We stood on the porch, cold and hopeful. I was the agent for the buyers, and we’d only been looking for a few weeks. The listing agent pulled up and we exchanged greetings. The property was dated and dingy, but in the right town, and the yard was charming. “It has potential,” I said. We all agreed.

She wanted a home. He wanted her to have one. This is the kind of beautiful observation I get to make when helping people to buy or sell a house.

“They’re motivated,” the listing agent had said of the sellers as he unlocked the front door for us. The list price had recently dropped and we were headed into Island winter, when everything on the Vineyard is quiet and seems to move in slow motion.

“What does he mean?” asked the wife, as we stepped into the powder room that also held the washer and dryer. She clutched my arm. “Is motivated code for something?”

This would be her first home. I wanted her to feel empowered and informed on the journey, which meant attempting translation. “Motivated means they very much want to sell the house,” I said.

When we presented our offer a few days later — below asking price, but above the property’s assessed value — it was not met with much enthusiasm.

“They don’t seem that motivated,” said the husband.

We talked about what we might do next. The house had flaws but there were things to love. We’d noted the wear and tear, the cracks, the dated fixtures, and some of the systems that needed updating. Back and forth the negotiation went, with more give than take. “This is not the house for us,” they said. “Not if it’s going to be this way. We’ll keep looking.”

“Your house is coming,” I said. “This house was our warm-up act.”

They weren’t nervous anymore. They were steadfast and determined. I was too.

In my former career I’d been involved in talent contracts for a television network in Manhattan. Bonuses and bottom lines, requests and demands, impatience and pissing matches had been a regular part of my workday. I knew how to push and shove and yell with the best of them.

Then I’d had a baby and undertaken a yearlong yoga teacher-training program. I’d brought yoga into schools, shelters, senior centers, and founded a free prenatal yoga program. I watched 90-year-olds, three-year-olds, and people in wheel chairs flex and bend. I knew what could be accomplished with willingness, and an open mind and heart.

Numbers, rates, inspections, and assessments are the bones of real estate. People and their wishes and desires are the muscle. And muscle makes us move, muscle can be flexible, muscle can grow and change.

We found their house, of course. We were not the only offer. We were not the highest offer. But it was their house, in the right town, with a charming yard, and flaws, but no cracks.

We were willing to flex and bend. We were willing to use our muscle.

Elissa Lash lives with her husband, two kids and scruffy dog in Vineyard Haven.