This year we made a modest group of 30 around the Thanksgiving table (a much easier logistical task than last year’s 45, which required three separate rooms.) We ranged in age from 2 (my grandson) to 94 (my mother), and as always our friends and family represented people born or raised all over: New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Buffalo, Aspen, Dublin, London, Sydney, Sao Paolo, Tbilisi. As each of us spoke of our gratitude, we all felt acutely aware of how lucky we are; we have more than enough to eat, a comfortable place to live, interesting work, and a secure cocoon of love and friendship encircling us every day.
For me, this sense of good fortune reflects back onto the work I do every day. Even in this complex and often opaque market, in which politics and economics seem muddled together in a way which makes predictability difficult and deal-making even more so, I feel profound gratitude for many things. First and foremost, of course, I’m blessed by the extraordinary people who work with me. My office and managerial staff makes the nuts and bolts of our professional lives run smoothly: they keep the hardware and software up to date and running smoothly, organize and personalize the listing pitch materials, schedule the photographers, edit the marketing copy, make sure the listings show to their best advantage, review and copy lengthy packages for co-op Boards of Directors, and countless additional tasks. Our business has a million invisible moving parts and this extraordinary group keeps the engine oiled and operating seamlessly.
I am beyond grateful for the talented agents who carry the Warburg card. Every day, in the most challenging markets, they deploy fierce intelligence and deal-making skills to keep pulling rabbits out of the confusing and sometimes unrecognizable hat which has been the 2018 market. Week after week, they make deals in the toughest circumstances between bargain-hungry buyers and recalcitrant sellers. They get frustrated, they get down in the dumps, but like the Energizer Bunny they just keep bouncing back and putting themselves 100% into doing it again.
It’s hard to feel too much gratitude for the current marketplace. With transaction volume way down and prices diminishing quarter over quarter, every ounce of ingenuity and skill our agents possess goes into putting and keeping deals together. Meanwhile the whole ecology of our business is besieged by overfunded start-ups whose scorched earth game plans impinge on ethical standards throughout the marketplace. It’s a tough time to run a brokerage, as any broker/owner will tell you.
In spite of it all, though, I remain grateful every day that I am able to go to the office and engage in this fascinating and rewarding business. I can still get excited by new listings, new deal possibilities, new ways of bringing buyer and seller together at the closing table. A market like the one we are in now, in which every transaction is beset with possible riptides, requires the skills of a top agent to pass through the shoals and into port. It is, in other words, a broker’s market. The need for our skills peaks in environments like this one. I always feel grateful for that!