Fairytales and Real Estate

Fairytales and Real Estate

  It’s about that time where the costumes come out and people are dressed up as all sorts of creatures and other beings. Halloween is fun but sometimes you encounter real life characters. If you are in a business where you have customers or clients, you will probably relate to some, if not all, of these comparisons. I had a client who compared herself to Goldilocks so when I started thinking about it, I realized that there are a lot of correlations between real estate and fairy tales – other than the obvious. Goldilocks – This is the home buyer that looks at everything on the market. This one is too small, the lot on this one is too big. My job is to find the one that is “just right” and help them get it! Chicken Little – This is the home seller that worries about everything – they think the sky is falling when it was only an acorn that hit their head. Is the description good enough on the photos? If we don’t have an offer the first day, what’s wrong? What if buyers don’t like the neutral paint you told us to use? My job is to try to calm their fears on the front end by educating. Selling can be very stressful and if they already have a worrisome personality, it’s all the harder. I tell people what they need to know from my years of experience working with buyers. No two houses are alike so there definitely are some variables I take into consideration. It’s not generally a one-size-fits-all marketing plan. Cinderella – This is the client that just goes with the flow without complaining. They respect my opinions and suggestions based on my experience. They know I am going the extra mile to do everything to either sell their house or find them the perfect house. In the end, it’s a perfect fit and they get an outcome that was even better than expected. And they are usually the ones that give ME a gift at closing. Pinocchio – This buyer doesn’t want me to know that their previous house was foreclosed on a few years ago, that they had a bankruptcy, or want to impress me with how much money they make so they lie to me. I don’t need to know any of this information. Frankly, it’s not my business as a Realtor. What I AM concerned with, however, is that they can qualify for the house so when they talk to the lender, they need to tell them because, guess what? They are going to find out anyway, and it will save some embarrassment later. The Pinocchio seller is the one that...

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Puppy Prozac

Puppy Prozac

  Anyone who knows me, knows my love for animals – especially my two dogs. They have been constantly by my side through many things in my life, one for the last 14 years, the other for 9. The youngest one has always been full of energy. She would chase a ball or a Frisbee for hours. At some point, the energy turned a bit negative and she and her “sister” would get into fights. Something would set her off and they would just go at it. Many tears were shed and quite a bit of money was spent on vet visits and trainers. As her behavior worsened, I finally started putting puzzle pieces together.  She had anxiety, and lots of it. I found a trainer that specialized in these behaviors and we discussed medications since behavioral training alone hadn’t seemed to help much. I took her to the vet and they prescribed her what I call “Puppy Prozac”. I felt bad. For a lot of reasons. I felt bad having to put her on a daily medication. I felt bad that I couldn’t help her any other way. But most of all, I felt bad that I hadn’t done it earlier. It took some time for it to take affect but she is much calmer now. It didn’t change her personality as I had feared and it didn’t take away all her OCD and anxious behavior, but I can leave without her tearing things up and there have been no more vet visits because of sibling rivalry. I realized that I was making excuses. I was brushing it under the rug. I didn’t want to admit there was something wrong. I just thought it was her personality and that I would just have to live with it. What I didn’t consider was how much happier she would be once she took a little pill every day. I see this with homeowners. What? Puppy Prozac? Well, not exactly. What I mean is, I see houses that clearly have some issues. Anyone walking in the door would recognize it immediately but the homeowner doesn’t want to admit it. They don’t want to take responsibility, do the work, or spend the money. So, they let it go. And the result is, it doesn’t go away, it gets worse. That hairline crack that showed up a few years ago that has gotten bigger. The door that was sticking that now won’t even close. The wood that was wet that you can now stick a finger through. The gutters that have been clogged and have turned into water running down the wall in the living room. Most of these things would be fairly...

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When to Call it Quits

When to Call it Quits

  Being in the real estate business since 2004 and being the Managing Broker of firm, I have seen, heard, and experienced quite a bit. I never say, “I’ve seen it all,” because just when I think I have, something new happens. But I digress. I would say the main thing I have learned is that not all real estate agents or clients are created equal and sometimes you need to know when to call it quits. One of my agents had a listing that a non-resident buyer had under contract. The Buyer’s agent had a full-time job and couldn’t answer the phone, email, or text about real estate until after 5:00. The lender for the Buyer was not communicating and the agent couldn’t, and the buyer didn’t speak English. The Buyer was jumping through all sorts of hoops to get the loan, doing everything necessary and yet the closing date kept being pushed back – 5 times to be exact. To complicate matters more, the Seller was buying a house whose owner had to sell before they could buy the house they had under contract and that family had to sell to them before they could close on the house they were buying. 4 families were being effected, all sleeping on the floor because they thought they were going to close weeks ago. My agent communicated everything she knew but was not sure she was ever getting the whole story, nonetheless, the truth. She went to the Buyer’s lender’s office (which happened to be his house) and banged on the door, demanding answers, only to be faced with more half-truths and more delays. While she fought for the Buyer that wasn’t even her client, the Buyer’s agent was nonchalant and did very little to help, nor did he feel any responsibility toward the 4 families whose lives were in limbo for weeks. When he was asked to help so his client could close and the others could move forward as well, he refused. My agent stepped in, yet again, and got the deal done for everyone. Most agents would have given up well before it got to that point. This is why it is so important to find a real estate agent that you trust and one that will not only fight for you but fight to get the deal done if that is what everyone wants. If she hadn’t taken the reigns and exhausted herself, 4 families would have had to move back into their homes or continue sleeping on their floors while they put their homes back on the market. On the other side, agents, you need to understand that not all clients are created equal....

