Send a Flower Every Once in a While

Real Estate Agent with Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities #1 in Forest Land Mgmt

Sometimes being a Landlord is kind of like being a Social Worker, Bea.

Bea was my first “special needs” tenant, I knew that there was a problem when I first toured the duplex and saw the note that she left for the real estate agent. 

It was clear that she was not happy that we were there and was very concerned that we not look at or photograph her stuff.  I was also informed that there was a stove for the apartment but it had been put into a storage shed because she was afraid of it.

Just before closing we went in for a pre-closing walkthrough but were turned away from Bea’s apartment by a screaming upset woman.

At the closing table the previous owner of the building filled me in on Bea’s problems, offered tips on how to deal with her, and suggested that I get to know her social worker.

My first call the next day was to the social worker to ask a few questions and set up a meeting between her, Bea and myself to get to know each other and sign a new lease with a long overdue increase in rent.

I emailed a copy of the new lease to the social worker and she went out to find Bea and arrange the meeting for the next week.

In all my years in Point I had never been inside the social services building and it was interesting with a real variety of interesting folks. After waiting for a while I went in to see the social worker and meet with my tenant.

Bea was much more pleasant today, and had lots of questions and concerns for me; most importantly she was very concerned that she would be evicted.  And also a little concerned that the rent was increasing.

After assuring her that I did not see any reason why she would need to move, her social worker informed her that the rent was behind the times and the new rate was still very reasonable.

We then went through the lease line by line and I was soooo happy to have the social worker there to help me with this part of the meeting, she is very good at knowing how to communicate with Bea, and she has Bea’s trust.

At the end of our very pleasant meeting, the social worker signaled for me to stick around after Bea left so that she could talk a bit more. 

She talked about what Bea’s condition was and how to handle things, like never sending anyone in to her apartment alone, partly for my staff’s safety and partially because Bea has delusions of very nasty things happening to her.

She told me that officially she is not Bea’s social worker, because Bea does not realize that she has schizophrenia or any other problem.  The police had suggested that she look in on Bea and see what she can do, so now she stops by from time to time or looks for Bea along the street and helps her when she can.

Well, I left there with a list of tips on how to work with Bea, what makes her happy, what she is afraid of and how to keep her happy.

After this day I did not see Bea for several months until one day in the coldest part of January when the downstairs tenant was away for Christmas break.  I got a strange call asking for “Bob Crane the Landlord”, she then repeated her name a half dozen times before telling me that she had not had water for a week and that I should come and see what was wrong.

Well the downstairs tenant had shut off her heat before going home to Madison for Christmas and now all the water in the house was frozen, time for a major plumbing job.

This was the start of our real relationship with Bea, over the next few days we would get to know her much better than many people have a chance to do as we replaced nearly every water pipe in the building.

Much of this time was spent with Nick and his helper doing plumbing while I helped a little bit and visited with Bea.

I found out how much she loves Christmas and keeps Christmas decorations up all year, I learned a little bit about her family but she was guarded about this, I learned about how lonely that she is, and I noticed that she had a beautiful red vase in her kitchen.

So I asked her about what kind of flowers she liked, and this was something that got her to really open up.

By the time we were done with the plumbing job, Bea was ready to join our family, and most days it was all we could do to convince her that she needed to stay in her apartment and not move in with us.

I also discovered this week how happy it can make a lonely person when you  send a flower every once in a while.


Bea has become one of my favorite tenants over the past few years and I hope that when I eventually sell this building that the new landlord will learn to appreciate Bea for the unique person that she is and help her to prosper in a world that is not always cut out for a person like her.





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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Bob...The business we are in has hidden in point

Feb 28, 2014 09:48 PM #16
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Bob, my heart has been touched by your post about Bea. Thank you for sharing Bea's story via ActiveRain.

Feb 28, 2014 10:07 PM #17
Brian Schulman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA - Lancaster, PA
Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552

Bob, nice story about how you can sometimes turn a problem tenant or client into an ally if you make an effort to understand where they are coming from.

Feb 28, 2014 10:08 PM #18
Shelley Rowton
Move To Realty - Austin, TX
ABR, RSPS - (512) 507-5779 MoveToRealty of Austin

I love that you have taken the time to learn about Bea.  It really shows the kind of person you are.  Not many landlords (or people for that matter!) care what lies beneath the surface.  Thanks for sharing!!!

