Saturday, February 28, 2009

Such Beauty - Winter Craft Show in Baltimore

Green Grass JewelryIt was a warm 60-degree day in Baltimore and what better way to spend it than with a best friend, also an artist, at the juried American Craft Council show? Last year Peg and I didn't go the first day because of the ice, but it's a show we try to see every year for the fun and creative inspiration it provides.

Wood Bowls Green CraftWhat does this have to do with real estate and blogging? Let's go green! Most crafts, wood, ceramic, glass, weaving, metals etc., by nature are already green. This year, green seemed to be the theme of the show. Many booths displayed the Green Craft sign and I know this will make janeAnne very happy. Even Josh Simpson's spectacular blue glass was labeled "green." (you can see it in last year's post.)

Book PursesBook Purses Green CraftThis year we noticed there were a number of artists with book themes. Could it be the books caught our eye because of Real Estate the Rome Way and being with my publisher of Silloway Press? There was shelving made of books, we saw clocks made out of books, we saw wood made to look like books, and we saw Caitlin Phillips' pocketbooks (the kind we ladies carry) made out of hardback books.(Hmmm…when my book goes into hardback will we have a purse made of it?) The purse idea seemed to be a good one and this was a very popular booth. I liked the red Webster's dictionary. What would your favorite pocket BOOK be to carry on a daily basis?

Last year we saw only a few rows of the show and I think we enjoyed the experience more. This year we tried to cover it all and it was too much for one day. Being wonderfully busy, one day was all I could devote to the show this year. Even so, I had two settlements and a showing on one of my listings right after we left the Convention Center, and then dinner with good friends. Thank goodness for cell phones with email and caller ID!

Easter Island Metal Sculpture with Artist Dale RogersPeg and I went without a plan, we said let's wander, no direction. We could have just done books, or just done fibers, or just done wood, or just done glass, or just done jewelry, etc. As it was, we got tired and neither of us bought this year - very unusual.

It reminded me of a buyer who wants to see everything, so the agent takes them to 30 houses in a weekend, instead of narrowing it down to the best four or five. When showing houses, you narrow your showings to... all the homes in one zip code, homes in a specific school district, all detached homes, all split levels, all homes with a pool, all homes with garages, all home with fenced yards. You can only do this if... you ask enough questions.

Were you prepared or did you just make a list of homes in price range and show all? Better choices can be made, a better time can be had, and you are more likely to make the right decision by comparing a smaller number but seeing only what you and or the buyer are interested or qualified for.

Dog with a boneI look forward to next year's special day with a special friend, but next time we will go with a plan.

This was an exceptional show and we enjoyed talking with the artists. Let's "face" it, some artists like Dale Rogers are "Like A Dog With a Bone!"

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Monday, February 23, 2009

Better Than a Paycheck!

I just got a nice paycheck. I mean, thank you note. More than a year ago I started working with these wonderful sellers, and we went through some challenging times together. But letters like this are what keep me going. And isn't that what real estate is all about?

Griffin Thank You Note

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Lovin' Live Baltimore

Talking with customers Last evening was the big Live Baltimore reception and new website debut. The venue was gorgeous – Symphony Center in downtown Baltimore, just across from the Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Real estate professionals came to network and learn more about what Live Baltimore does to encourage people to live in Baltimore City. People stopped at a large city map to find their homes in one of Baltimore's more than 200 neighborhoods. And right next to the map was…me! Live Baltimore had generously offered to include a book signing in the evening's festivities, so there I was, signing and selling copies of Real Estate the Rome Way.

First customer

It was a huge Two Margarets and Marthasuccess…and a lot of fun, too. Nancy Corporon was a delight as she bought the first book of the evening. Friends and colleagues stopped to chat. One nice surprise was having Activer Rainers Martha Brown and Margaret Woda stop by for a visit, especially since they took the time to drive some distance from their home area. Vito Simone who is president of the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors was there, along with Kim Jones and Helen Dellheim.

