Thanksgiving is perhaps my favorite holiday, if for no other reason than it's still relatively unspoiled by commercialism, religion or politics. Irrespective of one's faith or beliefs, families young and old, will gather around a table to carve a turkey, hold hands, and EAT! For one day, we will put aside our skepticism, collectively give thanks, and share a common objective on a national level, which in and of itself is nothing short of miraculous. Gobble, gobble, gobble!
Save for a fantastic meal and a lavish table, there's little else that's required to come together and entice one's kids to return home. (A BIG flat screen TV probably doesn't hurt either.) "Gather ye rosebuds while ye may." The years really do speed by all too swiftly. So while there's a good deal of cooking and cleaning that goes along with the holiday, there's no frantic gift buying. (A fact I'm truly grateful for.)
Since this is the first time Cliff and I will be seeing our son, Case, since he graduated from the University of Arizona last June and moved to Austin, Texas, I couldn't be more excited for the break. As his mom, I applaud his hard-won independence, but what's wrong with a little apartment in Oakland and a job in the Bay Area, I ask?
To which Case replies, "Mom, I need to strike out on my own, but can you pay for my airplane ticket?" (Gladly, as long as you come home once in awhile.)
As the new house (and by "new," I mean very old and decrepit house) is decidedly under construction, I won't be tending to the bird this year and cooking for 30 guests, as is my usual fare. In fact, I have booked a lovely VRBO in Santa Cruz for a little R & R and some football on the beach, so the day will be a much more intimate affair and dinner will take place at the Shadowbrook Restaurant along the creek. (I'm really taking this mini vacation to heart.) I'm only too happy to have someone else oversee the cooking and the cleaning for a change.
I'll also be taking next week off from writing The Perspective, so it seems appropriate to give thanks now. (Thank you.) It's been a year of change for my family on nearly every level, from the sale of our own Piedmont home, to the purchase of the Calmar "fixer," to our son's college graduation, to an impromptu relocation, to my mother-in-law's move into assisted living, just to name a few . . . and you have been there every step of the way with your words of encouragement, your kindness, your support and your presence.
How do I thank you enough? Your friendship and faith are so deeply appreciated.
And while juggling life on "life's terms," I was also riding the crest of my industry's biggest year in nearly a decade. To no one's surprise, The GRUBB Co. enjoyed more than its share of success and I gratefully, went along for the ride. Personally, it was a banner year (again, thank you) as the economic recovery coincided perfectly with a decade of diligence and experience on my part.
In short, 2014 has been an exuberant year for Real Estate and I suspect 2015 will prove equally as fruitful for those of you buying, selling - or buying AND selling - in the coming months as well. This projection is positive news and comes by way of the National Association of Realtors and every other economic guru with a horse in the race. As things currently sit, there's no reason to expect anything but continued growth. Give thanks.
However, with buyer demand still outflanking good, available inventory, Sellers retain a distinct advantage for the foreseeable future, which is great to hear if you are a Seller, but tougher news if you're on the buy side of this equation.
What can I say? Let's talk turkey and (at the risk of mixing fowl metaphors) get your ducks in a row so that you are in a position to compete in a very meaningful way come the spring. You will need to.
BTW - if a move is in your future, it's NOT too early to reach out to your Realtor NOW to set a calendar and begin preparations. Sellers can begin to inspect, purge, pack, clean and paint their homes while Buyers should be getting their financial house in order and meeting with a local lender. As an aside, if you have a college-age child returning home for the holidays, this is an opportune time to have him/her go through their rooms and discard, donate and deconstruct. Good-bye Boy Band posters, soccer trophies and the like . . .
For the sake of parity, there's a good deal of work to be done on both sides of the transaction so that come next spring, you are poised to be "in the right place at the right time," and that's where I come in. (Please feel free to refer me to your friends and family.) I have years of experience guiding both Buyers and Sellers through the process. Moreover, there are few things as professionally gratifying as seeing a family happily ensconced in their new home. What can I say? I'm a girl who believes in the dream.
But let's all take next week off to enjoy family time with one another, to gather in circles large and small, to watch marathon football matches, to take a walk with our dogs, to eat more than we should, and to experience grace in all of its fine forms. Ain't life grand?
(P.S. - You can follow my renovation escapades, missteps and misfortunes at www.renovationriptide.com. It's full of "oh wow" photos and "OMG" moments. Or put another way: What can you do when you live in a zoo? It's going to be great when it's completed. At least that's what I keep telling myself!)
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.