Saturday, April 25, 2009

Getting High...Not Just Lunch!

Driving downtown to the Baltimore Inner Harbor, I realized that I never tire of the views of the buildings, the water, the wide streets and all the people. I was heading for 100 East Pratt Street for a NAWBO sponsored Facebook seminar. I was early because I wanted to be able to get parked and set up with my computer. This was a "Lunch and Learn," and what a good idea. It saves time, gets you fed, and you get some learning at the same time.

Content McLaughlinLeah MessinaWe met at the office of law firm Tydings & Rosenberg, hosted by Content McLaughlin, the NAWBO chapter president. Our presenter was Leah Messina of Sinuate Media, and we had 19 people around a wonderful large conference table, each having brought a laptop so we could follow along with Leah.

This session generated a lot of interest and filled quickly –There are so many wanting to understand Facebook and how it can be used for business.

Leah covered a lot in just an hour and a half. At one point she took a picture of the room with her camera phone, sent it from her phone directly to Facebook, and within seconds there we were on her page. ( I would show you that photo but it is to small for this post.)

How neat to be able to do that?! Leah will be back for two more lunching and learning sessions, one on Twitter and one on blogging. This series was a first for NAWBO, and a great idea.

And now, for my all "spare time," I have a gazillion new Facebook connections to eventually answer or friend or whatever you do with them!

Baltimore HarborBaltimore Stadiums

The one problem I had during the session.... getting distracted. The conference room had glass walls, and just beyond were the wide windows of the 26th floor and Baltimore's harbor below. Plus, I had my new camera, a Panasonic Lumix with a 28mm wide angle plus a 10x optical zoom. How could I not try it out?

Look at the two boats on the shimmering water to the right of our National Aquarium with its triangular roof line. Beneath that roof is a rain forest!

And can you see the smoke stack in the distance? Over there are Ravens Stadium and Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

And look at the mirrored building with roof top reflections; I do think it might be the Sheraton. From another window I could see the skyline with its interesting shapes.

Then I had to see that steeple up close...yep, the zoom works.

ReflectionsBaltimore SkylineZoom

When the session was over it was off to another busy day – a listing appointment and another chance to use my new camera. And then back to Active Rain to share my day.

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Where Life Goes Better with Art and Auction..Join us May 7th

GalleryArt Resource LogoUsually when I say "auction," I'm talking about the accelerated marketing that's been so successful for TRAC Auctions. But this time is a little different. There's still a building involved (though it is not for sale). This time it is the paintings and sculpture and gorgeous ceramic art for sale. And just to keep it interesting …the #1 bar in America, recently chosen by "Esquire" magazine.

Marti paintingIt began a few months ago when my friend and amazing artist, Tatiana, introduced me to Laura Siner and Leia McKenna who own and run The Art Resource, Inc. The Art Resource represents hundreds of artists including painters, printmakers, sculptors, weavers, mixed media, several lines of limited edition prints and reproductions…and Tatiana and her wonderful ceramic creations.

Their clients include architects, developers, interior designers, corporations, and private collectors. And people like me, who have art in need of a frame – like this painting by that talented Art of Marketing You master, Marti Garaughty

TatianaWhen I visited the gallery and met Laura and Leia, we talked about Tatiana and how successful the auction of her historic church/home had been. That led to the idea of another auction, this time of Tatiana's ceramics and works of other artists at the Art Resource gallery. One thing led to another, as it often does, and the art auction became a gallery reception and book signing celebration.

When talk turned to refreshments, we went from wine and cheese in the gallery to The Brewer's Art and their great microbrewery and pub on the first floor.Brewer's Art

Baltimore's Mount Vernon cultural district is home to world famous institutions like the Walters Art Museum and the Peabody Institute plus galleries and restaurants galore. First Thursdays (the first Thursday in the month) bring people to the area in the early evening hours for special events, leisurely strolls, and pub-crawling.

Please join us!

Thursday May 7,2009 4:00 to 8:00 Pm

The Art Resource

1106 N.Charles St. Ste.303

Baltimore,Md 21201

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Sunday, April 19, 2009

There Was a Free Lunch...WCR in Baltimore

WCR LogoThursday's lunch (free!) sponsored by the WCR drew a good crowd to the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors® offices. It was a good way to introduce people to our WCR and the perks that come with membership – including 12 credits FREE during the year just by being a member. That's a nice benefit especially with this economy.

