Category Archives: life

Home at the Holidays

As the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching, I think about the importance of the home.  No matter how big or small your home is, or whether you rent or own your home, home really is where the heart is.

This is the time of year when we tend to spruce up our homes.  The house is freshened up and decorated for the approaching holidays.  Out of the attic decorations are pulled.  This is the time of season where entertaining is at its peak.

In our home, candles are placed throughout the house.  Cinnamon spritzed pinecones are mixed in a bowl with cinnamon sticks and glass ornaments.  A wreath is placed over our mantel and pine boughs are draped down the stair railing.  Lights twinkle outside on the house and festive music is played.

This is the time of year when our kitchen gets an extra thorough workout.  Cookies are baked and dips are made.  The air is filled with happiness and the children seem lighter on their feet. No matter where you live, the home does seem to come alive with activity. It really is a very special time of year.

This is the time of year that friends and family become more of a priority.  The hustle and bustle of work, school activities and appointments slows down as the holidays envelop our family.  The holidays truly are a time to reflect and feel grateful for all we have.

As Thanksgiving is now just days a way,  I hope you are able to share this special day with the ones you love.  Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude.  What better way to feel gratitude than surrounded by those close to you, in a home you have cozied up and a delicious meal to enjoy with others.

I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving.

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Posted by on November 20, 2012 in family, life


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Take Getting Your Papers Together Seriously

I had a busy weekend.  I was working with a few different clients who were looking for rental properties.  My clients were back to back and thankfully looking in the same city.  Running from one appointment to the next was much easier because of the logistics.

Winter is approaching and the clients I saw were both in the same situation.  They want to be in a new rental property before the snow hits and they have to worry about moving in the snow.

The majority of renters these days are looking for a home that has 3 bedrooms, at least 1.5 bathrooms, a minimum of 1,000 sq ft. and a rental payment around $1,200 per month.  There are more renters looking than well maintained homes available for rent.  Homes for rent are going fast if they look good and are well priced.

Coincidentally, one of the homes I went to yesterday I showed twice.  Each group of clients I took through the property fell in love with it immediately.  The home was gorgeous.  There was a good-sized living room with a beautiful fireplace.  Three bedrooms were decent sized and had a good amount of closet space.  There were 2 bathrooms that were updated with good-looking tile and fancy showers.  The kitchen was well laid out and fit for a chef.  There was even a well finished basement and a garage.

Both groups fell in love with the property.  Both groups wanted to take it.  I have no idea if there are other people who have viewed the property with their own realtor.  For all I know there is a slew of people who will be fighting over the home.

I had met with each group for the first time yesterday.  Before our appointment, we went over the importance of having a credit report ready to go, an application filled out and a letter of employment ready to submit.  Yet, neither group of clients had finished getting all of the required paperwork together.  I don’t believe either group figured they would find the perfect home so quickly.  Now the rush is on to finish up all of the paperwork so that it can be submitted.

I have to admit, I have seen a lot of rental properties.  This particular house is the best house by far that I have seen to date.  This house will be off the market within a day.  Even though I have two different groups of people interested in the home, I am not confident that either group will get the home.

The problem is that when you find the home you want, having your papers ready is crucial.  Homes are moving way too fast.  The best way to secure the home you want is to be able to submit everything needed the moment you find what you want.  Even then, who knows who else might be submitting their paperwork as well.

The home will fall through for at least one of my clients.  They can’t both live there.  For anyone who sees their version of the perfect home and then loses it, heartache will set in.  Future homes will be compared to the one that got away.  What a horrible way to learn to take suggestions for being ready to act on a property seriously.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Honestly, I’ll be surprised if either client gets the home since they weren’t ready to act on it.  I hope this serves as a good piece of advice for anyone who is interested in getting a new place to live in.  Save some heartache.  Get your papers together and be ready to act when the right home comes along.  The market is different these days.  Why bother running yourself ragged looking for a place if you aren’t ready to grab up a home when you fall in love with it.

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Posted by on November 5, 2012 in advice, how to, life


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Overview of Renting a Home

I received a call yesterday from a person interested in looking at a home.  I began asking all the typical questions needed to understand what their needs were.  Some of the questions I asked were:

1.  What cities are you interested in?
2.  How many bedrooms, bathrooms etc…
3.  How soon are you looking to move?
4.  Why are you moving?
5.  What will happen to the place you are currently living?
6.  Have you run your credit report?

This gave me enough information and I was able to ascertain that this person was nowhere near ready to look at homes.  She would not be out of a lease until December and she had just begun looking.

