It doesn’t happen very often. But when it does, “it” is often quite touching. Makes me like people even more.
Restores my faith in humanity – which I confess – gets a little shaky from time to time. Specially when I get sucked in too far. Whap’d upside the head by one too many of the less savory experiences real estate can conjure on a day to day basis.
Like when buyers and sellers square off like rabid mongooses (mongeese?). Prepared to battle to the death over who will retain that rickety old refrigerator, when and if their million dollar escrow ever manages to close.
“It” – in this case – refers to other more gracious moments that arise out of the blue. When well-meaning clients offer up sudden, heartfelt apologies for things they think they either should or shouldn’t have done – that really weren’t so terribly wrong in the first place. Usually minor indiscretions or tiny infractions that weren’t anywhere near out of line, out of whack or out of range of the norm of human behavior.
Clients don’t have the same opportunities we Agents do. They don’t get to see hundreds of different buyers and sellers – of all shapes, sizes, dispositions and depths of portfolio – make their way through the stations of the cross dotting the real estate landscape. They don’t always know how to rate their own behavior – lacking years of experience that could provide a clearer picture of what this human guy that everyone calls “Norm” really looks like.
But God Bless some of them for worrying. For being conscious of their own actions. For caring enough to express concern when they think they’ve crossed the line.
What are some of the charming little apologies that spring from the mouths of our clients? “Sorry, I must be your worst client ever.” Or: “Sorry to ruin your weekend and make you come out to show me this property.” Or: “Sorry to call you at night.” Or: “ Sorry to ask so many stupid questions.” Or: “Sorry my garage is a mess.” Or: “Sorry I didn’t have time to organize my linen closet or arrange my canned goods in alphabetical order on the pantry shelves before you came over to see the house.”
Or… “Sorry that I don’t actually like this otherwise perfect dream home that you went out of your way to pull off the MLS and show me despite your busy schedule jammed full of opportunities to work with other, more important, wealthier, and far more decisive buyers who will probably purchase something way more expensive long before I do and thus reward you handsomely for every single second of sterling effort you expended on their behalf”…
Oops. Back up. Scratch that last one. It must have escaped from some alternate Real Estate universe. One where everything revolves around the Agent and his needs – rather than the client’s.
I was quite touched the other day when wonderful clients, smarting from a home inspection that found fault with the house they’d lived in for 20 years, said: “ Sorry we are taking this so personally. We know it’s just business.”
For a moment, I imagined one of those scenes from an old gangster movie where some poor soul gets rubbed out in brutal fashion while the burly hit man intones: “Sorry, nothin’ personal Vinnie. It’s just business.”
Which brings us to today’s take away message. It’s one thing to say people shouldn’t get personal about a stock. Or some other investment. But how does someone not get personal about their home? Home is the terra firma sitting at the exact intersection where personal and business meet. The rock that so much of the rest of life is built on. The biggest asset most of us will ever own. And yet, also the very thing that affords us all those qualities of comfort, refuge, safety and sanctuary that are priceless in the end.
So…just a little tip. You don’t have to apologize for home being personal. It’s when it isn’t personal that you should be worried.