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There are ALWAYS Answers - 12/31/07 08:02 PM
In talking with many co-workers, clients, family and friends in and around the holidays I learned of failed business plans, chronic illnesses, personal problems, financial woes, and enough troubles I think even I could write a book of Lamentations. But you know what I have discovered in life? There are always answers. I don't want to say I have the cure for cancer or can solve world hunger, but many situations as we turn the bend into a new year do have answers. The search may not be easy, the solution easy to swallow or without some cost, but I contend there (9 comments)
Another Chance to Get it Right - 12/31/07 10:15 AM
I drive around neighborhoods a lot that I hope some day to pick up more listings in or to show prospective buyers that these particular homes are great places to live if they meet their needs. With the onset of the holidays home sales just seem to take a natural slowing down before things pick up again in the new year. It gets me thinking. I really like the slower week between Christmas and New Years as everyone is past the frenzy of Christmas shopping and prepares themselves for a new year. It kind of reminds me of a clean sheet of (7 comments)
The First Step is the Steepest - 12/30/07 06:41 PM
In chatting with others about rehabbing houses as well as staging topics, and just overall getting a house ready to sell as a homewowner or flip as an investor, I thought it was very similar to turning the page on the calendar in the new year. Before you get started on the new project, developing the plans, amassing the resources, it seems overwhelming if not darn near monumental at first. So what I've concluded in listening to everyone's lament is the "first step is the steepest." This is certainly not an original observation especially to anyone who has ever done one of those New (13 comments)
You Don't Need No Stinkin' Ruby Slippers - 12/25/07 01:08 PM
As the year draws to a close in the real estate world and life in general, we will hear those who want to start with a fresh slate make all sorts of resolutions and goal setting. Unfortunately, overriding those good intentions we have at a subconscious level a doubting voice which thinks we really can't accomplish them. Questions arise like: "I'll never be able to buy that house." "I can't sell my house in this market." "I never am able to lose weight." "I can't stop smoking." "I'm just not a good student." On and on we go. So I've summed up a (34 comments)
The Season of Hope - 12/24/07 09:21 AM
The pundits are out in full force again as Christmas gets closer and closer talking about the housing projections for the upcoming year. Talk about the doom and gloom crowd. Basically it's the same old story that the housing slump will continue, borrowing standards will be stricter, buyers will remain cautious, builders and homeowners will continue to drop prices to drum up interest. This will lead to falling home construction which will weaken the economy reducing demand for housing materials, appliances, furniture and weaken job growth for builders, mortgage companies, and occupations related to the housing industry. Blah, blah, blah. As (17 comments)
The Greatest Gift of All - 12/23/07 08:28 AM
In watching last minute shoppers scurrying around for that one more perfect gift it made me think that often what people need at Christmas and throughout the year is not so much the material of the world but something more on a deeper level. I call it the greatest gift of all. The greatest of all gifts is LOVE. You may not be able to find or afford sometimes what you think someone would like. But the greatest of all gifts has another unique characteristic compared to those gifts that are material in nature. It is FREE. Our material gifts may be (24 comments)
That Finishing Touch - 12/22/07 03:09 PM
In driving around looking at pre-owned homes that seemed to be on the market longer than normal I wondered what else could the Seller and Realtor do to make the home sell? Many Sellers do forget about curb appeal in preparation of their property. A little light landscaping can be the finishing touch that makes someone come up to the door to get to the next step. Admittedly in today's tighter market, price is king, but you have to get people to the door. In the winter months in our area, pansies survive quite well in the colder temperatures and add quite a (7 comments)
Selling a House In Black and White - 12/21/07 05:06 PM
Sometimes REALTORS and SELLERS in today's marketplace just need to adjust to new realities. You might say they need to see the world in Black and White. As in selling real estate in Black and White. A subtle, yet straightforward reminder about what just may be preventing that house from moving into the SOLD column. Sometimes this factor is the only one left to work on yet it seems like we never want to touch it until the last minute or the Days on Market are exceeding 180 or more. Veteran REALTORS know about this factor. It is so black and white when you really (7 comments)