The discussion included "Marketing to Women." The presentation included reminders about working with Boomers, who make up 38% of the full time work force, and how important it is to ask what they want instead of telling them about you – they are focused on their needs, not on you. We were reminded that people under 30 don't watch TV as much; they go to the Web to buy, that includes houses. Boomers and busters (kids of boomers) have a lot in common. Market to the boomer's children. Another point ..younger women trust women more, they like to work with women and are not as competitive.

Screen ShotMarney KirkMarney Kirk spoke about social media - Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and - Tah dah! - Active Rain. She kindly called me the "Guru of Active Rain," and used my site and my blog as examples. I didn't plan it that way, but it worked out great since up popped my post with May's schedule and the GBBR logo right up top. That gave Kim Jones, who was sitting right next to me, a chance to invite everyone to the May 1 GBBR Rookies meeting when I'll be speaking.

Joeann FosslandFrances Flynn ThorsenSomeone suggested that we check out Trulia, and there we found the announcement that Fran Thorsen will be here on May 18, along with Joeann Fossland, right in the same room at GBBR. I'm hosting this dynamic duo, and everyone is invited, again for the free, to an informative session.

Every one of those May events I announced a few days ago figured into the afternoon. During the meeting I got a call from Laura at the gallery telling me the postcards announcing the art auction were in. She kindly delivered them right to GBBR and I was able to hand them out on the spot. Don't you love it when things come together like that?

I sat with Erica Solomon who told me she joined ActiveRain after hearing me speak at that WCR meeting a year ago at the Suburban Country Club. She wrote a post about the meeting – good for Erica!

I walked out with a bunch of agents' cards interested in Active Rain – that's one of the best parts, isn't it? I sent out eight invitations. Wonder how many will join. It is fun sharing AR with new folks and seeing how many become Active Rainers.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

Save These Dates and...Active Rain Gathering

My May is shaping up to be a wonderfully busy schedule. Besides the usual real estate fun of listings and settlements, the calendar is holding some special events that I'd love to have Active Rainers enjoy, too. Take a look and see how many of these events you can be a part of:

GBBR Header

Friday May 1, 9:30 a.m to 11:30 a.m. at GBBR (Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS®) office in Lutherville, MD. I'll be talking with the Greater Baltimore Rookie REALTORS® group about my experiences using technology and the new social media. As organizer and host Kim Jones, says, "To keep on the cutting edge of the industry, it is important to stay up on the technological advances that are occurring every day. Social Media definitely is impacting the way we can most effectively reach potential clients." See the details and sign up in the Facebook Special Session page:

Art Resource LogoThursday May 7, 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at The Art Resource located 1106 N Charles St. in Baltimore, MD. An unusual art auction plus a gallery wine and cheese reception, and book signing. The Brewer's Art restaurant on the first floor makes a convenient stop before, during, or after this First Thursday event.

Tuesday May 18, 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. at GBBR. Three top real estate women in one place – you know this will be fun!: Joeann Fossland will talk about e-Pro, and Frances Flynn Thorsen will enlighten us about blogging, social media, and No Blogger Left Behind. And all sponsored by Margaret Rome (yep, that's me), author of Real Estate the Rome Way, one of Trulia's Top 10 Real Estate Books for 2008. Let's make this one an AR Gathering, too!

BEA Banner

Friday, May 29 through Sunday, May 31 in New York City. At least part of that time I'll be at the Javits Center where my book will be on display at Book Expo America, the annual massive trade show for the publishing industry. If you're in the Big Apple that weekend, let's see if we can connect.

That's it so far, but it's only April, so anything can happen. Where will I see you in May?

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Most Prices are Firm...A Three Day Open House

garage sale signThe day started off with torrential liquid sunshine! I just did not go to the Open House/Yard Sale in the morning, but got to the house around noon when the sun came out. From then on it was a beautiful afternoon.

Firm prices signWhat a sight! The place was busy and cars were parked on the front lawn leaving barely enough room for the "Open" signs. My wonderful seller told me that she arrived before 7:00 a.m. and there were customers waiting in the downpour to get inside. These were real professional shoppers, or else they truly believe .... the early bird gets the worm.

I was surprised at how much of the stuff was sold, and how much I was enjoying the process, watching the people arrive, then seeing what "treasures" they found.

Someone asked, "Oh, is this for sale? Is the washer for sale?" The seller brought one of her brothers over to discuss this possibility in a quick group meeting. First it was a "No," I want to leave it for the buyer of the house. But my suggestion, take another look, they are far from new or pristine, and anyone buying the house is going to want a newer, cleaner model. OK now let's decide what price to place on it. (You know that old saying, "everything is for sale for the right price!") We asked the customer what he was willing to pay for the machine, but nope, he did not want to play. He asked for a price; it was given. He lives down the street and he wanted to think about it. Bet he returns before the sale was over.

