George and Pam Hamel – Great First Impression, Great Service
First Impressions Really Do Matter
George and Pam Hamel may have met Chris Braun by chance in 2010 but today they consider him their valued real estate professional, a source for all things real estate in Naples and a very good friend. All because he made a very good first impression.
“My mother, who is a residential real estate agent in D.C., was visiting us when we lived by Lowdermilk Park,” explains George. “She loves looking at houses so I started calling the real estate agents for waterfront properties we saw that were listed. I got everyone’s voice mail, except for Chris. He picked up. He was the only one who picked up. I explained who we were and we probably were not buyers at that time. I explained what I wanted and he said he’d call me back in seven minutes. And he did call me back… in exactly seven minutes.”
That first impression created a sense of trust between the Hamels and Chris Braun. That first impression four years ago led to a business relationship and friendship that will probably last a lifetime.
An Instant Connection
Chris met the Hamels at the property they wanted to see. It turned out that Chris was from Bergen County in New Jersey where George’s mother grew up. They had even attended the same high school. There was an instant connection.
“We had lots of company that week: my mother, my sister and her three children. We realized that our condo was too small if any of our four children ended up getting married and having children,” says George who decided that 2010 was a good time to start looking for their vacation/retirement property. The market just seemed right.
Getting to Know You
With Chris at the helm, the Hamels began their search for a home, looking at properties from Wiggins Pass to Gordon Pass. Since George is in the investment business he asked a lot of questions about property values. He was impressed with Chris’ knowledge on the subject.
“When I asked him about property values he had all kinds of spreadsheets with values of beachfront property versus everything else,” says George. “It’s easy to get a real estate license but it’s not so easy being a professional in the real estate business.”
“What we learned with Chris over time is that he is as professional as it get. He always asked us what was important to us. He not only listened to what we said we wanted, he heard what we really wanted. He understood the market and knew all the properties that were in the range of what we might consider. And as he got to know us better he offered his opinions, telling us what he thought from a value perspective. Yet, all along he let us go through this journey of finding out what we really wanted.”.
Finding The Best Property was a Journey (with a Good Guide).
The Hamels, with Chris in the driver’s seat, looked at properties all along the Gulf Coast, from Bay Colony to Vanderbilt Beach, from waterfront properties to beachfront properties. But nothing seemed “just right.”
At Chris’ recommendation, they reluctantly looked at Port Royal.
“We had the wrong impression of Port Royal,” explains George. “We thought it was stodgy with an older crowd. We thought the younger, more energetic people were up near Mercato. We discovered that Port Royal is very different today than it was 20 years ago.”
Chris started showing them Port Royal, introducing them the clubhouse and its amenities, and explaining the beauty of the location, near downtown, the beach and with easy access to the Gordon River and Gulf of Mexico.
Time to Make a Decision
They agreed with Chris that Port Royal was exactly where they wanted to be. Then it was time to find the perfect Port Royal home for them.
“One day we went with Chris for a marathon viewing of Port Royal properties. We saw about fourteen properties. We were becoming discouraged because every house in our price range needed updating. We thought we were going to have to build our own house.”
But Chris never gave up on them. Chris never got discouraged. He knew they were close. And, for Chris, finding his clients the perfect home is more important than his commission check.
“Finally we looked at this house,” says George, sitting in his spacious, bright great room overlooking his zero-edge pool, a waterway leading to the Gordon River and a serene and protected mangrove. “Chris steered us to the right property and yet let us enjoy the journey of finding the perfect home for our family. We never felt pressure from Chris.”
He Saved The Best For Last
“He saved the best for last.” says Pam. “As soon as we walked in the front door we were drawn in to the space, then the pool, then the water, then the mangroves. It’s like a sanctuary.
“We knew when we saw it that it was for us because it had this beautiful lot next door, with shrubs and a huge Banyan tree,” she says. “It’s very secluded and private. The home needed some remodeling and lightening up, but it was perfect. It had everything.”
“When we decided to make an offer, Chris shifted into professional ‘deal’ mode,” says George. “He looked at all the competitive analysis. We had all the facts at our fingertips. He even found the contractor who did the addition and assembled a team of contractors for us. They were terrific. It couldn’t have gone better.”
From negotiation through renovation to it being available to us, Chris provided choices every time and was able to provide us with resources that we didn’t know, not being from this area.”
“We are very, very happy here,” says Pam, beaming with pride in her new home. “I love this house! And, we love Chris Braun.”
I thank you so much for the opportunity to be of service to you.. I couldn’t be happier to see you all as happy as I thought you could be from the start. May you have just as many happy years in your retirement as you did during your career.”