Ginger Marshall (Better Homes and Gardens)

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Cindy Davis
SD Home Source Realty - San Diego, CA

The memorial service is ABSOLUTELY NOT the time to approach someone about selling their home. Wait a few months. Without intending to insult you, it sounds like you are jumping the gun.

Nov 13, 2015 01:04 AM
Tammy Lankford,
Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668 - Eatonton, GA
Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville

my advise is to comfort your friend and not worry about business right now.

Nov 13, 2015 01:42 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


I agree with Cindy Davis and Bob "RealMan" Timm .  The majority of experts on the subject feel that widows should not do anything for at least a year.  A

Nov 13, 2015 01:56 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

As both a surviving spouse and a Broker who works with them, I would highly suggest that you offer to help her keep it. This is not the time to make these decisions. She has up to 2 years to sell and still have the $500k deduction. There are loan modifications, reverse mortgages, rental options. Help her buy some time. That's my advice. 

Nov 13, 2015 02:35 AM
Sandy Padula & Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West & Florida Realty Investments - , CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

I must agree with Cindy Davis  & Bob "RealMan" Timm on this subject.

Nov 13, 2015 01:16 AM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Went to a memorial today and thinking what are they going to do with the condo but would never ask directly, ever. I did offer my services as a friend to help go over a checklist of the affairs to settle since I have done that on several estates in recent years. It helps to have someone outside of the family to brainstorm with. She said she would take me up on it.

Nov 13, 2015 11:48 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

Ginger, don't even think about approaching the surviving spouse at the memorial service!  First, are you sure she is going to sell the home?  Unless it is a financial necessity, most advisors say to stay put for at least a year.  

I was at a post-service reception when a dear friend lost her husband.  And I saw one of the biggest real estate guns in town (who barely knew the widow) approach her, take her hand and say (in a soft, soothing voice), "Now when the time comes, I know you will call me to let me assist you with this house."  My friend recoiled and asked her to leave.  And she lived in the house for many years after that.

Nov 13, 2015 11:41 AM
Jeff Pearl
RE/MAX Distinctive / LIC in VA - Lovettsville, VA
Full Service Full Time Realtor

If you know them well enough to be attending the memorial service, then  just start out letting him/her know you are available if there is anyway you can help. But I wouldn't do it as a strategy to get the listing. Most people in that situation already know more than one agent, and they should already know that you're an agent. Also family members might be involved as well. I wouldn't pressure them. They need time to mourn, think, adjust, etc, etc.

Nov 13, 2015 03:16 AM
Raymond E. Camp
Ontario, NY

It is not the time or place to solicit business; a card with a note a few days later would be more appropriate.

Nov 13, 2015 01:56 AM
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Send her a card and a letter suggesting you two together...

I agree with Cindy Davis......

I have tried it before it went to a relative who chose other realtors.... Not easy.

Nov 13, 2015 01:10 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Ginger...I have two of these.  One lost her husband 3 weeks ago and the other was my wife's cousin's husband passed this pased tueday and will have no way to keep up the home because of a physical disability.

I approach all of these...Mrs...My condolences, if you have any questions please give me a call.  And please do this on your own time line..

This should all be done after any and all services.   I like to wait 2-3 months unless I hear differently

Nov 13, 2015 01:05 AM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

I would not bring up the topic at a memorial service and even if the person brings it up I would discourage the topic. 

Nov 14, 2015 12:19 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

You don't approach her at the memorial service about business. Give her comfort and put business on the back burner!!

Nov 13, 2015 09:59 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I would tell her that you are there for her in any way that you can help. Full stop. 

Nov 13, 2015 08:09 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Probably not the best time at the memorial service.  If she's a friend, I would try to arrange a meting at a later and more convenient time.

Nov 13, 2015 03:53 AM
Ginger Marshall
Better Homes and Gardens - Prescott, AZ

Thanks for all the great advice.  I was not intending to "ask for the listing" at the Memorial Service.  If the time is appropriate I will offer my expertise if she needs it. 

