"Hey Julie, let's have you jump on this machine so we can measure your body fat, " Megan cheerfully suggested before our workout session last week.
What you talkin' 'bout Willis?
First, I don't think the word, "body" and "fat" should be used in the same sentence. (I'm fluffy, I'm not fat.)
Second, who does that to a person at 6:30 am in the morning? And third, I don't think "body fat" measurements had anything to do with the success of the gold medal U.S. men's curling team at the 2018 Olympics. (That may be the new sport for me, I'm GREAT at sweeping!)
Here's the thing, I know I'm not my younger, fitter, run-5-miles-a-day-through-the-presidio girl anymore. I've raised babies into fine young men, forsaken the gym, grown older (and wiser), endured menopause (that's a whole other experience not fit to print), built a thriving career, and currently, enjoy a good gelato every now and then, so yes, I'll be the first to admit it, I'm rounder than I use to be . . . 'nuff said?
Despite my protestations, Megan and Dave at Golden State Fitness, were having none of it . . .
"This allows us to track your progress" they assured me, (assuming there is any).
Okay, now that got my attention; "progress" is certainly something I know quite a bit about having taken MANY house from the "before" state, to the "after." (Check out my website for some stunning examples: juliegardner.com/before--after) .And like Megan and Dave's training sessions, "progress" doesn't always come easily, quickly, or painlessly. In fact, our professions have more in common than you'd think (although their biceps are clearly much better defined). We're each of us coaches in our own way, doing out best to keep our clients motivated and on track while dealing with very personal subjects. Aside from one's own body, what's more personal than your home, or the things you've gathered to go inside it? (Maybe your tattoos?)
Still, having spent more than a decade helping others shed their "house fat," I can begin to see the parallels. Not surprisingly, the quest for a slimmer house isn't always appreciated.
"I've collected those for years; do I really need to put them away?" (Yes you do.)
"Can I keep . . .?" (No.)
"What about my family photos?" (They absolutely have to go.)
Is it any wonder that my prescribed workout is met with lots of resistance, hurt feelings, and sometimes obvious, open resentment? Packing away the things that mean the most to you is gut wrenching stuff (like sit-ups), but it's because I know your home is about to be measured against others, that I'm rather militant in this regard.
So much so, that I've "tweaked" the stager's work as well, removing bad artwork or brown towels (white only please) and plucking items from my own home to replace the offending pieces. Because how your home looks through the camera's eye is everything in a market where nearly EVERYONE now begins their search on the Internet (more than 93% of Buyers!) and more importantly, such attention to detail may make a significant difference to you,come the offer date.
Moreover, much of our work together happens in the space of a few short months: you move out, we move in, the crews arrive, the demo begins, the house gets painted, floors are refinished, new lighting is installed, repairs are made, windows are washed, carpet is laid, the garden is pruned, the staging takes place, photographers swoop in, advertising copy goes out, and whoosh - we're on the market with only about two weeks to sell your home before it begins to feel stale in the public's eye (ridiculous, but true). If that's not pressure, I don't know what is.
Listen, I'm happy to sell your house "AS IS," wedding photographs and all, if you're willing to concede that there's a price to be paid for the differencein presentation, just as I have to concede that my love of ice cream may override my goal for smaller hips and thighs.
Sigh . . . couldn't this be easier?
Unfortunately, no. If the highest and best price is what we're trying to achieve, and frankly, if I'm doing my job correctly, I'm guessing there are going to be moments when you just don't like me. In fact, I'm sure of it. So let me apologize upfront for the process, for the steamroller effect, and for the frantic pace. If forward progress is the goal, then there's no way to get there, but to move . . . forward.
Hopefully, the end result will offset any pain while I work to create a sales result that makes your next phase of life far easier than early morning appointments at the gym (because that's just no fun at all).
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.