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Happy Times / Sad Times

Let me start by saying we’re not curing cancer here. I know that. What we do is help people do something they’re going to do anyway.

That having been said, it’s tremendously rewarding (and I don’t mean financially) to help people navigate a confusing, stressful process. What’s interesting is that the times that people rely on me are generally either extremely happy or extremely sad.

The happy ones are fun. A couple is getting married and wants to settle into their first home. A professional just got a job opportunity that requires her to move to Portland. Parents decide to give their kids four acres of backyard wilderness to play in.

But it’s the sad ones that make you feel the best about what you do.

Last year I sold a house for a neighbor and friend who was (and is) experiencing early onset dementia. Another listing I had was for the family of another neighbor who had passed away. A third was for a friend of a friend who, already confined to a wheelchair, had been diagnosed with terminal cancer.

Trying times. The pain that comes with these transitions is only amplified by fickle buyers, home values that don’t jibe with the optimistic projections of Zillow and Redfin, repairs that need to be made, and the myriad documents that need to be understood and signed.

It’s not enough to protect my clients. I need to make sure my clients feel protected.

I used to work for multinational corporations, creating marketing and advertising on a global scale. I did some really good work. I solved complex problems in (if I say so myself) some extraordinary ways.

After one particularly difficult project that resulted in a huge victory for a global financial services company, I had a realization: Corporations can’t be happy. They can only be profitable.

People, though. People can be happy.

That’s what got me into real estate. I like making people happy.

My client in the wheelchair repeatedly called me a lifesaver. I wasn’t. She passed away anyway, much too early. And my friend and neighbor with dementia, when I call her now to check in, often can’t remember who I am.

I’m at peace with that. Like I said, what we do is help people do something they’re going to do anyway. And that other thing they’re going to do anyway? Well, it’s a lot bigger than just buying or selling a house.