Meet Ray Namovi. Rolex. Pinstriped suit. BMW 745, the very essence of a successful real estate agent. But if image is everything, in Ray’s case, the image is false.
Lozare: When was the last time that you sold a home?
Namovi: I would say March or so.
Lozare: When was your last paycheck?
Namovi: Probably March.
Just like Ray, many real estate agents across the country are suffering in this mortgage meltdown. The equation is simple: When people aren’t buying, real estate agents don’t get their cut. Many have switched careers. The whole top floor of Ray’s building has cleared out. And it’s hard for those who are sticking it out.
Lozare: So how have you been existing since March? That’s about six months now.
Namovi: Credit cards are just over the limit. Closed out. I actually borrowed from family. My mom, my sister… to get myself to work and back. To pay for gas and basic stuff. And that’s exhausted… because they work hard. My sister’s in the same industry so she’s got it rough.
With literally no paycheck coming in, Ray still has to spend thousands each month on advertising and signs for his clients, not to mention the gas it takes to drive clients around all day and scout for homes.
Namovi: Yeah, anything I could get I could sell. If someone said I’ll take your car, I say take it. I’ll take your watch, take it. I have toys, my hobbies stuff, I’ve sold almost everything I have. I’m down to a couple and if I could sell those, I would. If I need to sell them, I will.
But the hardest part for Ray came when he lost his home.
Namovi: I couldn’t afford it. Just like many other people. It was worth less that what we purchased it for.
He had to short sell his condominium in March when his monthly mortgage increased by a thousand dollars.
Namovi: I felt bad because I thought I failed. Throughout the process, I’ve seen so many other people in my position, I said it happens. It happens in life.
Ray moved back to his mother’s house. And independence is especially important for Ray. Seven years ago, he was in a skydiving accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down. But he was determined to walk again. And he did.
A real estate career helped him pay off his medical bills, gain complete independence and buy his own condominium.
Namovi: My mother, she was so proud of me. She saw me living on my own, wearing suits. I was so proud of myself.
He refuses to give up real estate. For three hours each week he role plays with a coach on how to become a better realtor. He won’t stop investing in himself. In his skills.
He believes he’s in a position now to help others. Even if it’s just to advice them to short sell instead of going through foreclosure.
Lozare: How long can you hang on?
Namovi: As long as it takes. I have faith. I was told I would never walk again. People in my situation with less than one percent to walk… and so when they told me I would never walk and I walk before you, if someone told me well, real estate is not going to be well. Or it’s not going to happen till next year. I can’t look at it. I can’t make that decision which is not here yet. That’s the future I create.