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Last Update: August 20, 2020
"Home is a shelter from storms - all sorts of storms."
- William J. Bennett
Living The High Life
We were living the high life – a gorgeous home, five cars, two boats, and several incredible vacations as a family. If only I had known that our dream life was going to vanish before our very own eyes in what felt like days. I wish I could have saved our family from the suffering we endured next.
I got into the lending business early in my career and it profited us well. It wasn’t too long before I became a mortgage broker, was running a successful company, and reaping the rewards of it all. I gave my family everything they (or I) could’ve dreamed of. We lived on a gorgeous five-acre lot in a beautiful home. We had seven different rental properties throughout Sacramento. We even owned 16 horses, five cars, and two boats. Every weekend was spent on the lake or soaking up the sun on incredible family vacations. We had it made.
To top it all off, I had an even bigger ego to go with all of that “stuff”. In other words, I was about as self-absorbed as they come. I only ever cared about me, myself, and I. Looking back, I seldom worried about how a decision or transaction would affect the lives of others around me – if it worked out favorably for me and my family, I was happy.
When the economic crash of 2007-2008 hit, everyone was impacted. The market crashed and businesses were crumbling – mine included. Things quickly deteriorated and my $750,000 a year income plummeted to poverty level. No matter how hard I worked, I couldn’t make ends meet. My company closed and the luxuries I had long enjoyed in my life were disappearing.
Soon, the bank started showing up at our house to repossess our cars and boats. We were receiving non-stop subpoenas about credit debt we owed. The IRS viciously sank its teeth in, and we had nowhere to turn. We tried everything to keep our tenants in our rentals and maintain a steady income, but tenants were moving out at a rapid rate. Eventually, PG&E came to shut off our power and only because of a true miracle were we able to keep the lights on for just a little while longer.
Finally, I made the incredibly painful decision to declare bankruptcy in one last effort to save our family from being on the streets. We lost our home and income in the same year and still had two children to feed – I felt like a complete failure.
We worked hard to find odd jobs and make any amount of money. My wife scrubbed toilets and offered to be a chauffeur for minimal pay. At night, I was fortunate to occasionally find work as a security guard. I spent most mornings going from one construction site to the next, offering to clean it for just $20 pay. We barely made enough to keep the lights on and food on the table.
For months, all we could afford to buy was milk, cheerios, bread, and bologna. My wife and I often skipped meals in order to ensure there was enough food for our growing kids. My sweet daughter, just five years old at the time, would wake up early in the morning and cut out cardboard to line the inside of her shoes so that the holes wouldn’t hurt her feet. My heart broke as I watched my family endure our poverty.
I wanted to give up. I had failed them and I didn’t know how we were ever going to get out of that place. It was during that dark, depressing time that I decided to take a leap of faith and turn my heart and hope to God. I had nothing to be proud of anymore, so I stopped focusing on me and chose to look outward. It was difficult and unnatural at first, but it set me free.
Free from pain and anguish, free from pride and egotistical mindsets, I felt enabled and empowered to try again and fight for my family’s livelihood. In 2011, I started down an unknown path into the real estate industry. With nothing left to lose, I decided to become a licensed REALTOR®.
Slowly but surely, we rebuilt our lives from the ground up. Except this time, I was going to leave my pride and ego behind. We lived within our means and cherished everything we had. Life felt richer, sweeter, and fuller than it ever did before. Today, I have a career that brings me joy and helps others find joy in their own lives. My family is happy, healthy, and my wife and I now have three beautiful children. We truly have it made.
Never again will I take this life for granted. The parts of myself that I lost along the way were the parts that only held me back. Now, I do my best to focus on all the blessings and helping others.
It is that same sense of gratitude and service that has brought me so much happiness as a REALTOR®. I would love nothing more than to have an opportunity to serve you and your family as you embark on your next probate and estate journey. I know just how stressful and important this process is. I promise that I will put all my energy, experience, and heart into getting you the maximum value.
If I could share just a bit of advice, hire wisely. You will save in the long run. "I wish I would have done that, and I might not have lost everything."
Thank you for taking time to learn more about my story to becoming the man I am today. I hope to continue to improve and be a better version of myself each day; all while helping you and your family. And, I thank God for the opportunity to helps others in difficult times.
William Byrd, REALTOR®
Husband to a Wonderful Wife and father of three adorable children: Savannah, William and Gianna