“If you want to help me, I am here”

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2009, February. My friend. A kind request by this friend to help his desperate Romanian friend. My acceptance to provide free consulting (as this friend of mine asked me to). The desperate friend. A meeting…

Despite the impression you may have, I am not consulting only property buyers. I advised and still advise a big number of property owners. In some periods, this number is higher than the one of buyers…

I met this very nice gentleman during the meeting. He was more than desperate. He had all the reasons to be like this, as in few days the bank would take his properties, because he didn’t have money to pay back his loan. He was not able to discuss properly, as he was mixing words and sentiments. He was ready to break down…

I thought I had in front of me a good person, without bad intentions. A family man, successful in his business. He just got crazy last year, like most of the people, he believed in promises, used his connections so as to obtain loans, bought properties in “good” prices (for the standards of the market in  2008). He didn’t ask anyone for help, or advices. His plan was to earn in 2009 and 2010 the profits he would earn from his normal work in 10 – 15 years. But Real Estate is not for everyone…

I helped him to believe again in himself. To understand that a wrong investment doesn’t mean that he is not intelligent in overall. That there are always solutions, if we decide to accept the reality around us. I set up with him action plans and time schedules. In 1,5 hour he was looking (and feeling) another person… I told him that I would be at his disposal, so as to follow up the plan and succeed to do all the steps together.

 Very soon he informed me that my strategy worked, his bank accepted my proposals and he was feeling very good, thanking me for this. He also told me that he was searching for someone to sell his properties to immediately, to end the problem, but it was difficult to find. All these followed by many big words.

After few weeks, I found him a buyer. But things got weird, as he didn’t really seem to be very open to sell, to provide all the documents, to behave properly so as to accomplish the sale. I asked him for the news and I understood that now that he has much more time provided by the bank, he is happy. This time there were no words of thanking, or proposals that he could help me in what I may needed…

After several months of silence, I contacted him again, so as to hear how he was, curious for his disappearance. He was almost annoyed I called him. He told me that now that his problems are solved (for a period of time) he has no reason to contact me. When I heard this, I told him (being extremely stupid and innocent myself) “look, we don’t need to talk only about your properties. I called you as a friend, to see how you are, your news, how you see the market in your field of activity etc”.

His reply landed me to reality: “Look, I don’t have much to tell you, I am busy. Anyway, I don’t want to disappoint you. So, if you want to help me, I am here, you know where to find me”. (something like… “I can do you the favor and accept your help, so as you will have the pleasure you helped me”). No, he didn’t ask me money for allowing me to save him in the past, he has a generous heart…

My prediction: He will call me again next year, few days before the bank will demand again the money.

My lesson: I should learn to be less stupid in the future…

 

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4 Comments

  1. Gabi Aug 5, 2009
    Reply

    There is an old romanian proverb : After the war there are many bravehearts commin’. I remeber I provide help to one of my fellow friend who was in a big trouble, put a good word on his new job. After that he told me that : “God helped him”, not me. I didn’t ask for nothing in return but his words have remain in my memory. After some time he have a big accident and he is still in hospital with trouble on his legs. And this time I think that “God” didn’t help him. Next time then someone ask for free help I think twice.

  2. Valentin Ionescu Aug 14, 2009
    Reply

    Yup, unfortunately, been there done that. Have also seen that particular attitude from the friend of a friend. Not even Romanian the poor bastard, he was a Catalan. Same situation, I’ve arranged him a 6 months breathe with BBVA and he was soooo happy that he changed his mind about selling, although the initial scheme included selling an option for an excellent price to one of my investors, in fact the only reasonable thing to do according to the analysis and the market trend. Suddenly I was the public enemy. Useless to say that he is already under foreclosure and the bank sold the same option to the same investor for 30% less :)) Even banks are accepting nowadays alternative solutions if you know how to explain them the benefits… So, I guess at the end of the day we’re not the stupid ones here, even if we seem like it at lunch time.

  3. ramona Aug 23, 2009
    Reply

    Its better to learn form everybody’s else mistakes than ours. So keep your good spirit and good will in helping others as longs as you are not getting involved with your money and assets and you will get your reward someday in a way or another. Take it as an example for how your own advices will work if you were in the same situation, but this time you will have someone to try it first for you.

  4. Ioannis Kalaitzidis Oct 1, 2009
    Reply

    I think that overall it is a positive experience. You learned something. Aristoteles have said that it is more than certain the one that you have help, he is going to be your enemy.

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