December. Already. How can that be? This time of year always flies by at record speed. I blink and it’s gone. Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s. STOP ALREADY!! Whew.
I pondered about what would be an appropriate subject for this time of year and what might make sense in a real estate publication. I could always write about the holidays and how to handle company, showings, buying and selling. Cold weather and what that involves — snow, ice, vacant homes, and freeze-ups. The dark afternoons, curb appeal, yada, yada. But what kept coming to mind was, in a word, grateful. Let me explain.
It’s been an interesting year, to say the least. The atmosphere that our political scene has created and the seemingly endless violence that continues to shock and disturb us. Our own lives with the drama of family, illness, death and divorce. Work related stress, trying to keep your job, losing a job, paying bills, the ever-rising cost of insurance, healthcare and taxes. How do we ever get up in the morning?
I’ll tell you why. Because life can be wonderful. Through all the mud and guts, the chaos and upheaval we may find ourselves in, the sun is still shining and we live on a beautiful planet. If you look closely and pay attention, you will see and hear of the many people in our world who are kind, caring and willing to jump into action when things go wrong. There are more good people in our world than bad. I’m sure of that. Even in light of the senseless acts of violence, people all over come to the aid and the rescue of those hurting around them. Complete strangers step up to the plate, some with no regard to their own safety.
Small town, big city, doesn’t matter — they are everywhere. You are one of them. We all are. I am grateful for knowing this, for counting on it. I live in the country with few neighbors yet the ones I do have as well as those who access their camps from my driveway have all expressed their willingness to help me out with whatever I might need. From cutting firewood, to plowing a driveway, to giving me lessons and tips for my chainsaw.
I’m grateful for the good people in this world, in my own little world, who give their time and energy to helping the less fortunate among us. Dedicating their lives to making a difference. I’m grateful and humbled by their spirit.
I am grateful for our animal shelter and the local veterinarians who care for our furry friends. For those who rescue these creatures and find them homes. Who donate their time and money to the cause, petting the kitties and walking the dogs.
I’m grateful for the roof over my head and the food in my pantry. The full propane tanks and warm blankets on my bed. I’m inspired by those who help the homeless find a warm place to sleep, food and a roof over their heads in the bitter cold of winter. To give them hope that their homelessness is not hopeless.
So what, you may ask ……….it’s getting a bit sappy and what does this have to do with real estate anyway?? Well, I’ll tell you. As Realtors we deal with transactions every day that involve people, emotions, prejudices, drama, issues and attitudes. We put out fires, jump through hoops, mediate, referee, hold hands and give hugs. We smooth things over, make everything all right and do our darndest to bring transactions to a successful close. Too often the problems that get in the way of this success are caused by unrealized expectations or just plain hurt feelings.
Sellers can get angry when buyers nitpick inspection issues or insulted when they offer much lower than the asking price. Buyers get emotional as they make offers assuming the seller is unreasonable about their price or blind to the condition of their home. Everyone gets caught up in the atmosphere of uncertainty and mistrust. Who represents whom? Who is on the other side? Why won’t the sellers agree to fix that laundry list of items the home inspector prepared? Why don’t the buyers understand that the house is sold ‘as is’? Don’t they know that this was your grandparents’ house and they were just fine with the pink and blue bathroom and 1930’s kitchen? All those years of memories.
Realtors have the fun job of being the voice of reason that stands between these two emotional entities. We are the ones who can hopefully help both sides of the equation work out their differences in a calm and reasonable manner so that if and when we all meet at the closing table, everyone is happy.
My point in all my rambling is to remind you to step back from the chaos, whether it’s about buying or selling a house, watching the news, or listening to the craziness unfolding around the world. Ask yourself — what is truly important? What’s that saying — don’t sweat the small stuff? Seriously, don’t sweat the small stuff. It’s just paint color, it’s merely a small repair, it’s only a house.
What’s important? You and your family are important. Your friends, your life are important. Nothing else really matters. In the end, it’s all small stuff.
Written by Kathy Sollien – Principal Broker