Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Counting the Days

Do you know how long you've been married? Or how about some other important event in your life? Do you celebrate once a year on that date?

Not me. I celebrate every day because each day is an anniversary. And tomorrow is a very special one - 14,000 days of marriage to my incredible husband, Lee. People who know us have learned that we always know the number of days, even if we don't always know how many years.

Think about it. Why wait a whole year when every day can be celebrated? Whenever we go out to dinner we can always say, "Today is our anniversary." Sometimes we even get a candle and wish!

I have used my calculator in the past, and I was fairly accurate, until a few years ago when I had dinner with CyberStar® Allen Hainge ( and Dan Gooder Richard from the Gooder group ( Dan shared with me this wonderful site to make my life easier -

This is a special site to share with friends, family, and clients. If you forget a birthday, anniversary etc., just figure out the number of days and, voila, an instant personal "present" that you can mention in a card or email. It's also a great icebreaker; tell someone "We've been married 10,626 days," and I can guarantee a conversation.

Use this to keep track of important milestones or just for fun. How about sending a friend a birthday greeting in Venusian or Plutonian years?

Oh, yeah, and today is 13,999 days. Happy anniversary to us!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Margaret, Matt, and Caleb Show

It was raining in Baltimore today. The sky was a clear delft blue, but in the studio at WCBM radio, we had ActiveRain for close to an hour.

First Matt Heaton called in to talk about creating this fabulous community of some 5,500 real estate professionals. And then Caleb Mardini called and spoke about the future of this community that empowers the very people who drive the industry. And then we had them both on the line at the same time!

There were other callers – Zippy who wanted to know the difference between an appraised value and asking price, and Max who has a nice sounding rancher for sale in Towson, and then Sally with an Ocean City townhouse to sell. My friend and writer, Peg Silloway, was in the studio and helped keep the conversation going, but Matt and Caleb made the day.

I love it when other Rainers call in to All About Real Estate, but this one was really special. Thanks, Matt and Caleb!

My Life in Two Pages

It's called "Successful Solo – But Not Alone with Today's Technology." In two pages and six photographs, in the current Maryland Real Estate Executive magazine, you can read about how I got into real estate and what keeps me going. I think it's a great article…even if it is about me!

And don't forget to tune in today at 12:00 noon to WCBM for All About Real Estate – I'm hosting and have my friend and wordsmith, Peg Silloway, as a special guest.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Something For Your Pain At the Pump

Gas prices have come down in the last week or so, but filling your tank still takes a big bite out of your wallet. Here's a site that can help:

Put in your zip code and you will see the lowest, highest, and average price in the area. There's a numbered list of prices in your area along with a map showing where you can find each station. It's very easy to use and lets you compare to find the best price where you live, work, or in between. And, it's updated every night!

It seems to work for anywhere in the country: I tried using zip codes in the Baltimore area, northern Virginia, Southern California, Houston, Chicago, and New Hampshire, and got answers each time. So check it out, then share it with your friends, family, and clients. I did!

Friday, September 15, 2006

iSucceed Again

Most of you know that I love to share what I've learned in real estate. Last week the module I recorded for the iSucceed network – "The Million Dollar Solo Agent" – went live on their site and they said nice things about me as an iSucceed Mentor in a press release.

They're at it again with more compliments as they make a text-only version available. Now iSucceed members can listen to the session on line or read the text and print it off for reference.

I love the way the module turned out, and especially that it ends with the most important points I want people to take away, the things I think are key to success:
  1. Choose your clients and associates well - only work with people you like and respect
  2. Make technology work for you - get the tech tools that streamline your life and that you really use
  3. Use email – be available with constant email access
  4. Communicate – actively stay in touch with clients and other agents
  5. Be curious - never, ever stop learning

Thanks again to Kelly Kelley at iSucceed for making the process enjoyable, and for making me look good!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

I Don't Do Upset

I got a call from a very upset seller yesterday. She wasn't upset with me, or even that her wonderful house hasn't sold yet. It was something that had happened in her life, and because we have become friends, and because she feels she can talk to me...well...she unloaded.

It immediately brought back another day. It was a day when a dear 80+ lady, the mother-in-law of a dear friend of mine, buried her husband. This was a very sad day and she certainly had reason to be upset.

Someone had made a comment my friend thought was unkind, and she complained to her mother-in-law about it. This sweet lady put her hand on my friend's arm and said: "Don’t let unimportant people or unimportant things become important."

Now think about - almost every time we get upset, isn't it about "somebody" or "something" that is NOT important? That day I decided that "I don't do upset."

And yesterday I told my seller that story. I have used this so many times and it always hits home. My seller quickly saw that the person who had upset her so was definitely in the NOT important category. So I urged her to give in to the desire to get all those things she wanted to say down in a scathing email...but send it to me. And then look around at all the good things that have happened for her lately, and repeat after me: "I don't do upset."

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Million Dollar Solo Agent

Google told me I'm a success.

Actually, a Google Alert reported that my Success Module for iSucceed, "The Million Dollar Solo Agent," was profiled in this wonderful article.

