When Kingsley started his real estate practice, he was always sick and spent a lot of days in the hospital. It took the ingenuity of his wife to discover that he only took ill when one of his estate deals failed.
Of recent, obituaries of close associates have been seen, which send shivers down one’s spine. It is therefore, imperative to look closely at the negative impact of the real estate job on personal health, general wellbeing and longevity.
The thought of death
Nothing is chilling and sobering as the very thought of death. The reality of death is inextricably true even if it is unthinkable and totally unacceptable. The very thought should spur us to the spontaneity of the human temporal nature. While we pray for longevity, we cannot obliterate the common sense that nudges us to ask the inescapable question of ‘’why?’’.
The fear of sudden death amongst practicing realtors can, therefore, not be dismissed as a mere phobia confronting humanity. The sobering fact that a lot of our colleagues are no more, should prick our mind’s aliveness to take retrospective microscopic peep into the role that the practice of real estate can have on our health and longevity.
Top notch risky professions
While it is undisputable that every single job in Nigeria possesses elemental degree of risk because of the harsh operating environment, real estate plays in the league of top notch risky professions. While not relegating the importance of the monetary and economic balm in real estate, an x-ray of the health implications of real estate practice on the practitioners cannot be over-emphasised.
Real Estate with its pendulum swing, is fraught with gross uncertainties. Every transaction especially in core agency practice is immensely uncertain. A phone call can abort a transaction that hard earned money and valuable time had been invested. The commencement of negotiations may encourage a young surveyor to begin the process of buying a car and also make concrete arrangements to move into a more befitting accommodation. His plans were anchored on a transaction that he felt had gone through, not knowing that his supposed buyer had paid to a vendor. The day that he was expecting to get his commission, he was told that the buyer had back out of the deal and his money refunded. The young man fainted and had to be rushed to a nearby hospital.
The shock of bad news
Sometimes, even when fees have been collected, the deal can still get truncated and agents have been made to refund fees. This kind of scenario can sometimes put a person into a state of medical shock.
Clinical death occurs when the heart fails to pump blood to the vital organs of the body and oxygen is ceased from the brain. Many people have been known to have slumped and died because of the shock of bad news. Heart failure is mostly triggered by unexpected shock waves. That is why Realtors must prepare their mind to calmly accept any news that emanate from any transaction. The uncertainty imbedded in Estate Agency is frightening. The uncertainty in Real Estate is hypertensive. And a lot of practitioners suffer acute medical hypertension predicated upon the unexpectedness in Real Estate transactions.
Most Estate surveyors who leave the umbrella of big firms and start their own practice, soon discover that the freedom they enjoy is illusive. They become slaves to real estate duties hardly having time for themselves or their families. A real estate practitioner is on 24-hours call duty. At times, a managing agent may be asked to report to a police station because feuding tenants mentioned his name. Every engine has breakdowns. In the human body, breakdown is called ‘’sickness’’ while “’knock’’ is death. Most Estate practitioners hardly take care of their health. This is common among those who run their estate practice alone. They are one-man workaholic machine. Any machine without periodic maintenance breaks down. And sometimes, engines knock.
Frequent medical checkup not a luxury
Real estate practitioners must know that their bodies are machines that should be nurtured and galvanized. At certain age, rest, frequent medical check-up and treatment are not a luxury but necessity. Those who relocate their family abroad, but work in Nigeria to cater for them are constantly running around to make money in Naira and convert same to hard currencies. The truth is that if they fall down and die in the heat of the rat race, the family will lose more than can be imagined.
One noteworthy fact however, is that dependants will survive without us if we leave unceremoniously to the land of no return. Someone asked God ‘’What is the most intriguing thing you observe about man?’’. God answered ‘’That he work so hard for money, neglecting his good health until he loses his good health, then spends the money trying to get back his good health’’.
Irregularity of income
Real estate practice harbours gross irregularity of income. Most starters don’t know this. So, when they make good money, they lavish it. They then become broke so soon. A person without money is a harbinger of worries and stress that lowers the body’s immunity. Heart attacks are precipitated by undue worries.
In conclusion, we must understand the mannerism and intricacies of real estate practice and always save money for the rainy day. Rest and sleep are the first recommended therapies for all ailments. Ability to absorb shock needs to be sharpened. We must observe cautious optimism when exercising absolute faith in the successes of our deals. The shock factor is reduced when we become Developers. That way, we are no longer slaves to unstable decisions of property owners. Constant medical check and prompt attention to health challenges cannot be overemphasised.
Sahid Baba is Deputy Director (Works) and Head Estate Unit, University of Ilorin, Kwara state.