Sunday, November 18, 2007

You Can Get There From Here

Having and using the GPS in my car has made a big difference for me. Now I can get most anywhere by just programming in the address. It simplifies traveling so much, and takes a lot of the stress out of getting around. What I want to do now is make it that easy for buyers to see the possibilities in the homes they are looking at, especially when they already have ideas about what kind of location they "need."

Buyers usually ask the "where is it?" questions, often with, "is it close to _____?" or "my kids need to go to __________," or "my husband works at _________." It pays to ask questions about specific "I need to live close to _______" statements and then listen carefully. Sometimes you can help them see another solution that expands their options.

For instance, when a buyer says they want to live nearer the airport, you might find the answer is "we have a lot of family visits and out-of-town business visitors, and spend a lot of time picking them up." The days when you could meet someone at the gate are long gone, so how about finding another way to pick up the visitors? In Maryland, there are several ways to get to and from the BWI airport besides using your car – bus, Amtrak, the Light Rail, and Marc trains.

Ahh – so now you can expand the area where your clients can live as long as the house is near transportation that connects to the airport. In other words, have the transportation "source" near the house, not the transportation. Also, listen carefully when your buyer talks about commuting distance or needing to be close to schools, hospitals, and recreation.

I recently took a listing in Havre de Grace which is several miles northeast of Baltimore. Yes, I drove there – my GPS took care of it! According to the owner, it is only 12 minutes from the Marc train that serves downtown Baltimore and Washington, D.C. with many trains every day. That makes it convenient whether for commuting to work or heading down to see the Orioles or the Ravens play. It's only 25 minutes to Towson which is the county seat for Baltimore County. Even better, it is just minutes to Susquehanna State Park, two golf courses, a major shopping mall, and more. For what you would pay for a small town house in D.C., you can have this country mini-estate on almost four acres of rolling hills and wonderful views. Wouldn't it be nice to have this to come home to after a day in the city? There's even a small airport nearby, and people who fly small planes would love this.

Turning it around and working out from my home base in 21208, I could consider opening my market up to include D.C. using the transportation corridor from here to there. Here I'm close to the Light Rail which connects to Amtrak and Marc, which connect to BWI and the DC Metro system.

All I'm saying is, you can live in the counties surrounding Baltimore in a bigger home, on more land, for less money, and still keep your current job. Choose your lifestyle by how you want to live, and don't overlook alternatives by tying yourself to "I have to's" that may not be true. It's not how far you have to go, it's how long it takes to get there!

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