First Funds Framed

By in Buyers with 4 Comments

You know how some businesses will keep the first dollar they ever made and frame it?  Usually they display it somewhere near the front door or the cash register, or in the office.  I always thought that was a neat idea, although I’ve never done it.

In real estate, you need to keep client files for seven years, then you can toss all associated paperwork.  My first sale, to the O’Hairs, closed just over seven years ago, in April, 2004.

That means this is my eighth year selling real estate.  I can’t believe it.  When I began, I had no idea how much I would grow to love this business.  It’s so funny – for the period of time that you’re working with a person or a couple to find or sell (or both) a home, it’s an intense relationship.  You talk often, you e-mail late at night, you text at random moments; you’re very connected.  And then suddenly, the sale closes, and these people you spoke with, sometimes everyday, you don’t talk to anymore.  I call about a week later, just to check in, and then over the course of the next couple years I’ll write or call or comment on their Facebook wall, so the relationship doesn’t go away altogether, but it definitely becomes different than it had been.

I pulled out my O’Hair file the other day, preparing to shred everything therein.  I was flooded with memories.  I remember making the appointment to show the home, and then donating blood immediately before I was supposed to leave.  I had skipped lunch that day and for the first time for me, I felt dizzy and light-headed while donating.  Of course, I had to sit and recover, but I didn’t want to be late for my appointment.  I guzzled my juice and threw back my cookies and ran out of the Red Cross to drive to the house (about 20 minutes away from the donor center).  It was raining, I’d never been to the property, I had no idea where I was going…ugh, what a crazy day that was!  I showed up, let the folks in the house, and they loved it (note to all non-Realtors reading this – that is extremely rare…it isn’t very often that someone decides to buy the first house they look at!  It almost never happens, in fact.)!  We scurried around, securing financing and writing my first offer (scary!!!!), then the waiting began.  It was a repossession, so Fannie Mae, a government entity, was the seller.  And we waited, and we waited, and we waited.  Every day, if I hadn’t heard by 3pm, I knew it would be another day until I did hear, because the seller was in Texas, two hours ahead.  The buyer called me every day, if I hadn’t already called him by 3:02.

And finally, in April, it closed.  And I received MY VERY FIRST REAL ESTATE PAYCHECK – for something like $659.17. Woo-freakin’-hoo!  I had jeopardized my life to show a house, and spent countless hours on the phone, for less than seven hundred dollars!!  Note to all non-Realtors reading this – real estate is NOT the path to get rich quick!

I’m having a hard time parting with the O’Hair file.  They were the very first couple to take a chance on me as a Realtor, and all my initial enthusiasms and anxieties and hopes seem to be caught between the cover and back of the folder.  I’d frame it, but it’s a bit too thick.  The people who frame their first dollar take that dollar out of circulation, and they’re okay with that.   I think I’m going to have to be okay with sacrificing some much needed file space in order to hold on to the O’Hair file.  It’s going to be around as reminder for some time to come.


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About The Author
Cari McGee

My husband and I came to the Tri-Cities in 1994, and we thought it would be a temporary stop on our way to larger cities. He was a television sports anchor at the time, and we planned to go wherever the "next step up" took us. Twenty-plus years later, we're still here and we've loved every minute of it! We have two children now, and we've found the Tri-Cities area is a wonderful place to raise a family. It's a great place to do outdoorsy things -- I like to hike Badger Mountain or run along the river path. I also love reading ... by a cozy fire in the winter or a beautiful picture window in the summer (with the A/C on!). I've been a licensed Realtor since 2004. I earned my managing broker's license in 2016, which means I can run my own brokerage, or create a team of real estate agents and supervise them, which is exactly what I did when I formed the Cari McGee Real Estate Team in 2018! We have administrative and marketing personnel, as well as additional agents to serve you. I became a director of the Tri-Cities Association of Realtors Board of Directors in 2016, became Secretary/Treasurer of the organization, and was elected to Vice President in 2019. Want to talk about real estate? Click here to schedule a meeting with me!


  1. Leigh says:

    What a wonderful story. I can’t wait to have the same experience!
    Never toss that file. 🙂

  2. Cari McGee says:

    Thanks, Leigh! Just remember if you’re going to give blood before an appointment, eat something substantial beforehand! Good luck in your career – I hope you love it.

  3. Cari- thanks for sharing this great story. My first sale was in 2004 as well. It was a short sale, back when they were fairly rare. The seller had multiple ex-wives who all were trying to stop the sale because they wanted a portion of the proceeds (of which there were none). That first sale was a miserable experience and luckily most of them have been a little easier since then.

  4. Cari McGee says:

    Thanks, Geordie! Your first sale sounds crazy like mine. I’m sure you’re glad you stuck with it, though. Anyone who thinks real estate is a cushy desk job definitely should think again!

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