After the Tempest, the Nature Will Continue to Run its Course

Pray, Wait and See are most humans natural actions/reactions while awaiting for the natural calamity to lash its fury upon us.
After a while, it’s back to normalcy and life moves on. 
Just like nature, human is such a complex subject. This complexity explains why getting along with everybody becomes an impossible task or undertaking.
But because we are in the sales business, embracing both the significant and the underling is a primordial requisite to keep buoyant lest be drowned by your lack of resilience and sensitivity.
  • Doppler Effect of Communication: There is always a distortion between what a speaker says and what a listener wants it to be. The speaker here can be you, the realtor, and the listener would be your seller. No matter how clearly you talk about your facts pertinent to the market conditions in pricing the house strategically for competitive advantage, your seller could not agree with you because his auditory sense refuses to listen or his ears interpret what you say differently. This happens all the time when seller’s perception is very subjective as to the value of his home.

Your number is not the kind of music he wants to hear. Try a different technique or system. Perhaps, he is more of a visual person. Use a graph, chart or a video to capture his attention.

You may encounter the same dilemma in dealing with the buyers. The buyer’s opinion of the price is very subjective too especially in a market condition conducive to his advantage. If he loses many opportunities because of low-ball offers, stock cards showing all the properties he made an offer on and the number of times he lost should give him a better picture.

  • The Centrifugal Force of Arguments: The farther you move from the core of the problem, the faster the situation spins out of control. Realtors are negotiators. Some show flair for drama. While others display rigidness by sticking with their guns. Before our emotions muffle the issue, we should attack the situation by revisiting the problem and exhausting the options on how both parties we are representing can reach an amicable agreement. Let us put our ego away in trying to prove who is the best or better negotiator and tuck it somewhere else. Pick the ego up later on and put it to use on your other endeavors.

  • The Law of Relative Gravity: Lighten Up. A problem is only as heavy as you let it be. My blog Real Estate is not for the Faint of Heart is soused with personal real estate mire, predicament and mess. After years and years in the business, I have learned to use wipes to sensitize unwanted dirt in my judgement, glasses for a clearer vision, an anchor for a steady footing, and a delicious strawberry shake as a treat for a wonderful day. Albeit the trying and challenging times, real estate is still our business. The business we choose to keep. Be steadfast, not weak. Have passion, not obsession. Commit to patience, not temperamence.

May this quote lift your day up. I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” ― Dr. Seuss

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Spooking Downtown Manchester Connecticut

Downtown Manchester is a classic, turn-of-the century center which boasts almost 195 unique retail shops, professional services and restaurants. This part of Main Street- stretching from the corner of East Center Street up to the Charter Oak and Main street junction- dresses up for the Halloween. Passersby and sidewalk promenaders could not miss the eye-catching decors put together by different organizations and business owners along MAIN street. Here is a peek to the Festive Downtown Manchester at its spookiest, funniest and liveliest time of the year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Procrastinate No More!

Working with first-time home buyers constitutes not only patience, knowledge and compassion. Laying out the blueprint for potential emotional drawbacks inherent in the process is paramount.

How do you prepare to answer the question of distraught home buyer/clients when they lost the house they yearned for? The house wherein the whole family has envisioned filling it up with affection, love and care. 

The Question: “Should we wait until next year to buy because we have to recharge our batteries as we feel overwhelmed and down now?”

The culprit for the dilemma was the appraiser’s notation that the property, although zoned as residential, is located in mostly industrial area. Hence, a negative impact on the future marketability is emphasized. 

This negative impact on the future sale of their home has been discussed with the buyers prior to making an offer on the house. The location did not bother them. They loved the property.

So here goes my answer:The drawback I can see from waiting is losing out on the historical low interest rate. Who knows what the interest rate would be next year. Right now it is below 4 percent. Will it be the same next year? Who knows? The next favorable condition is that the price of the houses have not spiked yet. Will it be higher next year? Maybe, as we are seeing inventories getting low. My advise is this… If it is meant to be, it is meant to be.. Don’t get pressured. Make house hunting an adventure. Eventually, the right home at the right time will come along.”

