The traditional paradigm of real estate teaches young Realtors how to sell homes. But the longer I do this work, the more I realize it’s never just about selling homes. That’s really the smallest part of the job. And thanks to an astonishing market these days, also the easiest.
Real estate is really more about the profound life transitions that lie behind each sale. The all important “whys” that shape someone’s pivotal decision to move.
No one sells their home for fun, or decides to pick up and move on a lark. Never has that been more true than now. The average time people spend in their homes has risen to a record 12 years, almost twice what it was in 2006.
On a basic level, selling a home simply means getting from Point A to Point B. Perhaps going from a two bedroom, one bath bungalow to a three bedroom, two bath ranch. Or from a larger executive home on a few acres to a single-level house near the beach.
On a deeper level, it’s about moving the whole of you from Point A to Point B in life. Taking the next step in your personal journey. Whatever that “why-thing” is that’s driving your change. Maybe it’s getting married or having kids. Get- ting older or losing a partner.
Directions for getting from Point A to Point B in life are always fuzzy. There aren’t any road maps or GPS coordinates. You can’t put that kind of change into your Waze app and wait for a voice to tell you what to do.
The hardest part of the job these days isn’t selling houses. The greatest degree of difficulty comes from trying to figure out how to help the people selling the houses get over their own resistance to the very change they seek. So they can move forward in life.
Here’s a healthy meditation for anyone selling: draw a timeline of your life stretching from earliest childhood to now. Place all the homes you’ve ever lived in on it. Then take a long mental walk through each, remembering favorite rooms and the things you loved the most.
Then pull your focus back. Look at how old you were when each move happened. Recall those decisions and what was really difficult about them. See all the ways your life changed with each move. Up until the last one, when you became even more of the person you are today.
Your home isn’t your life. You are the force that animates the container within its four walls. Like one of those crabs moving slowly along the ocean floor, you are just looking for the next shell that will house your life.