"Think of your business as a game of Blackjack," Matthew Ferrara kindly suggested to the GRUBB Co. sales team at our annual New Year's kick-off breakfast. (I love it when other people create the metaphor for me.) Matthew makes his home in Las Vegas, so it wasn't much of a stretch, but it certainly hit the mark.
"I want to challenge each of you to ask yourself these three questions as you move forward:"
"What cards are you going to hang onto? "
"What cards are you willing to let go?"
"And will you hold at 16, or take a chance?"
Matthew is an incredibly talented photographer, philosopher, orator and motivational speaker which is why John and DJ invite him back year after year to kick start our creative juices and reinvigorate the team. Since selling real estate is a 24/7 year-round job, these seminars are hugely inspiring, if not also critically important. (GO GRUBB!) If only it were as easy as just following his suggestions. In spite of our natural desire to resist change, this year, Matthew encouraged us to think outside the box and imagine the possibilities - IF we are willing to jump. (BTW - jumping is not necessarily an easy thing to do. Most of us like our fixed routines.)
However, as sales people, we either evolve or we become irrelevant, which means we have to at least be willing to hop. But it also strikes me that these questions are helpful for Buyers and Sellers as well as we begin to create a strategy for the upcoming spring market. Eager Buyers are already out in force while Sellers are struggling to keep up; there's a real disconnect in timing and often, in motivation as well.
Sellers don't always necessarily need to sell, but they want to if everything falls in their favor. That's a tall order as good results don't come about by accident, but through careful planning and orchestration. As it pertains to home sales, things don't "fall" into place, they're highly choreographed and manipulated.
Buyers, on the other hand, usually need to buy by virtue of family expansion or contraction, which naturally places them at a disadvantage. Still, they're not willing to spend their hard-earned dollars on just anything; they're looking for the"right fit." As seasoned Agents, it's up to us to try and create that reality for a prospective Buyer (or at least the illusion).
Yes, January is wrapping up and February is already upon us. The days are quickly speeding by, so where's the new inventory Buyers ask?
It's a fair question from an eager audience that has been waiting patiently through November, December and January for new opportunities to hit the marketplace. (Winter months rarely offer anything of note, save for lagging or overpriced listings that didn't find an audience - and often, for good reason.)
Death, divorce, and job transfers are what we often find with respect to the limited but available inventory after Thanksgiving. Anyone who can hold off, will hold off until the spring and in the world of Real Estate, that typically starts in earnest after the Super Bowl, but with wet, wet, WET weather keeping workers at bay and rendering gardens incredibly soggy, I suspect we're going to see a later spring market than we typically do. Certainly in my case, that's true, where more than a few of my listings are being delayed by an inability to make timely repairs and I'm certain I'm not alone.
"I'm discouraged," one frustrated Buyer wrote upon receiving the anemic AD REVIEW this past weekend.
Please don't be, it's way too early, but we may need to adjust accordingly.
But the truth is that unless we learn to let go, we may find ourselves truly stuck at the table with a losing hand and that's never where we want to be - on either side of the buying or selling equation.
To the extent that I can get you to 21 and "Blackjack!," I'm going to do my very best, but while Blackjack only requires you to play against the house, selling or buying a home squarely puts you into competition with everyone else at the table (it's a bit more like Poker than 21), but in either game, you've got to play the cards you're dealt, know what to hold, know what to toss, check your emotions, and then take a chance.
"Deal 'em up!"
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.