the Lame Duck weeks - 6.5 things you can do.

Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker Residential

My last closing of 2010 should take place today, if the real estate gods are willing and the creek don't rise. (keep yer fingers crossed)

So I'm just gonna kick back, put my heels up on my desk, and revel in the nothingness of those two lame duck weeks, as we head into 2011 (Ohmigosh.. can you believe it?!  Two-Thousand-and-freakin'-Eleven!!)  After all, there's very little business that occurs between now and New Year's (as my clients with homes sitting on the market can attest), very few buyers out there, and very little action.

But, does that mean I should sit around with my feet up, my hands behind my back and a Macanudo in my teeth? (That's right Lawrence, I said Macanudo).  Of course not, there's still plenty to do.

1) this would be a good time to go through your files from 2010.  Clean them up (throw away any duplicates in the files, and get rid of any part of the file that you don't need to archive).

2) If you're planning on entering the 21st century any time soon, you might take those completed files from #1 and SCAN them into your computer, and then put them on a CD.  You can probably fit your entire 2010 on a single CD (don't just trust them to your computer hard-drive... that would be a biiiiig mistake), and for those of you lucky enough that you can't fit them on a single... put them on TWO CDs.

3) Shred old, sensitive materials.  Chances are your office has a shredder, make use of it.  Don't just throw those papers from numbers 1 & 2 into the trash where they could become fodder for identity thieves... especially since some of those files, might have a social security number on them... shred them.  If you want to do an office-wide shredding party, there are companies that will bring a truck-sized shredder to your parking lot and shred for you in bulk. 

If you really want to be community-minded.... hire the bulk-shredder, and open it up to your community (as a community service)... ie: "Bring your sensitive documents to our parking lot on Sunday from 2-4:00, and we'll shred your documents for free! 

4) Excellent time to put your sphere-of-influence, or mailing lists in order.  This is what Brian Buffini talks about when he discusses his A, B, and C people.  Who sent you business this year?  Who din't!  Shuffle, shuffle toil and trouble...  or something like that.

5) Great time to connect with existing and past clients.  Phone them, e-mail them, text them, show up face-to-face.  If you're one of those drop-by people, drop by!  Try to stay out of their way during Christmas, though... lessn't they're not Christian, and then they'll probably be happy to see you.

6) Clean your desk.  That's right, that piece of wood hiding behind those heaps and piles of paper.  Nothing makes you feel better than pulling the big trash-can out, and reorganize your drawers, and make that shiny wood surface visible again.  Besides, nothing gets your manager's adrenaline going more than when she walks by your desk as you're cleaning things out... and she says, wide-eyed
    "What're you doin'?"
    "Just cleaning my desk out"
(try to look grumpy).
    "Cleaning your desk out?  Any particular reason?"
    "I've decided to take my license across town to our competition... 'cause I don't like the coffee we have in the kitchen"

Nah... don't say that... the wide-eyed look is enough... don't torture her, she's had a tough year, too.

If you feel like taking on a bigger project, try cleaning out your TRUNK... (I know, I know... it makes me shudder, too... I'll wait 'till spring!)

7) Write a blog-post telling folks what they can do with those last two weeks of the year, and post it on Active Brain.... oh, wait... ignore that... that one's mine!

I'm sure there are more things you can think of to do in these two weeks... but I'm tired (yawwwwn), I'm gonna put my feet up and take a nap.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate, 1710 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
847.425.3779      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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lame duck weeks

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Charita Cadenhead
Keller Williams Realty - Birmingham, AL
Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama)

Alan  like your list much better than mine for these last 2 awkward weeks of the year.

Dec 17, 2010 02:20 AM #16
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience

I think I will bathe in Egg Nog and nap endlessly as my eyes are tired from staring at all the twinkle lights.

Productivity of this sort is highly overrated!

Happy Holidays, Alan!

Dec 17, 2010 02:35 AM #17
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Great ideas for the lame duck weeks ahead, Alan. One thing I like to do is burn a disc of all the closing documents from my closed transactions. On it I also create a label of the purchased or sold home (complete with all my contact information), include the visual tour I made, and a thank you letter too. I mail it to my clients once completed.

Dec 17, 2010 02:36 AM #18
Steve Loynd
Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., - Lincoln, NH
800-926-5653, White Mountains NH

Alan, I have two closings today and two next I'm not ready for file clean up yet...but your list will be part of of my New Years resolution.

Dec 17, 2010 02:37 AM #19
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Malcolm - a nice fresh clean desk... (I am SO unfamiliar with the concept)

Virginia - stay away from them... they'll drag you down to their level.

Charita - feel free to partake.

Jenna - baby!  nice to see you back... the egg nog bath is an idea that could take off!

