Is Common Courtesy Really Common?

Is Common Courtesy Really Common?

  Is it just me? Am I getting old? Or is common courtesy not so common anymore? More often I see people in public that seem to think the world revolves or should revolve around them. Drivers don’t signal. They cut others off or speed up so someone can’t merge into traffic. Social media is a breeding ground for people to share their negative opinion even when it’s not asked for. Contacting customer service at some companies is as useful as trying to pull a tooth with no tools. Unfortunately, I see it in real estate as well. Agents and parties to contracts take days to respond, have no regard for deadlines, communication is scarce, and when it comes to negotiation – well, there isn’t much going on sometimes. So why am I pointing out what you may think is obvious? Because kindness still wins. I recently booked a trip online. Later I saw the hotel was having a sale that would save me some money so I called the hotel directly. In a lot of cases I would have had to cancel my reservation and book a whole new trip, wait for my refund, waste time, etc. However, I was nice. I used common courtesy and the representative handled everything for me. I engaged her in conversation and she ended up sending me to a concierge to book a restaurant reservation for me that she highly recommended. Then there was the real estate deal that had more complications than the average transaction. One party and their agent was difficult to deal with at first. They only wanted to allow the other party to access the property at certain (inconvenient) times and they were not at all interested in negotiating repairs that were quite reasonable. The other side could have been just as disagreeable, everyone could have been upset and the deal could have fallen apart and the agreement could have been terminated. The Seller could have had to find another willing and able buyer and the Buyer could have had to continue their search for the near perfect home. But, one of the agents decided to use common courtesy to get the deal done. They communicated each step along the way to make the other party comfortable. They offered to go out of their way to be available at the property, hand deliver items, take measurements, and make everyone’s life a little easier. The other side slowly started to soften up. They realized that no one was trying to take advantage of them. They understood that things could go a lot smoother with a lot less stress if they would use some common courtesy and treat the other...

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Tell It Like It Is

Tell It Like It Is

  “I may not tell you what you want to hear, but I am going to tell you the truth.” As a Realtor, this is what I say to clients. I have to say it. I’m obligated. First of all, ethically, I need to. Secondly, I just couldn’t run my business any other way. So why do so many people get lied to during a real estate transaction? Why don’t people just tell it like it is? I think there are several reasons. Some people just want to be liked. Others don’t like confrontation. Still others want to get the business no matter what. I don’t understand any of those. I am hired for my experience, for my market knowledge, marketing, and my negotiation skills. If I don’t tell a client the truth just to get the business, to be liked, or to not have a confrontation, what does that do? A lot, actually. It says a lot about my character. It says that I am not strong enough to take the heat of telling someone something they may not like. It says that when it comes to negotiating and fighting for that client, I won’t do a very good job if I just say what people want to hear. The most common time that people don’t like what I have to say is when it comes to the value of their property. We all think our house is the BEST, right? Of course. And, it may well be. However, just because you spent $75,000 putting in extra insulation and imported tile from Italy, doesn’t mean your house is worth that much more. And, I’m the one that gets to tell you the harsh reality. I like it best, when, on the rare occasion, I get to tell a homeowner that their house is actually worth a lot more than they thought because values have risen more than they realized. I have kept people from selling. I have kept people from buying. I have also lost business because I told people the truth. I would do it all again. At the end of the day, do you want someone who will agree with you and have your house sit on the market? Or you don’t win a competitive offer situation because that agent didn’t tell you that you needed to be able to offer more than list price if you really wanted that house? Some people won’t like it, and that’s OK. If you want to sell, or you want to buy, find yourself a Realtor who will tell it like it is. Don’t go for the “yes” man or woman. A good one can get things done and...

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Expect the Unexpected

Expect the Unexpected

Have you heard of the phrase, “house poor?” I never like my clients to use all their cash for down payments and closing costs. It is important to have access to cash and expect the unexpected. When you own a home, you need to be ready for anything to cost you money. You probably have prepared yourself for buying new furniture or a refrigerator. You may have even budgeted for new blinds or carpet replacement. But what about plumbing or electrical issues or window replacement? That was probably not on your wish list when you signed on the dotted line. Picture this: You want to add a beautiful wood deck off the back of the house. You want it landscaped beautifully and have some twinkle lights inside a pergola framing the deck. Your daughter’s baptism is next month and the whole family will be in town to celebrate. You can’t wait to show off the house and the new deck. You envision evenings on your deck, under the stars and the twinkling lights with a glass of wine in your hand, breathing in the sweet smell of having put your stamp on your new home. Screech – halt! You pull a permit for the deck and the electrical and it is discovered that the existing out-building was not built with a permit and the electrical that you were going to tap into is not up to Code, so now what? Now you have to have that electrical box redone so you can have your twinkle lights on the deck because the house box is maxed out. Ok. Not so bad, but it’s going to add about $1000 to the total cost. But you proceed. Once the deck is in full swing, you begin work on the landscaping. While holes for the shrubs are being dug, the septic line is uncovered and, unfortunately, so is a leak. It could be worse, you think. It could have began sweeping into your house and causing real issues and that does explain the rotten smell in the air off and on for a couple weeks. You pause the beautification and call the plumber. It won’t add too much to repair the leak and you are glad you found it before it caused more trouble. The project continues and it is smooth sailing now. Or is it? The deck and backyard is complete and you are enjoying a warm evening outside only to go inside and realize that someone must have turned the AC off. It’s hotter inside than it is on the deck and your family is arriving in 36 hours. UGH!! You guessed it. You need a new HVAC unit and there’s...

