"Do you and Dad really work 9 to 5 everyday?" my son mournfully asked.
"This is so hard." (I understand.)
"No," I replied, "We work more like 7 to 7!" (And that's on a calm day.)
Home for the summer after his freshman year at Colgate, Tristan is learning the stark realities of his first, full-time internship in San Francisco at the California Appellate Project. (If he thought he was working hard at college, he's got another think coming.) Up early and on BART by 8:00 means his "post work"festivities with his buddies are now relegated to weekends only, just like the rest of us employed and hardworking folk. (Sorry to burst your bubble Son, it's called a JOB!)
"Am I going to be tired for the rest of my life?" he plaintively asked me last Friday after another long week.
"Yes, but you'll adapt." (I've so little sympathy.)
The concept of "adaptation" is constant in my world as well, especially as the world of Real Estate has been inundated with onsite-discount competitors, email flyers and blogs (such as this one), social media sites like Facebook and Lindkin, and heavy-hitting juggernauts like Zillow and Realtor.com. If Real Estate wasn't already BIG business before, it certainly is now (and it's always been BIG BUSINESS). There's virtually nothing you can't discover on the Internet, and I'm willing to bet, not a single day takes place where you don't receive a real estate related alert! (Seriously, let's bet.)
As Realtors, our greatest "adaptions" have arrived in the form of new technology; online marketing and videos, smart phones and tablets that allow us to transact our business anywhere in the world, (but also ensures that we will never, EVER be entirely on vacation again - sigh), drones, contracts that fly through the digital air at the speed of light, disclosures that challenge Webster's unabridged dictionary (and still leave room for interpretation) and much higher expectations from both Buyers and Sellers as we navigate the ridiculously fast pace of a "normal" real estate transaction. (I'm not sure "normal" exists anymore.)
But it's not just technology that keep us on our toes and forces us to continually "adapt;" it's the ups and downs of the marketplace and the ever-changing needs and demands of our Buyers and Sellers. (You're not cookie-cutter and neither are the houses you own.) What worked well for the last listing, has no bearing on the current one and ditto for the last Buyer. Often, there's little rhyme or reason as to why one house sold for significantly more or why another was largely overlooked. Frankly, it's knowing that every day is going to present different challenges that keeps me entirely excited and energized. (Although admittedly, some "challenges" are more welcome than others.)
As Buyers, your "adaption" takes the form of learning to write aggressively- and often. (If at first you don't succeed . . .) If you understand that you WILL more likely than not, be bidding several times before you actually prevail, you'll undoubtedly have an easier time with the process. You'll also need to identify the neighborhoods in which you wish to live and then learn about them in detail, you'll need to follow the market trends religiously, and you'll need to get preapproved for a loan prior to entering the race. AND once in the hunt, you'll need to continue to "adapt" and compromise on an ongoing basis.
While today's technology provides the capabilities to do much of your searching and preparation online, it should never replace the necessity of an on-site visit. Buying a home is a very personal and expensive transaction so irrespective of the multitude of sites you will visit (and you will) you are still going to need to step inside and work with an experienced, local agent to help you craft a winning offer. (Do not underestimate the "local" part of that statement.)
As Sellers, your "adaptation" comes in the form of understanding that today's Internet-driven marketplace requires a full-on blitzkrieg campaign in order to sell your house for top dollar, which includes, painting, staging, investigation, gardening, etc. In short, I'm gonna hit you up for some overdue repairs and cleaning projects once we sign the papers and agree to work with one another. If you think houses sell themselves, may I politely suggest that they do not, or rather, that they may (everything sells at the right price), but that your results will be substantially different.
"Adapt or die?" That may be going a bit far, but certainly, your outcome will be far less favorable and far more protracted if you fail to "adapt" and to do so rather quickly, but that's what I'm here for (none of this has to be done alone).
Just as Tristan is learning to adapt, so are we all. (What a way to make a living!)
How can I help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 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.