Why Renting Stinks

apartment windows

I was a renter for years.

As nice a house as it was, and as fantastic as the landlords were, renting plain old stunk. I’m a country girl. I love the freedom of rural living, and of making decisions about my own home.
Alas, renting was my only option at the time.

If you’re stuck in a rental situation too, you are familiar with its limitations.
Basically, it lacks everything we love – security, control, and money.

Renting Lacks Security

Somewhere, in the back of your mind, you know you could be asked to leave at any time. It could be an overly sensitive neighbor’s complaints that send you packing. A banking error could cause your rent to be late. Maybe the building owner wants to sell, and you’ll have to buy or leave. Either way, the possibility is always there that you could lose the place.

Renting Lacks Control

There is a whole lot you do not control. You might be stuck with yellow walls or pink bathroom fixtures. You might not be able to put up a garden shed in the yard, or even a garden. Maybe the lease even specifies the use of only neutral colored curtains. Renovations? Forget it. Rentals are more of a take-me-as-I-am arrangement.

Renting Has Zero Money Power

Kiss your payments goodbye. Sure, you might get yard and property maintenance for the price, but you’ll never see a return on that investment. You’ll never be able to resell your apartment for more than you paid. You’ll never financially benefit from improving the place. That money’s gone.

Home ownership doesn’t have these limitations.

The banker does not ever want to wrench you out of your house.
You choose wall colors, whether or not to dig up a garden, and where to park in the driveway. Heck, you can even PAVE the driveway if you feel like it. There is so much freedom in owning!

But We Can’t All Buy Right Away!

I know. Truly. If you’re stuck renting for now though, rent wisely. Be the awesomest tenant that landlord has ever seen. It will get you a stellar reference (just in case), and who knows – you might even enjoy a perk or two as a result.

I remember one time, I had a great landlord, and was a good little tenant myself. I paid on time, and did not complain. Ever. If a bulb burned out, or the furnace filter needed replacing, I did not call them. I just replaced it. I didn’t think it was anything but normal actually.

Then the landlord, after buying more properties and experiencing other kinds of tenants, told me how much they appreciated me. “We’ve been spoiled having you as our tenant” they said. As conversation turned to other things, we began discussing some of the beautiful stones made at his workplace. “Which do you like?” he asked. I was stunned, not sure why he was asking. I pointed one out, and he said something about, “It’s yours” Before I knew it, he arranged to build a firepit in my backyard, just to show his appreciation for me. It was gorgeous.

Still, when I moved, I could not take it with me.
That’s renting.

Now, in our own home, I can replace floors, improve the windows, and make it into the kind of rural retreat this country girl adores.

What kind of home improvements would you make if you could?

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4 Ipad Apps Essential to my Business (or The Mobile Office Advantage)

imageDon’t let the zebra print fool you. This ipad is no toy. This is my office.

Some think that the brick and mortar office has an advantage in the marketplace. And that certainly was true a decade or two ago. Once upon a time, establishing one’s business in a solid building implied a solid place in the market. But times have changed.

Digital offices are the new way. They’re efficient, mobile, and accessible. Everything is online, and consumers expect to be able to find you there. I market tested this theory even back in my first years when I worked with a brick and mortar type of office. For a year, every single client I met with, I asked the same question. “Would you like to meet at… a) my (brick and mortar) office, b) in your home, or c) in a coffee shop or your favorite restaurant?” Know what happened? Not one single person EVER requested to meet me in the big building in which I worked.

Not one.  

I soon moved to an autonomous mobile agent situation (for several reasons), and continued to build a solid business. Mine is not built with concrete, but on solid, consistent, highly personalized service.

But. To have a mobile office requires tech savvy.  Heck, whether one has brick and mortar or not, one needs to still be tech savvy. If you are not online (where your clients are!), you’re missing out on over 60% of the market!  

One great way to start is to introduce your business to the ipad. You won’t believe what you can do with it, and how quickly.  I was asked recently how I use my ipad for business, so thought I’d share here too.

The 4 Ipad Apps Essential To My Business

Scanner Pro is my preferred app for scanning. I can scan documents, signatures and all, and send them instantly.

PDF Expert is my favorite app for typing or writing on a document.

Evernote is my favorite app for buyer files.

Dropbox or Google Drive are online file storages,  that are accessible from anywhere. This is where offers and all other documents related to a deal are stored in perfectly organized files.

In Real Estate, we have to respond to someone in a timely matter – immediately at times. Sending an offer in a hurry is a breeze with these apps. I can get my client’s signature right there in the restaurant, scan the document with the in app camera and it automatically converts to pdf right there. The PDF can email directly and on time, so we can close the deal.

What is keeping you from mobilizing your business online?

If you are already online, what is your favorite digital business tool? (and why?)

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A Day In The Life of a Rural Agent: Blizzard Memories

fir-branch-with-snow

Every Manitoban has memories about a blizzard.

For some, a blizzard brings thoughts of snuggling near a crackling fire. For others, memories of being stranded in blinding snow awakens fear. Still others remember long ago days of blizzards halting the food supply.

A recent blizzard warning brought back memories of one terrifying day when I thought I would lose my dad to the storm. I remember watching the white-out snow erase our driveway. The howling winds had this haunting, swirling scream that sounded like fear itself. I watched and listened and prayed, knowing my dad and my cousin Jacob were caught in it, trying to make it back home.

We all waited silently, praying they would be alright. The strained silence was suddenly pierced by a knock at the door. It was Dad. The car had become stuck hard. They had tried hard in the cold, blinding snow to push it out, but it would not budge. They were not far though – just about a block away. It was decided we would take the second car to go pull out the stuck car.

So we started up the car and inched it there. A person could have walked faster than we drove. At that snail’s pace, we would catch the occasional glimpse of pavement to confirm we were indeed still on the road. I squinted hard, and prayed the whole way that an oncoming vehicle would not appear suddenly in front of us. At that slow pace though, the car soon became lodged in a snowbank right there in what may or may not have been the middle of the road.

I can’t tell you how terrifying it was to be stranded in a tin can essentially, surrounded by such white that it seemed like the vehicle had been wrapped in paper. In that blinding cold, we had to choose between two very unpleasant options. We could stay, even overnight possibly, and risk freezing or being hit by traffic. We could also leave, facing frostbite, being hit by traffic or becoming lost. There was no good option. We were truly stuck.

Praying like never before, we set out to walk. It wasn’t that far, we reasoned.

No matter how deeply we scrunched behind our scarves, or shoved our mittens in our pocket, the cold bit at us and pelted us, screaming the whole time.

With frozen hands and toes, we did make it home somehow. I have the frostbite to prove it. Finally arrived, there was still the matter of pushing out both vehicles. That was going to have to wait till the storm past.

After we got home, Dad and Jacob told the story of their drive from Winnipeg to Kleefeld that night. . Slow. Terrifying. Blinding white. Full of desperate prayer. Though on that drive, one man was hanging out of the open door while the other drove, so that they could be sure they were indeed on the road.

Thankfully, every person and vehicle was recovered that day. Still, every time a blizzard warning is issued, an unnatural chill finds me…

Hopefully your memories are more pleasant ones.

 

What do you think of when you think of blizzards?

 

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