Totally Stressed

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Creative Commons License photo credit: lancefisher

It’s not the current market and it’s not a specific transaction that has me in this state of mind. It’s a listing appointment Kris and I were on today. Allow me to set the stage. The very nice couple (married for about 50+ years) is in their 80’s. They are from a small town in the midwest and have lived in their current home in San Diego for 31 years. They have never used a real estate agent, but now they have mobility issues such as trouble answering the door when we arrive.

“Come on in!” says Bill and Marge (not their real names) simultaneously after we ring the door bell. I immediately feel that I’m back in that small midwest town of Kirksville, Missouri where I went to college and started my (original) professional career in City Planning a very long time ago. Small towns and people with small town roots have a “feel” about them that’s just plain different and very hard to describe to urban and suburban dwellers.

It’s time to go to the nursing home, they soon tell us, and they want/need to leave their domicile of several generations. Pictures of these generations abound throughout the home. Pictures of them, much younger than the view we are seeing in real time. Pictures of the children (now adults) at various stages of their young lives. There is no dishwasher in the kitchen (“I could get one, but then I would have to move the refigerator,” says Marge) and only a window AC for those few nights of extreme heat in San Diego. There is no computer to be found in their home, either. I see a few healthy tomato plants out the back window and suggest to Bill that the current crop may need to be part of our compensation. The tomato garden generates the proud claim from Bill, who can now walk only with assistance, that he is the “Tomato Man” of his neighborhood. His crops have been so successful that he is known for driving around the community every summer and giving the fruits of his labor to many neighbors. There is no longer a car in Bill’s garage. My stress levels magnify.

This nice elderly couple now finds themselves in a position where they need to put their complete trust in a total stranger for a transaction that is worth what is probably a significant chunk of their life savings, in the neighborhood of several hundred thousand dollars. I am feeling a sense of purpose. They have met with at least one other agent and we will soon find out the results of their evaluation. Regardless of their decision, I sit here stressed to the max tonight, not because I want or need this listing, but because I sincerely don’t want them to put their trust in anyone else.  

The agent they select, of course, might not be me. If you are that agent and you are reading this, please take very good care of this very good couple. This is the transaction we work and train for, and their success means more than any paycheck ever will.

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