My first official day in real estate was Monday, January 5th, 2004. That means I’m closing in on my 10th anniversary date. WOW! This is the first in a series of blog posts I plan to write this year, in honor of my ten years in this spectacular, mercurial business.
I was shopping on Christmas Eve morning last week, and I thought about ten years ago, when I was still working retail. I actually loved working on December 24th. Everyone was so friendly! If we didn’t have what someone wanted, they would shrug their shoulders and say, “That’s what I get for waiting until the last minute! What do you have that’s similar?” It was such a pleasant working environment!
There is no corresponding day in real estate, FYI.
If buyers miss out on the house they really want, they are rarely that casual about the situation.
And houses aren’t like blouses. You can’t order a new one from the distribution center. You can’t hope someone returns the one you wanted after the holidays. You can’t try on the next size up in case they run small. It’s a problem.
Buying a house IS like falling in love. You’re attracted. You spend time together. You do research on their past. If all goes well, and the terms of the marriage contract are satisfactory to everyone, THEN you can live together happily ever after.
When you look at it like that, there are certain steps you can take to ensure you get exactly what you want.
Five Steps to Secure the House You Want
1) Evaluate your circumstances. Are you available? Can you afford to make a move? Do you need to get rid of your old house first?
2) Make your wish list. Me, I have to have a guy who makes me laugh. What do YOU need? A rambler? A two-story? 3 bedrooms? An 8-car garage?
3) Be looking. You don’t fall in love by sitting on your couch, watching Mad Men, wishing someone hot like Don Draper would come stumbling into your life. You fall in love by interacting with potential suitors. You look online and you look with your Realtor (who is, preferably, me).
4) Put your best foot forward. This may be the most important step. When you make your offer, make it the best offer you can. When you’re in love with someone and you want to have “the talk” about commitment, do you do it lackadaisically? NO! You look fantastic, and you plan what you’re going to say beforehand. You don’t think to yourself, “I’d like them to love me exclusively, but if there’s a way I can get them to commit to me and I spend less, emotionally, I’ll try that, first.” You never know when someone else may be looking at what you want with a gleam in his or her eye, too. You don’t know what they have to offer. You don’t know what your intended will accept. If you give it all you’ve got, and you are not accepted, then at least you can say, “I gave it all I had”.
5) Finally, follow through. Just like when you’ve fallen in love and you’re moving forward to spending your life with someone, there are steps you take. You start to behave like a romantically committed individual. You don’t keep looking! You sever ties to encumbrances that could mess things up for you. You curb your spending behaviors. You also follow the advice of someone who has made matches like this before. You do what the lender asks you to do. If your Realtor needs you to do something in order to meet a timeline, you do it. When almost everyone is starry-eyed – “we’re so in love!”, someone needs to be mindful of the pitfalls that can ruin the situation and your happily ever after. That’s where your Realtor comes in. After all, as Zelda Fitzgerald said, “It is the loose ends with which men hang themselves.”
Whether you’re shopping for a new house on December 24th, or April 24th, or August 24th, these rules still apply. I hope you get exactly what you want this year, whether it’s in love, or housing!