Friday, February 26, 2010

Condo Connections in Baltimore

The 6200 block of Park Heights Avenue in Baltimore is home to some of my favorite real estate. There's the Million Dollar Mansion at 6211 that is the jewel of my listings right now. And right across the street is Strathmore Towers at 6210. I just added #602 to my listings, but there have been several others over the years, including Briana's.

6211 Park Heights Ave HomeRome Realty

You'll recall a delightful young woman who came to Baltimore to attend college and who found her home in #701 at the Strathmore Towers. The transaction started when her mother contacted me from the British Virgin Islands. What began as a conversation with an out-of-town buyer turned into a special connection for all of us.

foyer table HomeRome Realty

new furniture HomeRome Realty

The condo was vacant and in beautiful condition when Briana purchased. With much style and elegance, she decorated her space - I am so proud of this young, talented full time student. Much of the furniture came from another unit in this same building. But it was Briana's accessories, placement and wood refinishing, that made it her home.

Refinished Dining table HomeRome Realty Kitchen HomeRome Realty One of two bathrooms Master bedroom

Seeing a young person create her own space and fill it with personality is one of the special perks of best parts of my job!

Gold dish in foyer Decorative accents

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Place to Stop Before You Go

This past week after a meeting at the Greater Baltimore Board of Realtors(GBBR) I planned on meeting a fellow broker for lunch. We decided to meet just minutes from GBBR at the The Shops at Kenilworth in Towson, MD. There you can find The Passenger Stop which owned by a special couple, Phyllis and Mort Blankman.

Passenger Stop store sign

I first met Phyllis at A NAWBO meeting (National Association of Women Business Owners) and later sold her home and helped her purchase a condo. Take a look at page 151-153 in my book Real Estate the Rome Way and you can see the"thank you" note written by Phyllis and Mort.

These days, I love to stop in and see what she and Mort have in their travel store. This place has everything for your travel needs…yes, everything except for the tickets!

Maps galore Travel books

You could easily plan your way around the world and back again with their wide variety of maps and guidebooks, and handsome luggage like the brown, my favorite color, set by Briggs & Riley. Closer to home, that auto litterbag would be perfect for Realtors® traveling to and fro in their daily routines!

More travel books HomeRome.comBrown luggage

There is a handy Travel Checklist that will remind you of all the things you need to think of – like electric adapter plugs – along with helpful hints. Here's just one example:

"Photocopy passport, vital statistics, credit cards, and drivers license. Put a copy in your luggage and one in traveling companion’s bag." Sure makes sense to me.

auto litterbag HomeRome.comTravel Checklist

Next time you get ready for a trip, shop at The Passenger Stop and be off to a good start.

This is the place to stop before you go!

Labels: , , , ,

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Can Donkeys Fly? Changing My Approach to Short Sale Education

I have read and benefited greatly from both of Tim's books!.

" does not matter how many contracts you get signed, it matters how many sales you close...After all, it takes at least as much time to work a short sale that does not get the bank's approval as it does to work on one that closes"

Tim has a way of making everything so simple and easy to understand. I will be checking out

Via Tim Burrell (RE/MAX):

negotiator? Learn Negotiating Skills So You Don't Negotiate Like This!

It took me 17 years of doing short sales to realize that I needed to change how I taught short sales to Realtors and their assistants. I teach a class approved by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission for continuing education credit, and I have written a book endorsed by the Council of Residential Specialists (CRS) of the National Association of Realtors called Create A Short Sale, Your Guide Through the Short Sale Maze. I believe that Realtors are going to rescue America by doing more short sales, thereby decreasing foreclosures with the result that the sellers, buyers and the neighborhoods are all better off. Short sales are better for everyone in Real Estate, but they are very hard on Realtors.

Many of the courses that teach Realtors how to do short sales are good and a lot of the members of ActiveRain participate in making short sales better. Thank you for your good work. However, I realized that there is a critical part of short sale education that is not getting enough attention. I also wrote Create A Great Deal, the Art of Real Estate Negotiating, which CRS also endorses, so my emphasis is teaching negotiating skills.

Many of the courses teach you how to get short sale listings, get contracts signed and submit short sale packages, which is good. However, it does not matter how many contracts you get signed, it matters how many sales you close. I have been able to close all but one of my short sales in 17 years. So, I realized that the part of short sales that needs more instruction is negotiating with the banks and having the right people for that job.

Most Realtors are great at dealing with people and putting deals together, with appropriate personality types. Most of them are not good at detail work, persistent follow through and repetitively calling banks. In other words, they do not have the attrributes to succeed at an essential part of the short sale process: negotiating with banks and closing the sale. I have been trying to teach Realtors how to do the entire process of a short sale, which is like teaching a donkey to fly. You can get them off the ground with a lot of energy but they are not constituted to stay with it to complete the course, and the landing is not pretty.

