Desperately scanning my garden for anything blooming to take to my newest listing in Montclair (6537 Heartwood) I finally spied some colorful (but thorny) roses hiding on what I jokingly refer to as "my lower forty." Grabbing my gloves and clippers, I waded through the beds (in heels no less) battled the angry thorns and managed to quickly cut enough branches to fill an attractive ceramic pitcher for the impending Sunday Open. Tick, tick, Tick - just in the nick of time! (And speaking of "nicks" I've got a few scratches to show for my efforts - never mind; there's a price for beauty!)
For gardens (and the gardeners who tend to them) we're in the "in-between" - that time between spring and summer where very few plants are actually in bloom. Don't get me wrong, there is a lot of healthy new foilage, but fewer flowers than any self-respecting gardener would prefer. The spring cherry and magnolia blossoms are long gone, as are the rhododendrons, azales and camellias, and the summer flowers have yet to come into full swing. That's ok. I spotted plenty of newly formed buds on my hydrangeas that should begin to pop within the next few weeks. Color is on its way!
I think the real estate market can be a little like my lackluster garden from time to time. We have prolific weeks, followed by calmer, quieter periods. There's a natural rhythmic ebb and flow that occurs, right along with the seasons. Busy families distracted by graduations and the end of school year parties are less inclined to bring their homes to market until after the school year ends and many buyers simply aren't making the time to tour for many of the same reasons. (Throw in the first real hot days we've seen this year and you may have a few buyers MIA at the beach!) That's ok, give it a week or two and we will see a newly committed parade of motivated buyers and sellers all hoping to move over the course of summer!
In the meantime, use your agent's eyes and ears (and connections) to keep you well-informed and Internet websites (www.grubbco.com) to view things remotely - just in case the perfect home "blooms" while you are busy with life! With real time information, you'll be in a better position to judge good value when you move back into the game in full force. (Avoid the mistake of pulling out 2006's appraisal report as an indicator for where to list your home.)
What's that you say? You don't have an agent yet? You're definitely a disadvantage. You are better positioned with an experienced local representative who is committed to the process and to your success. Not to worry, we can help! (There are many fantastic agents here at The GRUBB Co. - (510) 339-0400.) So here's to warm summer evenings, family barbecues, graduations of all sorts and life transitions! Let's enjoy the "in-between" pauses - they create necessary breathing space and perspective . . . in, out, in, out and . . . ok, that's enough!
Now let's get back to selling or buying you a home - even if there are a few thorns to battle along the way (remember, beauty has its price.) I'm ready to go and here to help!
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 14 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.