Craig - that's a great idea... I love it... put the HUD on there... perfect!

Steve - well, some of us iz biz-zay-er than others, come the end of the year... good for you... I think you have a valid reason to wait till post-hangover to attempt the list.

Dec 17, 2010 02:43 AM #20
Elizabeth Arduain
The Diamond Group @ Keller Williams - Lubbock, TX
Lubbock Texas Real Estate

All good assistant likes the clean up part........she always thinks its springtime.  Still have 4 more closings, if they don't move to my feet are up, until Amy comes back to the office that is.

Dec 17, 2010 02:44 AM #21
Jenna Dixon
DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate - Marietta, GA
Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience

I miss the Rain.  I have had lovely emails from many friends here and since today didn't quite turn out I had some time on my hands to drop in and make sure you were still up to your old tricks!

Dec 17, 2010 02:52 AM #22
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Alan, you are twisted.  Tell your Managing Broker that you are going to another Brokerage when they find you cleaning out your desk.  Oh how I wish we worked in the same market.

Dec 17, 2010 03:35 AM #23
Michael Jacobs
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena Area Real Estate 818.516.4393

Great checklist, Alan  ----  sounds like a solid plan for success in 2011.  

Dec 17, 2010 03:48 AM #24
Tish Lloyd
BlueCoast Realty Corporation - Wilmington, NC
Broker - Wilmington NC and Surrounding Beaches

I'm forwarding this to CA (Cheeky Assistant) -- it's up to her to see that it gets done.  That's why she gets paid the big bucks!  Don't tell her, but, I'm going to have some egg nog and sit by a warm fire.  I don't think she reads your blog.  I hope she doesn't read your blog.  If she does, I'm in trouble. 

Dec 17, 2010 03:58 AM #25
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Shred old paperwork is a must in our market place, especially here in Manhattan New York we have condo and co-op board package sometimes it is 50 pages or more per pack, you can see it adds up and it is certainly not a environmental friendly way to do a deal.

Dec 17, 2010 03:59 AM #26
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Elizabeth - for assistants, everything looks like a folder.

Jenna - and we're glad you did.

Michael - now we'll see just how much we can accomplish.

Tish - bad news for you... she reads me.

Eileen - sounds deadly.

Dec 17, 2010 04:43 AM #27
Cindy Westfall
Premiere Property Group,LLC Portland Metro & Suburbs Oregon - Tualatin, OR
ABR,GRI Your Tualatin & Portland Metro Real Estate

Great list Alan! At least I can sip wine while shredding..the holiday spirit and all. I know my family would really appreciate me cleaning my office...and maybe I will see the wood grain of my desk as well.

Dec 17, 2010 04:53 AM #28
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

A closing? Congrats. I think the cold weather has made people surly and unwilling to cooperate, starting with the buyers and continuing through to the inspectors, appraisers and attorneys.

Take a few days off and write more poetry. You're the Shel Silverstein of real estate blogging.


Dec 17, 2010 04:55 AM #29
Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Today was my last closing for 2010 also, but I also was working today on a home inspection for a property we put under contract this week, and sent a counter offer back to a buyer's agent, and followed up with another agent working on an offer on one of my listed homes.

Its a fine time to be in real estate in Georgia's Lake Country!

Dec 17, 2010 02:27 PM #30
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Cindy - I can see my desk again... damn, who knew it was wood-grained?

Leslie - thank you... I consider that high praise.

Jeanne - sounds like a fine time.

Dec 17, 2010 04:28 PM #31
Larry Story
Total Care Realty - Greensboro, NC
Total Care Realty, LLC, Greensboro, NC Real Estate


Lame Duck season I am sorry but I do not have one of those.  I am still working the new buy side contract we just signed and working on the 9 new listings I got within the last 2 weeks.  It's raining short sales here.  I have had to turn some down because I will not do a strategic short sale. 

Dec 18, 2010 01:23 AM #32
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Larry - glad to hear it... somebody has to be busy!!

Dec 18, 2010 01:50 AM #33
Alex Morris - Austin Real Estate Agent
Austin, TX

Amen!  Sometimes the "down time" is the best time to trudge through the menial tasks we take for granted when things are cranking away at break-neck speeds.  There are so many unforeseen nuances to our business, and in addition, are so easy to put to the side and slate for "tomorrow".  I agree 100% that we need to stay on top of the minor details, as they can snowball into major deals down the road, as well as avoiding future conflicts.  As always great post!

Dec 18, 2010 07:41 PM #34
Alan May
Coldwell Banker Residential - Evanston, IL
Helping you find your way home.

Alex - you said it, big guy!

Dec 19, 2010 01:53 AM #35
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