Nov 13, 2015 01:57 AM
Sharon Altier
Coldwell Banker Realty - Elmhurst, IL
Luxury Property Specialist, CSC, SFR

Certainly not at the memorial service.  A lovely hand written note with your condolences and add that you would be happy to help, should they need your services.  If this is cold call, give it some time before sending note.  If you know the person, it is fine to send the note within first week.

Nov 13, 2015 01:44 AM
Fred Cope
Reliant Realty in Nashville, TN - Nashville, TN
Looking For Homes With A Smile


Ginger, there is much excellent advice from fellow REALTORS® offered here, so allow me to approach your question from a different perspective: as a minister.  Over the years I have had hundreds of people express the following sentiment: "I just do not know what to say, I feel so inadequate to offer comfort, and I do not want to add to my friend's grief."

I always suggest that (1) just your presence says much to her.  (2) The mere touch or hug allows your heart to say the things your tongue is lost to say.  (3) Your eyes and friendly smile lets your heart grieve with her, and give comfort as well.  (4) Tell her that you wish you had words to give comfort, or power to remove her pain, but you know you do not; yet you wanted to be here with her.  (5) Tell her that you want to do something to help her, and ask if, when she is ready, that she would call you and let you come spend a little time with her.  Note: everyone is there for her at the moment, and she is so overwhelmed with grief and obligations at the moment that she may not even realize all who have been there; but in about two weeks, everyone has moved on with their lives, and she finds herself so alone. 

A friendly, non-taxing and brief visit [perhaps a favorite finger food or desert would be welcomed, or perhaps a household chore that she has been so exhausted and has put off.  She may need someone to drive her to an appointment, or a cemetery visit, as examples].

Genuine caring will lead your thoughts and minister to a real need.  As you converse, you have opportunity to ask how she is doing, does she know what she plans to do, and does she have names and/or relationships to assist her navigation through the days ahead. 

I am handy with tools, and have learned such things as leaky faucets, toilets, or broken light fixtures, etc. need attention.  "I can do that for you. Let me help you."  If a relative is coming to do such, I let it be known that I will be happy to lend a hand.  I do not go asking for the listing, but my card has contact information on it, and those who "didn't know I am a REALTOR®, discover it then and comment.  Door open, and the oppotunity to tell them I would welcome the opportunity to help her get answers, but she is under no obligation to list with me, but I would appreciate an opportunity should she or others ever decide to list their home, after all it is my chosen career.

Good blessings with serving your friend.

Nov 15, 2015 08:09 AM
Rob Thomas
Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954 - Bristol, TN
Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro

I wait till they approach me ....If I have a really good relationship with them ....then it happens.

Nov 14, 2015 05:08 AM
Rob D. Shepherd
RETIRED - Florence, OR

I would never bring it up. If she knows you are a Realtor then there is no reason to approach the subject. She will find you later if she wants.

Nov 14, 2015 01:13 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I've had that same question asked in the past, and here is how I handled it, by beginning a discussion about an Affidavit of Death. It's a way to look at a touchy subject in, let's say, a different light.

Nov 14, 2015 01:06 AM
John McCormack, CRS
Albuquerque Homes Realty - Albuquerque, NM
Honesty, Integrity, Results, Experienced. HIRE Me!

Never Ever attend the service and mention ANYTHING about selling the home.  Not the time or place.

Nov 14, 2015 12:56 AM
Chris Lima
Turtle Reef Realty - Port St Lucie, FL
Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you.

Well, it certainly appears as if the collective answer is that business can wait, unless you are approached.  This is a great question, but even greater is the answers are in favor of being human as opposed to being in "sales" mode.

Nov 14, 2015 12:00 AM
Shirley Coomer
Keller Williams Realty Sonoran Living - Phoenix, AZ
Realtor, Keller Williams Realty, Phoenix Az

Offer condolences and friendship.  Your friend knows you are a Realtor and will reach out in time.  Hopefully they have close family to help with the decisions.  Dealing with death can be overwhelming and one needs time to deal with the loss and think about many things but selling a home is not the first major decision they need to make.  Not everyone needs to sell their home (and do keep in mind this is their "home", not a "house".  Being in  shared home may provide much comfort in the days to come.

