A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE - Holiday Acceptance

Real Estate Agent with Gladstone Group & Long Island Business Brokerage 10311202691

I was not an official member of the "certified" relo team in my company.  My branch manager was on vacation.  "Joan," an office-mate agent was given the responsibility as serving as substitute Mama while our manager was on vacation.

Joan called to give me a relo that happened to be close to my home.  I visited the couple (over 82) who were both survivors of the holocaust.  Sadly enough, they had voluntarily encased their home property (an enchanted ½ acre) in barbed wire. Lebkamp

They were delightful.  He had lost 75% use of his right arm/hand from experiments in Auschwitz, but had become an awesome artist...oils, wire sculptures...you name it.  Some of his artwork (donations) are in the Holocaust Museum in DC and he spends his time as a volunteer lecturer at the local schools and universities.  The only apparent means of survival is social security.  Their family was located in Colorado, all financially challenged.

Our Christmas Tree

After 4 delightful hours with them, it became evident that they did not really want to relocate.  They were in a place where they were giving to the community and felt comfortable and, most importantly, safe.

I reported back to the referring Realtor, who turned out to be their great grandson, that these people did not really want to move.  The grandson was delighted that a perfect stranger had the same observation that he had for years...they did not want to move.

The entire relocation was put to rest.

About eight months later, I received a call from the elderly couple telling me they were ready to sell.  I got the feeling that he was not in good health and wanted to be laid to rest where his family could visit him.

Okay, let's get this baby on the MLS.  No...they told me; they were too uncomfortable with people coming into their home (they were scared).   They said "We know you will find us someone to do a cash deal without putting us on the website."  I felt this was an improbable expectation, but being an incurable optimist, I racked my brain to find a solution for them.  I had none.

Now, you have to understand something; I hardly ever did open houses.  The rate of return on the time that was involved in doing open houses, was shameful. 

Coincidentally, I had another house on the market within blocks of this one; it was on Juanita Drive.

I received a call from the owners of Juanita who told me someone from their place of business was interested in the house and would be there Sunday sometime between noon and 4 pm. 

"Are you nuts?"  That is what I should have been thinking.  Sitting for four hours waiting for a maybe from their office?  Normally I would have said, give me their number and I will make an appointment with them...but I didn't.  I didn't even think about it.  I decided if I was going to be there for 4 hours, I would put up signs and have an open house (definitely not me!).

Who was the first person to walk into the open house; An attorney from one of my commercial deals.

"Mara, what are you doing here?"  I asked.  "Well," said Mara..."I woke up this morning and decided the money I have in the bank for my daughter's college fund is not doing anything and I decided today is the day that I put that money to better use in an investment property."

I closed up the open house, took Mara to the enchanted property, made my introductions...and left!

They made a cash deal to transfer the property and everyone was happy.

A few days later I received a call from the daughter of the elderly couple who lived in Colorado; she could not thank me enough.  She said she was sending me a check for $5,000 for what I had done.  I told her I would not accept it and she should put it towards her parents' move.  She was crying uncontrollably and kept telling me that I was their angel.

As a result of what I had done, the next door neighbor called me to list their home (even though their niece was a Realtor in my company)...and their next door neighbor heard about it and asked me to list their home.  The neighbor across the street saw all my signs and asked me to list her house.


The bottom line here is that a series of occurrences that normally would never have happened...all occurred.  Heaven sent?  I like to think so.

Where does this go?  I would like to see Realtors accept a certain percentage of pro bono (sp?) cases each year...I would like this approved by NAR and the Departments of State in each state.

You never lose when giving.  If no other business had come from what I did, I felt like a million for doing it.  But no good deed goes unrewarded, whether it be in your heart or in your business.  This made an ordinary day into a Holiday I will remember forever.


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Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Congratulations - that is truly a great story.  Business comes in spurts and often in unexpected ways.  Better result than trying to initially force a relocation.  When an owner is ready to sell, they are ready to sell.

Dec 14, 2008 12:03 PM #1
Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman
Century 21 Liberty Homes - Mililani, HI

What a wonderful story of giving and acceptance. I just read one where she acknowledged that she kept a mental bank of she gave.....for expectations of receiving.  What a gift we all are getting from so many learning lessons!

Dec 14, 2008 02:22 PM #2
Tami Vroma
West Michigan Real Estate Specialist-Five Star Real Estate - Grand Haven, MI
Realtor, Grand Rapids MI Real Estate

Thanks for entering the contest.  You inspired me to write about some pro-bono work I did!  Have a Merry CHRISTmas!


Dec 15, 2008 01:32 AM #3
Sylvia Barry
Coldwell Banker Previews International (#1 Marin_Sonoma_San Francisco_North_Bay) - San Rafael, CA
Marin and Sonoma Real Estate Leading Expert

An Incredible Story - when you do good deeds, you get multi-fold returns when you least expected it !

Dec 15, 2008 02:54 AM #4
Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®
Perry Wellington Realty, Adam Conrad, Broker - Lewisburg, WV
Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate

What a heartfelt post, Extraordinary!  My mom always said no good deed goes unrewarded.  You are a very special person.  thanks for the posting

Dec 15, 2008 05:03 PM #5
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Gail - thanks for writing this post and entering it into the holiday acceptance contest!


Dec 16, 2008 12:39 AM #6
Laurie Mindnich
Centennial, CO

Gail, congratulations- they were very fortunate to have found you- your compassion is inspiring.

Dec 19, 2008 07:53 AM #7
Kenneth Bargers
Prudential Woodmont Realty - Nashville, TN

Gail - Thank you for sharing this inspirational story.  These events began from your heart in helping others. 

Dec 21, 2008 03:19 AM #8
Terry Miller
Miller Homes Group - Tyler, TX
Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator

Great story, Hey I was looking at your profile and my goodness it might have been easier to list the languages you did not speak. Have a great New Year.

Terry Miller

Jan 02, 2009 03:03 AM #10
Vita Strakhman
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Upper Saddle River, NJ
Bergen county Realtor

Gail, this is a great story!  I always say "everything happens for a reson", and your story is a definite proof of that. Even though, this already happened, have a great year!

Warm regards, Vita Strakhman

Mar 06, 2009 01:31 AM #11
Jackie Connelly-Fornuff
Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY - Babylon, NY
"Moving at The Speed of YOU!"

I agree with the pro-bono thing. Lawyers do it so why can't we? Great post Gail!

Dec 28, 2009 02:59 AM #12
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