A New Perspective | “Hard” is par for the course | Real Estate Insights

Actions speak louder than words — and whether on the green or in the rough, we’re willing to do the work.

The personal stories of one Realtor’s battles and triumphs in the highly-competitive Bay Area Real Estate Market, seeking to illuminate and humanize the very real ups-and-downs of homeownership.

“We’re doing an article on the top 10 Agents in the Bay Area,” the text said, “We’d love to include you in our article.” (How nice.)

This sounded mildly flattering until the next text arrived a few days later saying “We haven’t heard from you and we have limited availability . . . ” (Hmmm, the tone had definitely changed.) Suddenly sounding like a sales pitch, I inquired if there was a fee involved.

“Yes, there’s a one-time, set-up fee for the service,” the text said, “but . . . “

No need to go further; we’re done here.

Such inquiries pop up on my phone daily, along with lead-generators promising to bring me more business, and offers to update my website, etc.

Thanks, but we’re covered.

The thing is services that require a buy-in are typically bogus. Whether it’s “Who’s Who”, “The Top-10 Bay Area Agents,” “Best of the Bay,” “Zillow Leads,” “Nextdoor,” or any of a thousand “opportunities,” the truth is that these paid-for subscriptions and designations usually have nothing to do with how well one actually performs their job, but instead, with how active they are on social media, how persuasive they are at getting people to vote for them, and whether they’ve splashed their image across a billboard or the local bus stop bench. (More power to them.)

Years ago, when I was a newly-minted Agent with few prospects and new to town, I paid my dues and built my business working Sunday Opens for much more established Agents, taking desk duty whenever possible (way back when people still called real estate offices to inquire about listings), and meeting prospective Buyers in sketchy neighborhoods I wouldn’t dream of letting my kids enter after dark.

I attended every function I was invited to, sat on boards, volunteered, underwrote speakers’ series, and networked like crazy until I’d gained enough standing and goodwill to attract legitimate attention. I baked cookies, attended seminars, signed up for risk-management training, and hired a business coach to better learn the craft. And then, I started writing a blog . . . 18 years and 769 essays later, I’m still writing, still opining, and still working through the ins and outs of the industry, (call it therapy), AND still paying my dues.

Five years ago, I teamed up with Sarah Abel, and a few years ago, her daughter, Kate joined the fold. Along with our full-time project manager, Jill Shortley, our little team of four has produced more business than either of us ever dreamed possible. No overnight success story here; everything we’ve earned has come the “hard way” – one client, one house, and one escrow at a time. Ultimately, actions speak louder than words.

There are no shortcuts

Even with decades under our collective belts, “hard” hasn’t changed. In fact, with interest rates hovering in the 7s, and Sellers still intent on seeing COVID prices that are now firmly in the rear-view mirror, conversations have gotten “harder” – not easier. If there’s anything that’s crystal clear, it’s that selling or buying real estate is an emotional transaction at its very core. Layer on divorce, death, job transfers, health concerns, graduations, retirements, and unexpected life changes and you have a recipe for EXTREME stress. (That’s why you hire a professional.) Moreover, with BIG changes ahead for the industry as a whole, “hard” just may be par-for-the-course.

With that in mind, if you need a Realtor, outline your desires, your requirements, and your fears, and then interview a few Agents to see who best aligns with your goals and objectives. Make sure they are willing to have difficult conversations, are transparent about the process, know the market intimately, and are LOCAL experts in their fields. Find out who will be holding the house open, negotiating the contracts, and overseeing the vendors. Ask about their book of business, their experience, their ethics, and their business practices – and then, choose wisely; you’re likely putting your largest single asset into their hands, so be sure those hands are steady.

But if it’s accolades you require to feel better about your choice, Sarah and I reside at the top of our profession, along with several other of our COMPASS colleagues. In fact, we’re in the top 1% in the East Bay with respect to volume, but it’s our relationships with all of you for which we’re most grateful. Thank you for your continuing support. It makes the “hard” a lot easier to get through. (We’re in this together.)

How can we help you?

Julie Gardner & Sarah Abel | Compass Realty

Not just Realtors, but consultants in all things house and home, we’re here to educate, explore, examine and refer . . . In short, you may count on us to take care of your home as if it were our own and anyone who knows us, knows we take pretty darn good care of our homes.

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