What do you do in a situation where the person wants to look but can’t get a home if she finds what she wants?

This is what I did.  I scheduled the appointment for the home she just had to see.  This will give me an opportunity to meet her and decide if we will work well together.

When I meet with this customer, I will give her all the paperwork she will need to start the process of getting ready to lease a new place.  I have set her up with our First to Know program in the meantime.  This program will give her daily updates on the homes available according to her criteria.

So after we view this home later this week, she will need to get all of her paperwork together and make sure she has enough money put aside.  This way if she finds a home she likes, she can put in an application right away.

As I have explained to her, rental homes are going fast these days if priced right and in good condition.  There is no point in looking at homes until she is prepared to actually put in an offer and is ready to move.

So, I will take her to view one home.  After that, it will be up to her to get the necessary paperwork together before we will go looking again.

If you are looking to rent, here are some things to keep in mind.

1.  There will be an application to fill out
2.  You will need to run a credit report with a credit score included in the report.
3.  A letter of proof of employment is generally needed.
4.  Bank records and pay stubs are generally needed to prove you have the financial capability to rent a home.
5.  Expect to have at least a month and a half months rent.  There are also cleaning fees and pet fees of up to $500 necessary for some of these rentals.

Every rental is different.  Based completely on that owner’s preferences.  Some rentals are pretty basic and easy to qualify for.  Other rentals will want certain credit scores and salary amounts for the person who moves in.  It is a very individual situation.

If you are thinking about renting, make sure you have the above items taken care of.  The application you can get from the realtor.  It is also extremely important that you are in a position to put down money and move in fairly quickly.  Homes are going fast and you won’t be doing yourself or the realtor any favors by looking before you are capable of moving in.

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Posted by on October 30, 2012 in how to, life


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What a Whirlwind Week!

For anyone keeping up on my progress, I’d like to give you a peek at my busy week.  I have been working as a real estate agent for a few months now.  All of the initial prep is starting to pay off.  Seriously, if you are getting into this field, take a good chunk of time to really get your name out there.  I have advertised myself to family and friends, the community I live in as well as a few communities surrounding my city.  I have passed out incredible numbers of flyers and have left stacks of flyers at the local community centers in the area.

I have spent an incredible amount of time spreading my name around through as many social websites as I can find.  My name and information is on Trulia, Zillow, Twitter, Facebook, 2 Blogs, The Oakland Press, Digg, Tumblr, Reddit, Pintrest, Quora and so forth.  if you google me, I have pages of links.

I am starting to get emails from people who have found me online or through advertisement I have handed out.  It does work, but it does take some time.  I would say that having been in the business for such a very short time, it has been great to see results as quickly as I have.

This week, I connected with 5 new potential clients.  I went on several appointments to view homes and it looks like I am about to close on a lease.  I also went on a listing appointment and have a couple that are having me sell their house..

The hours were long this week.  Most days I was on my computer by 6:30am and wasn’t done with work until around 8:00pm each night.  Saturday and Sunday I had a chunk of time working a floor shift, going on appointments and listing a home.

Busy has been a good thing, and I wouldn’t change it for anything.  It’s remarkable how quick you really do pick up on the information you need.  It’s hard to believe how much has changed in such a short time, but it is a very satisfying feeling.  Working in real estate is a lot of fun, rewarding and something I am happy to be doing.  if you are in the beginning stages of a real estate career, just keep plugging along.  Things change quickly and sooner than you know it, you are well on your way.


Posted by on October 21, 2012 in advice, career, job, life, opinion


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What a Typical Day Looks Like

Enough time has passed since I began my career in real estate that I can say I’m cruising along.  My calendar has begun to fill up for the following week before I’m halfway there.  It’s good to see the progress.  Below is a basic example of a typical day.  For those of you who are thinking of a career in real estate, you might find this information rather interesting.

6:00am  At this point there is a definite routine emerging.  Each day begins with a check of my emails.  Next I am going over and planning my day.  Many mornings I will spend this time writing a post for my blog as well.

7:30 am  Drive the kids to school.  Once back home, I have some breakfast, take a shower and pack a lunch.

8:30am  Go to the office.  Check email and voicemail.

9:00am  Morning meeting.  Meetings are a time to learn about several subjects.  We have had meetings on how to make the most of your week, short-sales and how to fill out some of the more complicated paperwork.

10:30am  Check email and voicemail.  One on one meeting with my supervisor.  We will go over what transpired during the previous week.  This is my opportunity to ask questions and get guidance on how to handle particular situations.

11:30am  Check email and voicemail.   Printing any paperwork I need to gather for appointments or for passing out flyers for the day.

