Despite the glamour that ones see on TV with pretty models and great houses (or total disasters that get rehabbed into something great) real estate is a challenging job which often isn't pretty. Day to day you never know exactly what you are going to find and the things that shift and change are often ones that you can't anticipate.
Two weeks ago there were three real estate deals that encountered problems related to our firm, all in a one week timeframe. Each one of them was one that could potentially cause a serious lack of sleep on my part. Well I've been doing this sort of work for more than twenty years and perhaps getting past the twenty year mark is helpful in being reasonable about what looks like a crisis and how to react.
There are so many moving parts and so many parties who participate in a real estate deal so it is key for one as a Realtor to know where you fit in. Often you can't change what is happening and so you have to ride it out. You advise your client and you wait. Not easy to do. A lot may hang in the balance. The sale and change of ownership may be critical either to the buyer or the seller, but there is a point at which you just can't make things happen.
I've had sellers who just don't understand why the market hasn't responded to their property with its being offered beautifully on the Internet and in local advertising. They think that something is wrong. They think that their Realtor has failed them. They look for reasons. And sometimes there just aren't any good reasons. I've spoken with numerous Realtors who say that they had some great listings this past few months and some of them never had anyone walk in the door. There are just too many listings. There is too much to see. It just isn't simple.
We've all been to properties, whether buyers or Realtors and known instantly when we drove up the drive that this isn't what you thought it would be. Buyers can't understand sometimes why it is that they weren't told the whole truth...why they didn't know the next door neighbor was right on top of the house for sale, or I can't even tell you the types of things that come up....but really as a Realtor you do understand what is going on. No one can anticipate what trade-offs a buyer will consider. Is the interior of the house much nicer than comparables and the next door neighbor issue isn't really one for this particular buyer when the nicer great room is taken into consideration? Who would know this but the buyer themselves and maybe they would say, no that doesn't work and then standing there in the actual home they get a feeling that tells them, well, yes, I can work with this.
So back to the three situations. They were discussed, they were carefully considered. All possible efforts that could be made as a Realtor in the deal were handled and then one just had to stand back and let it all go. I did/we did. And it ended up that they were let go quite successfully by me. Rather than tossing and turning and losing at least a night's sleep over each of them I gave them five full minutes beyond the effort part and let them go. No, I wasn't perfect with this...they would drift back into my consciousness, but I would say, no, go away, I can't fix you any more than I have. By the end of the week the three situations had righted themselves. They were no longer problems. They were in the flow again. They had been fixed by the parties who could act on them and they weren't really my problem or the firm's, but we were a part of it.
With selling houses I've said to sellers, short of standing in the street and flagging down cars, there really isn't anything more I can do. When I worked for an appraiser years ago he said to me the two key terms in any property for sale are price and condition. Condition is pretty straight forward. Is the house in good shape? Are the systems all relatively new and in working order? How much work would one have to do in order to move in? Obviously depending on the type of property being considered the expectations can vary greatly. But condition is pretty much condition. Is the property in the type of shape you would expect. Price, though, that is a different story. That is much more complicated. In price comes a whole host of issues. The type of construction, the location of the home, the home's relationship to neighboring homes and to the community and perhaps to the town. Does the home have any benefits such as amenities or perhaps a view of the water? Garage, no garage. Materials that the house is built of. On and on and on. So you would think that if the condition is great and the price is on target that the property would fly off the shelf. Well some that have these advantages of good condition and good pricing have been moving quite quickly, but others that you would have thought would sell well and fast, haven't. The crystal ball on all this is that our market has a lot of inventory and is still rather unpredictable.
Take as a for instance a listing we've had for months. A spectacular 6000 square foot home (Lindhal cedar) on a 2 acre plus waterfront lot located on the Corrotoman River. At $900,000, which is the current asking price, you couldn't build this home today. It is spacious and classy and perfect for someone who wants to have plenty of extra room for a big group of family and friends. Add into the selling equation the improvements on the property. The deep water pier, the great two car garage that probably could fit 4 cars, the landscaping and planting...oh and did I say Geothermal heat....and you have to shake your head and wonder what is going on. This is a superb place and there haven't been many lookers.
I guess I've been a bit all over the place this morning writing about being a Realtor. Let me finish with outlining how many different parts make up the deal. You have the buyers. You have the sellers. Generally you have two Realtors, one representing the buyer and the seller. There is the mortgage company, who has underwriters, and then the appraiser. If the appraisal doesn't come in, then a renegotiaion may take place....or it may just be the end of the deal. You have the closing agent who may either be an attorney or a title company. There can be concerns about the buyers and their credit. That needs to be evaluated. That can finish a deal. The title search may bring up issues that may or may not require some adjustment, or may terminate the deal (though not often). There is the home inspection and what that tells the buyer about the house may be that there are too many problems that are not going to be addressed by the seller, well that's the end of the deal. Water, termite and septic inspections take place during the last thirty days prior to closing. Although they usually go smoothly, deals certainly have fallen apart when the termite has shown too much wrong with the house and the seller isn't willing to shell out more than the $1000 required for termite remediation.
So when it looks as if your Realtor has got a deal that is going to come together and be a paycheck for them and hmmm, that seemed easy, think about all the people and circumstances that are a part of that deal. Think about where that deal might fall apart and how much time and effort that Realtor is really putting into the sale in order to get it to the finish line.
There are reasons that I like being a Realtor and reasons that I don't. Each day I know can twist and turn in ways I can't really predict. Days which look like turmoil to me, can become quiet days and a time to catch up and file and plan and anticipate. Other days that should be calm are totally not calm. What a Realtor needs to be is resilient. Each day can be fast and furious with new things cropping up. It isn't easy and a good Realtor should be considered essential when buying and selling. Knowing how to get things done. Knowing who to call. Knowing when to do absolutely nothing. It is all important and it isn't simple. I think that it is true that in a way we have to reinvent ourselves almost daily....an interesting way to make a living, isn't it?