Last Saturday, I had the honor of joining several of my COMPASS colleagues at the AIDS Memorial Grove for their volunteer work day, which takes place on the third Saturday of each month, March through October. While our small band of brothers numbered about a dozen or so, in all, 157 people took time from their busy schedules to participate, my 90-year-old mother included! (She rarely misses a date.)
The AIDS Memorial Grove, which broke ground in 1991, at the height of the AIDS epidemic sits on 7.5 stunning, reclaimed acres in the heart of Golden Gate Park and has been a source of healing, hope and remembrance for those touched by AIDS/HIV. But it also serves as a living memorial to love, fellowship, and new beginnings as volunteers gather and tackle gardening jobs throughout the Grove. For more than 20 years, virtually thousands of volunteers have generously given their time (and their $$$) while creating an absolutely remarkable and evolving testament to those we've lost and loved.
My group was charged with taking down a thick hedge and replanting the large bed with native grasses; a seemingly daunting chore that would certainly have taken many individual hours to perform, but was completed in the space of approximately 30 minutes.
"Done! What's next?"
Before noon, we'd found a stopping point, gathered in the "Circle of Friends" to commemorate the departed, and then we had a quick lunch before hugging goodbye and promising to return. . . All in all, it was a special morning, made more so by the help of my friends and COMPASS colleagues. (I'm so very grateful.)
In short, many hands make light work!
The same is true when it comes to the business of Real Estate. Without our contractors, handymen, painters, stagers, gardeners, floor refinishers, carpet layers, tilers, installers, window washers, house cleaners, electricians, roofers, tree trimmers, inspectors, photographers, transaction coordinators, and marketing partners, we'd never be able to pull off the transformations we do in such short order, but that's where an experienced Agent pulls ahead of the pack. But it's even more true, that without our connections to one another, the job would be significantly harder.
Such dependable relationships are forged through years of trial and error; through networking with others, and through facing new and sometimes difficult challenges that require creative thinking and strategic planning. That's why you hire a professional REALTOR® to begin with, correct? (Correct.) Because chances are, we've seen it all, and if we haven't yet come across a particular issue, we'll know where to turn to find the solution.
With all due respect to the one-offs, the part-timers, the out-of-area Agents, and the discount brokerages, you get what you pay for. If you choose to work with your relative or college friend from the Peninsula, from the City, or from Down South, good luck understanding the nuances of this marketplace and more importantly, the point-of-ordinance sale requirements. As a matter of course, Agents tend to partner with other Agents who they know can get the job done and close the deal, and that's often someone we've worked with before.
By way of example, an Agent called me last week (out of the blue) asking "Do you know of any Piedmont houses coming to the marketplace" for her client and could I keep her informed?"
The short answer is "yes," but to be frank, I have my own Buyers I'm trying to secure homes for who take precedence, nor is it my job to educate the competition. I don't know this Agent, don't have a relationship with her, and have never heard of her . . .
Instead, I said, "Do you have access to the East Bay MLS (Multiple Listing Service), The Ad Review, My Theo, or TAN?" (inside publications that track our marketplace) "Any new listings will show up there."
"No," she said, "I'm in Los Angeles but my Buyer wants to move to Piedmont."
In which case," I responded, "you should consider referring her to a Piedmont Agent as our market is incredibly tight, and it's highly unlikely your friend is getting a house without local representation."
"Uhhh, I'll give it some thought," she said before abruptly disconnecting. (I'm certain she has NO intention of doing so.)
Seriously? What possible advantage does she offer her client by attempting to find the needle in the haystack from Los Angeles? That's simply bad practice.
Our job as Realtors AND as fiduciaries for our clients is, first and foremost, to put their best interest ahead of our own, and yes, sometimes that means moving them along to someone else who can better serve them. (Sarah and I do this all the time when approached about properties through the tunnel, in Tahoe, in SF, or in Napa Valley.)
In other words, teamwork isn't just vital when it comes to moving heaven and earth, it's inherent given when it comes to buying or selling a home. It's part of the network as well as the benefits of "Agency," and why it behooves us to sell alongside 25,000 other well-trained COMPASS Agents. In other words, why work alone when you can benefit from the fellowship of others?
OR to be entirely cliche: "teamwork makes the dream work."
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Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 750 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.