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The text came in late, around the time my clients usually manage to get their kids to bed:

“Do you have time for a phone check in?”

“Yes,” I texted back, “I can call in about 15”

“Sounds good!” came the response, “we’ll keep it short, sure we are all tired”.

Our call started at 10:02PM, and lasted roughly 20 minutes, going over details of recent interactions with an interested party with questions they wanted addressed about our listed property before considering whether to submit an offer. We have already fallen out of escrow once and we would prefer to avoid another setback.

We also discussed our recent counts of agent showings and open house visitors, along with a general update on the surrounding inventory as we planned another round of open houses and deliberated on whether to keep the price at its current level.

Earlier this year, I wrote of the disparity in effort between helping buyers and helping sellers. In that piece I had clearly scored it in favor of the sellers having an easier time in the current market, however the distinction between an easy road and a hard road can be long for sellers as well, depending on the property being sold.

In the case of these clients, the home we are selling is in the hills with the usual list of added variables like well, septic and propane systems that come with the territory outside the urban service areas.

Added to these factors is visible fire damage in the neighborhood as you drive up to the home, and the accompanying questions around insurability that now add another significant hurdle for buyers of properties in mapped High Fire Hazard zones, and one that has been on the minds of many of the visitors to our open houses.

As it was, after months of post-fire reparations and pre-marketing preparations completed at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars, in addition to paying for the staging, a great deal of time and energy went into getting the listing ready.

And now our clients—who have been renting in town ever since the fire—make regular trips up to the property throughout the week to keep their plants watered and the place looking presentable. In short, we have reached the endurance stage of the process, as we chart our course and gauge market response accordingly.

The experience serves as a reminder that we are never guaranteed an easy path with certain properties, regardless of the economic cycle. And whether our listing sells to the current interested party or ends up taking a longer path, we need to maintain our efforts in doing the home justice as it awaits its rightful new owners. Until then, we all continue to collaborate into the wee hours and do whatever it takes.

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