Fast Food – Fast Houses

Fast Food – Fast Houses

We live in a fast-paced society. Fast food, fast cars. Some people get pets on a whim and then once they realize the cost of time and money, they give them back. Others get into business relationships and get out after they realize the red flags were there from the beginning, but they didn’t pay attention. The same thing happens in real estate. I’ve had clients “want” to sell their house only to come to me after an offer is received, having second thoughts. I’ve had other clients that “have to have” this house but get cold feet once the reality of the costs sets in. Some people will tell you that it’s never too late and that it is a good thing you figured it out before making a big mistake. Yes, that is true. However, it is MUCH better to be sure BEFORE you get into the situation. Have you ever dated someone and thought later, “Wow, there’s 6 months of my life I’ll never get back”? When you get into real estate deals, you are not only wasting your time and energy, you are putting others in the same position. There are many people and expenses that are involved. That being said, one of the most unfortunate things I’ve seen is people who buy a house without much forethought or due diligence and sell it less than a year later because they didn’t think the whole thing through. They not only waste their time and energy, but a LOT of money. They have closing costs, real estate commissions, loan fees, and moving expenses that all could have potentially been avoided if they would have slowed down enough to make an informed decision. Does the house sit near a train track and you think it might be no big deal? It might not be, but if you are a light sleeper or you have a dog that barks at every little noise, you might want to re-think that purchase. Is the house a dream house but far from work or the conveniences you are accustomed to? The drive might not bother you at first but when you forget something at home or need something quick from the store for the recipe you are making for guests tonight and have to go back, it might be less than desirable. Have you always thought you wanted the charm of an old house? The charm is great but so can be the expense of maintaining it. If you have the money, time, and it is worth it to you, it could be a perfect fit, however, if either of those is scarce, you might consider a newer home built to...

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Say What? The Art of Listening

Say What? The Art of Listening

Do you feel like you constantly repeat yourself? I said, do you feel…never mind. Most of us are going a hundred miles an hour in five different directions. We have work appointments, errands to run, phone calls to make, emails to answer, kids activities, making sure we eat right, exercise and have some quality time with our loved ones. We are constantly interrupted by phone ringing and dinging, doorbells, people walking in on your quiet space, and alarms telling us it’s time to get to our next obligation. It’s no wonder that our attention span is that of a 2-year old or worse. We may hear what others say but are we really listening? In real estate, as with many other businesses, it is imperative that we actually listen to what’s being said. A lot can be learned and negotiated in our favor if we pay attention. Most people love to talk. If you listen, you could gain knowledge and insight into motivations, which could give you an advantage in negotiating your side. As a Realtor, we should be listening to every word spoken and unspoken. In today’s impersonal society, it is a lot harder to hear the unspoken word, as it is picked up on most often in the tone or inflections of the voice. Text messages and emails are much easier to misinterpret or read into and, therefore, are not as helpful when needing to use information gathered in a negotiation setting. Buyers and Sellers should be listening to their Realtor. Learn from their experience. You wouldn’t let someone that pulled a splinter out of their thumb when they were 12 operate on your hand. Why would you think you know more than a professional that has sold hundreds of houses? This is not to say that you shouldn’t ask questions. In fact, this is part of the art of listening. Be engaged in the process. Be engaged in the conversation. Learn to communicate effectively by listening first and asking questions and responding second. This seems like such a simple idea. The idea of hearing what others say. But it has become apparent that with all that is being thrown in our faces and competing for our attention, that we all need to get back to some basics. Let’s become masters at the art of listening and it may surprise us at how much more efficient we are and how much more we will...

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You’re a New Homeowner – Now What?

You’re a New Homeowner – Now What?

  You have signed your life away. You’ve stressed out over everything falling into place and the day is finally here and you have bought your dream house. You’ve got the keys, now what? Well, now the fun begins. There are so many things that you can do to make your house your own. Here are a few that I think are top of the list: Change the locks. Unless you bought a brand new construction home that has an owner key that trips the locks as soon as you use it the first time, this is a MUST. You have no idea how many keys are out there to your new house. The Seller can tell you they gave you all the keys but they may have forgotten about the house cleaner they left a key for just to clean after they moved out. If they didn’t get the locks changed when they moved in, the previous handyman could have a key. It is a very inexpensive first step that can give you real peace of mind. While we’re on the subject of peace of mind… Set the alarm. Have an alarm installed or get the existing system checked and begin monitoring. You are going to be in and out of the house. You will have many people in and out of the house as well. People will see your belongings being brought in, and, some may take notice of your nice things. You will be exhausted and may forget to lock up properly when you leave. The best deterrent for thieves is a good alarm system that is armed. Just remember to arm it when you leave or go to bed! Hire a designer. I know what you’re thinking. “I can’t afford to hire a designer – I just bought a house!” There are many designers that will just charge a consultation fee and will help you with everything from where great-grand-dad’s grandfather clock will look best, how to arrange the bonus room for maximum game space, to what colors will look great to show off the family photo above the fireplace. You can get great bang for your buck on this one, trust me. Meet the neighbors. You may think you can wait on this one. You can’t. Once you’ve been in your house for a month, you’re no longer the new neighbor. I agree that the neighbors should make the effort to meet you first, however, if they don’t come by, make the effort. There will be a time when you need them to sign for a package, pick up your mail, borrow a cup of sugar, or you have water running from a pipe...

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Independence

Independence

  On this Independence Day, the day our nation celebrates its freedom, I thought I would reflect on the significance of the word and how it pertains to real estate – I mean everything pertains to real estate, right? Most of us don’t remember taking our first steps, some of us can’t recall our first day of kindergarten, but most of us know what it felt like to walk onto that college campus. The fear, the exhilaration, the feeling that we were all on our own. That’s independence. Later curfews, if any at all. Adults weren’t watching your every move. You had some space to grow and to make mistakes. Much like it was to get that first apartment. That was real freedom. Until the landlord came asking for the rent. But, we could come and go as we pleased, have anyone over to visit at any time of day, and have only cheese balls in the pantry and Budweiser in the refrigerator if that’s what we wanted. There were some limitations about how loud you could play your music and what color your walls could be, but it was ours, nonetheless. Real independence is the day you buy your first house. You can landscape your yard, put wood on the floors, paint the front door, and call it home. In this country, we are truly fortunate to that homeownership is highly attainable and that we have that right at all. Today, as you’re grilling outside on your patio, sitting by the pool or playing corn hole in your yard, take a moment to smile and be thankful for your independence. It’s yours, you did it, and be thankful for the others that fought to keep this country...

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