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A weighty decision. - 12/31/10 03:02 PM
Many of us use the new year as a starting point for resolutions! And we announce them publicly, and loudly, in an effort to have our friends hold us accountable, and/or to admire our success. Sometimes it's a resolution to lose weight, or stop smoking, maybe to spend less at Macy's this year, or spend less time on the Crackberry or more time at the gym. And often, by the end of the first or maybe the second week of the new year, those resolutions have fallen by the wayside. (Somewhere there's a wayside full of last year's resolutions, and a (36 comments)
With apologies to Al Stewart On a morning from a Costner movieIn a country where they have no crimeyou go strolling through the crowd like Jason Sardirubbing out skid mark grime. She comes out from the sunroom with some milkLike a cat that doesn't have a brainDon't bother typing out questionsShe'll just spill the milk again In the year of the blog. She doesn't respond to your questions As her key caps are locked up like gears And you comment that she needs some correction She's completely in arrears. By the blue typed comments near the barking gullsThere's a bluish (6 comments)
are you ready for 1 / 1 / 11 ? - 12/31/10 10:12 AM
Tonight, in the city of Chicago, the CTA will be offering a 1 cent ride on any CTA bus or train (the EL). They're presuming that some might overindulge and ought not be driving. They're correct. If you haven't made plans for tonight, then you're probably staying at home (cause it's probably way too late to make plans).. New Year's is not my favourite holiday of the year to party. It's a perfect stay-at-home holiday... why? you may ask. Well, it's one of those Holidays that if you're planning on going out, you get what I call "Amateur Night". You get (22 comments)
Mea Culpa, Mea Culpa, Mea Maxima Culpa. - 12/30/10 11:20 AM
My long-suffering wife has slowly and carefully explained the rules to me. She's told me that Men (in general, not merely me) should wake up each morning, and simply apologize for all the wrongs they're going to do during the day. Regardless of whether they've done anything wrong during the day (and if you're married, you and I both know that's not even a remote possibility) just apologize, and get it over with. Well, it seems that might be a good idea for Realtors as well. Contrary to the typical Active Rain opinion, Realtors aren't perfect ("Whaaaattttt??", I hear you say!)...No, (32 comments)
Hi.... it's Mark! - 12/29/10 05:41 PM
- Ring - Ring - ! - Ring - Ring - ! [alan answers the phone] "Hello?!" "Hi!", says the energetic voice on the other end of the phone "It's Mark!" (oh, crap.. I don't recognize the voice... but it sounds like he clearly knows me... and it's someone I should know... I'll stall ) "Hi Mark!" I answer.. listening closely for clues to his identify.. - pause - (hopefully as he starts to talk further, I'll recognize the voice) "I'm calling about [insert I wanna sell you some Real Estate Product here]" "Hey Mark" I interrupt.... (46 comments)
There appear to be quite a few of us who haven't quite figured out how to import a photograph, or graphic, into their posts. And some of those who have figure out how, haven't figure out how to do it properly. Let's see if we can remedy that. To import a photograph or graphic that's currently somewhere on your computer... click on that little "tree" icon at the top of the editing window of your post.
