Humanity in Real Estate

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Upon closing the last several listings, It never ceases to amaze, the human connection in real estate. Houses are houses are houses. They entail a living area, bedrooms, bathrooms, a kitchen, a patio, a doorbell. All of which stand upright on a foundation from a parcel, wherein humans gathered together. Turns out, the construct of building a house begins with humans.

Each listing, different. Different homes, neighborhoods, zip codes, elementary schools, landscapes. Each listing, a different story. Each person; buyer, seller, agent, escrow officer, different. Yet, all the same, wrapped up in each transaction: humanity.

Sitting at open house, humans wander in and out. Some are more open than others, light chatting, ask a few questions, share their son’s winning run at his baseball game.  Some prefer to turn away, not make much eye contact, saunter throughout, quietly slither away before barely saying ‘hello.’ Which is why browsing for housing on line is so attractive: incognito and anonymous, albeit the websites that require one sign away their DNA. On line or real life, each party, couple, family, all want the same things: safety, security, community, a home. 

My recent listing stories run the gamut:

  • Senior moving from a condo to a senior community.
  • Adult children selling their parents’ home through a trust after their dear mom passed away.
  • Sellers no longer needing a rental property they cherished for years.
  • Selling a residential home in Orange County CA in order to begin a new chapter in Texas. 

What’s most important to think about is the house is somewhat incidental. My mom used to tell me this often. “It’s the people who count the most in real estate.” The variances of selling and buying a home can not be underestimated. It’s because of all the human interaction, real estate is no piece of pie. Anxiety, trepidation and frustration are all part of the fun! Unbeknown to many, there are a few of us Realtors who care deeply about you humans. Humanity is the biggest asset in every transaction. 

Clients like Kimmy keep real estate real. 

Cheesy Appreciation Box

I’d like to personally thank the following for entrusting me over the past few months:

Peggy
Clair
Geoffrey
Quin
Cindy
Kimmy
Carlos
Frankie the Pooch

 
Thank you for bringing it, working together and being the awesome humans you are. (Frankie, in her own way)
 

Real Estate Referrals of the Lasting Kind

When my dad told me he and his wife were thinking of putting their Cottage Grove, Oregon house on the market many years ago, first immediate thought: I have NO idea of a real estate agent within the Eugene area. That was two real estate brokerages ago, a time when I didn’t quite understand the importance of referrals, let alone where to look. As it happened, I found this cool dude of a real estate agent online. Long hippyish hair, kind smile, his profile mentioned how he saw his clients as people, not merely part of hitting a high volume of business. Bingo.

Enter the beginning of a virtual professional relationship with Bobby Stevens, agent of ALL agents in the state of Oregon.

This story rocks on a number of levels. Let’s begin with two dedicated real estate agents who uphold humanity above all the regular details of a transaction. Right from the beginning of our correspondence, Bobby demonstrated the key to any great agent: attentive listener who puts a clients’ needs way before what he deemed important; an advocate with keen knowledge of his given neighborhoods and the kind of compassion not easily found in other agents. Pretty fine start, I’d say. 

Our story involves such issues as quick claim deeds, attempted refinance, horrific tenants, property management, city ordinances and two agents who deeply cared about a seller. 

Without delving into the particulars, which would make an interesting tale of its own, the point of this post is a reminder of all that is right with real estate. 

Just last April, years after our virtual relationship started, I finally met the man who would bring closure and comfort to my dad. We met for lunch, I saw the exterior of house (I’d never seen it and tenants were still residing at the time), and toured a bit of downtown Cottage Grove. Bobby and I left each other, a whole new appreciation for what we do for a living.  Thanks, rock n’ roll man. {Side note. He plays in a band, too. Married to an awesome woman with two beautiful girls they adopted from China. The coolest of cool.}

The house closed this month. Dad is breathing more easily. I developed a friendship with a Realtor from Eugene. Try as one might think otherwise, as my mom used to say, “The house is incidental. It’s the people who matter in real estate.” 

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Carin and Rock n’ Roll Realtor Bobby Stevens, Cottage Grove Oregon – April 2015

 

The Philosophy of an Uncommon Agent

Ah, real estate. Us agents are making the big bucks, right? What’s in selling a home anyway? Put a sign up, mail a few hundred postcards, fill the calendar with multiple open houses, get fellow brokers and agents to come view the home..easy, peasy. With all things virtual and mobile today, geez, notwithstanding good ‘ole MLS, there’s tons of websites and your listing is virtually alive until it’s sold. How difficult is all of this? I mean, what is the big deal of selling a house and why pay so much to sell it? Besides the obvious answer being, oh, there’s a lot of money and legalities of selling or buying a home, some issues have very little to do with either of those. It’s called human connection.

