A car service to drive us around the lake for The 21st Annual "Lake Tahoe Luxury Estates Tour" sounded like a good idea until the driver showed up late, noticeably shaken, had no sense of direction (nor smart phone with GPS to guide him), and arrived in an actual s t r e t c h limosine that was too large for our small party of five, and too clumsy to make the hairpin turns required in the narrow, windy roads of Glenbrook and Zephyr Cove.
One hour later, a few near misses, and three houses in, we decided to abandon the limo and had the inexperienced driver return us to the hotel so we could pick up our own sensible car and get back out on the road . . . stlll in one piece.
Turns out, it's a crazy idea to rent a limosine in Tahoe for such an outing. Those ridiculously long vehicles are best utilized for over-indulgent prom nights and bachlorette parties. (Remember those?)
"Crazy" in the world of Real Estate isn't necessarily a foreign concept. In fact, I'd say that "crazy" makes an appearance (at some point) in nearly every sale. As I've often stated, buying or selling a home under the best of circumstances is ALWAYS going to be stressful, but if we were to objectively look at the reasons most people decide to sell, it's usually predicated by a life-changing event that is often less than welcome. Sadly, death, divorce, and job loss or transfer are the staples of many real estate transactions.
But even in the cases where everyone is on board and really excited to sell or buy, the lead up to the big event creates enough uncertainty that "crazy" can't help but exert itself (all too often) into the process.
"Did I drive you crazy?" a recent seller earnestly asked. (Her emails the night before offers were due were definitely skirting the edges.) "Was I at least 'reasonably' crazy?" (Yes, you were.) "Because I just wanted to understand the process."
As Realtors, it's easy to forget that most of you will only make this monumental purchase once every ten years or so. Some of you will live in your house for several decades before deciding to make a change, which means that when you do, the rules of the game will have changed considerably. As Agents who navigate such transactions on a daily basis, what seems a normal course of events to us can quickly send our clients over the edge (and frequently does).
Moreover, the costs to sell and buy are significant, not to mention the inconvenience, and that's a hard bridge for many to cross, especially if a home is less than perfect, has been allowed to go fallow, or doesn't meet expectations (expectations can be tricky things). Enter a Realtor whose job it is to RESET those expectations and that can make for some "crazy" interactions. (Please don't shoot the messenger.)
"Before we bring this house to market, you're going to need to do X, Y and Z."
Still, is there a level of "crazy" that's acceptable? Yes, there is, but there's also a level that isn't.
Being anxious about how your house will be perceived by the market and where it will trade is par for the course. Being worried about whether or not you'll get a house in this hyperactive market is totally understandable, and obsessively following the marketplace is a kind of "crazy" that can even work to your advantage. . .
BUT thinking you can control the outcome is a whole other realm of "crazy" that serves no one, least of all you.
Having walked this walk myself many times, having micromanaged the process even when I had great representation, AND having tossed and turned more often than I should have, I completely understand the desire to take back the reigns when things feel as if they are quickly spiraling out of control.
Still, there's a time in every transaction, when I will politely encourage you to "let go" (and breathe). Trust the process and try to remember that any anxiety you bring to the process just adds . . . anxiety! It doesn't change the course of events and it certainly doesn't improve it. (I got you!)
Hey, unless your driver shows up without a clue, you'll have to trust someone else to steer the course.
How can I help you?
Check out my Instagram at: piedmontrealtorgirl
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.