Monday, June 30, 2008

Don't Do Anything You Don't Want To

The other day I was talking with a older person whose family was trying to get her to move. I found myself saying emphatically: "Don't do anything you don't want to. But DO everything that you want to." And when I was done, it felt good and right.

I thought about how this simplifies my business and my life:

  • I don't want to work with clients who are unpleasant to me or others…so I don't. Life is too short for that kind of aggravation.
  • I don't want to cut my commission (which would mean that I would have to cut my service)…so I don't. I get one of the highest full service commission rates in the area, and my clients know they get top value.
  • I don't want to drive buyers all over town looking at houses…so I don't. I work almost exclusively with sellers.
  • I don't want to ever regret choosing real estate…and I don't. Where else can you work with interesting people, help them reach an important life goal, and be part of a nation-wide community of professionals who become friends?
  • I DO want to be assured that my clients get the best possible service. That's why I answer my phone, make my own appointments, and am there for most showings.
  • I DO want to create referral business. That's why I use my experience in nursing to nurture clients and help them through the high-stress time of buying a home.
  • I DO want to help new agents, the ones who want to learn and stay in the profession for the long haul. That's why I mentor when I can and speak at new agents' training sessions.
  • I DO want to sleep well. That's why I don't cut corners or take shortcuts. They just are not worth it.
  • I DO want to spend time with my family and friends. That's why I carve out time when I am not available to clients, and never forget who is most important in my life.
  • And I DO want to keep growing and learning, even after almost 20 years in the business. That's why I keep taking courses, getting new designations like ACRE, and why I'm writing a book.

I can imagine some people shaking their heads and saying, "That sounds fine, but in business sometimes you have to do things you don't want to." No, you don't. There are always alternatives; you have to figure out what they are and then decide what you will do.

And then there are those who are thinking, "I want to DO those things, too, but the business is different here. I can't make it if I take time off for vacations or chasing people down to make appointments." That's your choice. Just consider what you may be missing by not spending the time with your family, or not giving yourself a rest. And, I actually save time and aggravation for my sellers by making my own appointments.

Like most basic principles in life, it's pretty simple.DO everything you want to, and DON'T do anything you don't want to.

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Thursday, June 26, 2008

No Room for Shoes!

I was packing for a short trip – just a quick overnight away. I started with the essentials and then added the clothes and cosmetics and such. Suddenly the bag was full and the shoes wouldn't fit. How could that be?

Then I looked again. Half my overnight bag was taken up by things I couldn't wear either day or night. They were not accessories – they were absolutely essential.

You guessed it – they were electronic. The charger for my Treo, the camera and batteries, the extra battery for the tablet PC along with its keyboard and powerpack, the mouse, the universal charger that turns a car cigarette lighter outlet into a charging station. You name it, it goes along with me. My tech gadgets make it possible for me to do real estate my way. If it comes down to that other pair of shoes or an essential electronic device, it's no contest. The shoes I'm wearing will do just fine!

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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When the Right Price and the Right Buyer Meet

Halleluiah! 8203 Stevenson Road is under contract! This is the "perfect house" that took me years to find for the special needs of one of my favorite families, only to have them decide they wanted a two-story home in a very kid friendly neighborhood.

In our business, we are all too familiar with the frustration of young families struggling to own a home where their children can be happy, safe, and go to good schools. Think what it must have been like for a young couple with a child who had a disabling genetic disease that requires special accessibility. Then realize that the disease, Mucolipidosis type IV (ML4), is both rare and untreatable. Merely coping with daily life is an immense challenge for such a family. Finding a home that met all their special needs seemed nearly impossible.

Then one afternoon I took a listing in Baltimore County that I knew at once was perfect for them. The home had everything they wanted in a ranch house, plus it had a lower level garage. The only thing we had to do was put in a second driveway to the side of the house where there were sliding doors that we replaced with French doors. This gave single level access and that was it – perfection.

After a couple of years, as the children grew, the young family opted for a neighborhood with more children, so the "perfect" house went on the market again. It's been months, and we've had plenty of lookers but no buyers, even with price reductions and Accelerated Marketing. Susan and Paul asked again, "What do you think is the reason our home has not sold?" I know that the majority of you would say, "The only reason a house does not sell is PRICE." And yes, the price is very important. However in this case, the RIGHT buyer had not seen it.

So many people who saw the house wanted cathedral ceilings, wanted the modern Jacuzzi tub. This home is solid stone built in the 1950's on a beautiful lot fenced with patio and two driveways for easy access from both levels. But this is not a home that lends itself to soaring ceilings.

Now, a retired couple has found this to be a perfect home, a perfect location, and a comfortable price. They were amazed at the condition and how right it was for them. The buyer's agent is Linda Odum and her daughter Courtney Odum-Duncan. Many years ago I had a transaction with Linda, a top notch Realtor® with ReMax. I remember it well, a log cabin home in the woods, again a home that needed a very special buyer. It was the first log home that I ever listed and thought it would be impossible to sell; boy, was I wrong! I had more calls on that property than any other.

When Linda brought a young family to look at the property, I noticed that the kids were having such a good time with the owner's dog. Knowing that my seller was moving out of the country, I asked about his pet. He was concerned; the puppy had never known another home, and to transport him would not be easy. I suggested writing the dog into the contract! It was the first time that a dog was a part of one of my transactions, but that is what helped make it work. What did we have? Happy seller, very happy buyers, one very happy puppy, and two agents who worked together to make it all happen,

I am again looking forward to a smooth settlement with Linda and Courtney. The contract came in Friday and we had a signed contract in less than 24 hours. When the right price and the right buyer combine, what fun it is when everyone is working to get the deal done.