"Don't come into work," I warned my sister, Jill, earlier this week. "You really don't want to be around me today.
That wasn't Coronavirus speaking, it was just a blue mood. Gratefully, everyone in my family is healthy, which is more than I can say for many others who have paid the ultimate price. For everyone on the front lines and for those who have unexpectedly lost cherished loved ones, theirs is a heartbreaking sacrifice I can't begin to fathom. So where do I get off with being out-of-sorts just because I'm forced to work with both hands tied behind my back? As Cliff often reminds me, "Suck-it up buttercup!"
It's lack of control, I suppose, and let's be real, I'm a gal who craves control. In fact, last week in my futile attempt to grab what I could, I straightened out my husband's closet while he'd gone to his office to pick up some mail and wait for an important delivery (and no, he hadn't asked me to; I took it upon myself.) Sweatshirts in one drawer, cotton T-shirts in another, work-out wear in yet another . . . until everything was tidy and in its place. (Nirvana!) Two days later when I went to put away the wash, it looked as if a poltergeist had taken up residence, all but obliterating my efforts at controlling a small piece of the world. (WTF!?!)
Which isn't so much a strike against Cliff, but against me, and my reluctance to fully surrender.
The truth is, that none of us can control what transpires during this quarantine, or control when Covid-19 resolves, or control what's going to emerge once it does, or control what comes after that . . . . Chaos is chaos, which forces us to make a choice: crumble up in a ball OR do our best to forge ahead into the great unknown and then adapt to the "new normal" - or new "abnormal," whichever the case may be. (I'm choosing the latter.)
That being said, it looks as if "Shelter-in-Place" will be extended through the end of May, per Governor Newsom's orders. (It's the right thing to do, but even so, it's a MAJOR bummer.) However, while many businesses look to be months away from reopening their doors (hair salons, movie theaters, concerts, sporting events), there may be some hopeful news on the horizon with respect to local real estate.
While we await the final word, it appears that contractors and landscapers are going to be moved to the "essential list" as of May 3, and that means painters as well. (Let's hope this includes stagers too.) More importantly, these critically important service providers can once again earn a living and provide for their families and their employees who have all taken huge financial losses throughout this lengthy ordeal. (Who knew we'd be looking at months, not weeks?)
AND as they get back to work, expect real estate listings to expand as soon as humanly possible. In short, the spring market should be arriving in the next few weeks and extending well into the summer months. Or put another way, there should be more available options moving forward as these houses hit the market in quick succession. (You weren't going anywhere anyway, right?)
For Buyers, it's welcome news as there's been far too little inventory to meet their pent-up demand - in spite of a worldwide pandemic . . . and for Sellers, who were sidelined, through no fault of their own, we'll be doing our best to swiftly and appropriately position your properties just as we had planned to do before the world changed so suddenly and so dramatically. (Boy, did it ever.) DO expect these listing to be more transparently priced.
Still, don't expect Open Houses or Brokers' Tours to return any time too soon; those may not come back until 2021 (if then), and private showings are undoubtedly going to continue to require all kinds of clunky protocol. But if we have to rely on virtual showings to sell properties, wouldn't it be better to show them in their best light? (Yes, it would.) So bring back the stagers, the window washers and the housecleaners - they're "essential" to a successful result, and we've missed their contributions. (And can I put in a plug for hairdressers while I'm at it? Boy do I miss you!)
In any case, if Covid-19 has taught us anything, it's how interconnected we are to one another, and how "essential" workers deserve more respect, consideration and compensation. So despite the thought of masks and gloves being a part of the landscape for the foreseeable future, I'm encouraged that we can begin to get back to some semblance of our careers, even if it's a much narrower version of what we had enjoyed before. (Growth happens in the midst of adversity.)
In the meantime, I'm going to count my MANY blessings and give a swift kick to my cranky mood. It's the very least I can do . . . "Bye-bye, Butterfly"
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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.