A BETTER PLAN
Real estate, like any job, has its fair share of challenges & rewards. Many jobs require long hours, including nights & weekends. But when you have special clients, you do not mind staying up late, as I did tonight, to work an offer on their behalf.
But then there are the times when you put in many long & tedious hours, only to not get paid a penny, because someone changed their mind, could not get financing, there were issues with a property, etc. but it is all part of the business, so agents have to take it in stride.
I accidentally stumbled across a thank you note from an elderly couple who were going to buy a house from me in1999. They were referred to me by another client. They were struggling at their loss of independence, & saddened that they were having to move closer to adult children, as well as a bit depressed & confused as to how to choose which city in which to live, as each child lived in a different state. They were both very frail, but he more so than she. He was on oxygen, & tired extremely easily due to his health issues. We always drove separately, because his tiny wife drove the large RV around, so he could recline while hooked up to his oxygen tank as we shuttled from property to property. Some days he would tire so easily after looking at just 2 houses that I would have to cancel the remaining appointments, leaving a big hole in my schedule. But I did not mind. I was concerned with his well being.
At that time, the economy was good, & it was a seller’s market, so inventory would sell quickly. We were struggling to find them the right house that would accommodate their health issues as well as meet their budget. I could tell that the process was beginning to wear on them, but each time we would end our day’s journey without having found the right fit for them, I would assure them that God had a better plan, & that if we would be patient & hold on a little while longer, He would reveal it to us.
I was very excited about a trip to Scotland that had been planned months in advance, but worried about Tim & Janie (NOT their real names), so I offered to connect them with another agent in my office, who would assist them while I was gone. Sweet & loyal, they assured me that I was worth their wait, & that they would be there when I returned to resume house hunting.
However,the day I returned from overseas, they called me to let me know that Janie had visited their daughter in. Louisiana while I was gone, found a house, & made an offer on it. Disappointed that I would not receive any recompense for the work which I had done, I was nonetheless very happy for them, for it was clear that they were overjoyed at their decision.
A little over a month later, I received a typed letter in a plain white envelope from the two of them at my office, & it contained a marvelous paycheck! No, it was not monetary, for it is illegal for agents to receive compensation directly from clients without going through their brokerages.
Here is what their letter, typed in ALL CAPS, due to Tim’s arthritic hands, gnarled fingers & failing eyesight, said:
I HOPE YOU HAD A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY IN SCOTLAND.
SHORTLY AFTER YOU LEFT TOWN, JANIE VISITED HER OLD HOMETOWN, MONROE, LA. SHE FOUND A HOME THERE FOR US, SIGNED A CONTRACT, & IF ALL GOES AS PLANNED, WE WILL MOVE THERE IN MID-JULY.
MANY THANKS FOR YOUR HELP IN TRYING TO FIND US A HOME HERE IN HUNTSVILLE.
WE WILL NEVER FORGET YOU AND YOUR KINDNESS, PATIENCE, AND COMPASSION WHEN WE WERE SO LOW. I GUESS GOD DID HAVE A BETTER PLAN.
TIM & JANIE
I’ve not heard back from them again, but I kept this letter as a reminder that some things are worth a whole lot more than money. How you treat people is one of them.
I hope that they have enjoyed many wonderful years down in the bayou state. And it was my privilege to assist them. It is I who will never forget them, and their positive attitude despite mental & physical fatigue. A monetary payment would have been quickly spent, & forgotten. But their words, penned on nondescript white paper, live on.
I may not have found them the perfect house, but I found peace in knowing that I did not pressure them into purchasing any of the many houses that were just not the right fit for them. And that is priceless. Better yet, as I reflect back on the last few years of my life, which have been fraught with disappointment after disappointment, my own words are echoing back to me after 17 years: “God has a better plan!” I just know it!! And one day, like Tim & Janie, I will be living proof!
– Lou Lehman Sams