On Grief

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This is going to be one of the posts which has nothing to do with real estate.  It is just me, thinking about an important issue that’s being slanted, misrepresented and corrupted, relative to the definition of the word or condition we call grief.

As I have said, I spend most of my TV time watching Youtube videos and reading nonfiction books, staying as far away from mainstream media as possible, as that venue has become completely owned and adulterated by nearly a single point of view, often at complete odds with the actual ‘mainstream’ schools of thought.  Much of media is now owned or ‘sponsored’ by pharmaceutical corporations, in fact, and if you find that unbelievable, please do your research.  You will find it to be true and it should give you pause, at the very least.  We are being herded like sheep into a corral where we hand over money to the super wealthy, as in corporations, as in stockholders, while the very ones picking our pockets are railing against ‘the wealthy’.  I can’t believe this is happening and that the mules on the cart path are just doo-dee-dooing along with the ‘program’.

I think that Scientific American article I read about how humans would breed ourselves out of existence was true.  That article said the average IQ would continue to decline to the point we were too stupid to come in out of the weather.  Well they said it more eloquently, more scientifically, than I just did.  Still, I believe I am seeing that paradigm unfold before my very eyes. 

I’m hearing the phrase ‘mental illness’  a whole lot, and from a particular couple who are pushing into media in order to survive financially, in my opinion.  Easier than getting a j-o-b.  This whole concept of mental illness is being coupled inexplicably with grief, in this case over the death of a family member who died decades ago by the way.  This couple are working very hard to get us to believe that grieving over the loss of a loved one is a mental illness.  Oh my God.

Anyway, it got me to thinking about a time in my life when I was in deep grief as well, and felt as though I was being chased around by people trying to lock me away due to ‘mental illness’.  It is as though more and more people are determined to have no emotions other than HAPPY! and never feel any pain because…there’s a drug for that, side effects be damned.  Ah, folks, pain is the signal that something is wrong somewhere, and if you don’t feel it, well…you can do more damage.  But I digress yet again.

Life is not supposed to be easy.  Life is complicated and intricately woven together with other lives and a profusion of circumstances over which we have no control.  So yeah, shit is going to happen, and resulting emotions will ebb and flow.  That is what we call normal.  There seems to be an effort to erase that word as well, but the truth is still the truth, and emotions are normal.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines grief this way: deep sadness caused especially by someone’s death; a cause of such suffering.  So yeah, grief doesn’t HAVE to be related to death, but there are events in life that feel like death… like divorce, the end of a family, a safe home, an important relationship.  It is normal to have grief in those situations too.

I heard, on one video, a person say that this person grieved more than the other person, both children of the deceased parent.  Well, no, talking head, they grieved ‘differently’.  And it is important to know that sudden, extreme grief effects people differently psychologically, depending on the age of the one grieving.  A nine year old will react differently than a 30 year old, and it is my strong belief that a person in puberty is MAY BE damaged more by grief than any other age, because of the stage of BRAIN development at that age.  And no, I am not a doctor, don’t even play one on TV, but I do pay attention, and I am a data collector.  So I see what I see, over and over and over.  In my PERSONAL observation of grieving people, the ones who are hit hard in puberty tend to get stuck there, psychologically, unless they have some really good support through the darkness of grief.  And for goodness sake, the one who seems to be ‘grieving less’ is STILL GRIEVING, so don’t hang that person out to dry.  Try to do a little research about grief and get it as right as you can from the perspective of support. 

In an article by Michael Merschel, he writes: Grief can reinforce brain wiring that effectively locks the brain in a permanent stress response, per Dr. Lisa Schulman.  Reference

How grief rewires the brain and can affect health – and what to do about it

By Michael Merschel, American Heart Association News

So yeah, grief is complicated.  It, in and of itself, is not a mental illness.  It is an emotional response to loss.  And it can be dealt with and it is important that it IS dealt with.   Any ‘spectator’ as I called the ones labeling me, should understand that grief is a perfectly normal response to loss, and that it NEVER goes away.   Rather, it shrinks back into the shadows until something triggers the memory of it.  Those triggers become weaker and happen less often over time, and I am talking years.  Therefore it is important for ‘loved ones’ to step up and offer support, a presence in the darkness who is there to keep the grieving one safe, to give them someone to lean on.  And it is important for the ‘spectators’ to understand that some of us grieve quietly and undemonstratively, while others wail and gnash their teeth, so to speak.  Grief is personal.  Pay attention and offer help accordingly; mostly not assuming that just because a person is quiet they are A-OKAY!  Just because a person in grief is not screaming does not mean they are not suffering.  And spectators need to allow the grieving person to grieve in their own personal way for as long as it takes, even if it is ‘inconvenient’.

