurbished with little fanfare, and no TIFs or other government incentives.  Parkade helped Mo-X become a local powerhouse, providing acres of shuttle parking and convenient office space.  But the team's biggest coup has been relocating the Columbia branch of Moberly Area Community College, which may be the only community college -- certainly of its size and depth -- for miles around.  Where storefronts once stood, classrooms have taken shape, complete with the latest and greatest technologies.  Gakinya and the Burnams have also graciously opened Parkade for a number of non-profit events over the years, including art shows, a Black History lecture and exhibit, and the Columbia Property Managers Against Crime annual summit.
So get Real with these Realtors this spring -- and sell -- or buy -- that house! 

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