Christian Real Estate Professionals : Are Buyers Liars or Do We Simply Need To Be Better Listeners?

Are Buyers Liars or Do We Simply Need To Be Better Listeners?

Are 'Buyers Liars' or Do We Need To Be Better Listeners?

Listen up--it will make your job easier too!I've always detested that little saying about buyers being liars but, you'll understand the point of my title if you read further...

I'm always thrilled to be the recipient of a phone call from a disgruntled customer in need of an agent immediately!  However, there's a part of me who feels a little sorry for the 'other' agent.  Silly, I know but, we've all either been new or done something that we have looked back on and thought, "How on earth did I blow that?!"  I just can't help those ambivalent feelings though--thrilled to have a new buyer but, a bit sad for the other agent.

I recently received one of those phone calls.  Of course, I found that the buyer hadn't ever signed a buyers agency agreement because he was a bit unsure as to whether or not the agent would be 'right' for him.  We discussed his needs and sure enough, he was truly prepared to locate a home and write an Offer immediately just as he said he would.  

We initially, by phone, discussed this customer's needs.  He had very specific lifestyle needs and very specific home needs.  The easy part for me was locating the neighborhood based upon his lifestyle needs.  Without sharing specifics, he had never even been ASKED anything about his lifestyle needs OR his preferences in a neighborhood.  He had only been told to 'Tell me how many bedrooms and baths and what price range' by his former agent. 

Well, there are a lot of 4-bedroom, 3-bath homes in a variety of neighborhoods in the Charlotte Metro area.  There are TONS of them in the price range which he was searching.  After seeing more than 25 homes, he lost faith in his agent and began phoning around to see if he could quickly interview agents by phone and then meet with a couple to see if they 'got it' (his needs, of course). 

I just happened to be the Realtor® that won the prize - a fantastic client who viewed ONE home and wrote an Offer!  How often does THAT happen?!  It was the sweetest deal I've had in a very long time--no hiccups whatsoever!

Which leads me to the point of this post...

If we Realtors® would really listen and stop just trying to 'land the deal,' we'd actually prove that buyers really AREN'T 'liars' - they simply need to be heard.  So, listen-up!  It'll not only make for happy clients but, will make your life SO much easier as well!

The Maxwell House Group Charlotte NC


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Debe Maxwell, Realtor®/Broker/CRS

RE/MAX Executive
Direct:  (704) 491-3310


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Comment balloon 65 commentsDebe Maxwell, CRS • October 15 2011 05:36PM


I think we do need to "read between the lines" sometimes- paying REALLY close attention and being able to read emotions on faces doesn't hurt either! 

Posted by Faith LaRosse, Serving Berks, Chester & Montgomery Counties (Springer Realty Group) almost 9 years ago

Excellent example of why it is important to ask the right questions, and understand our clients.  Congratulations on finding the right home for this buyer, Debe.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) almost 9 years ago

Hi Debe,

What we hear and what was intended by the buyers (and sellers) are often totally opposite from each other......not sure if that is poor listening or lying, we call it "lost opportunity"

Posted by Peter Pfann @ eXp Realty Pfanntastic Properties in Victoria, Since 1986., Talk To or Text Peter 250-213-9490 (eXp Realty, Victoria BC almost 9 years ago

Debe - excellent post and you are right about listening to the client's needs. Then we can help them find the house they are looking for.

Posted by Sharon Paxson, Newport Beach Real Estate (Compass) almost 9 years ago

How awesome Debe... I feel the same way but it's nothing personal to that agent, it's business, and if their clients are not happy with their service we would be foolish to say nope, you go to work with that agent... But you are right.. We need to ask the right questions and listen!!

Posted by Stacey Smith, Your Orange County Beach Cities Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) almost 9 years ago

Debe - Congratulations on finding this buyer his dream home.   There's so much more involved with knowing the exact needs of our clients in their search for a home.  Just asking how many bedrooms, baths and price range is only the first layer.  Delving deeper with more probing questions is where a lot of agents miss the boat in determining the true wants and needs of their buyers.

Posted by Julie Dumaine-Russell (RE/MAX Alliance) almost 9 years ago

Great story.  Glad you were able to ask the right questions and figure out what this buyer really needed.  Good job!