I used to equate grief with dusty closed boxes in a dark attic.  If you want to get well, YOU have to go into the attic and turn on the light. See the boxes, and then with your big girl panties on (or big boy as it were), start opening the boxes one by one and examining the contents.  By facing the dark attic, putting light on it and examining the contents, one can conquer grief and REALIZE that grief is not a monster called ‘mental illness’.  Rather, it is much smaller, much more manageable, more ‘normal’ in the light.  But there can be a lot of boxes up there.  Could take a while.

Now, back to the point of all of this.  IF we suffer a loss, it is normal to grieve, and that grief is never going away, and it can cause permanent rewiring of the brain.  Why?  Because the worst grief causes us to look deeply into our connections in life, the ones still there, and do a thorough assessment.  Things change when you do that.  Trust me on that one.  Grief opens your eyes to things you may have never seen and forces you onto a completely different path, one without that loved one you lost.  Grief forces your insights inward, too, turns the mirror right back onto you, and makes you tell yourself the truth, and that is hard.  Still not a mental illness, folks.  But you might think so if you are are a permanent victim with a tendency to whine for the pacifier.

We seem to be turning into a society of victims, of pity seekers, of people in search of excuses for inappropriate behaviors.   Heads up:  There is not always “a pill for that”.  Sometimes you have to stand UP, face your pain, understand it is there for a REASON, and go about finding how to mitigate it.  That might be art, it might be walks in the park, it might be talking to someone you trust, it might be exercise, it might be meditation, all of which I highly recommend.  I wrote a book.  It focused my mind and kept me from picking at the wound.  Most of all while we are standing up, we need to give ourselves PERMISSION and TIME to grieve.  It is a PROCESS through which one must go, and it does get better.  And remember, grief doesn’t HAVE to come from the loss of a person; it can be from other types of loss.  So get busy with the process of healing yourself!  Yes, it helps to have others, but YOU have to be proactive about your own life!

That is, unless you choose to sit down and whine for pity.  My God you have to have as a goal, letting go.  You have to, at some point, stop hugging grief and welcoming it as a permanent resident.  I, as you may guess, have ZERO patience with that kind of behavior.  And this idea that because you lost a parent you have permission to tear down the world, particularly that of others, is just plain pathetic and frankly, unintelligent.  When someone says they had nobody to reach out to?  That’s a pity ploy.  There is ALWAYS someone, or many someones, THOUSANDS of someones, whom you can reach out to.  The difference is this:  If you are on the pity pot, you expect others to run to you while you sit and snivel; but listen up:  It is your job to reach out, your job to seek to release it.  Unless you are 7 years old or a pity seeker.  By the way, nobody can ‘make you feel better’.  That would be your job.  

And finally, remember that stress is a killer.  It makes all of the sense in the world to find a way to mitigate the stress of grief.  In my opinion and that of actual doctors, it is true that stress can and will kill you.  Not saying you have to go dancing, but you can paint your bedroom or rearrange furniture…or write a book.  Get busy.

And for goodness sake, STOP calling grief a mental ILLNESS.


The Truth is Out There…

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Here’s one for you: I’m just going to give you the information from science and you can think it over and make up your own mind. 

What a crock.  The atomic number for Nitrogen is 7.  You don’t get to think about that and choose your own number.  If you step outside that third story window, you’re gonna FALL.  DOWN.  You don’t get to make up your own mind about it! Gravity works.  Period.  There are many truths out there that you just have to believe, otherwise there is no foundation upon which to stand or build.  But we live in a ridiculous period of “everybody gets to make up his or her own reality”.  I used to say, “Kill me now.”  Today, nobody thinks that’s a joke and people are so MAD.  But what a ridiculous idea that every single person gets to decide whether or not the atomic number of Nitrogen is 7.  

