You know how if you tell an actor “Good luck” before a performance he’ll probably forget every line he’s supposed to utter and the set will come crashing down on his head? Or how if a star pitcher doesn’t wear his lucky jock strap that hasn’t been washed since he pitched that no-hitter in 1999, he’ll pitch a grand slam in the first inning?
There’s one of those in real estate. It’s an unfailing jinx. I don’t consider myself a particularly superstitious person, but you can’t argue with circumstantial evidence (well, I guess you can if you’re an attorney. But I’m not. So I can’t). If you ever want a good, solid, practically guaranteed-to-close deal to go down in a massive ball of fire and debris, there’s one surefire way to anger the real estate gods: Calculate your potential check.
The first thing you learn as a new agent is that the deal is never sure and the paycheck is never earned until the title company calls to tell you the deed has recorded and the escrow is closed. A house can fall out of escrow for any one of 3,729,471 reasons (I’ve compiled them all on a spreadsheet) at any moment and then all will be lost. The very quickest way to cause the universe to pick one of those reasons off my spreadsheet and throw it right smack at the forehead of my deal, is to get emotionally attached to the possible gold at the end of the rainbow.
Case in Point:
Wednesday Night While Discussing Our Current Financial Situation
Jason – I want to buy some school lockers to put up in the loft for the kids to use as storage. What do you think about pulling the trigger on something like that this summer?
Me – Well… I don’t want to jinx anything, but June is looking like a 3 paycheck month for me. I was doing a little mental math today and we’re looking to be in the [actual number omitted because I’m not that stupid or filterless. Almost, but not quite] range for income for June. The deals are all pretty solid, but now that I’ve said those words out loud one of them will probably fall out tomorrow. HAHAHAhaha, ha…. ha?
Jason – (horrified look on his face, crosses himself, runs to knock on the nearest piece of wood and throw salt over both shoulders) Will you never learn, Woman??
Me – Well, I just… I mean… It’s really hard not to even consider the possibility!
Thursday Morning First Thing
Text on my Blackberry from my favorite red haired lender: Can you please call me at my office as soon as you get this?
Me – Hey, it’s Elizabeth. What’s up?
Red Haired Lender – We have a problem. [Explanation of extremely complicated, obscure and unforeseen issue with the property and loan omitted here. Because it would put you to sleep to read it and make my head explode in frustration to transcribe it. But know that it was a weird and sucky one. It wasn’t on my spreadsheet yet. Before yesterday there were only 3,749,470 reasons for a house to fall out of escrow.] So… it’s not looking good. I’m sorry.
Me – It’s OK. (Loud pop to indicate the opening of a bottle of champagne, the only booze I had on hand that could possibly be considered ‘breakfast alcohol’.) It’s my own fault. I calculated out what my check would be on this one yesterday.
Red Haired Lender – YOU DIDN’T!
Me – Yeah. I did.
Red Haired Lender – Aw, Sweetie. We’ve all been there. Although, if you could not do it the next time when you’re in a deal with me, that would be great.
Me – (Silence because I’m busy drinking straight from the bottle.)