My son, Tristan, has returned from his freshman year at Colgate University in Hamilton NY. Admittedly, I hadn't wanted my youngest to select a college 3000 miles away, but he wasn't (at all) interested in my thoughts on the subject. In fact, there was probably some covert eye rolling accompanying his requests for me to please let him decide. (Isn't butting-in a mother's prerogative?)
So when Tris returned at Thanksgiving, a little homesick and badly missing his Piedmont friends, he wondered aloud why he hadn't applied to any California schools. (I wondered too.)
Now that he's had the full year to adjust, he's clearly found his way. Next semester's housing is set, he's rooming with new pals, he's clear on the professors' expectations, and he's far more comfortable at every level than he was just one short year ago (BIG sigh of relief). PLUS, he's lined up his first real internship for the summer in San Francisco. So irrespective of my worrying, he's well on his way - with little input from me.
(Here's where I make the connection . . .)
No matter how much, or how emphatically I lay out the journey for Sellers (and I'm prone to rhetoric as you've probably figured out by now), until you actually have your home on the market, no amount of "preparation" prepares you for the anxiety that invariably follows. In other words, "hello discomfort."
To begin with, Realtors are often asking you to move out (lock, stock and barrel),
Oh, and did I say that none of this comes for free?
We're also simultaneously leading you through complicated contracts, lengthy disclosures and seller statements, and physical home inspections that aren't always welcome in their scope and findings. What's more, we are asking you to bear not only your soul, but your secrets as well.
"Do I really need to admit to a leaky skylight that was taken care of years ago?"
Why yes, you do.
"I don't think there's enough storage space for us."
"Why aren't the bedrooms bigger?"
"I'm not sure my car can fit into this small garage."
"The bathrooms really need remodeling . . . "
GRRRRRR. And so it goes.
No wonder you're full of anxiety; the process is nothing if not anxiety producing; and that's true for everyone. Believe me, I'm not just saying this for your benefit, but for mine as well. Realtors too, are frequently caught off-guard when we think a house has turned out better than we had hoped, but the Seller is none too pleased.
That's 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.