KANSAS CITY, KANSAS — Twenty-nineteen was a tough year. At 20-years old, I was in the unenviable position of being the executor of my mom’s estate and I needed to sell my childhood home. At the time, I was a student at the University of Arkansas – a three hour drive away from the Kansas house I was raised in.
Gretchen Johnson was my high school cheer coach and one of my mom’s good friends. When my mom suddenly passed away, Gretchen gave me her card and said “let me help you.”
“I asked her to let me help her, trusting me to run the real estate end so she could stay at school,” Gretchen added. “I felt that maybe this was one small way that I could make a terrible situation that much more bearable.”
In early 2020, we began the process of selling the home that I had lived in since I was two-years old. Gretchen even helped with the estate sale as we prepared to put the home on the market. After that, there were a lot of phone calls and a lot of work to do with the probate attorney. Gretchen was in contact with that attorney all the time. I felt so much better having her help me through the process.
When we were getting the house ready, all my childhood friends got together and we painted the inside. Gretchen got us all pizza and we turned up the music. There was so much painting to do! But it was so nice seeing everyone and seeing how much they were there for me.
I was surprised by the number of offers that came in when we listed the house. It was kind of old and needed a few things done to it. We could have sold it right away, and everyone was just so respectful and very understanding. But Gretchen knew that I would have a hard time selling that house to just anybody. I just couldn’t. My sisters and I grew up in this home.
When the Hood family came along and put in an offer, it honestly felt like everything had come full circle. They had a little two-year-old daughter, who would move into my room. The night before closing, we all got together at the home for snacks – me, Gretchen, the buyer’s agent, the Hoods and their daughter Arabella. I could see how excited the mom and dad were to create their own family memories there. I gave little Arabella a Polly Pocket set – my favorite when I was a kid. Then I handed over the keys and got in the car with Gretchen.
And I sobbed.
“Finally!” Gretchen said. “You have been so strong. It’s about time you broke down.”
That was the best and hardest day for me.
I’ve graduated now with dual bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology. I’m working on getting into PA school. I still keep in touch with the family who bought my house. And I still talk to Gretchen all the time. When the time finally comes for me to buy my own home, I know who I’m going to talk to. Yes, she was there for me for all of the real estate stuff. But Gretchen just really stepped up for me like she was my mom. “This has been the most heartfelt, truly rewarding sale I have ever been involved with,” Gretchen added. “An agent is more than a paper pusher. You learn about the family, become their friend and become the person that they trust with their home, family, personal information and you must be able to go the extra mile and then some more. I am grateful every day to have been able to help Molly have a good life.”