Feb 28, 2014 10:22 PM #19
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
The most important home I sell is YOURS!

Everyone has a story.  Sometimes we are too quick to judge. 

Feb 28, 2014 11:51 PM #20
Kristin Johnston - REALTOR®
RE/MAX Realty Center - Waukesha, WI
Giving Back With Each Home Sold!

Bob, that is quite the story...thanks much for sharing it with all of us!

Mar 01, 2014 12:18 AM #21
Sarah Lynn Jaskowski
Williamsville, NY
House. Home. Today.

That was a beautiful story.  I teared up a little. How fortunate your are to have met such a person.  Thank you for sharing!

Mar 01, 2014 12:34 AM #22
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile

Bob, God put Bea here for a reason--perhaps to remind us to count our blessings.  Perhaps to remind us of what a simple thing like like listening can do to ease the tensions in this world.  Perhaps to remind us of WHY HE PUTS UP WITH OUR SHORT COMINGS.  May he bless each of us with a Bea in our bonnets.

God loves ya...

Mar 01, 2014 12:56 AM #23
Dan Spencer
Aspen Lane Real Estate - Aurora, CO
Your Colorado Home Source

Great story Bob!!! heart warming story and shows if you just take some time and think outside the box it works out.

Mar 01, 2014 12:58 AM #24
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Bob- what I love is that a handful of people took the time to treat Bea like an individual and took her needs into consideration.  You have a kind soul. 

Mar 01, 2014 03:08 AM #25
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Good things happen when you take the time to understand someone. This is a great story with a happy ending.

Mar 01, 2014 03:45 AM #26
Larry Bettag
Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001 - Saint Charles, IL
Vice-President of National Production

It is a great story.  It's comes down to understanding.....and a bit of compassion, and a bit of effort, but the results change impact both party's lives.  Cool!

Mar 01, 2014 05:35 AM #27
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Bob - that is a truly heartwarming story.  Lonely people, and especially special needs people, need to feel that they are appreciated for who they are.  I am sure that it made you feel just as good as she is feeling now.

Mar 01, 2014 06:15 AM #28
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

What a nice story Bob!  Sending anyone flowers can certainly brighten someone's day whether they expect it or it's a surprise!  Special needs and lonely people need to feel like they're heard and are appreciated and I am sure that by sending Bea flowers, you made her feel that way!

Mar 01, 2014 09:41 AM #29
Cathy Wolters
Wolters Realty & Property Management Company - Cocoa, FL
Your Brevard County Property Management Expert

Bob, what a beautiful story. Being lonely is a really difficult thing. Bea is lucky to have kind people like you and the social worker,  to look out for her. 

Mar 01, 2014 12:11 PM #30
Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS® - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR® Silver Spring, MD and beyond

You are a very special man Bob. There are (too) many people who would have been annoyed by her or even afraid. Compassion and kindness doesn't cost anything but the difference it makes in other's lives is invaluable.

Mar 01, 2014 12:21 PM #31
Lisa Friedman
Great American Dream Realty - Essex, VT
30 Years of Real Estate Experience!

Bob, what a wonderful story. I respect you so much and this story just drives home the point why. You are a good man.


Mar 01, 2014 12:37 PM #32
Diana Zaccaro
Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp - Cocoa Beach, FL
"The Accidental Blogger" Cocoa Beach, Florida

Bob, you took the time to listen and make Bea feel special by adding a human touch. Sometimes it's the little things that don't require a lot of time or expense that mean the most.

Mar 01, 2014 01:08 PM #33
John Jonas
ReplaceMyself - Virtual Assistants - Highland, UT
John Jonas

Amazing story Bob, you're a very special person for being patient and trusting. It's not easy to take the time to get to know a person like you did.

Mar 03, 2014 01:56 PM #34
Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek Team - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

Hello Bob,

What a lovely story - Bea is so fortunate to have you, your patience and understanding to help her navigate the world around her.  She is special, and so are you for taking the time to get to know her as more than just a tenant.

Mar 04, 2014 10:45 PM #35
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Bob Crane

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