On the list of the world's most important discoveries throughout history, the wheel has to place near the top. Fire, electricity, the printing press, the cotton gin, refrigeration, the Model-T, the airplane, penicillin and certainly, the INTERNET - have transformed our lives beyond imagination. But the single greatest discovery of ALL time (at least in my household anyway) may well be "the preliminary dessert," which was invented by my husband and our younger son Tristan, one Sunday evening a few years back.
As a weekend baker, it isn't uncommon for me to whip out a batch of warm peanut butter cookies, gooey lava brownies or a rich chocolate-fudge cake with homemade vanilla frosting. No fancy petit fours for us - just old-fashioned American desserts that beg for second helpings - with or without ice cream and a cold, tall glass of milk.
But how to get away with more - sans guilt? (That was the question plaguing my hungry crew until an epiphany one rainy afternoon.)
Ah ha! The "preliminary dessert" - according to my two scheming sweet-toothed gluttons - allows one to "sample" a trial dessert before actually consuming a much larger dessert portion later on.
What's that, you say? Follow along . . .
It's a helping that's too small to count in either calories or consumption; a mere test (taste) of the goods, if you will. In short, the preliminary dessert is a free pass for lovers of dessert the world over. With all due respect to Eli Whitney, Alexander Fleming and Bill Gates (who admittedly, contributed significantly to the progress of mankind) the preliminary dessert is pure genius!
Borrowing from my husband and son, I've adopted a practice I like to call the "preliminary purchase." While this concept isn't a technical real estate term, it's an exceedingly practical one. Let me explain - many Buyers, especially first-time Buyers, benefit greatly from the exercise of putting pen to paper. Unfamiliar with the nuances of the California Residential Purchase Agreement (and having never written a purchase contract before) a purchase contract can be extremely intimidating the first time around (not to mention the 100+ page disclosure package!). Thus, I often write up a practice contract when meeting new Buyers for the first time. (Think of it as a warm up or a dress rehearsal. ) The preliminary purchase offer allows one to gain experience with the technical aspects of a home purchase - absent heightened emotions. Ah ha!
Until Buyers understand the contract, the closing costs, transaction fees, point-of-sale ordinances, local taxes, the inspection process, their lending options and can accurately judge the value of competing listings in any given neighborhood, they remain prospective buyers at best. Until objections turn into opportunities - instead of exit strategies - a Buyers is less likely to step up and fully commit when the right home ultimately presents itself.
And that's perfectly okay.
In fact, it's often prudent to take your time while you gain experience. It is the very rare buyer who finds his or her home the first time out. Chances are, buyers are going to need to "try on" many homes before they successfully ratify a contract and it is very likely buyers will have written on a few properties they didn't get before committing to the one they do (the preliminary purchase)!
In truth, it's the near misses, that inform and educate us more quickly than anything else. Practical, real-life experience are the best teachers by far.
So if you weren't successful in this week's bid - no worries. You are much more likely to be successful in next week's offer as you master the learning curve. When that shift happens, you have just become a committed Buyer (or Seller for that matter) and you'll move forward to purchase the home you desire and quickly close the transaction (without needing additional helpings and all those extra calories)!
When you are well-versed, buying a home can be just like sampling cake
At the risk of giving myself away, I've been glued to the U.S. Tennis Open over the last week, enjoying the exciting return of Kim Clijsters to the woman's circuit, and the epic battle between tennis great, Roger Federer and future great, Juan Martin del Potro.
There's something incredibly mesmerizing about the Grand Slams and watching the play go back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, until an opening develops and the ball is SMACKED down the line for a clear winner.
Tennis is a game that goes far beyond the physical as toned minds match up against one another and well-honed strategy comes heavily into play. The truth is that every player in the top 100 has tremendous ground strokes, but it's the mental game that separates the top 10 from the rest of the pack and firmly establishes the marquee players!
The same can be said for Real Estate. Too often, there is a naive belief that anyone can obtain a Broker's license, hang a shingle and manage a profitable real estate business, but in every community, there are a few key players that seem to enjoy the lion's share of the business - as has always been true for The GRUBB Co.
