Years ago, I worked for a Broker who was fond of reminding his Agents that "the market is only ever revealed when looking at it through a rear-view mirror." Now with nearly two decades of selling real estate under my belt, that sentiment has never been more true than it was in 2020.
In a year that delivered a devastating pandemic, a hotly-contested presidential election, spelled bankruptcy for an untold number of small businesses and restaurants, created stock market volatility, set our state on fire (quite literally), sent protestors into the streets to demand social justice, and laid bare the stark discrepancies between the "haves" and "have nots," high-end Real Estate may have been one of the few winners, which is surprising given that the "Shelter-in-Place" order Governor Newsom decreed on March 3, essentially stopped us dead in our tracks, spring traditionally being a Realtor's most productive season.
"I can't start the decompression today," I said to my chiropractor, Carolyn , "I've got toffee to deliver."
"Maybe you can postpone it." Dr. Finnegan politely suggested, "Delivering chocolates isn't as important as getting you out of pain." (Uhhh, yeah it is.)
No doubt the doctor knows best, but nonetheless, dropping off sweetly-wrapped boxes of Little John's toffee has become a holiday tradition I'm quite fond of, even though the number of stops has steadily grown to nearly 400. Knowing that friends and clients have come to expect this annual treat, not even a jacked-up neck is going to keep me from my appointed rounds. . . .
"If you plan on driving your car up to the mountains any time soon, you're going to need new tires," John, my Lexus rep., explained. "These only have a few months left on them."
"How much?" I asked.
"With taxes and installation, you're looking at just under a grand."
It's not that I can't afford new Michelins on my car, but as the lease is up in March, and as I don't plan to keep my current ride, I'd much rather get rid of the car than absorb the expense for someone else's benefit. And when I found out that the "Extra Mileage & Scratch Protection Program" I'd purchased when I agreed to the lease three years ago, allowed me to surrender the car three months early without penalty, the decision was all but made - time to shop around. (I'm decidedly NOT a lease-kinda-gal anyway.)
Thanksgiving was decidedly different this year with just me, Cliff, and his mother, Zee, in attendance. Zee, who lives in the apartment we built for her downstairs turns 95 this week and was hesitant about joining us for dinner. Meanwhile, my mother stayed in Sonoma and our elder son, Case, bunkered down in his own small, studio apartment foregoing turkey altogether. What with the new spike in Coronavirus, and stern warnings from the CDC to AVOID congregating, we followed their advice, but it came at a cost.
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.