Most years in September, I take some vacation time at a lake in South Georgia that has been in my family since my great-grandparents bought the place in the 1890s. (That's it below). The accommodations are rather rustic and there’s not much to do – read a book, have a swim, chat with cousins, siblings, kids. That’s the appeal.
I’ve been going there more-or-less yearly since I was an infant. It’s always pretty much the same.
I was there again last week, but this year was different. We had a hurricane.
Some people thought I was crazy to go. But I was willing to try. Nearly 100 miles inland, what could happen? As it turned out, we lost six huge pine trees to the wind, it was chilly and rainy for two days, and the power was out for 36 hours. Otherwise all was fine.
And, of course, it made me think about real estate …
Understand your objectives
I absolutely love what I do, but it’s hard work. In going to the lake I had a clear objective. I needed to stop, be still, decompress. No lousy hurricane was going to stand in my way. Same thing with real estate. Focus on your objective, and difficulties won’t derail you.
Sometimes hurricane prep means boarding up and heading for the hills. Sometimes it simply means buying ice and batteries and staying out of the way of large pine trees. Selling? Clean up, fix up, get the yard pulled together. Buying? Get pre-approved, understand your limits, know what and where you want to buy. In every case, follow expert advice – be that from a meteorologist or a realtor.
Expect the unexpected
Unlike my trips to the lake, every real estate deal is different. In my almost-three years in this business I’ve done 37 deals. No two have been exactly alike. It’s amazing what pops up! Like riding out a hurricane – you prepare as best you can, stay flexible when surprises come up, and keep on going.
Take the long view
Despite the terrible damage and heartbreak big storms often bring, humans are amazingly resilient. Repairs are made, healing happens, normal routines return, life goes on. At the lake, I’ve seen this continuity of life despite all that can happen, as two preceding generations of my family have grown old and passed on. Now mine is the “old” generation and two more generations are coming along – swimming, fishing, and chilling at the lake. And the lake? Same as it always was. It’s a bit like this in real estate. Chill out. Take the long view despite near-term hurdles. Refuse to be deterred, and you’ll get where you need to go.