The Real Estate Gamble

The Real Estate Gamble

  I was speaking with a past client last week. I helped her buy her house 11 years ago. Her house was built in 1905 and she fell in love the moment she walked in the door. The place had charm, it had character and best of all, to her, it felt good. She is only the fifth owner in over 110 years. That says something about the house. The neighborhood has changed a lot over the years and neighbors are selling to developers and building what we call “tall skinnies” on postage stamp size lots. My client understands people wanting to make money and because of the development, it has greatly increased the value of her home but she is not going anywhere. She receives phone calls, mailers, and personal solicitations frequently and she is not budging. She is determined to protect what is hers – a piece of history. She was so thankful that I was a part of helping her preserve history. She made my day telling me how happy she has been all these years and how she just wants to preserve the house and take great care of it for future generations. It got me thinking about how much I love what I do. I get to be a part of preserving history, building wealth, new beginnings, and growth. Some may just see it as a transaction. I see it as a lifelong relationship. To some, it may just be a property. I see it as a home or a tool to build wealth. You need someone on your side to look out for your best interest. Are you trying to build wealth or are you trying to find a forever home and preserve a piece of history for future generations? You need someone who is going to be there to help you navigate through the weeds 11 years later when your precious home is being threatened. Just like a financial advisor that you trust to help you make decisions that will affect you for years to come, a great Realtor can be a wonderful resource and member of your personal advisory council. Next time you are thinking about buying or selling, look at it with a fresh perspective. Have an advisor on your side to help you through the paperwork and possible legal pitfalls. If you wouldn’t take $100,000 or more to Vegas and throw it all down on one number, why would you trust a less-than-professional person with an investment that is likely worth much more than that? Can you do it yourself? Maybe. Should you? Probably...

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Too Late

Too Late

  I had a crush on this boy for several years in high school. He was a couple of years older than me and he was the end-all be-all. I thought, “If I could just date him, everything would be great.” But I had a problem. I was a nerd – and he was totally popular. He was nice to me because he was a church kid. His parents taught him well and we all hung out and everyone had a good time but I was definitely not dating material in his eyes. So the years passed and my “love” for him stayed true. The day we had a party for the graduating Seniors and he left for college was a dark day. I lost my chance. I would never see him again, or so I thought. He came home for holidays and breaks and he would come to church with his parents. Now he was a college boy and that made it even worse! Much to my surprise, he came home for the summer and, well, I had grown out of my “nerdiness,” I guess. Either that or he lost a bet. Nonetheless, he asked me out – on a DATE! I was speechless. I mean, this guy that I had been drooling over for years, actually wanted to go out with me…in public. I wondered if he realized that I would call all my friends immediately and give them every detail after the date. So that I don’t keep you in suspense any longer, I said, “yes” and we made a plan. Honestly, I don’t remember much about the date. I just remember being really bored and really disappointed. I had spent so much energy dreaming of what it would be like to go on a date with him and then I was completely let down. So, there is a reason I tell you this story other than for entertainment and chuckling at my “nerdiness.” I have run across people that have had their eye on a particular house or a certain neighborhood for years. They think that once they live THERE, everything will be great. I have had others who think that once they get that bigger house, everything will fall into place. They have to keep up with the Jones’, have the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, the perfect car to put in the garage and the perfect furniture inside. What they don’t think about is the bills that show up in that perfect mailbox and the maintenance costs that go along with that perfect house and the HOA fees that come with that perfect neighborhood or the commute time that takes them away from the...

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I’m Stressed Out!

I’m Stressed Out!

  Since when is it admirable to be stressed out? I was talking about this phenomenon with someone recently. They said they are overwhelmed with tasks and deadlines, not only at their job, but at home as well. A mom is a nurse and she runs ragged and has a stressful job. She works with doctors who are always on edge because they hold patient’s lives in their hands. She races home to pick up the kids before they go to a drive-thru on their way to soccer practice. After practice, she makes sure the homework is done and before she can blink, it’s time to go to bed so she can get up and do it all again. No matter where we are in life, what our career is, or how old we are, it seems as though we are “lazy” if we don’t have a million things going on. We go 90 miles a minute without time to ourselves because we are working for retirement where we can sit back, relax, and do nothing. Well, why do we think we have to go, go, go, only to stop? Can’t we slow down? Can’t we ease into it? How about a day off? How about working a half day every once in a while? How about turning off email or our phone when we get home? To be the perfect partner or spouse you have to provide for the family, spend quality time with them, look like a model and always be in a good mood. To have a successful business we need to read so many books, sit on a board of directors, network constantly and burn the candle at both ends. To be considered for the promotion we have to work late and attend all the after-hours functions with the big-wigs. To have a well-rounded child, we have to have them involved in 3 extra-curricular activities. In order to be awarded the scholarship, we need to take extra classes, excel in a sport, volunteer our time to others and visit 10 college campuses. I may be showing my age but when I was growing up, my parents worked regular hours at regular jobs, were home for dinner, had weekends off to spend with the family and took yearly vacations and our family was not the minority. The current “norm” seems to be everyone running in different directions having to book a Sunday lunch with friends a month in advance. I am guilty of feeling bad if I take a day off and am out at the park on a Saturday afternoon. I wonder what clients will think if I post pictures from the lake during the week....

