Nearly a decade ago now, when I was fairly new to real estate my doorbell began to go nuts one random morning about 6AM. I was equal parts curious and confused as I tried to figure out who on Earth needed my attention so bad and so early. As I opened my front door I came face to face with a Richland County Sheriff's Deputy and he was holding my briefcase. He immediately asked me if I recognized the briefcase and if I would step outside.
As I explained that it was my briefcase and pointed to the company name on the side, the officer stated that it was found in me neighbors front yard. Realizing that I had been out with friend the night before, I knew I had a late night, but not nearly the kind of night that would cause me to come home and throw my briefcase at the neighbor's house so I was really confused by this point. To make matters worse, when I stepped out of the house and into my front yard, the neighbor in question, who waved at me at this point, was sweeping the street between our houses. I thought I might be dreaming in all honesty.
Turns out that my neighbor was sweeping up glass from a broken window. Someone had broken into his car overnight and stolen an Ipod. When the police came, they found my briefcase, but the informed me that there was no sign of forced entry, so they didn't believe anyone had been in my car. I couldn't help but ask if they though I had thrown the briefcase into the neighbor's yard myself.
I could see from my porch the the GPS that once hing from my windshield was missing. A second deputy stepped forward to fill out a report. While doing so, he questioned what manor of company I worked for and I told him I was in real estate. Turns out he was about to start looking for a new home. Once he had finished his report, we made an appointment to get together and discuss his home search.
Flash forward all these years later and that officer who had just gotten out of the military and was on his first day of training with Richland County that morning did buy a new home. He built one just up the road from my home at the time and my wife was the agent for the builder. In fact, he went on to use me to buy two new homes, both through my wife's builder and to sell one home as well.
The fact of the matter is that while I was not happy to start with that my GPS was stolen, several transactions later I have lessened the sting a bit. You never know when you will meet your next client and sometimes a bad situation can turn good pretty fast if you let it. I still do not like being stolen from but I can tell you this, I use Google Map on my phone like everyone else these days, but I leave an GPS in my windshield with the door unlocked every night now just hoping it will get stolen. I have had 6 transactions between the homes bought and sold by the officer himself and friends he has referred to me. That's less than I would have spent on marketing for the same amount of deals. Again, you just never know when your next opportunity will find you, even if it doesn't start off on the right foot.