Recently, as I was wandering through my “Happy Place” (Disney World), it occurred to me that Snow White would have had a heck of a time deciding on a home, due to having to deal with all seven dwarfs and their various idiosyncrasies. Although I usually do not have to contend with seven dwarfs, I find that my psychology background comes in handy when faced with the many personalities and sometimes conflicting concerns of my real estate clients. It is important to help them balance emotional, psychological and financial issues when making decisions about buying or selling real estate. After all, the purchase or sale of a property is often one of the largest and most important financial decisions that we make, and it is critical to understand the factors that drive these decisions.
Throughout the process of buying or selling property, even the most sophisticated client morphs into many of these storybook characters, and it is often my job to help them get back to their “happy place.”
Grumpy is someone we can all relate to. I know it is hard to believe, but most people become grumpy at some point in the process of buying or selling property! No matter how hard we try to minimize the stress, anticipate challenges and find solutions to problems that arise, it can be a long and daunting task. As with any legal transaction, the importance of having trusted professionals overseeing the process is critical.
Doc questions everything. He is detail oriented and wants to understand the process, from the time he is thinking about a move until long after we have left the closing table. It is important for him to have the opportunity to be involved and examine all aspects of the transaction, from the search to locate a property, or examining comparables to determine a listing price, to the contract, inspections, financing, and closing. Information is his friend.
Dopey is the opposite of Doc, not wanting to discuss the details of the contract, the inspection, the appraisal or the closing. Dopey trusts me and the other professionals involved and wants everything on autopilot. Even so, it is important that, as professionals, we explain as much as possible, so that our clients can make informed decisions and make the best choices throughout this important transaction.
Bashful is shy and afraid to ask questions. He does not want to bother me, and feels like he is imposing when he has questions or concerns. When bashful shows up, I need to make sure that he is comfortable with me and the process, and that all of his concerns get addressed.
Sneezy has allergies, asthma, or some sort of disability that makes it even more important to take into account the physical condition of the home and the timing and length of the process. How much time will we allocate to look at property, what type of inspections will be performed, are there special conditions that might make association approval more challenging, what structural changes are feasible for the property, and will we need extra time to pack and move. We must anticipate as much as possible, so that we can make the process comfortable and that we have successful end result.
Sleepy is just tired. Sometimes, he is tired of schlepping his kids in the car to look at property, tired of cleaning the house for another showing, tired that the process of buying a property or getting a mortgage can take a long time, tired that they have not gotten an offer on their home, or tired of packing up their belongings for the move. No matter how much we prepare, there is often a point in the process in which buyers and sellers become tired.
Happy is where we all want to end up. The process of buying or selling a home can transform anyone into Grumpy, Doc, Dopey, Bashful, Sneezy, or Sleepy. When it is all said and done, we understand that home is where the heart is, and for most of us, one of our goals is to live in a place that meets our needs, is comfortable, affordable, and helps to bring joy into our lives. Although it is not possible to live in Disney World, it is my job to help all of my clients find their “happy place.” Laurie Dubow