"Try and keep your dog quiet," the vet kindly told me. "He's got a good deal of arthritis in his joints that's caused some swelling and is making him very uncomfortable." (Gee, join the group.)
Buck had started to limp badly after a hearty afternoon at Crissy Field splashing in the wavers, and two days later his symptoms hadn't much improved. In fact, he seemed worse off. Then she delivered the kicker. "See if you can get him to 'meander' when you resume your walks together."
Okay, was she kidding?
Our dog, Buck, is a 'Field Lab;' bred to run and retrieve a felled duck or pheasant once it had been shot out of the sky. Since neither Cliff or I hunt, Buck's prey over the years, has been limited to tennis balls and the occasional pine cone which he chases with great vigor and glee. He's not just enthusiastic about fetching, he's downright obsessive-compulsive! In short, "meandering" isn't exactly his forte. (Frankly, it isn't mine either.) Which is why I always find it difficult when clients want to "take their time,' given that such a strategy is clearly counterproductive to their intended goals. In a marketplace that is rapidly rising, the old adage that "time is money" has never been more true.
In fact, according to industry experts, last year saw the biggest single leap in home values ever. Our local real estate didn't come back slowly and gradually, it snapped back like a tightly strung rubber band, with the result being that prices are now up by 20-30%! Or put another way, the dream home you could have obtained with relative ease in 2012 for approximately $1,000,000, will likely cost you $1,250,000 - $1,300,000 in 2013 (and quite possibly more).
Moreover, inventory is so low that Buyers are lined up in double-digits to purchase. A charming, but modest two+ bedroom home in Glenview had 23 offers last week. (Say what?) With reports that 46% of all transactions are now "ALL-CASH" purchases, the race to secure a home has heated up beyond all of our expectations. That's great news if you're a Seller, but tough to process on the 'buy' side.
Sellers, are you listening?
Last week, a well-meaning but poorly informed, out-of-area Agent, phoned me about one of my listings to seek advice:
"My clients love the property and are on the fence. They are prepared to offer all cash but wonder if they should take a loan out instead and offer more?"
"They should do both," was my succinct response. "Cash purchases in Piedmont do not imply a discount; they only improve your terms!" (Footnote, their offer was under by more than $300,000.)
While every purchase is essentially "ALL CASH" once the lender funds the loan, the ALL-CASH Buyer has the distinct advantage of waiving the appraisal and loan conditions and what's more, can often close in mere days, instead of weeks. Remember your offer is judged on BOTH price and terms, and who doesn't prefer better odds? (Practically no one.) With each hurdle a Buyer successfully removes, the happier the Seller becomes, and the greater your chances of securing the home.
So while I appreciate the need to "take one's time," while "meandering" through the process, unless you have a very good reason for doing so (like you're waiting for a substantial end-of-the-year bonus or an inheritance) you are probably working against your own best interest. In other words, if you are slow to move because you have become emotionally arthritic, you are likely to be as crippled as my dog, Buck.
On the other hand, if you are ready to fully engage, it's time to lace up those running shoes, write numbers that actually put you in the game, and set yourself up to participate in the race. (Do understand, that an aggressive offer will likely be accepted, so don't write if you have ANY reservations).
The finish line is just up ahead. Let's get there together!
Ready, set, go!
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.