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Yep, people are human. It’s a strange concept, though this REALTOR usually prioritizes that issue and people come first. We do a lot for our sellers and sometimes our sellers aren’t quite aware of our service until their house gets sold and they’re on their way to their next place of residence. As frustrating as this biz can be, it becomes apparent we need to do more to educate our sellers, including yours truly.

I am not a high-volume agent. You can’t mass produce the intimate service I provide to each of my clients. I don’t work in a large brokerage. I work with a small, yet mighty team who support each other, though each transaction is my own.

I serve clients. I earn listings, one at a time. 95% of my business comes from referrals. My services are not for everyone, I know. Some people want the marketing and their price, bottom line and could care less about actual service. Yet for those who need a good dose of human connection with their agent while selling their home, I’m your girl.

There’s a place for high-volume philosophies. Some agents are out there hustling, working their various listings, consistently prospecting, jumping in full force. I do all of that too. Only my energy goes out to one person at a time: you. I much prefer taking on what I can chew well, without sacrificing my integrity or ability to be there for my clients when needed. My “prospecting” approach is reaching out to those who know me and continue building on relationships that are meaningful.  In terms of a client, most of my prospecting involves caring for them at that time and not concerned about my next listing. It’s full force – individually.

Money matters. I like making money. I like earning what I believe I’m worth. Like others, there are financial responsibilities to take care of. Money is a fascinating phenomenon. When it comes to real estate agents, we all have our own philosophies of our business and how we like to operate. One equates success as a top producing listing agent, while others enjoy the search representing buyers. I equate success as doing both. Clients have different needs; gotta do what’s best for them. That’s the beauty of building a business as a real estate agent. It’s taken years to discover I’m right on target with the kind of business I want, the kind of business where I can work for the best broker that aligns with my philosophy and make a difference in each clients’ life, one transaction at a time.

What’s most important in your relationship with a real estate professional? Why did you choose that person to work with? What traits did you like? I love hearing other experiences. Carry on. 🙂

Cherish an Antique Day

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Still have that pocket watch Uncle John gave you on your seventh birthday?  Convinced that circus painting you bought at the flea market must be worth same as your Prius?

On Saturday April 12th, from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Kirkwood in Orange will host “Cherish an Antique Day”!

Come and share your family antiques and discover the stories behind them. Bring up to two items and have a free appraisal from Mr. K’s Estate Sales.  Enjoy complimentary refreshments and musical entertainment too!

Where: Kirkwood Assisted Living  1525 E. Taft Avenue Orange CA 92865

When: Saturday April 12th, 2014

Time: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm 

To RSVP or more info: 714.262.4737

 

Fall Rummage Goodness @ Orange Senior Center!

Hey all! Time again for Orange Senior Center’s annual fall rummage sale!  Twice a year, Rita and Company host a array of goodness, including, clothing, handbags, kitchen items, small furniture, jewelry, holiday things and many fun tchotchkes!  As always, every single dollar goes right back into the Orange Senior Center, where seniors love to dance, gather with friends, play bingo with aplomb and partake in our local community events. Hope you can join us either Friday, Saturday or both days!

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Orange Senior Center is at

170 S. Olive

Orange CA 92866

Friday Oct. 18th – 8:00am to 1:00pm

Saturday Oct. 19th – 8:00am to 1:00pm

714.538.9633

Service Among Us Realtors

So began my day at preview. Real estate previews are pretty cool.  Who doesn’t like looking at houses? I suppose it depends on what neighborhood one previews. In my hood, here in northern part of Orange County, CA sit neighborhoods, their own distinct character and flair. From high-priced sprawling ranch houses to the more moderate suburban residence , the variation of architecture as diverse as its sellers. In any case, I enjoy the variety of the neighborhoods I work in.  Today I saw some incredibly beautiful houses; some beautiful simply by sheer aesthetics of columns, others, embraced by warmth and stained glass windows. Affluence is something I’m just beginning to take notice of in my business as I currently have a listing priced at $1,485,000, most expensive one yet.  IMG_0665

A conversation took place while driving the neighborhood. In between home tours the subject of leases came up, specifically the amount of work leases require for less money than regular sales. Compensation for doing a lease is usually based on a flat fee versus a percentage from a sale. Depending on each transaction, a lease  might produce as little as a hundred bucks, five hundred or somewhere in between.  From a strictly economical point of view, representing a client with a sale versus a lease is far more beneficial to the agent. But what about the client? Two successful agents complained about doing a few leases they’d done over the last year. They’re busy, busy, busy. Leases are a bother, a nuisance for many top producers.  Listening to their dialogue, I asked myself would I be so busy as to wave aside a low paying lease? Would I be as annoyed with a measly hundred bucks when surely I would make more with a sale? Even if annoyed, what would my client think if they suspected I thought this way?