When click on the tree icon... the window that's on your right will show up... "insert/edit image"... (yeah, I know... this isn't really (13 comments)
We do important work. - 12/28/10 08:44 PM
I met with a young couple, this morning, for my initial interview... as new buyers. I asked them to bring me their questions... I upheld my legal obligation to explain 'agency' to them, and then answered all of their questions. They had a lot of questions about the purchasing process. How does it work, how long does it take, what is earnest money, will we need an attorney, what about inspectors? Start to finish how long does it take from offer to close, when do we take possession... you get the idea... lots of questions... GOOD questions, this young couple had (76 comments)
Dunnoboutchoo - 12/28/10 05:29 PM
I dunno 'bout choo, but as the year winds down, I was anticipating leisurely days spent sitting behind my desk with my feet up, and my hands behind my head. (or was that my feet behind my head, and my hands up on the desk..... well, whatever). Or sitting on my couch at home counting my money just watching the boob tube. But the last week or so, and the upcoming week, I find myself busier than a 1-armed-wallpaper-hanger. (no offense intended to those wallpaper hangers who have only 1 arm, youse guys work harder than anyone I know.). Showings, Negotiations, (22 comments)
Hijacking your own reader!? - 12/26/10 12:52 PM
Let's talk a moment about these ubiquitous QR codes that everyone has been seeing around. QR code... stands for Quick Response code, and they've come to us from the far east, where they've been a huge hit. They're designed to be scanned by a handheld device, in our case, we're hoping that the public will use their smart-phones, and it will take them to a website of our liking. The site can be changed, but it's fairly important that wherever you take them, that it be mobile-ready... meaning, you don't want to take them to some huge overwhelming website that's loaded (96 comments)
Here's hoping that the looming 2011 year treats you better than you expect, and that you find health, happiness and prosperity throughout the upcoming year. (28 comments)
Chinese restaurant and a movie - 12/24/10 12:51 PM
A colleague recently asked me "So, what are you doing for Christmas?", knowing that I and my family were Jewish.' "Nothing", I answered. "Nothing?" her face twisted up with the unasked question. "Nothing." "You're not going to church?" "We don't go to church." "Oh... I know... I meant 'temple', are you going to temple?" "Nope, we won't go to temple either." "Well, what DO you do to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord?" "Nothing." "Nothing??" "You don't recognize the birth of our saviour?" "Well, he's YOUR saviour. To the Jews, he's just another nice Jewish boy who made it (45 comments)
and now for something on a slightly lighter note - 12/23/10 03:46 PM
Far into the mountains, live a group of monks, dedicated to learning and following the ways of God. Eschewing worldly goods, and having given vows of silence, wearing only coarse robes, they are trying however to follow the word of the bible and in an effort to raise a joyful noise unto the lord, they bring you their version of the Handel's Messiah.
Ladies and Gentlemen, the Silent Monks. (13 comments)
Everybody hurts... sometime. - 12/23/10 01:17 PM
I found this ad, through James Dray, of Exit Realty... Thanks James. This is an ad, currently running in Australia, but important enough, in my opinion, that something like it should be running daily, here in the U.S. Especially around the holiday season, and as we approach New Year's when alcohol and driving mix so very poorly.
It's fairly graphic, but steel yourself, and watch it through to the end. It's a little over five minutes of discomfort to watch, and who knows how much pain it might prevent. Possibly for you, and for some other unknown people.
What would you do? - 12/23/10 11:16 AM
So, I'm sittin' in my car in the parking lot, this morning, talkin on the Bluetooth with Craig Rutman, who's off in North Carolina... (yeah, we tight, we tight). We're just shootin the breeze, and I notice that the Armoured Car that was servicing the bank, next to our office, begins pulling away and the back door is flapping in the breeze. That's right! The back door of the armoured car is OPEN, as it's pulling away. My mind goes into overload... I know that Craig is still talking, but I have no idea what he's saying, as my jaw slackens, (34 comments)
Only those in attendance know for certain. - 12/22/10 03:08 PM
In a recent featured post by Scott Fogelman, the subject of lockboxes came up (as it does on Active Rain from time to time). In this post Scott asked the question: "When did it become okay to give the keys to the buyers prior to closing". His post was followed by dozens of responses all of them agreeing that the buyers should NOT get the keys prior to closing. Case closed, right? Well, one of the comments, by Lanette Branch said: << I've taken the keys from the lockbox after final walkthru - with the permission of the listing agent. I've (14 comments)
Genie-Pants, Johnny Mathis, and Google Street-View, oh my! - 12/20/10 11:35 AM