Circles of People - 12/21/07 02:05 PM
In sending out Christmas cards this year as well as forwarding humorous email links on seasonal greetings to Realtors, Title Company officers, and lenders, I noted how subconsciously I was screening the recipient as to whether I could reveal more of myself than I thought appropriate. Throughout life we all wear to some degree a social mask. Some do this more than others, never even knowing themself who their true self is. What I noted were people in your life are like concentric circles. The ones on the outside rings are who you manage your impressions very carefully and you reveal more of (5 comments)
In working with buyers many Realtors have noted over time that the U.S. family structure has been changing from the "Leave it to Beaver", "Father Knows Best", nuclear family to many singles and other family categories. Many new home buyers are single women, either who have always been single or are coming out of a prior relationship. It is important to not think of family always in the traditional sense with the two to four kids and two parents in house but that family may be of many forms nowadays. Each has their own needs. And in this holiday season, family extends to friends (9 comments)
The updated results are in for the housing stats for the Dallas area and they still remain counter cyclical to many areas of the country in the bust phase. Home sales in Dallas have been impacted slowing down year over year and days on market like many areas of the country have started to creep up. The most counter cyclical observation is that the homes are appreciating slightly which is similar to what was observed earlier in the year. This reflected that we didn't see the big upswing in prices therefore we are not seeing a big downswing either. Many central U.S. cities (2 comments)
An Angel Inside - 12/18/07 10:04 PM
In the movie, "Sixth Sense", there's a famous line that says, "I see dead people." Well I see angels. You have too. You just have to train yourself to open your eyes to their presence. Believe it or not there is an angel inside many of the people that are in your life maybe every day or every now and then when you need them. How do I know? I know, because they are unmistakable angels. Examples I've seen include REALTORs raising money through auctions for homeless kids or kids with estranged parents. REALTORs pitching in to help a fellow co-worker down (8 comments)
Find Your Own Path - 12/18/07 04:20 PM
In listening to many training presentations with other REALTORs and overhearing individual business owners who want to run over their brethren in the spirit of competition, it dawned on me the fatal flaw everyone is making. Just because some training material says you need to be the #1 residential agent in your area, or build a team of seven buyers agents or have three hundred transactions a year, guess what? So what? The fatal flaw is you are NOT in a comparison game with everyone else. YOU SHOULD COMPARE YOURSELF TO YOU. Words of wisdom: FIND YOUR OWN PATH. Maybe commercial NOT residential (7 comments)
Inquiring Minds Want to Know - 12/17/07 08:31 PM
Have you ever had one of those days where you feel the statisticians in real estate are out there asking the wrong questions and plotting the wrong graphs? Oh sure, we have year over year sales, number of homes in inventory, average days on market, and other stuff that bores us all each month. But what about for sale signs that are bigger and are on posts do they sell homes faster than little metal signs? How about what is the trend in a neighborhood of homes that NEVER sell. Is that growing or decreasing? Do Realtors who drive a Lexus sell more (15 comments)
Try Not To Be Shocked - 12/16/07 12:50 PM
In today's turbulent real estate times, with days on market increasing, more foreclosures, tougher times to qualify for a mortgage, lowering of prices to get houses to move, we need to keep perspective that everything is ALWAYS changing. TRY NOT TO BE SHOCKED. Sometimes comps from six months back are not to be trusted as much as maybe comps three months back. They might give you a better reading of today's market value on a property. Which brings me to today's analogy. That changing times are like a computer hard disk crash. If this has never happened to you the geeks tell me (12 comments)
A People Business - 12/15/07 09:13 AM
This is my 100th blog post. My, time flies when you are having fun! Real Estate is a People business. A former sales manager said selling and customer service are really in the big picture all about love. Not romantic love, but love of fellow man and seeing to their needs. I think those of us in all aspects of the real estate field get to practice love every day with our co-workers, buyers and sellers, and partners. An interesting facet of love is you can step back from what you did during a day and ask yourself how loving were you? Sometimes (21 comments)
Whether as REALTORS or members of society out in the general public, our small, thoughtful, kind actions produce ripples beyond a single incident. I found this little story that illustrates this point.
