One of my favorite childhood books was Alice in Wonderland which I happily read over and over (and still do). I love this imaginative tale of a fearless young girl who chased a talking rabbit through a hole and fell down, down, down before finding herself in unfamiliar territory. Risk or opportunity? I suppose it all depends on your "Perspective. " Whether she was standing up to the Queen of Hearts or debating the Mad Hatter, Alice was a girl after my own heart - always willing to take a chance.
Real estate often mimics Alice's topsy-turvy adventures. One week, there is nothing to show our anxious clients and the next week, several good opportunities emerge that demand an immediate response. In some extreme cases, I am literally urging my clients to "make an offer" almost as soon as they've stepped through the front door (or the looking glass)! "Come, come - off with your head!" . . . You might more easily play croquet with a Flamingo than make sense out of buying or selling a home in the Bay Area. Anxiety? Stress? Pressure? You betcha - or as Alice might exclaim, "Stuff and nonsense!"
No wonder you're spinning.
"Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?" a confused Alice asks the mysterious Cheshire Cat who keeps appearing and than disappearing, leaving a disconcerting and fading smile in his wake. (Sounds like some fly by night mortgage brokers I've met a time or two.) "That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," the Cheshire Cat responds. And so it does . . .
If you are feeling dazed and confused, welcome to the world of real estate. Just last week I recommended "patience" and this week, I'm encouraging you to "make an offer." No wonder it gets confusing. It's like falling down the rabbit hole and finding yourself in unfamiliar territory. Even for those of us used to the fast-paced antics of "Wonderland," it can be a dizzy ride. (And no, I don't suggest you chew on the mushroom as Alice found herself doing time and again and no, I haven't been chewing on it either.) What do I recommend? What's the moral of the story? Well, like most good real estate stories, it ends with a renewed appreciation for home, for a sense of one's place in the world, for what's comforting and a need for family and security; with an enlightened Alice discovering pleasure in the simple joys of life.
Of course, the best way to ensure a "happily ever after" outcome, is to begin with a professional you trust (stay away from those fast-talkers and overly pushy characters - they're the ones "painting the roses red" - and align yourself with someone who truly places your best interest first. I find that integrity, intentions and actions (and a bit of humor) often make for the most successful results - in real estate as in life.
Surround yourself with smart, capable and experienced professionals, from agents, to mortgage lenders, to escrow officers and you will find that you can navigate "Wonderland" with confidence and assurance.
And should you fall, I'll be there to catch you!
Julie Gardner, has been writing The Perspective for 17 years and has published more than 650 essays. She is also a frequent contributor to the Sound Off column in the Real Estate section of The San Francisco Chronicle.