The importance of family!

In Real Estate, it’s easy to lose track of the importance of family.  After all,  times are supposed to be hard and we REALTORS(R)  are supposed to be burning the midnight oil, right? For all intents and purposes, we are supposed to neglect our families in order to get that ‘All important sale’?

WRONG!

In these times, more than ever before, it is of paramount importance for REALTORS (R) to STAY in touch with their families and to advise clients that they will meet with them at a time convenient to THEIR families.

Such was the case today……

When I got to my office this morning and was on my regular 8am coaching call (I coach new agents), I received a call from my husband to say that there was a water leak in his bathroom and that he had called a plumber!   Oh, GREAT!

At about the same time, I got a call from my sisters son (from Africa, now living in Las Vegas) to say that they were on their way from Laguna Niguel to Long Beach for our impromptu family reunion luncheon. With him, he was bringing his sister, her husband of 16 years and their two children the latter of whom I had not met – visitors to our wonderful country from Africa.

Oh crud!  I was already trying to negotiate a new sale in El Paso ( a past client) and a client wanting an investment property, ALL  on top if what I already have going on – with the interest rates dropping, I have several clients who want to buy NOW! How was I going to fit THIS in  AND driving rain and a water leak, too??  …..   rain and impending floods – after all,  Las Vegas had SNOW today and so did MALIBU!   MALIBU?  Snow?  Unheard of!  Instinct (flight or fight) told me that I should tell the family that – hey!  I have not seen you for 16 years….  let’s catch up on the next trip, but Umm…..  NO!  My family is my family and I will ALWAYS be there for them, NO MATTER WHAT!!

I got to my office with only enough time to dump my stuff to the unbelievable understanding of my Broker and I was off in the driving rain to meet my family at Bubba Gumps on the Marina.  I parked, trudged through the drizzle, jaywalked and arrived at the restaurant…..  and then I SAW THEM!  My darling sister’s son and daughter who I have not seen for  16 and 19 years respectively and THEIR BEAUTIFUL spouses and children!

I promised I wouldn’t cry – and I never do – but tears flowed like the rain outside, as I hugged them close – close enough for 19 years of separation.  Then I looked at their children – people who had not asked to be born but who were overjoyed to have the parents they have, to love and guide them in life! These were young people (sorry…  I refuse to call them kids, because I RESPECT them) who are BEST friends with their parents! Parents who  actually RELATE to their young!

As we sat and chatted furiously, at times talking over each other and catching up on time lost – I felt the hands that embraced my neck and heard the small voices of “I love you” from young people I had just met but who I could truly admire, for to be sure, their parents had taught them standards in life that most adults are lacking.  I turned and hugged them back with hearfelt communication of true love of family.

Young eyes, that spoke of  TRUE parental love and respected parental protection, now embraced me, a total stranger in their lives and only because I was there.  I had kept my word  – told them where and when to meet me and we were together. Such is love born of innocence and trust.

I can’t even BEGIN to tell you how much that luncheon with my family meant to me, today!  All too often, families are separated by a few city blocks but don’t see each other for weeks, if not months. What keeps them apart?  Life’s stresses?  Family pressures? The Saturday football game?  Work? A silly dispute of a long time ago?

Get this! …..  When they’re gone, they’re GONE!  You can’t take back time and say: “I wish I could have…..” – It’s over!  All we have is NOW and if the time presents itself for you to be with you family, you need to grab that with BOTH HANDS – no matter the cost… no matter the risk …. no matter the shortage of time and in our case, no matter the weather.  GO FOR IT!

Sure, there have been differences in our lives – in our family, but who are WE to judge? Who appointed US  judge and jury?  Surely, we can be capable of looking at people and sharing with them for the people that they ARE – not what society dictates them to be or expects us to dish out to them ?

A child is born into the world with his/her own DNA, personality and character. Why should that child carry the burden of opinions and hurts past, by bygone generations.  They know nothing of that! Nor should they. This is THEIR life – fresh and unspoiled as it should be.

As I looked at my sisters children and their spouses and THEIR children, the years melted away and the dispute that I had with their mother of many years ago (my sister – and yes, I do truly love her), melted away. That was not THEIR problem, nor was it their children’s probem. Why should their children pay?

Changing one’s mindset and burying hurts from times long past,  goes a LONG way to creating happiness for today and future generations.

As I looked at the eyes of those, now two generations from my long time ago dispute with my sister, I realized  how really small that dispute was. And did it really matter any more? Well,  of COURSE not!

When I came to this country, 15 years ago, I promised myself that I would embrace its values and I believe that I have. Part of that embracing, involves NOT judging and another part requires of us that we start each day with a fresh mindset.

Today, I threw myself to the ‘wolves’ and I was embraced by those who love me and by those whom I love.