I used to work in science, every day, all day.  There were certain chemical reactions or material facts that I used, depended upon, from which my analysis stemmed.  Truth.  Science is the pursuit of truth.  Now when I reached my conclusions, ultimately there would be a dollar amount associated with it, either for my company or for the company who bought the optical fiber we manufactured, or for a vendor who maybe supplied bad raw material.  I didn’t have to be involved in the money or politics, thank GOD; but, the answer was the answer and corrective measures went from there.  Nobody had to mull it over and see how they wanted the answer to feel, or how THEY thought it should be, and there were no politicians NEAR my lab.  Again, thank God.  Okay, let’s be honest.  Remember that word?  There were probably ‘politicians’ around in white coats, wanting to scratch and claw to the next level on the hierarchical ladder, but they were usually on the other side of the lab door.

Were my analytical results sometimes unpopular?  You bet your ass they were, but they were the results.  And if I didn’t know the answer by virtue of analysis, I SAID THAT.  Wouldn’t it be nice of some of the talking heads out here today would look us in the eye and say, “Sorry folks, we just don’t know what the side effects will be, but in 5 years we will know and we will pay you if your leg falls off.”  Hey, it wouldn’t be fun, but it would be the truth, right?  

I know, you’re wondering what a leg is worth. hahaha.  Don’t worry, these folks have enough to pay you.  It’s part of the plan.

I think the problem is that politics and money are the most important goals now, replacing Truth.  Now, we don’t know who supplies raw materials, or even the finished product many times.  We don’t know the credentials of the person who gives you that pill to take.  I used to say, “Somebody had to graduate at the bottom of the class.”  And that was when I assumed there was an ACTUAL college degree somewhere.  Today, we don’t know for sure, and we don’t know how much that person actually LEARNED if there WAS a degree, because these days, it doesn’t really matter.  Everybody gets one! Don’t believe me?  Watch how much BAD GRAMMAR is on your NEWS broadcast today.  Ask a random person to read a paragraph.  It’ll make your head explode.  What is the plural of phenomenon?  How do you pronounce corroboration?  Do you know someone who says, “I seen it?” I rest my case.

We are erasing truth from our existence.  How is that happening?  Well, if there are over 7 billion people on the planet and each one gets to design ‘reality’, we’re talking about complete, annihilatory chaos.  How do you like that word?  I had to look it up, but I DID look it up because I trust the dictionary.  Apparently this computer does not because it underlines the word in red.  See how this works? hahaha.  AND YET there is no alternative spelling.  Too funny.  My computer must FEEL like that word does not exist but it shrugged off the correct spelling.  But again, I digress.  

We live in a time where, if I do not agree with your perspective, you get to beat me up, or set out to ruin my reputation, get me fired, kill me. And it gets right back to truth.  What happened to TRUTH?  And why is YOUR opinion any better than mine?  Oh, this is why we used to talk or even debate.  Debate is not a bad thing, people.  Usually at the end of a debate, everybody is still ALIVE and there are no burning buildings.  By the way a debate is not one person badgering and bludgeoning another person into thinking exactly as they think.  Debate usually leads to other things to consider on the path to truth, which is often entirely or in part different from any of the prior opinions.  THIS is how we grow, how we progress.  No dead bodies, no burning buildings.

Truth is based on the word ‘trust’.  If you look at those words long enough they will start to look strange.  Trust: assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something; dependence on something future or contingent : HOPE (From Merriam-Webster dictionary).  Oh great, now we get HOPE into the compost heap.  That’s waning as well and now we know why.

Because of the incessant blitzkrieg of internet information (not usually true), we have NO idea what to believe or whom to believe anymore.  Most of what is posted is opinion…including this blog, by the way…and everybody has one.  Each and every person has an opinion about everything.  So it is your job, if you care, to …wait for it… seek the truth.  Oh hell, that sounds like work.  Yep.  It is.  And if your only source is the internet?  You have no credibility.  When I got my chemistry degree, my professor said, “You don’t have to know all of the answers, you just have to know where or how to find them.”  So, I never memorized the periodic table of elements. hahaha.  But I did know where to find it.  

Listen, there are people, entities out there who have figured out how gullible we are, how easily we fall for lies, how to manipulate us into badgering and bludgeoning others into THEIR way of thinking, which is this:  I want your money, all of it, and I want to control your life.  It feels like an effort to destroy our country but if you’ve ever LEFT this country, you’d want to come back, trust me.  Oops, trust.  But most of the people who want to annihilate the country don’t know what it’s like in other countries that are rubble and dust.  Something to think about.

