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Writings about residential real estate and all things home, by Cynthia Cummins of Kindred SF Homes.
It’s exciting when you list your home for sale and 16 people show up with over-asking-price offers. It’s just as exhilarating when you’re the winner among those 16 buyers.
The sun is shining! Children are laughing! The band is playing a rousing Souza march!
Everything is jake. Except when it isn’t. Which is often the case.
Even in San Francisco, where – up until about 6 months ago – tall and true tales of astounding real-estate triumphs were told on every street corner, things occasionally turn out to be not as rosy as hoped. With the recent flattening of the market and its trend toward seller-buyer balance, there’s been much weeping and wailing (sort of like what was heard in the streets of San Francisco a couple of weeks ago when the Eagles crushed the 49ers.)
When reality fails to match our imaginings, we resist it and we suffer. It’s true in marriages, friendships, workplaces and families, and it’s true with residential real estate.
After inspecting, repairing, painting, cleaning, staging and PRIMPING a property as if it were a beauty-pageant contestant, it’s bewildering to hear crickets instead of requests for disclosure packages. After a month of silence, apprehension turns to dread. When your agent says, “It’s time to consider a price reduction,” it’s a stone-cold bummer.
Same goes for writing six offers and being told “thanks but no thanks” six times. Somebody else paid cash. Somebody else could close in 18 days. There were five offers better than yours. You were tied with one other offer on price but the winning offer had 50% down instead of your 35%. (And you thought rising interest rates would lessen the competition.)
This can feel very personal, as in World vs. You. But it’s not personal at all! It is just reality. And struggling against reality brings nothing but pain.
There’s an old real estate axiom that goes like this: Sellers sell and Buyers buy. At first glance, you might think “Duh?!” But if you let those words sink in, you’ll realize they are profound.
In order to achieve what you set out to do – Sell or Buy – you must pay attention to reality. This could mean
Hundreds of times, I’ve walked this reality-resisting walk with my clients: Waking up at 4 a.m. worrying. Going over what could have been done differently. Assigning blame (usually to myself). Comparing. Projecting. Regretting.
I’ve heard my buyers’ voices crack when they ask how many offers were better than theirs.
I’ve watched my sellers’ mouths go slack when they realize nobody is offering their fantasy price. Or their asking price. Or – maybe – nobody is making an offer at all!
You never know how it’s going to be. Yet the process takes so much thought, planning and care, that it’s challenging to keep our wish list in check. Desire is an essential part of the business. Too little and there’s no movement. Too much and we’re yoked to it like oxen.
The key is to resist resisting and adapt to reality. (For more on this, check out the Buddhist concept of detachment.)
It’s all just part of living. And real estate is just part of the business of living.
Photo credit: Julia Barbosa
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