Thursday, May 21, 2009

Give and Take---Do You Know How to Do Both?

Give and Take...Do you know how to do both? Baltimore,Maryland

The Class I learned a lot at Monday's Three Divas for Free event. The plan was for Fran Thorsen, Joeann Fossland, and me to do an interactive panel together. Our plans changed when Joeann got a call that Fran would not be able to attend. Thrown off guard but not for long, Joeann was talking with Bernice Ross and told her about the dilemma. Giving person that she is, Bernice asked if Joeann would like her to stay over and go to Baltimore to fill in? She had a new presentation, and Baltimore could be the place to preview it. (Anyone who knows anything about real estate knows that this was like hitting the lottery - having Bernice Ross and Joeann on the same platform.)

Joeann FosslandAnd what did I learn? That Joeann was gracious and said, "Yes, I would love for Baltimore to hear your new presentation."

Joeann was able to accept an invitation to help. A few phone calls, a few changes to the flyers, a few more Active Rain blogs, an email went out from Martha Lessner to all the WCR members, and Anita Davis who was also at the NAR convention started putting out the word.

Million Dollar BillsWe had a fabulous turn out - Marvin came from Bucks County, Pa, Amad drove in from Ocean City, MD, Andy Norton came in from Northern Virginia, Pat Kennedy drove in from DC. There were many agents and affiliates from Baltimore. With their presentations on ePro and social networking, Joeann and Bernice held the audience from 1:00 until after 4:00 in the afternoon with information, humor, and lots of interaction. The million-dollar-bills that Bernice handed out didn't hurt, either!

Bernice RossTweetdeck explained by BerniceBernice spoke about the idea that "when you give to others, it comes back to you" (what I've often talked about as "you get by giving.") She said the key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving. It is not always easy to receive – we get so used to giving that we forget how to accept, whether it's help or a compliment or a gift.

This was just one small point of Bernice's seminar, but was really an important "ah ha" moment for me. When someone says, "What can I do to help?" think about it before you answer. My friend and publisher Peg Silloway emailed the night before the event and asked, "What do you need me to do?" My response could have been "Pick up the food," or "Bring the ice," but what I really needed was her presence and support. And she was there. No, Peg is not in real estate, but she sat through the entire afternoon, took photos on her new camera, and then went with us to the crab feast afterward. I knew she had an early morning meeting the following day; she could have bowed out easily, but she stayed and she stayed for me. Margaret and Joeann

Bernice, Margaret, JoeannIt was the same when I asked Joeann what I could do. This magnificent gracious lady said, "You already have done it." Though she did a lot of work to help organize and publicize the event, Joeann allowed me to do some giving. And that's the lesson: Yes, it is important to give, but if we never accept, we deprive someone else of the opportunity to give.

How are you at receiving?

Give and Take...Do you know how to do both? Baltimore,Maryland

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Monday, May 18, 2009

I am in Love...and We Just Met Today!

Love computerI am not the only one who feels this way about this young man, either. The other Margaret in Maryland, Margaret Woda introduced us: My Hero, My Tech Co-ordinator - David Fox.

For the past 5 hours (I'm writing this Sunday night) I have been shopping, bought a new CPU (which blew up and was running all my printers), monitor, cable connection for an old printer, new keyboard, mouse, replaced Linksys with Netgear, and it is all installed and up and running! All this in just FIVE hours on a Sunday night. It is unheard of to have this kind of trust in a techie that I just met...yet I do.

David FoxWhat is so terrific, he knows real estate and all the systems including MRIS photos, MLS, Internet Sentri, Settlement Express, and all the other goodies that we agents need. Plus he is an Active Rain cool is that!!

I did not have to explain one thing...just told him how I worked and what I needed. Voila a whole new system, back up and virus protection in place, and he set it up so he has remote access to my systems

Where has he been all my computer life? With David just a phone call, I mean an email, I mean a text away, I am one happy agent.

Now I can concentrate on my 15 listings, my seminar this afternoon Still Three, Still Free - But With a New Face , and all the other important things going on in my wonderfully busy life.

How could it be any better? David and I are two of a kind…he is Type E, scoring 29 out of 30!

