Mercury in Retrograde?

We have heard the saying once or twice before but this past month it became a slogan of ours.  We were working our tails off only to find that we had made no forward progress.  It felt like we were hamsters on a wheel, expelling a lot of energy only to find ourselves getting absolutely nowhere.

We have said it more than once, “We love what we do.” And, in part it’s because we’ve been doing this for so long that real estate has become our second nature.  We have learned the finesse of negotiating, the importance of positioning a home correctly in the market, and that forward momentum is essential in keeping deals together. We also are fortunate to have the majority of our business come from referrals so we aren’t pounding the pavement day in and day out to find clients. However, in the last couple weeks of February it seemed like everything we touched fell apart.  We wrote strong cash offers, only to find out the listing agent had another cash offer already in hand.  We had our buyers’ loan get denied in the 11th hour of a transaction when nothing within their financial circumstances had really changed. There were even a case of Seller’s remorse and that’s only happened one other time in 15 years.

Throughout a real estate transaction you really connect with your clients so when a deal crumbles it breaks our hearts. Never mind the time commitment from us or the financial commitment the clients made with inspections, appraisals, etc., it’s the emotional roller coast that is so draining and for every single person involved. More than once  (okay, at least five times) we wanted to waive the white flag of surrender but we made a conscious decision to stay the course, to think outside the box and to continue pouring energy into finding an amicable resolution even if it seemed pointless. It’s moments like these that not only bring us to our knees but remind us that nobody is untouchable. It is the 9pm phone calls to our nerve wracked clients who are anxious over their transaction and then 7:00 am Sunday morning calls, before their kids are awake, so they can ask if we have heard anything. It’s reviewing the exact same details time and time again because for some reason they think if they ask it one more time the answer of rejection won’t be so painful. Fielding the “what ifs”, being the sounding board and lending an ear. We suppose many business owners would shy away from talking about the hard times, the failures and the disappointments because being “real” just isn’t all that glamorous.

For us, we think it’s these moments are what set the good apart from the great. You see, we never want to lose our gift of having empathy. If we do, it’s time to hang it up. It’s hard to believe that after all these years and hundreds of transactions, the business of real estate can still bring us to tears. But it does and we are okay with that. Losing a listing from a past client for no apparent reason still stings like it’s our first year in the business and as if every deal is going to make our break our lives. Seeing the sadness when a client’s offer on their dream home is trumped by someone else hurts us nearly as much as them. Relationships are everything to us and if we wouldn’t enjoy your company at our dinner table then we likely wouldn’t care to have you as a client. You matter and we appreciate the role we play in your life.

We really had no idea what was going on those couple of weeks in February. We just knew it sucked and we wanted it to end. We started chanting, “Another One Bites the Dust” when the fifth offer didn’t come together and then we were so frustrated we would just laugh and every subsequent crap sandwich that came our way. Out of the blue a client mentioned to us that Mercury was in Retrograde and then it clicked…

Sure, it would have been easy for us to blame the demise of our efforts on Mercury being in Retrograde but the truth is we have no idea what the heck that even means nor is needing something to blame remotely anything we are about.  Tenacity is in our blood and giving up when the universe slaps you in the face a time or two is not who we are. We laugh at the idea that our “soccer mom” hats appeared as we gave each other pep talks about keeping our chin up, If at first you fail, try, try again… blah, blah. But we did it and in all sincerity. Let’s face it our husbands weren’t going to get it. They’d try to fix it or worse say something really ridiculous like, “Well, why don’t you just write better offers?” OMG — If looks could kill.

Of all the professionals in our lives, each and every one of them has overcome some type of adversity or challenge.  And it was those adversities that made them the rock stars they are today.  Without those challenges they wouldn’t have dug down and found the strength that enabled them to be in a league of their own.

Sure, there were moments we just wanted to sit back on the sidelines until it “got easy again” but we decided to follow in our mentors’ shoes, pull ourselves up by the boot straps and give it all another shot.  And man did it pay off.  Those buyers whose lender back out at the last moment just closed on an amazing home through a rock star local lender.  Those cash buyers found clarity and decided that particular house just “wasn’t the one” and we took five new listings in two days followed by receiving five offers on five different properties all of which came together.

We are huge fans of the saying by Helen Keller, “Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” This has never felt more true than in the most recent past.

Here’s to a rough month and hoping Mercury stays put for a good long while. Our hearts can’t take it.