There is no way to get around the fact that buying, or selling a home involves major decisions. It’s time consuming in the best of circumstances, emotionally draining and overwhelming in the worst. A few good New Year’s resolutions are worth considering. When you say to yourself, “there are so many details, I don’t know where to begin,” you can fall back on your New Year’s resolutions to get back on track.
As we know, by February our New Year’s resolutions are more often than not forgotten. If you have ever gone to a gym, like clockwork in January the gym is jammed, and back to normal by the end of February. To do any good a resolution needs to easily integrate into daily life, and improve the quality of life.
As a Realtor, I know that winter is always a slow time in real estate. This is a good time to plan the search for a home, or prepare for the sale of a home when there is no pressure to buy, or sell right away. Keeping this in mind, I have a few suggestions that could take on the form of resolutions if you’re inclined.
DO ONE THING EACH DAY RELATED TO REAL ESTATE: Reading an article, going to an open house, or chatting with friends qualifies as one thing. When you’re first starting on your search most people are hesitant to talk to a Realtor. It’s OK to talk to a Realtor, even if you are just thinking of buying or selling a home. Your relationship with your agent will be long term. Buying or selling a home is not like buying a car, or any other large ticket item. No question is too small. Realtors expect to answer questions. This is a Realtor’s job!
GET RID OF SOMETHING: It’s almost un-American to be a minimalist. Moving is expensive and most people have too much stuff. Think about what you can live without, and lighten your load gradually as you plan your move. Can you live without three different coffee makers? I know what you are thinking, “this is easy for her to say, it isn’t her stuff.” I sold my home of over 20 years about five years ago and I can guarantee I had serious stuff. To my amazement when I told my children I was selling the house, and asked what they wanted my youngest daughter said without missing a beat, “I want the espresso maker.” That was OK, because I still had my old Atomic espresso maker, a glass French press pot, and an old ceramic Melitta drip coffee maker. I actually stored the French press pot for four years. Recently I gave it to a young couple when I found it on their list of wedding gifts. I had used it only once or twice, but couldn’t let go. When I talked to the couple, telling them my story they laughed, and were delighted to accept the coffee pot as a wedding gift. Believe me; I do understand getting rid of stuff is difficult.
TAKE A DEEP BREATH, PATIENCE IS KEY: I had engineer who was quite upset say to me, “my whole life is about order and logic. Nothing about buying a home seems to make sense.” In the Bay Area where so many people work in technology or finance, making all the pieces of buying a home fit together neatly can feel like an impossible task. It is important to keep in mind that buying a home is not like buying commercial property as an investment. You cannot rely exclusively on your analytical mind. Homes in San Francisco have historically been more expensive than most other cities in the world. Of course you want your home to be a good investment, but you need to keep in mind that you are buying a home, and you will be living there. What you get above all else is to live in a home in San Francisco that you own. This is a fantastically special and wonderful thing.
During this whole process it is important to keep in mind that the great thing about buying, or selling a home is that when the deal is done, both buyers and sellers win. Sellers get money, and buyers get a home. By the time 2012 rolls around with patience, I hope you will have found your dream home, or sold your home, and moved on to your next adventure in life.