October 5, 2023



How can you STAND to be a Realtor?


A peculiar question, it seems to me, that was asked of me recently, and I’ve been thinking a lot about it.


What does this question even mean? How does anyone stand to do anything? What is it about Realtors in particular that warranted this inquiry? Was it the impression that we, as Realtors, work so very hard, and don't get the respect we deserve? (I mean, that would  be fair...) Maybe the stereotypical salesy image of Realtors is so repugnant to this asker of this question that he couldn't even imagine that I could withstand BEING one!? Whatever was behind the asking, my answer, without missing a beat, was:


Because I get to help people live the lives they want to live. 


Absolutely true. Now. That said, would it also be true to say that I occasionally feel disappointed by certain circumstances, or run into frustrating situations just like people may feel in any job? Are there people, or even colleagues, who lack principles and act in a way that I myself would choose not to? Of course. I think it's very difficult to escape these kinds of let-downs in many, if not most fields. And, if you pay attention to these kinds of things, the real estate industry is currently under some serious scrutiny regarding commission structures and very disappointing scandals within our head trade organization. Sadly, our industry is not alone in its failings in these areas. I am watching these situations carefully, and am aware that the possible changes coming down the pike will have an impact on myself and my clients. However, my personal efforts and motivations in my day to day tasks remain unchanged, and I trust they always will. The work remains the same, and I intend to weather the storms of growth and change that surround the process of buying and selling homes. My commitment will be the same as it always has been, and that is to give my all to my buyer and seller clients. 


Let's back up for a moment. The question at hand - that of unimaginable tolerance for being a real estate agent - was posed to me over brunch, by the father of one of my closest friends whom I've known since forever. You see, our friendship began when I was in the dreamy beginnings of what became my first career, that of being a professional harpist. Being a dedicated lifelong career musician and activist himself, I suppose I can understand why my friend’s father would wonder about the path I’ve forged, that has veered so far from my previous life as a professional harpist. I imagine that concerning himself with the details of the business of everday life might seem like drudgery to him, especially after a very full life spent performing and advocating for social change. But I have a little different take on it, and would venture to posit that my work also has had an immense impact, and had changed lives drastically.


Are we ultimately defined by the careers we pursue?


To be honest, my career paths have been somewhat accidental. Once upon a time, a million years ago, I was a wide-eyed young girl from Nebraska, who literally stumbled into being a student of music and art at Oberlin College and Conservatory, in Oberlin, Ohio. Through a series of wonderful and surprising events, I was offered a spot in the studio of one of the world's most renowned harp teachers. In addition to studying music, I thought it might be wise to branch out, so I decided to major in Art History as well. I did not realize at the time that my love (well, obsession, actually) for this crazy and unusual instrument would actually turn into more than just a calling - but would actually be my profession, my career, for many years. 


Looking back, I didn't really go to Oberlin setting out to foster a career in music. I went because I just couldn't say no to the opportunity. What a luxury it was, to study art and music, for the sheer sake of learning - to be immersed in it. My sole responsibility during my time there was to fill my days with lectures in darkened rooms with images of the greatest masterpieces floating before me - to soak up the stories of the artists who created them, and the worlds in which they lived. My other waking hours were spent in my practice room in the Conservatory, with my harp. There we would spend countless hours together, She - patient and steadfast while I tried to unlock the secrets she held within her 47 strings and those deep and luscious vibrations they produced. I am beyond fortunate. Those years were a gift beyond measure.


After I graduated, I put one foot in front of the other, played my harp, met new people, and a career as a working musician unfolded. It was a marvelous experience, with many chapters. I wouldn't change any of it, for one second. But the day came when my place was no longer in that world, and I was ready for something different.


A Fork in the Road.


What came next for me was entry into the world of real estate. And to be honest, I was so ready for it. I was hungry to master contracts, and deeds, and the ins and outs of how real property transfers from one owner to another. This shift was just what I needed. I found hammering out the nuts and bolts of real estate transactions very satisfying, having dedicated myself to the lofty pursuit of creating impeccable and moving performances at the highest level. I loved the concreteness of it all, and the satisfaction of guiding clients to the settlement table. How marvelous - to assist sellers in the sale of their home in order to gain the proceeds to use for the purchase of the next right home? How magical, to hand over a set of keys to a buyer to unlock the door to their new future!


You can't always judge a Realtor by her job title.


It didn't take long for me to learn that what resonates with me most strongly in being a Real Estate Agent, and where I best excel, is helping people in transition find the next best way to live their lives more fully. I began to see that I'm not merely a peddler of houses - I'm an agent of change, and a facilitator of new chapters and opportunities. I began to realize the real service I could provide - the gift of helping people in times of flux to find their footing. 


When people are looking for a new home to live in, they all have stories to honor, and acts of great courage to witness! Change is brave. People are brave. I am honored that people invite me into their process, in such vulnerable and personal moments. Does every Realtor see it this way? Maybe not. But I sure do.


So yes, the juxtaposition of being a performing musician vs. being a real estate agent might present a stark contrast. But just like I brought my whole self to learning my craft of playing the harp and sharing it with others on stage, I bring my whole heart to helping people through the process of finding and creating what I consider to be one of the most important things in our lives - HOME. What could be more important, relevant, and real than helping someone find the right place to LIVE? Social justice also comes in the form of making sure we all have our own sanctuary to return to at night, a place where we are lucky enough to wake again each morning to have another chance to live more fully.


How can I stand to be a Realtor?


The question for me, is rather - "How lucky am I … to do the job I do"?


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