Gardening and Real Estate

by Melanie McLane
Chair, 2012 Resort and Second Home Real Estate Forum

I’m a gardener by inclination. In a perfect world, I’d be a full time gardener, with unlimited funds and time. In the real world, I’m an early morning, late evening and weekend gardener, fitting it in when I can.  I am a full time REALTOR®–doing sales, appraisals and education.  One of the specialty markets I sell in, and love to teach others about, is  RSPS.  I have in my yard a perennial border with huge daylily on the corner.  I remember when it was a measly twig like stalk.  Here’s where my perennial gardening and real estate are alike: both can take years to cultivate, and both are worth the effort.

We know one of the unique things about our specialty is that our buyers are seldom in a hurry. A second home is a discretionary purchase. They can live without it. My perennial border is completely discretionary as well.  I’d pay a fine if I let my grass grow long, but I don’t HAVE to have flowers. I don’t have to invest time and effort in flowers that don’t reach their peak for a long time. But, the payoff on that investment, like the clump of daylilies, is spectacular when it comes to fruition.

Our second home buyers are like that. We need to cultivate them, sometimes for years, making certain they get information (sunlight), advice (water) and keep ourselves top of their minds (weeding). If we are patient, they bloom beautifully when they are ready.  Perennials, after a certain amount of time, get too big and need to be divided. That clump in the picture will get divided this fall—probably into at least four clumps total.  I’ll give some to friends and family, and make another border somewhere in my yard—just like how, in real estate, we keep growing our business, sending and getting referrals—all because we gave our garden sun, water, and kept it weeded. Patience! It’s a byword for gardening and for second home buyers.

  1. Hello Melaine, How beautifully written is your piece comparing gardening to working with second home buyers. I will always think of you as I work my english garden, toiling the soil, planting the seeds, watering and weeding with the anticipation of bodacious blooms from the hard work. I smile knowing a job well done as I watch the birds, bees, and butterflies dance around the blooms dropping referrals like seeds to begin again. The reward (referrals) of patience is bountiful (more closings)!

  2. Shelley Rowton

    What a great analogy! Since I love gardening and nurturing long term buyers, I totally get it!

  3. Leslie

    I really needed to read this. I am, by cellular compulsion, a rabid gardener. I liked the analogy of gardening to real estate, as I am in my 3rd year as a Realtor, live and work on a resort island on the Gulf coast of Florida, and do not have a referral business built up yet. This was encouraging to me, and from now on I will console myself by using gardening metaphors. Might not work for everyone, but it will for me.