With the recent Derecho storm that pummeled most of Northern Virginia, Sale Real Estate was affected just as much as Regular Homes.
My husband and I sat on the couch watching an Ally McBeal rerun and our dog, aptly named Stormy, started barking at the front door. No one was there, but upon looking out the window, we could see our river birch tree doing what looked like side bends and touching its own roots. Good thing it was a flexible, willowy tree, or it would have snapped in half. Trash bins tumbled down the road, and lightning flashed, Stormy continued to bark and then the rain came. Winds lashed our South Arlington neighborhood and our electricity flickered out, and the hunt for candled went on. Derecho, or straight-line winds, whatever you are… you were not playing very nice.
The next day, I called my clients and drove by most of their homes in close proximity to see what, if any damage had been done. Some had a few fallen trees, and some had the birds singing and no issues whatsoever. I actually had to go out and show a property in Alexandria that early afternoon, so I had to brave the fallen trees across Arlandria and ultimately show a condo with no power. Silly, I know, but this is what my client wanted and how were we to know with little to no mobile service. People were flying through stop lights that were without service; paying no mind to the “four-way-stop” usage that they should have recalled from driver’s education, but that wasn’t going to be the last of the nonsense.
Sunday came and went, and fortunately, my home had power. Although, most of my surrounding neighbors did not have the luxury of power. I was reminding them to keep grocery receipts for their home owners insurance and that they could stay in our guest bedroom if they were so-inclined for the A/C, etc. Some of our good friends actually went and rented a block of rooms at the local Sheraton on Columbia Pike, others headed out of town early for the upcoming holiday weekend.
Three Days later
Monday. Many people- actually, the news reports say about 70,000 Dominion customers were still without service. Ugh. I still have to work, because I still have clients asking questions of me and requesting showings. Here is where things get dicey. I called a listing which was listed as active to schedule a showing for Monday afternoon at 1pm, per the showing instructions; the woman who answered the phone was the owner, who sounded quite distressed- practically frantic. I asked her how she was fairing after the storm, and making general small talk and she said:
“Horrible. It has been just horrible. I had two trees fall on the garage and haven’t had power since Friday. It is miserable.”
I said, I was so sorry and that I could totally relate to the unpleasantness and that I would call her listing agent to see when would be a good time to try to reschedule.
She said to me, and this resonated: “Why would they know when you could come by? I haven’t heard from them in weeks.”
INTERNAL PERSONAL THOUGHT/RANT…. UGH!!!!!! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! HER LISTING AGENT DIDN’T CALL HER AFTER A HUGE HURRICANE-LIKE STORM TO CHECK ON HER? I DROVE AROUND AND CHECKED ON EACH AND EVERY ONE OF MY CLIENTS HOME’S WHETHER THEY KNEW IT OR NOT… UGH. SIMPLY UGH.
I then said to her that I would call her agent and suggest she touch base and see if they could potentially take it Temporarily Off the Market while she deal with the distress of no power/smashed garage/tree removal/downed power lines. And I did. I called her agent and as sweetly as I generally do, told her the situation. I didn’t ask her any questions. I just told her what was going on over there. Ten minutes later the house was listed as “TEMP OFF.” I don’t know if the agent ever even called her client; but that isn’t my concern.
My concern is that this poor woman wasn’t getting any service. She had been without power (yes, like much of the region) for more than three days with damage to her home. Her listing agent had not reached out to her to see if the home had been damaged? She had not reached out to see if her client was ok? This is not service. This is an unfortunate situation and the fact that I had to call the listing agent to suggest that the home be pulled from the market until further notice… unacceptable. I went ahead and drove by the property anyways, to just get a visual on the damage, and it was substantial. Seriously huge Oak tree laying on the garage pinning an evergreen down on the other side… powerlines down across the front of the property. This was hazardous, for the homeowner and potential buyers. I wished I could have helped her more, but that isn’t my job.
My job is making sure that my clients know that I give full service in the holistic meaning of the phrase. Whether it is weathering the storm or just getting you through a transaction in the most simplified and stress-free way, you know I am on your side. I will check on you after a storm and make sure you get through it.