The Problem of Women’s Footwear – A Canadian Realtor’s Dilemma

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As winter approaches, I’m faced with the annual dilemma of winter footwear. This is a real problem for business women in the frozen arctic, especially Real Estate agents. REALTORS® sport business attire in the office one minute, and the next minute we need to tromp through snowbanks to measure houses and inspect home exteriors. You see the dilemma?

You’ve likely noticed that I like dressy clothes. I love zebra prints and skirts and strappy shoes. Back in the day, I would sport 4 inch heels with a smile. Alas, my ankle and hip won’t allow that anymore.

Here’s the deal. I want to be prepared, I want to have warm feet, but I refuse to accompany my ensemble with Sorrels. I’d rather have ice cubes for toes than clomp across the office.  Hopefully there’s a better option than ice cubes or Sorrels though.

…Do you think moccasins could work?

I’m actually kind of serious. They’re light, warm, unique, yet also decorative in a way, with their beads and intricate designs.
What would you think if you’d meet a Real Estate agent in office attire and moccasins?
Does it work? Is it too weird? What are my options?

I’d really love to have you guys weigh in on this one. I’m baffled by this annual footwear dilemma.

What My First Year In Real Estate Taught Me (What Newbies Should Know)

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People have this idea that being a Real Estate agent is a high-paying endeavor. After all, the 4-7% an agent might charge, on a 250K property is a quick $10,000-17,500, so why not? At that rate, a person need only sell 5 houses a year to make a nice living. It sounds easy and profitable.

But that kind of monkey math gets a lot of people in trouble.

By forgetting to count the cost, they become either unprepared Real Estate agents, or clients who think agents should work for free. Allow me to debunk that a bit by telling you about my first year in the business.

I had taken all the courses, had outlined my goals for year one, and was ready to begin. From my first day on May 1st to the last day of December that year, guess how much I made. I’ll tell you my expenses were $22,000 for that half year. From what, you ask? Licensing, office fees and supplies, MLS fees, advertising, fuel for the thousands of miles I drove, and the list goes on. These expenses were deducted from my income. Which was zero. In my first year I sold absolutely nothing. By the end of year one, I was in the hole $22,000. Not exactly the fast track to riches.

What kept me going when all seemed lost? 

The reason I got into Real Estate was to help people. I did not get into Real Estate to get rich. I wasn’t in it to burn piles of money either – I did mean to make an income. But because money was not my primary goal, I was not deterred by the lack of it.  Neither was I “just trying it out” as many do. I wanted so badly to help people find a home, I would have done it for free. And, I did.  Maybe that sounds crazy. But it’s really what I’m passionate about. It’s my favorite part of this job, and worth every frustration.

What we love, we are willing to do
even in the face of opposition or great cost.

If you’re new to the Real Estate game, and it feels like it costs $40 to make a dollar, I understand.

 If it feels like talking to a brick when trying to wheel and deal with the old pros, or you question your sanity for having chosen this job, I want to encourage you with this.

Pursue your passion. Chase what you love.

If you do that, all the confusion and hardships and tough times won’t matter as much, because you’ll be pursuing your passion, and that will propel you forward.

What challenges do you face as a Real Estate agent?
What is the passion that drives you forward during tough times?

Real Estate Secret #37: What You Can Authorize Your Agent To Do

pen money and open bookThere are a lot of little behind the scenes Real Estate secrets that most people just don’t know. Some we’ve already talked about, like the existence of hijackers and the legal way people can spend your money after they buy your house.  Today’s little secret is about what you can authorize your agent to do.

Did you know you can authorize your Real Estate agent to do all the negotiation for you – even counter offer or close the deal – without your input? And it can be a big relief, or a big problem if you don’t know how to handle it.

