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A REALTOR’s Deep Dark Secret

Secrets Shhh...

I don’t have secrets, my life is all out there…just Google my name and you will find out more about me than you EVER wanted to know.

However, most people are not so into “full disclosure” and have secrets. Some of them worse than others. I have had a glimmer into other real estate agent’s lives via my blogging and I am going to share one of the deep, dark secrets here.

I hate to be the one to say this in public, and I am so sorry if I am outing you, but…

Real Estate Agents lose their homes, too.

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Yup. You heard it here folks. Realtors, agents, brokers…you name it, they get foreclosed upon every day.

Now to me, it only makes sense that a large number of real estate professionals would have a hard time paying THEIR mortgage as the real estate market declines, sales slip and prices lower.

Logically speaking, it seems to me that the percentage of real estate professionals who are defaulting on their mortgage would be pretty high.

Why is it that these professionals don’t want to discuss their problems? Is it too embarrassing to advise people to purchase real estate when you are having a hard time hanging on to your own?

I can answer that question firsthand from my own experience. It wasn’t hard for me, because I knew that my issues were circumstantial and would improve given some time and solutions. I never felt like my financial worries reflected upon me as a REALTOR or human being for that matter. I still knew better than most how to help people accomplish their needs in buying or selling real estate. I also knew that by helping them I was helping myself and the economy in one move.

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You don’t need to come out and admit if you have hit hard times, but I want you to know that I know you are out there and it is OK.

Your problems will make you a better agent if you learn from your experiences. I took my experience and worked it into a sideline as a Home Retention Consultant for people in pre-foreclosure. I started talking to other people who admitted they or a friend were in trouble and shared with them the steps to avoid or stall foreclosure. I began writing on the topic so I could share with people who didn’t want to come out and discuss this issue face to face.

I took my problem, moved on and became a more empathic agent and I urge those of you who have had these experiences to do the same.


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You don’t have to come out publicly the way I do, but if you have first hand experience in this, then you can HELP others.

Remember we are all in this together and situations change all the time. You will recover, this economy will recovery and you are poised to be an arbiter for the change.

Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.



  1. Diane Guercio

    October 2, 2009 at 12:07 am

    @lesleylambert- what a great post.

    This has been a difficult year for me, real-estate-business-wise, and otherwise, trying to circle wagons around single motherhood and being the sole income producer. It has been the hardest year, in some respects, and the best year in others. I mean, here I am, basically intact, front pocket full of snark and back pocket full of dreams.

    You have to keep buffered by humor on the one side and hope on the other, I think. I listed a lot of REO last year, and I remember the second one that I went in to inspect before putting in into MLS. I walked through the house and I saw a real estate business card on the floor. I bent down and picked it up, and recognized the name. It wasn’t a colleague or someone that I had closed a deal with. I recognized the name because I had seen it in public records on the deed to this condo.

    So sobering.

    None of us have escaped this market unscathed. A few are having the best year that they ever have, but even these agents know of friends who have left the business, or lost their homes, or had deal after deal fall through because of financing or inspection issues.

    Thanks for blunting a negative situation with your positive outlook, Lesley! The way we feel about ourselves is often tied to how well we happen to be succeeding in business, but our true WORTH is in what we contribute to the lives of others.

  2. Lesley Lambert

    October 2, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Wow, Diane, your comment is a blog post in it’s own right. Thank you sweetie for your everpresent brand of real. I appreciate what you share with me, and I am sure anyone who reads this blog will, too!

  3. Derek Overbey

    October 2, 2009 at 1:06 am

    Great post Lesley. Having worked in the real estate industry for the last 10 years, I’ve seen the great times and I’ve seen the crappy times. I applaud you for the courage to share your story. I’ve had about a half dozen Realtor friends that either lost their home to foreclosure or had to rely on a short sale to get out of a potentially bad situation. I felt their pain and wished I could help in some way but at no time did I think bad about them because they were losing what they help others gain.

    These are awesome people that are in an industry that can be harsh at times. If you’ve ever worked in commissioned sales you know that when times are good, you can be living high on the hod. But when times are bad, many suffer. This does not make you a bad agent, if fact like you said, it can actually make you better in the end.

  4. Lesley Lambert

    October 2, 2009 at 1:11 am

    Derek, thank you for reading my blog and for sharing your insights. I so appreciate you coming by here!


