Black Friday meant long lines as hoards of bargain hunters shoved and pushed their way through the masses of shoppers vying for "one-day only" deals. Ugh! I don't know who's idea of fun this is, but it sure isn't mine. Consumer optimism aside, I'll probably join the millions online this year just to avoid all that impolite elbowing.
Unless you're a linebacker, what's all the pushing about? Prodding, pushing, pleading - doesn't belong in anyone's tool belt as far as I'm concerned. In fact, the greatest skill I have acquired over the last couple of years (both personally and professionally) has been learning to let go and STOP pushing!
Of course, I'm highly motivated to find you a home (let' be clear, sales are how I earn a living and more importantly, I truly believe in the marketplace) but I have also learned to give you permission to pass on a property and to walk away (it isn't my choice, it's yours). I have faith that we will eventually find the home that is right for you and that time will take its course. (For a gal who's big on control, that's no small evolution.)
Ironically, I've discovered that the less I push, the more you pull. What I've lost in aggressiveness, I've more than gained in your trust and a new found commitment (and that's a more than equitable trade-off).
So if you are expecting me to convince you to buy a home, you may be waiting a very long time. If permission is what you seek - by all means, go forward, you have my blessing. However, if pushing is what's required to take advantage of this opportune Buyer's market, I have to tell you upfront that your chances of finding a home with me, are infintely reduced.
Not that I won't be guiding you (I will) or justifying your purchase with strong market analysis (I will) or pointing you towards viable housing options (I will!) but the truth is that with the advent of the Internet, you are just as likely (more likely, in fact) than I am to find the elusive "dream home" that best meets your needs. In short, you have a specific goal in mind and you are best suited to achieve it.
Morevover, having now found the "perfect" home, you are more likely to make an offer on it and see it through the close of escrow than you are when I find and present a home for your consideration. Often, when I suggest a property, Buyers feel compelled to search for objections, whereas when you find the home, you are more apt to support your choice. In other words, when the choice is yours, there is nothing to push against; you're swimming with the current - and that's always easier.
So if that's the case, why use a Realtor at all?
Because truthfully, the best use of my skill set isn't in "finding" you the perfect home (although it's the icing on the cake when I do!). It's in negotiating and securing the home for you once a property comes into play. (One BIG caveat - off-market homes or "pocket listings" as agents often refer to them, will only come to you through a relationship with a REALTOR. So while you can hunt on your own, you won't necessarily know everything that may actually be available to buy. . . think about it.)
Where my skills matter most is when I present an offer on your behalf. Negotiating the price, ratifying the purchase agreement, inspecting the property, addressing any financial concerns, renegotiating after inspections, clearing title, following the money, protecting you from future law suits, closing escrow and delivering the property in good order (whew!). These critical steps are all part of a standard transaction. Ironically, the better I perform my duties, the more invisible I tend to be (smooth transactions should be virtually seamless). Go figure. But this kind of attention to detail is where the rubber meets the road.
Real estate involves a complicated skill set, but you - the consumer - get to decide who to hire as a project manager to navigate the maze. It's why one's reputation within the real estate community matters. It's why one's experience matters. It's why one's level of professionalism matters . . . There is a difference between a full-time agent and a part-time player.
Heck, a four year old can now search the Internet with relative ease but it takes real skill and due diligence to follow through with time-tested results. It isn't about pushing you, it's about guiding you on a journey, hand-in-hand, as we work collaboratively to attain your goals.
Leave the pushing to Black Friday shoppers (or professional linebackers) - that's the only time it's likely to prove profitable or to come in handy. Don't you agree?
But if it's "pushing" you still crave, here's the best I can do . . . how can I help you?
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.