This morning, I was having a discussion with one of my colleagues, another foreclosure specialist, and we were comparing notes and strategies for helping our clients facing foreclosure.Â Â A Realtor wears many hats, negotiator, financial counselor, information researcher, to name a few, but increasingly we find ourselves in a very necessary position of being friend, counselor and a good listener for our many, many clients facing foreclosure.Â Â It's much more than dollars and cents, it's much more than contracts and sales, for most of our clients, both the reality of their financial situation and the process involved is an extremely emotional journey.
One of the practical ways that this depression manifests itself in a short-sale transaction is that the client often lacks any motivation to respond, gather documents or participate actively in their own best interests during the transaction.Â Â Many times, we, as agents find ourselves balanced precariously between getting things done,Â - getting the paperwork in on time and keeping our clients on an even keel, emotionally - helping them see the benefit in staying motivated to finish the transaction.Â Â A key indicator of depression, of any cause, is the feeling of inertia - not being able to bring one's self to get the little things done.Â Â Gathering papers, getting something into the mail can feel like an enormous task to someone suffering with very real depression symptoms.Â Â
I believe that many, if not most foreclosure clients are not getting the attention and counseling that they truly need.Â The loss of a home is much like a death in a sense, and it involves grieving - and calls for grief counseling.Â Â The loss is much more, in most cases, than a financial setback.Â It represents the loss of a dream, of an expectation, of a cornerstone around which one has built a life.Â In my practice, I have observed that foreclosure clients tend to do better, and recover more quickly when they acknowledge, accept and allow for their grief over the loss of their dream.Â Â Only then can the seeds of hope begin to spring up, closure can be achieved and new doors can be opened.Â Â
Agent to agent, I would recommend that we slow down with our clients, and take the time to really hear what is going on personally, and help connect our clients to the resources they need to heal and regain control of their financial futures.Â Â As my colleague and I were discussing, we both feel that if there can be a silver lining to the dark cloud of this market crash, it would be this: that it appears that those agents who have, and who continue to survive...produce, and thrive in this market have overwhelmingly learned how to incorporate the personal touch - how to connect - or reconnect to our client base in a very human and meaningful way.Â Â This is a very good thing, and something that was sorely needed over the past decade in real estate.Â
As a word of encouragement to any readers out there who may be facing foreclosure, please know that you are not alone.Â There is a very solid, justified basis for feelings of depression and frustration.Â I encourage you to talk with someone trained in grief counseling, whether it is your minister, a counselor...or perhaps a compassionate Realtor who is willing to listen.Â Â Once we accept our situation, and recognize it for what it is, we can begin to limit it's power over us to control or limitÂ our future.Â Â There is life after foreclosure - and it's as good as you are willing to allow it to be.Â Â
At the risk of too much personal exposure, I'd like to offer a poem I wrote when I was personally facing a sad time, had to close a door, and open another... I hope you enjoy it:
Post-mortem 'neath the hardened crust
where dreams before have turned to dust
in silent whispers turned to stone
the road behind me turns, alone.
A longing heart where lingers fall
has closed it's pages, back to all
The die is thrown, the mold is cast
what was, shall never be...at last.
So turning now, I come to life
and leave behind a world of strife
I shall tarry never more
to peek behind that bolted door
Instead, my steps, they shall be light
like dawn's embrace of leaving night
as softly as the morning dew
for days ahead, they are so few
I must taste this moment's bliss
the subtle pleasures in a kiss
the awesome raging of the sea
the quiet growing of a tree
I must run as swift as night
and like the sparrow, take to flight
for I must love as never before
As now I stalk the Open Door.