Overheard at dinner, observations from a parent

Donald and I went out recently to a casual place we like for dinner.  One of my favorite things about the place is even when it has groups it seems to be pretty quiet.  Even though it has a bar, you can hear your conversation at your table without raising your voice.  We ordered dinner and were talking and waiting. There were a couple of tables near us each with a young girl child at the table.

One family was including the little girl in the conversation.  I heard her excitement in sharing that "tomorrow I get to wear pajamas to school, and we're going to watch Polar Express". Her family listened, commented and she was so adorable.  When they left her mom carefully picked up her her coloring paper and took it with them.  She helped her daughter into her jacket and held her hand as they exited.

The second family had two children.  The mom pulled her iPad mini out of her purse and shoved it at her little girl.  She had little to no conversation with anyone at the table and certainly not that beautiful little girl. When it came time to go the mom crumpled up the coloring paper the little girl had done and tossed it into the empty bread basket. The little girl started to cry.  The mom just shoved the child's coat at her and exited into the cold with the little girl trailing behind holding her coat instead of wearing it.

Today I had a conversation with a seller.  He's the executor, and brother of the deceased homeowner. We have a contract and couldn't find the key to the crawl space for the inspection tomorrow. The brother said "I have several keys, not sure if any of them open it, but I can drive the two hours down there to see." But of course I'm not going to let that happen.  I've had Donald buy a replacement lock and he's headed over to cut off the lock with bolt cutters and put the new key in the lockbox. And I've let the owner know. I also let him know that I turned out the heat because a few days from now we might be below freezing and I want the pipes secure.

In our industry I see agents who are like both parents, those who communicate well and help their clients and then those who say... buyer beware you are own your own now that you found the house.  Get those HOA docs yourself, no I can't recommend anyone... oh the liability at me actually giving you a recommendation, or did you think it was MY job to remind you of a deadline?

I'm very happy to tell consumers that at Lane Realty we do what we can to help our clients.  Before they find a house, while under contract and even when things go sideways after the closing which does happen from time to time. 

706-485-9668  us on facebook


Follow me on Google Plus for more information about Lake Sinclair and surrounding area news and events

(Click on Lane Realty Logo for web site)

Tammy Lankford, Broker/Owner


Broker License # 169695  Lane Realty License # H-11420

Call me today for all your Lake Sinclair real estate needs.

Subscribe to my Blog here!


We always have water at lake sinclair Lake Sinclair stays full even during droughts.  Click to read why and how.

 Search for homes on Lake Sinclair now

For readers who are not members of ActiveRain feel free to also add your comments or you can click on the EMAIL me link to the right of this blog and email me.  Thanks for reading.

All content belongs to me unless otherwise stated.  Do not use without permission.  Logos and photographs may also be copyright registered. Please do not use without my express written permission.



Comment balloon 52 commentsTammy Lankford, • December 14 2016 10:29PM


Nice post, Tammy Lankford, I like the way you tied in your observations of two totally different parenting styles with how we, as agents, can make ourselves stand out from the crowd and leave our clients happy they went with us over another.

Posted by Lynnea Miller, Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon (Bend Premier Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Tammy Lankford, - a very good analogy for sure.

I know some parents love pacifiers! And that is not good for next generation.

Posted by Praful Thakkar, Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale (LAER Realty Partners) over 3 years ago

Tammy very interesting analogy indeed.  It's not that hard to stand out from the crowd by caring about our clients and go above and beyond in service.

Posted by Anna Banana Kruchten Broker, CRB, CRS, 602-380-4886 (HomeSmart International) over 3 years ago

I love the post. Your clients are lucky to be working with you.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 3 years ago

It's so nice that you go the extra mile for your clients.  And such a stark contrast between the two families with kids.  

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) over 3 years ago


That is the difference between a professional and a wanna be.  A professional takes major care of their clients and thinks around issues, and solves them.  A

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 3 years ago

Tammy - We're seeing more and more of this when we're out. There are those who take their job seriously and those who don't, right!

Posted by Kathy Streib, Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224 (Room Service Home Staging) over 3 years ago

Tammy, this is just a lovely post, and it so illustrates the differences - both in parenting and in real estate practices.

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (Redfin) over 3 years ago

There are such similarities in what you have said. There are some agents that won't do anything for the clients and others that go over the top.