Lee Rome and Vito SimoneAnna CusterExecutive Director Anna Custer gave a lively overview of the new website, and a delightfully enthusiastic young woman named Cassandra spoke of how the program had helped her buy a home – she settled earlier this month – with financial assistance and valuable counseling.

It was a great evening, and I was so proud to be next to my best friend and publisher, Peg Silloway. I think the word is qvelling. Yep, I was qvelling for both of us. I think you can see in that photo of Helen, Lee, and me that Lee was qvelling a bit too.

Helen, Lee, Margaret

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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I Was SMART ...SMART Program That Is!

Kim with SMART bagI had a great day! While having lunch with Kim Jones last week (she was Maryland Association of Realtors® Rookie of the Year), I noticed she was carrying a SMART bag . That is Floyd Wickman's program, and anyone who knows me knows that I am one of Floyd's biggest fans. Heck in my book Real Estate the Rome Way, his name is indexed more than anyone else's, and the first blurb is from Mike Pallin.

Me: "Oh, you know Floyd?"

Kim: "Well yeah, I am enrolled in the SMART program right now. We meet on Mondays. Steve Caudle knows you and missed you at Master Sales Academy this year."

Kim spoke to Steve and I was invited to stop by. I was wonderfully busy on a Monday morning, up at 5:30, went to the gym, took a couple of new listings, working on a property going to auction, two settlements this month. In there, too, was checking on my Active Rain membership with the change in rules today, scanning through Brad's post and the more than 400 comments! But when I got an email from Kim saying she was leaving for class, well, I decided I was not too busy after all…WIN!

After 19 years since I first took the course (back then it was "SweatHogs"), other than the technology everything was so familiar. I found I was chiming in with the class. They even allowed me to do some role-playing and welcomed me with open arms. There were lots of questions about how I am getting listings, making contacts, marketing, and just real estate in general. It was fun with this enthusiastic group, so eager to learn in spite of the negative/slow market. These agents were doing something, they were learning, they were excited. And so was I.

SMART class

Steve Caudle, Margaret Rome, Michelle Nolan, Ulysses Cooper, Phillip Graham

Kim Jones, Sean Regan

A few photos, handshakes and hugs, and the day was over. It was great to see Steve and I was honored that he asked me to sign a book for him. Then he handed me a pen…it was from Dean Moss - a wonderful friend, Rainer, Floyd Wickman follower, and Carolyn Howd award
winner from Chicago.

The day was complete. Networking, friendships, learning, sharing, and seeing again how the world goes round and round to bring good friends together.

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Monday, February 16, 2009

Live Baltimore and a Book Signing

Live Baltimore LogoIt's a slogan, it's an attitude, and on Thursday it will be an event. The Live Baltimore Home Center is a nationally recognized, independent nonprofit organization committed to promoting the benefits of Baltimore City living.

Symphony Center LogoThis Thursday, February 19, city lovers are invited to gather from 5:30 to7:30 pm at the Symphony Center located at 1020 Park Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21201 to celebrate Baltimore’s neighborhoods and check-out Live Baltimore’s new redesigned website.

The Symphony Center Apartments offer a stunning venue for this fun event in the heart of the Mt. Vernon neighborhood.

The Proud AuthorWhat makes the evening special for me is that I'll be able to meet and talk with many top real estate professionals about my book – Live Baltimore has arranged for the event to include a book signing!

If that weren't enough to get you to stop by, there will be complimentary appetizers and free city life gifts for all.

So if you're anywhere near Baltimore on Thursday, plan to stop and say hello. Hope to see you there!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Making Hay When the Sun Don't Shine!

Down market? For two CyberStars ®, Dianne Dunn and Leigh Brown, there are ways to thrive and survive, and they are going to share their success strategies. Usually CyberStar events are for members only, but on February 24 Dianne and Leigh will be panelists with moderator Allen Hainge on a webinar that's open to everyone. Even better…it's free!

CyberStars LogoThe CyberStars® are a unique group that was created by Allen Hainge. There are only 200 top real estate professionals from the U.S, Canada, Australia, and the Bahamas in this group that focuses on using technology to build success. I've been a member for several years now and absolutely love this group of giving and caring people. I've learned so much from them while making some wonderful friends.

