Your Money or Your Life?

Real Estate Agent with Results Realty Services

This afternoon, I got to visit with a fellow agent from our company who, while locking up a community on Sunday was held at gunpoint and robbed by two masked men.  Despite having a gun pressed into her face, and her purse, car and personal information stolen, she was physically unharmed.  It will take some time for her to clean up the financial mess and loss of her possessions, and much longer to ease the fear or feel safe anywhere.  She did everything she could to avoid the situation, checked her surroundings, had keys ready, called a co-worker to advise that she was locking up and leaving.  Some say being on the phone is distracting, others feel it's good to have someone who knows where you are and ready to call 911 if needed.  That's a debate for another time.   

This real-life story brought up so many feelings and thoughts.  Thoughts of thanks that she made it without serious physical injury.  Thoughts of her husband, children and grandchildren who have been granted more time with such a fabulous lady.  It was also a reminder that I, along with another agent, held open house that afternoon, as did so many others.  We were in a different area, but does it really matter?  These things can happen anywhere.  It made me think of the clients we often first meet as strangers to show a usually empty house.  You may, or may not, meet at the office first, take a picture, get a photo id, but in the beginning they're still strangers.  We plaster our pictures, e-mail, phone numbers on every surface, ad space, social media outlet and cars.  We smile, put out balloons, signs and sometimes cookies and announce to the world that we'll be sitting, often alone, for "Open House".  I have been know to show up with friends and family as passengers to meet potential buyers for the first time, if an office meeting was not possible.  I have a very simple emergency plan with my husband, mother or if needed, an available friend.  But, at the end of the day, all of the precautions are still subject to fail. 

Another thought came to mind, as well.  I don't mean to make this about money.  It's so much bigger than that.  However, I can't help but think about how many times we are asked to cut commission for our services.  It's as if we ride around putting out flyers, eat a few cookies show a few houses and pick up a check.  Yeah, right!  Now, I believe that my life and yours is worth far more that 6%.  So, it's unfortunate that such a very low value is placed on our services, while a very high value is placed on the end result.  Yes, there has been, and will be, agents who do not provide the value and service needed to justify or earn their full commission.  But, that really does seem to be the case for every profession. And, those agents will usually not be able to sustain a much needed client base.  There's the good, the great and the truly dreadful.  But, there are plenty of us out there who will make every effort to move mountains for our clients, provide great service and exhaust all possible effort to get the job done.  We do this job because we love it.  We go above and beyond because it's who we are.  And yes, we even place ourselves in harms way to get the job done.  No, we're not military or police or firefighters.  But we continue to go out there everyday and do what it takes to get the job done (often in heels and a skirt!).

Back to my friend... She had been there to help another agent open the property for a buyer.  They all left at the same time, but in separate cars.  She had to stop quickly to lock the gate.  All I can say is have the other people wait for you if possible.  Due to the parking lot area, this wasn't possible for her situation.  I know that she is a very strong woman who will undoubtedly come back and move forward, in her own time.  I don't know if a sale was made.  It really doesn't matter.  However, I will tell you this.  My life is worth more than 6%, so I'm certainly not ready to risk it for less.  And, if it comes to my money or my life - you can have the money.  That's just my opinion.



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Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~

I guess we don't have communities or properties that we have to lock outside gates.  Though there are areas you don't want to be alone in. Man or woman

Jul 16, 2009 03:24 PM #1
Valerie Spaulding
Windermere Peninsula Properties~Allyn~Belfair~WA - Belfair, WA
Allyn-Belfair-Hood Canal-Local Expertise!

We are pretty vulnerable out there and I think more so the newer agents whose adrenaline is pumping with the thought of buyer on the line - they forget too easily and it is so easy to say "Aw that will never happen to me!"  None of us are immune and no area is immune. 

I have taken friends, family, and the dog with me before if I were going out alone to meet someone I have never met before and sometimes a few times even after I have met with a client.   You can never be too safe.  We do earn our dollars big time -everyday we put ourselves out there just as you said whether it be on the internet or in person or both. Be diligent and safe and I hope your friend and co-worker is ok. 

Jul 16, 2009 03:26 PM #2
Lisa Oden
Results Realty Services - Lawrenceville, GA

Thanks for your comments.

Russ - While there are many gated communities, most are automatic.  It's unusual for them to require one to get out and lock.  Regardless, it can and does happen anywhere.  So best to be with others.

Valerie - Glad to hear that I'm not the only one bringing guests.  Not that it matters, I'll do it anyway.  :-)  Thanks for your kind words.  We'll all be there to lift her up!

Jul 16, 2009 03:46 PM #3
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

Lisa~ None of us are immune from danger,that is for sure.  I don't ever do open houses alone.   It is not worth the risk, period.  I am glad that the other agent only lost material things.  I was robbed by gunpoint when I was 16 years old.  It was scary.  I just handed him the entire cash register drawer!  Money can be replaced, lives can not.

Jul 16, 2009 04:03 PM #4
Lisa Oden
Results Realty Services - Lawrenceville, GA

Hi Vickie - I'm sorry to hear that you had to go through this type of ordeal, as well.  I don't blame you - they can have the cash.  While it probably gets easier, I'll bet that kind of experience never leaves you.  As for open house, I usually have a partner and really love nosey neighbors!  I've had the good fortune to get visits from lots of neighbors.

Thanks for your comment!

Jul 16, 2009 04:17 PM #5
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