Posted by Debbie Reynolds, Your Dedicated Clarksville TN Real Estate Agent (Platinum Properties) over 3 years ago

Tammy, I've never understood being so liability averse that we don't actually help our clients take care of what needs taken care of.  Part of what they hire us for is to give them recommendations (loan officers, home inspectors, etc.) that we KNOW can do a great job and keep their stress levels down.  Bill

Posted by Liz and Bill Spear, RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton) (RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com) over 3 years ago


What a wonderful analogy with these 2 sets of parents and what you see in our business.  Too many agents are like the second set of parents.


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) over 3 years ago

One of my favorite posts I've read all week, Tammy Lankford,.  Doesn't your heart just go out to that little girl of the second family?  Breaks my heart - and it breaks my heart when buyers and sellers are left floundering with other agents who only care about that pay check.  There's not just a difference; there's a HUGE difference!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, The right Charlotte REALTOR! (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 3 years ago

Thank you very much for sharing these stories and your experience. Home sellers will be in very good hands when they select you as their listing agent.

Posted by Roy Kelley (Realty Group Referrals) over 3 years ago

Good morning, Tammy. What a terrific analogy. You are so clever! I, too, was recently out to dinner and we watched a father and three sons at the table near us all on their own individual tablets throughout!

Posted by Nina Hollander, Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor (Coldwell Banker Realty) over 3 years ago

Good morning Tammy Lankford, ,

I really liked your story the analogy is perfect. There is such a difference in parenting skills just like Realtor skills. Taking the time to take care of the details and show that you care is what sets you apart from the competition!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) over 3 years ago

Hi Tammy Lankford,   - Your story explained your point very well.  Just like the bedside manor of a doctor, you can pick up on it right away. I have always felt that we have an obligation to our customers to provide the very best service.  We also have a responsibility to our real estate community to do the same. 

Posted by Sheri Sperry - MCNE®, (928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR® (Coldwell Banker Realty) over 3 years ago

Customer service truly starts after the sale!!!

I'm very happy to tell consumers that I am here to help them even after the closing.  Before they find a house, while under contract and even when things go sideways after the closing which does happen from time to time.

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 3 years ago

It all depends on what our purpose is, who we are serving, ourselves or our clients. You obviously put your clients first. I remember learning in an ABR class about putting your cleints needs first, even ahead of your own agenda. To many that was a revelation, to me it connected that this was going to be a profession I enjoyed because it aligned with my values. 

Posted by Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543, Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line (Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400) over 3 years ago

Good morning Tammy. Your story is verry telling and your comparison apt as well.

Posted by Sheila Anderson, The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133 (Referral Group Incorporated) over 3 years ago

My heart was breaking for the 2nd little girl!  Some people are simply more in-tune with life . . .

Posted by Margaret Goss, Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate (Baird & Warner Real Estate) over 3 years ago

Good morning Tammy,

They do say education begins in the home and wonder which little girl is doing well in school!

Make yourself an astonishing day.

Posted by Raymond E. Camp, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson Greater Rochester (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 3 years ago

Tammy, that is the way it needs to be done.  I recently did the same with a probate sale. Had my contractor cut the lock from the patio storage door and replace it.  The Administrator of the Estate lived in another state.  He was so appreciative of my managing all of it ... including having the decedent's personal property removed from the property before selling.  

Posted by Kathleen Daniels, San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist (KD Realty - 408.972.1822) over 3 years ago


I loved the way you put the two stores together. Our actions, right or wrong, are always going to determine the outcome. Sometimes we like it, sometimes we don't.


Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 3 years ago

Hi Tammy,
There are lawyers giving C.E. classes scaring agents from doing anything that remotely involves good client service... in the name of liability.  Sad.  Like you, I did it anyway and it never came back to bite me.   Nice post.  Thanks.

Posted by Carol Williams, Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager (Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals.) over 3 years ago

Lynnea Miller I think we should pick a few things to better than anyone else.  One of mine is customer service. I believe it to be unparrelled in my local market.

Praful Thakkar it really isn't.  I was also wondering what kind of parent each child would grow up to be.

Anna Banana Kruchten you know sadly it really isn't.  We had a lot of co-brokes this year and many times I saw my agents doing things for the other agent because it was helping OUR client.


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Thanks Gita Bantwal I appreciate that.