“Do not plant your dreams in a field of INDECISION, where nothing ever grows but the weeds of what if.” ~ Dodinsky 

As someone puts it, “Remember, there’s no “right” time to buy any more than there’s a right time to sell. If you find a home now, don’t try to second guess the interest rates or the housing market by waiting. Changes don’t usually occur fast enough to make that much difference in price, and a good home won’t stay on the market long.”

However, statistics show that although change is not moving fast, signs of improving housing market is evident as reported by Real Trends in October 12, 2012, Volume XXVI. No.10.

The report released that Housing unit sales for August 2012 were up 13.2 percent in the Northeast, the strongest showing in the country. The next highest region was the South where unit sales were up 13.1 percent, the Midwest increased by 12.5 percent and the West region saw an increase of 8.1 percent for the same period.

The average prices of homes sold in August 2012 increased 5.30 percent across the country. The West had the best results with the average price of homes sold increasing 12.5 percent followed by the Midwest region at 6.1 percent. The Northeast lagged with the average price of homes sold decreasing by 2.0 percent from a year ago.

“The results for August show that the housing market recovery continues to move forward with increases in both unit sales and average prices. However, as we had cautioned we expect the month over month increases to begin to slide as the comparisons are against results of an improving housing market from the summer of 2011.

The market is being charged by the strong presence of investors and first-time home buyers, but far more move-up buyers are appearing. The shortage of inventory, critical in many markets, is also starting to drive prices upward but is also driving a slowdown in sales as consumers become frustrated with the lack of available homes for sale,” said Steve Murray, editor of the REAL Trends Housing Market Report.

 

“Unit sales in every region were up strongly in the month over the same period a year ago. Overall, the volume of homes sold was up strongly as market news. The shortage of inventory, critical in many markets, is starting to drive prices upward. National Northeast South Midwest West well as the combination of increased units and pricing drove volume up 17.7 percent over a year ago.

 

The housing market has now experienced eleven consecutive months of increased unit sales and two months of increasing prices. It would appear the worst is over for now.” 

We expect to see more of this kind of market, with increased unit sales and strengthening prices for several more months. The only cloud is the apparent slowing of the general economy, softer job creation and fears of recession in global markets.” Murray added, “The other looming challenge is that we may see a slowdown due to the lack of inventory – which would be a first in the history.

My ending statement at this point is a borrowed phrase which I value immensely as a realtor: Instead of looking at homes through the eyes of an economist, we’re realizing that a home doesn’t solely equate to financial return or measure only to a mortgage amount. Instead. the home is the emotional center of our lives, and it remains a critical component of who we are.”

Never Give Up on Your Clients!

Flashback: July 22, 2012, I poured my heart out through my blog “How can a Mortgage Broker Mend a Buyer’s Broken Heart.”

After getting a three fifteen-day extension from the HUD and directing the buyer to the correct Bureau of Homeland Security website from which he was able to get a stamped replacement card on the day of his interview, my buyer’s home ownership dream has been resuscitated. 

The transaction showed pulses or signs of life. I would attribute the stabilzing green light on the monitor to the following:

1) The buyer’s patience, cooperation and will power

2) The buyer’s agent’s determination, knowledge and competency

3) The buyer’s loan officer’s support and efficiency

4) The HUD closing agent’s cooperation and understanding

5) The buyer’s agent’s lawyer’s and HUD lawyer’s effective communication

 

I am thankful that I became a huge key player in this tough sojourn in trying to help my buyer obtain his first home because this strengthened my mantra: NEVER GIVE UP.

Do not code a transaction DNR(do not resuscitate).

Do not pull the plug quickly.

Do not lose hope.

Of course, NOT GIVING UP has its limitation. 

Use this Resuscitate Algorithm before you raise the White Flag of Surrender

The roadblocks were extinguished. All the pains and anguish were vanquished– when we closed last week. 

Buyers’ Agents’ Creed Straight from the Heart

Commitment is what transforms a promise into reality…Commitment is the stuff character is made of; the power to change the face of things. It is the daily triumph of integrity over skepticism.
~ Abraham Lincoln

The bubble burst in 2008. The real estate industry suffered huge setbacks. You are reading this because you are among the fearless, undaunted, courageous and committed real estate professionals who withstood the test of times.

