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Living History - 04/30/08 02:45 PM
I just listed an absolutely amazing house! It’s “Rosedale Cottage”, and I feel totally honored to have been selected to market this place. It's built on property whose ownership dates back to 1793. George Washington’s aide-de-camp, General Uriah Forest, built his home on what he called the Rosedale estate, a farm of about 1000 acres. His large farmhouse was the first dwelling in one of Washington's chicest neighborhoods, now known as Cleveland Park. While the date of the cottage’s construction is not established, it was probably built around the turn of the century (though we're not certain which one), and served (20 comments)
It Was Almost “Marry Old And Ugly For Money” Good! - 04/30/08 09:15 AM
A couple of weeks ago, I did a post on the rating system I use for high-end homes that are for sale in the Washington market. Today on tour, a favorite colleague and I decided to take a look at a house priced in the high $3 millions. It sounded great, like the kind of house that a senior partner in a major law firm would want to impress colleagues and clients. And one never knows when that senior partner will wind up in the front seat of one's Lexus! So my friend and I, being the good Girl Scouts that (13 comments)
What A Gray, Lazy Day! - 04/28/08 08:04 PM
This was one of those days when I had almost no energy at all. So I spent the whole day (almost) goofing off. I played Snood (a dangerously addictive computer game) and played with Willie the hyper-active Labradoodle puppy. Then I caught up on some of my blog reading and comments. And yeah, I felt a little guilty. This was not a planned day off, and my to-do list, at least most of it, is going to be staring me in the face tomorrow. And I have to wonder, does it make any sense to try to interact with clients (30 comments)
A Little Reminder To All You Telemarkers Out There - No Matter What You're Selling - 04/26/08 10:57 AM
Real estate agents are covered by the"Do Not Call" list. Under most circumstances, we can't even call a FSBO with a yard sign inviting everyone else in the world to call for information. So why does my cute little Blackberry, with a number that's been on the list since Day One, get calls with peope on the other end doing this? It rings. I pick up, although I don't recognize the number. I mean, ya never know! "Hi, do you have a minute?" "That depends," I reply, knowing what's probably coming and wanting to sound not too bitchy up front. (23 comments)
It's Time To Change Those Virtual Tour Photos! - 04/26/08 08:36 AM
Here in DC, it hasn't snowed a whole lot this winter. But yesterday, as I was looking out my office window at the blooming azaleas and dogwoods, I found a virtual tour for a hugely expensive house, and there was snow on the ground from - last December? Even the ice bridge to Erid Kodner's Madeline Island has melted! So it's time for us to melt the ice on or winter vitural tours, especially if we live someplace where everyone really remembers that day it snowed way back when! On the east coast, it's a great time to update exterior photos (14 comments)
Architectural Statements - 04/24/08 09:14 PM
The house at the right is in a neighborhood in Bethesda, right across the DC line in Maryland. It's neighbors are pretty architecturally diverse, but typical of homes built between 1930 to 1955. Some of them can be described on the MRIS profiles as "farm houses" and some are bungalows, a few cottages and, yes this place, which falls under "other". It is the infamous "Mushroom House". I've driven by it lots of times showing other houses in the neighborhood, and my buyers have not generally thought of as a selling point. And I have to wonder, what were the (22 comments)
The Spring Market - 04/24/08 07:50 AM
Here in Washington, lot of people (encouraged by their agents) put their homes on the market during the month of April. And there's a reason. Here in our nation's capital, almost every tree and puts out beautiful blossoms during the month of April. There are the famous cherry trees down by the tidal basin, and there are trees in almost everyone's front yard. In April, Washington is, I think, at it's best. It's the time of the year when you don't mind walking the dog because you see amazing combinations of dogwoods, redbuds, cherry trees and azalea bushes. I especially love (11 comments)
Cousin Itt, Where Are You? - 04/24/08 06:37 AM