So, my new course teaches negotiating techniques that work gracefully with the bank, emphasizing collaborative negotiating where you work together with the loss mitigation negotiatior to come to a Win-win result. Also, I teach team members and virtual assistants to do the detail work that they do much better than most Realtors. So, my version of short sale success is a team sport.

If you would like to learn more about this different portion of short sale education, go to . This niche of short sale education can change your success rate for short sales dramatically, so you can close them all.

After all, it takes at least as much time to work a short sale that does not get the bank's approval as it does to work on one that closes --- and the ones that close pay much better.

Labels: , ,

Friday, February 19, 2010

What's In Your Garage?

Suppose you have a garage door that faces the street. The lot is small and that's the only way the house could be built, but you really don't much like the look of that plain old garage door.

Style Your Garage Example

Thanks to this company, Style-Your-Garage , you can make your door an instant sensation with photo tarpaulins of cars, airplanes, boats, and whole rooms.

Ever dreamed of having a Formula 1 racing car in your garage?

Formula One Car

Or maybe a locomotive?

Soviet Locomotive

With Maryland still shoveling out from our record-shattering blizzard, I'd put the bulldozer on my house right now!


Which would you choose?

The Wine Cellar Wine Cellar

The Fire Engine Fire Enginge

The Fold-Wing Jet Fighter Fold Wing Jet

The Family Boat Boat

The Tank to Clear Your Way in Traffic Tank

Your Own Stealth Bomber Stealth Bomber

A Room to Practice Your Music Band Room

A Biplane Ready for Takeoff Red Biplane

A Street Rod Street Rod

A Vintage Mercedes Vintage Mercedes

Your Own Fort Knox Gold Bars

Or Your Own Choice for the Hereafter Heaven or Hell Escalators

What's in (or on) your garage??

(All photos by

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How I Will Remember the Baltimore Blizzard of 2010

Snowbound families. Clogged roads. Icy sidewalks. Cabin fever. They are all part of The Blizzard of 2010 in the Baltimore/Washington area. The snow's not going anywhere soon, there will be more stories of kids missing school and state budgets destroyed by the cost of cleanup.

But that's not what I will remember when the summer heat and humidity return. I will recall the entertainment in my front yard as the acrobatic squirrels leapt from feeder to feeder, cleaning me out of seeds…again.

This is How I Will Remember the Baltimore Blizzard of 2010

Squirrel checking out the feeders caught in the Squirrel hanging on feeder Squirrel acrobat on feeder

I'll remember the thrill of digging my driveway and finding buried treasure in the snow – the newspaper! The sound of the most popular man around as he worked his little bobcat up and down the street.

Buried treasure - the newspaper Man with bobcat - most popular man in town

The beauty of a redheaded woodpecker having a snack.

Woodpecker on feeder HomeRome.comWoodpecker with seed

And the photogenic cardinals – Mr. and Mrs. – posing against the bare branches stacked with snow.

Male cardinal in tree puffed against the cold Female cardinal in tree Male and female cardinals in snowy tree Cardinal and chickadee at feeder

With technology, of course, I kept on working, listing, and selling. But a record-breaking snow like this deserves time to enjoy its beauty and the reminder of how much entertainment we can find by just taking the time to stop and watch Mother Nature's show.

Male cardinal in snowy tree

This is ...How I Will Remember the Baltimore Blizzard of 2010

Labels: , , , ,

When in Rome...Welcome to the Upper Crust!

If a movie had your name in the title, would you go see it? Of course you would – and so did we. How could we not sneak in a matinee of "When in Rome" starring Kristen Bell and Josh Duhamel? So we went to see this very light comedy that had a few chuckles. (It's really more of a chick flick.)

When in Rome movie poster

Upper Crust Pizza Grille interior HomeRome.comThe Upper Crust's oven  HomeRome.comAfter the movie we stopped in at a new pizza place in Owings Mills, the Upper Crust Pizza/Grille. It's only been open for six months and it's a winner. We loved the menu and had a hard time deciding.

Just look at that overstuffed Philly-style cheese steak with the side of hot peppers, and the savory BBQ chicken turnover filled with fried onions and mozzarella!

Overstuffed Philly cheesesteak

Barbecue chicken turnover

Angelo Jr. and photo of Angelo Sr.

Pizza paddles HomeRome.comAngelo Jr., the owner of Upper Crust, came from New York, and followed in the cooking footsteps of his father, Angelo Sr., who came from Italy. He makes sure that the food is plentiful and yummy. Upper Crust has delicious artisan bread delivered every day from Stone Mill bakery, and they use San Marzano tomatoes from Italy.

Fully stuffed, just like that cheese steak, we headed home but we'll certainly be back for more at Upper Crust.

Labels: , ,