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What kind of HTML is this at ActiveRain? - 08/31/08 10:47 PM
I hate to do a blog about HTML and ActiveRain, but I'd like to spice up some of my blog posts. I can get everything looking awesome with HTML using draft mode, but when I go and change draft to public, it messes everything up like you wouldn't believe. What the heck am I doing wrong? Is this a type of HTML proprietary to ActiveRain? Is this Real Estate 3.0 that I've been hearing about? I've been trying for a couple of weeks now and it's just not working. I've even tried writing HTML in Notepad, Word, Coffee Cup, and everything (7 comments)
Choosing whether to remodel or to move is not simple, and some community legal restraints might prevent some remodeling. Still, if you like the location and general feeling of your home, you can turn it into your dream house. Before making that decision, especially in a slow real estate market, determine whether you can get more house for the money or whether you should stand pat and remodel. If you love the neighborhood and home skeleton, remodeling might be the way to go. If you are tired of the house or think that you won't get your money out of (2 comments)
Water, water everywhere, or is it? - 08/31/08 03:33 PM
As the Southern and Southeastern states prepare to be flooded, I'm reminded that here in Southern California, we face a shortage of water. Russel has put together a great number of water conservation resources. Via Russel Ray, San Diego home inspector: Here's some good sources for tips, tricks, ideas, and suggestions for conserving water. California droughts background—The California Department of Water Resources has put together historical facts and trends about droughts in California, and is a good resource to gain a greater perspective on the most recent drought concerns. California water districts and associations—Your local water district is often a good resource for (1 comments)
Are you prepared for an emergency? - 08/30/08 10:15 AM
With some hurricanes running around the Caribbean/Gulf/Atlantic, I'm reminded about emergencies not only during natural disasters, but on a smaller scale that might affect just one's own home. Do you know where the utility shutoffs are for your home? Your main electric panel, subpanels, and the main electrical circuit breaker? The main gas shutoff valve and any secondary shutoff valves at the water heater, furnace, gas fireplace, and gas cooktop/oven/range? How about the main water shutoff valve (usually at the street curb) and the secondary shutoff valves for the sinks, toilets, water heater, as possibly one located in the garage or (3 comments)
Four secrets to getting and keeping online customers - 08/29/08 10:48 PM
Two of the first books I bought when I passed the state real estate exam were by Dan Richard: "Real Estate Rainmaker: Successful Strategies for Real Estate Marketing" and "Real Estate Rainmaker: Guide to Online Marketing." (Since I was a Manager at Borders Books and Music, I got a very good discount on them.) Although the books were published in in 2000 and 2003, what they have to say is still relevant, and probably has always been relevant to any industry at any time: Get customers to your web site and keep them there. This means not only have a web (18 comments)
I like to read about lawsuits in California since that's where I work, and they can tell me what the public is thinking and why they are sueing. In many cases, they are sueing for things that I have no control over, but knowing about things can help me better address them beforehand rather than letting something get to court. I'm a firm believer that if I'm in court, win or lose, I've lost. A recent decision by the Second California District Court of Appeals concerned a lawsuit against a Los Angeles-area broker resulting from a balcony collapse. The following (1 comments)
....and that means that we start lighting up our homes earlier and earlier, culminating with the greatest lighting exhibition of the year between Thanksgiving and New Year Day, which also happens to be the time of the year when a great many home fires occur since it's also the heating season and a lot of cooking gets done for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and those New Year's Day football games. The National Fire Protection Association ranks cooking as the #1 cause of home fires, which surprised me since I don't cook. I knew that cigarettes, candles, heating equipment, and extension cords were (4 comments)
I love to hold open houses, even to the extent that if I don't have one of my own, I'll call people in my office and ask if I can hold theirs open. So far, no one has declined my request. Several weeks ago I was going to hold open a vacant foreclosed condo. I went over on Monday to check out the condo and make sure that the electricity was on and that the cooling system worked. I quickly realized that it was not vacant. There were 426,591 generations of fleas living in that 1,500-SF condo.
