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Treat your clients like your kids. - 05/31/12 07:28 PM
I had one of those surreal experiences today. I took my youngest son out looking for a rental. Like all parents, I knew the day would come when the boys would move out, but in the busyness that is my life, I ignored the impending change in his life and in my life. Like a dad looking at a son or daughter's first car, looking for that first rental is personal with me. I want to be there looking over every inch of the place to make sure it's up to my standards so my son will not have to (25 comments)
Donald Trump isn't the only one who likes to say, "You're Fired!" - 05/30/12 02:49 PM
Donald Trump isn't the only one who likes to say, "You're Fired!" In my early days in real estate sales, busyness was equated as progress. As I've gotten older and more experienced in the sales side of real estate I've realized that busyness is often a sign of lack of productivity. For instance, I like to do BPOs because they help me stay involved in my market. I always know what properties are selling for long before I take a listing, and I have a pretty good sense of where the market is going due to the BPO process. I (48 comments)
Oakdale Crossing in Winchester, VA - Market Trends - 05/29/12 01:25 PM
Oakdale Crossing in Winchester, VA, is starting to see more market activity after a fairly slow 2011. The total sales for 2011 were 4 properties. The trend in this neighborhood has been slowing since the collapse of the real estate market in 2008. Just prior to the run up in home prices in 2004, Oakdale Crossing had 20 closings. The trend has been continually dropping; first because of a run up in prices that priced many interested buyers out of the market, and secondly, because of the collapse of the local real estate market. This 18 year old neighborhood has (6 comments)
Texas Roadhouse is coming to Winchester, VA - 05/28/12 01:03 PM
Texas is coming to Winchester, VA. Well, at least the Texas Roadhouse is coming to Winchester, VA. Texas Roadhouse has taken one of the last two spaces at Rutherford Crossing on the north end of Winchester. The restaurant is best known for it's affordable meals which highlight their hand-cut steaks. Their side dished are made from scratch daily. Texas Roadhouse is a causal dining restaurant with a lively atmosphere. The Winchester location was picked because of the high volume of traffic that passes through the I81 corridor. Interstate 81 passes through he eastern side of Winchester, VA. It is a (27 comments)
Happy Memorial Day from a grateful nation - 05/28/12 06:49 AM
Today, we celebrate Memorial Day. I never come upon this day without thinking about the great cost of our freedom. When you travel abroad, you soon learn that the United States is unique in so many ways. Our uniqueness is the result of the great freedom we enjoy. Our freedom gives us the ability to create, to invent, to do and to dream, to write and to speak, to debate and to disagree. It gives us the choice to live where we chose, to work in a job we seek after and to spend our money on things we determine (5 comments)
There are some smart folks in Virginia - 05/27/12 05:54 PM
Today, I drove from the bottom of Virginia to the top. It's always a great drive. As I pass the exit signs along the way, I'm always reminded of people I've met and the great things I've learned from them. There are a lot of brilliant, clever and fun people in Virginia. Let me give you an example. The game warden pulled up on Buck one morning and said, "I've got you. I told you not to fish in this pond. See that sign over there. NO FISHING!" Buck, "I wasn't fishin' officer. I was training my pet fish." "Now Buck, (12 comments)
A message from the pink princess. - 05/27/12 07:54 AM
I have never been one of those who could live in a box. My life has always been a mixture of family, faith, work and service. There are so many people I meet who would love to do some beyond theirselves, but they don't know how to get started. This little pink princess gives you all you need to know. The sign hanging on her carraige is a great start. It says, "Faith, courage and strength." If you're going to help others, you've got to have faith. You might be a great tutor. There are a lot of kids who (13 comments)
The Ocean and Life - 05/25/12 05:43 PM
There are so many reasons I love the ocean. When I stand and look out into the vastness of the ocean I see a lot of things. It's a mystery. It's a revelation. It's full of danger and peril. It's full of life and hope. It's deep beyond measure. It's shallow enough to barely cover your feet.