Yesterday, I was checking out stuff in my neighborhood on our MLS. And Oh! My! God! There was a house that I’d missed! A stone Tudor, circa 1925, listed by Eddie Dugas, one of my absolutely favorite colleagues. And the price was in the five hundreds – the price of a hovel in this neighborhood. And this was not a hovel. Was it?OK, there was a catch. The MLS information said it was funky in the extreme. But that’s fine. I know someone who thinks that funky is good! That would be master renovator, Henry Canby. He waves his magic toolkit (16 comments)
What's Wrong With This House? - 04/22/08 10:47 PM
I saw a really pretty house today. It had fabulous curb appeal, and a location in one of DC's favorite neighborhoods on a tree-lined street. The kitchen had been expensively renovated, the hardwood floors gleamed, and the bathrooms were even nicer than mine. The staging was perfect, because it didn't look staged - you'd think these people were great housekeepers with fabulous taste. And the price was up there, but certainly not too high to put off a buyer - maybe more than one. But - yes there was a "but". No. There were butts! Cigarette butts. They weren't out in (33 comments)
The Advisory Board - 04/21/08 11:28 AM
Like most real estate agents, I have mixed feelings when my buyers bring someone along on a house hunting trip. On the one hand, the helpers probably know a lot less about real estate than I do. They may, however, know a lot more about the buyer than I do. When this happens, it's important to me to know something about this person. Is this a family member, a fiance or fiance wanna be? How long has she known the buyer? What exactly is the relationship? When there is an extra person or two along for the ride, I try to (52 comments)
Are These Folks Looking For The Same House? - 04/20/08 05:13 PM
We've all heard it said that when a marriage is in trouble, the Realtor is often the first to know. I think there is something to it! One of my favorite things about working with a "good" couple is the way they negotiate the differences in their Dream House. One loves mid-century modern and the other is turned way on by an old Victorian with a wrap-around porch. Or maybe one loves the vibrancy and excitement of being right down town, while the other dreams of a couple of acres with a pool and room for a pony. So our challenge (17 comments)
Home Improvement - 04/19/08 10:11 PM
Once again I hear the sound of happy music coming from a boombox in what's about to be my new master bedroom. Since I bought my house a long time ago, the walls have been a little quirky. The sweet little old lady who lived here for many years liked wallpaper. She put it everywhere - every wall and ceiling in the house. The next owners didn't care for it , so they covered it with a bunch of paint - probably lead based. So now, the seams are showing and the ceilings, especially on the second floor, are starting to (17 comments)
Stating The Obvious - 04/19/08 04:44 PM
When I got my real estate license back in the early 80's, it was a strong buyers market. Still, at the Shannon & Luchs Academy of Real Estate, the focus was on listings. Lots of listings. But nobody told us how to get them sold, because not much was selling - interest rates were creeping down from 18 1/2 percent. It was pretty bleak. And when I set up shop in my new office, I got listings. They did sell eventually, but I'd never worked so hard for a paycheck in my life! Then I discovered something. It was a buyers' (16 comments)
Are You A Lurker? - 04/19/08 04:01 PM
When your home is on the market, there are two important things you have to be ready to do at the drop of a hat. The first is to let agents and their clients in without having to give you a lot of notice. Make it easy, they will come. Make it complicated and they won't bother - there are lots of houses to choose from. The second is to GET OUT! Don't lurk! Scram! Vamoose! Today, one of the houses I showed had sellers who seemed like lovely people. I rang the bell (I always ring the bell, (14 comments)
Black Eyed Susans - 04/18/08 06:50 PM
Yesterday at Pimlico, i had my first sip of Black Eyed Susan, their answer to mint julips, the traditional drink of Churchill Downs. Now, I love mint julips, but that little taste of Black Eyed Susan was truly the nectar of the gods. So, I searched Google with no luck for the recipe. But I have more good luck than many people. My cousin, Patrick Noon, is a bartender. Not just any bartender. When Patrick worked at Murphy's Pub in Woodley Park, we was named Washingtonian Magazine's Irish Bartender of the Year! And a few minutes ago, out of nowhere, (16 comments)
Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore was my maternal Grandmother's haunt until she was into her 90's. She had people follow her to the betting window, trying to eavesdrop of her conversation with the clerk - what were her picks? She probably won enough to have to declare it on her tax returns.
