Tuesday was Cliff's birthday. (Happy birthday, honey.) Luckily, Cliff is a man of simple needs, desiring little more than chocolate cake with raspberry filling to celebrate. (He's already got everything he wants, and more importantly, he knows it.) Having met more than 30 years ago, I've been making chocolate cake for my husband ever since . . . .
The reason I bring this up (aside from the fact that Cliff cringes every time I mention him in The Perspective), is that Cliff wasn't my first love, nor was I his. We were 35 and 30 respectfully, when we married and as might be expected, we'd both had previous relationships before meeting one another. My point being that sometimes you've got to kiss a few (or many?!?) frogs before you meet your Prince Charming.
This is just as true for Home Buyers who often enter the marketplace with set expectations, only to find themselves drawn to something entirely different along the way. For some Buyers, it's not until they walk into the completely unexpected and find themselves "hooked" that the narrative begins to shift.
I finally did it. I walked into a Peloton store and signed up for their 30-day free trial. (I couldn't afford the Tesla in the shop next door and this seemed the second less trendy thing to do.)
So last Wednesday, two young men arrived to deliver not only the bike, but the mat it sits on and a couple pairs of fancy biking shoes for both Cliff and me. They then programmed the touch screen with my name, age, height and weight and showed me how to select classes. Shazam, even I can handle that.
Last weekend, Cliff and I stayed aboard The Queen Mary, now permanently moored in Long Beach, CA, in rooms once inhabited by Mrs. Wallace Simpson and the Duke of Windsor. Weren't we grand? (Not really.)
As the story goes, the newly-anointed King of England had abdicated his throne to marry the twice-divorced American and then essentially lived as an outcast from the royal family thereafter. According to our tour guide, he and the scandalous Mrs. Simpson often traveled back and forth across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary and always requested the suite of rooms Cliff, Tristan and I occupied last Friday and Saturday nights. (Tristan stayed in the maid's room, since I don't travel with a maid, and yes, he finished the marathon in good time; thanks for asking.)
On Sunday, our younger son Tristan is set to run the Long Beach Marathon; a race for which he's been training for the past several months . . . so like the doting parents we are, Cliff and I are flying down for the weekend to support him. We'll be staying on the Queen Mary, exploring the charming town of Long Beach, and rooting Tristan on as he makes his way through the long and arduous course.
We'll also be there at the finish line to drive him back to his apartment in Santa Monica, to feed him a good meal, and see him safely home. For a kid who only ever ran the baseball diamond in high school, Tristan is proving to have quite a bit of grit and determination and a fair amount of speed as well. (It helps that he's also 20 lbs. leaner as a long-distance runner than he was as a baseball player and that he's only 23.)
Grit, determination and speed are all excellent qualities for Buyers as well as they work their way through the marketplace, even as it seems poised to shift. With interest rates at historical lows and still limited inventory in many cases, savvy Buyers are jumping off the sidelines and running to the finish line. (I've put four houses into contract in the last 10 days.) For others, no matter what the market signals, no matter how straightforward the course, they cannot seem to complete the journey into home ownership and that's unfortunate. They may be missing a prime opportunity.
My house sits in the path of the local elementary school which means that between 8:00-8:30 am Monday through Friday, I watch darling young children and their parents parade by on their way to school. (Some of the parents are darling too). As it's October, I'm already beginning to spy some of these younger tykes trying out their fairy princess and Spiderman costumes in anticipation of Halloween. (I can relate as my son all but lived in costumes year-round at that age.)
In other words, Autumn has officially arrived, as has the fall marketplace.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.