This morning while running I noticed yet another Real Estate sign featuring yet another “team” dedicated to selling a home. This trend to assemble “teams” rather than operating as lone wolf Real Estate agents has been building for years. There are reasons why it is so necessary.
When I sold my home this past October, the market for ranch houses was hot. My place sold in a day because we priced it right and there was a buyer salivating for the exact dimensions and location of that house.
Of course, that did not stop the potential buyer from bitching about things anyway. When I let them into the house for some planning and measurements, someone in her enclave started complaining that the living room measurements in the listing information were off by half a foot.
That’s how absurd and stupid people can get about their home-buying. Beyond that, the buyer also complained that I’d “torn up” the yard by removing some stones from the garden. I had specifically stated that would be the case, but people conveniently forget what they don’t want to believe.
By the time I’d completely cleaned out the house, I was so ready to be done with the place, there was hardly any sentiment left for the home where my kids grew up and we’d lived for 20 years. I simply could not afford the emotion at that point. I’d gone through some serious shit trying to separate family keepsakes from the stuff that no one would ever need. In the process, I discovered some family photos and shared those with my kids and in-laws. But there was a ton of stuff that simply had to go. It was a physically, emotionally and economically exhausting process.
Running from insanity
Between those house-cleaning sessions, I’d go for runs on routes that were so familiar to me after 2o years. Those loops have gotten me through some truly vicious shit during my time on earth. All those years of dealing with my late wife’s cancer. The ensuing job stress and financial challenges that came with it. Caregiving for my stroke-ridden father. Some of those periods were almost too tough to take. But not quite. I’d go out for a run or a ride and arrive back home at least temporarily freed from the heavy weight that rested on my shoulders.
Occasionally I’ll drive the street in front of my former home to check out what they’re doing with the place. Right now there is an installation of a new heater going on. The boiler and radiant heat in that home had served us well, but there was admittedly no central air conditioning. We relied on window units when necessary. But honestly, the prairie style overhang of the roof kept the place cool.
The Realtor who sold my home explained that the lack of air conditioning depressed the value of the home by $10,000 or so. When a Realtor comes through the house and finds out you don’t have air conditioning, or notices that your bathroom countertops are retro holdovers from the 1950s, they try not to wince. They know people can be total assholes about every niggling thing. Somehow the lack of full AC just never bothered us when we lived there. I was always kind of proud of the simplicity of it all. But now the buyer is installing vents throughout the house to “improve” the place. Have at it.
All these challenges in home-selling are why the concept of home-selling “teams” has likely emerged. Dealing with the public means putting up with a whole lot of horseshit from the buyers and a shitpile of fear from the sellers. People can turn into greedy, selfish bastards on both ends of the deal. so here’s the truth: It takes an entire team of people to deal with this shit.
Over the last 20 years, the Real Estate world has also gone through some serious shit. That mortgage crisis that contributed to the economic crash and recession of 2007 acted like a bitch slap to the temple for anyone in the housing industry that wasn’t already supremely capitalized. Only the strongest survived because houses simply weren’t selling for a few years in a row. The market rebounded a bit starting three years ago. Last spring there was an absolute home-selling rush for a few months.
If anything, selling homes is like being on a track team. No one is doing the same event, but everyone on the team is important. In track and field, you have your fat folks to throw the shot and discus around. The skinny people do the distance running. It also takes humans with hops to win the jumping events or fly over the bar in the pole vault.
It’s the same with a home-selling team. In the Real Estate business you’ve got your mortgage brokers to qualify people for the loans they need to buy property. Then you’ve got your home inspectors to check the place over, and lawyers to file all the paperwork. Before it’s all said and done every real estate transaction is like a mini-track-meet of things to do and hoops to jump through.
To make it all the tougher, the Real Estate market is really competitive. That is why it doesn’t take just a “team” to sell residential or commercial property. Sometimes it takes a whose Platoon, a Goddamned Battalion or a Freakin’ Army sometimes.
I’ve worked in the Real Estate industry marketing homes and pushing commercial properties. In many respects Real Estate is a shallow business dependent on the merest whims of potential buyers. While taking people through tours of commercial property the dynamic is strange at best. All the cliquish conversation can make you feel as if you don’t even physically exist. Then they turn to you and ask, as a collective, “Can we get this for $12 a foot?”
A voice in your head goes, “No, you fucking dimwits. This space is $20 a foot.” But you ask the company owner to take a look at the proposal they submit. Then the company owner meets with the prospective buyer and two days later a contract is signed for the property for $10 a foot. Then the company owner calls you into the office and says, “Sorry, we can’t pay you commission on that one. You didn’t negotiate well enough.”
You wonder to yourself, “What the fuck?”
But that’s how so much of the business world operates. Shareholders get their return on investment even when employees bleed out their ears trying to create it.
It’s all about back room deals and taking cuts up front and letting the devil reign over those in the hapless middle ground where unions try to keep their clutches on a few dollars of pay and middle managers sit in cubicles wondering when the fucking axe might fall.
It’s a simple rule: If you’re not in the decision process, you get cut out of the deal. And that, in a nutshell, is why the American Middle Class is struggling. There are vast swaths of America that have been cut out of the deal. That includes family farms swept under the rug of corporate agribusiness and dunned by Monsanto for wanting to keep a little corn or soybean seed from year to year. Yet they’re told to hate the city folks who refuse to buy GMO or hormone-infused products because the science is not clear on where all this is taking us.
It’s an ownership game, you see, and there are assholes on both ends of the deal. People in the middle have gotten screwed.
It all helps explain why that Real Estate sign in your neighborhood says “So-and-So Home Selling Team.” These are people banding together to keep their cut of the deal. I say more power to them. They’re simply watching out for the Home Team.