Obviously, I (27 comments)
Ask not what your customer can do for you.... - 08/27/08 02:24 PM
....ask what you can do for your customer. Several years ago I found this little tidbit on a piece of paper that I had written down many years previous and stuck in a music book. It's about GAPSELLS, a way to provide purpose to those in the sales profession. Since I had worked with Borders Books and Music for over 30 years, I suspect I got it at a sales seminar of theirs. GAPSELLS helps create a better understanding about people's propensities for buying and how to acquire both personal and professional growth. By looking beyond our own needs, wants, and (1 comments)
1 unwanted dog + 1 wounded military = happiness for all - 08/27/08 11:11 AM
The feel-good story of the day comes out of our nation's capital courtesy of the Washington Humane Society (WHS). Seems that Lisa LaFontaine, the President and CEO of WHS, heard that volunteer dog-walkers and wounded service members from Walter Reed Hospital, a few blocks away, were meeting and seemed to be making a connection.
Ms. LaFontaine created a program so that wounded service members could take courses in dog training and behavior offered by the WHS. In addition to the courses providing a foundation for a career working with dogs, spending time with the animals was therapeutic to the wounded (12 comments)
Government baby steps - 08/24/08 05:44 PM
Seems that Florida in recent years has become the Hurricane State rather than the Sunshine State. California's keeping up, though, with our recent history resulting in many of my friends calling us the Fire State. There's legislation now working its way through the California Senate and Assembly to require County Supervisors to verify that new subdivisions have sufficient fire protection before approving them. Verily, it would require two roads in and out of the subdivision and an official opinion from the local fire agency about fire protection for the subdivision. Now if we can just get the government to require the (3 comments)
Contest ends tonight at midnight Pacific time - 08/24/08 12:58 PM
There's a cute little contest going on at a home inspector's blog where you can get lots of helpful tips, tricks, ideas, and suggestions about lots of things real estate and, once you've read the blogs, simply answer the questions in this blog entry: http://activerain.com/blogsview/653254/All-blogged-out-with and you can win a 4x12 brushed aluminum picture frame. He'll pay to ship it to you. He taught me everything I know about home inspections, a great deal about real estate, and has helped me tremendously with my marketing, and I'm a better Realtor for it. He likes creativity, so if you don't have time (1 comments)
How Sellers can prepare for a Buyer's property inspection - 08/24/08 05:43 AM
Here's a great blog by a San Diego home inspector that should be useful for all Realtors in all states, bar none. Arm yourself with knowledge, and print out Russel's list to give to your sellers. Knowing how to take care of these little things can result in you not getting that "nitpicky" home inspection report that so many Realtors seem to dislike.
Via Russel Ray, San Diego home inspector: The perfect home simply doesn't exist. Why? Well, in a brand new home, the contractor often is not aware of everything his subcontractors do, and government building and code inspectors do (2 comments)
Can you get more than fleas at a flea market? - 08/23/08 08:12 PM
Each weekend San Diego has two large flea markets. I hate fleas which is why I have an indoor cat, so the name of the event just never piqued my interest. Last weekend I only had one open house, so on Saturday I went to the flea market with a friend. He bribed me by promising me supper if I would go with him. We pulled into the parking lot and I was quite surprised at the vehicles there—BMW, Mercedes, Cadillac, Lincoln, etc. Not just a lot full of everyday Fords and Chevys. Of course, I'm always in my company car (3 comments)
Can the Chinese do anything original? - 08/23/08 07:45 PM
I've been a pianist all my life so music stories naturally get my attention. First we found out that the young girl who sang the Chinese national anthem wasn't singing at all. Apparently the girl with the beautiful voice was not pretty enough to be exposed to the world; her face was "not in the national interest." Can anyone say "Nazi"? The latest story is that the country national anthem orchestrations that China is using at the Olympics just might have been composed by one Peter Breiner, whose compositions were used at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. When one listens to the (5 comments)
Rain, trains, brains, and rainbows - 08/20/08 08:08 PM
My partner and I have 5 TB of digital music ranging from, well, everything you could possibly imagine. So since he had a bad day at one of his inspections (see An Open Letter to Realtors), I just thought I would rummage through our database of music and see if I could find something to cheer him up (Beatles always helps). I was looking for Rain by The Beatles when it occurred to me to see what other music we have that has rain in the title. We only have all of our music cataloged through 1987 right now (we're working, (4 comments)
Is there no common sense in smaller governments? - 08/19/08 05:08 PM
A top real estate story today is about a homeowner's association in Frisco, Texas. Apparently, one of the home owners bought a new Ford F150 and has been told by the HOA that he can't park it in his driveway. Interestingly, his neighbors have Cadillac Escalades, Hummers, and even a Lincoln Mark LT which is just a Ford F-150 with a Lincoln nameplate. When the homeowner asked why the Lincoln could park down the street but he could park his F-150, they responded that Lincoln markets to a different class of people. ROTFLMAO, sadly. So apparently his choices are to move, (5 comments)