Why You Might Want To Give That Authorization:

*If you’re too busy to take phone calls or sign papers
*If you do not like making decisions and prefer someone else do it for you
*If you trust your agent implicitly with your life, finances, and decision about the home in which you live

Why You Might Not Want To Give That Authorization:

*You want to be involved in choosing your home and how much you will pay for it

I can’t think of any situation in which I would recommend handing this power over to the agent. (Conflict of interest much?) If there is inability to meet these demands or make these decisions, that’s what trusted family and friends are for. I do not recommend handing over authority. I also prefer not to work with clients who want to assign this authority to me. I want to work with clients, not make their decisions for them.

Scary Truth: Some agents assume this power without their clients’ knowledge.
It really upsets me when I bring an offer to an agent who immediately rips it open (that’s for the clients to do, not the agent), and then proceeds to dismiss the offer without presenting it to their client. They assume decision-making power, and their client never knows the offer they missed out on. (or, if they do find out, it’s far too late) It happens often, and it really, really bothers me. A lot. That’s why I write – to let you know what’s happening and hopefully equip you with ways to protect yourself.

How can you protect yourself?  Unfortunately there is little chance you’ll catch a sneaky agent. The best protection is found waaaay at the beginning of the process when you’re choosing them in the first place. Be careful. Study them. Test them. Find agents of integrity. (I can recommend several!) Awareness and wisdom are really your best protection.

 

Real Estate Negotiation For Buyers

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Real Estate is a tough, competitive industry, whether you’re an agent, a buyer, or a seller. As happens in life, there are those with integrity and those without, and those motives impact your transactions whether you like it or not. For buyers to navigate these waters smartly, there are several vital tools to have on board, one of which is negotiation.

The best thing a buyer can do is get a professional in their corner to help them navigate these choppy Real Estate waters. An Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) is a sea captain, sail, and compass all in one. You’ll be informed, protected, and valued as a person. You’ll be served, not sold.

If you still plan to set sail on the high seas of Real Estate on your own though, I’d like to at least send you off with a few tips on Real Estate negotiation.  There are a lot of elements to negotiating, like drafting effective offers, collecting all the necessary information, and generally knowing what one needs to know.

Here are a few tips to get you headed in the right direction with your Real Estate Negotiatons.

Be Prepared: It’s More Emotional Than You Think

Buying and selling homes is a strange mix of business and personal. We’re buying and selling homes – places where families create memories and express themselves through décor – yet we are also negotiating a transaction. To walk the line between guarded browser and compassionate human being is tricky, tricky, tricky. (Which is probably why there is a whole industry assigned to mediate these deals)

Try to leave your emotions at the shore – don’t get attached to the house, the people, or your desire to compete.  Instead, look at it as “just a house” from your own purchasing perspective. The less emotionally attached you are, (while still respecting the emotions of others) the more logical and effective you’ll be in the process.

Risks, and Other Ways To Accidentally Cripple Your Transaction

This is where what you don’t know will bite you. You’re the swabby among captains. You’re outmatched, it’s that simple.  You won’t win with tactics, but with some knowledge and understanding, you might be able to defend yourself against the unforeseen.

Predators: One of the Risks Of Sailing Alone

5 Ways To Force A Sale In Any Market
9 Ways To Tell You’re Hiring A Bad Realtor

Ways To Accidentally Cripple Your Transaction

If this describes you during the buying process… you might want to make some course adjustments

Trying to be all powerful and stuff

Committing the Big Fat No-no

The Biggest House Hunting Mistake Buyers Make

Why agents will not “keep an eye out” for properties for you to buy

Other good advice

Don’t Call The Listing Agent

Interviewing an agent – What to Ask (and not ask)

These tips are helpful, but the safest, most effective (and painless) way to buy a house is with your own seasoned Captain of the high seas, and ABR.  Why? These are people who sought out specialized training in how to excellently represent buyers.

When you work with an ABR, you’ll be served, not sold. Your interests become their interests.
You can expect your ABR to:

  • Understand your specific needs and wants, and locate appropriate properties.
  • Preview and/or accompany you in viewing properties
  • Advise you in formulating your offer
  • Help you develop your negotiating strategy
  • Provide a list of qualified vendors (inspectors, attorneys, lenders, etc) for other services you may need
  • Keep track of every detail throughout the transaction-to-closing

When you have bought in the past, did you use an agent, or go it alone? 