Today was the 2008 opening of Pimlico, and so I met up with my sister and my mom and headed for the races. Could I channel my grandmother? Did I have the gift or intuition to pick winning horses? So we passed through the gates, grabbed a (10 comments)
A Day Of Milestones On Active Rain! - 04/16/08 04:59 PM
As I read through and commented on some of the many blogs I subscribe to, I noticed that today seemed to be filled with milestones.Lenn Harley reached a huge 400,000 points! Way to go Lenn! Then Todd Clark wrote that he made it to 300,000. Finally, Diane Bell hit the big 100,000. So I decided to celebrate my little breakthrough! Some time in the middle of the night, I crept up to and passed the 200,000 mark. Man, that’s a bunch of blogging! And, it ‘s been a lot of fun. I’ve made so many new friends, both on line and (31 comments)
A Warm Welcome To A Favorite Colleague - 04/15/08 08:54 PM
I am remiss as a blog buddie! A few weeks ago, I invited a favorite colleague, Catarina Bannier, to check out Active Rain. She accepted my invitation and a few days later wrote her first post, and she got so excited. She started to get comments from people! Today, she put up Post Number 6, Emotional, Irrational, Out of Her Mind - When the Seller is Her Own Agent, and and it's a fun read. So this is my formal introduction - although some of you have already met her. Please welcome my good friend, Catarina, to blogging. She passes (32 comments)
I Am So Proud Of Myself! - 04/15/08 06:06 PM
I just walked in the door. It is way before midnight on Tax Day, and my returns are totally complete and in the mail! This is the first time in about 25 years that I haven't filed for an extension! It's also the first time that I actually paid my quarterly taxes, so I didn't have to send the IRS any more money (including a fine)! And it's the first time I did my returns without benefit of a tax attorney. For me, the hardest part was gathering all of the credit card and bank statements, and then I had to (21 comments)
I Love Tuesdays! - 04/14/08 10:14 PM
Tuesday is about the favorite day of my real estate week. It starts at the office with our weekly meeting. And our broker, Donna Evers, actually holds a really interesting meeting. It’s informative and fun with bagels and Danish and good coffee. Oh, and did I mention good information about the market, changes in the laws and anything else we need to know.Then we move on to a couple of “pricing parties” where we help each other to figure out the magic number for listings that are coming on the market.After that, we hit the streets for the brokers’ opens, usually (22 comments)
He's A Whole Different Dog! - 04/13/08 10:22 PM
“What did you do to my dog?” I asked.Willie, the adorable hyper-active-Labradoodle puppy came home yesterday. He’s been staying at my sister, Bairbre’s, doing a bit of a boot camp with her handsome dog-whisperer boyfriend. OK, he’s not quite a Stepford doggy, but he’s a lot closer than he was a couple of months ago! And they took him to a groomer who brought out the poodle – he looks quite handsome.He no longer dashes around the house chasing cats. I actually let him have the run of the house while I ducked out to do an Open House this afternoon. (26 comments)
My Doing My Own Taxes Is As Silly As My Tax Guy Selling His Own House! - 04/12/08 09:30 PM
There are a couple of things in life that are especially complicated. One is a real estate transaction. The other is a federal income tax form, at least if you are a real estate professional who rents our her basement apartment. The past few days, I should have been working on a new listing and previewing stuff for my buyers. But no. I'm wading through TurboTax, and while it isn't all that bad, it seems a lot more complicated than I thought it would be. So I'm sort o the equivalent of a FSBO, and TurboTax, while a great product, (28 comments)
I Should Be Working on Taxes Instead of Blogging! - 04/11/08 10:49 AM
I am a pathetic blogahaulic! Here I sit at my trusty Mac with the TurboTax disc staring me in the face. And what am I doing? Well, that's pretty obvious! I'm blogging! Have been for the last hour. Buy, hey! The day is young! It's still morning, and I have all afternoon before i have to show up and celebrate the week with my friends and neighbors. But if I fool around all afternoon, then get loopy with my buddies, then come home late and rev up TurboTax... hmmm. BWL (Blogging While Loopy) is one thing. But DTWL could wind (21 comments)