Nov 13, 2015 10:51 PM
Heidi Callanan

Definitely not the time to approach her.  Be comforting and helpful if she needs advice in the future. 

Nov 13, 2015 07:59 PM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Ginger - Well I certainly wouldn't approach her at the memorial service. I would continue to stay in touch with her, and eventually just ask if there is anything you could do to help.

Nov 13, 2015 03:48 PM
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

You may even wait longer.

Nov 13, 2015 03:42 PM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Speaking as a widow... do NOT even approach the subject, unless she brings it up.  Just stay in touch.  She will know you are available when (and IF) she needs you.  

Nov 13, 2015 12:13 PM
Noah Seidenberg
Coldwell Banker - Evanston, IL
Chicagoland and Suburbs (800) 858-7917

I would just say I am so sorry for your loss, how can I be of service to you. 

Nov 13, 2015 12:11 PM
Dana Hollish Hill
Hollish Hill Group, JPAR Stellar Living - Bethesda, MD
REALTOR * Broker * Coach

When my father died unexpectedly at 59, my mom called me to tell me the news and I dropped everything and my husband and I drove the several hours to her home. When I walked in the front door and saw her, she ran up to me, hugged me and whispered in my ear, "I'm selling the house."  

It seemed like the weirdest thing to hear her say, but her first thoughts were really about how my father took care of everything in the home and she felt like it would be too much for her to handle on her own. 

She hired a lawn guy and was able to stay in the home for several months before thinking about selling. There were so many more important and pressing things to do before that level of decision/move could be made. 

Nov 13, 2015 12:06 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, KW Diversified - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

I would not, but I know plenty of people who are successful at this tacky procedure.

Nov 13, 2015 10:53 AM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

Approaching them at the memorial service is unthinkable. I know a new agent that did that and as a result of the personal letter the survivor wrote to her, she quit real estate.  Never even got started and got burned really bad.

Nov 13, 2015 10:24 AM
David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation
Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential

At this point, they probably don’t need many words. Just the ministry of your presence. They’ll let you know when they are ready to talk and make decisions.

Nov 13, 2015 09:45 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

When she's ready. At that time she will surely appreciate your kindness, understanding and services.

Nov 13, 2015 04:57 AM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Happily Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

wait for a few months before you jump into that scene.... you may want to start the conversation by giving her the name of an attorney to settle the estate and file a certificate.... many do not know this would need to be done whether they sell now or in the distant future....

Nov 13, 2015 04:25 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Personally, I'd wait and certainly not at the memorial service.  Sorry, it seems a little like ambulance chasing to me.  

Nov 13, 2015 04:21 AM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

I would offer condolences and add that I would be happy to help her with any real estate needs if she needs help, but as others have said, wait a few months.  The widow will need some time to grieve and get over the shock.

Nov 13, 2015 03:16 AM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

I would use a nice personal note in which you ask her to call if she needs real estate advice.

Nov 13, 2015 02:51 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I would offer condolences and ask how I could help, but I absolutely would not bring it up at the service (don't know if that is what you meant by your question). Down the road, if you are in a relationship which allows you to approach her, offer help again and see what she says.  Above all things, I would tread lightly so as not to offend.  

Nov 13, 2015 01:41 AM
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

With compassion.

Explore by inquiring to whom she is turning for help and guidance.

Understand this is the worst possible time in her life to be making such decisions. Accept the responsibility to establish her in the next chapter whether that involves selling real estate or not.

Introduce her to a transition consultant with whom you have worked before. This can be clergy, attorney or family whom you already know.

"How can I help?" is demonstrated in action better than words. Pay attention and help, then when the time is right, help some more.

Nov 13, 2015 01:09 AM
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co Notary Services retired RE Broker

That's a GREAT question Ginger Marshall and I don't think I would bring up listing the home but just remind her that I am a Realtor and if she needs any advice I am here to help.

Nov 13, 2015 01:04 AM
Carol Wilson
Your $imple Home - Toronto, ON

1.  Stand in your dignity as a human, and tell her "I am so sorry for your pain."

2.  Do a little research to find a good bereavement group locally, one that comes highly recommended by at least one attendee.  Get a brochure and take it to her a few days after the services.  Let her know that these can be a wonderful help.