Posted by Laura Allen, Lake Tahoe - Truckee Real Estate for Sale, Tahoe Real Estate Agent Helping Buyers and Sellers (Coldwell Banker, Tahoe City, CA (530) 414-1260) almost 9 years ago

Debe, I recently had a very similar experience.  My new client has turned out to be a jewel.  Not only is he buying a $500K home but has listed three other properties with me.  I think we all need to constantly be reminded to listen and remember we work for "them".

Great post!


Posted by Marian Goetzinger, Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) almost 9 years ago

Congratulations on winning the prize and a quick client. Too many agents forget that the deal is not about them, but the buyer. Well done

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) almost 9 years ago

Debe - First off I LOVE the picture, too cute.  Secondly congrats on the sale!  I can't count how many homes I've sold to buyers who had an agent before me.

Posted by Michelle Gibson, REALTOR (Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. ) almost 9 years ago

Bullseye! Another great post, Debe - suggesting!

Posted by Debbe Perry, 828.439.3084 Morganton/Lake James NC (Real Living Carolina Property ) almost 9 years ago

Now that's a good days work. Congratulations for LISTENING.

Posted by Ellie McIntire, Luxury service in Howard County & Catonsville (Ellicott City Clarksville Howard County Maryland Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Good evening Debe,

I certainly agree with Debbee Perry..Bulls eye and I'm suggesting also. Asking the right questions can make all the difference in the world! Your a great listener and landed a sweet deal which you deserved!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) almost 9 years ago

Debe this is a great post, it is not always the "buyer" it is the "agent" not asking the right questions....well Congrats to your proper questioning. Well deserved!

Posted by Endre Barath, Jr., Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices) almost 9 years ago

Debe - Listening makes such a difference in most things in life, and is imperative if we are to help our clients. 

Hope it's a great weekend for you.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) almost 9 years ago


The right questions leads to the right answers.

good luck and success.

Lou Ludwig

Posted by Lou Ludwig, Designations Earned CRB, CRS, CIPS, GRI, SRES, TRC (Ludwig & Associates) almost 9 years ago

Faith,  That's true also.  Sometimes it's a matter of asking the right questions as well.  Dig, dig, DIG--then, listen up!

Jane, Thank you!  It was really a slam-dunk.  Just a matter of hearing what they needed.

Peter & Linda:  That's right.  I've had that happen before where they were INSISTENT on a particular community, then wound up, last minute, deciding on another that was NOTHING like what they said that they wanted!

Sharon:  That's exactly right!  

Stacey:  Excellent point--asking the right questions is a MUST!

Donna:  Exactly!  If you don't ask the right questions, then listen, you've really wasted everyone's time.

Laura:  Thanks!  It's the easiest part of our job!


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Marian:  Now THAT wins the prize!  GREAT job!

Ed:  And, I think that's where they get 'lost' in this business.  It IS all about the client and nothing else!

Michelle:  Thanks--aren't they adorable?  I know--then you read about them being 'top producing agents' and wonder how on earth they can advertise that!!

Debbe:  Thank you--you're so good to me!

Elle:  Well, thanks!  And, yes it was!

Dorie:  Thank you so much!  It was a sweet deal, I have to say!


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Endre:  I agree--asking what they don't know to say is sometimes more important than what they initially say to you.

Christine:  Thanks and that is true about everything that we do in life!

Lou:  Thanks and that's very true!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Congratulations Debe,

He of course hit the jackpot when he called the Queen of Charlotte Real Estate!

Posted by Larry Story, Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate (Total Care Realty) almost 9 years ago

After all is said and done...we have two ears and one mouth.

They should be used in direct proportion.


Posted by Thom Abbott, Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale ( |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living) almost 9 years ago

And listening can come from doing one thing . . . buttoning the lip.  I try!  Listening came also come in the form of listening to what they are saying, but also how they are reacting.  Good post Debe and I'm glad they called you!

Posted by Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED (RETIRED / State License is Inactive) almost 9 years ago

Debe, Congratulations on getting the buyers and providing them the professional services.  Buyers are not liars OF we make it all about them --as it should be.

