"I asked my son what kind of cake he'd like for his birthday, and he answered, 'Mrs. Gardner's chocolate raspberry cake!'" came the email from my good friend, Mara Lee (aka: Andrew's mom). "Would you mind sharing the recipe or is it a family secret?"
Okay I'm almost embarrassed to admit it, but it's a store bought mix of Devil's Food cake (any brand) and a jar of raspberry jam. (Joy to the world? How about jam to the world!)
Truly, it couldn't be any easier. The only part of the cake I make from scratch is the frosting, and to my utter horror, my husband actually prefers the canned product (sugared lard to my way of thinking) instead of my creamy, vanilla concoctions. Is he kidding? (No he's not.)
What can I say? I've spent years perfecting homemade chocolate macaroons, blonde brownies, and moist banana cake, but it's the chocolate raspberry cake from a mix that my family asks for the most. Go figure. In high school parlance; that cake is an "easy A.
With respect to Real Estate, there's rarely ever an "easy A," which is to say that even the transactions that look as if they came easily and then closed quickly, may, in reality, represent a tremendous amount of work - and usually do.
The property that quickly came to market and sold in a week or two, typically spent several months in preparation prior to the first Sunday Open. Preparations that usually include inspections, cleaning, organizing, overdue maintenance, painting, gardening, staging, etc., (just for starters). For many homes, this preparation may also require significant upgrades to the bathrooms and kitchen, sewer lateral replacement, or drainage, roof and foundation repairs as well. (Whew!) No matter how you slice it, bringing a home to market is A LOT of work.
Likewise, Buyers rarely ever prove successful on the first home on which they bid. As luck (and as life) would have it, there is an inherent learning curve for almost ALL Buyers as they refine their hunt, gain invaluable experience, and earn their hard earned stripes within a very competitive marketplace. Realistically, Buyers should expect to spend several weeks in search of their next home under the very best scenario, and shouldn't be surprised if it, in fact, takes several months or more. I've literally worked with some Buyers for two or three years while they wait for the "right" home to emerge that finally motivates them to get serious and move. (That's okay, I'm not going anywhere soon.)
In short, any conscience Realtor's work begins looong before a transaction is consummated, or more to the point, our commissions are earned over t i m e - not in one swift close, and certainly not in a week or two. Our "value proposition" is gnerated through a deep understanding of the marketplace, a commitment to our Buyers and Sellers to deliver their goals, and the patience to stand by these principles.
Still, I wouldn't exactly mind if an "easy A" happened to fall into my lap every once in a blue moon (feel free to refer me) although I've yet to come across any that proved entirely "easy." In truth, I'm not sure the "easy A's" really exist. Even the quick transactions have resulted from groundwork that's been laid over years and a network of clients that trust and respect me enough to send their friends my way (thank you).
Gotta run, I've got a cake to bake.
Happy Birthday, Andrew!
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.