Drive, drive, drive - 08/19/08 01:41 PM
I passed my state real estate exam in May 2005, but before I joined with Century 21, I had to do some analyses of where my money was going to go while I was going to be trying to make it, so I made a list of expected Top 10 expenses: Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Gasoline Everything else And that was before gas prices rose so rapidly this past February to June. Yep, I thought I would be doing a lot of driving since my farming area was pretty big. So I sat down to see (3 comments)
Tuesday laugh session with the "treadmill kitty cats" - 08/19/08 12:34 PM
I needed a little laugh today after working early this morning with some interesting (I'm polite, you understand) Clients. I was talking to a friend and he said, "I have just the thing for you." Check out the following video and prepare to laugh yourself silly. Treadmill kitty cats I have my own cat, Zoey, a domestic short hair ginger tabby, which keeps me laughing constantly with its various antics, but those two treadmill kitty cats had me ROTFLMAO. The little black one sat at the back on the ground while exercising its little front paws. Just too funny. (16 comments)
Is there no common sense in government? - 08/18/08 09:31 AM
This morning's paper (yes, I still read a standard newspaper to help me get going in the morning—there's something about the smell of a newspaper with coffee and "green eggs and ham" that I just can't get from the Internet!) brings more wonderful news of our government's sometimes (sometimes?) senselessness. Seems that the Tomb of the Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery has three 48-foot cracks in it and needs to be replaced. We've known this for 18 years. Some generous guy named John Haines from Colorado bought a $31,000 piece of 62-ton marble and donated it to the government to use (9 comments)
Making contacts - 08/18/08 05:06 AM
People in my office often ask how I'm so successful in my farm area, and it really comes down to two things: Branding myself Knowledge The area that I chose as my farm is an area that I lived in for over 10 years, and I currently live just a block outside of my farm area. I specifically chose an area that had a lot of condominiums because I love condo living. The HOA fees mean that I don't have to mow the lawn, pull the weeds, maintain the pool, spa, and tennis courts, remove the wasp nests, etc. I do (10 comments)
Is there a conflict of interest here? - 08/17/08 12:54 PM
The headline in the paper recently is that San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) wants to raise rates because people aren't using as much energy. Well, duh. Everywhere I look SDG&E is telling us to conserve energy and how to do it. Is there a conflict of interest here? So there's a nice little green booklet in today's paper titled, "Go Green. Save Green" (Figure 1). Figure 1. San Diego Gas & Electric's "Go Green. Save Green" I understand that there might be a double entendre here in that "Save Green" could mean both money and the environment, but it (7 comments)
May I have an open house at your listing? - 08/17/08 09:46 AM
If I don't have a listing, or my Clients don't want me to have an open house on a certain weekend, I'll call up Realtors in my office to see if I can have an open house at their listings. Inevitably I'll get, "Absolutely! When? How about next Saturday? Sunday? Good! What about the weekend after that? Can you do one then, too? And what about the nineteenth? How about the twenty-sixth?"
I love to have open houses, but judging from the exclamations of surprise on the faces of other Realtors in my office when I tell them that, it's (7 comments)
Need help paying your mortgage? - 08/15/08 02:40 AM
Last year I accompanied my Clients to the home inspection where the property was vacant and foreclosed. It was in pretty good shape, but when the inspector came down from the attic, he showed us the following picture:
He told the Buyers that they might be able to find something valuable in the attic that they could sell on eBay to help with their mortgage! Several years ago, before I was a Realtor, I worked for this home inspector and we were out at a home in Ocean Beach. When he came out from under the house, he brought a (6 comments)
Ten tips to stay safe around cats and dogs - 08/14/08 01:22 PM
Cats and dogs are wonderful friends, but they are animals, so treat them with the respect and caution that any animal requires. Most of the time when I go with Clients to show a property, the MLS listing sheet has warned me ahead of time: Dogs in back yard! Indoor cats. Please don't let them out! Mommy dog with puppies in garage. Dogs in master bedroom (probably on pillows) Protective mom cat with one kitten For that one out of ten times that such information is not conveyed, or when mommy dog has escaped from the garage into the (5 comments)
How do you refer someone if you don't know anyone? - 08/14/08 12:16 PM
Many years ago, we would simply look in the phone book, some of us looking for the biggest ad, or the most colorful ad, or the ad with the most pictures. In today's Internet world, well, I don't even have a paper copy of any of the five yellow page directories for San Diego County. I could do an Internet search, of course, but inevitable a search on "San Diego plumber" brings up a gazillion bazillion entries, and to click on the returns only to find a dead link or a page load sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo slowly can really put a damper on (5 comments)
What is a nitpicky home inspection report? A Realtor's view. - 08/14/08 05:24 AM