Bereavement groups are never "in", but they can make such a difference in knowing that we aren't weird when the grief is still so strong 3 months later, we can't possibly go on...but we do and we can see that others in the group also felt that way and are still keeping on.  Led by a compassionate and insightful person, they can help us know we are not crazy, simply grieving and still really normal.

Maybe you will drive her to a few meetings to try it out, and who knows what may come of that conversation opportunity, after you have done a LOT of listening as she begins to let out what she is keeping under tight lock and key (because we can't burden others with our unpleasant pain).

3.  Try to see if she is eating, managing with cooking...or losing weight.  In Toronto, we have a Meals on Wheels (paid) service that can be set up.

4.  Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner had the right idea with offering to help her stay in the house.  Great way to build loyalty.

5.  When she begins to think out loud about what to do with the house, draw her out gently about what her options are.  Offer again to help her keep it.  A second large loss when not absolutely necessary is going to leave you with (some amount of) bad press and may take her right under.

5.  There are options (a bit later on) for the grieving process.  Please see my website here, at the bottom of the page.  Again, a good bereavement group or private counsellor can be irreplaceable.  For a younger (i.e. still working) person who dies, either the deceased or the spouse may have an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), a service provided by the employer, who can provide this kind of assistance at no charge.

Nov 15, 2015 09:24 AM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

I once received a lead about someone wanting to sell and down size. I had no idea that there had been a death in the family and was greeted by a horrible voice mail after I left a message when I called. I was told I was crass and a bottom feeder not to mention an opportunist with no regard for people's feelings and emotions.

I sent a card and tried to apologize... 

Nov 15, 2015 02:43 AM
Katina Hargrove 352-551-0308
Stake Your Land Realty, Inc. - Eustis, FL
Broker/Owner, GRI,SFR, REALTOR®

Good morning Ginger,

Are you going because she will be selling or because you are a close acquaintance? Either way, I recommend you do not mention the sale of the home. Just let her know you are there for her.

Nov 14, 2015 09:28 PM
Carla Muss-Jacobs, RETIRED
RETIRED / State License is Inactive - Portland, OR

How do you approach a surviving spouse at a memorial service to offer your services?!?  YOU DON'T!  Did you even have to ask that?  This is a joke question, right?!?

Nov 14, 2015 04:50 AM
Scott Thompson
Columbia Mortgage Plus - Blue Springs, MO
Commerical Finance - Blue Springs, MO

Do you have a buyer?

Nov 14, 2015 12:17 AM
Richard Robibero, e-Pro, ABR, SRS
Panorama R.E. Limited - Toronto, ON
Selling Your Home as if it were My Own!

I wouldn't approach her. Her need to grieve is more important than my need to make sale.

When my old neighbour died it really affected me. This was the woman who helped my mom babysit and change my diapers. When she passed away the last thought in my head was to ask her husband when he wants to sell. I completely did not think of it.

A couple of months ago he approached me.

Nov 13, 2015 10:07 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

I would not...that sale may be  down the road...the widow knows what you do....and when she is ready...she will call you...

Nov 13, 2015 08:14 PM
Jack Lewitz
Exit Strategy Realty - Evanston, IL

I agree with Cindy 

Nov 13, 2015 03:26 AM
Val Evans
Scottsdale, AZ

I would approach the kids first (if she has any) and if they're of mature age. They will usually know what's best for Mom, and chances are will be the most level-headed in this type of circumstance.

Nov 13, 2015 01:31 AM
Joyce Marsh
Joyce Marsh Real Estate LLC - Ormond Beach, FL
Joyce Marsh Daytona Beach Area Florida Homes

I do not feel it is the appropriate time or place to approach this subject. 

Nov 16, 2015 10:59 PM
Jeff Getman
Realty Executives of Ravalli County - Hamilton, MT
Realty Executives

Give the lady some space. I know of 2 agents that didn't give the widow space. Later someone else in our office listed the property and the pushy agents were not even allowed to set foot on the property. The sad thing was the first agent had been friends with the widow before hand but the lady never forgave the agent for being too pushy too soon.

