There is no shortage of things for which a person can be grateful. Yet, I am sure, like me, most people are guilty of taking so many things for granted. As Oprah Winfrey famously said, “Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough”. In business dealings, I have realized this too is factor of consideration that must be realized in all dealings because gratitude is a two way street that is often underappreciated.
A few months ago, I had a consultation with a “family” looking to buy a house. When I say family, I mean a conference room full of people… a husband and wife, their married son and daughter-in-law, their two grandchildren, and some nieces and nephews who came along for the trip. The elder couple was being called upon to help co-sign or co-purchase a new house for their children. None of the participants owned a house previously, and only the daughter-in-law was suitably employed. The son was “looking” for employment as a teacher, and the parents were recently retired with a new “online business” that had yet to make any money. After a long meeting, I escorted them out of my office with little hope of being able to help them make a home purchase viable. We did discuss several options for them to consider and organize that would conceivably help them - assuming the internet business took-off as expected.
I speak to many clients and professionals on a daily basis, and despite my best efforts, I know that my track record will not be perfect, and I simply cannot help everyone. Quite frankly, I didn’t expect to hear back from them for a long time. The next morning I received both a voicemail and email expressing their deep appreciation for the time and guidance that I gave them the day before. The young lady ended the email with “looking forward to buying our first house VERY SOON thanks to you!!” I am pretty sure that I chuckled and dismissed her naivety knowing that they had a long ways to go before there would be any house in their future.
The week after, I got another email letting me know that almost all of my suggestions and recommendations had been addressed and implemented. Again, she ended the email expressing her sincere appreciation for all my assistance and guidance. I remember thinking, her innocence of the complexity of real estate and finance were cute, but I appreciated her resolve. A few days later, another email came with a now new “game plan” because the internet venture was failing. She bashfully asked if I can get a mortgage for her husband who was “offered a job” but wasn’t starting employment “for a while”. I admired her persistence, and gave her my recommendations. The next day, I received a heartfelt voicemail expressing her indebtedness for all the assistance I was providing her and her family.
Less than four weeks after our first meeting I got a call on a Sunday telling me they fell in love with a house that they “knew was home”. If it were anyone else, I would not take the consideration seriously enough, but I knew that their endearing attitude and sincere determination were compelling. We met again. This time they brought different family members. It wasn’t surprising that so many family members were vying to help this genuinely optimistic young couple. Unfortunately, it was to no avail. As they were gathering their belongings to leave my office, they mentioned something about the sellers who were in close contact with them awaiting status. Again, it was no surprise that they had the sellers rooting for them as well. Their optimism and genuine appreciation were contagious. Perhaps the sellers would be willing to work with us by holding a small second-mortgage I asked aloud?!
The next morning, the two attorneys were exchanging emails and began working on the mutually agreed upon contract. The buyers were ecstatic; the sellers were delighted; and I witnessed yet another valuable life lesson. Home buying is very often about rates, terms, income, credit, and qualification - but every now and then the right attitude is the missing criteria to get that dream home. I am thankful to this couple for the reminder. I certainly try to appreciate what I have on a daily basis. I am very grateful to my hard working staff, our valued clients and all our referral partners for our wonderful relationship! Thank you! A special shout out to my family … Thank you for everything!!
By Shmuel Shayowitz