I just read a home inspector's blog asking "What is nitpicky?" and thought the answer deserves a blog entry of its own: Being nitpicky has nothing to do with the actual documentation of the condition of the property—it is what it is. it has more to do with how that condition is reported in writing, and the bedside manner of the home inspector. I use my home inspector because he's educational and extremely knowledgeable yet has a great bedside manner, which is very important to first-time home buyers (FTHB). Even the FTHB will think that a missing screw or a pointed (72 comments)
Wanna be a millionaire in five years? How about overnight, next week, next month, or next year? Perhaps one needs to be a little practical. I can find a word that begins with the letter P to describe virtually any Part of a succesful business. However, I want the sum of those P's to be greater than any individual P, so if I get all my P's in their pod, then I can create both a successful business and a successful personal life. I've already discussed a few of them (see my previous blog entries). Tonight, let's look at being (4 comments)
Is your Clients' pet being foreclosed? - 08/13/08 09:18 PM
In addition to what Russel said in his blog, the latest animal story involves 363 animals at a property in St. Louis. Included in that total were 70 dogs, 36 cats, donkeys, rabbits, ducks, chickens, and exotic fish. Unfortunately, 15 dead rabbits, dogs, cats, and poultry were also found, and children were living in conditions described as "not fit for anyone to live in." The property apparently is about 80 acres, certainly large enough to hold that many animals, but if the owners don't have the financial or mental wherewithal to provide care, then it's wrong. If you suspect that your (0 comments)
If I offered you $1,000 for giving me $0, would you take it? - 08/13/08 12:34 AM
Recently a visitor to one of my blog entries asked me how I got retailers to partner with me in offering discounts on their services and products to my Clients and prospective Clients. I thought my answer deserved a blog entry of its own. It's not hard at all to get just about any retailer to let you provide a discount to your farm, but it's easiest to pick the big boys. Using simple numbers for ease of calculation, why would Home Depot possibly turn me down for offering to do their advertising to my farm of almost 1,000 homeowners for (6 comments)
Impressive? Impressions? or Impressive Impressions (Double I, part II) - 08/12/08 02:07 PM
I try very hard not to sell myself or my company but instead simply to be helpful. In my farming area, I do this by sending helpful postcards, emails, and snail mail flyers, with a preference toward postcards since one can get four postcards for the cost of one flyer. Here's the postcard titles I used in my first year in business; January - Happy New Year! Best wishes for health, happiness, peace, and prosperity. Now what do you do with that Christmas tree? Recycle it! See the following web sites for recycling areas close to you. February - Happy Valentine's (5 comments)
Impressive? Impressions? or Impressive Impressions? (Double I, part I) - 08/11/08 07:11 PM
When I started as a Realtor and went through training with my broker, part of the training package was how to farm a neighborhood. The basic approach was what I call the nuclear bomb approach, or NBA. Figure 1. Historical picture of a nuclear bomb test from the Manhattan Project We were supposed to pick a neighborhood and then bomb it: walk it knocking on doors drive through it every day so people could see the graphics on the car send postcards to every house put flyers on cars at nearby malls, shopping centers, grocery stores, gas stations, and restaurants send (7 comments)
Don't get fresh with me! - 08/10/08 05:19 AM
I love to list homes where there are pets, especially cats since I have a little DSH ginger tabby named Zoey (Figure 1). However, sometimes there are cat odors that need to be dealt with in order to make the home fresh, and one can't always move all the furniture and have a good flooring professional come in and really clean everything. Figure 1 What I do is make the house fresh while I'm there by putting a group of 3-5 candles in strategic locations. I don't even have to light the candes in order for the wonderful smell to (15 comments)
Arm yourself with knowledge - 08/09/08 03:17 PM
This week's recall/safety concern notice from the Consumer Product Safety Commission includes four recalls: 1. Fire and Burn Hazards Prompt Recall of Gas Grills Sold at Lowe's Stores Name of Product: Perfect Flame Double Lid Four Burner Gas GrillsUnits: About 24,000Retailer: Lowe's Home Centers, Inc., of North Wilkesboro, N.C. and Lowe's HIW, Inc., of Tukwila, Wash.Manufacturer: Lucas Innovation Inc., of ChinaHazard: The cooking chamber of the grill can melt and/or ignite, posing a risk of fires and burn injuries to consumers. Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact Lucas Innovation toll-free at (877) 385-8226 between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. PT Monday (1 comments)
Had a hard week? Think what these cats on music are going through. - 08/08/08 02:37 PM
Cats and music are an important part of my personality, but cats ON music? http://www.middlegeorgianow.com/cats.htm I had an acute spontaneous nasal reflex (ASNR, or drink up the nose) the first time I saw that and every occasionally I have to go find it again to add a little laughter to my day. For those of you who have had a hard week, I hope it will brighten up your day so that you have a great weekend. Be sure to check out my other blog entries. You can get your 10 daily comments in right here, right now! (5 comments)
Add some music to your open house. - 08/07/08 09:43 PM
You've staged your listing (or at least convinced the sellers to clean it up and put excessive furnishings in storage); advertised it on Localism, Active Rain, and Craigslist; entered it in the MLS; sponsored a broker's caravan, and now it's time for that Open House. Three glorious hours of sitting there in dead silence hoping that people will come by. Try this: Add some music to your open house.
