Every time I dip my toe into a real estate transaction, it reminds me why people should retire at some point from their jobs. For me it's the blatant reminder how "unfun" the process of dealing with anything linked to banks, large amounts of money and people can be. It could be said that for most people the process of spending or trying to recoup large amounts of money doesn't bring out the best in their personalities.
Plus, a lot of things have changed since I got my first real estate agent's license in the mid-1980s. Most of it "not for the better" as it relates to working in the real estate industry. BUT, I have to say, I still find the topic of homes and how people live in them fairly interesting. I am a sucker for those in our society that still put value in their home for it's sense of well being and security as opposed to just four walls and a roof. After 35 years of doing this, I can quickly size up the "nesters" versus the "residers". How these groups buy and sell homes is decidedly different. (More about that later...just a spoiler alert that will be another post)
Anyway, circling back to my current tasks in real estate, some dear friends are retiring and needed to sell their house to "downsize". This deal was easy-peasy because our friends are sane. I know one shouldn't have to make that distinction but given that most people lose their minds when selling or buying a house, the fact these folks didn't needs to garner your respect and admiration for them. They priced their house well, it was spotlessly clean and they were agreeable, friendly people during the negotiations. Hallelujah!
In one of the other deals in play, the other agent involved called the sellers "salty dogs". Does that give you an indicator how well that is going? But this is the new normal, now. In most deals there is a contentious environment. It's the buyers versus the sellers versus the agents versus the bankers. With all that being said, there are sometimes ineffective real estate agents, (load of them, in fact!) crummy mortgage lenders, dishonest sellers, and naive buyers. There are valid reasons for real estate transactions to be volatile.
As for all of the unnecessary animosity being so common today, it seems to be where society has landed in so many scenarios. Negotiating just seems to have gotten more difficult for people over the years. A common theme seems to be that expectations are set high and willingness to compromise is set low. That seems to be the current trend.
In the dark ages when I began working in real estate, people buying homes were evaluating the "bones" of a house. Prospective buyers would walk through a house and look past any of the decor and contemplate things like the floor plan, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and (most importantly) if the price of the house reflected the quality and condition of the home. There was less emphasis on everything being exactly fine-tuned to the buyer's tastes. Buyers weren't so quick to assume that they were being cheated and seller's didn't seem to be so fixated on getting more than the neighbor down the street because that house didn't have the beautiful custom mural of Augusta National Golf Course in the den. Who wouldn't love that?
Sure there are still some buyers that are willing to take on a fixer upper for the right price. (thank you Chip and Joanna Gains and/or the Property Bros.) but for the most part people want what they want. What they want currently is for everything to be perfect and it probably should include hardwood floors, granite, and stainless steel....oh and they want the house to be a steal of a deal.
Yes, there certainly been a lot of changes in the industry in the 30+ years that I have been involved, Probably two of the greatest impacts would be the Internet and HGTV. It's changed people's expectations on how buying or selling a house should look and feel. It's not quite as fun and entertaining as the house hunting TV shows might imply.
Ultimately, even removing my cynicism and the constant drip of nostalgia that reminds me of an easier time, I do LOVE when people find a home. Not a HOUSE, mind you....but a home. These are two very different things.
To Be Continued....