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Hurry Up and Wait

Hurry Up and Wait

  I’m in a band. We do a lot of hurry up and wait. If we are playing a private event, a lot of times we will have to have everything set up on stage in the middle of the day and we won’t play until 7:30 or 8:00. We may have to sit and wait for several hours to actually play the show. We often rush to get set up and sound check and deal with malfunctioning equipment and a deadline to make ourselves scarce prior to us playing. Then we wait and wait until finally we get the call that they are ready for us to start. Then the adrenaline starts to kick in and we play sometimes for hours. That is very much how it can be when you are selling your house. You scramble to do paperwork, get repairs done, de-clutter, organize and clean, get the photographs and video, we enter it online and then we wait. We wait for showings. We wait for feedback. We wait for a phone call saying someone is interested and then we wait for their offer. We respond to their offer and then we wait. Once all parties agree, we wait for the inspections and appraisal – holding our breath the whole time. You pack your things and wait for all contingencies to be cleared. Then we wait for the closing date. There could be any number of reasons for a closing to be delayed so you could wait for that. Then you wait to get the call that the coast is clear and you can go to closing. You sign the papers and wait to get your money. If you have an escrow account attached to your mortgage, you will wait for a refund. Hurry up and wait is one of the hardest things to do. I like to set expectations for my clients up front. I want them to know what to expect so that when it happens, they are not surprised or unnecessarily worried. It’s just part of the hurry up and wait of real estate. If you are ready to sell your house, be prepared to be rushed and then be prepared to wait. If you understand that and have patience, you will get through the process a lot easier. You probably have a whole list of other things that need to be happening anyway, so get some of those done while you are waiting. What are you waiting for? Hurry up! Let’s get your house...

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Trust

Trust

  Trust is an interesting thing. It is free to give, but costly if lost. If it is broken, it may never be repaired and sometimes, trust is irreplaceable. A friend told our secret. A colleague got the promotion by taking credit for our hard work. A contractor stole from us. A parent didn’t do what they said they would do. Words. An action. We’ve all had our trust betrayed somehow. It is disappointing. It hurts. What do you do when that trust is broken in a real estate transaction? Let’s take a look. You own a house that had some storm damage on the roof. You were able to get your insurance to pay out on a claim. You weren’t having any major leaks so you did a quick fox and used the rest of the money for some other improvements you’ve been wanting to make. Fast forward a year. You are selling the house. You’ve disclosed a few things you knew might come up but your house is in pretty good shape, overall, and it’s a hot market so it should sell fast. You receive two full price offers right away. Well that was easy! You decide on the one that had the best terms and moved forward. As suspected, a few things came up on inspection but no big deal. There was a question about some shingles on the roof but the inspector said it looked like there had been a repair and there were no active leaks. Then you get a call from your agent. He asks some more detailed questions about the roof and you start to get nervous. Apparently the Buyer was shopping for insurance for their “new home” and the agent pulled a CLUE report on your house. “A what?,” you think. It stands for Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange. In layman’s terms, it’s a record of insurance losses. Remember that claim you filed? Remember that money you received? There’s a record of it. So, the Buyer knows you were paid for an entire new roof to the tune of $6500.00. That money is long gone and the old roof is still there. The buyer demands a new roof. You can’t deliver. You lose the buyer. Well, that’s OK, just go back to the other buyer, right? Not so fast. Now there is a disclosure issue. You have to (or should) tell that other buyer the situation. If you don’t, your agent should. They will probably want a new roof too, or a reduction in the sales price, or they may not trust you now and wonder what else you aren’t telling them. When you do something to lose trust, you could it...

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Tomorrow

Tomorrow

  We all have obligations. Jobs. Bosses. Friends. Family. Bills. Dishes. A lot of those, we can’t ignore easily without consequence. If we don’t pay our bills, we don’t have water. If we don’t go to work, we don’t get paid. But what about those things that we can forget about for a minute? We are not promised tomorrow, and, while we need to make sure we are taking care of business and ourselves, there are some things that maybe we need to open our eyes to a bit more today. Self: So many of us fail to take care of ourselves. We have so many others that need cared for, that we don’t take time for our own self-preservation. If you have ever flown on a commercial airline, you have heard that, in an event of loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will fall from a compartment above. If you are traveling with someone who needs assistance, you are to secure your mask first and then help your companion. Why is that? Because if you don’t take care of yourself first, you will be passed out and you won’t be able to help the other person. This goes for your everyday life as well. If you are not well (mentally, emotionally or physically) you can’t do your best in any aspect of your life. Your work and your relationships will suffer and you will begin to feel drained and unhappy. Family/Friends: Often times, we can let work obligations get in the way of our most important relationships. Our family and friends sometimes get the leftovers of our energy. We take the stress, exhaustion, disappointment, and unhappiness out on the ones closest to us. If they are truly important to us, those relationships deserve the best of what we have. Make sure to spend quality time and let them know what they mean to you. It doesn’t take much time to send a text during the day just to say you’re thinking about them. Be sure to put them on your calendar just like a work appointment. Your niece’s piano recital is just as important to her as your top client’s emergency. It’s your choice to make priorities and not let the “unimportant” take their place. Animals: Our pets are possibly the only living being that loves us unconditionally and is always happy to see us. How have we shown our appreciation? Spend time with your pets and do something special for them. Buy them a new toy or a special treat. Just sitting on the couch with them can restore your soul and make you both very happy. Nature: The Universe has a way of showing her beauty...

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