The ocean invites you to journey into the unknown with the promise of new beginnings. At the same time, it can be horrifying and foreboding. It draws you in, but pushes you out. The sound of the waves rock you to sleep and (24 comments)
Is anyone else having trouble getting AR to work on Chrome? - 05/25/12 07:57 AM
Is it just me, or is anyone else having trouble getting Active Rain to work on Chrome today? Actually, I'm not having trouble. It just doesn't work at all. After it went down last night for maintenance it never returned. I had to go back to back to Firefox. I prefer Chrome much more. Anyone else?
Working some REOs is like riding a mechanical bull. - 05/25/12 07:27 AM
Working some REOs is like riding a mechanical bull. For the last few weeks, I've been working an REO with a major bank. It has been one of the most complicated REOs I've ever done. Is that because of a complicated contract? Nope. Is the property entangled in title problems? No. Is it not attracting buyers? No, I had three contracts on it. Every contract has been cash. They were all close to each other in price. They all said "No Inspections." They all offered a quick closing. Some were almost at list. So what's the problem? The bank addendum. (5 comments)
You can't make this stuff up . . . - 05/24/12 11:26 AM
OK, I get a call while on the beach today. (Yes, I had my Iphone with me.) An older gentleman says, "Hello, is this Quality Electric?" In my best "I'm not really on the beach voice," I said, "Yes it is, how may I help you?" He said, "I have some ceiling fans I want to install in my house, and I didn't like the other guy who gave me an estimate." Translated: The estimate was too high. Me: "I'd be glad to look at that next week, but I'm sitting on the beach in Daytona, FL. When my office phone (15 comments)
KEEP BLOGGING - It will lead to success! - 05/23/12 08:44 AM
I'm more convinced than ever that I need to take more vacations. So far, a week and four days into a two week vacation, I have received and ratified two contracts, placed an offer on another property and accepted a listing opportunity. It must be the magic of the ocean outside my window. I wonder if it works as well from St Thomas? The listing opportunity started when the homeowner did a web search. One of his first comments was that he found me over and over as he searched Google. That brings me to my point - KEEP BLOGGING! (37 comments)
Winchester, VA real estate market continues to improve - May 2012 - 05/22/12 02:53 PM
The Winchester, VA real estate market continues to show signs of improvement, but it is in inches rather than leaps. The current market has 513 available properties spread over the Winchester City and Frederick County area. Of those 513 listings, 15% are distressed properties. That's par with the April numbers, but it's a 3.3% drop from the beginning of the year. The number of available listings have increased since April, and with the decline in distressed properties that's a positive trend. Frederick County, which has more available properties, holds 16% of all distressed properties, while Winchester City has dropped to (4 comments)
What are your numbers telling you about your business? - 05/22/12 08:37 AM
I love to cycle. One of the most important aspects of cycling for me is numbers. I have a series of numbers I want to know all the time when I'm on the road. Mountain biking is slightly different. It has it's own numbers, but on the road I want to know my heart-rate, speed and cadence. If I know those three numbers, I can determine what kind of ride I'm going to have. My maximum heart-rate is 190 beats per minute. I can ride all day in the 133-143 range (60-75% max). I can stay strong most of the day (13 comments)
A new day with new opportunities - 05/21/12 05:24 AM
Everyday is a day with new opportunities and new challenges. As I wrestle a REO to ratification with J P Morgan Chase, I am inspired by the beauty of my morning wake up call from the sun. It rises with the promise of a beautiful day filled with hope and light, and I am going to trust that the end result of this day's transaction be equally hopeful and beautiful.
