About three years ago, Nicole Browne was experiencing an immensely stressful time in her life. The Army reservist had just gone through a difficult divorce, was fighting to get custody of her son, and was traveling back and forth between Maryland and Florida every two weeks. Still, through all of this, Browne knew she wanted to buy a home that she could eventually pass down to Jaden, who was about to turn 1 year old at the time.
“After having him,” Browne says, “I realized that I wanted to at least be able to give him a home so he wouldn’t have to go through some of the things that I went through.”
In addition to improving Jaden’s future, Browne was interested in homeownership so that her son could have a more fulfilling present. She envisioned giving him a free-spirited life in which she could encourage his musical interests – he had started playing the drums very early on – but this proved tricky while renting a condo that shared walls with neighbors. One day, while spending time at her friend’s single-family home, Browne heard Jaden tell the friend’s child not to run loudly because the people downstairs would hear. “He didn’t understand the concept that you can actually play inside,” she recalls. “That broke my heart and I said, ‘I have to do this.’”
Based on a coworker’s recommendation, Browne contacted agent Brianne Fearon with the Fearon Real Estate Team of Keller Williams Boca Raton in South Florida. Fearon knew the process would likely be complex as Browne was coming into it with credit issues stemming from her divorce, which Fearon describes as “silly things that shouldn’t have been on her credit report.” Over the next two years, Fearon diligently searched for the perfect lender, one who could help resolve the credit issues, assist with closing-cost support, and best use home loans guaranteed by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs. And she was there for Browne every step of the way, informing her and showing her homes until they found the perfect fit.
Fearon, who had joined Keller Williams four years ago to follow in her parents’ footsteps, says the relationship depended on trust, which she credits to the friend’s referral, the buyer’s consultation where she thoroughly explains the process, and her frequent “regroupings” with clients, whether through phone calls, in-person meetings, or moments in the driveway after seeing a house. “I think if you’re not communicating regularly with your client,” Fearon says, “then you’re really doing everyone a disservice, including yourself as an agent.”
Browne echoes the importance of this communication and her trust in Fearon to hear her out and handle the often-confusing details. “She asked me what was important and she really listened,” Browne says. “I trusted Brianne. But if you don’t have somebody you can trust, I can imagine how much more difficult the situation would be. Just knowing it was in Brianne’s hands, I just felt a peace to say, ‘I know she has my best interests at heart.’ I really wish everyone could have that experience.”
The end result was well worth it. Fearon and Browne found a home where the sellers were supportive of making concessions toward closing-cost assistance – a rare occurrence in that market – and a lender who could follow through on promises. And the family loves their new home, where Browne says she feels that she can make Jaden’s childhood truly special – whether it’s putting up a big Christmas tree, camping together in the backyard, or letting him play his drums as loud as he wants.
According to Fearon, this is why Keller Williams agents do what they do and why homeownership is such an important step in life. “It’s not about anything other than helping people reach their dreams – and her dream of homeownership for her son. It was such an emotional feeling, knowing that that day for her came. You’re getting your own mortgage and you’re not paying someone else’s and you’re building your own net worth and equity. But even more so, in Nicole’s situation, she’s building a legacy for her son.”