Today's Market leads to a Client's Suicide Death

Real Estate Sales Representative with Holly Realty

Today's Real Estate Market is so different from past markets.  Many Sellers are suffering because they are not able to sell their homes.  They may have reduced the price two or three times, and it still did not make a dent.  Statistics say some Sellers are just walking away from their homes.  We are now starting to see some more homes unattended, vacant, and definitely heading to the foreclosure status. 

As a Broker Sales Agent who has served both Clients and Customers for 9 years now, I have done everything professionally in my power to provide a memorable service.  On occasion, I get calls from past clients and customers letting me know they are doing well, that they are happy with their homes, and will definitely refer their family members.  It is a good feeling when you know that you have done your job well.

But, there does come a time when you have done everything you could to service a client, and unfortunately.  that client was so overwhelmed with their circumstance that they do the unexpected.  They commit suicide. 

I had been providing services for a client of mine about 3 years now and had the opportunity to get to know them well.  Whenever there were any housing related problems my client would come into my office; We would sit down and brain storm together how we would tackle the issue.   When we were not talking business I had the opportunity to get to know the entire family and even participated in picnics. It was a good and open client relationship. 

I had just spoken with my client the day before to let them know about a situation that was occuring at the property they were trying to sell.  The conversation went well and I knew it was something that could be resolved.  My client had been trying to sell their home now for about 9 months and we just got a  breakthrough (an offer).  Simutaneously, my client was going through something I was not aware of. Something that was so overwhelming that apparently my client felt the only way out was through death. When I received the disturbing news the very next day that that individual had taken their own life, it was a shock.  I knew that my client was a very strong individual and had been through many circumstances in their lives.  There is no way, it would have gotten to this extreme.  According to the family members, that individual just could not take it anymore.

Who could have guessed that in these trouble times people would choose that option.  It is usually unlikely, but with desparate times comes desparate measures.  The unthinkable becomes the reality. 

I was heart felt with sadness.  I was numb.  I was upset.  I was wondering why they did not come into my office, we could have sat down and battled it out together.  Unanswered questions will remain with me throughout the rest of my Real Estate career. 

For now, all I can do is hold on to the positive memories of this individiual.  Remind myself, that in life we all make our choices. My client decided this was their best choice, and no matter what I have to respect it. 

Comments (5)

Robert May
Robert W May - Lethbridge Real Estate - Lethbridge, AB
Real estate consulting

That is a tragic ending Antonia.  I think there are many victims of the current economic crisis.  It is unfortunate that these things happen and that there are not sufficient places for people to turn for help.

Sep 08, 2009 04:56 AM
Vickie Nagy
Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate - Palm Springs, CA
Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen

I've heard of this before. It's important that you don't shoulder guilt. You had no prior knowledge or any way to circumvent the outcome.

Sep 08, 2009 05:08 AM
Antonia Roman
Holly Realty - Westampton Township, NJ

Hello Vickie,

  You know at first I thought, did my call to him press the button, but then I realized my client must have been at a state of no return.  I have relieved myself of any guilt.

Sep 08, 2009 05:15 AM
Tom Schoenbeck
Keller Williams Realty at the Beach - Rehoboth Beach, DE

Antonia, This was tragic all the way around. To say the least, the seller's family suffered a loss, the potential buyer was at a loss, you, who worked for this client is at a loss, and the community at large, how sad. I can empathize with you as a similar situation happened to me a about a year ago. I was representing the seller.  The buyer, 4 days before settlement, comitted suicide. The gentleman and his wife had sold their home in another state, had all their furnishings shipped to Delaware in anticpiation of the purchase of my listing.  I got a call from the buyers agent 4 days before closing to advise me of the buyer's death.  I was stunned and absolutely speechless. Like you, the agent had worked with the buyer for about 2 years and she was totally dispondent over the news. Besides the loss of the transaction which was the least of her troubles, she lost a dear friend. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to this turn of events and no matter how well we think we understand our clients, we all have troubles and many people are unable to cope with the life skills they have to work with. Very sorry for your loss Antonia. 

Sep 08, 2009 05:20 AM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

This is quite sad -- but you cannot think you had anything to do with his state of mind.

Sep 08, 2009 05:34 AM