We Cross Many Bridges During Our Lives - 05/20/12 12:20 PM
We cross many bridges during our lives. Some are long. Some are short. Some are tall. Some are low. Some are difficult, and some are easy, and we all cross them at some point. We cross the bridge from childhood to adulthood. We cross the bridge from school to work. Many of us cross the bridge from singleness to married, from couples to families, parents to empytnesters and on to grandparents. Some of us will be parents of parents. We're all involved in a constantly evolving travel across life's bridges. I have a series of bicycle rides I do in Daytona, (25 comments)
Strange Traveling Companions - 05/19/12 03:10 PM
My wife and I have almost always worked together. We work well as a team, and it's fun to create things together. Because we both have an interest in our businesses, we find ourselves thinking, talking and planning and more thinking about what we can do to make our businesses better and more productive, no matter where we are. Vacations are no different. If you dropped in on our little condo in Daytona Beach Shores, you would see what is typical for us while traveling. We have an office. A few years ago while visiting Florida, I needed to fax a (19 comments)
Fun Coast Rainers. Jon Zolsky, Fun Coast Realty, Daytona Beach Shores - 05/18/12 06:11 PM
One of the best parts of Active Rain is the people who are involved. If you've been on AR for any time, you have noticed the volumes of great information that is posted everyday. You can get a college level education just from reading the blogs of the brainy people who share their knowledge and experience so freely on this site. That's great, and the people who write those blogs are great people too. I've gotten to know a number or Rainers fairly well through their writings, phone calls, emails and comments. Late last year, I was able to link up (21 comments)
What can the beach teach you about real estate? Plenty! - 05/17/12 02:09 PM
I'm at the beach for two weeks, and every time I come here I learn something about business. I was watching the ocean this afternoon and I found myself asking, "What can the beach teach me about real estate?" Ironically enough, plenty. When you walk out into the Atlantic Ocean you notice something almost immediately. OK, it's cold, but that's not it. No, as the water comes in, you will see little tiny fish. As you go a little further the water gets deeper, and the fish get larger. By the time you're chest deep the fish are even bigger. If (23 comments)
Are your tenants running background checks on you? It's a new trend. - 05/16/12 12:13 PM
I'm currently working an REO where there are left-over tenants from the previous owner. He never bothered to tell his tenants that he had been foreclosed. As a matter of fact, his former tenants have paid him rent for the past three months. I'm sure he's laughing all the way to the bank. That scenario, and the same generated by the increase in short sales, has caused a new rental phenomena. Potential tenants are running background checks on landlords. Is that out of line? Maybe, but in the environment we currently find ourselves in it may not be as bizarre as (71 comments)
No storm lasts forever - 05/15/12 08:26 PM
One of the things I learned about Florida many years ago is that the weather can change in an instant and then change right back to where it was. I brought my motorcycle down when I was younger and learned very quickly to keep a rain suit with me at all times. Ironically, the storms can be over nearly as quick as they start. Today, we had the typical Florida storm. It came up fast, poured like crazy and then passed on out to sea. When it was all done, it left us with a beautiful rainbow followed by a (21 comments)
If you're going to be a dinosaur in real estate, be a blog-a-saurous - 05/14/12 12:28 PM
If you're going to be a dinosaur in real estate, be a blog-a-saurous. Most Realtors, who are not currently in a coma, know that 89% of home-buyers turn to the Internet first when searching for a property to buy or an agent to hire. The advent of blogging has changed the landscape of many businesses, but real estate has been revolutionized. According to their book, Realty Blogging, Richard Nacht and Paul Cheney reveal that the size of the blogosphere has doubled in size every 5.5 months since February 2006. Nacht/Cheney quote a Business Week article which says, "Blogs will change (31 comments)
New Marketing Strategy: Go to the beach, sell a house. - 05/14/12 10:57 AM
I have found a great way to sell real estate. Go to the beach. For the past 6 years, I've sold a house each time I've taken a beach trip. I received a call from an agent while I was on the beach today (yes I had my cell phone with me). He is writing a contract on one of my listings. I would hate to market this as a path to success, but for some crazy reason, it has worked for me. So, friends, kick back, read a book, enjoy the cool ocean breezes and sell, sell, sell. If (16 comments)
The Sounds of the Ocean Are Calling Me - 05/13/12 08:23 PM