Posted by Steve Warrene, Pittsburgh Real Estate Investment Specialists (Your Town Realty) almost 9 years ago


Buyers aren't liars...agents often don't listen well or ask the right questions.

That's why buyer consultations are SO important!

Agents need to go deep with discovering a buyer's wants and needs as well as explaining the home buying process in today's market.  A well-prepared consultation can also eliminate many buyer objections by addressing them upfront, so you're not surprised.


Posted by Dan Weis, Cincy Real Estate Advisor (Comey & Shepherd Realtors) almost 9 years ago

Thanks, Larry!  I was the lucky one here!  They really were a treat to work with and have already referred me another client!

Thom, I love it!  You always have something clever to say!

Carla, I KNOW you know how to listen to buyers--you're the BEST at it!

Steve:  EXACTLY!  It's what WE do to pull it out of THEM.

Dan:  If you're not prepared to ask the right questions, they may talk but, you just won't get the FULL picture.  

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Hmmm . . .I just recently had a client who had a very specific "must have" list, in writing, at the beginning of our search.  After looking at 25 houses, and changing his needs several times, we finally found a house that matched only a couple of the criteria on the original list.  If another agent had stepped in at about the 20th house, she would have had an easy job as he knew so much more of what he really wanted by then! 

Posted by Valerie Baker, Spokane Realtor (Exit Real Estate Professionals) almost 9 years ago

It helps to ask a lot of questions so you really understand what the Buyer means when they describe what they want.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge almost 9 years ago

Congratulations on the featured post. Buyers do not mean to lie but they themselves may not know what they want.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) almost 9 years ago

The buyers aren't at fault.  The agents that are pop tart agents are usually the ones that get burned.  We do a buyer consultation which is about the why behind the what to their wish list.  It really helps us get clear on their needs, wants and the real home they want to buy.  It also gives us a chance to do a consultation about how the process works and how we work.  It really changes everything.  We also use a buyer loyalty agreement.


Thanks for a great post and conversation/

Posted by Lisa Treu (Treu Group Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

Great post!  I have been on that side of many phone calls from disgruntled buyers myself.  It's amazing what a little upfront homework can do.  Well done.  

Posted by Amanda Christiansen, Christiansen Group Realty (Christiansen Group Realty (260)704-0843) almost 9 years ago

Debe, The quicker we can all get to their true needs the better off everyone involved will be.  Nice job lining up the buyer with a home that fit him :)

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 almost 9 years ago

Excellent, Debe, and so true.  I get a little concerned when I'm interviewing a buyer.  I don't want them to think I'm interrogating them, but I want as much information as possible before I try to find a home.  This is great advice!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) almost 9 years ago

A great example and a reward when listening is used properly. . . thank you Debe for sharing your wisdom this beautiful Sunday Morning. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) almost 9 years ago

Buying a home is often a very emotional decision.  No matter what a buyer may say, they still can fall in love with a home that is considerably different than their stated criteria.  If we can listen well to what they want, like and read between the lines, then we can often find that perfect home for them.

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) almost 9 years ago

Debe - this is a great story, and one that I hope a lot of people learned from. I do think that some buyers are not as ready to commit to an agreement as they think, and then get cold feet. Those are the ones we usually call liars. Sometimes they don't really know what they want, and those can take a while.

Posted by Larry Brewer - Benchmark Realty llc (Benchmark Realty LLc) almost 9 years ago

Debe, narrowing down their criteria and asking the right questions works. Congratulations and good job!

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA almost 9 years ago
What a great post.... Its a must to interview the buyer to find put their needs ,, I'm so glad that it worked out really good for you.
Posted by Donna Paul, Long Island Home Specialist,All About Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Gold Coast) almost 9 years ago

As my dear old Mom used to say, "You've got 2 ears and one mouth. That's so you can listen twice as much as you talk!". Of course, when it came to listening to my mom, I had 10 ears and NO mouth! Great job with listening to your client, Debe, and more importantly, asking the RIGHT questions! ~~ Wayne

Posted by Pat & Wayne Harriman, Broker/Owners, Wallingford CT Real Estate (Harriman Real Estate, LLC (203) 672-4499) almost 9 years ago

I had a (now) client get in touch with me that he wanted to make an offer on a property. That his current agent was not making an offer for him. That caught my attention; any agent can make an offer, I told him. Well, in this case "his agent" was a dual agent and was not prepared to make an offer at the price he wanted. We fixed that, and we are now in escrow. It took awhile because, yes, his offer would not fly with the seller but putting a buyers agent in the mix (me), we finally got there. So, yes, listen carefully and you can pick up business.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) almost 9 years ago

So much truth in this, Debe.  Now off to read a certain post we were talking about last night.  Here I come Carla!

