I'm blessed to hear many inspiring speakers in my life and just last weekend I heard a hysterically funny and gifted orator who claimed "there are really only two topics in life: 'romance and finance'." That made the audience laugh loudly, but boy, do I get his point.
In the world of Real Estate, those two topics - romance and finance -translate into: faith and fear; a recurring theme throughout much of my writing, primarily because these two competing emotions often surface quite powerfully as both Buyers and Sellers begin to seriously contemplate a move. (It probably comes as no surprise that "fear" is far more prevalent than "faith.")
I'd like to assure you that once you actually move into action, your fearquickly dissipates as the process unfolds and faith builds, ("faith" being the operative word here), but as too often happens, fear continues to grow and faith is almost nowhere to be found. (Gulp!) In fact, moving - whether buying or selling - can be downright OVERWHELMING to most folks, and usually is. As it tuns out, most people shy away from change; in fact, they vigorously battle it heart and soul (and often subconsciously). Hello fear . . .
Why is it so difficult to move?
It's not the physical work involved, although make no mistake, there are A LOT of tasks to be accomplished between your phone call to me and the end goal. (We're both about to get real busy!) It's because the outcome isuncertain and moreover, much of it is also out of our control. Additionally, the speed at which the Bay Area market, in particular, moves can leave Buyers and Sellers downright breathless. (If it feels like a bullet train coming down the tracks, that's because IT IS. Take a deep breath and just do what's in front of you today; you will absolutely be okay.)
Yes, we will analyze the marketplace and price the house appropriately.
Yes, we will tirelessly search for your replacement property.
Yes, we will pre-approve you for a purchase.
Yes, we will investigate and do our due diligence.
Yes, we will seek solutions at every turn.
Yes, we will prep, paint and stage your home until it positively glows.
Yes, we will invite the public in and saturate the Internet with fantastic photos.
Yes, we will create buzz, excitement and magic around your home . . .
And then we wait for the public's response. Inevitably it goes something like this:
"It's beautiful, BUT . . .
It's too big.
It's too small.
We'd like more parking.
The kids have to be closer to school.
We prefer carpeting in the bedroom.
I don't like the kitchen back splash.
We were hoping for a view.
This is too far up the hill.
The neighbors are too close for comfort.
I wish there was a master bathroom.
Why did they paint it that color?
It's missing . . . ummm, something.
Hold up, hold up! I know it hurts, but please don't be offended. As Sellers, there's no need to participate in negative emotions or take these comments personally; moreover Buyer objections aren't necessarily a bad thing; they actually signal engagement. In fact, I would argue that NO serious Buyer will buy a home without creating such hurdles and then working their way over them, through them, and around them - prior to making an offer - and that's true for every Buyer I have ever worked with, no matter their particular price point.
While we all believe our homes are "perfect," they're only perfect forus, because they have our unique blueprint on them. Which means that no matter what, the next Buyer is going to find something that needschanging, even if it's just the exterior paint color.
Let them. I returned to my lovely Littlewood home recently (by invitation) to discover life-size dinosaurs in the flower beds, the batting cage ripped out in favor of a play garden, and Star Wars Lego models where my collection of beautiful white stoneware had been proudly displayed. Turns out, my house wasn't "perfect" after all, but it's getting there for the new owners and that's as it should be. They're entitled to their sci-fi, Jurassic Park vision, even if it wasn't mine (they paid handsomely for the privilege). The house now belongs to another wonderful family and Cliff and I have happily moved on to our next project. (If only I could get the garden landscaping on track . . . sigh.)
Yes, buying and selling a home is an emotional decision to be sure, but it also needs to be a pragmatic one, because moving isn't just about romance, it's also a financial decision that may profoundly impact your future. And let's be clear, it's easy to get seduced by a pretty home, but is it the right choice? In other words, is it true love or just a passing fancy? (See there? We've circled back to romance and finance once more. I guess there really are only two topics.) We want to love our homes, but not so much that we can't walk away when the timing is right and make smart financial decisions about them. (That's true of our children as well.)
Let go (or should I say Lego), have a little faith and know that it's all going to work out in the end. It always does.
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 12 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.