About six months into the pandemic, I discovered the world of podcasts and began following Kelly Corrigan, Brene Brown, Dax Shepherd, Glennon Doyle, Oprah Winfrey, and Rob Lowe (not necessarily in that order). Forget "Serial," I was looking for anything with an upbeat message and a little hope . . .
I'm not sayin' that improved mental health isn't better achieved on a couch with a licensed therapist - who has years of psychiatric medical training - but absent that, a little armchair therapy isn't entirely a bad idea . . . .
While listening to one of these segments, I heard a guest share a story about learning to raft the Rio Grande when he was in his early twenties and just out of college.
"The first thing the guides teach you, " he said, "is how to fall OUT of the raft and into the river. They tell you to point your feet downstream, cross your arms on your chest, take a big breath, and 'relax into chaos.' If you can do that," he continued, "the river will carry you into an eddy."
Then he paused and said, "If you panic and fight, you may die." (Perhaps not the most motivational advice, especially if you're new to the river.)
But if that's not a metaphor for life, I don't what is.
True to form, summer is just around the corner, which means that Sarah, Jill, our vendors, and I are all paddling as fast as we can. We're not alone working 24/7; anyone with good experience is in high demand, and that makes sense. This is undoubtedly the toughest, most anxiety-producing market any of us have ever worked in, so imagine how Buyers and Sellers are feeling? (ANXIOUS!) Without good guidance, without trust, without faith, it's easy for people to get in too deep.
Moreover, the closer we get to culminating a deal, the faster the water churns. For Buyers and Sellers, who may only take on this major purchase once a decade or so, the process is akin to being dumped head first into the rapids. In other words, it can be downright scary.
Point your feet downstream and ride with it.
Which is to say, that once you hand over the keys to your house, we're moving VERY swiftly. Between your move-out date, and the first showing, we'll be painting, cleaning, gardening, repairing, staging, photographing, videotaping, and marketing the heck out of the property, and while we understand that this process can feel incredibly gut-wrenching, IT IS necessary if top-dollar is the desired goal. (No pain, no gain.) Consequently, there is always going to be a profound loss of control when we sweep in, and well . . . sweep!
"But we've lived with it like this for years . . ." Sellers protest.
Yes, you did and with all due respect, unless you're planning on buying your own house back, you are NOT the target audience.
Take a deep breath before you go under.
For Buyers, it's about understanding the marketplace and mastering the learning curve: you WILL be competing against more-qualified Buyers. You WILL be disappointed time and again. You WILL be making a huge financial investment, and you WILL be paying more than you thought, having been tossed among the rocks and spit out along the way. That's the way of the river.
Relax into chaos.
Try to remember Realtors are your guides, and we are trained to bring you safely to shore. So strap on that life jacket, grab a paddle, and together, let's shoot the rapids. It may be a rough ride, but it's going to be totally rewarding. (I can espouse a little arm-chair therapy too.)
How can we help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.