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Putting a Spin on Speed

Posted on 05 September 2008

By Hope Harris

I was listening to NPR today about Speed Dating…. for Greenies! The gist of it was that those who claimed to care about the environment but hadn’t turned in their SUVs for Prius,’ didn’t get a date. It got tougher still; the list of dos and don’ts if you say you’re green, but don’t show proof, and don’t mean it, is long and you will be lonely.

The point is, these are hard times. Finding the right mate is hard, even for Greenies. Then I started thinking about…real estate…how finding the “right match” is more difficult than ever.

There’s so much inventory! Sellers are lowering their prices daily; sometimes even hourly. We have brokers begging other brokers to come to their open houses. Sellers are offering cars, trips abroad, Botox injections, gifts of wine and dinners at Nick and Tony’s….if ONLY someone will bring them a buyer!

(And here’s the rub; why waiting for the right house at the right price to come along might not happen… because… if buyers continue their stand-off, the inventory will eventually stop growing; sellers will get mad and stop lowering their prices; they’ll take their houses off the market; put them back on next year, and lo and behold, the prices won’t be lower than ever — they’ll be up there in the stratosphere again so sellers can re-coup their losses.)

So what to do? What to do? A lightbulb went off. The Greenies!! Speed Real Estate!  Get things moving again! Take a chance. Get lucky in real estate… Show up for a ONE-DAY REAL ESTATE MATCH-OFF! If it can work for Greenies — who are, after all — VERY finicky, then maybe it could work for home buyers. For home owners. It’s a great time to buy. Maybe owners and buyers can actually find one another and be happy.

But we have to act fast. Too much thinking and deliberating has gotten us where we are: nowhere. So here’s the idea:

Pick five houses from the web (keep in mind location is everything, but widen your net — don’t just relegate your search to an area where your friends are…years ago I couldn’t get anyone to go to Sag Harbor — now look how hot it is. I couldn’t mention Montauk without customers cringing. Now it’s Hollywood East and everyone wants a piece of it…) Take a chance. Look north of the highway, look at houses on the harbor. Open your mind to new encounters. Then commit to a day to find a house. One day. Not two. Not two weeks. Or a month. Or a year. One day. Tell yourself you’ll find a house in one day. The right house. Make it your mantra. Do it with an open heart and mind. Don’t pre-judge. Remember, good karma is everything — especially in love and real estate.

Then give yourself a half hour at each of the five houses. Be honest: could you really be happy with an ultra-modern house or, in your heart of hearts, do you know that without a center stair sooner or later you will be depressed and take it out on the house? Search your soul. Make a list of what you look for in a house and stick to it. Don’t be hood-winked by the seller’s décor, by the day, if it is particularly beautiful without a cloud in the sky: by the homeowner’s friends sitting around his pool, laughing, cosmos in hand. Choose two houses you think you could love. Long-term. Not trade in for some trophy house down the line, but two you could really  make a commitment to.  

At the end of the day, make an offer on both. Those two sellers, for all you know, could be pining for you. Waiting by the phone.  Make an offer you can afford. Don’t imagine living in a house you can’t afford. Live in one you can. Don’t play games. The days of Borrowing-To-Be-Someone-Else may actually be over, so let’s get real.

It might work. Time is money. If money isn’t working so well for us these days, let’s try time. Remember: ONE day to make a decision. By the end of that one day, by sunset, you might have found yourself a “match.”

 

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