"Did you notice I made the bed?" my husband playfully asked.
(How could I not?)
Apart from the fact, that my husband rarely makes the bed and when he capitulates, it's a sloppy mess with sheets, socks, and books typically balled up under the duvet cover, this time he'd actually gone to the trouble of stacking the pillows so they formed a precariously tall tower in the center of the mattress that threatened to fall over at any second and spill onto the floor. (Really?)
"It's art," he chided, poking fun of my compulsive habits.
"It's annoying," I answered back, placing the pillows in their proper order and properly tucking in the sheets while snapping everything crisply into place. Ahhh, order had returned to the Universe! (A recent report on the Today show said that women spend up to three hours a week redoing their husband's chores. When did they meet my husband, Cliff?)
Some avant-garde artists would probably agree with him, given what passes for "art" in the world of elite collectors. Mounted bathroom fixtures? Sculpted trash? Decapitated mannequins? I don't get it, but maybe I have a latent, budding artist on my hands. Maybe not. (Don't give up your day job, honey).
One man's trash, is another man's treasure?
I was recently reminded of this by clients I hold near and dear. Having successfully helped them sell their home, I was motivated to quickly find a replacement property - one that would meet ALL their needs, come in under budget, and provide the next stylish leg of their journey. Given that they are among our closest friends - and not just important clients - their outcome wasn't just professional, it was also personal. I was intent on delivering them their dreams . . .
Determined to find the best home possible, we'd been shopping seriously for months, but with little luck. Either the timing had been off or the house was too expensive, or the competition too great. Nothing quite seemed to really sing, let alone satisfy, or even suffice.
"What about that fixer we saw in Crocker Highlands a few weeks ago?" my client asked, "Is that still available?"
"You don't want that," I stated emphatically, quickly dismissing her inquiry. "That's gonna need way too much work."
Having "flipped" several of my own projects in recent years, I had a pretty good sense of the scope and the expense involved and I had decided that it would be too much for their busy and active lifestyles at this stage of the game. (As if I knew all the answers.) "
Let's just go see it again," Laurie gently instructed. "Call us crazy, but we think it might work."
In fact, I was right. The home does need a LOT of attention, from foundation, to electrical and plumbing repairs, to roof replacement, to kitchen and bathroom renovations, this "fixer" requires an extensive overhaul, but Laurie was right too - not about the "crazy" part, but about her observation that the home will, indeed, "work" for them. (Who am I to argue?)
Here's what I was missing and finally "got" thanks to the patience and gentle prodding of my good friends.
Irrespective of its shortcomings or perceived defects, this home also provides great natural light, an expansive backyard, and a terrific "walk-to" location - none of which were affected by the negative findings we uncovered during their "due-diligence" period. While far from perfect, this home meets their needs and if it doesn't fulfill my fantasy for them, who cares? It isn't my call to make.
Almost everything that isn't right, can be made so and for the price we negotiated, they'll have the leftover funds from the sale of their last home, to do so. (Light bulb moment!)
For years, I've encouraged you to compromise, but wasn't willing to heed my own advice when it came to my close, personal friends (shame on me). I should have remembered that NO property is perfect and every home requires some compromise (true). And of course, I also needed to recognize and remember, that I don't control the outcome. (What a concept.)
Now having successfully negotiated through ALL of the new discovery, my friends ARE happily in contract and should close within a few short weeks. Moreover, they are truly excited about the prospect and the journey that lies ahead (and I'm excited for them). In their capable hands, I am looking forward to seeing where they take this "new" home and how it evolves over time. Moreover, I know they will make it SING!
So maybe Cliff's vision is worth reconsidering after all - uh, maybe not. I think I'll just make the bed myself - it's clearly not worth the aggravation.
At least, that's something I can control.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.