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Still Three, Still Free - But With a New Face

Bernice RossLife has a way of doing that...changing plans at the last minute. Unfortunately, Fran Thorsen won't be able to join us on Monday, May 18 for our Social Media Divas Share Their Secrets event. But - we are delighted that nationally syndicated columnist, author, trainer, and speaker, Bernice Ross, will be filling in to make the day even better.

Bernice couples her expertise as a Master Certified Coach with 30 years of real estate sales experience. For our event, Bernice will present "How to Build a Successful Online and Social Media Presence for under $2.00 per Day." Is there anyone who wouldn't want to know how to do that??

If you haven't already signed up for this free event, DO IT NOW! Here's what you need to know:

Location: Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS
1306 Bellona Avenue, Lutherville, MD 21093

Date: Monday, May 18, 2009

Time: 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
followed by Dutch-treat dinner at local restaurant

Sponsored by: Margaret Rome

Presenters: Joeann Fossland, Bernice Ross, Margaret Rome

Cost: FREE!

Reserve: at Eventbrite
or on Facebook
or email Margaret at

It's going to be one of those "you've got to be there" events - so please join us! We will be continueing the fun with dinner afterwards. Hope you can join us!!

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Saturday, May 09, 2009

Social Media Divas Share Their Secrets

Active Rain members are invited to join Joanne Fossland, Frances Flynn Thorsen and Margaret Rome on Monday May 18th 1:00 - 4:00 p.m and continuing with dinner. Let's make it an Active Rain Gathering!

Via Frances Flynn Thorsen, e-PRO, SRS (Socialebb Strategies and Solutions):

Join the Top Three for Free!

  • Joeann FosslandJoeann Fossland, one of the Top 25 Most Influential Women in Real Estate 2008, Chief Evolution Officer, Advantage Solutions Group, Senior GRI Tech Instructor, Top 10 Women Bloggers in Real Estate 2006, Master Certified Coach, Certifed e-PRO Workshop Leader, CyberGrandma2

  • Frances Flynn ThorsenFrances Flynn Thorsen, one of the Top 50 Influential Women in Real Estate 2008. .Frances was one of the first real estate bloggers to receive national attention early in 2005, in Investors’ Business Daily, BusinessWeek Online, Inman News, REALTOR® Magazine, and The Philadelphia Inquirer. She was founding editor of and worked as Community Manager of She is CEO of Socialebb Strategies and Solutions and offers an ecumenical approach to blog and social media coaching and consulting services.

  • Margaret RomeMargaret Rome, author of Real Estate the Rome Way, a Trulia Top 10 Real Estate Book for 2008.Margaret has won numerous real estate awards that attest to her outstanding service and concern for the people she works with, whether clients and colleagues. Her giving, caring nature is well known throughout the industry.
  • Use social media to make 2009 your best year ever! Join us for this lively and informative session.

    • Learn how NAR’s ePRO certification can improve your business.
    • Hear about the “must have” sites for real estate marketing.
    • Be part of the discussion about blogging for fun and profit.
    • Learn about choosing the right social media options for your particular needs.
    • Sponsored by Margaret Rome, this is a rare opportunity to learn from the best.

      This is one interactive and lively session you won’t want to miss. And the fun won’t stop at the end of the afternoon - everyone is invited to keep the conversation going with Joeann, Fran, and Margaret at a Dutch-treat dinner afterward.

    Date: Monday, May 18, 2009

    Time: 1:00 p.m to 4:00 p.m...and beyond

    Location: Greater Baltimore Board of REALTORS®

    Cost: FREE!

    How to Reserve

    Email Margaret Rome at , or

    Call Margaret at 410-530-2400 or

    Please include your RSVP for the after-session dinner.

    Space is limited, so email or phone your reservation today!

    Thursday, May 07, 2009

    Wish I May, Wish I Might...I Have the Buyer!

    jacuzzi tubWe need to find this couple the perfect home! You'll recall that I asked them to make a "We won the lottery!" list of everything they could ever want in a home.

