Gurney's Inn
August 01, 2007

Realty Takes

Handling Road Rage

Weeks ago, we asked, how do you move without moving? (The answer was stick around in one place for 50 years, remember? That answer is based on the axiom that there is no constant equal to change other than the speed of light, but we will get to that.)

Next question: How does something get farther away without moving?

Yes, well, the distance to Southampton Hospital from East Hampton has tripled (an hour and a half one weekday July afternoon) using the time/distance relationship as in light years. And like Terry Malloy's plaintive lament to his brother, "I could have been a contender, Charlie," old-timers stuck in traffic wail, "We could have had the bypass!"

I'm not going to get into how and why, because, as everyone is saying now, it is what it is, and politics and power grabs will always be politics and power grabs.

Honor is due to East End realtors who drive customers around to see properties in this traffic, and who also go to view beforehand homes after homes after homes. You've all seen those thick real estate firms' promo booklets with endless pages of houses, right? Well, they have to be viewed by agents before being shown by them. In this traffic morass that task is heroic.

Gone from discomfort to dangerous, East End driving is comparable now to Florida hotspots in season, where, first of all, no one knows what he or she is doing. They are either from out-of-town, seniors like me who shouldn't be behind the wheel, or undocumented workers who could never learn how to do it right without the risk of being shipped off.

Second of all, add small town roads not built for crowding, streets that have multi-egresses and ingresses, alleyways, crossing paths it is worse than Hobbes' pre-social contract chaos. It is clear to all as to why so many sirens are heard nowadays trying to get to the "scene," or trying to get to the hospital.

So, I admire every agent on the East End who gets behind that wheel, who does his/her job, takes on the road conditions, and, moreover, without knowing whether or not he or she will earn money. In light of the above, this week I asked people in the industry for driving tales, and also if Internet selling and buying relieved the problem in any way.

Knowledgeable broker Gioia DiPaolo from The Corcoran Group's Sag Harbor office, addressed the question: "The Internet is most definitely driving our market AND saving both buyer and agent driving time. My customer profile is young, smart, hardworking and computer oriented. The customer isn't about to waste his down time on senseless driving tours with the agent. is my biggest selling tool and I am using it maximally with narrated virtual tours, aerial photography and a comprehensive array of still photographs whenever possible. If the desired product exists, I can take a customer out and in two hours find them 'their' house."

Clearly, Prudential Douglas Elliman executive Laura Scott understands the pressures and the challenges of those selling real estate in the summer on the East End, sending this memo to strengthen agents. I love the Japanese proverb "If there is no wind, row." Here's how the memo goes (and perhaps I can tailor it to traffic troubles).

"No matter how well you prepare (how early you leave) sometimes your plans don't work. You can give it your all and still come up short because of something that's out of your control (East End summer traffic). When this happens, the worst thing you can do is resent the situation (no digital road rage please) that will make it worse. Take your licks and get back in the game. Plan A didn't work. Find Plan B (we stop here because there is no Plan B)."

The final add-on to the piece is:

1.Think of an area of your life where you've lost the wind in your sails (selling real estate)

2.Realize this is normal and put aside the past (at this point self-deception can set in)

3.Create a new plan to invigorate yourself (That's it! No more real estate)

4.Put the plan in action and, before you know it, you'll regain the momentum you lost (Quit . . . list your house for sale. Let them come to you)

5.Yes, well, East End real estate, a long haul, is a very strange business.

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