Chris Ann Cleland I really wanted to go scoop up that little girl and take her home

Ron and Alexandra Seigel I find the difference to be people who want to say.. "look what I did" or "look, I made a beautiful baby"  / "look what I sold" or "look at the problems I solved and the deal my client got"   It's about me or them in the minds of people.  I choose them.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Kathy Streib it's hard.  parenting and being a professional in this business.  You have to work at getting it right.  The happy kids/clients are a reward that I love.

Patricia Kennedy when I first thought about the situations with the children and a "need" to talk about it I wasn't sure ... but I slept on it and it came to me.

Debbie Reynolds I don't understand those in the business who don't care about the clients. Baffles me.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Liz and Bill Spear EXACTLY!  why are you saying you are "representing them" if you are not really advising them.  And I can't personally fathom hiring someone who only wants to have me a customer and leave me hanging out to dry. 

Jeff Dowler I see it a lot in my market.  Sadly I see brokers like that too... those who want to collect agents and fees and not actually be there to help their agents at all.

Debe Maxwell me too in both cases.  I really wanted to go give that child a hug. I actually was also concerned over the amount her parents each drank with dinner.  And I have had times where my clients benefited SO much because the agent on the other side was only concerned with the commission and not their own client. Recently had a cash offer. Substantial EMD and the agent verbally told me it wouldn't happen if they didn't get their "settlement". But was the contract contingent on said "settlement"? NOPE.


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Roy Kelley I try so hard to make my clients benefit from my experience.  Their benefit is after all my ultimate goal.

Nina Hollander too little human interaction today.

Dorie Dillard today I had a contractor calling me over and over while I was with clients.  I finally stepped away and said "I'll deal with you tomorrow, today I have other clients" He didn't seem to get that I needed to focus on my current clients.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Sheri Sperry - MCNE® that's so true.  I recently got a new primary care doctor and I knew immediately we were a great fit.

Sham Reddy actually while I think it should continue after the sale... I believes it starts at first contact.

Nick & Trudy Vandekar that is a beautiful and perfect statement and if you don't say it somewhere in your profile you should.


Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Sheila Anderson and Donald won't let me hit people... even when they need it.

Margaret Goss me too.  It was such a stark difference and so sad to watch.

Raymond E. Camp I am sure we all would guess which one.  I do hope the 2nd little girl has some great and loving teachers.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Kathleen Daniels of course you did.  And I truly appreciat that AR gives me the opportunity to know so many fine agents that I would know a referral would be in hands that I trust with my whole heart.

Richard Iarossi so true... in anything we do.

Carol Williams I just don't see it as representing them if we are not advising them.

Posted by Tammy Lankford,, Broker GA Lake Sinclair/Eatonton/Milledgeville (Lane Realty Eatonton, GA Lake Sinclair, Milledgeville, 706-485-9668) over 3 years ago

Congratulations on your featured article. We are looking forward to the next one.

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia III, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (RentVest) over 3 years ago

Well observerd Tammy.  Those two little girls will also have different life experiences, one finding people in authority to be attentive and useful mentors, the other finding people in authority to be uninterested overseers.

Likewise in this industry, some clients have different life experiences with their agents.  Some can't conceive of workig the home purchase or sale as anything other than a wonderful experience with a trusted confidant agent. Others have a less wonderful experience.  I know those people who chose Lane Realty have the former as their cherished memory.

Posted by Claude Labbe, Realty for Your Busy Life (Real Living | At Home) over 3 years ago

The story about the families at the restaurant made me sad. I see so many disengaged parents these days. My personal peeve is the parent pushing a stroller down a neighborhood street while talking on their cell phone. Whatever happened to quality time between parent and child?

I liked your comparison to real estate services. You are correct. Some of us are full service; some barely go through the motions. To that I say...No job is worth doing unless it's done right!

Posted by Jamie King, Sandusky, OH (Hoty Enterprises, Inc.) over 3 years ago

Our job is to treat the client like a loving parent and remind them of what they should be doing throughout the process.  The process of home ownership starts with the details of the house and grows from there.

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) over 3 years ago

As I see it, we have a pretty big bundle of services, and its our job to figure out which of those services is most needed for each buyer and seller. Sometimes, its meeting a contractor or cutting off a lock. Sometimes its reviewing documents endlessly. Sometimes its offering staging advice. Great customer service is custom made.

Posted by Jeanne Dufort, Madison and Lake Oconee GA (Coldwell Banker Lake Country) over 3 years ago

Good morning, Tammy!