Here’s another something to think about:  Are the ones badgering you invested financially in the thing they are trying to force you to buy, adopt, fund, drink, swallow?  These days, the politicians have huge amounts of stock in the companies they are trying to force you to TRUST.  Think.  How is this talking head going to benefit financially by controlling my mind?  GREAT question.

Look around you and maybe ask yourself why you’re so angry all of the time and ask yourself if you really like that persona.  Scientists are saying that such behavior can make you more susceptible to disease by the way.  There’s a lot of TRUTH that says rioting, screaming, burning things, fighting, being angry all the time…can make you more susceptible to cancer.  Read the book by Dr. Gabor Mate.  It’s eye opening.  Just saying.  And think about this:  If there are those who want to CONTROL society, whom do you believe will be the first ones in cages?  Oh yeah, the rabble-rousers who can’t be controlled. hahaha.  Better think about that.  I’m actually laughing.  We are such a mess.  Can’t even call us a society.  I am actually laughing because I still have hope.  It hasn’t been killed off yet.  That’s my science brain at work.  I know the truth is out there.  How to get 7 billion people to be open to other ideas?  That’s the kicker.

The bottom line is that there is an effort to erase truth, by people who want to confuse you, take your money, or want to take your power away from you, or okay, all of the above.  Sometimes a very small group with really loud voices can force you to adopt THEIR truth, which could be destructive and dangerous.  It is important, in other words, to understand the implications of trust, truth and hope.  These things matter to stability, safety, survival.  How am I going to tie this in with real estate, you might ask?  Watch this:

Look your lender in the eye, don’t ‘go online’.  You could be talking to a big hairy scammer in somebody’s basement who is not telling you the truth, who wants your info so they can take your money.  Look your real estate agent in the eye.  Ask questions, seek the answers you need, see if she knows the answers, see if she ever says, “I’m not sure but I can find out.”  Now that’s an honest person, a TRUTHFUL one.  You’ll know whether or not you can TRUST that person.  Have a conversation, an AUDIBLE conversation, because you can tell a lot about a person by listening to their voice.  And you can draw a plethora of wrong conclusions from text messages.  Look, I love texting and emailing and DMs and IMs and l-m-n-o-p’s, but how can I tell if I want to work with you?  By talking with you and by looking you right in the eye.  Until I see you and hear your voice, I don’t know if you’re a 10 year old kid having a bit of fun at my expense, in somebody’s basement. hahaha. Why are scammers always assumed to be in somebody’s basement?

Stay with me, still linking this to real estate.  Watch this:

I can help you find a great home where you can feel safe and secure while you find the truth.

Is that good, or what?  Call me.

I am Brenda Briggs, broker/realtor, Coldwell Banker Advantage, 919-210-6113. 

Should I Wait for the Market to Settle Down?

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It’s a great question right now.  Listen, I’m an experienced agent and this market scares ME sometimes.  The speed is unfathomable and the effect is like that of being on a tricycle on one wheel speeding downhill.  There’s no time to think.  When my clients ask me whether it is a good idea to wait, I’m torn.  Part of me thinks waiting would make sense, because rushing toward anything but ice cream doesn’t thrill me.  But then reality sets in and I think rushing isn’t so bad.  Here’s why.

First, as we have already seen…are already SEEING, because the trend forming now…interest rates are going up.  In this competitive bid market, every dollar counts when you are trying to win the day, and every uptick in interest rate lowers your home search price.  Every drop in home price means you have MANY more competitors.  Homes below 400K are getting hard to find, at least the ones without ‘issues’, in many cases.  And if YOUR price point dropped, so did that of your competitors, so the race will be more fierce.

For my clients, I advise them to make the financial adjustments that will allow them to stay in the hunt, to take advantage of low interest rates.  I’m not a financial person, not an accountant, not (thank goodness) a wall street employee, but I think we are heading for an economic correction like we have never seen in our lifetime.  

I don’t think we’re heading for a “real estate crash”.  Not even close.  Demand is too high and supply is too low for that situation to occur.  No, I think inflation is going to bite us big, I just don’t know when.  Common sense tells me we’re heading that way, and filling my car with gas confirms my assumption.  I’m not an accountant either, but I do know you can’t buy a dollar’s worth of anything with a dollar that is now worth 40 cents.

