Is REO Bad For Your Family?


This is a question I ask myself at times when looking up from my laptop, where I have been creating orders and sending results, at my bored toddlers who are begging for their dad to engage.

Or, when I am in my office in the wee hours answering status emails while my wife sleeps in the bedroom next door.

Or, when I let the frustration that comes with an empty order queue or the stress that comes with a full order queue cause me to snap at the dearest people in my life — the ones who are calling me out of work mode, back to personal time.

Is REO bad for my familY? On a surface level, you might say any profession can be bad for your family when, from an ambitious desire to create a market presence and at the core to provide for your family’s needs, this profession takes the central position in your heart and life. Even in humanitarian endeavors, one’s family can be slowly pushed aside as the hunger for achievement creeps in. When someone is set on fire inside and their passion draws them to do better and better, imperceptibly they isolate themselves. At least I feel this happening sometimes.

REO demands alot of one’s time. Especially when you are a one-person-show (as is the case with most in the beginning). It is easy to convince your clients that you’re a machine if you give all your time to pleasing them. But, there is a breaking point. I started Integrity REO Solutions so that I could make my home my Base Camp. I love being at home, with my family. I was not a fit for the corporate world. I felt hindered by my cubicle. But one thing I did not expect when I came home was that I would spend so much time buried in my work that I would lose track of both time and space. Soon it wouldn’t matter that I was at home because I was not mentally there. Long, long hours on the phone, answering emails, calling contractors for updates, doing back-office work, I can easily work from before daylight until after dark.

My naive solution for the disconnect my wife and I were starting to feel because of my dedication to making my REO business work? Ask her to come home, too, and work with me. Why not? So many of the people I’ve worked with described that they worked with their husbands or wives, and what is more they were doing very well. The problem is my wife is not engaged by REO. This is not her great calling. In time, I have learned the way to run an REO business and spend more time with your spouse is not to hire them.

Much of it is a fault of mine, as I pick up the phone on the first ring. I respond in record time. And, I treat everything as an emergency for the sake of keeping my place with my clients. This is a dangerous practice as it develops in those you work for as well as those who work for you the expectation that you will respond to their needs no matter what time of day (or night) they call.

My desire is to build a strong foundation with Integrity slowly. Create boundaries by turning off the phone at a certain time of day. Let God do the work of building our business rather than putting it all on my shoulders. Praying for my family during key hours of my work day so they can stay fresh in my mind. Taking time off when needed.

They are simply the most important part of my life. I could lose all my clients and they would still be there. I could go completely broke and, because they love me I would still be rich.

If you run an REO business you know what it demands of you. My hope for you is that your family will be first place in your life and your career secondary. No matter how successful you become, one day it will all turn to dust and your name will be forgotten by the world. But your family will hold your name forever.

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