December Heroes

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It’s time to send out our holiday cards, and this year I had vowed to include the obligatory family photo on the front. Don’t misunderstand; I had no delusions of having us all dressed in color coordinated attire, although I did secretly hope the dog would keep the reindeer antlers on long enough to say Cheese. I simply thought I might get four small people in one small shot suitable, if not for framing, then at least for the front of a Good Tidings message destined for your recycling bin. Nothing thrills like getting a Christmas (or Chanukah or Kwanzaa) card from your real estate agent.

Good luck with that! Sure, I could blame it on the frenzy of the season, but the sad fact is that it takes an act of Congress to get our nuclear family in the same room at the same time at any time of year. And, if you have children who are mobile and empowered with the concept of having actual rights under the Constitution, say, over the age of three, you know what I am talking about.

This year’s holiday card offering is shaping up to be much like those of Christmas Past. The cover photo by all accounts will either involve Photoshop, clip art, or an artist’s rendering. I am leaning toward the latter.

Option 1 – Photoshop:

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Option 2 – Clip Art:

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Option 3 – Artist’s Rendering:

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In this spirit, today I want to honor the unsung heroes of December, those brave and fearless warriors who laugh in the face of adversity, the defenders of our (my) way of life: The home sellers.

Let me begin by saying that there are people who list their homes for sale and then there are people who offer their homes for sale. The difference is immense. Based on my most recent episode of This Week in Real Estate, I offer the following distinctions as examples.

Listed for Sale: When an agent (me) arrives at a confirmed appointment to show, seller’s children are watching television on the couch in their jammies and taking a shower respectively, while every item of clothing belonging to listing family has been both worn and discarded randomly throughout the home atop the “plush, neutral carpeting.”

Offered for Sale: When an agent arrives at a confirmed appointment to show, seller and seller’s children are sitting in family mini-van across the street to allow the buyer and their agent to conveniently view the property. Listing agent (me) is grateful.

Listed for Sale: When an agent (me) arrives at a confirmed appointment to show, and the seller is clearly home (voices coming from the house, shoes on the porch, cars in the driveway), seller does not answer door, and agent discovers that key has been removed from the combination lockbox (presumably by the seller) so as not to be disturbed.

Offered for Sale: When agent arrives at a confirmed appointment to show, daughter’s birthday party is summarily relocated, albeit temporarily, to a remote location to allow the buyer and their agent to conveniently view the property, but only after having the little ones wait while the home is tidied and the “plush, neutral carpeting” is vacuumed.” Listing agent (me) is proud.

Listed for Sale: When an agent calls on Friday to make an appointment to show on Saturday, the seller says he doesn’t feel like showing the home this weekend.

Offered for Sale: When an agent calls from the driveway and asks to show the home now, seller asks for five minutes to tidy up and then takes children to the park. Listing agent (me) is in awe.

Listed for Sale: When an agent calls on Friday to make an appointment to show on Saturday, the seller says he doesn’t feel like showing the home this weekend. (Yes, this happened twice.)

Offered for Sale: When a buyer calls from the driveway of a home and asks to see the home now, listing agent (me) drops everything and hauls hiney over to home to open it up. Seller drops everything and takes children out for ice cream.

Selling a home in this market is not an event, it is a process – Much like the design and composition of my holiday greeting cards. It is inconvenient, it is stressful, and it takes effort – on everyone’s part. It is not enough to just be listed for sale. You have to really offer it for sale, and this means you have to be flexible and committed. At this time of year more than any other, we are all running in eight directions. We are challenged with work and family and social obligations. If you are on the market, recognize that buyers are similarly challenged. But, if they are asking to see your home in December, they aren’t just killing time. They mean business. There is no point in having a sign in your yard if you have no intention of doing the things necessary to actually sell your home – like allowing people to see it. And, for Pete’s sake, pick up the dirty laundry!

If our seller clients can be brave and flexible enough to accommodate the thundering herd this time of year, I can at least try to assemble six mammals in one room for five minutes in the spirit of spreading holiday cheer. Wish me luck.

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