Would you do it again?

How To Negotiate Commissions

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Commission negotiation is a touchy subject.  To the Real Estate agent, negotiating commission can feel like begging for a paycheck. To the buyer or seller, it can feel like a shell game. In the hopes of clearing the air and maybe even helping smooth the process, I offer these negotiation tips.

Commission Negotiation Tips

  1. How You Go In Is How You`ll Come Out

    Go in as a warrior, and you`ll get a war. Go in haughty, and you`ll be the fool. Go in as a beggar, and you`ll get crumbs. Don`t let greed cloud your judgment. Instead, try approaching the agent like you would an acquaintance or friend. Basically, treat them like they`re human, because they are.

  2. Master BOTH Communications

    Be personable, and communicate your needs clearly. This part may be easier for you than the second part, which is to then be ready to hear the agent`s needs. Speak, but also listen. Hearing what they have to say will give you clues about what kind of person they are, their motivations, level of service, and also help you understand what you can expect from this particular agent.

  3. Know These Key Things

    No matter what you`ve heard, be aware that:
    a) each agent sets his own commission. Offices do not have a house standard – it`s actually illegal to plan together what your commissions will be or state there is such a thing as a standard commission. Anyone who says otherwise is either tricky or dangerously ignorant of the rules that govern their industry. Either way, avoid those people.

    b) Commissions are not a simple number. Agents consider many factors when deciding what commission to work for.  How long something will likely take to sell is a huge consideration. (Agents`expenses continue as long as a listing is active – the longer it`s listed, the more it costs the agent). Other considerations include things like what the marketing plan might be for your particular property, expenses to be covered like driving long distances for showings, etc
    (This graphic illustrates just some of an agent`s expenses – just in case you were wondering )

    Commission Pie Illustration

  4. Interview Several Agents

    By interviewing several agents, you get a feel for what range of commissions you can expect for your area and property. You can also begin to identify which personalities, skills and characteristics each agent offers, and which best suits you. Here`s a piece I wrote on how to interview them.


    These tips will go a long, long way to help you negotiate in a way that gets you the best deal, the best service, and hopefully also the best agent. This is the way to strike up a mutually beneficial relationship that you`ll both enjoy.

    Happy Hunting!

What’s Awesome About Rural Living – A Photo Tour

If you live in the country, or have wondered what it’s like, join me. Let’s take a walk together through falling autumn leaves and check out the awesomeness that is rural living.

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If you follow me on Facebook, you have probably noticed my outdoor-themed posts recently. I just adore living in the country, and I’m drinking in as much of the outdoors as I can before it ends and, well… you know …the white stuff appears (whose name I dare not speak in early October).

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I may wear city clothes, and a city do, and drive into the small city I work in, but I’m a country girl through and through. At times, I’m even a bit of a redneck. Maybe that’s why I love working with rednecks when I get the chance.

Is loving country life something that one is born into? Can one grow to love it? I don’t know. I only know it’s an awesome place and way to live.

Spectacular Things About Rural Living:

*The peaceful meditation times spent in my garden
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*Our pets. Sure, you can have pets in the city, but these guys run wild and free on our acreage.
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*Space – to work, rest, or play.
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*Wildlife – check out the cackling Canadian Geese that collected in our tree before jetting off to places without… the white stuff whose name I dare not speak.
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*Wood piles – the evidence of hard work, the promise of heat in a fireplace.
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*Firesides – you know they’re better in the country right?
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*Enormous gardens! I have this large flower bed in the center of my yard. Sometimes it’s a job to keep up with, but mostly it’s a little haven. I love watching it change shape and color through the year.
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*Quiet. The bigger the acreage, the quieter your space is. When the neighbors have their screaming grandkids over, I think about buying more acres. But most of the time, it’s peaceful and quiet. Aaah
Do you see why I enjoy selling RURAL Properties?
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How about you? Are you country or city?