I love the sound of the ocean. It is one of the most peaceful and inviting sounds I know. So, for the next two weeks, I'm going to be listening to it every morning, noon and night. If I don't keep up on AR, please forgive me in advance. I plan to continue my daily blog and commenting practice, but if the sounds of the ocean draw me to the shore I may fall behind on my other duties. Have a great two weeks AR friends, and I will check in as often as time permits. I also hope to (20 comments)
The Housing Inventory in Winchester, VA is down slightly - 05/13/12 07:46 PM
The housing inventory in Winchester, VA has fallen for the second straight month. One month ago, active listings were at 571, but today, May 13th, active listings stand at 486. That's good and bad for the local market. The lower number of available properties make the existing properties more valuable, but the limited number of properties available also frustrate and disappoint potential home buyers. Granted, 486 properties is nothing to sneeze at, but not every buyer will want what's available in their price range. Location may play a factor in that frustration as well. A beautiful house in Stephens City, (4 comments)
Working with the "A Team of Real Estate" in Winchester, VA - 05/13/12 08:00 AM
I've blogged a number of times about a crazy contract I've had in escrow since February of this year. It was an REO that looked like it would simple. I do REOs all the time, so I wasn't concerned at all. Over the past three months, some of the most bizarre things I've ever experienced in real estate have taken place on this sale. There were days I even wondered if this property would make it to closing, but that was never really in question. Why? Because I work with the "A Team of Real Estate" in Winchester, VA. Because of (27 comments)
When a dishonest broker is promoted, he becomes . . . - 05/10/12 05:38 AM
I have a postscript to my blog, "Some brokers don't get it. Illegal is illegal." In that blog, I posted about a broker who forged my clients initials on his changes to her contract. Of course, we got that straightened out. The broker was fired from the asset company he was working for, and my client still gets the deal she agreed to when she actually signed the documents. While traveling through that broker's area a few weeks ago I saw fields of election signs encouraging local residents to vote for a panoply of candidates for sheriff. There in the midst (82 comments)
If you want to accomplish your dreams you can't be a whiner. You've got to be a doer. - 05/09/12 07:30 AM
I'm a real results kind of guy. I'm not big on excuses and blame shifting. I don't like whining and complaining. I just want to see results. If you can't do something, or if you need help doing something, just ask and I'll help you if I can. A good while ago I wrote a blog about helping a friend make weight so he could enter the coast guard. The blog was called, "Success Leaves Clues." He had struggled with the last 10 or so pounds, and since he was in my Spinning class, we talked about it a number of (10 comments)
There's an app for that . . . - 05/08/12 09:12 PM
I had to write one more post today so my good friend, David Shamansky, could sleep tonight. It appears that I ended my day with 666 posts, and that is rarely a good number to be stuck with (at least not in my world), but that's OK because I came across something really fun to blog about. The Winchester, VA area is full of Civil War information. Our little community was a crossroads for so many things during the war. We changed hands 72 times, many of the Union soldiers in the First Battle of Manasass left Winchester to join the (10 comments)
Buyers rarely buy what the can't see. - 05/08/12 04:26 PM
I read Wanda Kubat-Nerdin's post on "Stop playing the blame game" and it caused me to reflect on a situation I am currently dealing with. Maybe I shouldn't say I'm dealing with it, because my investor group and I are moving on to other ventures. There is a property in our community that this group zeroed in on. I called the listing agent, and in typical fashion, she didn't answer the phone. I left a message. She also didn't return the call. It's a million dollar property. I assumed she would like the commission on that one, but I guess not. (9 comments)
Another Great Source of Blog Illustrations - 05/07/12 07:02 PM
In the early days of my blogging experience I had a difficult time coming up with good graphics for my blogs. I didn't want to get into a copyright violation, so I struggled a bit to find good illustrations. Finally, I found two companies that I really like, and I subscribed to both. One of those companies is Toonclipart.com. They have great graphics for just about any occasion. If you write a funny blog, they have it. If it's a little more serious, they've got it. If it's about a facial expression, I'm pretty sure you can find it there. (32 comments)
Happy Birthday, Wes Cooper. I'm proud to be your dad! - 05/06/12 07:37 AM
