"Hey Julie, I just wanted to warn you that some of our appraisals are falling short," Alison said. "With each subsequent sale setting a new bar, we're having a hard time justifying the price in many cases."
No kidding . . . given the speed with which homes trade and the WHOPPING prices many properties are selling for, that doesn't exactly surprise me.
However, it might surprise you.
What's more invasive than a colonoscopy?
A root canal? (No.)
Someone reading your diary? (Maybe.)
A tax audit? (Okay, that one's worse; that took weeks of digging through files and receipts.)
However, with respect to Real Estate, there are few things more invasive than the Seller Disclosures; those legally binding questionnaires that expect Sellers to be thoroughly conversant with their home and its neighborhood, to disclose present and past modifications (even if they weren't responsible for them), and to understand the home's engineering, potential topographical impacts, and structural components. . . . without an advanced degree! No wonder even the most earnest of Sellers typically come up short.
"How's the move going?" I asked. "We saw the U-Haul out front."
"We're exhausted," the Seller answered. "I can't believe how much stuff we've collected
through the years. I swear the boxes in my attic are procreating!"
I believe him. Mine too, and I don't even have an attic.
The truth is, the more space we have, the more willing we are to fill it. Consequently, closets, attics, basements, garages, and storage rooms become GIANT repositories for all things discarded under the assumption that "our kids may want it one day." (They won't.)
I finally received my shot last last Friday and felt immediate relief. I hadn't realized the stress I'd been internalizing while dutifully waiting my turn for the vaccination. When my age group was finally green lighted, I set the alarm for 12:01 am, slung off the covers, sat down at the computer, and signed onto Kaiser, CVS, Rite-Aid, myturn.org, and a host of other recommended sites, but couldn't find an available appointment anywhere, even as I expanded my perimeter further and further afield. Two hours later, I gave up and went back to bed, but not to sleep.
"I'm sorry," the Seller said. "The house is a mess, and I'm feeling overwhelmed." (You wouldn't be the first.)
"No worries," I said. "What can we take off your plate?"
"Everything," she said, with a long sigh. "I don't know where to begin."
Happily, we do, and what's more we know "people" who can jump in as well. From packers to organizers to movers, we've got you covered.
"Would it be helpful if we made some introductions?" I asked.
"Could you?" (Yes, we can.)
Last week, I closed on a property for a darling young couple moving into their first home together. Between the time they had gone into contract, and their revisit a few days later, two windows in the house had failed, creating not only some drips between the panes but some legitimate concerns as well.
Unfortunately, subsequent research on Google gave this particular brand of windows - and their service department - a rather poor rating, which wasn’t exactly happy news.
"When do you expect the market to change?" is the question Sarah and I are most often asked by both Sellers and Buyers, and the short answer is: "We don't know." If we judge the marketplace on nothing else but supply & demand, it's NOT going to be tomorrow. Of course, it's never quite that easy; when it comes to buying or selling homes, there are other factors that come into play . . . emotions being at the top of the list.
Depending on the publications you read, the GDP is either going to have an 8% increase in 2021 OR the housing market is going to fall off a cliff . . .
""You're number 986,894 . . . ," the text message said. "We'll contact you when it's your turn.
No, that's not the number of blogs I've written (although it sometimes feels like it), it's my spot in line. At the urging of my sister, I signed up on Dr. B, an online standby list that identifies unused vaccines. As the Coronavirus vaccine has an extremely short shelf life, once thawed, those doses need to be administered PRONTO, or they quickly go to waste.
At last, a pathway forward . . . .
Now I don't mean to complain, but it's becoming increasingly clear to me that middle-aged Realtors are WAY down on the list. (In fact, we're not on the list at all, based on the sign-up sheet, placing me in the category of "other.") As working stiffs, that probably puts us just above dog walkers, used-car salesmen, and personal injury attorneys . . . but just!
There are few things that make me as nervous as sitting down in a dentist's chair. Sure, public speaking is nerve-wracking, but for me, my semi-annual visits to the dentist are at the top my fear-factor list. Even a routine teeth cleaning is cause for anxiety. I'm not just talking about the fees (although the cost of dentistry is truly frightening), I'm referring to that high-pitched sound the tools make, the anti-septic atmosphere, and the laundry list of items that still need to be addressed as my old dental work begins to fail. Like dual-pane windows or sewer laterals, there's a due date on the hardware in our mouths (and I have a very expensive mouth).
"Open wide. . ."
On Wednesdays, Jill and I take turns visiting our mother in Sonoma to make sure she's got everything she needs. Given the limitations of social distancing, and now carless (as opposed to careless), our visits may be the only human contact Mom has all week. However, with one vaccination administered and the second scheduled for this weekend, we'll soon worry less about her ability to move around more freely. At 88, she's still got it (and then some), but none of us wants to see our loved ones fighting a Covid battle, or worse yet, losing it - especially so close to the end.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 15 years and has published more than 600 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.