Hello! It's a new day, a new year, and a new world, and I'm wishing you all a successful, happy and healthy 2019 - however you define that for you and yours . . .
For me, it's going to be about greater self-care and awareness, more balance, and DEFINITELY more joy. (Of course, these are the same goals I set every year.)
I've been ruminating on my "site lines" (as I like to call them) and have come to the conclusion that New Year's resolutions offer a reset towards our best intentions and aspirations. They're an opportunity to improve, to do better, to be of greater service and to reach for the stars. In short, RESOLUTIONS ARE THE PROMISE OF OUR HOPE FOR THE FUTURE - and that's as it should be, don't you think?
Cliff and I welcomed in 2019 by joining our closest friends in San Francisco for New Year's Eve; a tradition we've really come to cherish. We met at a lovely hotel just off Union Square, had a delicious (fattening) dinner at an intimate Italian bistro nearby and then tried to walk off the self-inflicted stomach cramps by trudging through Chinatown, over to North Beach, and finally up to Coit Tower to catch the colorful fireworks display over the Bay. (Those steps to the tower use to be decidedly easier.)
The night was crystal clear and the evening was nearly perfect. We laughed, planned expensive future vacations together, swapped stories about our early SF "salad days," and shared our now-grown-children's progress into adulthood, while we waited in the cold wind until 12:00 am when the much-anticipated event finally began.
"Five, four, three, two, one! Happy New Year!"
BOOM! BANG! POP!
"Let's go," I abruptly said, almost as soon as the show started, but not, unfortunately, before making my posse wait in the cold for 40 minutes. As it turned out, the fireworks were lighting up the night sky much further south, which meant that our dead-on view looking towards the Bay Bridge, was more "dead" than "on." Moreover, just as we corrected our coordinates to get a better vantage point, so did the ENTIRE rest of the younger, more-excited, less-coloric-laden(!), New-Years-Eve-lovin' crowd (the nerve). Suddenly, I felt panicked; I felt TRAPPPED!!!
I hadn't realized that claustrophobia was part of my make-up, but there it was - in all of its breathless glory. My friends and husband graciously accommodated my hasty retreat and we quickly beat feet down the steep stairs towards our escape, looking back one last time. Unexpectedly, THERE WAS THE CLEARING . . . and the view we had hoped for all along.
Ooh! Ahh! Wow!
There was the magic.
As we head into the spring, there's a fair amount of change predicted and no one knows quite when, or what, to expect (not even the "experts"). What we DO know is that New York has already experienced a significant correction in its real estate marketplace and stocks have become increasingly volatile. Moreover, economists suggest that chaotic stock markets swings are likely to continue as the new norm for the foreseeable future.
Could the Bay Area be far behind? (We're waiting for the answer.) Nonetheless, any hiccups in the marketplace will likely reverberate as they tend to signal insecurity and instability, and let's not forget that ALL markets are cyclical. (We've had a very strong run for nearly a decade so there's that.) BUT, at the very least, we should prepare for longer lead times to secure a sale, fewer offers come the offer date, reemerging negotiations, and MORE effort with potentially less return. (Boom! Bang! Pop!)
Whether or not a correction/softening/adjustment comes to pass (It's all the same, no matter what you call it.) it's important to note that good homes, priced appropriately, sell in ANY marketplace. Even so, it ISN'T unusual for Sellers and Buyers to experience a fair amount of fear and panic - regardless of the outcome.
Let's be clear, selling or buying a property under the BEST of circumstances is a highly-charged, emotional, often invasive and significant disruption, so why would selling your most important asset be anything BUT stressful when we don't have a clear understanding of what lies ahead? (It wouldn't.)
Thus, the sooner we acknowledge the pressure, the sooner we understand the challenges, and the sooner we find our way to an opening, the easier it becomes to breathe . . . (irrespective of the marketplace.)
What's that look like in real-estate terms; or should I say in "REAL" estate terms?
It looks like good preparation, a designated landing spot, proactive disclosure, good intentions, a positive outlook, a willingness to find common ground, a clear understanding of your objectives, an understanding of any capital-gains ramifications, forward momentum and the ability to act! (Limbo is no-man's land.)
Most importantly, you need to remember that you are not alone. Homes don't sell in a vacuum, but through a carefully orchestrated awe-inspiring display designed to grab attention - and that's where we come in. (Ooh! Ahh! Wow!) Plus, I know my way to the clearing . . . .
How can I help you?
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.