Life, Death and Real Estate

By
Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

Life, Death and Real Estate

It's been a rough summer when it comes to death and serious illness.   Real estate agents I know from coast to coast, even some in my own market, have lost, or are losing, parents, siblings and even spouses. Heck, even one of my very own clients had a sudden and tragic death in the family that lead to an unexpected and prolonged trip out of the country right after a home inspection on the property he was set to purchase.

Death and illness are a part of life.  We can't control when tragedy strikes.  Yet whether you are a real estate agent, or a client in the middle of a real estate transaction, preparation and the ability to have a back up plan on the fly is a must because real estate doesn't have a pause button.

Real estate agents work in the best interest of their clients.  So when tragedy strikes in our lives, it is important that while we are dealing with personal loss, we have competent back up ready and willing to step in.  Maybe it is our broker, or a close friend in the business.  Maybe a teammate.  Either way, the show must go on for our clients.  Our personal life should never interfere with their transactions.  

Personally, I know that even though I work as a one woman show for my clients, that if something happens in my personal life that takes me away from my job, there are plenty of ready, willing and able agents willing to help me.  I know because I have spent time helping them in unavoidable family emergencies.  So if you are working with me as your agent and something happens in my personal life, you are in outstanding hands.

If you are my client and tragedy strikes, I will be here to help you sort out a back up plan on the fly.  Maybe we need to implement a Power of Attorney for someone to sign your settlement documents.  We can certainly work long distance and very unintrusively to get your contractual documents signed electronically.  As someone who has been helping clients buy and sell since 2005, I know what lies ahead in your transaction and can certainly help you with contingency plans when life serves up a sudden emergency.

Even as I type this post, I remember the purchase of my very first property.   I was so excited.  At the time, I didn't have a license, so I had an agent representing me.  The seller I was buying from was not present at settlement, but a friend of hers was.  The reason for the Power of Attorney was the seller's sister had been killed in a car crash.  My happy moment was tempered when I heard.  Yet somehow the bulldog agent I hired had no kind or empathetic bone in her body.  The first issue she brought up, unapologetically at the table was that a window treatment in the kitchen was missing.  The friend apologized and said she had been given a key and told to pack up what was left when the seller had to leave town.  My agent was aggressive in getting it back.  I stopped her right there, looked at the friend and said, "It's really not a problem if you never bring it back.  I am so sorry for your friend's loss.  Please tell her so."

I guess that one incident has stuck with my all these years and influenced how I do business in times of crisis.  Business still gets done, but you don't have to be an ass about it.  You can accomplish your client's goals and be empathetic to loss even on the other side of the transaction.

Just some thoughts on life, death and real estate.

 

 

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Rainmaker
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Marco Giancola
Beachfront Realty - Miami Beach, FL
Realtor (305)608-1922, Miami Beach Florida

Hello Chris-nicely written post and congrats on it being featured. 

Aug 10, 2016 10:10 PM #16
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Harry F. D'Elia
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

It is part of real estate. I just got back from Kentucky for the past two weeks emptying out my inlaws home to get ready for sale since they are both dead.

Aug 10, 2016 10:26 PM #17
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Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Chris Ann. You have made some very real and important points here. I don't like rude or pushy people period. Nicely done.

Aug 10, 2016 10:28 PM #18
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Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Great truth!!!

whether you are a real estate agent, or a client in the middle of a real estate transaction, preparation and the ability to have a back up plan on the fly is a must because real estate doesn't have a pause button.

Aug 10, 2016 11:25 PM #19
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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Chris Ann Cleland says...she will be there. What more can anyone want?

Aug 10, 2016 11:35 PM #20
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Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Hi Chris Ann

I really enjoyed the sensitivity and caring you shared in talking about this issue that can strike when we least expect it, either in our clients's lives or our own. Having good coverage is important, for vacations as well as these emergencies. And clients need to know we are there to help them get through the transaction when they have personal issues that intrude!

This is a well deserved feature

Jeff

Aug 11, 2016 12:01 AM #21
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Anna Banana Kruchten - Phoenix Homes Sales
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
603-380-4886

Chris Ann well said - Business still gets done, but you don't have to be an ass about it. Too often people forget that others are going through a tough time and that they need more kindness, not less. 

