"I'm worried about the war in Ukraine," the Seller said. "How quickly can you get my house on the market? (We're all worried about the war; we are sending our prayers and donations.)
And while we live in a global economy, AND there are certainly bound to be major disruptions here at home as a result of increased instability overseas, with respect to the war's impact on housing prices here in the Bay Area, it's important to note that the U.S. housing market is still woefully short of the required housing stock we need just to fill current demand - four million units short NATIONWIDE, in fact!
"I used to be good at attacking things" my client said, "Now I just want someone I can rely on who will make it easy . . . I'm ready for things to be easy."
You're in luck, we like our men easy. In fact, we prefer it that way. (We like our women easy too.)
Years ago, a good friend, who became a client said, "Tell me what the perfect Seller looks like, and I'll be that."
"Well," I jokingly said, "The perfect Seller would move out, hand us their keys, write checks for the vendors, listen to our advice, and fill out the disclosures to the best of his/her ability. The rest we'll take care of . . ." and to my utter amazement, that's exactly what he did.
I've spent the week fielding shocked responses to last week's column, "I Can Get You a Million More," only to discover that a property in town closed this week for one-and-a-half million higher than its asking price (!!!) Seems that a mere million above the list is yesterday's news. . .
"Your competition told me that she can get a million dollars over the asking price," the prospective Seller challenged us. "What do you say to that?"
"I say that we can get you two. In fact," I glibly responded, "we can probably get you three million more, but we'll have to start the list price at $50,000."
"How's that work for you?" (No? I didn't think so.)
I'm an identical twin so the concept of cloning is a fact of nature I've lived with my entire life. However, when it comes to the world of real estate, Buyers and Sellers aren't sheep, they're uniquely different individuals; a quality that makes our jobs both more interesting and more challenging at the same time. Turns out, that people are highly complicated beings, which means that EVERY transaction is an opportunity for growth (and Jill, Sarah and I certainly grew a lot in 2021)!
With all due respect to the Myers-Briggs "16 distinct personalities," (and sheep), when it comes to real estate, I'd say home sellers fall into two main categories: those who like to micromanage the process, AND those who don't.
Years ago when I was just starting out, a kind and far more seasoned colleague took me aside and said, “The most important relationships you’ll ever have in this business isn’t with your Buyers and Sellers, it’s with the other Agents!”
To be honest, I’m not sure I initially understood or agreed with her advice at the time. Coming from the school of "scrappy," and married to an appellate attorney who enjoys a good debate, I was encouraged to be an advocate first and foremost. I was taught it's not our job to be friends with our competitors; it's our job to BEAT the competition - or is it?
Cliff and I are heading back to the mountains this weekend to check on the cabin. When we were there a few weeks ago, it took my husband an hour and a half to dig down to the water main while I carved a path to the doorway. This weekend, we will undoubtedly be addressing other concerns. Turns out that owning a cabin (even a small one) is not for the faint of heart . . . or lean of pocket.
"My toilet's leaking," the email said, "I didn't see anything about it in the disclosures."
I understand (I do). It's upsetting to spend millions on a house only to immediately run into nonfunctioning appliances, leaking toilets, or leaning fences as soon as the moving truck has delivered your contents and then departed. (Thank goodness I purchase home warranties for my Buyers.)
However, whether the Sellers knew OR didn't know about a particular defect in a house prior to selling is a hard point to prove . . .
"Are all those trucks for our house?" Cliff said, looking out the window on Tuesday morning. (Hardly.)
Like many households, we suffered water damage as a result of the recent "atmospheric rivers" that required some fairly extensive repairs, and we'd been waiting for the crew to return after the extended holiday break. (Everyone deserves some time off but let's get back to work fellas.) Even so, our two handymen didn't account for the three trucks, one LARGE trailer, and several orange cones outside. (A van, a truck, a trailer, OH MY!)
Feliz Navidad! I'm off to visit San Miguel de Allende for the holidays. This trip couldn't come too soon what with all the rain we've been experiencing in Northern California. Not that I'm complaining mind you (my garden is sopping it up) but as of early Monday, my phone hasn't stopped ringing.
"I've got water in my basement." (Yes you do. The ground is saturated and that room is below grade.)
"My sump pump is running. What's up with that?" (It's supposed to; it's a PUMP and it's doing its job.)
"My roof is leaking and I'm sure the Sellers must have known." (I wouldn't necessarily jump to that conclusion.)
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.