Many real estate agents have one transaction they'll never forget. For Terry Watson, thoughts about one deal make him smile years later. It involved a woman who had lived in the same apartment for 30 years. She had paid more in rent over the years than it would have cost to buy the entire apartment building.
Watson helped the woman buy her own house. Almost immediately, he says, she walked a little lighter and felt a little better. "People ask me what I do, I say 'I'm a liberator,"' he says. "Good Realtors are good Realtors because they want to liberate people. Real estate is the only business in which you actually get paid to make friends." Watson has made a lot of friends over the years, most recently within the Council's, which just named the managing broker for GM King Real Estate in Chicago to its Hall of Fame.
A second generation broker, Watson said about 95% of his efforts since he got into the business in 1991 has been in working with buyers. "Agents aren't supposed to take it personally, but I d~," he says, adding some of his clients have become among the best of his friends over the years. "They're like a family member." In fact, he's sometimes talked buyers out of houses they loved, because he was certain the deals were not good. It’s worked the other way around as well. "I've had buyers whose attorneys told them at closing, 'If it wasn't for your agent, you wouldn't have this house,"' he says. "It's a feeling that's indescribable."
Watson has otherwise made a name for himself through his Terry Watson Seminars, by which he educates buyers about important matters such as credit scoring and pre-approval. He also lets them in on some inside tips they may not get anywhere else. "When you go out looking, don't become overexcited if you like the house," he says. "That's a seller we have to negotiate with. Anything you say to a seller can and will be used against you."
He also advises them not to cosign a loan for anybody. "When you cosign for someone, most agents deduct that from the credit score, since you are liable for that amount if the other person . defaults," Watson says. Watson says he doesn't feel letting clients in on such things "tips his hand" in the transaction. "Buyers today are more intelligent; they are more informed than they have ever been before," he says. "Buyers today don't want you to tell them what to do. I am a professional because I don't tell people what to do. I give you enough information so you can make an intelligent decision."