Then we have rising prices for everything from food to gas, and we have supply shortage of everything from PET FOOD to cars.  When this shoe drops, it’s gonna hurt.  So waiting is actually a bad idea.

Most of my clients are not moving for the fun of it; they are moving because of a need to position themselves for the future, whether it be for the next leg of the journey or for settling into the end of their journey.  So the need is there; that’s not going to change. So what I am saying is this:  

Go ahead.  Don’t wait.

And I know I beat this one into the ground, but hire an experienced real estate agent.  This is a brand new market/economic condition which CAN be navigated effectively, but your agent must know what all of the moving parts ARE and how they bump into one another and change things.  Your agent MUST know how to protect you in this unprecedented, fluctuating, expensive market.

Speaking of pet food shortage:  Mess with my pets and we’re going to have problems.  But it seems that’s also happening.

Call me and let’s talk about it.  

I’m Brenda Briggs, Broker/Realtor  919-210-6113

Coldwell Banker Advantage, Wake Forest NC

Forgiveness is Waning

Hello again!  As you know, if you’ve read my posts, not all of them have to do with real estate directly.  My goal in part is to let people get to know me before they call on me.  If you don’t like what I say or how I say it, then you may not want to work with me, and that’s okay.  That’s exactly what I am going for here.  Not everybody likes everybody.

So I was watching Youtube this morning, as I always do while having my coffee, and I saw a surprising title.  I assumed the video would be quite different from what it actually was….of course.  But it got me to thinking about forgiveness.  Universally, that’s been on my mind quite a bit lately anyway, a message to ponder:  What happened to forgiveness?

This Youtube video was about yet another person ‘resigning’ his post, because he made a mistake.    Well, as you may know, my REAL job, the one I was passionate about, was science.  In science, the goal is ‘truth’.  And oh my goodness, can you even guess how many mistakes you make on that journey?  You plan the approach you want to use to get where you think you want to go, and then you start out designing the steps, the items or chemicals you use, the timing of valve changes, the temperatures…ALL of that, and then you go.  And you mess up, and you go back and figure out why and you tweak the process.  And you go again.  Now I’m not talking about recipe followers; I’m talking about the ones who develop processes or invent the tools you want to use.  It’s a process of mistakes, restarts, more mistakes, and eventually, success.  Look at that pipette in your hand.  Think about how hard it was to get that right.  Think about how many times the inventor had to tweak the invention process.

You know, that process often involves using the same old tired process (or tool), until you stop one day, put your hands on your hips and say, “There’s gotta be a better way.”  That was the first step in my invention of a wonderful bit of lab equipment that not only made my life easier, but also saved my company a lot of money.  It involved the use of ultra high purity helium.  Wanna take a guess how much that costs?  Well the old tired process wasted that product and I could see dollars going into the air.  Ridiculous.  I drew the equipment idea on a napkin the first time, and then I thought it through, made changes, etc., and it was eventually sold in the manufacturer’s catalog.  But it wasn’t perfect when I drew it on the napkin.  I had to start somewhere and go from there.  And I didn’t demand the resignation of the first designer of that wasteful system.  

The point is, nobody on this earth, or even in this universe, is perfect, folks.  People goof up, and that’s normal.  It’s a part of the growth process, the learning process.  Yes, in some cases you don’t want to experiment. Think doctors.  But still, ask me if I know of any doctors who made a mistake.  Yep.  Sure do.  Even in life and death situations. They were not asked to resign, by the way.

Let’s think about this.  You know about the Dyson vacuum products, right?  Over FIVE THOUSAND failures before it was right.  Now, everybody loves Dyson products.  What if the inventor had given up or worse, been forced to ‘resign’.  Walt Disney was fired from a job because he lacked imagination.  I’m laughing at that one.  What if he had been vilified?  Henry Ford was bankrupted before he came up with the iconic Ford product.  What happened to believing in people, even when they show their humanity?  And think about this: There was no podium of shame where people announced their resignation.  I’m kinda tired of seeing that.  This idea of public humiliation for being human is barbaric, unintelligent behavior, and just plain stupid.