Nov 16, 2015 09:07 AM
Dan Tabit
Keller Williams Bellevue - Sammamish, WA


At the memorial service you offer condolences, offer to bring a meal or meet any other needs she may have except real estate.  If she knows you are an agent, she will initiate when she is ready.  

The image I have of agents who solicit busienss in situations like these is the women around Scrooge's bed steeling his bed curtains, "he won't need them anymore".  


Nov 16, 2015 08:56 AM
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Years ago, I learned a valuable lesson. Just like Karen Fiddler, I'm also a surviving spouse - so been there myself. And that lesson was reiterated when I was called by someone I did not know to sell her house when her husband passed away.

First of all, when a spouse passes away, you get calls from what is known as the ambulance chasers - real estate agents call, write and even knock on your door to find out if you'll sell your house. Really and literally. Do not be one of those. It's totally inappropriate.

Second, I was called once to sell a home in such a situation. She said of course that she had called me because I was referred and recommended by someone I knew. She had to sell and she wanted to move away to be closer to her family. That she was ready and wanted to do this.

Her, as well, testified that right from the time being back from the funeral home, real estate agents were literally hounding her in all means of communication about selling her house - getting the listing, could not care less about being disrespectful. She thought of those agents as the bottom of the barrel, desperate, unprofessional, opportunists... etc... you get the idea.

So, is this how you want people to perceive you?

So, to answer your question, perhaps see if there's a friend or connection in common that is very close to this survirving spouse that could recommend you 'only' when the timing is right and perhaps arrange for an introduction. That from my experience is the professional way. This neutral party would offer advice on the subject matter and timing - and that advice could carry your name. 

Nov 16, 2015 03:54 AM
Ricki Eichler McCallum
CastNet Realty - Corpus Christi, TX
Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS

Dont mention it for a few months unless she does. Let her know you are there for her with help of any kind. It will most definitely be on her mind but you are not the one that should bring up the topic.

Nov 15, 2015 01:40 AM
Greg Riley
Prudential AllStar Realtors - Rio Rancho, NM
e-PRO,RECS, Rio Rancho Real Estate

Just Imagine it if ALL Realtors propsected at Memorial Services! Just not the place or the time!

Nov 14, 2015 11:08 PM
Lesley Wilson-VanGoethem
Innovative Realty Solutions Group - Winter Springs, FL
Residential Real Estate Broker Associate

Be a sympathetic friend. IF you had to say something..... I would suggest asking her if she needs any help with maintenance of home, ie: Lawn care, shovelling snow if applicable, and let her know you know a few handyman services should she need... If she said she was going to sell...tell her that when emotions are at their highest is not the time to add additional stress of selling the home .. but youd be happy to do a market  report for her to let her now what she is dealing with when she meets up with her financial planner.  Most of a friend.....cook a meal for her, ( hard to cook for just one) .. show you care.

Dec 03, 2015 12:52 AM
Julie Montgomery
Elite Denver Homes - Denver, CO

Are you saying you're going to bring up selling her home during the memorial service?? God, I hope not. Attend the service (if it comes from your heart) with grace and worry about real estate later.

Nov 17, 2015 09:33 PM
John Mosier
Realty ONE Group Mountain Desert - Prescott, AZ
Prescott's Patriot Agent 928 533-8142

WAIT for some time to pass.

Nov 17, 2015 01:48 PM
Lori Cain
Own Tulsa - Tulsa, OK
Midtown Tulsa Real Estate Top Producer

Shocked that you would even ask.

Nov 17, 2015 12:30 AM
Anna Hatridge
R Gilliam Real Estate LLC - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with R Gilliam Real Estate LLC

Attend the service and help them with the grieving process.  Let her know you are available to help her.  Being available as a friend is more important than anything you will say or do during the service.  As someone who has had 7 close family members pass during the last year, I know we were bombarded with the ambulance chasers.  When my broker passed I remained friends with his widow and it has nothing to do with business.  Never did, Never will.

Nov 16, 2015 11:13 PM