Out With the Old, In With the New

Out With the Old, In With the New

This is the time of year that we make plans. We set goals and resolve to do things better. On Jan 1 we have a clean slate for the year. 365 days to get it right, to get up early, to eat healthy, to exercise, and to get organized. A new beginning can mean many different things. For some, it’s saying goodbye to a less than stellar year behind and looking forward to the beautiful potential of the year ahead. It’s out with the old, in with the new. If you are looking for a major change, you may be considering a move. You may need to sell the old house and purchase something new. You may decide to move out of state. Maybe you want to stop putting work into that money pit and buy something brand new. Whatever you are planning, none of them will be perfect. The grass isn’t 100% greener. It will be fun for a while. It will satisfy your need for change and it will be good in a lot of ways, but don’t be fooled into thinking all your house problems will be solved by getting into something different. Here are some things to consider: A move of any kind is expensive. Depending on how much stuff you have, a move will cost you thousands of dollars. You can do it the old school, college way and get your friends to help but you may be looking for new friends as well as a new house! It’s always best to leave it to the professionals. You also need boxes and packing material. Also, if you are selling and/or purchasing a new place, you will have costs associated with the sale(s). See my blog, How Much Does Buying a House Really Cost for more info. A move costs you time. It takes a lot of time to sort through all of your belongings, decide what is going with you and what you need to give away or throw away. Then you have to pack everything. You may have to take off work in order to physically move and/or attend all the appointments that are associated with selling and/or buying. A move is stressful. No matter how much you try, you will be stressed at some point during a sale, purchase or a move. Timelines can be tight, vendors can be frustrating, deadlines can be missed, things can not go the way you planned, and you don’t have any idea which box the toilet paper is in. I always want to help anyone that wants or needs to sell or buy. But I also want them to know what they are getting into. It’s not typically perfect...

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Well Done or Overdone?

Well Done or Overdone?

  A neck massage before a haircut. Free returns – no questions asked. The staff rushing to clean off the best table even though there are others available. A glass of wine with your pedicure. A mint on your pillow. Any product sample you’d like, to take home and try before you invest. The call to tell you that item you have been eyeing has gone on sale. An extra gig of data just for being a loyal customer. The bubble wrap from the back office when your child with sensory issues walks in to their establishment. The all-natural treat when you go through the teller line for your dog who has a sensitive stomach. A lender who sits at the social security office for a client who is out of the country so the process will be streamlined when he gets into town. A real estate closing attorney who goes to the hospital because the client just had a baby. These are all great examples of excellent customer service. This is what most of us would consider a step above the masses. But what about calling customers back in a timely manner? What about setting proper expectations? What about actual communication? How about finishing the job and making sure the customer is happy? I don’t think most people would consider these to be acts that would win any awards. So why do so many companies practice these on a regular basis? Why is it that when we actually get a call back or someone to do what they say they’re going to do, we rejoice and shout it from the rooftops? I don’t have the answer to this, but what I do know is that a lot of consumers will seek out and even pay more for not only a job well done, but a job “overdone.” They will frequent the establishments that not only treat them well when they are there, but the ones that make sure they know they are special. If you are in the people business – most of us are – what are you “overdoing” for you clients? I am amazed at the number of business (I use the term loosely) people who will answer their phones in meetings, consistently arrive late for appointments, constantly talk about themselves and their problems, don’t follow up, etc. You’ve probably heard the quote from the late Maya Angelou, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Focus on the other person and their needs. If you can solve their problem, and do it well, they will not only pay for it, they will...

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Stop and Be Thankful

Stop and Be Thankful

Most of us have so much to be thankful for and yet we complain about all the things that don’t go right or that we don’t have. This season, as we approach the day that is designed for us to reflect, look around you. Do you have a roof over your head? (Yes, but it needs updating.) Are you reading this on an electronic device that gives you access to anything you can imagine? (Yes, but it is slow.) Do you have a vehicle or have access to one? (Yes, but it has 140,000 miles on it.) Do you have food in your refrigerator? (Yes, but nothing good.) “Yes, but” can get in the way of our peace and can cause us to be negative. Social media, the internet, television and movies can make us feel inadequate. We see others through the lens they want us to see them through. It is tempting to compare ourselves to what we see and think that we don’t measure up in some way. There will always be someone that has more, looks better and seems to have it easier. We don’t know what goes on behind closed doors and we may not know what it took for them to get there. This Thanksgiving, I vow to be thankful for the things I do have – and for who I am. I will see the positive. I will smile and slow down. I hope you take the time to reflect on the good things in your life. There will always be those negative voices but don’t give into them. Focus on the good – be thankful, and you may be surprised at how your perspective and your attitude will...