How tragic it might had been if I had just ‘done the right thing’ and told my family “I can’t meet with you today because I have a client!”  How VERY much I would have lost!

Today, I know that both my Broker and my client rejoice with me that I DID meet with my family and I am honored to know that my client has accepted an appointment for tomorrow, knowing that when SHE has a family committment, I will understand!

Today, I rejoice in the family closeness that I now feel and the memories that will last till my dying day of the next generation whose values are as great – if not greater – than those of our own generation.

Today, I rejoice in knowing new people who carry my bloodline and my DNA, who I can respect, despite the fact that they are only 12 or 16 years old, remembering that a person doesn’t have to be an adult to be respected!

Today, I grew and I am thankful for the experience!

Today, I value people for who and what they ARE, and not for what others SAY they might be.

Today, I am ME – the only thing I know and trust and with that trust of myself, I accept others with respect and without  judgment.

 

Special Offers!

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Yes,  we will pay $100 towards your closing costs!  That’s $100 that you can save for decorating your new home!

$249 Entire House Carpet Installation
Purchase your carpet from Lowe’s and receive $249 entire house installation which includes delivery of carpet & pad, moving of normal furniture, carpet & pad tear-out and haul away, and basic installation. Contact us for full details.

 

$118 Entire House Blinds Installation
Available on both special order and instock blinds. Receive $118 entire house basic installation on blinds and shades.  

Call the House of Homes Online NOW for your property related advice!
Toll-free (866) 774-2899

 ________

Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

‘Tis The Season To Be Merry (and Sad!)

For many, the holdiays is a time to be merry, however in our Real Estate circle it is a sad time as we have lost two great Real Estate friends in the last week!

PAM DAVIS  was a true friend to so MANY people!  Anyone remember seeing those little yellow houses on street corners with The Real Estate Book inside? ……. well,  that was Pam’s business for many years and she ran it well!

Pam passed away tragically and very suddenly, following a car accident, the day before she was to start a new life in Colorado with her family. Such a shock – it rocked our industry!  The service for Pam will be held tomorrow and I KNOW that the venue will be PACKED with those wishing her a final farewell.

JEAN KULEMIN has also been my good friend for some time – we worked together in the same Brokerage (in fact, Jean was instrumental in getting me to join this GREAT Long Beach Brokerage 4 months ago, where I am so extremely happy!)  and in Women’s Council of REALTORS (R). I think that Jean was a REALTOR (R) in the womb!  Knowledgeable and helpful with a GREAT sense of humor, Jean and I spent a lot of time together, both in and out of Real Estate.

Jean left this week for Spanaway, WA to be with her daughter and grand daughters. We gave her up very reluctantly, but understand that families must be together, so, putting our own selfish feelings aside, we bade her farewell on Thursday, looking forward to the time when her smiling face will return.

This IS a merry time, though!  There are two common fallacies at this time:

1)  That the market is so bad, that REALTORS (R) are struggling, and

2)  That nothing happens in Real Estate over the holidays and REALTORS (R) live on the bread line!

Dealing with point 1) first, one has to understand firstly, that the market is not bad – it has levelled out to the place where it belongs!  Yes! …  THIS is what homes should cost and the peak that we experienced in 2005/6 was just plain unrealistic!

That said, we need to understand that when the market is bouyant, it is the affluent people who buy and those who can afford it, trade up to bigger, better homes or better neighborhoods.  When the market is as it is now,  all those who couldn’t afford to buy in a bouyant market AND First-Time Home-Buyers, get their chance to get a foot in the door.

True,  it’s a lot harder to obtain a mortgage loan, now, but isn’t that the way it should be?  Shouldn’t lenders of such huge amounts, execise precautions and shouldn’t home buyers be prevented from buying property that they could lose to foreclosure, later?

The bottom line is that REALTORS (R) are still selling and listing properties – just to a different market.

Point 2) is an interesting one!  Sure, there are a lot of sellers who don’t want buyers trundling through their homes while they have family and friends visiting or they pull their listings and re-list in the new year, believing that they might get more for the property.  This causes the inventory to drop which creates scarcity and as I noted yesterday, some properties actually sell at above list price at this time of the year!

So who in their right minds would WANT to move during the holidays when we should be spending time with loved-ones?

**  Consider those who are relocating to a different State on job transfer?  Perhaps these people need to start their new jobs on January 2 (or 5)?  Would they now be looking to get into their new homes so that they are ready to give full attention to a new position? 

**  What about investors who have been looking for property for several months and MUST purchase before the end of the fiscal year to benefit from the tax advantages or pay more to Uncle Sam?

**  Time might be running out for 1031 Exchange buyers.

**  For buyers who have been looking for a while, this is an ideal time to take the plunge as the interest rate is LOW!  Why save a few pennies on the list price, when one can save a BUNCH over 30 years on lower interest?