Aug 11, 2016 01:34 AM #22
Rainmaker
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Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist

thoughtful and provoking post Chris Ann Cleland Many folks neglect to live in the moment and when crisis time arrives... panic...no plan yet alone a backup plan.  90% of the population has yet to make time to draft a will.  Taking time off for these special moments in time are part of the family dynamicsand the stength to forge forward.  

In biz world it is always in your best interest to have a team member or associate in your office to be knowledgable about your listing and selling files. Preferably the broker!

 

Aug 11, 2016 02:32 AM #23
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Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Chris Ann, Life and death does happen. I giggled when I got to the end of the post and read … “you don’t have to be an ass about it.”  Needless to say … I relate to that. Congratulations on the Feature. 

Aug 11, 2016 02:56 AM #24
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Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA

Chris:

You approached a difficult subject with grace and tact.  In life we will all have to deal with a death in the family.  Having an agent like you to help your clients must be great relief.

Aug 11, 2016 04:26 AM #25
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Dick Greenberg
New Paradigm Partners LLC - Fort Collins, CO
Northern Colorado Residential Real Estate

Hi Chris Ann - You're right. One of the most important things we can do for our clients, our friends and ourselves is keep an even keel and be supportive when bad things happen.

Aug 11, 2016 05:33 AM #26
Rainmaker
627,342
Brian L. Sirota, Esq.
Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney) - Orange, CA
For Solutions: (714) 501-7660

Chris Ann, you give a comforting assurance to clients of being cared for despite life's vagaries...   nicely done!

Aug 11, 2016 05:54 AM #27
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Chris Lima
Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Thanks for sharing this Chris Ann.  I don't believe that enough of people see as human and caring first and that is such a shame because the majority are amazing individuals that love what they do and are honored to be part of such a major transaction and then there are the asses.  The asses think of NOTHING, but themselves.

Aug 11, 2016 05:56 AM #28
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Chrissi Chapman Topoleski
Re/Max Real Estate Connections - Haymarket, VA
HOME~There is no place like it!

Beautifully said. Sometimes agents, buyers, and sellers forget that there are PEOPLE on the other side of the transaction. Unfortunately, we never know when tragedy will strike or something out of our control comes up. I had a client who would not move the date of a settlement one day so the Seller's agent could attend a funeral, and the agent was adamant she attend closing. I was mortified and so apologetic to her while delivering the news.

Aug 11, 2016 07:59 AM #29
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

That's so true, Chris Ann. You don't have to be a dick about it because then you're a dick. And nobody wants to be a dick except a dick, and that is not us. Tonight I had a seller come crawling back after his Redfin agent failed. I had offered to give him a little break, a 1/2% on the commission, when we were competing. He didn't take it, and he went with Redfin. Now that I have him by the gonads, friends were asking if I hit him with my full commission. You know what? Just because he was a dick doesn't mean I should be a dick.

Aug 11, 2016 12:13 PM #30
Rainer
526,547
Sham Reddy CRS
H E R Realty, Dayton, OH - Dayton, OH
CRS

Great article!!!

In times of crisis, Business still gets done, but you don't have to be an ass about it.  You can accomplish your client's goals and be empathetic to loss even on the other side of the transaction.

Just some thoughts on life, death and real estate

Aug 11, 2016 09:34 PM #31
Rainmaker
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Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Life, Nature and the Universe runs in cycles. We all are in our own & others too reminding us to seek out and add to the marrow and the deep worth of it all

Aug 11, 2016 11:51 PM #32
Rainmaker
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Chris Ann --- a well-written and thoughtful post.  Your personal story purchasing your home speaks volumes about you and your character.  

Aug 11, 2016 11:59 PM #33
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Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

So true.  The fact is, real estate transactions do not happen in a vacuum. There are events and circumstances that can add stress to a stressful process.  It is good to have a backup and people willing to stand in.

Aug 12, 2016 05:17 AM #34
Rainmaker
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Yolanda Cordova-Gilbert
Richmond, TX

Chris Ann,

 In this business we do deal with all kinds of people in all kinds of situations and we need to remember in this business it is not about us ever!

Aug 14, 2016 07:46 AM #35
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