As I sat listening to my chiropractor's pitch on Tuesday at my weekly BNI meeting (Business Networking International), mesmerized by the x-rays of misaligned - and then corrected - vertebra, presented by Dr. Carolyn Finnegan of Core Wellness Chiropractic, I couldn't help but think about how many of us in that room are in the "before and after" business.
In fact, whether you're a "body mechanic specialist" (as is Dr. Finnegan), a financial planner, a mortgage broker, a relationship coach, an interior designer, an architect, or a REALTOR, as solo professionals, all of us have tales to tell that center around before our clients met us, and then what happened after . . .
With respect to the homes I sell, the "before and afters" are very tangible.Jill and I meet with potential Sellers, create a list of recommendations and a corresponding budget, set a pricing and marketing strategy, and then once the homeowners move out, bring in crews to tackle the work. Within a few short weeks, we've often transformed a property considerably farther from where it began . . . and that's often not only a good thing, but a necessary component if top dollar is to be achieved. (To check out some before and after photos, click here.)
In some ways, that's the easy part (although, as a busy project manager, Jill might disagree). When you think about it, life is a series of "before and afters:"
Before we met and after;
Before we had kids and after;
Before the kids went off to college and after;
Before we bought this home and after . . .
Consequently, it's no surprise that our homes literally house our dreams, OR that the sale of a home represents the physical manifestation of a major life event that has, or is about to take place, whether it's a new career, a marriage, a baby, graduation, divorce, job transfer, retirement, death, or any other major milestone that marks the passage of time.
As Realtors, we're often sharing both ends of the journey with our clients; often with complete joy; sometimes as problem solvers/crisis counselors, and other times, as unwelcome intruders, trespassing into the intimate details of their lives. In short, I'm acutely aware that it's not just about what comes before we meet, it's about what transpires after we part company, and just as importantly, how my involvement and commitment impacts the choices you'll make moving forward.
Still, creating a cohesive plan to sell a house is more easily done when everyone is on board, and nearly impossible when sides are in direct opposition. This happens too frequently in probate sales where several siblings have inherited a property without instructions and are in conflict with how to proceed. (Note to those of you without a will: a good trust/probate attorney and a neutral executor can eliminate miscommunication and protect family harmony long after you're gone.)
When faced with that dilemma, like Dr. Finnegan, I'm going to try to align the parties involved in order to restore harmony. I'm going to remind you to breathe (although I'm not going to crack your back). I'm going to look at the problem from different angles, AND I'm going to seek a solution that makes sense. At which point, I'm going to suggest that we move into action, because we can't get to "before and after" without a clear pathway forward. (Agreed?)
Finally, because a move ranks HIGH on the stress meter, who you choose to work with matters. So while I'm not a doctor, a mortgage broker, a relationship coach or any of the other fantastic members of my BNI group who are each "before and after" specialists in their own way, I AM highly skilled and trained at my profession, which is to help you successfully buy or sell a home . . . and lucky me, I really love the journey.
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 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.