I was going to come into work at a normal time, this morning. Really, I was. But as I was getting ready to leave the house, the Oprah show came on, you know the last Oprah's Favourite Things show, where she gave away tens of thousands of dollars of stuff to each and every audience member... that show!! So I stuck around and watched for about 45 minutes. It was fun to live in fantasy-land for a bit... I didn't stick around all the way to the end, where I know she gave away a Volkswagen to each member. My wife (11 comments)
Crusin' the lanes in the rain. - 12/19/10 03:54 PM
Lenn Harley suggests that you "build your network, one contact at a time. Build it with quality agents, both seasoned and non... you'll identify good partners as you go... real estate talent is all around us. Pick and choose, but choose carefully. yeah, yeah, yeah, Lenn. Preaching to the choir. And Lenn is basing her post on a post from Karen Fiddler, who posted about a mature agent who was having difficulty keeping up with technology, she suggests that his experience would be a perfect complement to a modern tech-agent... make him a partner. If the personalities mesh, a great idea. (17 comments)
Limited Uncommon Elephant - 12/18/10 10:44 AM
Earlier in the week, I published an article. where I discussed the fact that a Home Owners Association was refusing to live up to their legal requirements. I know that very few of my readers actually read the article, they just drop by to see what "header" I'm using today, look at the funny pictures I have in my post, and leave me a comment. I'm oddly okay with that. But a few of you were wondering, just what rule, just what law was the HOA willing to break. Now that the thing finally closed (at 4:00 on Friday), I can (35 comments)
Feeling unchallenged? - 12/17/10 05:22 PM
Feeling that you're not being challenged? Don't have any decent "goals" to accomplish, nothing to achieve? Watch a few of these people and they'll give you something to aspire to. See if you can manage to watch this without it eliciting at least a few gasps, and gathering a few people viewing your monitor over your shoulders. It's a feat of human commitment, strength, courage and ability. All I can say is "Wow!". (23 comments)
the Lame Duck weeks - 6.5 things you can do. - 12/17/10 09:23 AM
My last closing of 2010 should take place today, if the real estate gods are willing and the creek don't rise. (keep yer fingers crossed) So I'm just gonna kick back, put my heels up on my desk, and revel in the nothingness of those two lame duck weeks, as we head into 2011 (Ohmigosh.. can you believe it?! Two-Thousand-and-freakin'-Eleven!!) After all, there's very little business that occurs between now and New Year's (as my clients with homes sitting on the market can attest), very few buyers out there, and very little action. But, does that mean I should sit around (35 comments)
'Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the rain All of the bloggers were active and straining their brain; Their posts had been written with punch and with flair In hopes that a featured star soon would be there.
Washburn was nestled all snug in his bed, While visions of "webby awards" danced in his head. Obama in the white house, and the whole Palan flap, Surely made great fodder to write additional crap.
When out to the east there arose such a clatter, I sprang to (62 comments)
Lookit Me, I'm a producer! - 12/14/10 01:50 PM
I've had some requests (okay, okay... just the one request from Trish) to show you how to embed a youtube.com video into your blog. And I thought it might be a good idea. So here we go. Embedding a video into your blog is different than just providing a "link".. (here's the link to the video we're going to use.) STEP #1 Create your blog post... type it out, spell check it (please), and have it ready to go. Save it as a DRAFT (that's really important!!), and go to step 2 (Make sure that your blog is complete, EXCEPT (23 comments)
Fishing for comments - 12/14/10 10:20 AM
I've noticed a recent flurry of, what I would consider, a blogging faux pas, and what Active Rain considers "comment spam". A blog is the writing and rambling of a specific writer. Many articles bound together, sometime by a common theme, occasionally held together by dental floss and twine. The general nature of a blog is that those reading are there to read that particular author. Active Rain's guidelines (always worth reviewing) consider it a 'no-no', when commenting on that author's blog, to post a "link" that will lead readers away from that blog. Often it doesn't appear malicious... the commenter (65 comments)
Sometimes a good cigar, is just a good cigar! - 12/13/10 03:04 PM
Over the weekend, I spent an evening with a group of guys friends (male bonding at it's best)... watching the Bears take a beating from the Patriots in the snow and the sub-freezing weather, drinking cognac and eating too much food. It was great! Every now and then, each of us needs this type of activity... get off the hamster wheel of life, and make gutteral noises, and shout at a flat screen... tell bad jokes (and laugh at them)... eat too much, drink too much, and in good weather take it outside and light up some stogies. It was a (30 comments)
A beautiful Evanston Co-op @ 724 Noyes, Evanston, IL - 12/11/10 12:49 PM
I don't usually post my listings... but this one is worthy of a post all on it's own. It's a beautiful stone building called the Rookwood. Fabulous located only a couple of blocks to Northwestern's Campus, a block or two further to downtown Evanston.