OK, All You Buyers! It’s Your Turn! - 04/10/08 05:26 PM
Are you one of the buyers who got scared off when you stuck your toe in the water of the DC real estate market a couple of years ago? You thought it was just nuts, right? You’d find a place you liked, then your agent would explain that, in order to get it, you’d have to bid a gazillion dollars over the asking price, forget a home inspection or any of the basic buyer protections in the boilerplate contract. Get out the pen and straight edge and ex those little suckers right out!But even if you were willing to pay way (10 comments)
More Real Estate Bad Guys! - 04/10/08 11:39 AM
No, I'm not talking about other agents or incompetent or unscrupulous lenders. I'm talking about members of the esteemed public. Well, maybe not esteemed!Last night on the late news, there was an item about a theft ring that had been busted. They showed the face of a young woman who had just been arrested, and she could have been one of our clients. She looked like a sweet kid - NOT! This fresh-faced cutie worked for a moving company. She helped out a little by using her position to figure out where their clients lived and made appointments with agents or (14 comments)
Tax Time - UGH! - 04/10/08 01:43 AM
This year, for the first time in years, I've decided to just use TurboTax. My tax guy retired. He said he just fed my stuff to TurboTax and voila!I don't really mind paying taxes, but I hate getting everything ready to go. So for the next few days, I'll be mostly locked in my house until they're done. I'll allow myself to blog a bit during breaks, but mostly I'll be pulling it all together. And my my sister is on standby to help if I freak out.And then, there is always the form to file for an extension for a (13 comments)
Getting The Word Out - 04/09/08 11:41 AM
We can blog and bitch about the kind of media coverage the real estate market is getting these days, or we can take the bull by the horns and try to provide input of our own. But how? What are the basics of what it takes?What’s your message?Before you call any reporter, you have to have something to say, or you’ll sort of make yourself look goofy. So craft a message. Let’s say that the media in your area has a lot of stuff that doesn’t reflect what’s really going on. You want to play a part in getting the story, (14 comments)
Playing From The Heart - 04/08/08 10:07 PM
When I was studying flute in New York, I played a movement of a Bach Sonata for my teacher, and it sounded beautiful – a lot better than my usual semi-prepared performance. And he said something that stuck with me. “You played that from your heart,” he said.Wow!And since then, I’ve noticed that really great performers, whether they are dancers, musicians, athletes or actors who are really fabulous, it’s about their energy. They perform all out – from the heart.Real estate isn’t all that different. We are performers. We perform at Open Houses, listing appointments and contract presentations. And when we (25 comments)
The Media Savvy Agent - 04/08/08 07:46 PM
There's been a lot written on Active Rain about the dismal, and occasionally inappropriate, news coverage of our industry. So is this the time for each of us to do out part to take back the media - to control the story? And how do we do it? When I moved to Washington, it was to take a job harassing airlines and a bunch of federal agencies that regulated them. And pretty soon, I realized that an important part of my job was going to be handling press and media inquiries and giving interviews about airline consumer woes. There was little (18 comments)
I Just Love Dancing With The Stars! - 04/07/08 10:28 PM
Let me start by saying that I’ve never been a great dancer. The twist, the monkey, or the frug maybe. But forget he waltz, two-step, tango, mambo or anything with actual steps. And I have a new Monday night ritual which includes watching Dancing With The Stars. And it’s not just about the dancing.Kristi Yamaguchi started off this evening’s competition with her usual grace and mastery – qualities that I’ve admired since I watched her as a teen ager skate her way to Olympic Gold. Then, Priscilla Presley, who is almost as old as I am, wowed me with a Viennese (17 comments)
Beer Taste, Champagne Budget - 04/05/08 10:00 PM
