Any REALTOR association will have the inevitable news on our web page on the passing of a current or former member with some frequency. It is never a happy thing to read, and today's announcement was particularly significant for me- not because we were very close (we weren't), but because I knew firsthand what a good man we had in George Groves.
And with the sad announcement of his untimely passing I will share my own personal George Groves story.
In late 2007, I was the listing broker for a particularly difficult sale. After about 7 months on the market, at long last we had a buyer with an approval. The closing date was all set and everything looked good. I remember getting the phone call on a Wednesday, with the closing scheduled for that Friday.
"Phil, this is George Groves. I need you to take your lock box off the house. The bank foreclosed on the property, and I was assigned the listing today."
"Wow," I said, "what a bummer. We were scheduled to close the day after tomorrow."
There was a pause, and then I heard him sigh.
After a brief discussion of our status and the journey we thought we were about to conclude, George then proceeded to do something I have never seen any agent do before or after.
He began to explain to me how I should have my client's attorney contact George's asset manager at the bank and get the loan reinstated so we could close with the buyer in our sale.
Over the course of the next 2 weeks, he methodically coached us in the maneuverings of a strategy that would cost him his own commission, and ensure that I would get mine. We were successful, and the house did close, albeit with his lockbox on the door and re-keyed doors, because George had to fulfill his own duties as he helped me save my deal.
I estimate that this cost him somewhere between $7,000-$14,000. It also got him my undying respect forever. I ran into George plenty of times thereafter, and he was always cordial and authentic. What's more, while I never forgot what he did, I think George actually did. It was no big thing to him. It was what he did.
One thing George did recall, however, was funny. I ran into him at an event in Scarsdale some years later where he was on the panel, and he asked for his lockbox back! I reminded him that I returned it.
George was a giant- a former board president and broker owner who remained active in the field to the very end, he was a top selling agent and the picture of class and character. He was also lauded as the person who introduced open houses way back when in the prehistoric time when they were actually an innovation. I am sure my colleagues will all have good memories and stories of the fine man George was, and now you know mine. I am a better man for having known George Groves, and hope I can be more like him.