Look, this OMG YOU MADE A MISTAKE YOU’VE GOT TO RESIGN OR BE FIRED culture is just ridiculous.  How did we become ultimate judges and jurors for others’ imperfections when WE are imperfect?  How did this behavior become acceptable?  Whom do we think we are anyway?  One of the worst things one can do to another is judge them without all of the data. Why?  Because you will ALWAYS view that person through the lens of YOU.  I find that almost all people label others through themselves, without studying that person as THAT PERSON, with their heart, their brain, their spirit.  Image someone into ‘extreme sports’ judging a librarian.  Well the librarian is gonna RESIGN.  Nobody else is you except you.  So…stop being so harshly judgmental.  You’re getting it wrong.  You just are.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we give that person permission to wreak (yes, not wreck) havoc on the world.  It means we understand that success is a process.  It’s going to have failures that teach us something.  Here’s a good quote, I think from Henry Ford: “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”   Implication: You keep going.

Here’s what Maya Angelou said: “You will face many defeats in life, but never let yourself be defeated.”  Implication: Don’t give up and don’t take it to mean YOU are broken.  Life is imperfect in and of itself; how can the players in it be perfect?  We cannot.  So stop acting like we can.

This idea of mistakes being the end of us has become so ingrained in our pea brains that we RUSH to the podium to resign.  No, to apologize and resign.  I haven’t reached the day I will apologize for being human.  I’ll say I’m sorry for the mistake, but you will not see me looking downtrodden and guilty for being a human being.  Yeah, there are times when something comes to light that makes a person worthy of being fired, but that’s not usually an attempt to be successful.  That’s usually a character flaw on a grand scale.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  You can take this to the bank:  If I choose to do something, anything, on purpose, you can bet your last buck that I’m doing the best I can to be successful at it.  So don’t even think about coming at me.  And I think that’s how most people are.  I don’t know anyone who sets out to screw up.  Nobody seeks to fail.

We live in an age where ‘tolerance’ is preached, screamed from the mountaintops.  But that usually means YOU tolerate ME.  I think that’s the death of forgiveness.  It stems from rabid judgement, an activity which none of us has the right to do.  So I think we should look at the Youtube video title, have our little judging reaction, and then investigate.  Find out the facts, which by the way will always lead you to other sources if you are fair minded.

I remember the song/mantra, “Give peace a chance”.  Well peace often involves being less harshly judgmental and looking at the whole picture, rather than the part you didn’t agree with.  And forgiveness is a choice; it doesn’t always feel good and it’s definitely not instant.  The forgiveness part is easy, you just choose to DO it, and then you work through the emotions while you watch to see whether or not the same behavior pops up again.  If it does, that changes things.  But remember Dyson failed over FIVE THOUSAND times before he made your life easier.  And think about this:  How can a group of people ever reach consensus if a line is drawn in the sand right away?  They cannot.  This type of behavior creates tribal behavior which then leads to win/lose.

Yeah, this has to do with forgiveness.  Less harsh judgement.  Understanding that not everyone is like you, thank God.  We are unique beings, also thank God.  I don’t even want to think how life would be if everybody was just like everybody else.  Remember forgiving others is a choice, not a way to make you feel better.  And forcing someone out if his/her job because of a mistake is throwing us back to cave times.

Settle down people! hahaha.  That’s what my father used to say to us when we got rowdy: SETTLE DOWN! 

Real Estate in Uncertain Financial Times

There’s always something to make us go “hmmmm”.  These days, watching the news makes me hide in my closet.  This is going up, this is going down, debt ceiling is being raised beyond sight, no it’s not, yes it is.  OMG America is running out of food, building supplies, clothes are getting so thin you can see through them because fabric is so expensive (that’s funny, isn’t it?).  Stock market is going up, it’s going down, buy, sell.  Interest rates are going up….are they?  Yesterday this house was active, now it’s pending.  Why did the price go up?  Are they really stabilizing?? I thought I saw some go DOWN in price.  I can’t keep up.

So let’s just assume we are going into uncharted territory yet AGAIN, and put on our thinking caps.  Why?Because there’s not a doggone thing we can do about the financial ‘climate’, but we can absolutely navigate it.  Listen, I have stocks, and I’m not selling.  I’m buying, in fact.  But I do look at analysts’ reports as a guide.  These reports are educated guesses, right?  But there are a couple I trust and they are my true north on the rare occasions my charts don’t guide me exclusively.  Yep, I’m a chart person.  Don’t really need to know what the  stock is; I just look at the chart and go from there.  It works, too.

