My name is Sergeant Michael Fitzpatrick, and I am an American soldier currently serving my second deployment to Iraq. As my tour began, my fiancé and I began discussing plans for my return, including where we would live. We both wanted to attend school at CSU, Chico, so we began perusing the properties in that area online. I wrote six brokers with inquiries into the general market tempo and mood, commercial development, and buying opportunities. Susie Stephens and her team were amongst those I wrote. Before she even contacted me, I began using her website to see if I found anything appealing and affordable. Eventually, I found a condo listed on her website, and after discussing it with my fiancé, decided it was the place we wanted. I contacted Susie for additional information. I hadn’t yet intended to select a realtor, but when Susie’s reply came, I was very impressed with her professionalism and down-to-earth assistance. I didn’t feel like I was talking to an indifferent business person, rather that I was speaking with a old friend giving me some tips. It seemed to me the easiest way to proceed was to involve Susie.
Well, my situation proved to be rather unique in the home-buying process. My fiancé was studying abroad in Italy and I, being in the desert, found myself having to proceed with everything being handled electronically. Susie, amazingly, had just the right tools to make this possible. First she set me up with their online system that allowed me to make my offer using a digital signature. Her associate, Susannah Lund, took me through the entire offer process and then wrote out the official forms for me to sign. I was juggling missions and power outages, so her labor was much appreciated since my access to the internet was sporadic. Once the offer was accepted, they led me through the home-buying process every step of the way, sending me documents to read or sign, all via the internet. I know having to scan each of those papers was an additional workload, but I was so thankful for their effort. Furthermore, we ran into difficulties in sorting out the details with my chosen lender, and due to my location I was unable to contact my lender regularly. Susie took care of it, calling them on my behalf, sending faxes for me, receiving wiring instructions from my bank, coordinating with the Title company, and staying on top of the deadlines, providing me with extension paperwork when I needed it. Another member of the ChicoRealEstate team took a full documentary video of the condo and its estate, providing me a visual tour of the entire property.
During this process, the “surge” tactic being taken by our military in Iraq had began its primary push, and I found myself out on countless missions during this time period. The eleven hour time difference did not help either. But with Susie’s help, I pressed on, determined to get this condo. Finally, after a month and a half of negotiations and inspections, we were ready to buy. My fiancé had recently returned to the States, so after reading all the closing documents and loan papers, which the loan officer was kind enough to scan for me, I conferred onto my fiancé an Special Power of Attorney allowing her to sign everything on my behalf. We closed two days before the end of the month, and I successfully purchased a condo 7,000 miles away from me. Now, in addition to a bride-to-be, I will have a new home and a future to look forward to. I know that ten years ago this would have not been possible; in fact, on my last deployment, in which we hardly had any internet access, I could not have achieved this either. But thanks to improved conditions over here, and Susie’s technological capabilities, I have achieved something most people would have considered impossible. Without ChicoRealEstate, their expectations would have been correct. I appreciate Susie, Susannah, all the others who worked so hard with me. I hope they realize how much it means to me, a home provides an extra bright light at the end of this tunnel.
Michael C. Fitzpatrick
Sergeant, United States Army