Recording the program was a new experience, and I wasn't completely comfortable during the session. I'm used to just getting up and talking – I really never know for sure what I'll say until I say it. But this time there was a script with specific questions and answers. Until I heard the final product, it was hard to be confident that I wouldn't sound as sleep-deprived as I was that day. Many thanks to Kelly Kelley (don't you love that name?) at iSucceed who did a wonderful job of making me sound good.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

How to Deal with the "Changing" Market

Too many people have accepted the "fact" that we're in a down real estate market. We need to remember that the media is trying to sell news, not houses. The good professional Realtors® are busy listing and selling regardless of the scare stories in the press.

Late summer is always a slow time for real estate. People are stretching out the final days of summer vacation, doing everything they can to avoid returning to "real" life. But with September here attitudes are changing. Now's the time to be out there taking advantage of this market of opportunity.

Here's my list of a dozen and a half ways to "make it rain" in real estate:
  1. Call ALL those buyers you had last year. Where are they? Many did not buy anything. Get out there with your buyers and tell them about the opportunities.
  2. Have the buyers send you their “Wish List," and then go find the home to make their dreams come true.
  3. Don’t sit around and get caught up in complaining about the market.
  4. Do something to attract people - make your ads interesting, get on a radio show.
  5. Sign up for the ActiveRain Real Estate Network, and join this free online community of real estate professionals. You'll find a dynamic group with members around the country who are eager to share advice and experience to help everyone improve.
  6. Start a blog. An online newsletter/journal is a great way to reach your clients and prospects. Take a look at And if you don’t have time to write, call in a professional.
  7. Look at the expireds, FSBOs, withdrawn listings. They need us more than ever! Don’t you think so? Go get that business.
  8. Do something for the buyer and seller that brings them into the process. Offer them a place to tell you what they need with something like
  9. Get back to basics! Go to meetings of WCR, neighborhood associations, business groups, cousin’s clubs. Get out of the office. Get face to face. Have kids? Go to their games and activities. Remember everyone needs to live somewhere. JOIN and be active in the activities that you enjoy. Network!
  10. Have your cards available. Remember my definition of advertising: It is your job to let people know that you are in real estate, not their job to remember.
  11. Use your down time in the car to make phone calls.
  12. Remember that a small gesture goes a long way. How many Thank You notes have you written this week? Do you have Thank You notes with you, with stamps, so it is easy to take a few minutes to show your appreciation for someone who has made your day a bit better?
  13. Take a class – GRI, ePro, etc. Keep learning, always.
  14. Keep Floyd Wickman's tapes in the car and really listen to them.
  15. Get a few agents together to brainstorm.
  16. Start a mentor group. If you don’t have a group, start with an agent you admire and respect and ask what you can do to help them in their business. Ask if you can "shadow" them for a day. Offer to cover for them for a couple of hours whenever they need you.
  17. Take a prospective client to lunch every Tuesday.
  18. Call an eMentor. We are here to help.

Now is the time to get listings, and at a full commission. A house that is priced right with a fair profit for the seller and a good value for the buyer – that kind of house will sell in any market including today's.

Remember the book Who Moved My Cheese? Floyd Wickman said a few weeks ago, "I don’t care WHO moved it. I just want to go find it." Go find your "cheese!"

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Rainy Day

It is raining in Baltimore. It has been raining all night, and they say we'll get a good soaking the rest of the day.

As I entered the gym early this morning, a "Good Morning" greeting to the woman ahead of me was answered with "You tell me what's 'good' about this morning." I watched the bright smile of the greeter turn downward. So I stayed and shared with this person how I felt about the rainy day.

"Liquid Sunshine" - this is what we have. You don't have to water the grass or the flowers today, and you certainly don't have to mow the lawn. You are healthy and well enough to be at the gym. You have an umbrella and you're dry. It is not snow; it is a comfortable 65 degrees. My car is getting clean without me lifting a finger. I can find so many reasons to be glad of rain.

I was saddened by that "older" woman's response. If she cannot find anything good on a rainy Tuesday in September, what does she have to look forward to? How does she handle a disappointment or an illness?

Attitude makes it Liquid Sunshine. There is no bad weather - there is just weather. Don't you agree?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

What I Learned on the Radio Today

Today was a first for me - a full hour hosting the radio show "All About Real Estate" with no guest. Just me and the microphone. I can talk to anyone, but I found out it is easier to have a conversation when you have someone to listen to!

Those first 20 minutes, I was really sweating. There was no one for me to listen to or to start a conversation with. Once you get me started, it can be hard to stop me. But I need to respond to others, to listen between the pauses, to have something to react to. I wondered what would I do if no one called in? Yes, I could have talked about every one of my listings, but I wanted it to be an interesting show for people besides me.

I shouldn't have worried. Once the phone started ringing, we couldn't keep up with all the calls. My good friend Bryant Tutas called in from Florida. Bryant is a solo broker who works with his "Lovely Wife", and is a star of the Active Rain network. He added a lot to the show and even waited patiently through a break to talk about finding the right Realtor®. Bryant made a good point - you need to hire a seasoned professional who knows your area and who will tell you what you need to hear, not just what you want to hear. Being honest with the client is one of the hallmarks of a top professional.

After the show, I had a wonderful email from a new agent in Baltimore, Zippy Larson. She made me feel great when she said, "Your listening skills, your way of drawing people out, your clear and easy-to-understand answers, I would like to hear you on air regularly." Thanks, Zippy - tune in on September 17 when I'll be hosting the show again.

And thanks to everyone who called in today. You made this a very special holiday weekend.