    And then they were to get real and make a "wish list" of the things that were most important. With that list - and knowing what homes appealed to them before - I would be ready to line up homes for them to see... when they come to Baltimore in early June. Since they are coming from France, and only for a short visit, I need to not waste their time.

    They did the exercise and emailed me today!

    kitchenNow I have their wish list, and there is nothing on it that is unrealistic or unlikely. Whether we can find a home that has all these things is a good question, but I believe we can come close.

    This couple recognizes that finding everything on their list in one place and at the right price isn't likely, but we have a good idea of what to aim for.

    What are they looking for? The types of things many people desire: three bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths, an updated kitchen with stainless appliances and granite or Corian counters, nice wood cabinets, a master bedroom suite with walk-in closets, a Jacuzzi soaking tub, a good-sized patio and deck, a fireplace, central air conditioning, and a few other details.Fireplace They have selected about a half dozen neighborhoods.

    We have until early June to find several homes that might fit their needs in Baltimore. Can we do it? Stay tuned....

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    Wednesday, May 06, 2009

    Can't Even...Give It Away!...Well Now You Can!


    Child playing piano

    Some years ago, I listed a home that had a piano no one wanted. I offered to help the sellers get rid of, not realizing what a big job that would be. I advertised it, made phone calls, and finally found someone who wanted the piano for a child. It was almost as much work as selling the house!

    It happened again when I was disbanding my ceramic studio. The same challenge was there – all the equipment remained in my home way way too long... before a charity contacted me. They had a really wonderful use of the potter's wheel, the kiln, and all the other equipment I had collected over the many years of being an artist. It was going to used by children and that made me feel very proud.

    The best part, they came that same day with a truck, loaded everything and took it away. No time to change my mind. It was the right decision.

    StairmastrToday I would have a much better way of finding a new home for these items that are still of use but would be costly to have removed. Whether it's furniture, appliances, exercise equipment, a piano or huge ceramic kiln, I would list it on TRAC under the "Take It Away" heading. And then someone else would come Take It Away.

    Truck It's a great way to recycle still-useful items – a green solution for sure.

    We can all sing along with George Strait on this one! What items can you think of that would go on a Take It Away list?

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    Saturday, May 02, 2009

    Yes I Do Answer Blocked Caller ID!

    Blocked Caller IDWe've talked about this before, but I recently got a strong reminder of why it is an important discussion. Yes I do answer my phone; I answer if I don't recognize the number, and I answer "blocked calls." If it turns out to be a telemarketer I can always add the number as a " spam" call and hit the "Ignore" button next time (a huge timesaver.) But it is worth it to catch interested clients, as happened this week.

    I had an email this week from my IDX site asking questions about an active listing. I responded with the answers to the specific questions and suggested we talk, either they could call me or let me know their phone number and a good time.

    Later, while in the car, I got a "blocked number" call. Answering as always with "Good afternoon, this is Margaret," I recognized the name the caller gave me, the same as the email inquiry. Why didn't she give me her phone number on her email? The call was coming from FRANCE!

    We had a wonderful conversation, and I found out that she is looking for a second home here in the Baltimore area. I suggested she and her husband make wish lists. one as though they actually hit the lottery.... as if money was no object.... then another as a reality list. This helps them decide what is most important, and what they can and can't compromise on.

    She emailed me later saying that, "… my husband and I did the exercise you suggested about making a dream list if we won the lottery. It was a great success, and I was so surprised and pleased that he was excited about doing it and participated fully. Now, we are working on the 'reality' list. I also consulted your website again regarding 'buyers for your home.' It's an impressive idea."

    She went on to say that she had been emailing another agent and had expressed interest in two different houses, both of which had been on the market for a long time. In both cases she got no answers, and later found out- on her own - that both had sold!


    This couple will be coming to the Baltimore area in early June ready to buy a home. They have asked me to reprsent them exclusivly.

    My goal is to have properties pre-selected that meet their criteria so I don't waste their precious time. By looking at what she liked before, and combining that with their wish lists, I'll be ready. In the meantime, I'll post their wish list on the Buyers4YourHome page of my website.

    Wish I May, Wish I Might.. I Have The Buyer!

    So…I'd say that answering that blocked ID phone call was the right choice, wouldn't you?

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