I'd be lying if I told you that every transaction we undertake is a walk in the park (it's not), especially in light of last week's startling events regarding Silicon Valley Bank, followed closely by the run on Credit Suisse on Tuesday.
While we wait to see if these institutional failures are just the tip of the iceberg OR if there are more dominoes to fall, there's no denying the sense of shock and concern many of us are feeling.
Despite current events, we're still dealing with the stark reality that available housing stock is WAY DOWN across the board, and a fair number of Buyers still need homes, so Open House traffic has been robust, as have offers. In fact, many homes are now canceling their second weekend of Opens and selling in as little as one week!
Where the market sits a few months from now is anybody's guess, but based on sheer demand in our local marketplace, it seems to be full steam ahead (at least for now).
That being said, while the goal of each real estate transaction is to remove as many pain points as possible, let's just admit upfront that moving is a STRESSFUL process, especially given the "rolling recession;" a term designed to imply that each segment of the economy is going to take a hit, but not necessarily all at once.
Semantics aside, if we overlay the sheer physicality of a move with outside pressures: kids, work, looming debt, retirement, inheritance, relocation, death, birth, divorce, or the unknown, the plot begins to thicken.
Now add ego, uncertainty, and fear to the mix and suddenly, things begin to get very complicated.
Enter a team of Realtors, contractors, painters, gardeners, movers, inspectors, and stagers (most of whom the Seller doesn't know) and suddenly, the process can seem overwhelming, if not downright unnerving as the group begins to pick apart the house, take down the curtains, paint the interior, bring in neutral furnishings, and remove every vestige of the homeowner's presence. Goodbye family photos, CDs, books, trophies, stuffed animals, Leggo models, house plants, and anything special that makes your home truly yours. What's more, we move at breakneck speed which can make it hard to process.
Of course, selling your home is invasive. How could it be anything but?!?
Long gone are the days (in the Bay Area, at least) when homes were sold with occupants in place, with posters on the walls, a hastily made bed or two, and grandma's hand-me-down furniture scattered throughout the house.
Nowadays, properties are painstakingly staged and prepped. often requiring several weeks, if not months, to bring them to market. And when we do so, they no longer look anything like the home where you celebrated birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. Try to remember that we're generally steering the presentation towards an entirely different aesthetic. (You aren't buying back the house, correct?)
However, if it's top-dollar you wish to achieve, the rules of the game are very different than they were when my father sold real estate some 50 years ago. Back then, it wasn't at all uncommon for homes to sit on the market for months. Contracts were one-page and signed on the hood of the car, AND the practice of real estate was largely "Buyer beware."
That's no longer the case. In today's world, selling real estate is a massive production with many moving parts. A good Realtor is a producer, a director, a project manager, a designer, a marketer, a social-media pundit, a blogger, a gardener, an economist, a fortune teller, a housekeeper, AND a juggler.
The reality is, that no matter how beautiful your home, the way we prepare properties for the market and the way we live in them, are two entirely different equations, usually requiring extensive makeovers. Consequently, competing in the marketplace requires a tremendous act of faith and trust on the Sellers' part. In short, we're asking you to turn your property over to us in total, and surrender to the process . . .
Even so, the relationship between Seller and Agent isn't a one-way street. Agents have to trust in their Sellers' motives, actions, intentions, and most importantly, in their words. Above all else, we have to know our Sellers are actually real.
What makes a "real" Seller?
Real Sellers understand the dynamics of the marketplace; they accept the market on the market's terms. They listen, they learn, and they separate their emotions from the transaction. They let go with both hands, they avoid micromanaging the process, they delegate, they are highly coachable, and they negotiate in good faith. In short, Sellers mean to sell!
How easy an ask is that?
Not easy. Most of us (including me) love control. It's the default setting when things seem to be spiraling beyond our control. It's also human nature.
But every once in a while, we get a near-perfect Seller as we did on our recent Crestmont listing, who prefers to hand over the keys and let us do our jobs, and when that happens, the journey, while not exactly a picnic, is significantly easier all the way around, and far more palatable.
How can we help you?
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 18 years and has published more than 725 humorous but always informative, essays on life and real estate.