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Foreclosure- The Clouds That Had Me Blind

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.

clouds

Relating

“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.

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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.

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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”.

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.

35 Comments

35 Comments

  1. Clint Miller

    June 19, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    SOOOOOO HAPPY to see you on the AG site! The people that run AG must really know what they are doing!! 🙂

    Awesome post, Lesley…as usual. You know Im your #1 fan!! VERY proud of you!

  2. LesleyLambert

    June 19, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    Aww Clint, thanks so much for your kind words!

  3. Diane Guercio

    June 19, 2009 at 6:33 pm

    Honey, that was beautiful. I don’t think we even realize the extent of this issue- and we are all touched by it, either directly or through someone close to us.

  4. Joe Sheehan

    June 19, 2009 at 6:38 pm

    Thanks for this post, Lesley.

    Not there yet, hope never to be. Checking account balance isn’t anywhere what it used to be and the accounts payable balances are piling up. Somedays, it looks hopeless. Just trying to keep on keepin’ on.

    Congratulations on your perserverance and coming out the other side.

    Joe Sheehan

  5. Ken Brand

    June 19, 2009 at 6:40 pm

    Welcome. Exactly right, experience wrapped in grace with a desire to help others…a beautiful thing. Although, gaining the experience can be punishing.

    Hugh MacLeod sez, “The market for hope is infinite.”

    I really do believe that our job is to lead and illuminate and deliver on the promise of “hope”, whatever the real estate related form.

    Cheers.

  6. Elaine Hanson

    June 19, 2009 at 6:44 pm

    Thanks for being so open with your experience and causing us to remember the people behind the numbers in the foreclosure mess.
    Congrats on the new AG position – you will be great! “Look straight ahead – nothing but blue sky!…”

  7. Brandie Young

    June 19, 2009 at 6:50 pm

    Welcome, Lesley!!

    Wow – thank you for sharing such a big happening in your life. It sounds like a very humbling experience, and shows so much character in that you discovered how to help others from your experience. I’m sure those you help appreciate your wisdom and compassion.

    Looking forward to having you here!

  8. Benn Rosales

    June 19, 2009 at 6:56 pm

    @lesleylambert What a fantastic debut Lesley! I love how you relate. If this is how genuine you are with us, I can only imagine your clients experience with you as their advisor.

    Your experience is now wisdom because you’ve chosen to learn from it, and grow. I can’t wait for your next post.

  9. Kim Wood

    June 19, 2009 at 7:03 pm

    Welcome to AG, Lesley ! Yipeee !

    Thank you for getting up-close and personal – so we can learn and help others. ::high five::

  10. Glenda Bramblett

    June 19, 2009 at 7:32 pm

    I do think as realtors we forget that these are human beings that we are dealing with.It is so,so sad when someone through some unfortunate circumstances loses their home.These people have feelings and they do feel so sad and like a failure during a loss of a home.I don’t think they want our sympathy but they do want our empathy.They are not just a foreclosure,a short sale,or a commission check to us as realtors.They are PEOPLE!Thanks for sharing your story and God Bless as we all do what we can as realtors to help a person who is in need of our understanding and our expertise!

  11. Stefanie Hahn

    June 19, 2009 at 7:39 pm

    Hi Leslie:
    Wow. I am so impressed with your bravery in sharing your story. I can’t even imagine how hard it must have been to go through this and then to share it with others. Thank you. You have definitely helped me to understand the emotions behind the process, something you don’t usually read about …

    So glad you are writing for AG! Congrats – you rock 🙂
    -Stefanie

  12. Clint Miller

    June 19, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    Id like to add to Glenda’s comment…

    I have written numerous posts about how this business is a PEOPLE business…and that the primary job here is to help people. Too often, agents get wrapped up in the numbers side of it and forget that they are dealing with a human with emotions.

    I just wanted to say that I appreciated Glenda’s comment and I concur completely.

  13. Kelly Galanis

    June 19, 2009 at 7:44 pm

    Great article, Lesley. I am sorry you had to go through all that, but it is great that you have come around and can educate others so well. You are an awesome realtor and a great person! 🙂

  14. Matt Wilkins

    June 19, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Lesley, welcome to the AG family.

    I have to agree with you and alhtough we are seeing signs of stabilization in the housing market in many place with declining invenotry I wonder what on the horizon could tip the scales again (and there are underlying signs of possible issues in the future)

  15. Wendy Hughes-Jelen

    June 19, 2009 at 8:13 pm

    Thank you for sharing. If there is a silver lining in this economic cloud it is that it is a shared collective experience in our society right now so talking about it is acceptable for most and therapeutic for all. I’ve been renegotiating my mortgage for 6 months, we are close to getting a final deal made – hopefully it will be something we can manage! I have to say we would never have lasted this long it it wasn’t for my husband’s father who luckily is in a position to help. No one else could.

  16. NikNik

    June 19, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    WOOOHOOOO Lesley! Welcome to the AG family…they’re lucky to have someone like you. Someone that is passionate, insightful, fun-loving, knowledgeable, and above all…someone who’s REAL and tells it like it is! Love you girl! And remember….my door (here in L-town) is always open for you when you visit!

  17. Lesley Lambert

    June 19, 2009 at 10:31 pm

    I am humbled by your praise. Writing this wasn’t the hard part, living it WAS. I hope that you will all remember this story when you are sitting with people in distress. Hugs to all….you make me so happy to share here!

  18. Jason Sandquist

    June 19, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    @LesleyLambert awesome new addition to the AG team

    Reflecting only makes one stronger

  19. Debbie Kirkland

    June 20, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Leslie,
    I’ve told you before and I will say it again. It is amazing how parallel our lives are. Strength comes from adversity, compassion from experience and wisdom from the open mind. You have it all, and you deserve every success. I am so happy to know you, to be connected to you.
    There are very few people in real estate who understand to complexities of balancing a personal life and a professional life, you “get it,” and you should be proud of yourself. I am.

  20. jeremyblanton

    June 20, 2009 at 3:57 am

    Lesley, Once again, a really good article my dear! And Congrats on your spot here on AG!

  21. Joe Loomer

    June 21, 2009 at 1:20 pm

    The thing I love the most about being a Real Estate Agent is the fact that each sale is different. Sometimes these transactions involve adversity, sometimes they involve great joy. You learn from each. I cannot imagine the personal grief associated with the situation you went through, Lesley. Thank you for this motivating and enlightening introduction to us here at AG.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  22. Louise Scoggins

    June 22, 2009 at 3:48 pm

    Hi, Lesley! Thanks for your genuine post! It’s very relatable to sooo many people right now. I completely agree with what Glenda and Clint wrote: Real Estate is a relationship business. Having the empathy of “been there done that” attitude and showing people that they, too, can conquer all, is inspiring.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts!

  23. Missy Caulk

    June 24, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Hi Lesley, Welcome to AG. Looking forward to your posts here. It must have been terrible to go through that. You are not the only one, my dear as each week I see more an more agents, and lenders homes come up in the Washtenaw Legal News.

    I was speaking to a local agent last week, use to gross 350K each year, she is struggling and said she spoke with a local attorney. She told them she wanted to file in a county over so all the local agents wouldn’t see her failure.

    You have written here and told the world, “hey, this happened, it doesn’t define me, I survived”. Bravo to you.

  24. LesleyLambert

    June 24, 2009 at 8:37 am

    Missy: That line is a keeper:

    “hey, this happened, it doesn’t define me, I survived”.

    Exactly.

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