Just A Neighbor

There was one time I received a property to manage that was way out in the country.  I had set up an appointment to meet with the tenant and go around the property to discuss any repairs that needed to be made.  When I arrived the tenant wasn't there (I found out later they had thought our appointment was the following day). 

As I was getting ready to leave I noticed in the distance an older gentleman walking toward me along the property line.  I surmised he was probably the neighbor and was wondering what I was doing here.  I thought "Great! I get to meet a neighbor and get some more background information about the surrounding neighborhood."

I introduced myself, told him why I was here and asked if he lived next door.  He said yes, he owned the adjacent property and at one time owned the property we were standing on.  He had given it to his son who had sold it to the neighbor across the street.  He told me at one time he had run a very successful excavating business from this property and we discussed the pros and cons of running your own business.

I asked him if he lived in that house across the field and he said he did.  He told me after his wife had died his son had invited him to move to a nearby town and live with him, but he just couldn't do it.  He said that house across the field held too many memories of his wife who had passed away three years ago. There were some tears as he recalled how full of life she had been and how they had worked together to build their business until cancer had claimed her.  He did most of the talking and I said what little I could to comfort and encourage him.  I left with a deeper insight into a life well lived and a greater appreciation of the depth and beauty of a committed lifelong relationship.

Often in managing property we focus on the material issues and down play the human side.  Each person has value and has something to contribute.  Yes we want to manage each property to obtain the highest value for the owner and provide a comfortable living space for each tenant, but it is people that provide the property, it is people that live in the property, it is people that work on maintaining the property and it is people who live in community around the property.  Each person has a story no matter how insignificant it may seem.  Each person is trying to make their way in this world as best they know how.  We are directly or indirectly a part of each of those stories.  It may not be much, but we have an opportunity in our own way to impact each person for better or worse.  We strive for the better.