It's a bright corner-unit, in the Historic Rookwood Co-op at 724 Noyes Street (and for those of you NOT from the Evanston area, who are reading this... it's pronounced like "noise"... it is not North Yes Street, nor is it No/Yes street), with large and proportionate room, beautiful hardwood flooring throughout... it has large beautiful casement (21 comments)
the little closing that couldn't. - 12/10/10 06:39 PM
I just came from a closing that didn't happen. The reasons were as varied as they were funny, I won't go in to detail on the issues, that's not what this post is about. It came down to the moment, when our attorney took his client (my buyer) and I into the next room to discuss our options. Among the options were "not to close". I agree, and wholeheartedly, I might add... because, as I explained to our mutual client, if we close, we give up the best leverage we have, for the seller to do what is really needed. If (53 comments)
a shock wave from Allentown, PA. - 12/10/10 10:23 AM
In my mailbox, this morning, was a shock wave sent to me from Allentown, Pennsylvania. Allentown, is not unfamiliar with notoriety, as in 1777 it was the host to the Liberty Bell (among 10 other bells) when it was taken down and hidden from the British during the revolutionary war. It's also known for railroads, steel mills, beer, silk and textiles, Mack Trucks, a little more beer, and being the main theme from a bad song by a rising superstar on his Nylon Curtain album, soon to sink into oblivion, much like the steel industry, that once supported this area. But (51 comments)
Immerse yourself in the music. - 12/09/10 06:14 PM
Sometimes all that's called for is a little Classical music. Turn your speakers on. See what mood a little Chopin's Nocture #20 in C-Sharp Minor puts you in... it's a calming little piece (LITTLE PIECE??) that just calms the nerves and energizes the spirit. In this day of Acid Rock, Hard Rock, Rap Music, Electronic Music... it's just what we need.
Regardless of how your day has gone you can feel the beauty in his music. Can't you feel yourself unwinding? Have a lovely thursday evening. (25 comments)
Congrats Karen! Via Karen Fiddler Broker/Realtor (The Fiddler Realty Team/eVantage Real Estate):
Better make it good, right? A big milestone....or maybe not. If it isn't featured (and I'm mostly kidding about that....mostly) then it's just one of many blog posts. But that's ok too....I'm close! 400,000 points! Wow...I remember looking UP at that number when I first started on Active Rain. It will be 2 years in January. I was thinking this morning what those (13 comments)
Attaboy Clarence! - 12/07/10 10:27 PM
"I love your writing-style", was a comment left on a recent post of mine. "I read you all the time". I recognized her name, she was one of my frequent visitors, but I checked my subscriber list, and she wasn't there. So I asked: "If you love my writing-style and you read me all the time, why aren't you one of my subscribers?". It seemed the clear progression, for me. ________________________ “I love your writing-style” ________________________ When I have a writer that I like to read, and don't want to miss any of their offerings, I subscribe to their blog. It (26 comments)
It's a brave new digital world - 12/07/10 09:38 AM
Last night, I was made aware that a member of Active Rain had copied my article "7 reasons why your property won't sell", and was e-mailing it out to his sphere of influence. And while he did have my name at the bottom of the article, in parentheses, it wasn't very clear who the heck the guy in the parens was, nor that the article was written by anybody other than the sender. So, I looked up the offender on Active Rain (and NO, I'm not going to give you his name), and it turned out that it was a new-ish (116 comments)
We don't need a stager, we need an Exorcist. - 12/06/10 01:12 PM