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Chicken Little – The Sky is Falling!

Chicken Little – The Sky is Falling!

  For those of you who don’t remember the nursery rhyme, you may remember a recent movie in which Chicken Little fears the sky is falling when, in reality, it was just an acorn that fell on his head. We can get ourselves in such a panic over things that are not a big deal. What seems like a big deal in the moment, can sometimes be easily resolved or not have any significance a few months, weeks, days, or even hours later. Lately, when something has been bothering me, I write it down. I edit it, read over it, and keep it. I will read it several times throughout the day and if it still has the same impact, I will deal with it then. I have learned that when I react to a situation immediately, I can regret it later. If I wait and let things settle a bit, sometimes there is no need to confront the issue at all. Sometimes, I realize that I looked at it all wrong or misunderstood. I ask myself if I can change it. If I can’t, often, there is nothing to do but move on. I have seen this, recently, in real estate. Many Buyers thought the sky was falling when the mortgage interest rates were rising, the home inventory was low and the houses that were on the market were taking longer to sell. Individually, those can seem like doom and gloom is setting into the real estate market. In reality, if you look at the history of mortgage rates in our country, we have been enjoying historically low rates for 10 years now. In the 1970’s, 30-year fixed interest rates were under 8%, Rates began to rise in the early 1980’s and were at an all-time high in 1981 at 18.63%. Guess what? People still bought houses and people still sold houses. Yes, as a Buyer, it would be great to be loaned hundreds of thousands of dollars for under 10% interest over a period of 30 years. However, as my title attorney says, if I was going to give you this much money, I’d want much more return than that! Are rates rising, yes. So do most things. However, at some point (and I am starting to see it now), people will just go on with life with a new normal and Seller will sell and Buyers will buy. Real estate is still a great investment. Sellers will become more realistic about the prices they can get and Buyers will understand that they may not get everything they want for a “deal”. In the meantime, the next time you think the sky is falling, take a step...

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Secure Your Own Mask First

Secure Your Own Mask First

  Did you think it was odd the first time you hear the flight attendant tell you to secure your own mask first in case of a loss of oxygen? I grew up being told to put others first. Parents instincts would be to take care of their children before tending to themselves. But if we try help someone else, take care of others before us, we may not have enough air and we may both suffer.   I am being constantly reminded to take care of myself. If we don’t, we can’t expect to do a very good job at taking care of anyone else. Our families need us, our friends need us, our clients need us. It is important to take time out. You may not be able to take an entire day for yourself. It may just be an hour at a time. I was challenged to set my alarm and take a couple minutes each hour to get up, walk around, divert my brain from what I am working on. It changes things up, gets me out of the rut and recharges my battery for another hour of work.   I recently experienced floatation therapy. It was an experience like none other I have had. I suspect the only time I have felt sensory deprivation like that was in the womb – and, try as I might, I don’t remember that. You get into a tank – it can be open if you are claustrophobic – with body temperature water and hundreds of pounds of Epsom salt. Once you allow your body to relax and your mind to clear, you feel nothing. You may be able to hear your heartbeat and your own breathing but that is it. You float weightlessly. The lack of pressure on your body releases tension and the opening of your mind releases stress. What can happen is a euphoric state. You may fall asleep, you may involuntarily come up with solutions or ideas regarding challenges you otherwise may have been stuck on.   I typically write about real estate, the market, negotiation tactics, and ways to prepare yourself for buying or selling a property. Today, I am just reminding you – myself included – to take time out for yourself. Turn your phone off for an hour and relax or do something you enjoy without interruption. This is a reminder, also, to allow other to do the same. We are so quick to judge or dismiss someone if they are not available every time we want or need them. Let others take time off so they can better serve you in the long run. Now go be – secure your...

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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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