June 22, 2024
Features | Herald-News


'I’m in real estate to help people'

After lightning destroyed Joliet home, agent still advocating for former owner

Glenn Sharp of RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals in Joliet stands outside Linda Landrey's home in Joliet. He was the listing agent for the home when it caught fire in August. He was able to sell the lot, but he is working hard to get Landrey the full value for the home, too.

On Aug. 18, a bolt of lightning struck Linda Landrey's home while she was showering.

Landrey's mixed terrier, Pepe, died in the fire that resulted from that strike and destroyed her house, her possessions, her paperwork, her medication and the money she had set aside for taxes.

For health reasons, Landrey was planning to move to Florida to live closer to her daughter and live off the money from the sale.

The listing agent for that home, Glenn Sharp of RE/MAX Ultimate Professionals in Joliet, hasn't given up trying to help Landrey.

Sharp is determined Landrey should reclaim the value of her home, which is $80,000, and he is working hard to ensure that happens.

He shrugs off the notion his efforts are out of the ordinary.

“It’s just what I do,” Sharp said. “I’m in real estate to help people. I just feel there is a need. Somebody is in a bad situation, and something needs to be done about it. If I, as her agent, can’t do anything about it, then who can?”

Landrey had planned to move to Florida after she sold her house. Over the past couple of years, Landrey had some health issues and she and her daughter, Tina Clay, felt Landrey should have family support, a 2019 Herald-News story said.

After the fire, Landrey did move to Florida. But now because Landrey's money is gone (she could not afford to insure her home as her only income is $700 a month in Social Security), she was not able to live independently and currently is living with Clay and Clay's teenage sons.

Clay said Landrey is adjusting to the situation, but she senses her mother might feel more comfortable in her own place. But they have not found an apartment Landrey can afford on her tiny income.

"Everything is just so expensive," Clay said. "Any place that can help has a waiting list that's two to three years long."

Clay is humbled at Sharp's efforts on her mother's behalf.

He is amazing," Clay said. "He's just the sweetest guy I've met in my life. Not many Realtors would do that."

Receiving full value for the home means Landrey could buy a double-wide trailer near the beach (Landrey loves the beach), which has a trailer court for the senior community, Clay said.

But Landrey must buy the trailer first, Clay said. Renting a trailer is apparently not an option.

"The lot rent is only $200 a month," Clay said. "She would actually have money left over."

A news release from RE.MAX said Sharp was able to sell the lot where Landrey’s house had stood for $10,000. He also enlisted the help of two lawyers to complete the sale at no cost to Landrey and waived all the professional fees for the transaction.

And he’s not done.

Last fall, Sharp held a fundraiser at a networking event that raised about $400 to $500, he said. He’s contacted other business owners for donations and currently is working with a mortgage company to see if Landrey qualifies for assistance through its relief fund, he added.

“Part of the problem is that her bank statements and all her paperwork was burned in the fire,” Sharp said.

In addition, Landrey now is living in Florida, but her banks were in the Joliet area, he said.

“So it’s been a struggle getting everything reviewed,” he added.

Sharp said Landrey also has received some private donations as well as some from a GoFundMe account that “has grown stagnant.” Sharp hopes that now the holiday are past he can revive interest in that account.

Again, Sharp stressed this is all part of his job.

“My job is to service people and help people through their challenges,” Sharp said. “You’re not just supposed to walk away form someone. You’re supped to be a problem-solver. And figure out a way to make things work.”

Sharp said he keeps in touch with Landrey, and she is adjusting to the situation.

“Her spirits are much better,” Sharp said “Obviously she enjoys the warmer weather versus our cold winter weather here in the Midwest. But her goal was to be independent .”

Sharp said he is working with a real estate agent in Florida who will help Landrey move into her own place once she has the funds.

Including the sale of the lot, about $15,000 has been raised for her, Sharp said. But he still has a long way to go.

“I’d just like to say thank you to anyone who did reach out and make some contribution to the family,” Sharp said. “There’s a lot of great causes people can give to, so I’m appreciative of anyone who took the time to look at this one.”

How to help

Linda Landrey's family have set up a GoFundMe page called "Helping Linda in her extreme time of need."

To donate, visit bit.ly/2Zr728G.