Changing times require change in attitude and style to cope with the market’s needs. To survive, perhaps, a change in niche is necessary. I, for one, has circumvented my focus from being a lakefront specialist into a buyer’s agent lest business lead me astray into nothingness for the simple reason that demand for lakefront homes in Connecticut has dwindled.

The switch was actually a blessing. I feel vicariously the delight and joy in the hearts of the buyers, especially first-time homebuyers, more deeply when they closed on their homes. This is a priceless emotional reward.

How do we keep buyers loyalty until the end of the transaction and beyond?  I don’t have scripts to preach at initial contact. I ask questions and absorb as much as I could with open heart and mind as I LISTEN. Once they passed the DNA test (motivation, qualification and intention) then you bestowed upon them your Commitment in exchange for their trust. 

Buyer Representation does not equate to simple fiduciary duties. Some agents lose their buyers along the way. Some let them go voluntarily. 

In shedding better perspective on the best practices in buyer representation, I have extracted from REBAC an article about their two featured real estate agents’ styles in managing clients’ expectations and keeping their loyalty.

Michael Toomey of Kirkland, Washington, used “buyers are liars” maxim to lay the groundwork for a working relationship that is built on open and honest communications. He would tell the buyers this straightforwardly.

Oh!. Don’t pound him by saying this. He would diffuse the percolating buyers’ anger instantly by appending, “Not that they lie intentionally. But what they think they want today probably will not be what they end up with later.”

He explained that this could be the result of a mismatch between their budget and the features or location they desire. Or, their preferences might change once they start looking at houses. He continued by telling them what goes on behind the scenes of the real estate business, specifically, how he gets paid by commissions.

Michael said that being forthcoming with facts is critical in creating transparency as the key in building trust.

David Scott of Boulder, Colorado, focused on providing a very high level of customer service. He emphasized that he is always accessible and willing to help. He firmly believed that all great businesses are built on customer service. He perfected his trade by tailoring his services to what each client wants. For the sophisticated number crunchers, he would provide detailed market analysis. And concentrated on the home features for buyers with discriminating tastes. 

He admitted that he kept on changing his sytem to perfect it albeit glaring fact that perfection is not possible.

As buyers’ agents, we develop our own unique style in our quest for better buyer representation. This should not be distinct from our individuaity. There is no general system or perfect style. Just be yourself and keep the positive attitude. Your attitude towards your buyers will either lead to a fruitful and enjoyable relationship or to NONE.

Most importantly, a buyer-agent relationship should be a two-way traffic. Trust begets trust.

 



Adieu Without Further Ado

Are we hungry for prospective clients that we forget to screen them ending us up with our precious time flushed down the drain?

Unfortunately, we don’t really get the core of their motivation until they make a ridiculous offer. 

After working with my clients via e-mail and telephone for almost eight months on sporadic basis, I was ecstatic to hear on the other line the excitement on their tone.  The couple delightfully announced that this property might just be the perfect home for them.

I checked quickly online with extreme curiousity the property which triggered their attention. They have been scouting for houses on their own since they have been indecisive as to their wants and needs. They jumped from a residential to a condo. Or from the towns in the Northeast and down to the Southeast.

My excitement was compounded because the house was set on a lake community that I am very familiar with. Not only that. It was very rare to find a property in this area with almost an acre of land. 

The house was as delectable as a chocolate fudge. It was deliciously adorable. I could not be more descriptive here as that was my personal opinion. 

Anyway, my buyers seemed impressed as well. Were they so impressed to taunt them into making an offer?

Oh yes. They did make an offer. But I almost shrieked in disbelief after my auditory senses processed the number they thought the property was worth despite words of advice and sheets of information to guide them with their decision.

This property was a unique one. A RARE find. Hence, I have to pull out sales from neighboring lake communities for comparison. Even a seasonal home would not come closer to the amount they would like to offer for this year-round home. And for the price it was listed for, I was quite sure it would not last long.

Sixty percent below the asking price for a property that was like a gem. Rare and precious being a year-round home in a lake community with approximately an acre of flat level land. It was a home that would only require new roof in perhaps a year or so and a touch of paint in the fascia. The interior was all updated. These were the obvious.

