It’s been over six years since Joni Alexander lost her beloved mother, Sarah Elizabeth Schoeff, but sometimes, when she visits her mailbox, Joni will find her there.
“I wasn’t aware that this [program] existed until I first got a letter from EXIT Realty’s Head Office, called, and they explained what it was,” she said, trying to keep her composure. “Every single time a check comes it’s just a moment to think of her and thank the Lord for her and that her legacy can continue in some way. It was a surprise, a gift, and more than just the money, as wonderful as that is and as much as that’s needed in every home. To me, it continues to honor her, and all that the business meant to her, and all that she put into it.”
Born into a naval family, Joni recalls her mother’s ease with the constant moving that came with the demands of her father’s military life. His final station would take the family to Jacksonville, FL, when Joni was in her early teens. It was there that her parents’ marriage would sadly come to an end and her middle-aged mother would find herself embarking on her first and only career after decades as a homemaker.
Her mother was a natural when it came to real estate according to Joni, saying, “She really enjoyed people and I think she enjoyed the challenge of finding a house for them and seeing clients happy and excited about a new home. She was also sort of administratively gifted, so she loved the whole contract writing procedure, and the numbers part of it.”
From her youthful perspective, Joni saw how busy real estate kept her mother, but witnessed her love for it as well. Busy or not though, Joni and her mother remained very close.
“She was a good friend. She loved life, she loved real estate and EXIT was very kind to her in her later years,” Joni shared.
In the twilight of her career, after 20 years in the business, Sarah got the call to EXIT from a past colleague who made the switch and needed help with one of his offices. So, at almost 71 years-of-age, Sarah became part of the EXIT Realty Affiliates Network family and set in motion ripples of kindness like a drop in water.
Sarah would also fully embrace EXIT’s unique Formula of single-level residuals by introducing 11 agents into the company over her 10+ year career, through a process called Sponsoring. After salespeople are introduced to management and join EXIT, every transaction they close generates a bonus, paid via EXIT’s Head Office to their sponsor as a thank you for helping to grow the company. This bonus converts into a retirement residual when EXIT members decide to take a break or retire from selling real estate. When an associate joins EXIT Realty, they name a beneficiary, and should something happen to them, their sponsoring bonuses or retirement residuals convert to beneficiary benefits providing the posthumous legacy through which Joni receives ripples today.
And although Joni followed her calling in the ministry instead of her mother’s real estate footsteps, she feels more connected to the business and those who play an integral part of it with every beneficiary benefit check she receives.
“I see a parallel between receiving the beneficiary checks from EXIT and the nature of the way transactions close in the real estate business,” Joni said, “For me, the fact that it’s not a regular thing and whenever a check arrives it’s a surprise, makes it all the more special. I never take it for granted.”
And by saving these benefits and taking her whole family on vacations together, Joni further allows the ripples to flow through the generations to honor Sarah, not just as her mother, but also as the fun-loving grandmother and great-grandmother she was.
No matter when they come, how much they are, or what emotions these benefits stir within her, Joni always greets them with a “Thank you, Mama.” She lives in gratitude of many things these days, like precious moments found at her mailbox of all places, and of a real estate company, saying, “That’s not what you would think of as coming through for her in this way. I applaud the company for the fine people that they are, the way they honor their agents, and the way [they help] a legacy to keep on giving.”