Please welcome our newest writer, Lesley Lambert who is very active in the real estate, blogging and social media communities and is a practicing Realtor in Westfield, MA. Lesley brings a vibrant authenticity to the blogoshpere and we are very excited for her to join us! Please welcome her in comments.
“I can see clearly now, the rain is gone, I can see all obstacles in my way, Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind…” –Johnny Nash
As a survivor of foreclosure I can relate to these lyrics. As a real estate agent, you should, too. I hope you never personally understand the implications of the foreclosure process. I hope you never experience divorce. I hope you never lose your income or a spouse or anything else. I hope you continue to live a life where the mortgage is paid and the concept of foreclosure is a vocabulary exercise.
Let me explain
On the outside chance that fortune isn’t so kind or has not been, then you might understand the above lyric. I want to explain it to you if you don’t.
You may wonder why I feel it is important for you to understand. I get that, too. I was once the all-powerful high earning real estate agent. I once had every bill paid and no worries on the horizon. I once lived in the land of milk and honey where buyers were plentiful and sellers got top dollar. I knew mortgages and their implications inside and out and never thought I would meet the backside of that contract. The me that lived then would have asked, “why?” or “Who cares?, all day long. Until, one day, reality hit.
I mean BOOM. Reality hit and then it came back to finish the job it started.
My home was in pre-foreclosure. My four family income/investment property was in pre-foreclosure. How did that happen?
How or why it happened is less important to this story than what happened next. After the shock wore off and after I got done crying…after the fear was absorbed and after the phone calls were made…after all that, I experienced this profound sense of failure. I mean, I worked in real estate…how am I supposed to sell houses if I can’t manage my own?
I beat myself up
I steeped in that for quite some time. I really beat myself up and then I realized that this was happening to SO MANY people. I started researching and reaching out and discovering this layer of people who were living a life lateral to mine. Hiding in shame or avoiding the issue at hand wasn’t going to get me through the mess; I had to meet it head on.
The next six months of my life were the most stressful and frightening time ever and I hope I never repeat those experiences. I did, however, get an education from both sides of the fence that lends me a unique voice. Through my journey of pre-foreclosure, emergency sale and yes…even a short sale, I gained knowledge, empathy, compassion and experience. After I got back on my feet to some degree, I decided that I wanted to use that knowledge to help the large number of others that are in distress with their homes.
As real estate agents we need to offer these individuals a helping hand. We are uniquely able to help not only individuals, but the economy and real estate industry at the same time. Our skills and efforts can help to turn around the individual life and work to forestall further recession. I hope to be able to share some of my experiences with you so that you can borrow them to use as a sounding board when you meet with clients in trouble. I plan to give you the tools that you need to help, if you are willing.
Losing a home is blinding
Facing losing your home is a kind of blindness. When you are in the thick of it, you can’t see anything but the black fear that looms. The mail, the phone, the doorbell all paralyze you with fear and you long to run and hide. Looking from the other side of the fence now, the clouds are cleared and I am re-building. You can be the guide to help others to experience the relief that comes from living through financial distress and recovering. As a real estate agent with compassion for those in need you can help to remove the obstacles in the way and help them back to a “bright sunshine-y day”.