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The Merriam-Webster Dictionary describes trust as “assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something”. How simple. How clear. Trust has been a constant foundation block of all good relationships throughout the ages, and the human need to seek out integrity and reliability is stronger than ever. When we trust in our families, friends, business associates, and loved ones, we are less stressed, happier, and life is just a little brighter.
I began selling real estate in Montana in February of 2008. Yep, right smack dab in the middle of the biggest crash in history. Why would I do that you ask? Well, having done sales of various kinds over the previous 25 years, I knew you could learn the most when things are at their most difficult. And sure enough, did I learn! During this time, I also saw homeowners lose trust in their employers, banks, loan officers, real estate agents, the government, you name it. I saw countless people lose their houses, their jobs, their security, and their pride, along with their ability to provide shelter for themselves and their families. I knew it would be a long crawl out of this environment of distrust.
I’ve always been proud to be of very high integrity, and that has been the foundation of my relationships with my clients throughout my careers. In my “previous life”, I was a World Class horse trainer and breeder who’s career was cut short by a serious riding accident. The accident was actually a blessing in disguise, as that event is how I ended up leaving it all behind to land where I really wanted to be…Northwest Montana. In my first few years or so in real estate here, I met a retired couple while showing them a short sale home I had listed, and I remember that experience like it was yesterday. The couple called and asked several questions, and then set the appointment for a showing. They arrived at the home, and while introductions were made, there was a palpable animosity seeping from the husband. He was not rude, just quite standoffish, with clipped conversation and nary a crack in his stone exterior. I could instantly tell he didn’t trust me. He threw out a few blanket derogatory comments regarding real estate agents, and I smiled inside. I love human nature and was not at all offended by his obvious distaste for agents. I was just curious where that distaste was coming from. His wife was a beautiful, petite, unbelievably sweet woman full of smiles, who chatted happily, asking questions while they wandered through the home. I knew with a wife that lovely, this man was not what his current behavior was showing. I was certain he was warm, kind and probably had a sharp wit. Sure enough, he finally offered that he had previously been a broker, and was extremely disappointed in the service he had recently been receiving from agents in the area. I smiled sweetly and let him know I wasn’t other agents…I would treat him respectfully, and do as I said. I think he would have rolled his eyes at me if he hadn’t felt that would be completely disrespectful.
They were a retired couple looking for a long term home, and that particular house obviously wasn’t right for them. We finished the showing, I thanked them for their time, and let them know I was easily available to answer questions. I was certain I’d never hear from them again. To my surprise, I received a call the next morning from this gentleman, asking if I would be their agent. I was so surprised, a laugh escaped, and I couldn’t resist asking him why he wanted me to be their agent. The night before, he was adamant they wouldn’t have an agent, and would represent themselves in the event of a purchase, which he was completely qualified to do. In a nutshell, his reasons for choosing to “hire” me to represent he and his wife were trust and integrity. I had made the couple sign a Relationships in Real Estate document before showing them the house, outlining exactly what, and to whom, my responsibilities lied. I was open and upfront about the home and its issues. I was honest that I didn’t feel it was a good fit for them. They had not had that kind of an experience with other agents, and appreciated my frankness and lack of need to sell them something that wasn’t a good fit, simply to collect a commission. What a great feeling to know my clients would appreciate those traits in me. I ended up working with this couple and talked them out of another home that they really thought they wanted, and in hindsight are so glad they passed on. In the end, they took my advice to purchase raw land to build their dream home, and built a gorgeous home in the country.
Fast forward to 2018. I have had a long standing relationship with that amazing couple, Richard and Karen Flick. They have been the backbone of my client base, and have referred countless clients to me. We’ve shared meals and tea, laughter and tears, Richard teases me constantly (which I love), Karen fattens me up with her yummy cookies (also love), and clients like these incredible people are the reason I love my career in real estate. The Flicks currently have their dream home they built back then on the market, as they are beginning a new adventure (you’re never too old, you know!). They remind me every day how to be a great person, how important it is to always remain true to your honesty and integrity, and how wonderful it is to serve others. I don’t think they realize what an impact they’ve had on me over the past years, and how much I adore them (well, maybe they know that one!). They have always had trust, belief, confidence, and assurance that I am there in their best interest, and that of their friends and loved ones. That my integrity is woven deeply into my character, and that I will always treat people…be they clients, friends, family, business acquaintances or loved ones…with honesty and respect. All great relationships are built on trust, and our relationship is clearly one of trust in each other. I strive to treat all my clients as I do Richard and Karen, and will continue to as long as this beautiful mountain country will have me. Thank you Karen and Richard!