A month and a half ago, we had a fun kayaking trip down the Merrimack River, running from Franklin to Concord, with the family and grandkids. It was smooth sailing all the way. A great sunny day. Easy current. We even ran into 50 cows lounging along the river bend, which created some excitement for the grandkids.
This was a smooth transaction, similar to some of the ones we see in real estate, where all the pieces come together in a straight, formatted way, with the end result being a happy experience.
Fast forward to this past weekend. We said, “Let’s step it up a little and take in some rapids.” Fortunately, it was not with the grandchildren! We launched in Woodstock, on the upper Pemigewasset River or “Pemi” as it is affectionately known by locals.
The Pemi itself originates in Franconia Notch and flows until it intersects with the Merrimack River, approximately 70 miles to the south. There were only five of us on this trip, and we hoped for another easy day, with a few rapids thrown in.
We put in just before a ledge outcropping, where there was a pretty strong current, and the trip started out with nice, fast-moving water, and a relaxing experience. Due to the recent rain, the power and currents of the river had picked up, and as we progressed down our leisurely paddle, we could hear the churning, loud signs ahead that signaled, “Here comes the fun!”
During this stretch, we learned the similarities between a river run and a typical real estate transaction.
Certainly that day was not smooth sailing!
I was in the back of the pack and as we rounded a sharp turn the river flow headed directly into a bank with a fallen tree crossing a that section of the river. As I looked ahead in the churning, loud water, I saw Nancy’s kayak literally get sucked under the tree, and the next thing I know, she’s hanging with both arms from the tree, with churning water and rapids trying to pull her under, while her kayak popped up from under the water like a submarine, and rocketed down the river.
I, meanwhile, tried to ride to the rescue, but hit the tree myself, flipped over, and was heading down the rapids without my kayak, looking back, as Nancy continued to dangle from the tree like a bird.
Panic set in and I was fortunate to latch onto a big rock on the way down. However, I was unable to fight back the rapids, no matter how hard I tried. I couldn’t get back to Nancy. Her son, Sean, tried to do the same, and he ended up like me, bouncing down the rapids. Then Donnie came to the rescue and went around a quieter stretch. However, he took the plunge under the same tree!
Somehow, with help, we were able to pull Nancy off the tree and eventually into safer waters, climb the riverbank with bruised arms, and later regroup.
I’ve seen that same scenario occur many times throughout the years with clients as we navigate through a real estate transaction, similar to our whitewater experience.
The flips and twists in the road can be overcome with perseverance and some luck and teamwork along the way.
The second part of that trip was again going through another whitewater curve and hard, twisting turn. The headwaters became much stronger, and I was trying to help Diane, who had just flipped over, when, all of a sudden, my kayak went sideways with a cross-current rapid. I couldn’t stabilize, and next thing you knew, I got sucked under an overhanging tree and was caught in a branch, underwater.
Who knows where the kayak was? I managed to free my leg, then the current pushed me into a rabbit hole carved into the sandy, stone bank. Again, panic set in.
I pushed off with my leg and with lots of luck this time, the current popped me out, and I found myself rapidly flying down the river, under another tree, and bouncing off a few rocks.
That was a long, scary ride, until I saw a group of kayakers piled up at a riverbank extension. Fortunately, they were able to grab my kayak, and most importantly, me!
At that point, it took a long time to regroup, as five of us were scattered at various locations all over the river, with quite a few lost articles.
Yes, bumps and bruises, a sore tailbone and foot, but we were lucky to get through the three toughest parts of the river. Because of the tremendous teamwork and help from other kayakers who were out there, we were able to make it through the twists and turns that day, and let me say, it was a long day at that.
Eight hours of kayaking to get to our designated location. We pulled out of the river at eight-thirty p.m., when it was dark, and all of us came to one conclusion: we used the wrong kayaks for the trip.
We were using lake touring models, (long, narrow and tippy) like we use out on Welch Island on Winnipesaukee, which are great for tracking calm, long stretches of water. We should have been using flat-bottom, wider and smaller kayaks which are much more versatile and easier to turn when you encounter small rapids.
Just like real estate, you have to have a plan. You have to study the navigation charts, the water flow levels, and be aware of what difficult corners and obstacles you will encounter.
The real estate search process is fun, looking at various homes, and navigating the available real estate inventory. You will likely encounter bumps. Like a river, the search for a home is constantly flowing. The home inspection process might unveil a rocky ledge outcropping, or a tree overhanging. Be prepared for these dips. Same goes with the financing application process, the ultimate appraisal, and the entire due diligence period one will go through. It’s so important to work with a real estate professional or guide that has navigated the waters for many years, so that you can avoid as many obstacles as possible.
I know for certain that our team at Roche Realty Group, and many Realtors throughout the Lakes Region have years of experience in guiding their clients through the choppy waters. It’s something the inexperienced home buyer or seller really doesn’t want to undertake alone. Acquiring a home, whether it’s your primary, vacation, or an investment property, is a major financial decision, and you definitely want to seek the services of a professional Realtor who can guide you through the gauntlet and help you reach your destination safely by minimizing risk.
This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.