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Money Isn’t Everything

Money Isn’t Everything

  You’ve heard the expression, “Money isn’t everything” but do you really believe it? Maybe there is a part of you that wants to believe it but you’re not sure that you can really live by it. I’ve had little money and I have had plenty of money. I have been happy with both. Both situations can cause stress. Both situations can make you feel carefree. So, which one is right for you? There’s no right or wrong answer here, but here are some things to consider: Is acquiring money keeping you from family or friends? Are you able to use the money you are acquiring or are you too busy working for it? Have your eating habits changed? Are you exercising? Has your personality changed since focusing on acquiring money? How’s your mood? Do you live vicariously through social media? If you are in a work environment that makes you money but the culture is terrible, you may want to re-think your situation. Money can bring great joy but it can also cause you to be miserable and have health problems if the acquisition of it is consuming. A friend of mine recently told me that he ruined a relationship because he worked too much and that he’s not going to do it again. He will do what he needs to do to make money and be smart with it but not at the expense of his happiness. On the other hand, not focusing on money at all can cause just as much stress: Do you worry about paying bills each month? Do you have a savings account? How many credit cards do you have and are they maxed out? Do you live beyond your means? If friends ask you to go out, do you have to check your bank account first? The bottom line is, we need to have some balance when it comes to money. Money isn’t everything but it is needed to live comfortably in our world today. Another saying you may want to adopt is “Work Hard and Play Hard.” Make sure you are doing what you need to do to support yourself but take time to enjoy it...

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Let’s Get (a) Physical

Let’s Get (a) Physical

  A cold, the flu, broken bones, bruises. Some of these will go away on their own, but sometimes we need the help of a professional. Sometimes, we have symptoms but don’t know what’s wrong. And, other times, we may not have any symptoms at all, or think they are just normal wear and tear on our body but really, they are much more serious. We are told to get yearly exams and a physical from our primary care physician. We are told to get our teeth cleaned twice a year by our dental professional. Some of us see a chiropractor on a regular basis to make sure we stay aligned and in balance. Some may get regular acupuncture or acupressure treatments as well. All to make sure our bodies are performing the way they are supposed to. We all know that when it comes to our health, if we find things out early, we have a better chance of combating illness or disease. If we take care of our bodies by eating right, exercising, and getting enough rest, we have a better chance of preventing the illness altogether. If we don’t take care of ourselves and we don’t go to the doctor until symptoms are severe, we may put ourselves through more pain and suffering than necessary. And at the very worst, we may not be able to correct the problem. It is the same with your house. In my years as a REALTOR, I have seen too many houses to count. Most home owners have done a fairly decent job taking care of their home. Comparing to the human body, they have missed a couple of physicals here or there and maybe only get their teeth cleaned once a year. They’ve had to fix a few things that could have been prevented, but for the most part, it’s in good shape. There are those rare homeowners that stay on top of every maintenance item possible. They have a handyman on call and they spend the money to maintain instead of having minor things turn into major. These are the people that do exactly what their doctors tell them to and are pictures of health. On the other hand, there are many more that wait to go to the dentist until their tooth hurts so bad they can’t sleep and end up having to get the tooth pulled when if they had been getting regular cleanings, the problem could have been solved with a small filling. These are the homeowners that don’t even change the air filter in their HVAC unit – ever. Just like some will argue that you will spend more money to eat healthy and get regular checkups, some will also say that you will spend...

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5 Tips to go From RR to R & R

5 Tips to go From RR to R & R

  How are you feeling? Are you exhausted? Are you in need of a break? Are you Running Ragged or are you bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to take on the world, Rested & Refreshed? Last week, I took a break. The first vacation I have had in over a year and a half. I took on some new challenges this past year that prevented me from getting away without distraction, and as a Realtor, it’s difficult to completely “check out”. However, I knew it was way overdue. I knew I needed to recharge so I could come back with a fresh mindset and a new vigor and passion for my work. Here are 5 tips to go from RR to R & R: Get away. I went to the beach but not everyone can go out of state and you don’t always need to spend vacation kind of money. Getting away can be as simple as house sitting for a friend while they’re gone. It will give you a change of scenery and you can pretend you’re in another world. Get in nature. When you can take a hike in a beautiful setting or walk through a nature park, listen to the sounds around you, take in the sights. Nature is an amazing thing. It can calm your spirit and destress you in a very organic way. Set auto-responders. Create an “out of office” greeting on your voice mail and an auto-responder for all emails. Let people know when to expect a response and/or tell them who they can contact in your absence. You don’t even have to be gone. Just do it on a random Tuesday. Just knowing you will not have to react to everyone that “needs” you, will do wonders for your attitude. Take a Staycation. Sometimes we can let things go around the house to the point that it stresses us out just to walk in our own home. Why not take time out to focus on getting those things fixed, organized, moved, tossed, and cleaned, without having to do anything else. When you get back into your normal life, you will feel the difference without those things staring you in the face every time you come home. Unplug. I think it goes without saying, but, however you are trying to go from RR to R&R, you MUST turn off your electronics. This doesn’t have to be long term and it doesn’t have to be for the entire time. If you even turn them off for a few hours at a time you will feel a difference. Some people think that their downtime is perusing through Facebook to see what their friends are doing or...

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