2020 Lookback—Not What You Expect

written by Pat Tasker, CRS
Milwaukee, WI   
Jan 14, 2021

Home Buyers

I've been stewing about something for a few weeks as the New Year started... You see, It is that time of year when agents would normally post about what a great year they had, how high at the top of the heap they landed and how many zillions they sold. I know because I typically have done that too. (Is it odd to you that only REALTORS® do this? I often wonder what the public even thinks, as my dentist doesn't post how many crowns or root canals he did, and my nail tech doesn't post how many manis or pedis she did, and my dealer doesn't boast of how many oil changes they complete—so I wonder what you all think, but I am getting off track!)

This business can be so competitive, and if you are a competitive person, it could totally drive you nuts! While it’s best to compete against only yourself and your prior year's numbers, every month the company posts the standings for agents to see how we measure up to each other...

So, now, year-end numbers are out, and I am not going to do the usual posting.... The glob of photos of all the homes I sold... You know I work hard—I don’t need to impress you... I would rather share some amazing stories with you, instead! Last year was so hard on EVERYONE, and some so much harder (and just plain more dangerous) than others... You've heard me talk about the struggles my mom and other seniors have had, being on lock down in their care facilities—yes, for their own good... And, we have all seen the struggles of those essential workers that are on the front line battling the virus, putting their own lives and their families at risk. And without getting political, there are those civil servants who were front lined to help balance the rights of those protesting unjust events and the hard-working shop owners who feared for their livelihoods as flames burned at the edges of their businesses.

In good conscience, it is not the year for the usual; I’d rather give a year-end salute to those much more worthy workers, heroes and risk-takers. Last year was a tough year for many, but can you imagine adding a change of address to your list? I had 45 clients do exactly that. And this is what I want to say to them...

  •  Hats off to the transferred employee, who, while both mom and dad worked from home out of one office and alternated times for zoom meetings, also had three grade school and middle school kids trying to learn; in the meantime, they facilitated a deluge of showings every hour for days (sometimes those zoom meetings took place on a picnic bench in a park while a showing was taking place...) Just how do you do that? …They did.
  • Hugs to my client who lost her daughter to a driver under the influence, right before Thanksgiving a year ago, and on the day of the daughter's funeral, lost a brother to a heart attack. Through all that grieving and standing up for her daughter at every court appearance (and dealing with extremely infuriating legal shenanigans and delays,) she had to empty and sell off her brothers' possessions, large collections, and home... Oh... did I mention a surprise basement repair and a new roof install?
  • Another hug to a client on the very edge of retirement, ready to move to a dream destination for happily ever after and the spouse's life was tragically taken from them...  that retirement dream is now rewritten... Or the buyers (quite a few of these) just ready to finally jump into house hunting, and then the pandemic puts them on and off “hold” several times as they worry and wait if their chef/service industry job/business try to figure out if they even have a financial future...
  • Bravo to the many homeowners who wanted to "move up” but had the baggage of a home sale contingency (the kiss of death in a sellers' market). What did they do? They bravely jumped, sold their home, did a rental, or even braver, moved in with in-laws, so they could write a clean offer when the right home appeared on the market!
  • Hang in there to the buyer, who, after a divorce, thought they were both ready to move on, literally and figuratively... After a ton of showings, a handful of bidding wars, the buyer finally landed a home, but within a few days found out it was all off! The ex had majorly blown up the credit report and thus blew up the new home financing for the innocent spouse...2021 will be that buyer’s year...
  • Hugs to the widow, who was scared to death to get back to a mortgage after losing a spouse as a young parent of two, and then losing a home during the crash...  Bravely, through teary eyes, she took every shaky step needed to say goodbye to the landlord!
  • Hats off to the buyer who had only a 30-day window to shop for a home, find one, win a bidding war, get through inspections and a ton of issues, and give a landlord notice... yes, all in a 30-day window... because if they didn't get that all done in 30 days, they would have to resign a lease for ONE YEAR, and put that house dream on hold! On December 30th, they delivered their notice... still not 100% the closing would happen. All is going well now, and we are headed to closing!

These are only a handful of the 45 families that touched my life this year. Experiencing all they went through this past year is an incredible statement to their power of faith and never giving up. So, at the beginning of the new year, when I would normally post my successes, I can only give out high fives to all these brave friends, families and clients that touched me in 2020. I saw a phrase around Thanksgiving reminding us as always, but even more in 2020, that this isn't the year to be sad about what we don't have; it’s the year to be thankful for what we do have.

So many things to be thankful for... I am so lucky to have my 91-year-old mom to visit, (patio visits and window visits alike), and so thankful that the virus hasn't taken a serious toll on my family. Thankful that I, my kids, and our family members still have jobs! It’s just been that kind of year. It was a year of moving forward in faith because the future was so unknown. It was the faith of the people mentioned above that put their trust in my ability to help them navigate the stormy seas of 2020, that kept me going. It was the faith of my colleagues across town and across the country who sent clients my way; they knew I could help make those moves for their client or family member a bit easier. I am thankful to have such great friends, colleagues, and a coach to lean on when I was not so positive. You have always brought me back to where the focus needed to be...moving forward—safely, confidently, so others could feel better about what we were working on. I am thankful for the new people in our business who trusted me and asked for help as they started out. Your determination in the shadow of the growing pandemic has been inspiring! During those early days, we had no clue how bad it would get, and how limited we might be, often not really knowing where the year was going, but knowing if I kept moving forward, others would too. I can only thank everyone for making 2020 a year that you might want to forget, but these brave stories make it impossible to do so.

Pat Tasker, CRS is a top producing Realtor in the Greater Milwaukee Wi area.  Born and raised in Milwaukee and now living in the suburbs she knows the area well and it’s a key to helping buyers and sellers move in and out of the area. You can connect with Pat Tasker on most social channels, including Facebook where Pat shares all things Milwaukee and beyond through posts and video.