I’m starting a new chapter. A really thrilling one. I’ve joined forces with Keller Williams Upstate NY Properties, and will now be doing business with a logo I got to create, ( lookey up there!) with advertising I get to control, and even some help with marketing (more on that later).
I’ve made a lot of changes over the years, but it’s not easy for me. I agonize over them. I make lists. I weigh pros and cons and I talk about it until I’m blue in the face.
But once done, I’m full steam ahead and this feels really, really good. I get to continue to work with clients I enjoy, help find them properties they fall in love with, and help sellers move on and find the best buyers for their homes. All within an hour of home.
This domain doesn’t work for me now, and rather than tweak and fiddle around, I’m just going to start from scratch.
My mother-in-law, a wonderful woman who became my friend, was a real estate broker.
“You should do it,” she told me over and over. “You’d be really good at it. And I’ve made so many good friends in this business.”
Dale, you were right — again.
I started my real estate career feeling a bit shell-shocked. There was so much to learn. I had all the book learning, but real life experience in sales? Next to nothing. I was a middle-aged newbie.
It’s been almost ten years now.
The first few years were definitely a learning curve but when I joined a very well-run boutique agency, everything started to click. I had some big sales.
I met some great people. Some of them became friends. One couple became such good friends that they came to my son’s wedding. We danced together all night and I was so glad to have them with us.
The Brooklyn invasion of the Hudson Valley seemed to open a flood of “muh peepul” as Hannah Gadsby would say. Surprisingly, people quite a bit younger than I are “muh peepul.” I like Brooklyn expats. And they like me.
My first experience was a couple I called “the brewery kids.” They weren’t kids at all. But they are about the age of my own kids and I found myself personally invested in helping them find their dream site for their dream project – – a craft brewery.
We drove hundreds of miles over a period of many months. I had one snarky realtor tell me he’d “never” work with them: “They’ll never buy anything,” he predicted.
I defended them like they were family. I knew they were serious. We just had to find the right place.
We did. And they now have a thriving business, a growing family and a cult following. I am proud I knew them when. I miss talking to them constantly, but they’ve got a business to run.
Before my move to farm country, I worked with several younger couples, all of whom struck me as people I wouldn’t be forgetting soon. There was the young mom of twins who explored the mountains with me, pausing for us both to go for a swim on a hot summer day. There were “the yoga people,” a beautiful young couple looking to escape the New York City rat race and establish a peaceful retreat in the Catskills that they could share with others. There was another couple with twins, with whom I shared the frets and worries of moving as I moved during their purchase of a country farmhouse. Another artistic couple found the funkiest place imaginable, with a tunnel to a studio space, no less. Working with them with just plain fun.
Everyone found their perfect place. And I found people who I hope to always know.
They weren’t just clients. They are friends.
Now that I’m in a new area, I’m meeting new people. Some of them completely disagree with me on politics. Some of them are older than I am. Some of them are younger. But many of them are wonderful. One couple gave me a pint of the most amazing maple syrup I’ve ever tasted — and I am a maple syrup junkie. They boil it down on their farm.
I may have gotten spoiled. Business was so often a pleasure. It may be more business here. But Brooklyn, once you find this gorgeous, affordable part of New York, you’re going to be haunted by it. And you’re going to love it here. I hope I’ll get to show you around.
Not every real estate client becomes a friend. But how lucky am I? So many have.
I have always been a reader. Some kids were athletes. Some were social. I read. And, like most obsessive readers, I became a writer.
It’s a solitary occupation, which is why real estate is a good balance for me. That’s a very social occupation.
But when I’m done, I go back to my little kitchen table in the bay window upstairs and write. It’s how I recharge.
The town I used to live in was full of writers. They even had a yearly writer’s festival. And forgive me, hometown, but it felt like a competition. I wasn’t even comfortable in our local book shop, which should’ve been a tip off that I wasn’t at home there.
I’m insecure enough about my writing that I’m just not comfortable planting my feet and holding forth on my “process.” My process is writing, rewriting, rewriting, putting it in a drawer, then pulling it out after a few years and wondering who wrote that surprisingly okay story.
I’ve moved. And my awkward social self feels entirely at home here, where there’s a bit more space, a lot less competition for the title of “most creative”, and where the local book shop not only welcomes local writers, but invites them to stay and chat about local gossip. “It ought to be a chapter in a book,” the owner said happily after explaining an upcoming election brouhaha.
What is this wonderful place, you ask? It is the Green Toad Bookstore on Main Street in lovely old Oneonta.
It’s a brick and mortar building that actually has brick and mortar. High ceilings, soft light, a massive selection of books, and (hallelujah!) a coffee shop right next door that you can access without going outside.
Where’s that, you ask? It’s three hours from the GWB, for my New York friends. It’s an hour and a half from Albany. It’s a step back in time and it’s just wonderful.
It’s very pretty in the city of hills (Oneonta’s slogan) this time of year. You could visit. It is a whole lot more enjoyable than online shopping. And if you go over Franklin Mountain and drive down a side road in Franklin, you might be able to spot me, sitting at that table by the window in our farmhouse.