It’s true….  for many REALTORS (R), this has been a tough year, but for those others of us who systematically forged forward, it has been a RECORD year!  One only has to speak to people like Tom Ferry, Joe Belmonte and Chadi Bazzi or to people like Ruth Pugh (who sells in excess of 100 properties a MONTH in this market), to know that the real estate industry is anything but DOWN for committed and dedicated REALTORS (R).  For those who found the year tough, the temptation to go on a year-end vacation is great, prefering to tackle 2009 with fresh ideas. This means that there are fewer REALTORS (R) to service the needs of buyers and sellers and we therefore are the ones who work right up to 4.30pm on Christmas Eve!

In my very first year in the industry, I wrote an Offer on a property on December 23rd and the buyer wanted a ONE WEEK Escrow, to close before the close of the fiscal year (this meant that she would receive tax benefits for the WHOLE year)!  True,  this is somewhat unusual as Escrows are normally 3 – 6 weeks, but it does happen! 

In short, this is a WONDERFUL time to be in real estate and I wouldn’t even DREAM of going on vacation at this time – there’s too much to do and too many clients who need good REALTORS (R) to help them.

Special Offers!

When you buy or list with House Of Homes Online, you become eligible for ‘Red Carpet’ treatment AND true Savings!

$100 Off Closing Costs

Yes,  we will pay $100 towards your closing costs!  That’s $100 that you can save for decorating your new home!

$249 Entire House Carpet Installation
Purchase your carpet from Lowe’s and receive $249 entire house installation which includes delivery of carpet & pad, moving of normal furniture, carpet & pad tear-out and haul away, and basic installation. Contact us for full details.

 

$118 Entire House Blinds Installation
Available on both special order and instock blinds. Receive $118 entire house basic installation on blinds and shades.  

Call the House of Homes Online NOW for your property related advice!
Toll-free (866) 774-2899

 ________

Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

Flip Properties- Use Our Cash To Flip Properties in Nationwide – Earn Thousands Per Deal

Well,  that was the Blog heading that was posted by someone else but on reading further, I encountered the words ‘easy’ with regard to obtaining a mortage and 2.5% commission to the lender, etc etc etc.

Let’s be honest…..  this is NOT the market to be flipping properties.  I mean, GET REAL!  The banks are clamping down on loans and the property market has dropped,  so where, in all reality, is the profit to come from?

Yes,  you can put lipstick on the pig, but buyers are not stupid – they can see when a property has been rehabbed in a hurry, just to turn a fast buck.

I attended a seminar by a leading investment speaker about 5 years ago, and he advised his students to (and he has been teaching this for about 20 years)!:

1)  Go to an open house and get a look at the guest registry.  Contact the people in the registry, telling them that you are selling the house (then put in an Offer – the idea is to sell the house to one of the ‘lookers’ and close before a mortgage is raised, excluding the REALTOR (R) from the deal).

2)  Go to Home Depot (or equivalent) and buy all the ‘seconds’ paint in one color (ie, all white seconds) and mix it all together in a 40 gallon trash can. What would emerge, would be ONE color – white!  Now this is a good idea, but not used in the way prescribed. Offer to paint the house for the seller, at no charge (read: blood money).

3)  Tell the seller that you have a buyer and offer to plant some flowering plants in the front yard, thereby creating ‘curb appeal’ (During all this time, I can assure you that the listing agent would be asking some questions!

4)  Invite all the ‘lookers’ from the guest registry to the house to arrive at the same time, in order to create a frenzy and have one buyer bidding against the other which would ultimately push the price of the house UP!

Problem #1: The person bringing the buyers is NOT a licensed REALTOR (R)

Problem #2: Think the seller wouldn’t smell a rat?

Problem #3:  Have you ever tried to get information from a REALTORs (R) guest registry?  Best kept secret!

Problem #4:  The likelihood of anyone getting a purchase to close on the exact day that the sale occurs is minimal, to say the least, so interest WOULD be raised and one would be responsible to pay that interest! When that property is flipped,  if the purchase and sale did not go through simulataneously, the IRS would be after their Capital Gains unless you chose to exercise the $250,000 per person tax-free benefit (once every second year), but you’d be nailed on the next flip!

Problem #5: Probably the most important of all – if it could be proven that the buyer came from the guest registry, FULL commission would have to be paid to the agent by the bogus selling agent (or owner, if the purchase/sale went through on the same day), because they would be sued for ‘probable cause’. This commission would be over and above that paid to the agent from the transaction.

Bottom line is that there is no easy way.  One may buy property at a discount but there are risks.  One may obtain a loan through a discount lender, but there are risks (and we have seen the result of discount loans, haven’t we?).  One can buy and sell without a REALTOR (R), but there are risks.