As real estate professionals, it is our job to take care of our clients.  They are unfamiliar with the constantly changing processs.  They hire us to help them, to educated them and to remind them of what is required.  If we don't do these things, then they might as well represent themselves, since that is what they are doing when the agent is not doing their job.

Great analogy!


Posted by Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker, The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around (Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd.) over 3 years ago

Representing clients is a big responsibility.  We go extra mile to offer advise on stuff that is not real estate, but that's what keeps on Top Of their Mind (TOMA) Awareness!!!

Posted by Sham Reddy CRS, CRS (H E R Realty, Dayton, OH) over 3 years ago

It seems like there are more and more families that are less caring. So if you find that in a familial environment, it's only natural to spill over into the business environment.

Posted by Raul Rodriguez, Looking out for the client's interest and not my p (Covenant Partners Realty) over 3 years ago

Good Morning Tammy.  Congrats on the well deserved feature.  Great post.

Posted by Chris Lima, Local or Global-Allow me to open doors for you. (Atlantic Shores Realty Expertise) over 3 years ago

Congratulations on the well deserved Feature Tammy Lankford, very sad (the tale of the two girls) but a great tie-in to our industry and how to take care of clients.

Posted by Lisa Von Domek, ....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless! (Lisa Von Domek Team) over 3 years ago

Beautiful post Tammy.     Sadly some people just don't have the capacity to care enough, whether it be their own child (which is tragic), or a client (actually caring is where we can truly make a difference in our client's lives).      Thanks for expressing this so well.

Posted by M.C. Dwyer, MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist (Century 21 Showcase REALTORs) over 3 years ago

Great analogy, Tammy!  Only one of those parents are getting referrals from their kids ; p

Posted by John Meussner, #MortgageMadeEasy Walnut Creek, CA 484-680-4852 (Mason-McDuffie Mortgage, Conventional Loans, Jumbo Loans, FHA, 203(k), USDA, VA,) over 3 years ago

Great analogy Tammy!

I know which agent and which mother I would choose.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities) over 3 years ago

Awww, that poor second child. I like the analogy of the two parenting styles to different real estate styles. I'd definitely want to be seen in the same light as the first set of parents.

Posted by Kat Palmiotti, The House Kat (406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty) over 3 years ago

Catching up on some AR reading (I'm supposed to be building web pages at 6:30am...but alas.....)

LOVE this post and the experience you had with the little girls. So true how parents are different. 

And so can be the real estate agent you choose. 

I have a Seller right now that lost a contract over the inspection. Bummer. We were talking about HIS inspection 2 years ago and if the same issue was found then. He said, "I tried to access my Inspection Report from the link in the email, but it no longer works." (Email was from the Inspection Company)

Never fear...when I get an Inspection report, I DOWNLOAD a copy and it's in their electronic file! 

I sent it to him. I hope that showed I'm the other parent!

Posted by Thom Abbott, Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale (MyMidtownMojo.com |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living) over 3 years ago

Doing those extra things for sellers are SO appreciated--and often the cost is minimul.  I've seen similar situations with kids--always have some sort of device in their hands...very sad.

Posted by Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR, Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area (Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes) over 3 years ago

Great post and analogy regarding those 2 sets of parents.  I feel sorry for the latter as that little girl will always remember how careless her mother was with her feelings, just like our buyers.  Never leave a buyer to fend for themsleves because every relative and friend will hear about it!

Posted by Jan Green, HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN (Value Added Service, 602-620-2699) over 3 years ago

I had this conversation with another agent this morning. You know about agents not returning phone calls or communicating. It can making getting a home sold difficult, and it doesn't need to be that way. 

Your story about the two different parents is sad, but it happens. How it must have hurt that little girl to have her mom throw away her coloring picture. 

Posted by Debbie Laity, Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO (Cedaredge Land Company) about 3 years ago

I really like how you tied in your restaurant experience into your seller experience.  

My only caution is to be wary of judging that mother.  We don't know her story.  Maybe she is newly divorced and working two jobs, maybe she or a family member were dealing with an illness, maybe, maybe, maybe.  Unfortunately we all have our stuff and sometimes great agents (like great parents) get caught up in their own story. Compassion is key.

Posted by Bridget "Mortgage Mama" McGee, Maryland Mortgage Mama NMLS#196068 (SWBC Mortgage 410-960-2061) about 3 years ago

Interesting observation and comparison to real estate.  I don't think I would have ever made that connection. -Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) about 3 years ago