I finally received my shot last last Friday and felt immediate relief. I hadn't realized the stress I'd been internalizing while dutifully waiting my turn for the vaccination. When my age group was finally green lighted, I set the alarm for 12:01 am, slung off the covers, sat down at the computer, and signed onto Kaiser, CVS, Rite-Aid, myturn.org, and a host of other recommended sites, but couldn't find an available appointment anywhere, even as I expanded my perimeter further and further afield. Two hours later, I gave up and went back to bed, but not to sleep.
The next morning, Jill jumped online to help, Cliff signed on too, and yet, "no availability" kept popping up each time we typed in my name, age, location and occupation. I get it, Realtors shouldn't be at the top of the food chain, but we've been "front-facing" for months and I wanted my vaccine! (I paid my dues - and then some.)
Three days into the search, and still running into NO, NO, NO, I started to feel slightly panicky. as if suddenly, after months of mask-wearing, social-distancing, AND no hugging, no traveling, no movies, no holidays, no fun(!), time was running out.
Based on the phone calls I've received this week about your upcoming listings, many of you are feeling the same . . . . (What's in the air?)
You're wondering if you have waited too long to sell. You're wondering if there's going to be a sudden glut of houses that compete with your property. You're wondering how quickly we can bring your house to market. And you're wondering if the late spring/early summer is going to adversely affect your outcome. (It doesn't appear so - the market has never experienced so much demand, or delivered such frustration for Buyers.)
Even so, uncertainty makes for fear, and these days, there's plenty of fear to go around. Whether your fears center on the cost of education, green-house gas emissions, privacy concerns, the rise of Amazon, the growing deficit, bipartisanship, "Black Lives Matter," voter suppression, the homeless crisis, "Me Too," food insecurity, worldwide migration, women's reproductive rights, clean water, clean air, or a combination thereof . . . the future can feel rather unsettling.
Considering all that's going on, is this the best time to move?
Irrespective of what's occurring on the global stage, let's set our feelings aside for the moment and examine why your panic may be misguided with respect to local Real Estate, and why the market is so ramped up:.
And those are just a few of the positive markers that quickly come to mind; I'm sure you can think of several others. (Send them along when you do.)
Which isn't to say that you're not entitled to your feelings, but for most of us, the sense of panic comes from a lack of control. Once a friend turned me onto True Vine Ministries in West Oakland, and an actual human being not only picked up the phone, but scheduled my vaccination appointment for the same day (Thank you, Bridgette), I could once again breathe. Boy, did I need that shot in the arm (both literally and metaphorically). I suddenly felt back in control (AS IF) and then I opened up my checkbook and made a contribution out of sheer gratitude.
But let's be clear. If there's anything the pandemic has taught us, it's that the concept of "control" is a fragile illusion. The simple truth is that we actually have very little control over the events that swirl around us - pandemic or no.
So here's what I want to impart . . . you are going to be fine. We ARE going to move as swiftly as possible to bring your property to market once you vacate. Your home WILL find an eager audience. Your house IS going to appeal to many. And our troops ARE ready to jump into action as soon as humanly possible. (Presentation is the part we DO get to control.)
That being said, it's impossible for us to schedule the vendors if you are unclear about your move-out date, or if your move has been delayed, as often happens. Conversely, if you suddenly speed up your vacancy, it's tough to realign the carefully-orchestrated chain of events.
While Jill, Sarah and I have some flexibility around how quickly WE can move, good painters and stagers are booked several months in advance, as are contractors. And because the physical transformation of your property requires onsite, manual labor, once the schedules are set - THEY ARE SET - which means the sooner you commit to a move-out date, the more flexibility we have on our end. (Those who contacted us in September had a wide-open field.) Once we are well into the spring (as we are now), you're likely to find yourself in line (just like for the vaccine).
And while the vaccine has meant that more people will be able to travel more freely this summer, they're not going very far (Regrettably, the rest of the world isn't faring too well either.) Having been locked down for the last 15 months, we've become very house-centric and keenly aware about what works and what doesn't. For those in a position to change their surroundings, they're on the move and completely focused on the mission. Forget the idea of real estate having a specific season - that's absolutely no longer the case - so put that fear to rest. Whatever narrative you are telling yourself, it's just a story AND it doesn't necessarily mean it's true.
Finally, if you've come this far, and you're entrusting your house to us, let's get it right. Your house has one chance to make a first impression - and that's likely to be on Instagram; #gorgeous! With that premise in play, let's knock it out of the park and make sure no stone is left unturned. Trust me, you won't like a rushed result, and you wouldn't want to settle for less.
So take a breath, don't panic, and cultivate faith. When it comes to selling, time is very much on your side.
How can we 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.