Household goods I loved watching people peruse all the books, many of them children's. They were wrapped in groups - a stack of five books in a series for two bucks, bought by a neighbor with four young boys. Now that's a buy. A young preteen found a pair of badminton rackets for another $2.

We closed up around 3 pm, with lots of stuff gone already. Good feelings all around, neighbors had stopped by and it seemed everyone left with something.

There were more special feelings among the brothers and good friends who were all gladly helping with the sale. At one point a brother found some of "Daddy's tools." No, he did not need them, but they were tools that someone special used a long time ago. He also took an old bike that he plans to restore; you can't put a price on those memories. And how fortunate I was to share a bit of the history and the family and the closeness.

Front of houseI went down again the next day and this time we had gorgeous weather all day. More people came by, things were sold. The washing machine was gone...bought by another customer.

So many people, still buying glasses, dishes, an old coffee pot. "Ooh, ooh, look it's an antique!...and it's $3. Not much reason to bargain. The items were priced to sell.

At least we are accomplishing our first goal – to get the stuff cleared out so we can sell this house. 2414 Lodge Farm Rd. 21219 Baltimore County, Maryland.

This house needs paint and carpet....right now make me an offer "as is"! Don't you love the green sign "Most Prices are Firm!"

Another special part of this experience... the owner had so much family pitching in.... they took shifts to make sure she was never alone. I am so fortunate to be working with such darn good people!

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Sunday, April 05, 2009

Gunning for Greed!

Water GunThere was a lot of reaction to my post about greed and some very greedy squirrels. After reading some of the comments on my post, TLH, Lee took a comment seriously and went out and bought a water gun to help in our attempt at behavior modification and attitude adjustment.

It's called "The Equalizer", and with a range of more than 40 feet he can really have fun getting after those greedy critters. Does it work? Well, it is very accurate and immediately effective but only if you actually hit one. Just getting close was not good enough. Tough little critters. Don't know about long term lasting effects. I have a feeling there will be none.

For the animal lovers out there, don't worry – the squirrels still have their own feeder. All Lee is doing is teaching them which feeder they can eat from and which is reserved for birds.

I think Lee will tire before the squirrels. What do you think?

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Wednesday, April 01, 2009

A Three-Day Open House! Yes...Three Full Days!

Front of houseWe have been working on getting this home on the market, but 13 years worth of "stuff" has accumulated at 2414 Lodge Farm Rd. 21219 Baltimore County, Maryland.

As you can see, it is a delightful three bedroom three full bath rancher with a full basement, a shed, and two-car garage. There's lots of room, but it is full of things to be gotten rid of…I mean sold. The seller is planning an estate sale, aka indoor yard sale, garage sale, or whatever you would call it.

Boots and shoesHome decorationsStuffed ToysThere are books and shoes and sheets and pillows, and toys and dishes and glasses and electronics and comic books and name it.

So we thought, let's do something a bit different. Let's have a three-day open house. If the estate sale is going on for three full days, there will be people in the house, so why not take advantage of the traffic? Well, why not?

So I am going to post the Open House on the MLS, as well as on Active Rain, running an ad in the newspaper, using local flyers, and putting up "Open House" signs.

First, we want to sell the things in the house, but maybe there will be someone who is interested in purchasing this gem. Paint and carpeting will make this home sparkle.

LinensArt workYou may know that I don't do open houses – well, not traditional Sunday open houses. But it won't be the first time I have had an unusual Open House.

Remember the Piggy TRAC Bar B Que Open House! and how about this one, Not Your Every Day Open House , the champagne and popcorn Open House? Those last two sold, and that's the point of trying something a bit unusual. What do I have to do in this market to get the houses sold? First, they must be priced right and then they must be seen! This is just another way of getting more traffic in the property.

Electronics for saleThis is a very special client whom I met many years ago. I have sold another property for her and we are going to sell this one hopefully with the same amount of luck. Another time I will post the story of this remarkable woman.

So here's your chance to see a not-your-usual Open House and maybe pick up a bargain in the process. We are starting at 7:00 am on Friday, April 3, 8:00am on Saturday, April 4, and 7:00am on Sunday, April 5. Please come join us for this very different Open House. It is going to be a beautiful spring weekend

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