Rather than sitting in silence for three hours at an Open House, take a portable CD player (they cost $19.99 now) and some CDs and have them playing. The music will (24 comments)
The Power of P - Part III 4. Plan. It's my considered opinion that without a Plan, you're not going to go far for any significant Period of time. The two most important Plans are: Business Plan Marketing Plan So, what can a Plan do for you? When you go on a vacation, do you Plan how to get there? When to leave? What method of travel you're going to use? When you're going to come back? You could go from San Diego to New York on a direct flight, or you could make a few stops in Los Angeles, Hawaii, Tokyo, (0 comments)
The Power of P - Part II Click here to first read The Part Of P - Part I Previously we discussed Product. Let's continue with... 2. Pride. A Pride of lions Sometimes the most difficult task is finding a Product that you can take Pride in. I submit that there might be at least one person reading this who should not be a Realtor, not because you can't be a good Realtor, but because you just don't have any Pride in what you do. And that's not necessarily wrong per sé. It's only wrong if you don't recognize that (6 comments)
The Power of P - Part I Virtually everything we do in our business careers can be described using a word that begins with P. You might already have seen me describe Active Rain as a Pleasant, Positive, Personable, and Professional Place. "Eat your peas" my mother often said. "They'll make you grow up big and strong." Little did she know that I would one day be practicing P's instead of eating peas (still hate peas). I'll share with you today two P's, beginning with.... Preface Understand that there are very few original ideas, including those in this document (other than (2 comments)
G-O-L-D! Or how to use your time wisely - 08/05/08 09:54 AM
Back in the mid-1990s, my partner gave me a book titled "How To Use Your Time Wisely." I was going through a time where I just could not get everything under control. Since it was a mere 101 pages, and had fairly large type, I decided that I could probably read it in one sitting that evening. Well, I not only finished it in a couple of hours, but I read it again. Since then, I've read it a hundred more times, every time that I need something positive to help me get through something. It's by Phyllis Jaufman & Arnold (8 comments)
Why I only recommend one home inspector, and only one - 08/05/08 06:35 AM
Each year Forbes, Fortune, Money, Time, etc., regularly report that about 80% of American workers hate the jobs that they are in. Having been in that situation for about 30 years, I understood why. People are animals, and I have yet to meet an animal (one that could speak English or just meow) that didn't like to be comfortable. When I worked full time for someone else, I always knew that I could leave home at 7:00 a.m., sit in rush hour traffic for an hour, arrived at my office at 8:00, do my morning work, go to lunch with co-workers (7 comments)
Safety, safety, safety - 08/04/08 06:12 PM
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has just released The Safety Review, August 2008 Edition. Highlights: ABC's of Back to School Safety—Always shop smart, Be headstrong, Check play areas Shop With Safety In Mind—Don't buy hoods and jackets with drawstrings; art materials and ASTM D-4236 standard Keep Playtime Fun—Wear a helmet; be safe on the playground; on the soccer field Play On—Synthetic turf fields and lead exposure Consumer product-related injuries—Injury estimates for the Top 25 product groupings Recall Spotlight—Jardine cribs Sign Up For Recalls—Get recall and safety concern notices before the local newspaper and television, and remember that not all recalls make (3 comments)
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.