Leave a Message

Thank you for your message. We will be in touch with you shortly.

It Gets Personal

It Gets Personal

In 2007 my husband and I bought a home in Albany, the town he was raised in and where we had been living for many years. His construction business was very successful with many employees and multiple jobs running at once. We had our fourth child there. And then the market tanked, and fast. Seemingly overnight work dried up and it became abundantly clear that we could no longer afford the huge mortgage payments we were committed to. In retrospect I wish we had held out for a while as eventually some banks did recast loans and at least it would have bought us time in our home but the idea of living in a house, with 4 children, and not paying our mortgage in full each month made me profoundly uneasy. So, I called the bank and simply told them we could not afford to make the payments and that “they could have the house back”. We moved out and 6 months later, in an arrangement with the bank, sold the property in a short sale for $250K less than we had paid for it – to friends of ours who still live there.  

I would venture to say that the next year was the hardest of our lives. It wasn’t the financial hit – my husband has always been able to get work easily and he immediately went back to swinging a hammer which he actually preferred over running around in his truck, invoicing and bidding jobs. It was the loss of the dream. This is not the first time I have talked about this part of our lives but as with most hardships, the lessons keep coming and lately I have seen yet another one emerge.

When I became a Realtor I approached the business from a unique angle. I was interested in homes and in people, not sales. In fact, the only reason I was comfortable in the industry was because of two stellar agents I had come to know over the years. These women had shown such reserve and grace relative to the stereotype of the fast talking salesperson many imagine. They had been friends to their clients and acted as advisors who people trusted for sage advice. They held back and looked far out into the future before they made recommendations. And they were impeccably honest. This was in contrast to the agent we worked with to buy our first home, the home we later “lost” in the market downturn. He was an old friend and I harbor no resentment towards him. But he was very much a product of that time and hadn’t seen enough of the housing industry to recognize that markets cannot go up forever, particularly not at that speed. If I had been my agent back then, I would not have advised buying that house. 

Of course, it isn’t my job to act as a financial advisor to my clients, and of course, I do not personally pre-approve my clients for their loans but I do work within a circle of professionals who embody the characteristics I initially admired in my mentors. I surround myself with the best of the best on purpose. When I work with someone looking to sell, the first thing I need to know is their plan after the move and what their price expectations are in order to get where they want to go. If I don’t think this plan is realistic I say so - emphatically. When I first start working with buyers we talk in great detail about the risks involved in making a purchase and right away I want to understand their long term goals for home ownership. I never want to be involved in a situation similar to mine in 2007/8. The lessons are actually very simple and it always shocks me that all Realtors are not focused on ensuring their clients make wise decisions before committing to a sale.

I am so grateful to my clients who have written reviews about our experiences working together. Of course reviews help my business but more than that it is the quality of those reviews. The relationships we build based on trust are paramount. At the risk of sounding sentimental I quote Mr. Rogers, "look for the helpers". Being a helper - and not a salesperson - is why I love this job. 


Let's Talk

You’ve got questions and we can’t wait to answer them.