Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Rich with History, Real or Imagined

     Sometimes the things I see while touring houses really strike me. They make me think.  A story begins to form, a vivid scene of what might have been plays out and I catch myself really becoming enamored by the people who likely lived here.

     This was an old home built in the 1950s.  A sprawling ranch with a rare bonus room off the back, complete with lime green carpeting that didn't look a day older than 5 years.  The property was absolutely outdated, but ultra-clean, neat and maintained to a tee, because that is how many folks of that generation kept their investments. 

     Upstairs was a box left by the "Mrs."; an odd collection of identical miniature Christmas tree ornaments.  Just bare green trees with no decorations.  What I found in the basement is what made my mind wander to a place where I could see the "Mr." of the household tinkering and spending hours upon hours putzing around.  In my mind, I watched him take great pride in brainstorming the design of the shelves that would house these essential pieces and parts.  Then, he cut the wood measuring with care that each tiny jar that held great purpose would fit just right.  He had so many things to organize he couldn't afford to make a mistake.  Once the unit was complete, he could hardly wait to fill each jar with his collection of fasteners and widgets, knowing full well that this organization would save time and money for the rest of his life and satisfy his craving for order and ease.

The hand-made creation was still crisp and clean like the rest of the property.  The Mr. and Mrs. moved on now, maybe even beyond this life -- who knows.  What I do know?  Each house teaches a lesson and tells a story.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Revise a Purchase Price? 4 Steps to Avoiding a Delayed Closing and Client Disappointment

Inventories are upwards of 25% lower in the Columbus, Ohio region and in many neighborhoods this is creating a "seller's market".  There are fewer clean, move-in ready homes on the market that are price appropriately, sparking great demand and leading to many multiple offer situations.

Properties not appraising for the contract price is an increased marketplace issue; many times due to a lack of solid comparable sales data, though also as a result of demand driving competitive contract prices up to a level that is unsustainable.  Result: POSSIBLE CONTRACT RE-NEGOTIATION.

Make sure your closing does not get delayed if you re-negotiate your contract sales price.  Use this checklist and don't assume anyone else has already thought of these actions that if left undone, will delay the closing and everyone's moving date:

1. Submit to the lender the addendum with the updated contract purchase price (or new build change order) PRONTO - copy both the processor & loan officer.  CONFIRM RECEIPT!  SOUND THE ALARMS!  EVERYONE HAS TO TURN OFF CRUISE CONTROL AND GET SOME WORK DONE TO ENSURE AN ON-TIME CLOSING!

2. Copy the processor and loan officer on communication, if going FHA, prompting them to generate a new FHA amendatory clause document that will need to be re-signed by all parties reflecting the amended purchase price.

3.  Copy the processor, loan officer and appraiser on communication preparing the appraiser they will be getting an order from the 3rd party appraisal management company for a revision reflecting the updated purchase price on the appraisal.  This can be a 2-3 day process from the time the order is submitted to the time the appraiser makes and submits the revision back to underwriting.

4. And really this should be the first step -- educate and remind your buyer and seller customers that the real estate marketplace is fluid and challenging right now for a whole host of reasons.  Closing dates are no longer a "sure thing", so scheduling the moving trucks for an hour after a "projected" closing date is a recipe for disappointment.  Counsel them on building in a buffer just in case and set the right expectations according to the climate in your local market.  Knowing is still half the battle.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Plant a Seedling of Change

In May I stumbled across this seedling at an East side garden center while picking out baskets of flowers for the back patio.  Don't know why I didn't buy it -- I was more stunned than anything that such a tomato variety existed and how ironic it was for a Realtor like me to randomly run into a such a symbolically named fruit plant like her.

The reality is it would take me about 6 weeks to KILL the overpriced baskets of flowers, and had I chosen to buy the "mortgage lifter" plant, I would be enjoying her fruits now through the end of the summer.  #FAIL.

The story of the "mortgage lifter" tomato's inception is simple.  In short, the gentleman car radiator repair man schemed to take on a supplemental project -- in a way, chose wisely to put his eggs in two different baskets instead of just one.  He crossed and created this hybrid plant, and used the profits of his labor of selling the seedlings to help pay off his $6000 mortgage back in the 40's. 

I like this story -- the creation of a small, solid and varied plan to supplement a primary job focus to help fulfil a existing obligation and beyond if desired.  Rinse and repeat.

