Steve Martin Homes Group
RE/MAX Platinum Realty (941) 894-9800

Home Alone Fund
( Help For Widows )


Statement Of Purpose

To help widows with transitional expenses by realizing additional profits from the sale of their home.

WHERE does the money come from? 

The Home Alone Fund is built up by those who choose Steve Martin Homes Group to be the Real Estate Professionals in their lives.  Because of them, we can take a percentage of each sale and move it into our Home Alone Fund. The percentages mirror our commission percentage. As an example, if our broker was paid 3% on one of our sales, then we move 3% of our pay from that sale into the Home Alone Fund. There are plans to begin a Home Alone Foundation. Once in place, we will be able to increase our ability to help widows through fund-raising efforts.

WHY do we do it?

It is common for a home’s condition to suffer at the loss of a spouse. If a widow needs to transition to another living environment, the profits realized from the sale of her current property may be critical to support that lifestyle change.  A desire to help widows has been a shared passion in our 37 year marriage. I share more background on this below if you are interested. 

WHEN do we use the Home Alone Fund?

As seasoned Real Estate Professionals, we have the knowledge and skill set to determine which repairs and improvements can be made to increase a seller’s profit margin. However, there are not always available funds to make even modest corrections to a property’s market value. When we see opportunities to make improvements that will make a substantial difference in the value that buyers will find in a home, we roll up our sleeves and pull from the Home Alone Fund. Due to the nature of this service, it is reserved for widows who have hired Steve Martin Homes Group as their full-service listing team. 

HOW does it play out in real life? 

We’ve seen this situation play out in many ways over the years.  As I write this, we have a Home Alone listing in progress.  The seller has just moved out and our team has begun the process of sorting through the items left behind, cleaning the house, detailing, staging, replacing the carpet in both bedrooms, and a variety of other tasks that will produce a move-in ready home for the next owner.  Much of the labor is being done by our team, and other tasks we hire out. Katrina personally manages the entire process from start to finish and is the best prep-for-market professional I have ever seen.  Watch the video below from 2017, when we just completed prepping our youngest widow’s home.

More of our story…

If you only know Katrina and I through our Real Estate business you are likely not aware of the following, more personal side of our lives. However, to better help the increasing amount of local widows that keep coming into our lives, I believe it’s time to share a little more of our story, and our mission.

At 19 years of age I read this bible verse for the first time:

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.”  James 1:27 NIV

Now I’m aware that many people find different meanings as they read the Bible. From what I’ve seen, practical application for the second half of that verse, “and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world”, may be difficult for everyone to agree on. However, the idea of “look after orphans and widows” seems pretty clear to me. At the very least… do what you can, when you can.

Since Katrina and I do believe 2 Timothy 3:16-17, which declares: “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”, it seems to me that doing what we can with James 1:27 would be appropriate behavior. 

Besides that, it just feels right.  In our younger years, we were youth directors for 20 years.  Katrina would take teens from the youth group to visit a lovely older woman named Helen. We hope that those kids (now in their 30’s) will always remember how much Helen appreciated their lengthy visits, help around the house, and relationships built. 

So, what does all this have to do with Real Estate? As Larry Norman used to sing… “we are who we are ’til the day that we die”. For Katrina and I, helping widows seems to be in our DNA. Actually, back in our youth ministry days, helping troubled teens also seemed to be a thing. 

Katrina and I are now in our 10th year of full-time real estate. In 2016 we had our first widow seller. Christine and her husband had purchased their South Venice home about a year before he died suddenly. She was only 51 years old, in a tough financial situation, and the house was far from ready to get a good price. As she had no budget for repairs and improvements, it was only natural for Katrina and I to jump in and do what we could ourselves. You can see her excitement in the video below. We got her house sold, helped her buy a condo that was also in pretty rough shape, and created a fresh, exciting new look for her in her maintenance free condo.

If you are thinking that we charged her extra for all of that, you would be wrong. James 1:27 does NOT say to only look after widows if they can afford to pay you extra for it.

Since then, we have had more widowed customers and estates than we can keep track of. As I write this, our current customer base includes a widow of 1 month, a woman who was told her husband likely will not make it through the year, and a woman whose husband is in a nursing home. Additionally, we are assisting an 82 year old who has custody of her 11 year old great grandson. She is living in a camper on her property since Hurricane Ian flooded her home in 2022.

Why are we telling you this?

Recently while I was walking Mabel and Vera I saw that our neighbor's run-down house ( we'll call her Joyce ), with overgrown and unkept landscape, was for sale with another agent. Since there had been no improvements to the exterior presentation, I immediately thought, “Oh Joyce, if only you would have called us. We would have made your house look so much better at no extra cost to you,” followed by, “but how would you know that since we’ve never told anyone?”

Then I went home and viewed the cluttered, messy interior photos online. At that moment, I realized that we had to let people know they have a better option. A plan is quickly unfolding to be able to help more people as the word gets out. As I mentioned previously, we are hoping to start an actual Home Alone Foundation so that we can raise additional funds. Since we are older, busier than ever, and our bodies can’t do all that they once could, we will need to hire out more tasks as we progress.

Back to Joyce – it turns out she passed a few days after her home was listed for sale. I’m guessing that her daughter chose the agent from a postcard in the mailbox, or randomly called a local brokerage. Regardless, we also have a LEFT BEHIND program that it appears she was not aware of.

On behalf of Steve Martin Homes Group
For Your Slice Of Florida®

 - Steve Martin Smith

What People Are Saying About The HAF

All I can say is wow!  The foundation is awesome and you will see this thing absolutely explode in the months and years ahead. 
The video brought tears to my eyes because I saw a woman with such joy and peace on her face and in her voice. I’m sure, just a few months earlier she had no idea what to do and was stricken with grief. 
You both are “Jesus with skin on”. God bless you and the work you are doing. Steve Martin Homes Group is more than an agency, it’s a ministry making a difference in our community.

- Kevin from Venice

One Of Our First Home Alone Sellers

This video is from October 2016. At that time we were with Gulf Shores Realty. We have since then moved to RE/MAX Platinum Realty.