I'm getting ready for a BIG hike next month in the Grand Canyon with a group of very dynamic Piedmont moms (unfortunately for me, most of them are at least a decade younger, and ALL of them are in much better shape).
I've only ever seen this majestic geological masterpiece in photographs so I'm thrilled at the prospect of looking over the steep rim of the canyon and finally discovering one of the "Seven Natural Wonders of the World." (17 million years in the making!) It's a really exciting proposition and one that's been on my "Bucket List" for years. (Thanks for asking me Jen.)
In preparation for this challenging journey (the Grand Canyon is more than 277 miles long, 18 miles wide and 6,000 feet deep) we have each dusted off our walking boots, have been meeting for weekly training hikes in the Oakland hills, and have clocked a fair number of well-traveled miles . . . BUT I'm still falling a bit behind. Those super fit gals kind of leave me in the dust (quite literally).
I'm not complaining, mind you; I'm absolutely thrilled to be included, but I may have to come to terms with the fact that once we arrive in Arizona, I'll very likely be trailing the pack for a good deal of the trip (if not all of it).
Hey, that's life. Someone has to come in last. The trade off may be that I will have time to enjoy the spectacular scenery just that much more. My sister would wisely remind me:"it's not the race, it's the journey," and she'd be absolutely right, but that still doesn't mean that I fully embrace my slower status. It is what it is.
Now "trailing" with regards to a friendly hike among friends may be just fine and dandy, but it's NOT so great when it comes to the competitive world of Real Estate. NO ONE enjoys the position of coming in second or third on a highly desirable property (especially your Realtor).
Without some healthy perspective about the market as a whole, trailing behind the pack and coming to terms with one's limitations, can be incredibly disheartening to say the least. (Believe me, I understand.) Eventually, even the most well-intentioned Buyers can run into "buyer fatigue" and pull away to regroup. (No worries, I'm not going anywhere.)
Take heart; you are not alone.
The truth is that most Buyers will trail far behind the pack for a good while until they finally get "fit" enough to come to terms with the challenges they face. When they discover - and then externalize (!) - the fact that the winning bid typically goes to the Buyer that puts forth not only the highest price, but the best terms as well, they then begin to stand a more than decent shot at prevailing.
For each Buyer, this learning curve varies considerably. Some Buyers will get there in a matter of weeks, while others will take months (if not years) but invariably ALL Buyers go through a rigorous Boot Camp of sorts while navigating the trail.
However, if you have done all you can and you still find yourself coming up short (that hurts) it may be as simple as "supply and demand," unfortunate market timing, OR it might be time to reevaluate your "wish list" and adjust your expectations accordingly. Unless you are fortunate enough to be Bill Gates or Warren Buffet, you are probably working within a defined budget and some real life limitations. It is what it is.
Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. With clear intentions and reasonable expectations, you are bound to arrive at your destination eventually. Consider these near misses your training hikes for the big payoff that lies ahead. While it may not be so easy to enjoy this particular journey (the scenery isn't nearly as inspiring) there are definitely new adventures and other opportunities on the horizon. If it takes us a little more time to get there, so be it.
I promise, I won't leave you in the dust!
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 12 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.