Ask An Ambassador: It's Personal

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 SAL.2002007747

As a real estate agent I think it's good to occasionally go through the same things our clients do.  Liz and I have lived in the same home for almost 30 years.  The only other personal real estate transaction in that time was a few years ago buying an acre from the neigbhor to expand our turf a bit, and obviously that didn't involve any internet searches or driving around looking at property.  A calculation of how much more frontage I wanted, how many feet back we'd have to go to make that an acre, a contract and a real estate attorney and a few weeks later the extra woods belonged to us.

Now we're going through the full paces, looking for a place to call home that will be closer to family.  Could be resale, could be new construction, but it's most likely going to be new.  We've got an agent from the Rain taking care of our needs since our target area is 6 hours and another state away from where we live now, and obviously we don't know the local practices. 

Like most buyers, we're kicking the tires on various real estate portals, and local agent sites that don't require registration.  The shortfalls from a consumer standpoint become apparent quickly.  Lack of good pictures, lack of key data (high speed internet is a MUST, but that doesn't seem to be provided information), map pins for raw land that are nowhere close to the actual physical location, etc.

It's a bit different searching there versus here because for the most part here the terrain is fairly flat, and there we're looking for mountainside property, and the closer to the crest, the better.

I've gotten VERY familiar with that county's assessor site and have figured out that most of the on market property isn't necessarily forthcoming about just how sloped the property might be.  Drone photos taken from above of fully leafed out woods doesn't really give you a good perspective either.

Topography maps help (that Navy training is still paying off 3 decades later!), but using Google Earth was a real breakthrough to give us a better idea of the actual contours of the land.  Pair the map with the 3D pictures and use of virtual graph paper and we know "too steep here", and "we can work with that land".

We've been looking at new construction house plans and realizing that being upslope or downslope relative to the view of the valley will go a long ways toward dictating acceptable floor plans.  Go above the street and we'll have an exposed basement on the front of the home, go below the street and we can have a regular ranch front, but an exposed daylight basement and large deck on the back side.

There's currently nothing on market that really suits our needs, so we've been scouring vacant lots and reaching out to owners who might be willing to sell.

Tax records give us names and billing addresses, but finding direct contact information can be a bit of a challenge.  Spokeo, Google & Facebook searches have allowed us to make contact with several owners.  We've gotten some outright Nos, and some Maybes.

Bottom line, it's a test of the skills and advice we've learned serving our clients for almost 20 years, and it provides some insight on how we can better serve our clients prior to our own retirement.

After all, even when we're not our own clients, it's personal for someone.  Keeping that in mind makes all of us better agents.

Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,

Bill & Liz aka BLiz

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Serving Warren County Ohio & Adjacent Areas


The Liz Spear Team of RE/MAX Elite
Elizabeth Spear, ABR, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2002007747

William (Bill) Spear, CRS, Ohio License SAL.2004011109  Kentucky 77938
Ask for us by name if you visit the office!

EHO Two locations: Lebanon & Mason, OH
Bill Direct:  513-520-5305
Liz Direct: 513-265-3004     
Fax: 866-302-8418


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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joe Jackson 01/20/2021 07:36 AM
  2. Ginger Harper 01/20/2021 08:35 AM
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Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

It does help on occasion to take a walk in the other shoes and see how that feels.  At least you have a definite plan

Jan 19, 2021 05:44 AM #2
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Yes, it definitely helps us in our day-to-day real estate profession to occasionally have to sell or buy so we know what customers are experiencing. You have the advantage over most buyers that you DO know how to find things out. is another possible tool for finding numbers and email addresses (it's free). 

Too bad your family isn't in Kalispell MT! We have several moutainside options! :-)

Jan 19, 2021 06:11 AM #3
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Liz and Bill,

In our two moves thus far, it has been interesting dealing with agents.  The best ones were the ones who understood the nuances of our requirements.  Being on a hill and depending on the height can bring about annoying little no seeums bugs...Happy searching!  A

Jan 19, 2021 08:01 AM #4
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Liz and Bill Spear - Thank you for this personal blog post. Your experience is putting things into perspective and teaching all of us who take things for granted to change our ways and do better. I pray you find what you're looking for. As busy bees and with your analytical mind, I know you will diligently continue to seek until you find. Relocating on your own is no easy task. May you find the right agent and place to live because you deserve it. 

Jan 19, 2021 10:04 AM #5
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

I think as real estate agents (or retired ones) we are more attuned to the deficiencies of all those portals with so much free information. The service of an experience, boots on the ground, local agent is invaluable. 

Jan 19, 2021 10:21 AM #6
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

I love this Bill!  I initially got into staging when we were looking for a home...I couldn't believe how people showed their home.  It's good for agents to have to go through what their clients do!  I take it all of the hives will be traveling with you!

Jan 19, 2021 10:35 AM #7
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hello Liz and Bill Spear, I decided to get my real estate license while looking for my first home. I certainly learned a lot from that experience.  I hope you'll find what you're looking for, definitely a challenge when you're moving to another state. 

Jan 19, 2021 12:27 PM #8
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Hi Bill that is a very interesting persepective. Looking through the eyes of a client - love it!  You've given me a great idea........hmmmm.

