"Part of what makes this house so great" said Greg, "is the indoor/outdoor flow and you gotta admit the weather today is perfect. Can you promise me this exact weather year round?
"Absolutely," I said, stone faced. "Because as we all know, I control the weather. . . " (NOT!)
Nor do I control the housing market, the stock market, the interest rates, the number of Buyers in the market, Sellers' expectations, competing properties, competing interests, or how other Realtors conduct their business. (It's not always pretty.) In short, Agents don't control other people, places, or things (although that would be decidedly easier).
In the world of Real Estate, there are many things a Realtor can control, but sadly, the weather isn't one of them, as this week's heat wave, coupled with the smoky air quality from the surrounding fires so aptly illustrates. (If you weren't wearing a face mask before, now there's even more reason.)
However, not all is lost. To a large extent, good Agents do control the presentation of a home, the marketing, the pricing, and the preparation. Additionally, we nurture strong relationships with other Agents, we identify red flags along the way (seeking to mitigate them whenever possible), and we do our best to set realistic expectations. We educate, advocate, negotiate, and finally, follow the transaction through to the close of escrow.
Along the way, we are often confidants, counselors, cheerleaders, healers, decorators, coaches, project managers, and teachers. Sometimes, we're even miracle workers. Admittedly, as with life, some relationships are much tougher than others to navigate.
Because everyone is unique; their experiences are unique, their point of view is unique, and their expectations are unique. Additionally, when it comes to selling one's home, coping mechanisms are often tested, stress levels are incredibly high, and the ability to let go and trust can be a difficult ask. (Let go with BOTH hands.) Not to mention that people's homes usually mean a great deal to them, especially if they have lived in them for decades, as many Sellers have. They've brought their babies home from the hospital, celebrated birthdays and anniversaries, and gathered for holidays around the dining room table; they've held tea parties, and sleepovers, and team events, and have experienced a million and one tender moments that are seemingly being left behind. Fear not, your memories move with you.
Moreover, as most people need the equity from their previous home to buy their replacement property, they often don't know what the next chapter entails. Consequently, letting go of what your do know, to move towards what you don't, is often a scary proposition. (That's normal.)
At this point in my career, I've helped hundreds bridge the journey from home to home and while I'd like to say it's gotten easier along the way, it hasn't. Under the best of circumstances, moving is never a walk in the park. At its most basic, a move is a tough, grueling, exhausting chore, even when we're excited about the next offering, and the next stage of our lives.
So let's hang in there with the understanding that we're all doing the best we can, and whenever possible, try NOT to make it so hard on ourselves. As my good friend reminds me: "Life is difficult enough; misery is a choice!" And remember, there are whole industries and gifted individuals who can jump in and help at a moment's notice. Your Agent, is just one of them.
But here's where it gets important, your Realtor can't promise you a specific result or beautiful, sun-kissed days for the rest of your lives, and anyone who suggests otherwise, is just spoon feeding you what you want to hear. Your Agent can, and should, tell you the truth, first and foremost, consequences be damned. (Sometimes the truth requires "tough love.") Welcome to the majors.
So while we can't control the weather, nor can we promise you the stars, nor easier days up ahead, Sarah, Jill and I are going to do our best to make this a smooth transition and an honest transaction from beginning to end, with the understanding that it's simultaneously a rocky road. That's okay, we've got sturdy hiking boots!
How can we 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.