We met Mike at an open house and he set us up to receive information by email about houses with the specs we were seeking. This allowed us to "look" at a variety of homes from our computers. For various reasons we ended up putting our search on hold for a couple of years. However, periodically we were in touch with Mike and he changed the information in his database (for example, adding additional neighborhoods) so that it would continue to turn up potential properties based on our current interests. While it's true you can do some of the same yourself using Redfin or Zillow, the search database Mike set up often had more up to date information.When we were finally ready to look at houses again we called Mike and picked some houses to check out in person. Initially we looked at houses in various neighborhoods. This meant a lot of driving around - in the heat of a California summer. However, Mike was patient with us, and that never changed throughout the process of helping us buy our first home.
Eventually we zeroed in on a neighborhood we liked and a house we liked and we made an offer based on Mike's suggestion. We never felt like he was trying to encourage us to offer more just to increase his commission. Quite the opposite. He was very upfront with us when it came to sharing what he knew about how many offers had been made on the house so far. In our case, our second offer was accepted.
This was great but the property we picked was bank owned and "as is" and this added complexity to the transaction for a number of reasons. For one thing, the house had not been taken care of for several years. Since we were not allowed to ask the seller to fix problems we wanted to be very thorough during the home inspection period, which was limited to 10 days instead of the standard 17. Around this time I joined Angie's list and based on what I read, I wanted A Thorough Guy to do our home inspection. Since he wasn't available until the 10th day of our inspection period, I scheduled him (on the 4th of July) but I picked another home inspector to get things rolling. I also scheduled other people to come to the house and check for asbestos, lead, and mold and to give us quotes to fix plumbing, electric, and other problems. This meant that Mike had to come to the house very frequently, 10 days in a row. He never once complained or rushed us in any way. To the contrary, when I was there alone (without my husband) he did everything possible to make sure the people giving me quotes were on the up and up and not inventing problems to fix, etc.
As we got closer and closer to closing on the house Mike gave us advice about putting the utilities in our name to avoid interruption of service and gave us advice about things like lawn mowers. The first weekend were were at the house Mike came by to visit and brought us a house warming gift. On top of that, since the lawn mower we ordered (based on his suggestion) hadn't arrived yet, he actually mowed our overgrown lawn - in 90+ degree heat. Even though this happened a month ago it still blows my mind to think about it! I mean, who does that kind of thing?!!Mike is really a spectacular guy. If you want a real estate agent with extraordinary customer service and the patience of a saint, Mike Stone is the real agent you should pick.