Take a Break

Take a Break

This week I am taking a break – well as much of a break as a full-time Realtor and Broker can take. I have trained myself to breathe easy quickly. As soon as possible once we’re on the road, I try to forget everything else going on in my world. I take in the scenery, play with my dog, chat about random things, and open my mind to new experiences and new ideas. Taking a break doesn’t have to mean a road trip, a flight, or a deserted island. It can be an hour for yourself taking a walk in the park. You can join a gym and workout by yourself or take a fitness class. Enroll in a class, whether online or in person. Give your mind something else to focus on. We are stressed. We take more on than we need to. We are worn out. It is important for us to recharge our mind, body, and spirit. I have taken in so much beauty this week. I have seen parts of the country I have never seen. Trees, hills, new family, old neighborhoods, ate different foods, stayed up late, slept in late, and enjoyed wonderful conversation and tons of laughs. This is short and sweet this week because I have things to do – more fun to be had. New adventures and memories to make. Take a break. Do it for yourself. Do it for those around...

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Realtor Code

Realtor Code

I need a vacation. It is rare that full-time Realtors get any dedicated time off. Yes, there may be days where we aren’t as busy. There may even be a day or two that our phone doesn’t ring, but for the most part, we are expected to be available to take phone calls, negotiate deals, show houses, and meet with clients any day of the week and all sorts of hours. And, Realtors have a “code”. It’s somewhat of a Murphy’s Law. Clients will be silent, listings will be quiet and as soon as the agent goes on vacation, the bottom drops out. A day before you’re scheduled to leave, everyone needs something, your phone rings off the hook, clients come out of the woodwork, and all your listings get offers. Seem far-fetched? Nope. It’s Realtor Code. I, honestly, don’t recall a vacation that I have had no work to do while I was gone. The beauty of the career and a positive that has come out of a pandemic where it is acceptable to work virtually, is that most of what Realtors do can be done from anywhere. With the exception of showings and holding open houses, there isn’t much that I can’t do from my phone or computer. I have had virtual listing appointments while I was out of town. I have negotiated deals from a tour bus. I have taken calls in airports, scheduled showings from hotel rooms, and held virtual Buyer appointments with out of state Buyers from my car. One thing I have realized is that we need our time away but there is no rule as to what that has to look like. I have a friend who was almost looked over for a listing because she was 8 ½ months pregnant and the Seller wasn’t sure she would be available at crunch time. She ended up getting the listing and literally negotiating a contract while she was in labor at the hospital. The doctor finally had to tell her she needed to put the phone down because she was about to have a baby. Now, I’m not saying you should be that extreme or expect your agent to be, however, it just shows that we don’t necessarily need to sit behind a desk, in a suit, in order to do a job well. If you are a Realtor, the best thing you can do is set expectations and listen. Most people don’t care if you take some time off as long as they know ahead of time and know who to reach in your absence. Most also don’t care if you are wearing jeans when you show up if you accommodated their...

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Lipstick on a Pig

Lipstick on a Pig

What does beauty is only skin deep or they put lipstick on a pig mean? Well, beauty is only skin deep could mean that the outside is pretty but the inside isn’t much to look at, if you know what I mean. The inside could use some work. Maybe the personality is not one that is attractive and you liked them much more before they opened their mouth. That is so disappointing! It’s like meeting or hearing about your favorite celebrity and finding out they are rude and disrespectful to their fans or employees. Ugh. Lipstick on a pig is a similar expression talking about making the surface look nice but really just covering and trying to hide the real issues. I have used both of these expressions but I use one quite a bit in real estate. I have seen a lot of houses where the Seller looks like they have just put lipstick on a pig. Here are some things to look for: Remodels, no matter what age. Remodel means different things to different people. Some people take the house down to the studs, changing out mechanicals, plumbing, and wiring on top of the cosmetic changes. Other people will take down a wall to open up the kitchen to the living room, put in new flooring, paint, and fixtures and call that a remodel. Neither are wrong, they just remodeled to different degrees.“Like new”. Sometimes these words simply mean that the house is not very old and has barely been lived in or looks like it’s been barely lived in. Other times someone has tried to cover up the old with things that look like new.Homes built more than 20 years ago that have had updating. Updates can be great. They can also be awful. Not only in style but workmanship and craftsmanship. If there are new countertops, new fixtures and hardware, there’s probably not much to worry about. If more extensive cosmetic work has been done, check for inconsistencies in heights, floors that aren’t level, doors that don’t shut properly, a little too much caulking used, etc.Trendy features, finishes or fixtures on a house that is not of the same age. Were “Smart” electronic features added? If so, was the wiring brought up to code? New flooring? What was underneath and was is solid? Don’t be fooled by the bling or flash. Surface fixes are fine as long as they aren’t covering up an underlying issue. Watch out for “Squirrel!” Fresh paint. Sometimes you will see cracks that someone has tried to cover or water stains that are coming through. An excessive amount of nail pops can be a sign of abnormal shifting or settling if the...

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5 Pitfalls of New Construction

5 Pitfalls of New Construction

I teach weekly real estate classes for agents. We recently talked about new construction. There are builder specific contracts and State contracts. I think some real estate agents assume certain things, based on experience with our typical, residential sale. You need to be careful when building or buying a brand new home because it’s not necessarily the same process as buying an existing home. We have a ton of experience with representing both Sellers and Buyers and thought it would be wise to share some pitfalls of new construction. Read the contract. You must read every line of the contract. Realtors are accustomed to the standard state contract for residential properties. Builder specific contracts differ from builder to builder and they can change at any time so just because you bought a home from a particular builder before, does not mean that the contract or their process is the same. Make sure you understand the deposits, any fees, when you are allowed to visit the property, and the timeline of construction and deadlines. 2. Buyers have to meet deadlines – Sellers don’t. Builder specific contracts are geared toward the builder. The Buyer will have some protection but most are very lenient for the Seller. Depending on the property, there may be selections that the Buyer is allowed to make. A Buyer must make their selections within a specific timeframe, otherwise, there will likely be fees and possibly even delays. Builders have internal deadlines but will not necessarily adhere to all of those. Weather, material availability, vendor and subcontractor schedules are all variables that can move a builder’s deadline. 3. Make sure you inspect. I hear it all the time. “You don’t need to get an inspection, it’s a brand new house.” “Codes inspected and approved it so it’s fine.” Please, please, please get an inspection. I have never, I repeat NEVER had a client inspect a new construction home where the inspector didn’t find multiple items that needed to be resolved and I have had many that have had major issues. If you are building from scratch, I suggest progress inspections. This is where an inspector will come out at different phases/stages of construction. For instance, they may come out after the footings are in, prior to drywall, and then lastly at completion. This allows the inspector to see the “guts” and the “bones” of the house and might save you in the long run by finding issues that never would have been visible once the house was complete. 4. Will it appraise? First of all, make sure the contract allows for an appraisal contingency. Realize that most new construction contracts (if they allow for the contingency) only require...

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