When MSNBC and Forbes listed Sandpoint, Idaho, as one of the top ten places in the world to live for people who could telecommute, the real estate community was ecstatic. It seemed that people were waking up to what natives around here have always known–Sandpoint is a perfect place to start a business and raise a family. Business for real estate agents was hot. Properties were moving. People were calling from out of town and investing in local properties.
Then the bubble began to burst around the country. At first, it seemed that Sandpoint would weather the storm without much interruption. However, it eventually became evident that the economic troubles around the country in the real estate world would also impact Sandpoint’s real estate agents. To their credit, though, many of them seem to have sensed the need for greater involvement. Instead of retreating into the comfort of the money they had made in good times, they worked in greater numbers on projects badly needed in the community.
What seems especially remarkable to me, though, is that these real estate agents have done this service on an individual basis, rather than trying to organize into official groups or committees. One by one, they are helping lift the burdens of people around them who need help. For example, I am aware of one Sandpoint real estate agent who volunteered to help a retired neighbor build a pole barn to store equipment. Another showed up at an older gentleman’s house with his strong sons and helped split and store the gentleman’s wood for the winter. (Yes, in Sandpoint many of us still heat with wood.) Others simply go above and beyond the required minimum in business and make buying and selling real estate in Sandpoint a pleasure.
They have also continued their excellent service in organized community efforts, as well. For example, organizations like the Panhandle Alliance for Education, Festival at Sandpoint, and Toys for Tots in Sandpoint all benefit from the generous assistance of real estate agents.
Other professionals seem to have also caught the vision of what is possible. I’ve been especially pleased to see attorneys (my own profession) volunteer in such community organizations and efforts, both organized and individual.
This type of service offers a wealth of benefits to individuals and communities. First, and most importantly, it offers individuals who serve the satisfaction of rendering real help to those in need. No financial reward can compete with the knowledge that you have helped lighten another’s load. However, it also helps bring financial rewards to those who serve in this manner. As real estate agents (and other professionals) serve to help improve local schools, for example, individuals recruited to move into that community are more willing to do so. As good people move in, more jobs are created, more real estate sales occur, real estate values increase, and everybody benefits, including real estate agents and everybody else.
The world should take note of the unorganized, but effective, effort of the real estate agents in Sandpoint, Idaho and join in the effort to strengthen our communities.