"How are you doing?" I said to my neighbor as she passed by my garden, children and dog in tow.
"I'm living the pandemic dream," she said, "and like everyone else, doing my best trying to keep it together."
I hear you.
We're eight months into the pandemic, and it's been an interesting market to say the least. (It's been an interesting moment in history.) What seemed to be a precursor for a housing correction, has, thus far, resulted in just the opposite as well-qualified Buyers fleeing the City in pursuit of greener pastures (quite literally). If I hadn't already teamed up with Sarah (a match made in heaven), I'd be looking to do so now, given the amount of work that's come our way.
Not that I'm complaining, mind you; I'm grateful for the surprisingly healthy real estate market; grateful to be working; grateful to be the confident and counsel to so many friends and clients; grateful that my family members are all healthy and gainfully employed; grateful that I'm not walking this path alone . . . GRATEFUL!
But the increased activity comes with a cost. Between Jill, Sarah, and me, we're covering A LOT of territory and working LONG hours as we fly from property to property making sure lights are turned on and off, patios are swept, lawns are watered, websites are running, marketing copy is written, Buyers are chaperoned, disclosures are read, lenders are tracked down, PEADs are Docusigned, offers are presented, etc., etc., etc. While exhilarating, it's also incredibly demanding (but nothing compared to what our first responders are experiencing).
On Wednesday, Sarah stayed at a listing until 10:30pm waiting for PG&E to return after a small gas leak had been repaired. (She drew the short straw.) Meanwhile, Jill was at a twilight shoot on Thursday, well beyond normal "business hours," (what's normal anymore?), and I was at home penning the blog well past my bedtime. (I turn into a pumpkin at 9:00)
But with what's sure to be a chaotic election just around the corner, we've received more than a few calls along the lines of "How quickly can you get our house on the market? Can you do it before the election?" (Not now, sorry.) That being said, this week we received keys to a house on Monday and today it goes live. (That may be a new record, even by our rapid standards.) Today's Sellers want quick action!
It helped that the Sellers gave us an excellent running start, clearing and editing their possessions, rearranging the furniture, and making sure we had easy access. They have trusted the process from the get go, gave us a heads up a few weeks back so we could schedule accordingly, moved out for the duration, have treated the sale as a business transaction, have been immediately accessible and responsive when called upon, have reasonable expectations, and are totally COACHABLE! In short, they're the perfect Sellers.
They're also in rare company.
Which isn't to say that we don't work equally as hard for those Sellers who are less than perfect and struggling mightily throughout the process. In fact, ANXIOUS Sellers represent the vast majority of home sellers, proving time and time again just how emotionally attached we are to our homes and how difficult it can be to "let go." Let's just assume for the sake of all our sanities that like my overwhelmed neighbor, they too, are "trying to keep it together" (as are their Agents).
The pandemic doesn't help, of course. The speed at which a house trades can be mind boggling, the stock market is in flux, lenders are tightening their qualifications, multiple offers are pushing properties well beyond their intrinsic value, showings are difficult, we're all still in masks, and no one knows what next month will bring, let alone next week. Even so, interest rates are historically low and demand has never been stronger, which means that housing prices have held and against all odds, have gone UP!
It's just that once we've done the heavy lifting (and make no mistake, moving out and selling a house requires some HEAVY LIFTING!); once we've put our best foot forward; once we've done all WE can do, it's time to remove ourselves from the outcome. In other words, the market is the market, is the market, and no amount of manipulation is going to change how the market responds.
As one Seller reminded me yesterday when we asked for approval on a color for the walls, "There are bigger things in the world to worry about than paint. Do whatever you think is best." (Thank you.)
And then she grabbed her 4-year-old giggling son and gave him a big hug. Now there's a Seller (and a mother) with a healthy perspective.
Not for nothin', at some point, I gotta believe we'll come out on the other end of this tunnel, resume life as we once knew it, (or not), and hold our families close in a way that's totally different and undoubtedly much more prized. And when we can finally and freely gather once again without fear, it will be in the homes we created in the middle of the worst pandemic in a hundred years!!! Think of that? That's kind of crazy, but it's also kind of a dream.
We're incredibly proud to be part of your dream . . .
How can we 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.