After listening to the rationale behind the offer price, I would not want to hear anymore. 

It is time for Adieu without further Ado. The price of oil is still pegged at $4 per gallon and dogs treats and food are not cheap.  I work hard for my buyers to ensure that they find the right home.

But I have already learned my lesson. I set a demarcation line as to whom I should relentlessly focus my attention to and for whom I should continually exert due diligence. These are  buyers who have realistic expectations of the market trend and who trust me as their realtor. 

And by the way, the subject property has a pending contract as I am writing this. 

When the Dog chased the Cat, We have Manchester Firemen and Policemen to the Rescue

A face that could “Launch a Thousand Treats.” But when he got loose, a cat named Tinkerbell ran for her life when the raging doberman ran after her. 

The poor cat took refuge in one of the tallest trees behind the burned houses which were still awaiting salvation from the insurance companies. Tinkerbell’s  frantic owner banged my entry door heavily to break the news about the dismal incident. My heart pounded hard for my baby as any mother would for a lost son. I yelled hard to call my dog several times. I was relieved when I saw  the majestic creature running towards me.

After securing him inside the house, my nervous neighbor and I walked towards Tinkerbell’s asylum to check out her situation. The cat was resting in one of the branches probably 28 feet from the ground. It was the survival instinct that kicked in. 

The problem was how could we bring Tinkerbell back to her mama’s arms. It became my problem too. Why wouldn’t it be? It was my dog which chased the cat away. 

Tinkerbell’s mom was distraught and exhausted after numerous pleadings to make her come down. But we both have to leave the scene because work was calling us. We hoped that she would eventually calm down and come home. 

But hours passed and the feline was still lounged on the same spot where we left her earlier. The dusk will befall in four hours. My neighbor had already called the Animal Human Society but the organization told her that it no longer rescues cats stuck on a tree.

One of the subcontractors who was working on rehabbing the burned house tried to appease the cat’s owner with his reassuring question, “Have you seen a cat’s skeleton on a tree?”

Tears were welling up from Tinkerbell’s mom’s eyes. But I could not reprimand my doberman. Dogs chase cats. It is the canine’s natural instinct–“prey drive.”

Her heart-wrenching anguish prompted me to call the Manchester Police Department. Followed up by a call to the Fire Department.

Although I was told that this situation was outside of the police department’s area of responsibility, two cops showed up within ten minutes. The response time was applaudable. But as expected, there was nothing they can do about it.

Then——–

 

We have Firemen to the RESCUE

 

Because of the unevenness and steepness of the ground, the supervisor could not risk his man’s safety by using a ladder to fetch the cat.

As their rescue operation, they fired the hose over the top where Tinkerbell was motionlessly sitting hoping that the gushing water would scare the cat and forced her to come down. But the efforts were not succesful. Tinkerbell climbed higher which compelled the firemen to stop. 

The supervisor said to Tinkerbell’s forlorn mom that eventually, the cat would go home because of hunger and thirst.

After three days, Tinkerbell was gone. The mom believed that she could have fallen down from the tree and her body must be lifelessly lying among the bushes from the steep cavity behind the cat’s tree sanctuary.

My son comforted my neighbor by saying that Tinkerbell is alive. “She must be loitering in the neighborhood because she is still traumatized to come home because of the encounter with the doberman.” 

On that same day, we have to leave for a three-day vacation. My dogs, of course, came along.

I could only emphatize with Tinkerbell’s mother and relentlessly warn my son not to ever forget to close the yard fence to avoid this incident to happen again. 

While pulling back from the driveway, I glanced back at the sad face staring blankly at the direction where the tree was standing tall.

Three days passed and as I was driving through the driveway, my heart skipped in joy as I saw the black cat promenading in my neighbor’s walkway. I excitedly told my son, “Look, look, it is Tinkerbell.”

With the dogs inside the car, Tinkerbell knew better what to do. 

Despite the trauma and the chaos ushered in by the primitive instinct between the dog and the cat, Tinkerbell is back home to her mother’s loving arms.

The Manchester Policemen and Firemen may not have helped in bringing Tinkerbell back home. But rest assured, you can count on them.