I am just coming off three looong days of baseball, having spent the Memorial Day weekend alongside my husband, my younger son, Tristan, his baseball teammates, and a large contingency of family and friends, at what was to be our last Citrus Heights Tournament ever.
Having participated in this same tournament for several years now, first with our older son, Case, and now again with Tristan, it's with mixed feelings that Cliff and I watch Tristan grow up and age out of this particular field of players. Next year he'll move up to his local Piedmont High School team here in town and then it's just a few short years until he's off to college. (My, they do grow up fast.)
As such, Tristan harbored (and shouldered) a lot of expectations going into the weekend. As the only available catcher for his team and after enjoying some exceptional results with the bat all season long (a talent he most definitely didn't inherit from me) Tristan expects - and often delivers - "magic" when he's at the plate, staring down a pitcher.
(When it comes to baseball, Tristan has definitely enjoyed more than his fair share of success.)
After a walk-off hit by a teammate in the first game, the boys were off to a very exciting start. Alas, in the second game, they were soundly beaten and by Sunday night, there was NO possible way to secure a spot for Monday's finals and the tournament trophy - no matter what the result.
Even so, with only one run separating Piedmont from Pleasanton, with two outs on the board in the last inning of the final game, and with two Piedmont players in scoring positions, Hollywood itself, couldn't have written a more exciting ending. (Can you say "clutch situation?") All of us watched with baited breath as Tristan stepped into the batter's box.
Gripping the bat and tapping his shoulder three times (his signature trademark) Tristan set his feet and cocked his elbows in ready position . . . .
The first pitch fouled way down the third-base line. Tap, tap, tap - swing and a miss. Tap, tap, tap - "ball." Tap, tap, tap -" ball." Tap, tap, tap - "Foul!" came the call, as the next pitch slid off Tristan's bat and slammed into the backstop. Tap, tap, tap . . . CRACK! Here's the one we had been waiting for. The ball flew UP, UP, UP . . . before sailing neatly into the left fielder's outstretched glove.
"Out! And that's the game folks," barked the announcer. (Oh, bummer!) That's not the way it was suppose to play out. Sadly, for my son and his team, this wasn't the Hollywood ending they had been hoping for.
Welcome to life. We don't always get to write the fairy tale ending we seek.
You might imagine this is true in Real Estate as well and you'd be right. Given our clients' budgets and restraints, even the best agents don't always get to write the winning offer. Would it surprise you to know that there are times, when I discourage buyers from writing at all? What's that you say? Not write? (Right!)
No matter how emotionally invested you are in a home, there are situations when it behooves you - the buyer - to "opt out" and NOT write, especially when there are multiple offers being presented and you simply haven't the wherewithal to swim in deep waters. In that situation, you are better off treading water and letting the more aggressive players compete for the home, while waiting for an opportunity that better aligns with your circumstances, instead of adding to the mix.
Really? (Really.) Drafting a less than stellar offer on a home that's been strategically priced to create a feeding frenzy, only pushes the rest of the company northward, thereby creating a higher comp for the next listing to hit the street. (Did you follow that?) In short, the house was never intended to sell at its listed price. It's only meant to entice.
Properties priced well below what they should be, often create an auction of this type and they tend to play out with several disappointed buyers who never really stood a chance and one successful bidder who ultimately paid a premium for the privilege. Unless you want to use the experience as a "dress rehearsal" for the next home, several writes, can definitely make a wrong, and ultimately prove very discouraging to the unsuccessful bidder over time (nobody likes being rejected over and over).
Regardless of the seller's expectations, the market is the market and it remains true to form. Savvy buyers aren't easily fooled.
So if your expectations are in line with the market, I can work with that. If it's a fairy tale ending you seek, that's much tougher to abide. Take heart, they'll be other opportunities coming your way (which is what I told my son who wasn't inclined to hear me at that very moment).
Whew, it's tough being a mother. (It's not much easier being a Realtor in these situations either.)
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.