“REALTOR® Hero” Story: Creative Solutions on a Limited Budget

By Jen Beehler

I had a first-time buyer that I helped to purchase a townhome in downtown San Jose. When they had their housewarming party, I was thrilled that they invited me to attend and celebrate this momentous occasion. At the party, I met the buyer’s Aunt, Geetha. She was this sweet little older woman that shared stories of her family and plans for the future. She took my card, and I genuinely thought nothing of it but was warmed by our encounter.

A few months later, I get a call out of the blue from Geetha. She advises me that her husband is retiring and she wants to talk about estate planning with me. His monthly income would be limited with no chance of growth once he retired. She wanted to go over all their options so they went into this with eyes wide open and were prepared and sustainable.

We first explored what downsizing would look like and we quickly learned that prices had increased dramatically since they bought their home. Any type of downsizing would be accompanied by a larger tax bill than they paid now, so the value was not truly adding up.

She invited me to coffee in her home so I could evaluate the property to determine market value. Her home had a wonderful layout that included a bonus room at the back of the house. It had a private entrance, vaulted ceilings, and loads of light. The space was about 400 square feet. As we sat down for coffee, we devised a plan to turn that room into a rental unit that could be used to offset her mortgage to accommodate their future restricted budget.

I connected her with contractors, guided her through design, and helped her choose materials that would have minimal upkeep and withstand the beating a rental needs to be able to take.

In the end, she created a wonderful studio apartment that was beautifully finished. It rents for $1500 per month which helps cover a majority of the whole property’s monthly output. This creative solution will give their family security moving into retirement and will ensure they could stay in their family home for as long as they so desired.

Finding the solution for your clients doesn’t always involve a transaction. Sometimes it means helping them pull out the potential in exactly what they currently have so their lifestyle and needs are being met, while simultaneously protecting their financial foundation.


These REALTOR® Hero stories are part of a new series where SCCAOR Members write about all the extra care, compassion, and creativity exhibited during a transaction that sets the “REALTOR® Hero” apart. Do you want to be featured on our blog? Click here to submit your story!