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Nashville Alarms

Nashville Alarms

Being a Realtor, clients, friends, and family often ask for vendor recommendations. I have a large list of professionals that I have used or referred. Some come with a disclaimer about their response time or their price. Not the case with CSS Alarms. Justin Krause is the owner and he demands excellence from everyone he employs. He uses quality equipment, has great prices, and their customer service is top notch. I asked him to write an article for you so you could be educated about the differences in alarm companies and make a great decision. Justin’s information is at the bottom of this blog if you are looking for a company to keep you, your family, and your belongings safe (or you want some really cool audio/video toys). Firstly, It should be noted that I may be considered biased by some readers as I own and operate a local Nashville alarm company.  But it’s a quick read, so check it out and make the call for yourself.  This is truly the Nashville alarm scene as I see it. With an unbelievably vast pool of companies offering Nashville alarm systems and Nashville Alarm monitoring, how do you, as the consumer pick the right company for you?  Hopefully through reading this, we can clear things up for you.  Though is seems like there are a million choices, in reality there are only a few business models in the entire industry.  Let’s have a look into each and see which model fits you best. 1st Model:  The Contract Companies Typically, this is what the big national outfits do.  They have very large advertising budgets and seasonal sales forces that roll out every summer.  You know them best as the “Door-Knockers.”  They will offer equipment for “free” or at a “discount” so long as you sign a three or five year term contract.  This allows consumers to sometimes get an alarm system at a lower initial cost, but usually it will cost them much more over the life of the system.  That’s where the contract comes in.  We’ve all heard the “no such thing as a free lunch” saying.  That applies to all industries, but especially the alarm industry.  Your monitoring rate suddenly begins to rise $5 here and $4 dollars there and when you call to complain to the person who sold you the contract, they are no longer available and you’re stuck in the vicious cycle of the call center. Another pitfall, aside from the contract, is that they will use proprietary monitoring equipment that other alarm companies cannot use.  Why you ask?  You guessed it!  Just another way to make it harder for you to leave.  They figure that if they have you...

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Do you Really Need a Professional?

Do you Really Need a Professional?

  I had a hair appointment this week. My stylist was telling me a story about a lady that came in with almost black hair, colored from a box, requesting that her mid-back length hair be blonde when she left that day. The stylist told her all the things that could go wrong.  She informed her that she would likely not be blonde all over. She would probably have a lot of orange hair and that it could break off and seriously damage her hair. The lady quickly responded that she wasn’t there for an opinion, she was there to be blonde. (I won’t even look at that soapbox for your sake!) So, after she was presented with a waiver stating that the professional did not recommend what was being asked and that they were not liable for any damages, the professional proceeded to do what she was told to do. I will save the results for the end (devilish, I know.) With today’s technology and information at our fingertips, some people think they know better than the professional. You can self-diagnose on medical sites (how many of you thought you had some terrible disease at some point, only to find that it was a cold?). There are videos showing how to fix a faucet, install a ceiling fan, how to apply the perfect winged eyeliner, and how to get beachy waves in your super straight hair. It’s only natural for us to think we know best or, at least, have a very good idea of how to do whatever it is we want/need done. In some cases, our resources are great and we can save ourselves some money, even if not time. It begs the question, “Do you really need a professional?” I believe many things are best left to the professionals. I would put surgeries, home buying and selling, and complicated hair dyeing all in this category. These are just a few of the things that, if done yourself, could be disastrous and no waiver is going to make it better. You may have very bad outcomes, complications, lawsuits, and lose a lot of money. So, if/when you do hire a professional, it is wise to listen to their opinion – value it, even. How many surgeries have you performed versus it practically being routine to the medical professional? How many times have you turned a dark brown head of hair into a perfect platinum in one setting? And how many houses have you bought or sold in your lifetime? Consider the fact that these professionals have not only gone to school and been trained, they have, likely, done these “procedures” hundreds, if not thousands of times. They have also...

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Refinancing – When and How to Do It

Refinancing – When and How to Do It

  Have you been thinking about refinancing? Are you confused about if you should refinance? Or do you just need to know how to refinance and what’s involved? Well, I’m a Realtor, not a mortgage professional, however, I can give you an overview and things to expect when refinancing. Typically, you want to refinance when the current interest rate you qualify for is lower than the one you currently have. Notice what I just said. Just because you had some low interest rates pop up in an ad on your Google feed does not mean that is the rate you would be getting or that there won’t be other charges to inflate the rate or overall cost. This is where talking to a trusted, local professional can be very helpful. I am not slamming online companies. I have actually had some good experiences with them. I have also had some bad experiences with them – but I have had bad experiences with local banks as well. Anyway, I digress. However you go about checking a rate, make sure to ask all the questions: What interest rate do I qualify for? What type of loan is that based on? Does that loan and rate assume I am paying points? What are the other fees associated? How much will I need to bring to closing? If you remember the loan process when you purchased your house, that is the same thing to expect with a refinance. The only thing I have experienced that is slightly different is that you do not have a hard closing date to shoot for so you will only have a general timeframe of when you will close. The only true date to consider is that your interest rate is only locked for a certain period of time. There are typically several people you will communicate with through the process. A loan officer, processor, an underwriter, a title company, and perhaps even an assistant and someone from the corporate office. In a perfect world, all of the necessary paperwork and documentation would be requested of you immediately upon applying for the loan. The reality is, that is rarely or never the case. As the processor and underwriter go through the process of gathering and approving, there will likely be other documentation they will need to make the final decision and approval. When any of these people ask you for any kind of document, feel free to ask questions, however, chances are, if you want the loan, you will have to provide the information they request. You will have an appraisal done on the property so be prepared to be available to allow access to the appraiser when...

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