One day, when I was a freshman in high school, I saw a kid from my class was walking home from school. His name was Kyle. It looked like he was carrying all of his books. I thought to myself, "Why would anyone bring home all his books on a Friday? He must really be a nerd."I had quite a weekend planned (parties and a football game with my friend's (11 comments)
Company Brand or Agent Matters Most to Consumer - 12/13/07 03:16 PM
I've always wondered both outside and inside real estate why the consumer in the end selects one Realtor over the other? Is it the power of the brand? Is it the market share in the area? Is it the relationship and skill and experience of the individual agent? Some say new agents are better viewed by the public with established brands. Others say veteran agents can be successful anywhere. Some models have profit sharing or residuals but the consumer wouldn't select based on that. Do you think branding is as powerful as everyone makes it out to be or in the end the (32 comments)
A Gentle Reminder - 12/12/07 09:46 PM
There are days that Realtors and their clients don't get along. Shocking isn't it? Same holds true between office workers. How about an agent and a house inspector, appraiser, or title company person. Friction can develop. Managers don't always get along with their team members. Are you in the dog house with someone today? What is it that causes us to fray on some days and not others? Psychologists say it is not just about anger management. More often than not there is pain inside that is expressing itself on the outside by us just "losing it" some days.
Are you crabby today? (10 comments)
Do This And You Might Sell A House - 12/12/07 05:58 PM
I tour a lot of preowned homes and as they approach five years or older in age many, despite their owners best efforts, start to deteriorate. Condition is all important with a buyers market that we are in for many areas of the country. Necessary repairs and maintenance will probably be caught up in prepping a home for sale or caught by the home inspection process. But you know what you really need to do if a house is priced right, marketed right and in updated condition? CLEAN IT!!! I know, another statement of the obvious, but from my own informal survey of (10 comments)
What They Really Want - 12/11/07 07:10 PM
Sometimes I've been accused of being a little too bottom-line oriented, but it is my nature so I am to be forgiven for it. With many homes that stay on the market entirely too long, or buyers that search and search for homes but just can't find the right place, I wonder what is the Realtor supposed to be? What does the consumer really want from a great agent? I think the answer is one word: RESULTS! I read some tag lines that say the "RESULTS team", or "We produce RESULTS." But sometimes they don't. There is a failure rate in listings (sometimes (14 comments)
Behind Each Front Door - 12/10/07 07:19 PM
Behind each front door of a house you drive past on a street is a FAMILY. Each family may be composed of multiple members, a single member, a mixture of the young and old, retired, or elderly, healthy or sick, financially well off or struggling. The realization of family struck me this weekend at a neighborhood gathering where a man's sister had passed away at a younger middle age having been stricken down by cancer. To lose loved ones at any age is hard but when they are in the prime of life or losing children seems exceptionally unfair. Yet behind each door on (11 comments)
Birds of a Feather - 12/09/07 09:40 AM
I have always thought the expression "birds of a feather flock together" matched up with what I saw in the real estate world. It coincided with certain demographics and income of clients searching for a certain type of housing product. It also came together with zoning areas for certain sizes or style of housing. First time home buyers would not be looking at million dollar homes. Gated and guarded communities were not next to trailer parks. But what I found interesting from a point of sociology was that the trailer park people and the millionaire people just don't mix based on their behaviors. They (10 comments)
What's It All About, Alfie? - 12/08/07 01:34 PM
I ponder the greater meaning sometimes about why people are out riding around with REALTORS on Saturday or Sunday afternoons looking at houses? Aren't there more important things to do in life like washing the dog, going shopping, taking in a movie, dining out at a restaurant? The quiz for today is if you had to answer WHY people are looking for that next place to live what ONE word or phrase would be your answer? Looking at the picture in this post it was intuitively obvious to me. Aside from being forced to buy a new place due to divorce, financial (7 comments)
The World at your Fingertips - 12/08/07 09:12 AM
The advent of the Internet around 1994 with graphical browsers literally changed the world. As web sites proliferated across the globe a user at their home literally brought the world to themselves at their fingertips. So much of all types of information to your desktop can be overwhelming at times. In the real estate world, sites like realtor.com, homes.com, zillow.com and the thousands if not millions of real estate agent, national real estate company, mortgage company, stager, and inspector sites sprang up. Amidst all this plethora of information the front line real estate agent who is knowledgeable about "putting all this together" (4 comments)
Do Fences Make Good Neighbors? - 12/07/07 05:01 PM