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) almost 9 years ago

I would say you got the ultimate pay-off for doing the right thing and listening (after asking the right questions). It's a valuable lesson that is always useful to be reminded of!

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) almost 9 years ago

Debe- great post and congrats on the feature.  I had a Realtor, years and years ago, when we were looking for a house, who would use the phrase in front of me!  Whether you're in Real Estate sales or any other sales, you have to hear what your clients' needs are before you can begin to service them. 

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) almost 9 years ago

Great job of listening.  You deserve the business and its a good reminder that its a service to ask the extra questions.

Posted by Chuck Carstensen, Minnesota Real Estate Expert (RE/MAX Results) almost 9 years ago

Valerie,  I've had that happen before as well and realized that I hadn't asked enough questions.  The more we work this business, the more we learn, that's for sure!

Cheryl:  Bingo!  That's really the secret.

Gita:  That's true but, if we ask the right questions and dig, dig, dig, we can get a better perspective on their needs; most of the time, we're spot-on after a thorough buyer consultation.

Lisa:  I like the idea of a buyer loyalty agreement.  What stinks with them is that some of these agents to whom you refer, lock them into a long-term contract and they're just not happy when they don't see ANYthing that remotely fits their needs.

Christiansens:  Thanks and that's exactly right--the more you dig, the better picture you'll have in your mind of their dream home.  Finding it is a piece of cake then!

Bliz:  Thank you!  Yes, I the prep work and the presentation will be a masterpiece!


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Mike:  You've definitely GOT IT!  That is the point exactly!  Sometimes I have to apologize for the questions but, explain that it's to better help everyone in this search!

Fernando:  Well, thank you!  ASKING the right questions and then LISTENING are key, for sure!

Gabe:  Yes, and I didn't mention reading between the lines!  I thought that was a 'woman' thing (LOL) but, since you brought that up, what's between those lines can very often be resolved by more questions!  Great point!

Larry:  Also a good point--if they don't know what they want, they're should head out on their own to be able to be more specific in their needs.

Michael:  Yes and thank you!

Donna:  Well, thank you!  I'm grateful as well!

Wayne:  I love that saying--so much wisdom from our grandparents, right?!  Thanks so much.


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Some are, most aren't. But some are. The big challenge in this industry for some is to not gather baggage over past setbacks and give everyone a fresh start. 

Looks like you did the right thing with this buyer- see? 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) almost 9 years ago

Helia,  Interesting story!  Dual agency is one of my pet peeves.  It's SO difficult to manage when you've got a prior relationship with the seller.  It's ALWAYS better to have your own representation.

Jason:  HEY!  We had a great time last night and can't wait to see you guys again already!  Yes, you'll thoroughly enjoy Carla's post.

Charlie:  Thanks and yes I did!  I've even gotten a referral from him already!

Kathy:  Oh, that's awful!  I would never say that to my buyers--even joking!  

Chuck:  Thank you!  We ARE in the service business and I think that many don't realize that goes hand-in-hand with a very thorough interview.

Erica:  You're SO right!  They are a customer and nothing more.  

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) almost 9 years ago

Congratulations on getting a great client and finding him a home quickly.  Asking the right questions helps both the buyer and his/her agent, I'm always surpised more agents don't do it.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) almost 9 years ago

We are human, Debe, and we don’t always get it. We can all be better listeners…in real estate and in life, too, I suspect.

This post is worth a re-blog, too.

Posted by John Juarez, ePRO, SRES, GRI, PMN (The Medford Real Estate Team) almost 9 years ago

Debe, you are right - Listening is the key - and at times, listening in detail (from a buyer), not only one can sell the home, one can land up with a listing, too!