    October 2, 2009 at 2:36 am

    I am a succesful REO agent but 2006 was a very tough year. I came very close to losing my own home. i knew that I had two choices either be a foreclosure of work foreclosures. I talk about it on my blog. It is the post on the bottom.

    I have sold MANY MANY homes that were owned by former real estate agents and even more that were owned by mortgage brokers. I am thankful that I’m selling their homes and one of them isn’t selling my home…but for the grace of GOD…..

  6. clint miller

    October 2, 2009 at 8:05 am

    First and foremost, I am pleased to see someone else on the interwebz that is able to pour themselves out there for everyone to see…and shed the vulnerability…fully opening themselves for criticism, applause, and anything between those polar opposites.

    Aside from that…Lesley, I think you are a very strong, courageous, tenacious woman with a desire to better herself and her situation regardless of the situation you are in…and for that, I thank you!


  7. Joe Loomer

    October 2, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Lesley – thanks for such a gentle reminder that our fellow agents are truly a microcosm of society as a whole – with similar issues, tragedies, and challenges as the general populace.

    We sometimes get lost in our little “Realtor World” and don’t take time to check on our fellow agents’ well being – to make sure no one needs help – be it a spouse losing a job, a family member’s illness, a child with a disability, deaths in the family – you name it.

    Look around, lend a hand, get on board.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  8. Lesley Lambert

    October 2, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Clint, I don’t write about this for accolades, but I do appreciate your kind words. I hope somehow bringing this out helps someone else.

    Joe, it is always good to lend a helping hand!

  9. Greg Cooper

    October 2, 2009 at 4:45 pm

    As I have said so many times….we work in a business that can be a thrilling ride and two minutes later a humbling one. Lately it seems more a humbling one. Thanks Lesley for the reminder about how important it is to always contemplate that humility…that others are hurting even in our brightest hours….that our greatest successes are moments of grace in a sometimes ungracious world.

  10. Missy Caulk

    October 2, 2009 at 9:05 pm

    Yes, it is happening and I see it all the time. Here in Ann Arbor, we have the Washtenaw Legal News, it has it all in there. At first is was shocking and now it is what it is. Every week, new Realtors and Lenders in there.

    Realtors and Lenders are not exempt from the market.

    One of my friends who was instrumental in getting me into this business, lost 2 homes this year, he has been a Realtor for 35 years. I asked him, why he didn’t try to sell his home short, both were too high and I had shown them both. He said, “Missy, I just stuck my head in the sand.”

    I kept thinking I could pull us out of it.

    Thank you for your openness, it is nothing to be ashamed of, in fact, shame is much worse than loosing a house. You have risen above it and are helping others, that is something to be proud of.

  11. Matt Stigliano

    October 3, 2009 at 9:55 am

    Lesley – I have spoken about my experience with the dread of foreclosure before. I didn’t reach the end point and was able to sell my house before I got there, but just knowing how that dread builds in your mind as you move towards that point has given me a great perspective on what a homeowner faces. It’s not pretty. For me, I was in a band making great money that dried up fast while we took an extended break (almost 5 years – not my choice). I got “lucky” though as I was still in the hot California market when I needed to sell. I did get out from under it and at a sizable profit, but it didn’t matter. It was painful, depressing, and often turned my brain into a pile of mush instead of setting it into action.

    I have used these experiences when talking with clients and it has certainly helped. We are the sympathetic ear for many of them and having a like-kind experience can tighten that bond and let them know that you’re not just doing your job, but that you “understand.”

    Excellent post and I hope it brings a few more people out of the closet to talk about their experiences, not necessarily here, but at least to do so with their clients.

  12. Gilbert AZ Homes

    October 5, 2009 at 2:57 am

    The main loan officer who I work with, who is also sort of a mentor to me and helped me get into this business lost a couple of spec homes that he built at the height of the bubble. He was totally overextended, and looking back on it, it seemed silly to even attempt what he did, but he learned a lot from it, and the knowledge he’s gleaned and the practical common sense he’s gained through learning the hard way have made him a very smart man when it comes to money and investing, and I trust him 100%. Honestly, do we ever really learn anything if we never fail at anything? We learn and grow the most during the difficult times in my opinion. -Aaron C

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