My baby turns 20 on May 18th. Ironically, my wife and I will be out of town during that time. So, we had a family party yesterday to celebrate his birthday early. What a treat. We have been blessed with two boys. They are so different, and yet they are very similar. Both boys are very smart and inquisitive. They are very polite to both young and old. They are articulate and well spoken. Best of all for someone with my zany personality, they are very funny. Wesley is a focused and determined young man. He started a job last (24 comments)
Making Memories - 05/05/12 08:57 AM
The 85th Shenandoah Apple Blossom festival is in full swing in the Winchester / Frederick County area. With all of festivities surrounding the annual celebration, one thing can easily be missed. It's often the simple things that people remember the most. Three young boys sitting on the grass watching a parade is a memory. The first time you reach the top of a Ferris wheel is a memory. The sound of a fire engine siren blaring is a memory. The taste of a greasy Italian sub is a memory. Throwing balls at a stack of weighted milk bottles is a memory. (13 comments)
"I always take the winner's attitude." Serena Williams - 05/04/12 08:35 PM
"I always take the winner's attitude," Serena Williams. I was watching an interview with Serena Williams tonight, and that was her mantra. "I always take the winner's attitude." What a great way to look at life. If you can keep that mindset, how many things can stop you? In this economy, those with the winner's attitude have a leg up on the competition. It helps you realize that being a point down is only a temporary inconvenience. It's not the end of the game. Our area lost 61% of the Realtors we had at the beginning of the recession. That's huge. (14 comments)
It's time to throw the garbage out - a political rant - please feel free to ignore this one. - 05/04/12 12:44 PM
If you watch the news, listen to the radio or read a headline you might think you're living in a 3rd world country. Our secret service is hosting hookers, our state department is turning dissidents over to the country they are trying to flee from and a former presidential candidate is being tried for misusing campaign contributions that were used to hide his mistress. I've always heard you receive the leadership you deserve. If that is true, our country is in big trouble. We put confidence in politicians who will say anything to get elected, we demand that one segment of (44 comments)
You can only win if you're in the game - 05/03/12 05:07 PM
I live with a very determined bunch. There are very few things my crew won't tackle, and if they're annoyed that number gets even smaller. My wife's notebook computer has been making fan noise for a while now, and this week, it finally died. Her computer is fine, but her fan is kaput. I've worked on my own computers since the early 90s, but I've been so busy lately that I just haven't had time to tear her computer apart. It was on my schedule for this weekend, but she didn't want to wait any longer. So, she went online, (21 comments)
Rusty Wallace to be Firefighter's Parade Marshal - Winchester, VA - May 4, 2012 - 05/02/12 03:13 PM
OK, NASCAR fans, you've got one more great reason to join in the fun of the 85th Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival. Rusty Wallace will be the Firefighter's Parade marshal this Friday evening. How cool is that? Wallace retired from racing in 2005, but he hasn't been far from the spotlight. In 2005, he joined the ESPN channel as a co-host of "NASCAR Angels" program. Who could offer better insights into the sport than someone who has racked up a lifetime of track wins. His on track win tally reached 55 major wins by the time he retired. That netted the (6 comments)
If you don't like roller coasters, don't read local market trends. - 05/01/12 10:52 AM
If you don't like roller coasters, don't read local market trends. They might make you nauseous, or they might cause you to get really excited. It's a toss up. There has been a minor decline in overall available properties in the Winchester / Frederick County area. The total available properties as of May 1, 2012 is 571. That is down 9 since April 2012. That is not a substantial difference in a few weeks. Short sales and REOs continue to vacillate around the same numbers as the April numbers. In April, Winchester had 19 distressed listings, and Frederick County had (6 comments)
Are you going to miss the next shift in real estate? - 05/01/12 07:19 AM
Are you going to miss the next shift in real estate? Maybe. Much like the stock market, real estate is up, and real estate is down. In the stock market, there are bull market cycles and bear market cycles. Stocks are going up, or stocks are going down. There are always segments where an industry takes a hit, hence the Dot.Com bust. During the dot.com bust, energy stocks didn't take a hit, but dot.com companies were wiped out or lost a great deal of their value. Construction materials didn't get wiped out with the dot.com companies. The market was segmented. (13 comments)
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