"Oh my god!" Chad exclaimed as he scrolled through the construction photos on my phone. "At what point do they start putting your house back together?"
That's an excellent question. Looking at the ruins all I can hear is: "Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great fall . . . " I don't know exactly what I expected given the scope of the project, but you can literally see through the entire house and that includes the roof and attic as well.
In truth, there's almost nothing of the original structure left and what there is, still needs to be replaced due to significant rot and termite damage. Of course, I knew the house was a MAJOR "fixer" when Cliff and I bought it a year ago (I'm not totally soft boiled) and that it would need everything, but I didn't really believe it would need EVERYTHING!
IT DOES (!) and so, having come this far, the only thing to do is to push forward with conviction and faith, BUT I'd be less than honest if I didn't admit that there are moments when I wonder if ALL the king's horses and ALL the king's men CAN indeed put Humpty Dumpty back together again?
Of course, it doesn't help that I keep showing up only to find a single workman or two on the job site when what I'm hoping for is half a dozen strapping young men with power tools in hand. (Heck, give me the whole calendar!)
"Can't we at least clean up a bit around here?" I asked the sole individual in vain, looking for some small semblance of control, before calling my contractor and begging for more progress, more bodies, or at least more order.
"Well, it's a construction site," PJ patiently reminded me in his soft Irish brogue. "We'll definitely get it cleaned up when the drywall goes up, but in the meantime Julie, it's a construction site!"
"Unfortunately, we're in a holding pattern until the windows arrive PJ continud, and they're a month late so there isn't much we can do until they come in." And then the kicker, "Please try not to worry about it."
Uhhh, that's more easily said, than done as I look around at the demolition site that once was a home and a yard. For a gal who craves neat and orderly, this isn't exactly my best and finest hour. Plus, there's still so much to be done . . . Yes, I know there is progress being made (I have HUGE invoices that tell me so) but I wish I could see more of it in real time. You know like those HGTV shows that completely remodel a house in two weeks for practically nothing? What's wrong with that expectation?
Hey folks, this is where acceptance and surrender come into play. I've discovered that in the face of chaos, there's really no better solution for what's appears to be out of our hands than letting go . . . What's more, it's a message I'm often reminding my clients to adapt as they struggle with the pace and speed of the marketplace and the loss of bids that only a year ago would have easily secured them a home.
Here's the good news: the market is incredibly dynamic and while there still isn't enough good inventory to meet the high demand for Bay Area housing, more and more Sellers are starting to see the advantage of bringing their homes to market now to better capitalize on this golden opportunity, which means that we should start to see more balance as we progress through the spring market.
Moreover, with news that the Feds WILL finally raise interest rates (potentially by the third quarter) purchasing power will undoubtedly be affected for many, which means that competition may decrease just a wee bit. (Now I'm speaking Irish.) In the meantime, here's what you can control (drum roll please) . . . your intentions and your actions.
That's is? (Yes, that's it.)
In other words, no need getting worked up about the things we can't control (which is everything else). The market is what it is; lenders and service providers are backed up, Realtors are working round the clock, competition is intense, and somewhere, somehow, someone undoubtedly can spend more than you! That's the long and short of it. So get your financing in good order, diligently hit the Sunday Opens, give your Realtor specific and frequent feedback, and when you at long last, identify the home you want, put in a bid that decisively secures you the property. Shopping for a home may not be a fairy tale, but we can certainly strive for a happy ending!
How can I help you?
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.