You’ve probably heard the expression, “real estate agents never sleep.” For customers of Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), sleep was the least of their concerns when the Great Blizzard of 2011 hit the Chicagoland area.
“I had been working with a buyer since June,” said Maree Guttosch of Charles Rutenberg Realty in Naperville. “Several short sale catastrophes and disappointments later, we received a fully executed contract much to the delight of my very patient and tenacious buyer. Attorney, Lender, Buyer, Listing Agent and I were all working feverously to make it all come together during the blizzard! Of course, there was some snow shoveling accomplished during the process.”
Tuesday, February 1, was actually an unremarkable day weather-wise before the storm hit. However, once it started snowing, it kept going and didn’t stop until over 20 inches of snow fell. The Blizzard of 2011 has been recognized by the National Weather Service as the third largest ever in Chicago. That didn’t stop some agents from carrying on with business as usual.
Roz Byrne of Re/Max in the Village said, “I had a first-time buyer couple who wanted to keep our initial consultation appointment on the Tuesday night when the blizzard struck. By our appointment at 7:00 p.m., the blizzard was in full force. My husband drove me to the office in our four-wheel drive and my clients trudged the two blocks from their apartment through the storm. The front door to my office looked sand-blasted by the whipping snow and wind and there was a drift in front of the door. We met for an hour and they signed my Buyer Agency Agreement. Our MLS was unaffected by the blizzard and we were able to start reviewing properties. You gotta love their motivation!”
“The blizzard didn’t disrupt my work at all,” said Amy Duong of AAA Realty Group in Chicago. “I had a closing scheduled, and as the blizzard warnings kept mounting, the buyers and sellers were worried about their closing running late and everyone being stuck in traffic. The buyers and sellers ended up doing powers of attorney and the attorneys took care of the closing themselves Tuesday afternoon. I received a final HUD statement by email and received my commission check in the mail by Thursday morning without leaving my home! Working from home was a snap as well since I went paperless awhile back. Everything that the office had, I also had from home. With email and a paperless system, I can virtually work anywhere, even in a blizzard. The MLS was not affected by the storm and I was able to do my normal research and other MLS system work. I did start showing again Thursday afternoon and had a full Saturday following the blizzard!”
Vehicles definitely made a difference for many. “I tried to plow my big Toyota Sequoia 4WD SUV truck through a giant snow drift at a vacant listing, “said Jack Sanderson of Coldwell Banker Residential in Barrington. “As I went back for the second ‘ram’ the truck got held up and was floating on the frame! I had to squiggle it back and forth several times and freed it. I called a pal from my office who has a snow plow truck for servicing his commercial holdings, and luckily enough he was in Barrington and I had the drive cleared out within 20 minutes! Even the neighbor across the street called to congratulate me on having the drive cleared so well and quickly! I had to shovel the four foot drifts myself to the front door but the time outside afforded me an excuse to light a nice cigar and ‘enjoy’ nature!”
The problems didn’t only arise during the blizzard – there was the aftermath. Diana Eckstrom of Hunter’s Fairway Sotheby’s in Barrington said, “I had a showing at one of my listings the day after the blizzard. My lockbox was frozen and the buyers’ agent could not open it. She called to see if I could get a key and meet her there for the showing. I drove to the listing, played with the lockbox for a few minutes, and finally got it open. To my surprise, the keys were frozen together in a chunk of ice! I tried chiseling the ice off but it was too hard. I was on my way home when I saw some children playing outside and I asked if I could have a cup of hot water. I poured it in the box, and the ice defrosted. I was able to get the lockbox off and I replaced it with a new box I brought with me. I called the buyer’s agent; she showed the property and brought me an offer!”