We too have been looking at various possibliities over the next year or so. Don't think we'll be building brand new but who knows at this point.  My agent (me) sends me lots of good ideas just about every day.

Jan 19, 2021 02:34 PM #9
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Many years ago, I had relocated to Illinois and it was very difficult to find where I wanted to live.  The relocation agent assigned to us, was not helpful at well.  We spent many weekends just driving around and checking out open houses and model homes until we found an area that we liked.  Then we found a builder.  I decided right then, that I needed to become an agent.  There had to be a better way.  Fast forward to almost 18 years later, and I can honestly say that I go through every scenario and ask a lot of questions of my buyers that are moving into the area from out of state.  Good for you for recognizing the difficulty that buyers have trying to do their own research.  Best of luck to you!  Sounds like a wonderful adventure!

Jan 19, 2021 02:40 PM #10
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

Your real estate experience will play a large part in decision making with an agent that has your best interests in mind. I do wish you both the best, plus the fur babies in finding that perfect place to land again Bill!

Jan 19, 2021 02:46 PM #11
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


Best of luck to you and Liz!!

It certainly helps to empathize with our buyers and sellers when we have to experience the issues they do on a more personal level. And sometimes we are not as good about following the advice we so earnestly give to others.


Jan 19, 2021 07:25 PM #12
Thom Abbott |770.713.1505 | Intown Atlanta GA Condo Living - Atlanta, GA
Midtown Atlanta GA Condos For Sale

It IS a real eye opener to be in our clients shoes, right? We are in the early stages of buying a second home ( to serve as a vacation rental/investment) and maybe be our retirement home. I can look at listings and I just think, "What a dis-service you are doing to your Seller with this marketing." Meaning the photos usually. And maybe their MLS does not require it, but not listing an HOA fee and what it covers when looking at condos??? Like that is not going to be a concern? 

We've been in our home 24 years. And are hoping to undertake a major remodel in the next couple years. (the kind you literally pack up and move out of the house for.) Why? Because we know we could not duplicate our private backyard and Serenity Pond, and our location is just to quick and easy to get anywhere in a major metro area like Atlanta. 

I can't even imagine when I have to start looking seriously for another home. 

Jan 19, 2021 07:39 PM #13
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Anything you do for a long enough time becomes personal after a point, I think. Keep shining!

Jan 19, 2021 09:30 PM #14
Lynn B. Friedman CRS Atlanta GA 404-939-2727
Atlanta Homes ODAT Realty - Buckhead - Midtown - Westside ... Love our City - Love our Clients! - Atlanta, GA
Concierge Service for Our Atlanta Sellers & Buyers

Liz and Bill Spear 
Good aspects about your search include your experience and someone from AR to assist. I have a stron opinion about the orientation. Having lived in both, I am devoted to the  go below the street and we can have a regular [...] front, but an exposed daylight basement option! I love that the lower level at our current home isn't a dark, dank basement. This way one may see the flowers, sense what the weather will be later in the day, and enjoy the extra space. Not that you asked my opinion...

Jan 19, 2021 09:35 PM #15
Erik Hiss
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Worthington, OH
You can trust me for all your real estate needs!

In this market is all about scouring your database for those leads and digging deep in your area to find those willing to sell. 

Jan 20, 2021 05:51 AM #16
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

"After all, even when we're not our own clients, it's personal for someone.  Keeping that in mind makes all of us better agents." Indeed!

Jan 20, 2021 07:35 AM #17
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Liz and Bill Spear ,

How exciting! You have finally made the decision as I know you've been thinking about it! Good for you and the best of luck in find the right spot to land. With such anemic inventory its a challenge for sure but you are up for it and making it happen!

Jan 20, 2021 09:06 AM #18
Dagny Eason
Dagny's Real Estate - Wilton, CT
Fairfield County CT, CDPE Homes For Sale and Condo

WOW!!!   Best of luck in your venture - or is it an adventure to find a new home?    Soooo hard!     I had a caller today looking for land and they stopped the conversation when they heard it could take at least 6-9 months to build.    Whhaaattt?     They thought it would happen in less?     BEST OF LUCK!!!   You two will do well!

Jan 20, 2021 07:50 PM #19
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

wow, I think that's great that you're going to move - maybe, if you find anything.

I know that some agents haven't moved in so long they don't have a clue how the client feels but yet they somehow sell homes. A case in point:  An agent in our office was moving to FL. When he was at home packing finally he was actually saying asinine things like 'I have to build the boxes can you imagine that'.  No? Really? It's tough to figure out isn't it how to square out a box. Now this guy has been selling around as long as me & just finally went thru the process after 30 years.

One of the things I try to do as an agent is to provide as much info as possible so that 'you' can see if it meets your criteria. I guess others do not much to your dismay. Too bad that things couldn't be easier in your search.


Jan 21, 2021 07:40 AM #20
Paula McDonald, Ph.D.
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

All of us absolutely need to be refreshed on what life is like as a real estate client. When we step into the opposite role, we are reminded of what our clients go through.

Jan 21, 2021 03:13 PM #21
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Liz and Bill Spear

RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)
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