Life for Rent

We have a listing at the real estate office that the seller decided to offer for rent about a month and a half ago. My boss doesn’t do a whole lot of work with rentals, and I understand why because rentals are a lot of work for not much return. Some of those clients will eventually become buyers, of course, so it’s still important to cultivate those relationships, but I think for every future buyer we work with on a rental, there’s probably at least four or five that either don’t sign through us or make so much work that the half-month’s rent we get from the property owner doesn’t even begin to cover the expenses of showing and administrative work.

In any case, this particular property has drawn at least a dozen inquiries but no lease. People end up wanting more bathrooms, or a bigger yard, or a lower monthly rent. But to anyone who inquires about renting our listing, we also send other properties that might meet their needs. And sure enough, some of them sign on one or the other of those properties. But our listing remains empty.

I’m starting to feel a bit like that house. People come into my life for a little while, and then move on to greener pastures and the rest of their lives. And every time someone moves out, there’s a little bit of mess to clean up, of course, but I’m to the point now of just resigning myself to being passed by. Maybe that’s the only security I can ever have, to stay rooted where I am, welcome new folks into town, and then wave goodbye and wish them well when the time comes. Despite it all, I do count myself richer for all the life I’ve lived, especially in the last year, so even the eventual loss is not an utter disaster, to paraphrase my heroine Elizabeth Bishop.

We also have a listing (call it House A) that was originally in contract with another one of our sellers, but they weren’t able to sell their house (call it House B) in time to close on House A. This week House A received another offer, and House B showed several times with the same agent. But there was no offer forthcoming. We waited, and waited, hoping our people in House B would still get to close on House A. Time ran out, though, and the owners of House A accepted the new offer and will move toward closing before the end of the month. I feel badly for our clients in House B, but if I’ve learned nothing else in my brief time in this business (and life in general), it’s to hold everything lightly. We may show a house 25 times before the first offer, or the first person through may write on it, pay cash, and close within a week. But I believe that there’s something for everyone, and everyone eventually ends up where they belong for that season in their life. I am…slowly, grudgingly entertaining the possibility that maybe I am included in that…but I also won’t grieve overmuch if my life is merely for rent.

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