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On Finding the Best Outcome

By Datta Khalsa, Broker

We are getting a fist-hand lesson on the world stage of what happens when force is used in place of diplomacy and the images are a sickening reminder of what humans are capable of inflicting on each other when they turn to aggression as a solution.

The stakes are literally life and death for millions of people right now in Ukraine, so it seems a pale reflection to draw comparisons between what’s going on there and what’s going on with our local real estate market, but given that the war is weighing heavily on everyone’s psyche right now, I feel compelled to put some context on how we solve problems locally in hopes that it sends some small ripple at the global level.

In the course of a real estate transaction, we often find ourselves in competitive environments which can quickly turn adversarial if we lose sight of the fact that we are dealing in things which we are fortunate to have in the first place, in light of not only events in the world but in our own back yard with the growing unhoused population around us.

With this perspective in mind, I am increasingly of the mindset that finding the best outcome in any situation generally comes down to a few key elements:

1) Gratitude for the moment we are in and for the opportunities that we have. I have often maintained that the problems we deal with are first-world problems, but the first world is looking increasingly like the third world these days, which makes a sense of gratitude ever more relevant.

2) Empathy or “court sense”, both for those on the other side of the negotiation and those we are in competition with, against the context of the surrounding market conditions, and

3) Refining our communication skills using the wisdom of these insights, to pursue an outcome that is less self-centered and more in touch with the underlying factors motivating us and the others we engage with.

To be sure, everyone is ultimately out to succeed, but what we define as success and how we measure it can have a great deal to do with how we go about pursuing it.

The biggest insight I have gained in the past 30 years of assisting in the presentation, due diligence, and negotiations of real estate on behalf of a broad array of clients, is that the best outcomes tend to take shape when the parties have the shared realization that they are ultimately pursuing a result that has the maximum cumulative benefit for everyone involved.

Money and prevailing in our pursuits are certainly two components in how we measure success, but these alone do not constitute a successful outcome. There is a good deal of soul searching and potential pitfalls that must be properly addressed along the way for success in the fullest sense. And with any setback, there are lessons to be learned which can help get us get that much closer to the success we seek, or revise our definition of what success looks like.

To paraphrase Elvis Costello, whether it is at the world level, or at the local level with our community, our personal relationships, or our participation in this local market, the best we can ultimately strive for is peace, love and understanding. To these I would add kindness, with a modicum of intelligence. And perhaps some growth along the way.

Datta Khalsa is the Broker and Owner of Main Street Realtors in Soquel.

He can be reached at 831-818-0181 or

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