Anyone in this business knows it is tough to get away. Add a couple of teenagers to the equation with their demanding social needs, and vacation status is harder and harder to achieve. Steve and I have a little A-Frame in Lake Arrowhead we like to visit as often as possible. It seems this is the only place we can come close to relaxing. As time has passed, however, it has become our second office, complete with fax, copier, message forwarding and broadband wireless. We hate to cross-contaminate, but our business requires it. Just for kicks, we decided to keep a diary of our latest get-away attempt.
Day One – Take two client calls on the two-hour trip to vacation land. Pulling into the driveway (3:00 PM), get a third from a buyer wanting to see property. Call collegue in San Diego and bribe him to show them homes. Unload suitcases, Play Station Dance-Dance-Revolution (for the kids, not Steve), and the dog, and head to the store for supplies (AKA wine… and some food). Take call at store from agent wanting to submit backup offer on home in escrow. Return to cabin to receive faxed offer. Call agent to discuss. Call client to discuss. Receive voice mail from office regarding postponed training class. Drink wine. Make dinner. Spent all night in bed with sick daughter.
Day Two – Wake up fully clothed (see Sick Daughter). Remember that we forgot to change the status of home we sold yesterday to “Pending” in MLS. Turn on computer and correct oversight. Check MLS hotsheet for new activity. Check previous day showings of personal listings. Make mental note to call agents for feedback. Check email. 304 spam messages deleted. 3 legitimate messages responded to. One Blog comment edited (no, it is not ok to say “Go to my website for the best bad-credit loans”). Make second pot of coffee (time stamp: 8:00 AM). Contemplate shower; opt for second pot of coffee. At 9:30, showered, and ready for battle, start breakfast. Take phone call from past client (turn off the eggs) who wants to list home. Ask for leniency and a meeting when we return, but concede that we will come home sooner if need be. Finish breakfast, feed dog left-overs, wonder how long before dog throws up left-overs, run comps for past client and send email with stats. Check incoming email, delete 54 spams (decline the generous offers for permanent hair removal, a lower mortgage, and a cheap Rolex), respond to four legitimate emails. At 1:00, take 3 mile hike with family (and take cell phone). Receive one call from appraiser to schedule, one call from client who is out of flyers, and one call from agent regarding a listing. Return all calls upon return, call collegue and bribe to take more flyers to client (Bribe Tally since arrival totals one 25% referral fee, two bottles of good chardonnay and thank you gift to be named later), check email (34 spam, no legitimate, reconsidering cheap Rolex). At 2:13, ponder career choice and whether or not Jamba Juice is hiring. At 2:20, wonder whether it is Happy Hour somewhere, and decide it is too early to drink. Instead, decide to read in A Year in Provence and celebrate surviving nearly 24 hours of vacation. After 34 pages, vow to move to France. Receive call from colleague – the eagle is in the nest (flyers have been delivered, add one bottle of expensive Tequila to Bribe Tally), receive call from lender needing purchase contracts, receive call from buyer confirming escrow status and property inspection date. Drink wine, make dinner, watch Larry King Live (and agree that he was a little tough on Star Jones-Reynolds). Retire at 9:30 PM, get up at 10:00 PM to answer cell phone (two missed calls from blocked caller, no messages). Sleep on couch (daughter is better but husband is having “work dreams”).
Day Three – Ever see the movie Groundhog Day? We are well through the first pot of coffee and have deleted 241 spam messages (cursed Roadrunner for not having adequate webmail spam protection), responded to two. Buyers (see Day One) are seeing another home with collegue and may write offer (that’ll cost us – see Bribe Tally), client (see Day Two) would indeed like to meet a day ahead of our scheduled arrival back in town to list home (will schedule family meeting to discuss new departure date). Check MLS, check previous day showings of listings (only one 🙁 ), receive call regarding sale/purchase of home and schedule appointment for next week (new client).
It has suddenly become clear that my idea of a trip journal, while good for Lewis and Clarke, is not going to work here. Too much repetition, no riveting adventure antecdotes or hostile natives (children excluded), but just another day at the office. The point, if there is one, is that our business is non-ending, which is OK considering the magnitude of import of what we do from our clients’ perspectives. There are many agents, of course, who do a much better job of divorcing themselves from their work than we do, but it comes at a cost. The cost can be monetary for sure (lost business, lost income), but the cost of a traditional vacation can be greater to the buyers and sellers who have trusted us with perhaps the most significant financial transaction they will ever undertake. So, for now, we are going to have another cup of coffee and feed the squirrels some peanuts. Steve says I need to quit whining, get off the computer and enjoy vacation. If you need to reach us, we are very responsive to our voice and email messages.