As the mother of two very active baseball players, I have spent the last decade watching my boys play this quintessential American sport on numerous spring, summer and fall ball teams. Having now clocked too many games to count, one would think that I would have become an expert at "America's favorite pastime" - WRONG!
My exasperated husband still marvels at my lack of knowledge with respect to the subtleties and finer points of the game. Sitting in the bleachers, he'll overhear me questioning the coach's call for a bunt or worse yet, a "pick off" - a play that from my untrained perspective, invariably results in an overthrow - advancing the runners an additional base. Ugh!
"The pitcher and catcher have to attempt the pick off," my husband, Cliff, not-so-patiently reminds me, "or the runners will assume they can steal every base and will easily do so!"
Oh, now I get it! (light bulb moment.) In spite of my remedial progress with respect to baseball, I have come to learn that on a well-coached team, every player is moving on every play to collectively manufacture runs, secure outs and produce a successful outcome for the team! Cliff has been teaching me to place as much importance on what's going on AWAY from the ball, in order to better appreciate how the game is actually won!
Don't get me wrong, the ball is clearly important, but the game is much more complex than what meets the eye!
In real estate, finding a home is akin to focusing on the ball - Experienced REALTORS (like experienced managers) know that what happens between the plays and in the dugout, often influences the outcome more. Yes, I'll admit it's a home run when I direct you to the house of your dreams, but my real value comes into play by knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the other players, staying on top of the market, understanding the inspection reports and how they affect the value of the home, successfully negotiating the transaction, and following through to the last inning.
Here's my point: if you are only watching the ball; you are missing the majority of the game!
Understanding that your REALTOR is often working diligently between innings, may help you comprehend his or her role a little better - as well as your own. Given the mass availability of information on the Internet, it stands to reason that Buyers often seek out and find their own homes, but that doesn't discount the importance of their REALTOR'S involvement.
Once a property has been determined, securing and obtaining the home and protecting you from potential liability, is where the REAL work begins!
OH! (light bulb moment? ) Now, let play ball!
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.