Understanding a community's needs, building trust, defining market value and developing creative marketing strategies has definitively separated The GRUBB Co. from the rest of the pack. For more than 40 years, The GRUBB Co. has enjoyed a dominate market presence here in the East Bay! www.grubbco.com
Watch enough tennis and you'll see how a great player quickly establishes positioning, power and pace as the game unfolds, while the challenger defensively tries to keep up and second guess the stronger opponent. Should the momentum shift, the best players in the world learn to adapt and adjust which is why the top players tend to stay on top and why The GRUBB Co. is the most recognized boutique agency in Piedmont, Berkeley and the Oakland Hills. (We've earned it one home at a time.)
So watch as The GRUBB Co. continues to grow, expand its Internet presence, explore creative advertising, and retain and broaden its market appeal. As a company, we're constantly learning, developing and adjusting to your needs and to the market demands.
And so am I . . . every cross-court shot, half volley, lob, overhead or service ace makes me a better player and a more astute Realtor as well. In my profession, that translates into constant adjustments to new information and challenges (positioning, power and pace!) and like any top performer - a tremendous amount of tenacity and hard work!
It's an interesting time to be practicing real estate in general, to be affiliated with The GRUBB Co. more specifically, and to be working with all of you as a whole. Like any top-tier competitor, I am constantly striving to improve my game, outwit my competition, sharpen my skills and improve my performance on all levels. Win, lose or draw, I'll give you my all.
I look forward to helping you (and your friends)with all your real estate needs.
But first, do you mind if I finish the men's final? Roger Federer just took the first set 6-3 and Del Potro is ahead in the second set tie-breaker. Exciting stuff!
My adorable and very accomplished young niece Janet, recently accepted a new job in The City with an online "flirting" service in what's sure to be an interesting new cellular endeavor and fascinating job for her.
No, she's not one of the growing list of budding Valentinos, her professional duties include increasing the number of subscribers or "flirtexters" (as I've liberally penned them) by expanding the Internet site exposure of www.Flirtomatic.com. Now, Even the shyest Cyrano has a forum on which to wax poetically (and why not?).
Evidently, more than 1.5 million people flirt this way in the United Kingdom and their numbers are rapidly increasing. Here in the United States, a mere 90,000 hopeful hearts have yet to discover this latest trend which allows one to flirt with total anonymity and complete impunity. So my niece has more than just a bit of catching up to do.
At the risk of "dating" myself (pun intended) I hark back to an era when one was required to flirt face to face. Yes, you actually had to risk getting your feelings hurt . . . but the payoff when your sideways glances were returned sent your heart truly skipping. (Does one experience the same fluttery thrill online? I'm hard pressed to think so but I wouldn't know having courted long before the advent of online dating.)
Which got me to thinking about the demographics of the typical "flirtexter" and while I pondered (a midnight dreary) I had to admit that what I do in the body of these emails isn't so vastly different from those adventurous online Casanovas. While I'm not exactly anonymous (after two years of prospecting, or should I say "Perspecting," as least I hope not) I am in fact, taking advantage of a medium that allows me tremendous freedom to "gently tap upon your door."
And in a sense, when I describe the homes I favor each edition, I am certainly doing my best to spark your interest. If my online missives make me a flirting agent (a "FL-AGENT") - so be it. Either way, I think the best agents do have a bit of "flirt" in them - and so we should. We deal in dreams. ("Let my heart be still a moment and this mystery explore")
Aside from the business or buying and selling, much of our job as professional Realtors, is about creating a mood and setting a stage; about attracting the buyer with stunning, romantic images of your home and realizing the story it has to tell. The more intriguing and the more beguiling the delivery, the better my chances are at stimulating home-buying curiosity and enticing prospective buyers to visit the property in person ("hesitating then no longer . . . here I opened wide the door").
So a toast to the "flirters" out there in Real Estate and in life - online, on Twitter, on Blogs, (you get the picture - Emoji!). May you find the home (and the mate) your heart desires ("Back into the chamber turning, all my soul within me burning . . .") But don't give up entirely on the personal, tangible real-life meeting. You won't really know you're truly smitten without real interaction. (Only this and nothing more . . .)
Wink, wink! (I'll treat the first 10 readers to a drink of your choice at Mulberry's Market who send in the name and the author of the poem I have liberally borrowed from in today's piece and a treat to those of you who know the published year as well!)
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 14 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.