12:00pm  Lunch.

12:30pm   Check email and voicemail.  Appointments, passing out flyers, or prospecting by phone, email or in person.

3:00pm  Pick up kids from school.

3:30pm  Check email and voicemail.

4:00pm  Make dinner.

5:00pm  Have dinner with the family.

6:00pm  Check email and voicemail.  Appointments or prospecting by phone or email.

8:00pm  Last check of email and voicemail.  Schedule appointments for showings.  Plan out next day.

I have to admit my day is possibly more extended because I work around the kids schedule.  Each realtor will have a schedule fairly different from each other.  That is probably the best part of being a realtor though.

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Posted by on October 15, 2012 in career, job, life, lifestyle, personal, real estate


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Once You Find the Home, Give Yourself a Moment to Relax

This scenario has played out time and time again.  I will show a client several homes. They will find a home that makes them happy.  An offer will be submitted.  If it takes more than a few hours to hear from the sellers, the buyer gets antsy and wants to look at some more homes.

I’m not sure why this occurs, other than to think that the adrenaline is running and they just need to keep moving.  Each time this has occurred, a desperateness seems to take over.  People will ask to see homes that are not at all what they are looking for.  They will view the home and walk out disappointed.  There is just this need to confirm that the home they picked is the right one and all other homes are awful in comparison.

I have not seen this scenario ever work out well for my clients.  It’s not like the additional homes they view thrill them and make them doubt their decision.  I guess that in the mind of a buyer, they need to prove to themselves that what they chose is definitely the best choice.

If I could relay a piece of advice to buyers who get antsy, it would be to relax.  Look, you’ve done a lot of research, and spent many days running around checking out multiple homes.  In the end you will drive yourself crazy with self-doubt.  Take a moment to stop and feel the excitement of the home you fell in lpve with.  Remember what it was about that home that thrilled you.  If by some chance the deal falls through, there are many more homes just waiting to be snatched up.

Buying a home is an expensive proposition.  It’s a life changing event.  Give yourself a break when you decide on a home.  There is a reason why the home you chose was right for you.  If you have second thoughts, it’s better to face it head on and figure out why the home might not be the one.  By knowing what you don’t want and what will work for you makes going out and looking for a different home more successful.  If you just aimlessly continue to run around and view homes while you are waiting for an answer, it won’t serve any  purpose other than to frustrate you.

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Posted by on October 13, 2012 in life, opinion, people, thoughts


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Advice for New Real Estate Agents

I know it might be strange to read the title of this post because I am a new real estate agent myself.  What I’d like to pass along is advice I have received from some very knowledgeable realtors who have been in the business longer than I have been out of high school.

I have been asking these realtors how long it’s taken them to see a decent income.  I have also wondered what they did to get their business off the ground.  Below is what I’ve learned.  I hope that if you are just beginning a career in real estate, or even contemplating a move to real estate as a career that this advice will be helpful.

1.  How long did it take for you to see business start to take off?

The agents I spoke with said that it took 3-6 months to start generating business.  After 1 year, they were moving along at a decent pace.  Within 3 years, they were making a very good living.

2.  How did you promote yourself when you first started out?

Some agents were extremely social and had a well established group of contacts through clubs, religious groups, business groups and volunteer organizations.  Other agents had lived in the same city for most of their life.  Their family had stayed in close proximity and their family seemed to be well known around town.  Promoting themselves was not really an issue.

3.  Where did business come from in the beginning if you weren’t well connected and hadn’t lived in the same place most of your life?

These were the agents who really hustled.  Any chance they could work an open house or take a floor shift, they would grab it.  Flyers were another popular tool that was used.  Honestly, cold-calls and knocking on doors were not favored, and not techniques used by the realtors I spoke with.

4.  Besides the costs that all realtors must deal with (classes, use of the MLS, association fees…) how much did you shell out to further your business?

No one that I spoke with put any money into advertisement of any sort until they were making a good wage.  Free advertisement such as flyers and emails were the way that these realtors connected to others.

5.  How did you continue to promote yourself once you were really busy working with clients?

Once you have really taken off and are busy, there is no time to promote yourself.  Without advertising, you would end up with crazy busy months and slow months of no action.  To minimize this, once your really busy, these realtors would put some money into things like just listed postcards.  It reaches many people and their name gets out there even though they have no time to personally promote themselves.

6.  How do you feel about a career in real estate after all of these years?

The realtors I spoke with love what they do.  They are extremely satisfied and happy they got into the business to begin with.


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Posted by on October 12, 2012 in advice, career, life, opinion, real estate, thoughts


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