There's a new man in my life. (Thank goodness.) His name is Phil, and his company is Pawderosa.
Not that I'm trading in my husband after 28 years of wedded bliss (okay, not always bliss, but always laughs), it's just that with the addition of our new puppy, it was definitely time to bring in a professional dog trainer.
With all due respect to group puppy classes, they just weren't getting the job done and given that Riley is going to be fairly large (60 lbs or so), the more obedient, the better. Can I say for the record that Phil isn't just a "dog trainer," he's the frippin' "Dog Whisperer!"
When Phil shows up on Sunday morning - dog treats and smile at the ready -Riley will do just about anything for him. At which point, Phil breaks into a happy dance and becomes totally animated (so does Riley):
"Place" (I love that one.)
"You gotta make this fun for him," Phil joyfully explains, another jig at the ready.
If only it were this easy to train each other.
So let's be totally honest, Phil's not just training Riley to respond to these basic commands, he's also training Cliff and me. If we aren't consistent with the training once Phil departs, then puppy mayhem quickly ensues.Thus, every pocket in my wardrobe is currently filled with doggie snacks which is why Riley is so quick to please. "Good boy, Riley."
I bring this all up because it occurs to me that life is a series of trainings. First as toddlers ("Don't touch!"), then as teens ("Home by midnight!"), then as college co-eds ("Study!"), and then as adults (Take out the garbage!). In fact, every single job (or relationship) I've ever had has involved a high degree of "training," including my current career as Realtor. This is never more true than when we are being pushed out of our comfort zone, as is so often the case.
So it should be no surprise that "training" is part of the journey for any successful Buyer as well. It starts with you getting pre-approved for a loan, and then moves into honing your skills at a Saturday or Sunday Open, followed by the ins and outs of quickly digesting a disclosure package, and finally, how to write a winning offer. (Sellers get "training" as well, but that's another piece for another day.)
While your observations may all be honest, stating your concerns out loud in front of the listing Agent may torpedo any hopes of acquiring the house.
Here's what you DON'T say publicly if BUYING ranks high on your list:
"This is a really odd layout."
"This house seems overpriced; do you know if they'll take less?"
"I noticed that the roof could use some repairs."
"We're prepared to offer on another house if this one doesn't come together."
"So how old is the foundation?"
(Need I say more???)
In truth, you can only hurt yourself by "sharing" your negative opinions about a home in front of the Realtor (or the other guests). Believe me, the last person a Seller wants to get into contract with is the Buyer looking to renegotiate before getting into contract. In other words, from the moment you set foot inside a house, you are essentially auditioning for the role. Please, PLEASE save your assessments (no matter how accurate they may be) for private viewings with your own Agent outside of the Sunday Open.
Not that objections aren't a critical part of the process; they absolutely are. In fact, my boss DJ Grubb, would assert that Buyers must always work through objections in order to truly engage with a property (advanced training). It's just that how such objections are framed, will ultimately decide whether or not you have a shot at the home at all. In short, it wouldn't hurt to wag your tale puppy-like when viewing a property that really speaks to you.
So if you are indeed interested in purchasing a house, and not just making a hobby out of Sunday Opens (yes, there are people who do that), make it your mission to tell the Agent: "This is beautiful. I can really see my family living here. We absolutely love it!" (Beg? Certainly, if it gets the job done.)
And then work behind the scenes to air out your concerns, opinions, thoughts, etc., with your own empathetic Realtor. Together you can decide whether such objections factor into the offer price (or not), or work themselves out accordingly.
And if the home doesn't rock you world, or there are too many high hurdles to jump, move on. There will be others soon enough with the understanding that every rejection informs the next decision and further educates us about the marketplace, so it's ALL good training. Either way, don't overthink the process, or you'll likely get left behind.
"Place!" (Works for me.)
How can I help you?
Check out my Instagram at: piedmontrealtorgirl
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.