Darlene Bronson accepted an offer on her home in Rye Brook, New York in early December. She planned a closing date for April 1, 2020, which would give herself time to find a new home, pack, and move. Things were going according to plan: she found a new home in January and began to pack up her home of eight years. By the first week of March, she was ready.
Then COVID-19 hit. Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered all non-essential retailers and businesses to close. The world shut down.
“We had no idea when we would be able to close on the home we were selling or the home we were moving to. It was unsettling.”
She said that working with real estate agent Fiona Dogan “kept her sane” during the crisis. “Fiona was always there for us, even when the timing was out of her hands. She kept the process moving so that the moment we were allowed to act, our closing would be scheduled. She made it happen.”
Sealing the deal remotely
As New Yorkers began to navigate their new stay-at-home life, Bronson had to dive into the taped-up boxes in her empty house to find items they needed to live day-to-day. The Brooklyn couple who bought her home wanted to accelerate their move, but their co-op board would not allow movers into the building. Bronson worried about losing her deposit on her new home.
“We were concerned about losing everything on both ends,” she said. “But Fiona kept us calm. She smoothed things over. She was in close contact with our buyers and their broker, the bankers, and lawyers. Fiona also had an excellent working relationship with the agent for my new house, whom she had recommended. Her constant communication kept everyone in the loop and kept our deal active.”
Fiona orchestrated a new closing date of April 28, pulling together all of the parties necessary to complete the sale, including the buyer, seller, their agent, and attorneys. She spent one afternoon in her car parked in the Bronson’s driveway, ready to field questions from the new buyers as they completed their final walk-through and inspection. She ensured the proper paperwork was routed, documents were signed, money was wired, and signed documents were delivered to all necessary parties.
“There was a level of trust that Fiona had cultivated on both sides that helped seal the deal,” said Bronson. “We closed on both houses in the same day. It was hairy! We couldn’t have done it without Fiona.”
“We were in good hands”
Bronson says she interviewed several brokers before putting her home on the market and that Dogan felt like “the right fit.”
“My children were graduating from college and we were ready to downsize. Fiona understood our situation and took time to get to know what we were looking for. She also gave me confidence that we would be able to sell our home to the right buyer.”
Though Bronson wasn’t ready to sell her house last summer, Dogan gave her valuable advice on getting her home ready for the market, including making small repairs around the house; packing up bulky furniture and personal items; hiring a home inspector for a pre-listing inspection; and taking photos of the home while the weather was good and plants were in bloom.
“She guided me through the whole process. Fiona had an amazing team to stage the house and it looked beautiful!” says Bronson. “By the time we put the house in the market in October, it was HGTV-ready.”
Dogan marketed the house online via open houses and showings by appointment, her website, social media, her extensive professional network, and the Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty network. The result? Multiple offers and a bidding war.
“Fiona handled everything. I felt taken care of, like I was in good hands. When one offer went through, she calmly went back to all offers and negotiated a great deal.”
No one could have anticipated the chaos that would follow. Bronson says there’s no one she’d rather work with during a crisis. “I highly recommend working with Fiona.”