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To be clear, I am not a top producing real estate agent. I’ve never been part of any Golden Club or won a trip to Hawaii based on my sales track record. Nor is my name embossed on a wall for “Salesperson of the Immediate Future.” I think those kinds of goals are ALL worth attaining and I have the utmost respect for fellow agents who pride themselves as such.  My business acumen is based on one-on-one service rather than sheer volume.

I’m a Realtor. I like making money. This is my career, my livelihood. Someone’s gotta pay for those extra useless television channels. When I work with my clients, I am at their service. It is an honor to be trusted and relied upon for the service I give. Not all will bond with me nor I with them. When that happens (and it has, always will) I’ve learned the skill to thank them, wish them the very best in their real estate endeavors and walk away. Most times, clients understand the service I provide merely by demonstration. Making $5000k versus $500, pretty much a no brainer.  What must be questioned is why that client chose us in the first place. If one ever finds me complaining about the next $100 made on a lease, I’ll treat them to a trip to Target with that money. That’ll probably cover a few t-shirts, beach towels, cleaning supplies, a neon green sports bra with matching leggings and some fancy chocolate candy bars.  Not bad for making someone happy about where they live.

Transforming Family Thru Real Estate

La familia, real estate and a trust: what to do, what to do?

There’s ample reason for taking time in making big decisions after a loved one dies. Upon the death of Mom a year and a half ago, first thoughts of what to do with her house: gut the kitchen, new granite tops, tile floor – the intention was to rent it out, make the most of what Mom worked so hard for and keep her legacy alive at the beach.

Mom's House: Circa 1933

Mom’s House: Circa 1933

Let’s face it, beach house + tenants = goldmine, yes? Not so fast, landlord. Time has a way of teaching different perspectives.
Though it seemed logical to keep the beach house for numerous financial and emotional reasons, my bro and I began questioning what he and I really wanted for ourselves. We came to the realization that we each had our own specific goals. Now we had to work together to find the right compromises that would enable us to move forward.

A living trust takes trust. And good faith.

As co-executors, Mom knew very well how well her kids would work together. This escaped me at the time, as one doesn’t think about such things while a parent is living. Once she was gone, brother and sister had to take the time necessary to reconnect with other and to understand where we were in our individual lives. I commend my Mama for taking action and creating a living trust years ago, as well as for having the faith that her children would do the right thing for themselves and for each other. Her preparation has raised a new awareness of our own lives as we now wish to take care of our own kids as she did for us.

The decision to sell Mom’s house, although not easy, now feels right. When a loved one passes on, give yourself time. Breathe, think, feel, mourn. If there’s real estate involved, even more reason. That property ain’t going anywhere. Decisions should be made with clarity. Other people mean well. They may give advice, feel they are helpful yet not understand your exact situation. Most people believe a simple will will allow heirs to handle the sale of a home. Not true. Depending on the situation it’s very likely “probate” will skim some of the sale profits.  Consider a trust. It’s a gift of legacy. 

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Mom & Paul, (aka, my bro) at 1405
Sometime late 90s

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Mom & Carin 1405 – the circular house:
Sometime late 80s

Surround yourself with trusted advisors, whether they be personal friends or professionals such as a trust attorney, tax consultant and yes, even a Realtor. Shameless plug? You bet. Call it what you will, pretty convicted about this one. Through my own personal experience, the care and compassion I bring to the table are that much stronger, authentic, to the point and undeniably altruistic. Sharing my personal story of Mom – a way to help you, someone you care about, the objective to simply let others know I understand, I care and if need be, will be there to help. 

In the near future, more to share regarding other real estate issues – the purpose, to share, engage and hopefully make one think a little bit, learn a little something.  I make a living helping families find their next home.  A very cool thing. 

Click on link to check out Mom’s house. 🙂

http://animoto.com/play/0EWcemc00DGav96ldzlbZQ