Story of the tomato plant:

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Daily Dose of Nonsense

It was a typical Sunday in most respects, a full day of client meetings and an open house smack dab in the middle of the afternoon.   A standard work day is bound to have some sort of adventure mixed in, like tripping up a set of stairs, dropping house keys into the abyss of your car seats, or seeing something along the way that makes you laugh out loud.
I drove by this sign three times, in awe with a big smile after each passing, until finally I turned around to snap the picture.  Pulling slowly into the apartment complex, I take the picture of the street sign that reads like slang.  Reminds me of a joke my friend Kathy tells of a Southern Belle who responds "real nice" after each of her friends brags ad nauseum about her wonderful life, until the punch line when "real nice" is her response that incinuates she's seen the anatomy of one of their husbands!  I digress...

Thinking the street sign was funny enough, I enter the complex to find a place to turn around, only to find THIS CAR!  There is just NO WAY that there is any "real quiet" in the area where this bilboard is parked!  On all three sides it says "It's Barbie, Bi*$hes!"  And this little Realtor laughed all the way home....

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

No matter what your chosen profession, you likely belong to and pay to be a member of a local Association - your involvement in your trade association is vital to keeping your industry strong, relevant,  and your voice and opinions matter and will lead to positive change. 

Today the Columbus Board of Realtors recognized those individuals who have chosen to be an integral part of their trade association and who also model for their fellow professionals best practices in servant leadership.  In addition, longevity was honored for those who have been a member of the Board of Realtors for 50, 40 and over 25 years! 

I felt in that room the power of the concept of "surrounding yourself with successful people"....only good things will result from doing so; learning from and networking with industry leaders.  Congratulations to Instructor of the Year: Chris Rosen, Affiliate of the Year: Joe Barone, Realtor of the Year: Greg Hrabcak & Broker of the Year: John Myers.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Will You Stand Up in 2012?

Yesterday I learned actress and activist Meryl Streep donated the salary she made for the movie The Iron Lady to charity. In the clip I watched, the interviewer asked her, "Why did you do that?" Meryl responded, "Sometimes you just have to stand up, you know."

Streep's philanthropic passions are varied; children's welfare, Haiti relief, and the passion to which she made her recent donation: encouraging the creation of The National Women's History Museum.*

One of my favorite songs of 2011 is "Stand Up" by Sugarland. It reminds me of the spirit in which Meryl gave. It makes me ask myself, and ask you, "won't you stand up and use your voice?" What program or cause lights your fire and forces you to think and feel in the spirit of giving and making a difference?

Giving = Participating. 2012 can be enriched by you, no matter how big or small your gift. Donating time is just as vital. Donating your blood can save another life. Will you stand up in a professional role at work? Will you stand up in a personal capacity? Giving of your talents, your ideas, or your dollars makes you stand head and shoulders above the crowd -- and your efforts will not go unnoticed!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Some Things You Can't Hate Forever...& You Shouldn't!

There are only a few foods I don't care for. I believe the majority of our general human behavior is learned, not excluding our behaviors as they relate to foods and flavors - those we say we "like" or "hate". Growing up I was exposed to a relatively diverse variety of foods, though not all interractions were love-fests.

Prior to the year 2011, I "hated" the taste of only a handful of foods - last year I moved brussel sprouts into the "like" column thanks to the thoughtful preparation and encouragement of a friend. Tastes, like other blatent behavior, can change over time - it's challenging and takes effort, but we can unlearn some things and change our minds about others, outgrowing what in some instances just became mindless habits.

In this spirit, each year I make a concerted effort to "re-try" foods to answer the question: "Is this the year my tastebuds evolve to enjoy "x"???" This year I am proud to add to my taste repertoir: both alfalfa sprouts and celery, though let me be honest. I do prefer both of them when accompanied by other supportive flavors and I must give credit to a Jimmy John's for giving me a nudge in the right direction. Although I ordered my tuna sandwich with NO sprouts, it came with sprouts -- and because I was starving and too lazy to pick them off, I decided it was time to give the little thready, slippery devils another try. IT WORKED!

So, never say never. Don't rule anything out for good. Just like most people (and places and things and ideas, too) foods deserve a second chance. Don't put them in the "hate" box forever - give yourself a chance to evolve and let them in when you are ready.

What ideas, which people, and what flavors will you re-visit in 2012 ?