Scott’s Thoughts: Wanting to See

“A stretch of sky, a garden wall overhung by green branches, a strong horse, a handsome dog, a group of children, a beautiful face — why should we be willing to be robbed of all this? Whoever has acquired the knack can in the space of a block see precious things without losing a minute’s time… All things have their vivid aspects, even the uninteresting or ugly; one must only want to see.”

-Hermann Hesse, German-born poet, novelist, and painter

Man looking through glasses.Not every listing is going to be prime real estate. Even in a hot seller’s market, there will be those homes with unique challenges and unavoidable defects. Still, these homes provide an opportunity to really shine as an agent. The resistance you may feel to putting your best foot forward on a tough home is not a bad thing. In fact, it is a call to greatness. It is where your creativity and vision can truly shine. You must want to see the potential.

First, set aside what you can’t control. Bad schools? Higher crime rate? Low walkability score? There’s not much you can do about this. Why try and spin what is self-evident? Why spend the energy wishing you could change the facts? Instead, ask yourself where the potential lies in the situation. It may be for an investor. It may be for someone who doesn’t have children and is willing to bet the schools will improve before they sell.

Second, look at what you can influence. Your listing might not even be a diamond in the rough, but there’s a big upside to polishing those less-than-precious gemstones. Tackle the curb appeal. Eliminate the odors. Freshen the color. This can actually have a disproportionately high impact if the homes in the area are also suffering from similar blight. Your curb appeal upgrades will really pop by contrast.

Third, ask yourself if you’re really seeing everything in the picture. Don’t be too quick to judge a place based on its reputation. Investigate for yourself. Walk the neighborhood and get a feel for what people may be missing. What positive signs may be emerging?

A seller’s market can make agents lazy, and rest assured that those who will survive the next downturn will understand what it means to be a true professional in a buyer’s market. Don’t let the opportunity of a good challenge pass you buy. Practice wanting to see.

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