But REAL ESTATE, I sigh.  Okay there are some charts you can use, a lot of them in fact.  But listen, these days you also HAVE TO HAVE A STRATEGY, a strong one.  It becomes more and  more complicated as the weeks go by, and you MUST have an agent who understands ALL of the moving parts and how they fit together or bump against each other; and your agent HAS TO KNOW how to maximize your financial asset goals in light of these influences.  In other words, better grab some experience, folks; this is serious business.  And you’d better put on the big person (can’t say girl anymore) panties and learn how to handle some risk.  That’s just plain fact.  If you don’t have the stomach for it, then wait it out.  But waiting it out?  The real estate train is going to leave you in dust and diesel fumes, ladies and gentlemen.  You get the point.

So your agent should ask you: “What is your financial strategy?”  Now listen, we are not accountants, but if your goal is to buy a cheap house and flip it, that’s WAY different than finding the most house you can buy so you can stay there until you die.  There was probably a better way to say that, but you get the idea.  Still, and regardless, your agent SHOULD KNOW what you really aim for financially, with respect to this real estate transaction.  And by the way, a good agent can give you some good recommendations for lenders BASED on these goals.  It’s a good hand-off between strategists and guess what?  You need that.  It’s called experience and depth of bench in the career.  Ya gotta have connections.

The thing about uncertainty financially is that we are, I believe, at a critical point in real estate (oh yes, AGAIN).  If you are trying to buy and can’t find your price point house, then I strongly recommend adjusting your ‘requirements’ or your ‘dreams’.  Why?  Because there isn’t time for a stroll through the homes for sale. Remember the dust and diesel fumes?   I think we may soon see some inflationary effects, and that will effect your interest rate, your price point, whether or not you have a screened porch AND a patio and fire pit…you get the idea.  Don’t ever forget that real estate, now more than ever, is in flux.  Don’t nail down ANYTHING.  Keep your options and your mind open.  Every day is the time to review your strategy to make sure it still make sense.  Your agent should be driving that effort, by the way.  And if this makes you feel better about ‘flux’, almost ALL buyers end up with a house that was NOTHING like what they first tell us to search for.  NOTHING.  The best clients actually realize and laugh about that once they find their home.

I have always worked 24/7, and that’s really a good thing for you.  I wake up at 3 am, thinking about your house.  Really, I do.  And IF you have been straight with me about your strategy and your financial goals, then I had BETTER be thinking about your transaction 24/7.  It’s that complicated.  If we viewed real estate transactions BEFORE as a train running on the rails, rumbling along, now, it’s a bullet train and the cars are bumping together as they fly down the tracks.  People are using your due diligence money as THEIR due diligence on the home they want to buy while you buy THEIRS.  So if one falls through…I can’t bear to think about it.  The housing shortage rages on; therefore, so does desperation among would-be buyers.  This doesn’t have to spell disaster; it just means your agent has more and more COMPLICATED work to do.  Remember when I wrote about creative problem solving?  Well it’s not just a good idea anymore.  It is MANDATORY.

And ‘thinking outside the box’ is not the same thing as creative problem solving, folks.  Creative problem solving involves integration of your STRATEGY into the process, and you must have one.  If you talk to an agent who never says ‘strategy’, RUN.  Or, take 10 grand out of your bank and throw it in the fire.  Same result either way.  Agents have to UNDERSTAND the world of transactions well enough to navigate you through the rapids, because that’s how it feels.  And it feels like that because that’s how it IS.

I describe it as being like riding a tricycle up on one wheel.  Now, it’s like riding a tricycle up on one wheel REALLY FAST.  But the moment all three wheels are on the ground at once?  It feels great.

So, in this uncertain economy, choose a wise and nimble agent who understands how to move quickly when things change and will TALK you through the initial pathway (it’ll change many times), be sure that agent knows what she’s talking about, and for goodness sake do these four things: 1) Choose your agent with care and intellect (not emotion); 2) Have a deep conversation about strategy and get that understanding well into your heart and mind; and 3) Put on those big person panties I talked about because you must expect some stress and be able to handle it; and 4) Do NOT ask your agent to reduce her fee for you, because you have NO IDEA of the value you are getting.  None.