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) almost 9 years ago

Love those deals with no hiccups and the buyers are soooo happy and grateful to you. How smart of you to inquire about your clients lifestyle and not just how many bedrooms he wanted. I will have to remember to add this to my list of questions to ask potential home buyers. Thanks Debe!

Posted by Terrie Leighton, Reno Real Estate Agent ~ Selling Homes in Reno (Ferrari-Lund Real Estate ) almost 9 years ago

Debe - There is a reason we have two ears and one mouth but if we don't use them properly even that is of no benifit ..... hearing is only half the battle listening is the bigger half.

ps love the cute litle twins ..... as the mother of twins it holds a special appeal

Posted by Kathy Clulow, Trusted For Experience - Respected For Results (RE/MAX All-Stars Realty Inc. Brokerage) almost 9 years ago
Debe ~ Ah Ha Moment! How sweet it is to capture a client and "listening" to them to sell them a home! We should all be so lucky! Way to go Debe!! Sw a ee t!
Posted by Karen Baker, Professional Help with Rapid Responses... (Sunset Beach and Beyond Realty) almost 9 years ago

In sales we all need to be better listeners and ask the right questions.

Posted by Ira Bodenstein, NMLS#: 445143 (PNC Mortgage) almost 9 years ago

Hi Debe, this is agreat post on being active listeners. What were the magic words that you heard that were not heeded by the other agents?

Posted by Sandy Acevedo, RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale (951-290-8588) almost 9 years ago

We need to listen....and ask questions. Bottom line is that they do need to be heard....and we need to ask the appropriate questions so we can listen to what their wants/needs are. Wonderful insight Debe!

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) almost 9 years ago

That's why wew were given 2 ears and 1 mouth. Keep mouth close and listen intently. You would be amazed at what you might hear.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic ( almost 9 years ago

Debe ... this is a great post and boy ... havn't we all been on both sides of that coin!

Posted by Lisa Wetzel, CDPE, SFR (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) almost 9 years ago

Debe, great story, but I am finding more and more buyers that tell me what they want, and buy something totally opposite. I don't think it is dishonesty, just don't want to sound stupid by admitting they don''t know, but it always comes out if they keep looking. I have started mentioning in the first buyer interview that it is common to change course in the beginning of the buying process. Now when they change course, they always remember that I mentioned that might happen.

Posted by David & Annette Rollins (Century 21 Elite) almost 9 years ago

That is definately a good prospective! I know I have also had people call me when they were not sure that they had the right agent. I always feel bad for the other person but not so bad that I don't accept the client!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) almost 9 years ago

The buyers sometimes just don't know what they want right away and the process takes forever it seems.  It takes a lot of patience to do this business.  it is really all about service, patience and caring.

Posted by Pat Laracy Baker, Pat Baker Dream Home Maker (Realty Executives Boston West) almost 9 years ago

Many times buyers just don't know what they want and are trying to figure things out.  I look how they react and then ask lots of questions.  Great post.

Posted by Mary Macy, Top Agents Atlanta Metro (Top Agents Atlanta Metro) almost 9 years ago


An excellent read.

I think it is often too easy to jump in and start making assumptions about what the buyers want after a few quick questions, rather than actually listening to what they are telling us adn asking more pointed and detailed questions to get at the heart of what they really want, or help them get to that point. I think it's pretty rare that buyers just want a 4 bedroom 2.5 bath home without consideration of the neighborhood and the lifestyle they have and want in that home. And often we do not put ourselves in the buyers shoes and look at the process from their persepctive, but only our own.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) almost 9 years ago

Hi Debe

It was fun to come back to read this, and how ironic that I was the last comment waaay back in 2011.

What you said remains so true. Listening, and carefully, may be one of the most important things we should do. We must keep in mind that it's all about them and their needs, and if we listen closely, and ask the right questions (like lifestyle) it will generally become clear pretty quickly.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) about 2 years ago

So, did we actually have the 'like' button back in 2011, Jeff Dowler, CRS?!!

It looks like I fell down on the job on this post with my responses, huh?

I agree, listening is really key and when you meet someone, you know within minutes how good of a listener they are. I would want an agent who not only listens but, absorbs what I say...and processes it!

Happy Monday, Jeff!  

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) about 2 years ago

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