Jen Kirchhoefer


“The highest levels of achievement in life cannot be accomplished by any person working alone.” Although this originated from a book on leadership by John Maxwell, it can be used in any context. It is as true today as it was in 1624 when the poet John Donne declared that, “no man is an island,” or in the beginning when God created man — and then determined he wasn’t being productive enough alone and placed a woman by him to advise him on how to better use his time. Production occurred in abundance after that event.

In full disclosure, I, personally, need to be reminded of this reality on a more frequent basis than most. I think I came onto this planet actually thinking that I was an island. As early as 3 years of age, which is as far back as I can remember, I recall thinking that I didn’t need my parents to accompany me as I wandered around the great city of Salt Lake by myself. The police, however, thought differently. Still, it didn’t stop me from continuing to try.

A few days ago, I purchased a large sectional. Recent changes in the number of people residing in my home on a permanent basis resulted in the loss of a previously purchased sectional. When the furniture arrived, I told them to just put it in my garage and I would move it into my basement as soon as I got home that night. I arrived home late and unwrapped the largest portion and attempted to lift it. An ant can lift up to 50 times their own body weight. I, on the other hand, cannot.

I called my son-in-law over, sure that between us both we could lift it. He lifted his end, my end still didn’t budge. I called the neighbor over to help. They carried all three pieces of the couch downstairs in record time.

Last week I met a couple who have been looking to purchase a larger home than what they currently have. They determined that they needed the help of a Realtor in this purchase since the market is so competitive and representation in their purchase wouldn’t come out of their pocket. When I met them, I asked them a few standard questions about their current situation, which included: “Have you met with a lender?” “Do you have a house you need to sell first?” and “Where did you pick up that cool, blue sports car?”

The answers were, “Yes, yes, and no, you can’t test drive it.” I asked them if they were planning to list their home soon.

“We are just going to try to sell it on our own first.”

I informed them that any offer we would make in this market would have to be contingent on the sale of their home then, and in a market where we are receiving multiple offers on almost every property listed, it was going to be very difficult to get a seller to look at an offer that not only is contingent on a sale, but contingent on a sale that is not going to be listed on the MLS.

I know, it sounds like a sales ploy. It is. I do want to list their home. However, what I told them is very true. I really want them to be in a strong position to buy a home that they can see themselves in for the next several years as well. I want them to achieve this goal of theirs. In order to do this effectively, I need to help them.

They suggested that we wouldn’t have to necessarily let the seller know it was a contingent offer and then just hope they can find a buyer really quickly. Although that is creative thinking, I had to inform them that there is an actual Civil Penalty fine of $1,800 for not disclosing that an offer is contingent, so if they don’t qualify for both their existing home as well as the home they want to make an offer on, then it is contingent.

Also, in a market where buyers are making offers and then cancelling contracts weeks into the process at an alarming rate, it would be very useful to have a licensed, professional, experienced Realtor who knows how to handle that and can get another offer in place quickly and efficiently, most likely, without even missing a beat.

Most of the time — and statistics have shown for years — doing it themselves won’t even save them money ... especially in a market where you can get competing offers above list price (which may or may not be a good idea, but that is a topic for another day), if your home is listed and marketed by a Realtor.

It’s okay to need help. Despite our best efforts, we can’t do this life thing on our own. We aren’t intended to. If our efforts are to culminate in the “highest level of achievement” — and why wouldn’t they be? — then this “cannot be accomplished by any person working alone.”

Jen Kirchhoefer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at or 801-645-2134.

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