"I'm sorry I lost my temper," I said to the Buyer's lender. "but this has been frustrating beyond belief. If you don't tell me what's going on, I can't possibly inform the Seller, or keep the train on its tracks."
It's not uncommon to close a few days late, but several weeks?!?
Gratefully, in nearly 20 years of selling real estate, I've rarely run into such a lengthy delay, (and I've also rarely let anger get the best of me). To the Seller's credit, she's hanging in there with the expectation that this transaction IS going to close in the not-too-distant future. All's well that ends well? Let's hope so but that's not necessarily the most reassuring strategy when it comes to selling one's home . . . .
Let's admit it, unless you are billionaires Richard Branson or Bill Gates, the words "I'm dropping out" may not be your smartest move.
In fact, when it comes to Real Estate, I'm dropping out," are the words Agents (and mothers) HATE hearing, especially after we may have invested weeks, months, or YEARS viewing properties together. That being said, with interest rates heading north, there's more than a few Buyers that have opted to do just that . . .
Thirty-two years ago today, my husband and I stood before the rabbi, our family, and our friends to recite our vows. (Yes, Cliff was on crutches which made the first dance kind of tough.) The act of a wedding, of a marriage, or of a legal union isn't just a public declaration of one's love, it's the ultimate social contract.
But let's be real; a long and sustained marriage is a highly aspirational concept at best. Consequently, I'm in awe that all these years later, Cliff and I still enjoy spending time together and making one another laugh. (Humor can get you through just about anything.) Hands down, Cliff, is the best decision I ever made; I can't believe how "lucky in love" I've been.
On the other hand, when it comes to real estate, a ratified Purchase Agreement isn't an "aspirational concept" at all, but a legal and binding contract . . .
No sooner had I put the finishing touches on last week's piece: "Size DOES Matter," than we found ourselves in the same predicament as many of you . . . Cliff's mother, Zee, unexpectedly passed away at the age of 96 (so not entirely unexpected), and suddenly, we had a mountain of her carefully curated items to disperse and dispose of (while also dealing with feelings of loss and grief). Turns out that most of the things we've spent a lifetime collecting, no one really wants or needs.
"We're ready to downsize," the Seller said. "Our kids are grown and the house is really too big for us."
As I was reminded this week, life is little more than a series of transitions . . . .
Birth, death, marriage, divorce, and job transfers are the mainstays of a Realtor's practice, but any life change (whether good or bad), are likely to put a move into motion. Make no mistake, moving down can be a tricky, painful, and difficult business, especially if we have lived in a house for decades, accumulating well more than we need, OR more than will comfortably fit into a much smaller abode.
"UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL WE ALLOW YOU TO CUT DOWN THE BUSHES!" the Sellers emphatically wrote. Followed by, "We're not emotionally attached to the house, (yes, you are), but we planted those hedges when we first moved in (which is why they now need to go).
Whether it's overgrown plants that need to be trimmed, a worn front door that ought to be painted or replaced, OR the fireplace brick surround that's turned black from years of use, the proverbial straw that breaks the camel's back, is almost always some fairly minor update that completely throws the Sellers into an unexpected defensive mode. (That's not our goal.)
Last month, Sarah and I represented a property that was part of a modest estate. That being said "modest" is a relative term. Here in the Bay Area, even small homes trade for more than a million dollars, which, frankly speaking, ain't chump change. (Sadly, neither Cliff nor I are in line for an inheritance - modest or otherwise - although we wish we were.)
Although the house had been somewhat neglected through the years, it had a million-dollar view and loads of upside potential, which is why it attracted MEGA interest in the space of just one week and received 13 offers come the offer date. In short, it was in high demand.
The days are growing longer, the temperatures are warming, and my garden is once again, coming alive. Spring is my favorite time of year with each new day unveiling a fresh and colorful revelation, AND as I genuinely enjoy gardening, I'm known to putter in it quite a bit. Forget your designer jewelry, Manolo Blahniks, or Birkin bags, if there's any shopping in my future, it's likely to be at a local nursery, because long after those expensive accessories are out of fashion, my roses will still be delivering bouquets.
“Thank you for a seamless transaction,” the email said, “We couldn’t have done it without you.” (That’s true.) "It was entirely smooth sailing." (Not exactly, but we didn't share the riptides we encountered - we changed course instead.)
At the risk of blowing our own horns “seamless” doesn’t happen by accident. It requires a great deal of planning, orchestration, knowledge, and execution on everyone’s part, AND no small amount of faith and trust from the sellers as well. In other words, "smooth sailing" requires an experienced captain at the helm, not to mention a highly-trained and responsive crew if we're going to avoid choppy waters.
You wouldn't necessarily know it from our reputations as scrappy, gritty, enthusiastic salespeople, but Realtors actually employ a great deal of etiquette when it comes to the art of the deal. Knowing that we'll likely be facing one another time and again, the savvy Realtor makes a habit of being respectful to their colleagues, texting when they are showing a property, and keeping the appropriate parties informed as to whether they'll be submitting an offer or not.
Having sold hundreds of homes at this point in the game, I believe "secret" Agents should be left to the world of James Bond . . .
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.