If you’ve read much of my real estate blog (or my writing blog) you might have guessed that I’m a Buddhist.
While I’m not keen on labeling myself or others (Realtor, Mother, Teacher, Writer, Musician, Whatever), it seems to be part and parcel of making one’s way in the business and online world. People want a shortcut to knowing who you are, or who you have been.
So, yes. I have an untidy Buddhist practice. And lately I’ve been practicing with the phrase “Right now it’s like this,” which you can read about in this post in Lion’s Roar.
Right now it’s Tuesday and I have 28 properties to see in 2 hours and there’s no way I can cover them all. My heart is beating with anxiety. Which houses am I going to skip? I remind myself it’s not a life or death situation. I pull to the side of the road to prioritize and reorganize. I make a point of focusing on driving, which is the main thing I’m doing. Then I take it one house at a time.
Right now I have a listing that seems appealing and attractively priced, but it’s a half hour into my first open house and nobody is here. My mind is racing with “what if” scenarios. What is it doesn’t sell? What if we have to lower the price? What if there’s a sudden recession? I remind myself that much work and planning has gone into arriving at this moment. I remember I’ve been “here” before. I recall that, with only a handful of exceptions in 30 years, every house I’ve listed has sold. And now someone is walking through the door.
Right now I’m paying my monthly health insurance premium and my estimated taxes and my SFAR dues and my monthly website fee and my MLS fees and my printing bill and my photography and videography bill and on and on and on. My jaw is tightening. My expenses are ever-expanding. And folks, generally speaking, have no clue about the financial cost of being a Realtor. I remind myself that I’ve survived for three decades and that I am compensated very well. I remind myself to be grateful for my livelihood.
Right now I’m doing my best to help my buyer understand what he needs to do to get the condo that’ll truly fit him, but I’m aware of how hard this is for him and I don’t want to push too hard. My brow is furrowing with concern as I hear him list all the justifications for not offering enough money to win. There’s a sinking in my heart as I realize that his odds of success are diminishing with every minute. He’s talking himself into not getting the property. I remind myself that I am a compassionate agent and that – therefore – part of my role is to lead and guide him toward actions and thinking that will help him realize his goals. I suggest that we review our strategy once again.
Right now I’m listening to the distress of an agent on the other side of a deal. She’s singing a song of outrage about the bumps we’re experiencing in our shared escrow. The mortgage lender isn’t doing what he said he’d do. He’s not communicating effectively. The loan documents are late. The closing has to be extended. Her client’s costs are going up. We said we’d close on time. There is uncertainty on all sides. Her complaining and repeating the “story” isn’t particularly helpful and it makes me feel like it’s my fault. I place my hand over my heart and give myself a little squeeze as if to say “There, there. This is hard. It’s hard to have someone kvetching at you.” I take a deep breath to pull that feeling of compassion into my body, and then I exhale it and send the compassion through the phone line to her. I remind myself that my role – in this case – is simply to listen. She needs to be heard. After this storm, we can move on to calmer interaction and get the deal closed.
Right now I’m watching my client explain why he doesn’t want to spend $2,000 to replace the soiled carpeting on the front stairs to his $2 million condo. He’s already spending $15,000 on staging, and he just bought a new refrigerator. Nobody cares about the stairs, he says. Another agent, he says, told him not to bother with staging at all! To sell it as is! I’m gritting my teeth because a) first impressions are everything and dirty stair carpeting will diminish his return by several times the amount of investment in new carpet and b) I’ve had to listen to this same stuff over and over and over again for manymanymany years and c) I know I’m right about this. I feel the judgment and heat rising behind my temples. I remind myself that this is the first time this person has sold a house and I consciously focus on breathing and listening. Suddenly, he’s talking himself into the need for the new carpet.
Right now I’m writing and sipping a mug of Mighty Leaf black-vanilla tea with three dried rosebuds dropped in. How wonderful is that? How fortunate am I? To have this mug, this tea, this chair, this laptop, this home, this time. And someone somewhere sometime picked, trimmed and dehydrated these flowers so I could add their quintessence to my morning. So I could begin the day in beauty.
Right now, and right now, and right now again.