First, let me announce that my BlackBerry did not work for seven days, and I did not die.
OK, I had Wi-Fi.
But in general, I told all my clients I was toddling off, and I toddled off, and I think if anything I got some respect for vacationing. Did it make me seem wealthy or enviable? I don’t know. But I do know the world did not end.
Second, I read books. I took a Fair Housing seminar once with a very accomplished Realtor who said that he always tried to read widely because it gave him something to talk to his clients about. I think that is what movies are for, which gives me an excuse to go to movies during the year, but it was nice to fill the conversational part of my brain up with other things as well. I highly recommend Ann Patchett’s “Run” — especially to anyone who has a love for Boston, where the story is set — and Daniel McGinn’s “House Lust,“which is a fascinating book about America’s obsession with ever-bigger, newer and fancier homes.
Third, I exercised every single day. We went to the beach, so we swam and we swam and we swam; in addition, there was kayaking and Frisbee and tennis and some mutant but oddly effective form of water calisthenics called Aquacize. I would like to point out that when I am working, I find going to the gym annoying and even stupid; but after a solid week of moving around, I feel better and my back hurts less than it has in 10 years. There is a lesson here, although if I know myself, I will do my best to unlearn it.
The final thing that is worth remarking on was the most subtle — I got over my hatred of open kitchens. We were in a timeshare, so it wasn’t quite like living in a hotel, more like living in a suite. I used to move every couple of years but I have actually been settled for the last few, so it was a fairly new experience to live differently than I live now. And the unit had a modern open plan — of the kind that my clients are always requesting. The kitchen was open to the living room, separated only by a low breakfast bar. I’ve shown that layout dozens of times, maybe a hundred by now, but I’ve never liked it.
I’m an old-fashioned girl, and I would always think, “What happens if you don’t want to do the dishes? Isn’t it nice to have a door that you can close if guests come and your kitchen’s messy?”
But the truth is, having cooked in an open kitchen for a week, I see the appeal. It is less of a chore to do the dishes when doing them doesn’t mean turning your back on the rest of the family, and all the fun they are having. The kitchen isn’t messy very often, because it is perfectly easy to clean it while taking part in a conversation with someone who is hanging out in the living room.
That, for me, was revolutionary. I have shown my clients what they love before, but I am curious to see if I show it differently now that I’ve learned to love it too.
Alison Rogers is a licensed salesperson and author of “Diary of a Real Estate Rookie.”
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