Even so, severely arthritic, slow and lumpy, old and tired, there's no shortage of devotion there, or loving kindness. (I may have just described myself.)
In his prime, Buck was the dog equivalent to Superman; he was Super Dog;scaling walls, jumping waves, and hurdling fences in a single bound in his pursuit of whatever object he desired. Moreover, he never seemed to tire, no matter how many times we chucked the ball across the grass or open sea. A boundless bundle of nonstop energy, that dog wore me out, far more often than I did him.
That's no longer the case. Now, it takes a concerted effort just to get him up the short flight of stairs to the front door, which is why Buck has taken to insistently barking at me and Cliff at the bottom of the landing; ruff, ruff, RUFF!, and why he trails far behind on our morning walks, no longer able to keep up. (Ruff!) When it comes to Buck, there's definitely more "will" than"way" as he huffs and puffs uphill towards home; a bowl of water, and a nice soft landing waiting for his return.
More "will" than "way" may be how many of you Buyers feel in this highly charged marketplace. Having been out-priced, outbid, or outplayed on a number of houses, it can start to feel incredibly frustrating and downright discouraging. Certainly, buying or selling can be extremely uncomfortable,to say the very least. No doubt, you too, are often feeling as if you are huffing and puffing your way uphill, hoping for a nice soft landing. (If only!)
Should it really be this hard to purchase a home? (It shouldn't, but it is.)
As I was reminded just last week by the talented and funny Mike Staver, in a motivational seminar that many of my colleagues and I attended at the Presidio in San Francisco (I love a good seminar and this one was perfectly timed), "Life is supposed to be uncomfortable - comfort is the enemy of high performance. In reality, our discomfort motivates us to seek change."
Mike's point being that if we accept our"challenges" as an inevitable part of any process (it's not good, it's not bad, it's not unfair; it just is), we are far more likely to succeed. Put another way: face your fears and get into action! (and that's true for all of us - old, young, experienced, or new to the game . . .)
What are the actions Buyers need to take? Patience, persistence, preparation, and pounding the pavement would be tops on my list, as would pre-approvalby a local lender (that's called "alliteration" folks). And then I'll add courage and trust to the mix as well, because I've run out of "P" words.
Uh, no, that's not it . . . BECAUSE buying in an overheated marketplace such as the Bay Area, truly takes a brave heart and a genuine leap of faith, in spite of the fact that, investing in real estate has proven to be a very sound decision -over time. (Don't forget the "time" part of the equation.)
"But WHAT IF we are overpaying?" (Ahhh, now we're getting to the heart of it; those "what ifs" breed uncertainty and self-doubt.)
At the risk of sounding like a salesman - or saleswoman (who took micro and macro economics in college), you are NOT "overpaying," you are paying what the market will bear. But in all likelihood, you ARE offering a premium for the property in today's world, and in many cases, (I won't sugarcoat it) you may be paying for future appreciation as well. If that feels too daunting to embrace (and that's okay if it is), this may NOT be your time or place. You can always roll the dice and wait for the future, hoping for a different outcome.
Speaking of future outcomes . . .
Could it be that we are buying at or near the peak? (Yes, it could.)
Could it be that housing prices will continue to rise? (Yes, they could.)
Could it be that housing price will begin to correct? (Yes, they could.)
In short, without time travel on which to rely, no one really knows the answers to any of these questions; nor do we know the answers to:
"How much is this house worth?"
"What will I need to pay?"
"Where do you think it will sell?"
Certainly, I can provided an educated guess, but I don't control how much a property is worth to someone else, how many other qualified buyers there may be, their level of interest, what other properties will arrive to compete, or how much a willing and able buyer will spend come the offer date. In the end, I can only guide you towards:
How much is the property worth to you?
How long do you plan to live in it?
What can you reasonably afford?
How comfortable are you with the risk?
And then we live with the unknown and the discomfort of not having all of the answers to all of our questions. Sometimes, buying a house is simply more "will, than way" and that's okay. Life happens, more often than not, outside of your comfort zone. (Thanks for the reminder, Mike.)
How can I help you?
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.