When I began my stint in real estate, people began saying one of two things:
- “Oh, it’ll be just like you’re on House Hunters!”
- “Don’t expect this to be like what you’ve seen on HGTV.”
Luckily, I’d never actually watched anything on HGTV so I didn’t have any type of reference for this season of my life. I figured that since I’m stuck at home with the flu, I might as well give House Hunters a shot.
First thing that occurred to me a minute in was that House Hunters International reached out to me during my time in Cambodia and asked if I was going to be buying and whether they could follow my story. I was only renting, thank goodness, and passed on HH International. That was kind of funny. I then also remembered a great guy and the owner of one of the most successful agencies in Phnom Penh mentioning a career in real estate during my last summer there for freelance work. It kind of went over my head at the time and now look!
Next thing I realized is that I really could care little less about the people I was watching on the television screen. After having worked with real life people, the show felt contrived and staged and well, boring. While plenty of the concerns, ideas, thought processes, and wants that the couple had reflect what I get to handle through my day to day there’s such a difference between watching these pretty little people on my telly and the flesh and blood clients who I actually connect with on a day to day basis.
I tried watching the full episode and just couldn’t get through it. It felt like work without the satisfaction of actually having a chance to be with my people, with the people looking for their next dream home, and analyzing how I can help. I also had heard quite enough about cereal and how much Troy liked it. There are some aspects to the show that yes, I can definitely relate t0.
What I don’t like is how it seemed to gloss over just how much goes into finding a home, not just a house. Maybe I missed this when I skipped over almost the entire show, but I definitely wasn’t getting it in the first few minutes. Call me impatient. It’s an emotional, tasking process that brings in the whole spectrum of emotions from tears of joy to tears of frustration, anger, panic attacks, self doubt, and a lot of soul searching. When someone begins a search for the place they’re calling home next, they’re at their most vulnerable.
Making sure that they have support and an advocate during this time of susceptivity is so very important, it’s important that they feel safe and well informed, that it’s a tough market and we’re going in with guns hot and that ultimately- their home is out there. It may not be this one, it may not be the next, or even the next- but it’s there.
There was also a little lingering negativity from a home that slipped through today because of the current housing market which, by the way, is b-a-n-a-n-a-s. Even though rents are rising steadily and finding “that” home can be tough (and then there are days where we find the perfect one on the first day out…), we’re coming up against more and more competition with prices increasing, inventory lower than usual, and an influx of people moving specifically to the South Puget Sound area.
It’s not all numbers and business either. It affects me emotionally too. I hate to see a home that a person or family loves slip through the cracks. I’ve heard it around the office too: we’re all sick of having to make the phone call that we’ve been outbid yet again or that there were 17 (yes, 17) offers on a property and we just didn’t have the financial clout to get to the top of that stack.
Tell me to grow a pair and a thicker skin if I’m going to be in this market: go ahead. I’m going to stay true to how I’m built and that includes getting frustrated about these things. If I’ve learned one thing (I’ve learned a lot of things but this one is a big takeaway) it’s that maintaining my personal integrity, personality, and quirky delights in this business is going to put me right where I want to be.
So, ended up fast forwarding through to the last five minutes of the show just to get my happy house ending. I know what happens through the other 15 minutes (more like 15 hours) and after the compromise they ended up finding what they needed (house #3 it turns out). I can’t fast forward into the next few months which are going to pick up even more and while I don’t know how each of my little episodes are going to end.
There are going to be plenty of hands holding keys to their ideal home and that no matter how many hours, wherever we end up and how much negotiating, driving, and coffee we need to get to that place- it’s going to feel like a success each and every time a door opens up to new owners. Because that’s where memories are going to be made. That’s where character is going to be built, literally, into the walls and foundations of something tangible.
I’m only a minuscule part of the span of the life in a home. Sometimes just the door opener and other times the shoulder to cry on. Hopefully, maybe- five, ten, twenty, thirty years down the road when they’re enjoying that beautiful space and place meant just for them- they’ll remember the process, how it built them, and that there was someone there who actually did give a damn.