That agent just “pulled a Sully!”


The story of Captain Sully (in case you live under a rock)…

Just minutes after take off, Captain Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger III, announced in a calm voice “brace for impact,” to his 150 passengers aboard US Airways flight 1549 just before safely bringing his plane down onto the icy, 65-foot-deep waters of the Hudson River.  Being a highly skilled pilot, he saved hundreds, potentially thousands of lives by remaining calm and solving the problem by doing what he did best…fly airplanes.

Since then, the term “pulling off a Sully” has been coined for situations where the impossible became possible and good prevailed because the right person was in the right place at the right time.


Jennifer Karakosta

Jennifer Karakosta

The protagonist of our story is Jennifer Karakosta, an agent here at Herman & Co.  Jennifer is a former VP from Bank of New York.  She left the banking industry to raise a family and is now an active real estate agent in Staten Island with 8 years experience.  She’s the complete package in terms of what being an agent should represent.  Honest, intelligent, driven.  And she’s a problem solver.

Jennifer was the listing agent on a short sale located in Staten Island, NY.  The deal was plagued with “turbulence” from the beginning.  It was a divorce where husband and wife were abrasive with each other…to say the least!  It took 4 months for Jennifer to get the bank to approve the short sale.  Yes, she negotiated the entire short sale.  The buyer’s agent was MIA throughout the deal.  Then the buyer’s mortgage broker dropped the ball by not reviewing the FHA inspection which delayed the closing another month and almost killed the deal because the short sale approval had an expiration date.  Jennifer remained calm and negotiated an extension on the short sale approval.


After close to 6 months, the closing date finally arrived.  As documents were being signed, someone took notice of an apparent 2nd lien on the property…for $130,000!  Title came up clean but ironically enough, the 1st position lien holder (who was at one time the 2nd lien holder) had sold the 2nd loan to another lender.  To top it off, the homeowners denied knowledge of the loan!  It later came out that they took out a 2nd mortgage some years before.  The Boyce deal, as it came to be known around our office, was dying a slow, painful death at the closing table.


The phone call I received from Jennifer was completely composed and calm, speaking in an almost whisper as she sat at that conference table.  “What do you think?  Can we get the 2nd position lien holder to eat $130k?  I have to make some calls.  I’ll call you back.”  It was as if the last 6 months of hard work and $26,000 commission didn’t exist.  There wasn’t a shred of panic in her voice.  Just an audacious calm and a driven attitude that wreaked “OK…so how can we close this deal today?”  My heart sank with thoughts of Jennifer quitting the real estate business after today’s fiasco.  How could this get past the title company and the attorney’s?  But just as I was laying blame, Jennifer was solving problems.  She called me back within an hour with a possible solution.  The 2nd lien holder may not have a choice but to accept a $6,000 settlement and close the deal….today!  It was surreal and I honestly thought she was delirious at this point.  I tried to break it to her gently…”I’ve never heard of a deal like this closing on the same day that a 2nd lien was discovered.  It’s going to take time to get the approval.  You may have to let this one go Jen.”

Jen fired back a confident “We’ll see.”

I wonder how many passengers on flight 1549 doubted Captain Sully was actually going to land safely.  I mean, the odds were so heavily stacked against him.  But he did.  Right person.  Right place.  Right time.

Jennifer negotiated that approval and the deal closed at around 7 pm.

Great work Jen and congrats on the sale!