Steve & Christina Celestini
The first time we met Van, I admit I was a little disappointed. Nothing personal. It’s just that the first person my wife Christina and I met when we visited the new neighborhood’s sales office was a super-friendly gal who was covering for him. So the next time we visited the development, she introduced us to this cat Van, and I told myself there was no possible way he would be as helpful and encouraging and hardworking as the gal whom we had first met.
Well… I was wrong, to paraphrase Arthur Fonzarelli, and wonderfully so. Because that day marked the beginning of a journey that gained us the house of our dreams and, more importantly, a great friendship.
But it wasn’t easy. Oh no, not even close. We brought challenges to Van’s office along with our dreams. For one thing, we needed help selling a house that had already been on the market for six months. I’m not sure if that was because of the tough market environment or the McDonald’s red and yellow color scheme we had adopted in the main level of our prior home (it seemed more burgundy and burnt gold in the paint store). No matter. Van and his color whisperer (the lovely Anne Fletcher) had us repaint and restage our home (something at which they excel), and within a few weeks of re-listing, we received a great offer.
First hurdle cleared.
Next came designing and building our ultimate house in a new development. Not easy, but doable, right? Wrong. We had royal housing aspirations, but a gentleman’s budget, and severe restrictions on the lot shapes and sizes in our chosen neighborhood. Suffice to say that through nobody’s fault, it was not meant to be. And we despaired. But Van consoled and rallied us, and we ventured out into the existing homes market where Van tirelessly sifted through the options and our sometimes-wavering demands to find “The One”.
But it wasn’t easy and there was no obvious solution. So we paused and regrouped and stress tested and rewrote our “must haves” versus the “nice to haves”. And still we couldn’t quite get there. Until the Ides of March in 2012, when Van had the brilliant idea of connecting a seller who’d given up trying to sell his house with a couple (yours truly) that had almost given up on ever finding their house. Yes, that’s what I said. He took us to see a house that wasn’t for sale, that he had listed for the owner previously, because he had a hunch that something good would come of us seeing this home and meeting the owner.
And he couldn’t have been more right, because things fell in place from that moment forward. Two and a half months later, we moved into our home… on my birthday, May 31st!
We got there, and we got here, because of Van. Plain and simple. Van’s determination, skill, charisma, network (and did I mention determination?) got us to the finish line. We are forever grateful for the house, and the journey, and the friendship.