With news that the Camp Fire is the worst residential fire in California's history (nearly 9,000 homes have burned and counting) AND with no expectation that fire crews can likely get the raging firestorm under control until the end of the month(!!!), I'm counting my blessings for my safe and secure neighborhood - despite the fact that it's tough to go outside. I can't recall a time when the air quality has been this unhealthy.
It feels like the apocalypse, especially for those who have lost everything, including their entire communities.
I'm back from Morocco and excited to jump back into the market once again. I'd like to say I missed you all, but I really needed the time off and enjoyed the trip immensely. (It was long overdue; just ask my husband, Cliff.)
Still, while I've been in the desert (yes, I rode a camel), Jill has been preparing our new listing in Crocker Highlands, debuting this Sunday, so work continued unabated as I checked in sporadically from Africa. That's both the beauty and the curse of smart phones; they travel everywhere we go! (Ugh.)
The Fall market has provided a slew of great listings and savvy Buyers have jumped in to take advantage of this last final push before the holidays are truly upon us.
In Piedmont, we saw more houses on the market in a single week in September (16!), than we did in any given week all last spring, and true to form, if they were priced correctly, they found a qualified Buyer in quick time. ("IF" being the operative word.)
Given the high demand that good Stagers attract, it’s inevitable that, whether through timing, budget, or Seller preference, we Realtors are going to be forced to work outside our tried-and-true group of trusted vendors. (There's a reason they are "tried and true" and why we hate doing this!)
Such an occasion happened last week with a new listing where the Sellers were anxious to get their home on the market almost immediately. Unfortunately, the Stagers I most often collaborate with were booked for at least a month out.
In my experience, every life lesson worth learning, is hard earned. If there's an easier way, I haven't found it. And sadly, I'm not the only one.
Last week, I put a beautiful listing I represent into contract only to hear from one of the rejected Buyers afterwards that I should do whatever I needed to keep him in play. He's now in back-up at a substantially higher price than his initial offer. (First the test, then the lesson.)
"Did you fall asleep before the end of the show?" my husband teased, knowing the answer without having to ask. (Why yes, I did.)
I don't know if my nodding off in front of the TV is a function of genetics (I still remember my dad snoring in his recliner each night), of hard work, or of advancing age, but with each passing year, I tend to wake up earlier and earlier; thus, I now struggle to stay awake much past 9:30 at night. (Okay, I'm dull.)
I spent last weekend bouncing back and forth between two new listings - each unique in their own way - and each entirely terrific.
Apart from these fantastic homes, I was struck by the similarities of the Buyers that came through. For the record, I held a Saturday morning open (to coincide with the Farmers' Market nearby), and a Sunday afternoon, 2-4:30 (as is standard). In short, I spent most of my weekend successfully manning open houses.
It's been a busy week for me, what with Jill on a well-earned vacation exploring the Pacific Northwest, Canada and Glacier National Park with her two girls in a cool Camper Van that's sure to show up on Instagram!
Which means that I'm manning the fort alone: meeting the inspectors, primping properties (as opposed to pimping properties), planting pots, watering beds, chasing down permit histories, editing marketing copy, picking up lighting, dropping off donuts, running to the hardware store (again and again and AGAIN!) and doing the 101 tasks I typically assign Jill on a weekly basis. (I miss her already and she only left town on Tuesday.)
I'm not sure "surrendering" comes naturally to anyone. There's something incredibly difficult about the concept that makes us feel as if we're giving in and giving up, when in my experience, the exact opposite is true.
The tendency to fight instead of letting go, reminds me of a story my friend recently shared about being stuck on a sandbar in the Russian River.
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 12 years and has published more than 500 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.