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 you consistently hear tall and true tales of astounding real-estate triumphs, there are plenty of fantasies that don’t take flight.
When reality fails to match our imaginations, 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 three weeks 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 12 offers and being told “thanks but no thanks” 12 times. Somebody else paid cash. Somebody else could close in 10 days. There were five offers better than yours. There were fifteen offers better than yours. You were tied with one other offer on price but the winning offer had 50% down instead of your 35%.
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:
- Lowering your asking price by 10% or more.
- Expanding your search to include areas on your B list.
- Remodeling instead of selling.
- Renting instead of buying.
- Purchasing a condo instead of a house.
- Being grateful to have one buyer making an offer instead of five.
- Making do with two bedrooms instead of three.
- Remembering—continually—that your agent is your ally.
- Returning to the essential goal you had when starting this process.
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.
CYNTHIA CUMMINS is a Partner and Top Producer at McGuire Real Estate’s MARINA DISTRICT OFFICE in San Francisco. To learn more about San Francisco real estate visit CYNTHIACUMMINS.COM.