March Madness is over and happily, my family can now return to life as usual.
Let me explain . . .
March Madness brings more than its share of chaos each year, beginning with my husband's self-appointment as "The Commissioner" (a role he takes a little too seriously, if you know what I mean. ) As "The Commisioner," he dutifully prints out the ladder, quickly emails it to his brother's family, passes it out to our two boys at dinner, and then (a bit too gleefully) holds my feet to the fire, forcing me to quickly decide which teams will progress in the tournament.
"Kansas or Lehigh?" Cliff demands.
"Duke or Purdue?"
"Butler or Vanderbilt?" The choices come fast and furious while my protestations are repeatedly ignored. "
I don't know," I respond, flustered and increasingly frantic. "I don't want to play this year. You enjoy humiliating me to much."
"Failure to answer means you pick Sacramento State!" My husband declares. (A team even I know isn't actually in the tournament. After 20 years of living with Cliff, I'm tougher to fool than I used to be.)
"Okay, okay," I say in desperation, "What's their mascot?" Hmmm. . . No wonder I have been repeatedly trounced by my 8-year-old nephew, Noah. Choosing the winners based on the color of the uniform or the furry team mascot probably isn't the wisest course of action.
Who could perform under this kind of pressure? The truth is, I know NOTHING about college basketball and I am the first to admit it. March Madness holds no power over me and will most likely remain ever thus. Without any experience on which to base my answers, I am completely and utterly at a loss; leaving me to essentially pick at random. Having never played, I really have no context and what's increasingly clear to me, is that when it comes to March Madness, "context" is everything (or failing that, a few lucky guesses)!
It's no surprise that "context" is important in the world of real estate as well. With so much money on the line and with so many opinions from which to choose, "context" can be more theoretical than practical for both Buyers and Sellers, especially when the focus shifts from many homes to just one.
With so much written about the topic and with everyone seemingly an expert, it's easy to lose the forest for the trees. Cautious Buyers will often bring in friends or relatives to help them validate their purchase, while protective sellers often single out and elevate their own home from other nearby sales, ignoring context altogether.
Without a "Big Picture" understanding of the market, well-meaning friends may have a great sense of their own local market - but not yours. And Sellers may have a true understanding of what they want, but not a good sense of what the market will actually bring. Understandably, both these assumptions lack good "context."
Here's where a seasoned Realtor comes in. With years of contract negotiations, Broker's Tours, Sunday Opens, ongoing education and successful transactions adding to our vast experience, we ARE in a position to help you gain accurate market knowledge and a realistic expectation of market value - in a relatively short amount of time. Not only do we represent the "Big Picture," we provide much needed context. And with good understanding, the answers should come more quickly and with more clarity.
Leave the madness to basketball ladders and sports-crazed husbands (where it belongs). Your home is too important for guess work.
Which is why, this year, I downloaded the ladder first and went to a colleague to add some much needed context to my answers. (Thank you Gene. It was a noble effort.) While we didn't win, at least I wasn't down and out by the second round and more importantly, I finally beat my 8-year-old nephew! Best of all, a coup d'etat may be in the works next year for "The Commissioner." (Watch out Cliff.)
She shoots! She Scores! (Okay now I'm pushing it).
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.