I look forward to two nights and three days on the Cape – mid-week – every July. I get time off in the winter, so these summer days off are rare and special. This year, I had a lousy time. When I deconstructed what bothered me most, it made me a better buyer’s agent. I met my family on the Cape who were there all week. They usually pick the place. This year, they chose a place that was priced like a Bed and Breakfast but was just the bed. (This was in the $180 a night range.) Instead of breakfast, there was a kitchenette in the room. This worked well for them because they used the kitchenette. For us, just the refrigerator would have sufficed. My brother stayed at a place down the road that was a typical motel layout for $110 a night. The room was bigger, but it had no kitchen. I realized that I resented paying our place that did not serve breakfast, had no shared living space, and was in this price range. Price had colored my expectations. This is also true for my clients. In our marketplace, most property is high-priced. Given that, my clients do not expect some of the flaws and the attitude they have been putting up with.
Real Estate Tip 1: Avoid making offers until you have seen 3 to 9 properties. You need to know what to expect in the price range you are buying in.
Back to the Cape story. I knew what to expect in this price range: breakfast, common indoor sitting areas, and available staff. This place didn’t cut it for me. I already had this attitude before the room caused me a problem. When we checked in, it was a hot and muggy day. The air conditioner was not on. Part of me likes this since no one was in there for hours, so why waste energy? But, it meant the room was uncomfortable when we got there. It was barely pleasant by the time we went out for the evening. When we left, I turned it down. When we returned late that night, the room was hot and muggy again. It did not cool down until about four in the morning. I know because I didn’t get any sleep until it was cool enough to turn it down. The AC unit was a noisy window unit less than two feet from my head. I slept about half as much as I needed, and it colored the next day. There was no one to ask about this problem until around noon when I found a staff person. They gave me a bit of a blank stare about why I would object to the AC set up. They did not offer me any alternatives and said they would check with management. (They eventually comped me a bottle of wine.)
Real Estate Tip 2: Make peace with your price range before making offers.
If I weren’t already resentful on that trip to the Cape, I would have been more inclined to work around the problem. I could have switched my head and foot position. I could have switched sides of the bed with my husband. It didn’t occur to me because I was in a middle-off-the-night tizzy over the cold breeze blowing on my head. The next day on the Cape was cool, so we opened the windows. I slept OK. Even though I was writing negative Trip Advisor reviews in my head the night before, I let it go before I got back to town. I don’t intend to return there next year, even though my cousins liked it. I will stay down the street at the motel-type place. A week later, I drank my consolation wine. I feel a bit more relaxed about my mini-vacation. At least I learned a lesson I could share with my clients: don’t let righteous anger blind you to your goals.