Dianne DunnLeigh Brown Dianne and Leigh have a great topic: “Making Hay When The Sun DON'T Shine: Surviving & Thriving in a Down Market.” That's certainly something we can all use today. The webinar is going to be an hour and a half chock full of information, beginning at 7:30 pm Eastern on Tuesday February 24. You can read more about it and register here (remember, it's free):

Put it in your schedule right now. And I'll "see" you there!

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Monday, February 09, 2009

Here Come Da Judge!

Richard RombroRichard and IrisThe room at the Suburban Club was filled with judges, lawyers, family, and friends to celebrate the 80th birthday of Richard T. Rombro, retired judge of the Circuit Court for Baltimore City. Many people know him for his asbestos cases but not many know him as the loving family man, husband, father, brother, grandfather and good friend that he is. There have been tributes in the past to the professional life of this former state legislator and retired judge, but Sunday's tribute was to the other Richard, the family man and friend.

Rombro BrothersThe room was filled with love and respect, along with a luscious brunch of omelets, smoked fish, French toast blintzes, and many other delectable treats. But the real treat was to have all four Rombro brothers together, Richard's lovely wife Iris, their five sons, and their pride and joy - ten grandchildren (even when they are being silly).

It was a warm outside on this February day in Baltimore, but inside the warmth was from the glow of friends and family who gathered to celebrate this man.

Happy Birthday Richard, and many more!

Rombro GrandchildrenRombro Grandchildren being Silly

How does this relate to real estate? Glad you asked. I have listed and sold two homes for Iris and Richard, including this Park Towers West Penthouse Condo. That's another thing I love about real estate; I get to help friends as their lives and needs change. And I get to celebrate special days, like this.

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Monday, February 02, 2009

Triumphant Survivors

Many years ago I was privileged to hear a speaker who made an impact on me. Ann Kaiser Sterns is the author of numerous books, including Coming Back: Rebuilding Lives after Crisis and Loss, published in 1989. She worked with a large group of people who had been through tragedies ranging from death, divorce, and illness, to many other life time events. Each one went through their horrible event, grieved, mourned, and experienced all the other emotions of a devastating situation. And each had a personal outcome that Sterns used to sort them into three separate groups.

The first group went through the tragedy and never got back to where they were in life; they just never moved forward. The second group did get back to where they were before the tragedy and moved along with a relatively normal life.

Triumphant Woman SunriseIt was the third group that not only got through the tragedy, and came back to where they were before, but they then went on to use the situation as a spring board. These are the ones she calls the Triumphant Survivors. The best example is the two women who started MADD. They are triumphant survivors!

We have to learn how to say good bye, how to put closure to things in our lives. Sterns told a story about a friend who needed a mastectomy and how she was going to cope. This woman wrote a letter to her breast, a letter telling her breast/friend goodbye. She described the joy of being a teenager, of how she looked in her sweaters, to how she nursed her baby. She went on to say that her breast was her friend but the time had come to say good bye. Because without saying good bye, she would not be able to live with her friend. I was so moved by the story – what a tribute to handling a very difficult situation.

I was telling this story to a dear friend this week who is facing a mastectomy. She loved hearing about the letter and asked if I would write this for her. My friend, you know who you are. I love you and know that everything will work out.

Sunrise GullI have found in my careers of nursing, art, and real estate that, when speaking to people in depression, almost always there was some kind of tragedy that happened 18 months to 2 years before.

Moving may not be a disaster, but it is a major life change. Saying "Good bye" and putting closure is also important in real estate. I have written about saying good bye to your house when you move, and of helping children say goodbye to their home. In one of my several counseling sessions with real estate clients, I share how to say good bye to the home they are selling. There are many good memories and some not so good memories that need to be acknowledged as they go from room to room. I believe that some of the depressive situations my clients deal with have been lessoned by my bit of counseling.

How many Triumphant Survivors can you identify with? Are you one?

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