June 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

The Ring Doorbell: A Tale of Three Cities

On a sunny day a few weeks ago I put on my best professional real estate attire and walked down the stone pathway towards a nicely kept house in Bergen County. I was hoping to meet the owners and have a frank conversation with them about a potential buyer for their home. I got to the door and knocked and waited a moment before I noticed the Ring doorbell. It is always a question in my mind: Do I knock first or do I ring first? The moment passed and no one had yet answered the door so I pressed the Ring. Instantly a nice, motherly voice answered and said, “Who’s there?” I responded by introducing myself as a realtor from the area who wanted to have a conversation with her. She said she was not able to answer the door right now and asked for some more information about who I was. We went back and forth as I explained that I had actually represented the seller when she purchased the home 25 years ago and we shared a recollection from the closing. At this point I assumed she would come downstairs or come from wherever she was in the house and open the door. To my surprise she responded with the following. “Yes we should definitely speak. I will be returning from Florida next week.”

The frequency with which people can live and work in multiple locations simultaneously has only become easier over time. Plus, a vital layer of connection is created as a result of this ease.

One can now remain a member of one’s community even while not physically living there. I recently read the flier from a local synagogue announcing that the rabbi of the shul was hosting a communal gathering in Florida for all of his members wintering down there. What a beautiful idea! How strong and true our attachments and connections to our communities are, so much so, that even when we leave them, they continue coming to us. Nowhere is this feeling of connection more true than in our “home away from home” in Israel. As we watch the videos and hear stories of the continuous stream of duffle bags, missions and tzedaka drives, our connections increase. It is no longer enough to wait for a loved one to come home and tell you of their trip to army bases and soup kitchens. Before a person or group even leaves, a Whatsapp group is set up so that all who choose, no matter what time zone they physically reside in, can experience the trip in real time.

I never dreamed that I could be on the other side of the world and answer my front door, give access to the cleaning lady and repairman, and receive packages … and even have conversations with a neighbor and set up meetings all while being thousands of miles away. And yet, here it was happening to me. We have our appointment scheduled for shortly upon her return from Florida. I would be remiss if this “tale of three cities” way of life didn’t come with a warning. Stories abound of customers walking out of a showing and immediately commenting, whether for good or for bad, on the home or on the people living inside only to have the whole conversation recorded by the Ring doorbell, potentially having their words used against them at a later time! Buyer beware!

Nechama Polak is the broker of record and owner of V&N Group LLC located at 1401 Palisade Avenue in Teaneck. Send your thoughts and comments to [email protected] or call 201 826 8809.

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