It's official. The music I like best is now played on the "oldies" station. (I'll get over it.) Driving into work last week, I cranked up the radio and sang along with Diana Ross and the Supremes: "So won't you hurry, c'mon boy and see about me . . ."
Growing up in our little tract home in Sacramento, I used to play "The Best of the Supremes" album over and over on my folks hi-fi, as I danced around their gold and avocado living room (yes kids, albums predated CDs and iTunes). Dancing, singing and laughing - my sisters and I pretended we WERE the Supremes. (This little girl knew how to groove.)
Each January, I find myself seeking the groove once again as the Spring Market approaches. Phones begin to ring more insistently, emails arrive with more frequency and the bustle begins anew. "I've got you back in my arms again, right by my side . . ."
But before moving full speed ahead into 2011, I had a few loose ends to tie up with respect to 2010. Which means I spent the better part of last week composing letters and sending out HUD One statements to each of my clients who had either purchased or sold a home with me over the course of 2010 - some of whom I had to track down with a bit of sleuthing. "Baby, baby I'm aware of where you run. . ."
On the bright side, the thick stack of papers was a rather nice reminder of the productivity and volume I enjoyed last year - while many in my industry struggled just to stay afloat. As I wrote, I reflected on each transaction and what I, as an agent had learned from the playing field. More importantly, I thought about how I might improve my skills moving forward and how better to serve my clients and my community in 2011.
"Reflections of, the way life used to be . . ."
Suffice it to say, that not all deals are the same and on the heels of 2009 - a year that weathered the worst modern financial crisis our nation has experienced since the Great Depression - it should come as no surprise that many real estate transactions in 2010 were in reality, very, VERY challenging. That's to be expected. "Stop in the name of love. . ."
Buyers, by and large, responded conservatively and sellers often hoped for a minor (or a MAJOR!) miracle that just wasn't in the cards. With respect to whatever hurdles presented along the way, I hope I helped both buyers and sellers negotiate through these challenges with their integrity and their pride intact. (That's not easy when deals are as emotionally driven as home sales tend to be.)
I will be the first to admit that taking the high road is a discipline I am still mastering (and it can be a rather lonely place up there). Some transactions are inherently more successful than others and some parties are inherently more flexible than others, but each journey is groundwork for the next. With perseverance, good intentions and a desire to do the next right thing, I am constantly evolving and redefining my role as your local East Bay specialist and real estate guide. "You can't hurry love, no you just have to wait . . ."
And real estate can be a demanding teacher. Each home is different, every client has his or her own agenda, and ALL transactions require a broad base of knowledge juxtaposed against fine-tuned finessing. With opposing viewpoints between buyers and sellers, It can be nearly impossible to juggle conflicting demands, but if I listen carefully and work selflessly, I know I am most likely, on the right track.
"In you I put, all my faith and trust . . . reflections."
One thing that stands out for me after the last few years, is that the process works much better when we work openly and honestly with one another. Why travel the road any other way? Now how can I help you (or your friends) in 2011?
"Think it o-o-ver . . ."
Trivia Time: I'm hearing from several loyal readers that I haven't run a trivia contest in quite some time - so here goes. I referenced several Supreme songs above. If you can come up with three more, there's a latte and a scone with your name on it at Mulberry's Market.
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.