Real Estate’s Exacting Toll

Real Estate’s Exacting Toll

I’ve been guilty of many things. The guilt hasn’t been leveled with a smack of a gavel and shouts of protest from family and friends, but still. I am guilty of being too hard on my son at times, but not in any way different than my father might have been too hard on me or his on him. I’m guilty of many things in the real estate world, but most are harmless positions of opinion. Harmless that is, unless you completely disagree, then they seem quite important- the gap too cavernous to bridge with words. But today this isn’t about me expecting my son to cast his line a bit better sometimes, nor is it about my opinion of value that might rub some with differing opinions wrong; today is about the psychology of the deal.

Donald Trump (ghost) wrote a book called The Art Of The Deal. I think I read some of it once. On his twitter feed, he routinely rebroadcasts lines from this book. They read, in short, something like this. “Deals are fun and I’m better at them than you are”. Mostly like that anyway, even if the words used aren’t the same as I used there. But a deal is less about the details- the money, the timing, the terms- and far more about the emotional impact of the deal. Emotions, whether we like it or not, dictate the way we behave when it comes to the pursuit towards or away from real estate.

It seems to me that the purchase of a vacation home at Lake Geneva would be just about the best thing to happen to just about anyone. Your friend has a vacation home in the Maldives? I don’t care. That’s lame. If your same friend had a vacation home in Lake Geneva I would be more impressed. So owning a vacation home here is a goal of mine as it might be of yours, and the process of acquiring that home should be loads and loads of fun. Many times this is the case. I have clients who have fun with their purchase from start to finish, and these are customers that are untold amounts of fun to deal with. Unfortunately, the pursuit of vacation home bliss comes, at times, at a high emotional cost.

I am guilty, as I mentioned above, of losing sight of the emotional aspect of a vacation home purchase and sale. I admit it. When a life is real estate based through and through, it’s easy to focus on the minutia of a deal as a matter of fact occurrence rather than a once in a lifetime decision. I aim to educate buyers both here and in person, and in doing so I believe they are the best informed and most intelligent buyers in the market place. When those buyers buy, they make sound decisions and the rewards are measured both in immediate pleasure and in future monetary considerations, but the toll of the process can be significant. It’s like winning a championship after facing three elimination games. You’re happy to have won, and you will celebrate, but very soon after you’re just going to need a several day nap.

This is fun, representing buyers who achieve a dream. But when representing sellers as to the same market truths I can lean a bit too much on statistics and lose a bit of bedside manner. It isn’t easy for a seller to accept the realities of a market shift that has lopped off 30 or 40% of their once overflowing value. Too many times brokers must fight sellers pricing wishes, and though whenever I feel the need to push back against a price I do so because the market is dictating my behavior, I must remind myself of not just the financial impact on my clients, but the emotional toll exacted by market frustrations. To lose money on real estate is tough. To feel like you’ve lost to a buyer is many times far more difficult.

The impact of this short post on you is likely minimal. To me, it is a cathartic reminder to never forget the emotional aspect of a highly emotional business. Buying a vacation home is oodles and oodles of fun. There’s no debating this. And while the process can be long and stressful both for buyer and broker and seller, the end result will be worth the journey. For a buyer, the finish line finds them on a white pier surrounded by clear blue water, living what might have been a life long dream. For a seller, the process leaves them in perhaps a better financial position, sad to leave the lake but happy to embark on other opportunities. For the broker, the day after closing calls for a nap and the pursuit of what’s next.

My apologies for the on and off nature of the blog over the past few days. The server that hosts this site has been going through some maintenance/updates, and they should be completed now.

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