Throughout my career, I've loved helping first time buyers find really great homes. And throughout the years, I've managed to locate many neighborhoods, sometimes off the beaten track, that provide great houses reasonably close to town, sometimes even in the District, that a first-timer can afford. So a couple of weeks ago, I got a call from a wonderful old friend, a journalist, who finally has the financial wherewithal to buy his first place! He can qualify for enough to buy something pretty nice, or so I thought. He likes Capitol Hill, which has some pockets of smaller, usually renovated, houses (14 comments)
An Interesting Look At Foreclosures - 04/05/08 09:19 PM
This afternoon, I attended a party that my across the street neighbor threw for a bunch of her colleagues at National Public Radio. And one of them, Nora Rom, does newscasting when she isn't working as a bankruptcy lawyer. And, as one might expect, there was a lot more than pleasant party banter at this gathering. A large part of her practice is with people who are in financial trouble from their pursuit of the American dream. Many are immigrants who really did not understand what they were getting into. Many were victimized by their own countrymen, who arranged shaky deals, (6 comments)
Or are you?On my way home from work, my cell phone rang. It was an old friend and colleague who had some issues.“I’m having a mid-life career crisis,” he said.But wait! This guy just celebrated his 65th birthday! He’s even older than I am! He can go on Medicare!So tonight, I had dinner with a mutual friend of this guy and mine who’s our junior by a bunch of years.“Eighty!” she said. It seems that the mid life crisis threshold has gone up.So, I wanted to suggest that he get a real estate license, but he really doesn’t want to (14 comments)
I Freaked Out A Cat Today! - 04/03/08 11:11 PM
One of my colleagues came into the office from a previewing morning raving about a house she had just seen in American University Park, a popular Washington, DC neighborhood. It sounded like something one of my buyers might like, so I hightailed it over there with another agent from my office. The showing instructions said to call the sellers, leave a message and use the lockbox. We did just that. Unfortunately, when I got the key out of the lockbox, I didn't notice the wadded up note explainig that the alarm is turned on, and this is the code. Oops! (31 comments)
Looking At The Florida Market From Washington, DC - 04/02/08 11:10 PM
Tonight, “Nightline” did another real estate special, linterviewing a cute couple with kids who invested in the South Florida condo market in 2004. And now they own a house and a few condos with upside-down mortgages.So, right now, they are struggling. But, wait! These are properties in a market that will, one of these days, appeal to people like me – baby boomers with bad knees who might want to move someplace warm sometime within the next five to eight years.Like many of my contemporaries, I’ll be thinking about a place with no ice so I don’t have to worry about (19 comments)
House Karma? - 04/02/08 10:30 PM
When my first (and favorite) ex-husband and I were looking for a house, the market was almost as funky as it is now. It was the early 1980’s. Interest rates had crept down from 19 to about 14 percent, and it was a strong buyers’ market.I was a new real estate agent, and I came across a couple of places that were distress sales – the wolf was at the sellers’ doors. And first ex explained that if we took advantage of someone else’s bad fortune, we would amass bad house karma.Huh?So, I have to wonder. Today, we’re looking at a (6 comments)
So Here's One Good Reason To List With An Agent Who Lives Nearby! - 04/01/08 07:27 PM
Once many years ago, I called a listing agent on my cell phone, a tiny bit huffy because the freakin door to her listing wouldn't open. She came over immediately, took the key from me, put it in the lock, turned it and the door flew open. Huh? I had struggled for fifteen minutes. This was embarrassing, and in front of clients, too. So, tonight, karma caught up with me! A favorite colleague called from one of my listings insisting that the top lock must be locked, and the key for it wasn't in the lockbox. I explained that the (23 comments)
Pat Kennedy -- author of The Irreverent Guide to Real Estate -- gives you a look at life on the streets as a real estate broker in our nation's capital. And her blog is peppered with great advice combined with humor!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.