Sing it with me: "It's a hard knock life for us, it's a hard knock life for us . . . " Say what? The moving truck arrived (once more?!?) last Friday and we loaded the basics and headed to our temporary quarters on Echo, off Piedmont Avenue (the broken sewer pipe in the basement was the last straw).
Cliff, Tristan and I will probably camp out here for the next several months while construction gets underway on Calmar Avenue. The rest of our items have gone into storage and probably should be donated altogether, but that's another story for another column, and a job for another day (I'm beat).
Although our current space is much smaller than our last home, I couldn't be more thrilled to have a working shower once again and to be able to walk to restaurants and the theatre. I'm discovering that it's an incredibly convenient trade off, as is the ease of compact living.
It's also a sweet respite from the funk we've been living in the past several months and the unnecessary stress that has been endured by the entire family. After half a dozen remodels, you would think I would have known better.
You would think . . .
In hindsight, this should have been our move from the start; as it turns out, the renovation is just too ambitious a project and there's virtually NO room that will be left untouched once we begin. Between you and me, I'm too (a) neurotic (b) OCDC (c) impatient (take your pick - they all apply) to live in chaos (been there, done that). Sooo I guess the big take away is to look ahead and then plan appropriately.
Given that Sellers have one last opportunity in the Fall Market to sell before the holidays set in and the market softens, as is typical this time of year (no one likes to move between Thanksgiving and Christmas), I'm speculating that unless your home is already headed to the marketplace, you may be looking at NEXT spring to sell and that's exactly what you should be doing as you plan ahead.
Moreover, you should be interviewing Realtors now to help you achieve this all important goal. While there's always a good deal of blood, sweat and tears involved with any move - no matter the circumstances - the best advice I can give you is to roll up your sleeves and get to work well ahead of your projected sales date.
Having just been a Seller myself, I can speak on this topic with some authority. In fact, the smartest thing I may have done last year (besides hiring a GRUBB agent to co-list our house) was to prepare our home early so that the property was completely ready when the Spring Market bloomed. (No, Christmas vacation is NOT too soon and it has the added benefit of allowing your college-age kids to sort out their belongings while they are on break.)
Because of the unseasonably sunny weather last January and February (aka: the "drought") the spring market arrived earlier than expected and with a few final touch ups, we were set to go. As a result, our sale on Littlewood Drive had a nearly unprecedented result. In short, we weren't chasing the market - the market was chasing us (!) and how sweet is that? (Very.)
Unfortunately, far too many Sellers wait to see what the marketplace is doing before jumping in (along with the rest of the crowd). This not only makes for a very stressful couple of weeks of scrambling, but it also changes the dynamics substantially when you are competing with many other 'like-kind' homes in the neighborhood.
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work."
- Thomas Edison
Or put another way, "What are you waiting for?" Anticipation and preparation are everything when it comes to attaining top dollar for your home. So once again: here's my Top 10 To Do List for those of you with a move in your future (whether it's sooner OR later) . . .
Oh, and you needn't navigate this list alone - assisting you is part and parcel of my services. In other words, that's what I'm here for!
How can I help you? (I'm setting my Spring calendar now.)
Trivia Time: From what musical is the first line of this essay? Lattes at Mulberry's for those who respond.
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.