This week I received my favorite kind of call from my favorite kind of client.
"Julie, we've decided to sell. How quickly can you get our house on the market?"
The short answer is, "In about three weeks!"
aI need to preface this story by explaining that this wasn't my first call from Ms. Seller. In fact, she and I had met well over a year ago to discuss this eventuality as she and her husband moved toward retirement and the next phase of life. Unlike many of us, they have already purchased their retirement home, which means they have a concrete and specific plan in place as to what their post-Piedmont life will look like. (It's pretty sweet as it includes a compound up in British Columbia they plan to Airbnb. Smaaart!)
As such, when we met in her home earlier this week, she had already accomplished many of the items on her "to do" list from our initial meeting last fall: the sewer lateral had been replaced and certified, her building permits were in order, several rooms had been painted, and she was on her way to adjust and correct the square footage of her home at the assessor's office downtown. (I love a "coachable" client!)
With a running start, we were able to very quickly book the stager, painters, inspectors, gardener, window washers, photographer, sketch artist, movers, etc., and I was also able to reserve the website and write the marketing copy for upcoming print and Internet advertising. She and her husband will need to pack and move within a week for us to logistically pull this off, but we are working on that as well. We're off to the races to be sure, but it's worth noting that it can be skillfully accomplished with a motivated client, an experienced agent, our highly dedicated staff at The GRUBB Co., and my incredibly talented assistant(and twin sister) Jill who works as my project manager. (That's called team work.)
Full steam ahead!
Is it wise to bring on a house so late in the Fall Season?
To quote my good friend from North Dakota, "You betcha!"
With very little competition at this time of the season, coupled with limited inventory that seems to represent either the high end or the low end of the spectrum, but little in-between, this traditional, family-friendly, four-bedroom property in the heart of Piedmont is positioned perfectly and I suspect this terrific home will receive a very successful debut. (That's called a "tease" folks, please call me for more information.)
I want to stress that while I pride myself on being incredibly responsive and productive, the speed of this listing couldn't happen without those earlier conversations, in which we clearly set the groundwork. Moreover, Ms. Seller didn't just have me over for tea, she listened to my suggestions and methodically set to work. Aside from the benefits of good pacing, such forward progress also serves to help a Seller disengage emotionally from the house as well, which is why, when she phoned on Monday, and unequivocally said, "let's do this." Jill and I could quickly kick into gear. (Thank you for your willingness.)
That's not true for everyone. In fact, it's not true for almost everyone. Most people have no idea what the next stage of their journey is going to look like so they are often, understandably, worried and frightened. That's when fear can set in and quite bluntly, get in the way. Absent a plan, procrastination is often the default setting. (I'm betting financial advisers run into the same sorts of issues.)Not that a "leap of faith" isn't a valid strategy (I've used it myself), it's just that it takes a whole lot more courage than a well executed course of action does.
So, for those of us thinking ahead to: "What comes next?" I want to encourage you take some affirmative steps and get started early. Whether or not you have an impending move on the horizon, or the finances in place that provide the flexibility of the couple above, we can all purge our attics and basements on a yearly basis (trust me, nobody wants that old crib and stroller) and a well-placed phone call or email to your agent isn't a bad idea either if you want to kick around a few options. (We loves these calls.) Believe me, nobody is forcing you to move before you are good and ready, but because life tends to throw curve balls, it's nice to be prepared for whatever lies ahead, isn't it?
Here are some other "To Dos" you can add to your list that allow you to truly keep your options open. (I put my own house on the market far earlier than anticipated precisely because I had spent the winter getting it ready "just in case.")
While not all of us are in a position to purchase the next home before we sell our current home, we can all prepare for whatever lies ahead. Whether a move is imminent or much further down the road, I'm more than happy to meet with you to discuss your options and to create a plan that makes sense for you.I'll even bring my famous, home-made, chocolate-chip cookies!
(BTW - if you have a junior in high school, did you know that you can invoke "senior privilege" and move a full year ahead of graduation, while maintaining the ability for your senior to graduate with his or her class? It takes an inner district transfer but it's easy.)
How can I help you?
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.