Archive for May, 2011

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Pancakes and real estate? What the heck?

May 29, 2011

Pancakes and real estate?????? What the heck do they have in common? Read on…

We are fortunate to regularly visit Maggie Valley, NC and we enjoy traveling fromFlorida to our home located 3,300 feet high in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Traveling to the SmokeyMountains is pure bliss and as they say “Altitude affects attitude”.

But the one thing our entire family will agree upon is breakfast at Joey’s Pancake House in MaggieValley (see link at the bottom of this blog). What’s the big deal about Joey’s?

Well…everything.

Joey’s is a perfect example of how we can be better real estate agents. They have a tremendous amount of business throughout the day and yet their restaurant runs like a finely tuned machine. While the breakfast food is awesome – it’s more than food. This restaurant celebrates their 40th year and long waits to get into Joey’s is the norm…but we don’t care. It’s totally about the experience.

There is a tremendous staff, they are always friendly and you never mind waiting. From the minute you arrive to the moment you leave – they treat you like you were the ONLY clients in the restaurant and they appreciate your visit. The coffee ladies fly by and your cup is never empty. It’s an amazing display of service and they are a lesson for real estate agents.

I was thinking today how much MORE my clients would appreciate ME if I checked in with them just to say hello and see how they were doing. How would people react if I went above and beyond what is required? What if I treated them as if there was no reason to hurry and I have all the time in the world – just for them? What if I contacted them AFTER the sale just to see how things were going? I could give you a lot more examples but you get the point. IT’S ALL ABOUT EXTRAORDINARY SERVICE.

So thank you Joey’s Pancake House. I work hard and treat my customers well…but I could do even better and your restaurant is absolute proof of what success can look like – in any business. Bravo.

http://www.joeyspancake.com/index.html

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I’m a Barbie girl in a Barbie world…

May 27, 2011

Growing up in the 60’s, I was all about Barbie and Ken. I had all the clothes, the cars, the bags – but best of all…the Barbie house. Life was good.

Now Mattel and an Architectural group (http://t.co/SQC7oIa) have combined to start a contest to design a Barbie house for “today’s” Barbie and Ken. What would it include?

If you go by what current buyers are looking at in Central Florida the top five things would be:

  1. Home office
  2. Place for aging parents
  3. Large open kitchen
  4. Smaller yard
  5. One story design

Buyers just don’t seem to be too concerned anymore about giant homes – they want them smaller, more eco-friendly and easier to manage. In other words, I see a world that is going for a simpler life. I wonder if Barbie is on board with that?

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Selling New York

May 26, 2011

One of my favorite guilty pleasures is watching the show “Selling New York” because I enjoy having the opportunity to look at the interior of some of the most elegant and unique residences in the world. There is simply no place like New York and I think that many people enjoy dreaming of homeownership especially in the greatest City in the world. Wouldn’t that be grand?

Today I heard a report on the news that people are losing the desire to own a home. I couldn’t disagree more.

In fact, I think people are desperate to own their own home – they just can’t figure out how to do it. We still have an issue with banks willingness to lend to credit-worthy borrowers. We also have the serious challenge of too many foreclosure homes on the market with the resulting investor based cash buyer competing against the average American. It’s not a fair fight.

I know we are going to work our way through this mess because I also know that people still, after the most difficult and challenging time in real estate since the depression, would opt to own their own home whether it’s a pied-a-terre in New York or a cave in the woods…they want a home. I hope to help them find it.

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Is the American dream a reality?

May 22, 2011

Ryan Clark recently said, “Belief is full of paradoxes.” and I have to agree with him. We are in challenging times and people today are split between hope and reality.

A recent news article stated that only 32% of Americans consider their personal finances to be in great or excellent condition and yet a whopping 68% (http://money.cnn.com/2011/05/19/news/economy/american_dream_poll_economy/?section=money_latest) think they will achieve the “American dream”. This statement truly defines the word paradox. How can you have one without the other? Are we so unable to deal with reality that we dream up a lottery-sized future?

Most Americans agree that our children’s futures are risky at best and most blame a lack of governmental and personal goals and vision. I would have to agree.

However, I still believe in the American dream of homeownership, a job and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I believe we are also suffering financially and our elected officials need to do something positive.

I believe our fellow Americans hope for a better tomorrow and they should do so. But I believe we have to be realistic and realize that this won’t happen immediately and we have a huge deficit to fix. But most of all, I believe in the intrinsic greatness of the American public – we can accomplish great things when we work together with a heavy dose of reality mixed with goals and vision. May it be so.

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Walking to work – the home office

May 21, 2011

In this day and age of high gas prices, job uncertainty and corporate restructuring…the best asset for any listing is not the pool, the large bedrooms or the fireplace – it’s the home office.

People want to save money and have shorter time spent commuting to their office. What could be shorter than ten paces from your bed to the office? I have worked from home for over a decade and I get more work done when I am not distracted by co-workers and outside influences. Working from home is a huge bonus and a great time saver.

The fourth bedroom is now even more desirable. The 4th bedroom is not just for a guest room (which is an option) but typically it provides the homeowner with a place to set up that all important home office.

I recently spoke with a client in the midst of corporate restructuring. He is going to keep his job but his company now REQUIRES him to work from home. I find this amazing but I don’t think it is unique. I think you will find in the future that more and more people opt to drop the long commute and keep it home and business will reward employees who help save on commercial leasing costs. It’s a win-win.

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US Real Estate: Credit Rules the Housing Market – CNBC

May 19, 2011

US Real Estate: Credit Rules the Housing Market – CNBC.

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Condominium or House? Which should you choose?

May 19, 2011

With our changing market, I have buyers who are entering the market with cash and looking for some good deals.

Their main criteria are what can I pick up for a GREAT price and which property will start bringing me instant income? Should they buy a house or a condo?

Usually that requires a long and detailed discussion but here’s is an abbreviated comparison.

If buyers want worry-free maintenance and ease of lifestyle then a condo is ideal. You move in and the HOA (through your dues) maintains the property. You never cut a yard; trim a hedge, paint, etc. It’s all taken care of you for a fee. Added to this is the fact that condominium residences (in Orlando) can often be purchased for less than a traditional home.

With a house you have to consider the cost of maintenance and care but you also have privacy. In addition, you don’t have to worry about the strength of the HOA and if the condominium project is strong and viable for the future resale purposes.

I think if I am personally given a choice, for investment/rental purposes a home is always stronger than a condominium. But for retirement/investment purposes – you may want to consider the condominium residence lifestyle.

Either way…it’s good to have options.