YES, this is a property currently for sale on our MLS. When it popped up on my screen it actually made me "gasp". Most properties could benefit from a decluttering, or a stager... but this property... I think it may be beyond staging or decluttering. I think this one may call for an Exorcism. There isn't a surface that doesn't have "something" hanging on it, or from it. There isn't an uncovered surface. It's literally a cacophany of colour and junk. I can't believe that the agent listing this property allowed these photos to be taken, let alone published on the (49 comments)
Can the mind disguise, what the heart desires? - 12/05/10 03:26 PM
Dear Mr. and Mrs. Buyer. We've been together for quite a while now. We've sweated in un-air-conditioned homes, we've sweated in over-heated homes, we've shivered in "unheated" homes, we've looked at foreclosures and short-sales, we've even written offers on a couple of properties, to no avail. So I feel as though I know you pretty well, I feel as though I know which homes you'll like, and which homes will bring that "disappointed" look. I'm not hiding homes from you, so your needlessly sending me e-mails saying "how about THIS one?", or "how about THAT one?" is confusing. I then explain (87 comments)
oh the weather outside is frightful... - 12/04/10 12:35 PM
Oh, the weather outside is frightful, But the fire is so delightful, and since we've no place to go, Let it snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow! This morning, the Chicago area found 4-5 inches of the white stuff on the ground... (oh, sorry, that wasn't very Politically Correct of me... the "Caucasian Stuff")... and I had to dig out enough pathways to get to the car... get to the alley, and enough trails for Gus-Gus to make it to his favourite "making" spots. (He's kinda small, and sometimes the snow gets taller than he is). It doesn't (22 comments)
there must be tons of the stuff - 12/04/10 11:18 AM
I'm dreaming of a white December 4th... oooh, crap. I'm not dreaming. Overnight, the good lord decided to dump a few inches of the cold/white stuff on our burb. I awoke to find ugly, masses of the heavy white stuff to shovel and break my back beautiful waves of white painting the trees and the neighbourhood. I gotta admit... I'm not ready for this yet. I know, I know... I live in Chicago, I should be used to this... there are areas of the country (U.S.) that have already seen several feet of snow. I don't care. This is my (16 comments)
I see you driving 'round town with the girl I love.... - 12/03/10 01:57 PM
I see you driving 'round town With the girl I love and I'm like, Forget you! I don't know about you, but I'd never heard of Cee-Lo, before the recent episode of Glee, yes, I admit I'm a Gleek, I love that show. Gwyneth Paltrow did a guest appearance on the show, and did a decent job. She was cute, perky and could sing and dance too. (I wouldn't expect anything different from Blyth Danner's daughter, would you?) Anyhoo, the Glee cast of teenagers (yeah right, teenagers with male pattern baldness, maybe?)... complained that Mr. Schu's set list was a (14 comments)
I'm Pickled-Tink! - 12/01/10 06:03 PM
allright. Cynthia Larsen, blogger extraordinaire, asked me to show y'all how to use Firefox and ScribeFire to put Coloured text into your blogging. this post presumes that you're using Firefox as your browser. (If you're not, why not?). If you're not, you can download a free copy here. G'head, download it... I'll wait. I'll even give 'ya a little "walkin' music". Walking Music. Okay... didja download that already... Good! Now, we're also presuming that you're using ScribeFire, and you've added it to your Firefox. What, No? Okay, go ahead and download ScribeFire for free (you can find it here), and attach (97 comments)
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