If it seems easy, or rapidly profitable,  there’s usually a catch. Don’t get caught! 

Don’t ever under-estimate the buyer…  even a first-time-home-buyer!  They are simply new at this – not BLIND or stupid! What an insult for them to be treated this way!

The purpose of flipping homes, is to buy at a low price, rehab the property and sell soon after, at a higher price, thereby recouping all costs with an additional bonus profit.  What is the point of buying low, adding rehab costs, labor costs and interest and then selling LOW, which is what is happening in this market?  Anyone who talks you into this scheme, is talking you straight into a LOSS!

 I was chatting to a colleague of mine the other day who was really fired up about purchasing a property (at a discounted price – whatever that might be). He said that as he was in the construction business, he could rehab the property at a low cost and was just looking for ‘investors’. Yeah, right!  I tried to explain to him that his time in rehabbing the place was worth something and although he wasn’t ‘charging’ for his labor, in essence, the profit on the deal would be ‘blood money’. Needless to say, I gracefully declined his generous offer.

So let’s discuss the home flipping reality shows on TV.  These really make me laugh when I do the math, but I get really angry at the message that the show puts out.  On one hand, the math doesn’t add up because the show only gives you SOME costs – not all (for example,  they don’t factor in the closing costs or the agents commission. the agent, I believe does not charge a commission because of the air time they get – I could be wrong but agents commission is not something that is in the costs)!  On the other hand, I really feel for those who go out and try to do this themselves only to find that because the math can’t add up (there are hidden fees that the show doesn’t disclose), the buyers find themselves grossly out of pocket!

But the show is entertaining and they sell advertising based on the popularity of the show. Never mind all those people who lose their shirts finding out that things are not what they appear on TV!  After all,  that is Hollywood and life is quite different.

Some of the things that one has to consider when buying ‘discount’ property is perhaps a neighbor who has a water leak and the water is seeping into your property. This may not be apparent at the time that you buy, however, your foundations are being undermined and slippage can occur, causing not only cracks but, a pulling apart of the house – front from back etc.  Such would be the case of the homes that we have seen on TV where the sub-flooring had to be lifted, due to damp conditions. They make it seem so simple, but this issue can have far-reaching effects.  To repair this type of defect, can range from $20,000 – $100,000!

With that damp, almost certainly comes a mold issue, which requires an expert for abatement and then an inspector to give clearance. These services are not free – in fact they are quite costsly.

A friend of  mine recently expressed concern that her home might have been built on the burial ground of cows, which during the 1920’s had to be ‘covered over’ because they had hoof and mouth disease.  As these cows decompose, they give rise to sink holes, into which homes subside.  I am told that hoof and mouth disease never goes away (don’t hold me to this as I am not a vet), but one wonders what would happen, if the house sunk, exposing the diseased corpses.

I guess this is why one might want to employ the services of a REALTOR (R) who might have knowledge of these things or at the very least, could investigate for the buyer. Realistically, if one were flipping a property and it sunk because it was on a cattle burial ground (as an example), there is no limit to the time span one could get sued – 10 days or ten years! It could still come back on you, even if you were the seller, three times ago. Does that make sense?

These are the things they DON’T tell you on the TV reality shows!

Special Offers!

When you buy or list with House Of Homes Online, you become eligible for ‘Red Carpet’ treatment AND true Savings!

$100 Off Closing Costs

Yes,  we will pay $100 towards your closing costs!  That’s $100 that you can save for decorating your new home!

$249 Entire House Carpet Installation
Purchase your carpet from Lowes and receive $249 entire house installation which includes delivery of carpet & pad, moving of normal furniture, carpet & pad tear-out and haul away, and basic installation. Contact us for full details.

 

$118 Entire House Blinds Installation
Available on both special order and instock blinds. Receive $118 entire house basic installation on blinds and shades.  

Call the House of Homes Online NOW for your property related advice!
Toll-free (866) 774-2899

 ________

Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com

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We are passionate about our job, love our neighborhoods and keep up with the latest trends, strategies and savings so that we can pass them on to our clients.

Special Offers!

When you buy or list with House Of Homes Online, you become eligible for ‘Red Carpet’ treatment AND true Savings!

$100 Off Closing Costs

Yes,  we will pay $100 towards your closing costs!  That’s $100 that you can save for decorating your new home!

$249 Entire House Carpet Installation
Purchase your carpet from Lowes and receive $249 entire house installation which includes delivery of carpet & pad, moving of normal furniture, carpet & pad tear-out and haul away, and basic installation. Contact us for full details.

$118 Entire House Blinds Installation
Available on both special order and instock blinds. Receive $118 entire house basic installation on blinds and shades. 

 

 

 

Call the House of Homes Online NOW for your property related advice!

Toll-free (866) 774-2899

 ________

Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
http://www.HouseOfHomesOnline.com