When the lockdowns first started, I think, like most of you, I thought more about the day-to-day frustrations and hardships that we would experience. I worried about shortages and hunkered down for the two weeks we were projected to be stuck at home.
Along with that, of course, I thought a lot about how to continue with business as usual. As the weeks wore on, then, a lot of my effort was on keeping my lifestyle consistent, staying active with my family, and taking care of properties, clients and transactions.
What most of us never expected was how long the shutdowns would last and how many holidays would be affected. Among these, the loss of our normal Fourth of July celebration seemed particularly sad and poignant.
After all, the Fourth of July is all about independence, yet I think most of us felt, in a sense, like prisoners trapped in our homes. On top of that, July Fourth is probably the holiday that we associate most with crowds and large-scale gatherings for parades, concerts and of course, fireworks.
This year, then, with restrictions being eased across the country and folks gathering together to celebrate — perhaps more than they ever have before — I feel particularly grateful. To be outdoors in Southern California enjoying beautiful weather and seeing the (unmasked) faces of my friends and neighbors, I feel truly blessed, truly independent.
I wonder if we, as real estate professionals, acknowledge the privilege we have and the freedom we enjoy every day. While we may sometimes get frustrated with aspects of our industry, I know no other way of making a living that provides as much freedom as our business.
Real estate doesn’t require you to be a great scholar. Many of the best real estate agents and brokers I know hated school and couldn’t wait to get out. It doesn’t require you to be inventive and creative. Many exceptional agents have made fortunes following well-worn paths laid out by agent and investment mentors who have gone before them.
Real estate, contrary to its reputation, doesn’t even require fancy cars or a fancy office to get started. There have been a lot of big real estate deals made in open fields and coffee shops with the paperwork drawn up in humble home offices.
What real estate requires, more than anything, is the willingness to get out there and make opportunities for yourself. It requires the ability to work hard and share the knowledge that you’ve gleaned from your time in the market with clients and colleagues.
Many of us have found over the last year that real estate, in many ways, doesn’t even require face time or open houses or any of the other elements that we’ve come to expect. It requires a willingness to care and to do right by your client.
I’ve seen colleagues on social media share their feelings of excitement, hope and joy for their buyers and sellers as they achieve their real estate goals. I don’t know of any other profession where we care so much about making our clients happy and where we take their hopes and dreams so much to heart.
So this year, as you gather with friends, family, and total strangers at the local Fourth of July celebration or as you prepare for long-delayed vacations, take a moment to revel in the feeling of freedom that we can all enjoy this summer. Let this be a true Independence Day, and one that you’ll never take for granted again.
Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of The Address in Southern California. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.