My husband and I chose Michael after interviewing ten well-reviewed agents in the Stafford, VA area. We were moving to Virginia from California on military orders and had a very small time window in which to look for a home. Prior to our house-hunting trip in February of 2012, Michael agreed to set aside three full days of his time to help us look for a home that fit our needs. The houses he selected met what we had specified in all areas (price, location, and size being the primary factors we were considering). Ultimately, we decided to purchase a new-construction home and he helped guide us through the negotiation process with a great deal of expertise. Michael is an excellent agent all around, but the most relevant strengths he demonstrated during our home purchasing process were the following:
1) Customer Service: In the process of working with Michael, we learned that we actually had a number of friends who had bought or sold homes through him in the past. All had had excellent experiences and would have recommended him. However, as many clients as he may have, it was easy to feel as though we were his only clients when we were interacting with him. He is flexible in terms of his schedule, quick to return calls and emails, a very good listener when it comes to what the client is looking for, and able to offer guidance and information without being pushy. He has a calm, patient, friendly demeanor that make him easy to get along with, and is ideal for working with individuals who are trying to make an important, impactful decision.
2) New Construction Purchase Support: As I mentioned, we chose to purchase a home that was to-be-built. During this process, there were a number of walk-throughs that are typically only attended by the buyers. Michael showed up to support us at each and every one of those meetings. He made helpful observations about things we would not have otherwise thought to note or consider. There were a few issues that arose where the builder had made changes from the original plan that were not satisfactory to us, and Michael was able to consistently step in to help argue the point or develop a compromise, as appropriate.
3) Professional Contacts: Michael is extremely familiar with the Stafford community and has an excellent reputation here. He also has a number of professional acquaintances to whom he refers for services if you need additional help (e.g., with funding your house, or having work done to it after the purchase). We were initially looking at funding our home purchase through Navy Federal Credit Union, partly because they were offering some good incentives, and partly because I used to work for them and know that they are an exemplary financial institution. However, I was incredibly disappointed with their service in the mortgage arena. They are SLOW to respond, and frankly, appear not to care one way or the other whether one chooses to use them to purchase a home. When we expressed our frustration with NFCU, Michael recommended a local lender named Peter Kalian; he and his team did a fantastic job. With the VA appraisal paperwork being completed literally the DAY OF CLOSING, his team was still able to have everything approved and ready to go. We ended up closing on the house about 3 hours late, instead of days or weeks late. Seeing as how it took them three weeks just to return a phone call, NFCU would never have been able to pull that off.
We have now been living in our new home for nearly three months. In that time, Michael has touched base through email to check and see if everything is going smoothly and to offer his support if we need anything. While we are not sure what the future holds in terms of our time in Stafford, I can say with confidence that, should we need to buy or sell a home here in the future, we will be asking Michael Gillies to represent us.