Last night, Jill and I attended a Halloween Party for Realtors at a good friend's house and both the decorations and the costumes blew me away. From the entire cast of the Wizard of Oz, to Jill and me in our homemade Ghostbusters outfits, everyone came to play. Some costumes were decidedly real estate inspired, like a Supra locbox key(clever) or a brick foundation (because what's scarier to a Realtor than a brick foundation?) while others were a throwback to easier times: I Love Lucy, Richard Simmons, a bath loofah (!); all weird and wonderful and each, totally FUN.
You couldn't help but laugh - and we needed to laugh because navigating the world of real estate can be both weird and wonderful, but also spooky and scary.
Wonderful, because we have the privilege of helping our clients achieve their goals - whether it's moving cross town, cross state, or cross country. In fact, REALTORS are often present at the crossroads of homeowners' lives:a new baby, graduation, a marriage, or a passing. We're the natural "connectors"not just to a house, but to window washers, painters, designers, babysitters, housekeepers, hairdressers, doctors, newcomers' clubs, schools, restaurants, cleaners, and everything else that comes with settling into a new home and a new neighborhood - or letting one go - (as the case may be), and that's amazing in many ways.
Weird, because buying - or selling - a home is unpredictable at best; you never know what's going to happen; every transaction has the potential to teach us something new - or trip us up. That's what makes the business of buying or selling real estate interesting and exciting, but also challenging. Real estate transactions are potentially full of land mines we didn't necessarily see coming, which means that every Realtor I know has spooky AND scary tales to tell that start with . . .
Perhaps it's because at the heart of it, buying or selling a home is a veryhuman transaction and humans are imperfect beings. It's also because a real estate transaction is inherently a complicated thing; there are many moving parts and each piece has to fit into the puzzle perfectly to meet the timelines set forth. Moreover, the nearly unrealistic speed of today's marketplace leaves little room for error, and errors are inevitable, thus some ugly little gremlins can appear and when they do . . . they've got to be dealt with head on.
The point is that when we run into a real estate horror story (and they happen to the best of us), our job is to seek solutions, mitigate issues, and zap away the problems! Making sure you have a treat rather than a trick is really the focus of any good Realtor and what we strive to achieve - even in the face of adversity or a haunted home. Turns out I'm a Ghostbuster in real life too!
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.