As so many Americans did yesterday, I took the day off. My wife and I worked in the yard, began a home improvement project and generally enjoyed the respite this mid-week July 4th holiday brought. We quietly barbecued, drank a couple of beers and survived an endless onslaught of fireworks which pounded away well into the early morning hours. I’m not one given to sentimental musings, nor do I wish to pontificate (okay, perhaps a little) from any podium regarding my personal beliefs. I will say, however, that yesterday’s celebrations give me pause for thought, specifically about how fortunate I am to live and work in the United States, especially as a real estate professional.
Despite the obnoxious late-night firework explosions, we live in a terrific Seattle neighborhood. Ours is a close knit community where block parties and impromptu get-togethers are commonplace. We watch each other’s homes and feed pets when homeowners are away. When tragedy or emergency arises, we rally in support. This last winter, as a southerly storm with hurricane-force winds blew in, basements flooded and trees pummeled homes. Within minutes, neighbors were on hand with sump pumps, shovels, saws and engineering knowhow. We are no more or less remarkable than many neighborhoods across the country, whether urban, sub-urban or rural. Yet, for many, ours is the American dream.
I am somewhat of a cultural mutt. California-born, I spent most of my adolescence, teen years and early adulthood living in Europe, specifically England and Ireland. I attended high school in London, the Austrian Alps and County Cork in the west of Ireland. My higher education in hotel management was earned in Southern Germany. In my travels to three continents, I have been exposed to eclectic cultures and ways of doing business. I’ve spent significant time in countries where business and society are so stratified that for many the notion of stepping outside the clearly defined and limiting realm of a person’s social and economic status is inconceivable. Homeownership is as illusive a dream as possessing a fortune in the millions or the freedom to express oneself. Concrete laws and procedures for conducting real estate transactions may be sketchy at best; buyers’ and sellers’ rights remain elusive.
How fortunate then are we to live here where owning a house and its inherent benefits are not only a possibility but achievable? I see it as my duty to provide my clients with my very best so they may enjoy the same security and comfort I feel when I return home.
In my next blog, I’ll write about real estate matters. Today, I simply want to express my gratitude for the good things being a U.S. citizen makes possible. I hope yours was a peaceful and relaxing 4th.