One architectural aspect of many backyards in America is the fence. I've lived in houses with and without fences and sometimes I wonder if we are just not staking out our turf more than anything else. The sheer variety of fences also amazes me from wooden ones that weather over time and then the pickets fall out, to shadow box fences, to wrought iron fences to some plastic like fences I've seen in Florida. Which begs the question from the old cliche, "do fences make good neighbors?" The meaning of course behind this is they have their yard, you have your yard. (18 comments)
A Referee That Makes The Call - 12/06/07 04:36 PM
I don't know about you but the Title Company business was always a mystery to me. Here you went into what sometimes were smaller type of offices with very fancy conference rooms with shiny veneer conference tables with plushy chairs to sit down and sign a mountain of paperwork. If it was a good title company they gave you a fancy pen and you might have even got to keep the pen when you were done. Lots of friendly people came in and out of the room to wish you well and one "Title Officer" would help you sift through the (9 comments)
Mooseheads and Moving Houses - 12/05/07 06:42 AM
Mooseheads and moving houses don't necessarily mix. What it really has to do with is preparing a house in today's market or any market for that matter for sale. A Realtor can assist a homeowner in understanding that the property they are offering up to the market needs to be neutral to the best extent possible and not favor one's hobbies, religion, political views, or family heritage to an extreme extent. We are all human of course and justly deserve to decorate our houses any way we please with this one caveat: while we live there. As we prepare to move on (21 comments)
Everything OLD is NEW Again - 12/04/07 07:23 AM
When talking with people in older neighborhoods some like the characteristics of their area. They like being closer to shopping or the highways or an airport. But sometimes they lament the cracked roads, the roof that needs repair, the foundation problems, etc. So while they like the idea of more mature trees and the feeling of an "established" neighborhood they also yearn for some of the nice amenities newer neighborhoods provide. This might be community swimming pools, more up to date floorplans and house layouts like two and three car garages, outdoor kitchens, more insulation etc. I point out that all that is old (10 comments)
We Are Family - 12/03/07 10:19 AM
In working around real estate co-workers, individual and team, and in meeting all different individuals throughout my day, it dawned on me how much we interact with each other and how much we truly can be of help to one another. You have a question, someone has an answer. Someone needs assistance, you lend a helping hand. Someone is weak in an area of your strength, you pick them up. Which brings me to the conclusion that "we are all in this thing together." In other words we are family. Even though the people around you may not be your blood relatives we (15 comments)
Let no day pass or start without a SMILE - 12/02/07 09:28 PM
In the blog creation department I tell others I have to be a bit creative at times to keep the material flowing. Believe it or not, for me at least things just pop out of my head. I try as best as I can to keep them real estate related since that is the field I am talking about. But some of my own philosophies on thoughts on life intrude into my blog writings like, "Let no day pass or start without a SMILE," otherwise in my opinion what is the point of life?? My point is take time to laugh. Is (11 comments)
Open Houses as a Marketing Technique - 12/02/07 12:53 PM
It seems I get so many diverse opinions when I ask other Realtors as well as homeowners about the effectiveness of Open Houses. Many homeowners swear they need them to sell their house. Some Realtors say they can be effective. Others never do them. Many factors probably come in to play with open houses. Like print media, those that are attracted to an open house most likely will buy sometime, but probably buy another house. But, they could buy the house they are visiting that day. You just never know. Then the neighbors come over to see the inside of the house (7 comments)
Can't We All Just Have Fun? - 12/01/07 06:20 PM
I marvel sometimes about the "perspective" some have about life despite their troubles in business, personal problems, or one setback after another. They just come through with a good attitude no matter what. I'm not saying we should all live in lah-lah land and not know that sometimes life rolls over us like a steam roller but it's more important you play the cards you are dealt than worrying about the cards dealt themselves. Which brings me to my thought about, "Can't we all just have fun?" Yes, in real estate, markets are shifting, but they always do eventually. Yes, clients can (6 comments)
Build a Better YOU - 12/01/07 04:46 PM
In many professional areas of the real estate world whether they be REALTOR, Inspector, Appraiser, Stager, Mortgage Officer, etc. sometimes because there are so many individuals in each category it can be hard to tell who is the cream that rises to the top. One thing to look for in professionalism is who continues to work on themselves. In up markets and down markets, newbie or ten year veteran, they continue to work to improve themselves. If something used to work and now doesn't they adjust. I call this building a better YOU. Some clues that someone is building a better you (1 comments)
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