For years I’ve lamented that so many licensed agents who don’t know their asses from their elbows are damaging the industry’s image of professional integrity. I get fed up and don’t want to be associated with their ilk. I have often said, “I’m DONE!” I recall the days, granted it was 20+ years ago, when Realtors were viewed as professional advisors. We took our jobs seriously. We studied. We advised clients on investments as if they were spending our own money. Those days are long gone.
Instead, today’s agents are (accurately) depicted on “reality TV” as fast talking, sharp dressing, deal-makers who have no real concept of what they’re doing, lacking any respectful appreciation of the trust their clients have placed in them. They often don’t seem to understand or care that clients are making enormous decisions that critically impact the future financial viability of their families and their dynasties. One misstep and they can be ruined.
It’s a BIG deal. And a tragedy when not shouldered responsibly.
I am also saddened that we seem to have lost track of what it is we’re selling. A home isn’t just four walls. “Home” is the place where everyone goes to retreat from the threats of the outside world. It’s our safest place. It’s where we eat our favorite meals. It’s where we lick our wounds, plan our futures, and quietly tend to the needs of our loved ones. It’s where we can let our guard down, cry, feel weak, and then put the armor back on to go face another day.
It is not just a commission check.
One night ten years ago, my nephew John and his girlfriend Alicia were shot to death by her deranged ex-boyfriend, while at home. Craig watched them from the house across the street for many nights, patiently waiting for the moment they left a window open. They finally did. He crept through that unlocked kitchen window, nimbly climbed over the sink and silently crept into their bedroom carrying a handgun. He executed Alicia, blowing her head off. My nephew came flying out of the master bathroom and fought for his life before he too was gunned down. http://nbc24.com/news/local/daniels-gets-life-for-bg-murders
Things got real, real fast, after that. I honestly wasn’t sure my sister would survive the ordeal. The pain is literally indescribable.
Of course there was the whole matter of the trial and the nonstop media attention, which no family needs to deal with. Then there was the stuff for which no one (particularly Realtors) are prepared; selling that place of horror that you can’t bear to face anymore, not to mention revisiting the painful event through the requisite disclosures that murder took place in the home. No grieving family should have to coordinate getting a Hazardous Materials team out to remove all the blood and body tissue that was splattered everywhere, including replacing floor boards, where the blood seeped all the way through. All personal items from the decedents, including clothing, diaries and intimate things meant never to be seen by others, also need to be removed with sensitivity.
It can be too much for even the strongest of us.
Selling a home for a family shattered by that type of situation is heart breaking. I KNOW. And it’s life changing for all parties. Many many home sales are involuntary and unplanned. Illness can arrive without an invitation. Violence, sudden disability, divorce, deportation all can, and do, happen to families all around us every day, necessitating immediate unscheduled moves.
What I am trying to say is that I have been intimately involved with many tragedies, where my expertise was desperately needed. My genuine empathy and sensitivity has been vital to helping fractured families get on the road to a better place, wherever that was. And as much as the frivolous, unconsciously detached nature of so many people in my industry makes me crazy, I know I need to be here for those who honestly need me. It’s exactly those most difficult, most bone chilling, heart wrenching situations that make me want to run away, that compel me remain in this line of work.
My heart breaks for all the families impacted by the Las Vegas shooting rampage. I already know that one of my clients has been affected, and I ache deeply in my soul for them. Their road from sorrow back to happiness is going to be long and incredibly difficult.
I’m probably too close to my clients, and need to distance myself. But I am who I am. And I would rather make the mistake of being too empathetic, than of being too distant and inaccessible to them when they need me most. So if you find you need a shoulder, call me. If you need advice on what to do next after a life changing event, call me. If you’re not sure if your family needs to sell a property, call me. My answers may surprise you.
I have nothing but love and open arms for all of you. I wish you peace. Believe me, it will come in time – maybe a very long time. But it will come.