Steinbach Real Estate Agents

Selling a House? How to Use Technology to Get Eyes on Your Real Estate Listing

Whether you’re a real estate agent or a homeowner selling privately, getting eyes on your property listing is a challenge. Every year the internet seems to expand and our ability to effectively reach local potential buyers seems to shrink. It feels like our listing disappears in a sea of other properties, other agents, and other “ads”.

It’s one thing to get people to look at the house itself, but it’s a completely different thing to get people to even just look at the listing.

THAT’S where the first decision is made – in the buyer’s first impression of the property listing.

So how do we get them to FIND and LOOK AT our listings?

 

What Doesn’t Work

 

Basically, what doesn’t work is old fashioned off-line tactics.

The days of advertising in newspapers and showing listings to walk in traffic at the office are long gone.
People don’t shop like that anymore. (When is the last time you said, “I’m looking for a house to buy; please pass the newspaper.”?)

There are those who believe “online marketing” is unnecessary. These are the people who put up a For Sale sign at the end of the driveway or post a bulletin at the local gas station, and wait for the phone to ring. Perhaps they’re even agents who believe that social media and websites are unncessaary.

Their motto is, “if it worked in the past, it will work in the present.”

…Except it really doesn’t.

Times have changed. Consumers have changed. And the way people shop is completely different than in days gone by. If we want the eyes, we need to get with the times.

 

What Works

If you know HOW people house-shop, you know WHERE to reach them.

HOW people shop is online. Want a book? You go to Amazon. Want to order photo prints? You go to Vistaprint or Walmart online. Looking for a house? You go to MLS.ca.  (Notice no one’s first go-to is the gas station billboard.)

 

Three Specific Things I Use That WORK to get Eyes on my Listings

 

As a real estate agent, I rely heavily on technology to get eyes on my clients’ listings. I’ll share with you some specific things I do that work. Some will work for private sellers, others will only be applicable to real estate agents. Either way, I expect you’ll find something helpful to get more eyes on your listing.

Thing that works for me #1: 3D Online Home Tours

The 3D virtual home tours I create allow online shoppers to tour my sellers’ homes without even leaving the comfy sofa. (Which means my sellers don’t have to leave their sofa either, or do a last minute panic-clean for the showing.)  I reach HUNDREDS more people with these tours than I would without it. That’s hundreds of more pairs of eyes on each property I list.

Thing that works for me #2: Descriptions that are DIFFERENT

“Your ad stood out to me immediately!” I’ve heard this frequently, and it’s often because of the words I use to describe the house for sale. The property description is an opportunity many people don’t use to its potential. I strive to grab attention by using unexpected descriptions, and it works.
Most descriptions look the same: 3 bdrms, 2 baths, 1500 sq feet.  Mine are different.

Here’s what I know; people are not buying bedrooms and bathrooms. They’re not shopping for square footage, they’re shopping for a dream. A place to settle down and grow roots. A place to build memories or grow a family. THAT’S what I speak to, and I use the property description to do it.

Tip: How can you write a description that speaks to what people are REALLY looking for?

Thing that works for me #3: Social Media

Everyone and their dog things social media is easy and that anyone can do it.
Which is true, but it’s true in the same way that ‘anyone can cook’. Yes, we can all use a pan and spatula, but there’s no guarantee we know how to make food taste good…

Using social media is one thing; doing it in a way that GETS CLICKS is an entirely different thing.

There’s psychology involved. Timing. An understanding of Facebook’s ever-changing rules and algorithms – all of this makes a huge impact in the effectiveness of your posts. Then there’s the art of knowing when to ‘sell’ and when to ‘be yourself’

Are you getting eyes? Or are you turning people off (and being blocked) because you’re too busy pushing and shoving your listings down their throats?

Tip: Social media is SOCIAL. Instead of selling a house, tell stories, play games, and make it about the social interaction. The advertising aspect is secondary.

 

Want to get your listing in front of buyers?

-Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Is the Family Homestead a Thing of the Past?

 

“When we moved here he said he could live here the rest of his life,” my aunt told me one day, speaking of my uncle, “and he did.”

My aunt and uncle had found the perfect-for-them country homestead, and bought it with the intention of living out their entire married life there. Many decades later, after raising children, making changes to the house, spending countless hours in the shop, and making a mountain of memories, he passed away.

He had wanted to live on that acreage for the rest of his life, and that’s exactly what he did.

As a real estate agent, I see people buy and sell their own homes often. Every few years we up-size to accommodate our growing families and growing budgets, and then we downsize when life gets smaller.

 

Is the idea of that forever home or the family homestead a thing of the past?
I think it is. And it’s not necessarily a bad thing.

I still remember the way a client of mine told me the story of her family homestead fifteen years ago. She was in her seventies. “My husband had a hard time letting go of the farm,” she said, “but moving to town was right for us.”

Early in their marriage, they’d found the perfect farm for them. They made their living there, started their family there, and added on to the house as those kids grew. As the farm business flourished, they continued to re-invest, building on to the barn, and growing their enterprise.

“I still remember planting the shelter belt,” she said. Her eyes went distant with remembrance. “We planted hundreds of trees in a row across the field, and hauled water out there 5-gallon pail by 5-gallon pail.” Her eyes flickered back into the present. “Those trees are tall, mature trees now.” After a pause, “It’s hard to let a place go when it’s so full of memories like that. So full of hard work.”

 

Back in our parents’ day, people would find a property and build their life there. They’d live there, they’d pay off the mortgage, and even die there.

Things have changed. Today, no one expects to pay off their mortgage before they die. We don’t find that one place to stay. We move frequently. When life changes, instead of changing the property to suit our new needs, we sell and buy something else. We don’t have that same attachment. We love the place we’re in, and then we move and love the next place.

I have to wonder; is it a bad thing? Where we live, that place we call home, is a big piece of who we are. It contains our memories, allows us to revisit the past and wrap ourselves in the warm, cozy blanket of those comfy memories. Are we missing out on an important part of our past then? Are we losing a piece of us when we move all the time?

 

I doubt there’s an easy answer.

For the one who was moved from home to home as a child, they might feel a deep need to root in a forever place, to feel that stability and commitment.

For the one who feels at home wherever they are, or feels a need for change, moving from place to place may be the breeze of fresh air they need.

 

All I know is that either way, whether a person moves every few years, or sets their life up on a forever property, the story is the same; it’s about finding our home. That place where, for however long, we belong. We create memories. We build our life.

 

Which is more like you?
Are you the forever-home type, or the change-it-up type?

 -Tina Plett

How to De-Stress When You Don’t Have Time to Stop (A 3-Minute Read You’re Not Too Busy For)

In the last wisps of summer, it worked out that I got a surprise day off. Oh, magical day!

The minute I discovered I had a day free of emails and phone calls and anything work-related, (a complete rarity for a real estate agent, btw), I grabbed my folding chair and towel and hit the beach. One last time, baby! Here we go!

I drove out to a nearby beach and plunked that chair right in the water, where I sat for the next few hours, sloshing my feet in the cool water and digging my toes deep into the wet sand. I didn’t scroll my phone or even read a book; I just memorized the view, soaking it in, trying to absorb enough to last the winter.

I watched clusters of young children splash in the water. A toddler wandered at the water’s edge near his mom, walking all wobbly and off-balance with raised legs, and plopped face-first into the water. I watched a father and daughter play in the water, tossing a ball back and forth, and smiling. It reminded me of how my husband used to do that with our daughter, tossing a Nerf football, laughing together. Now, years later, each of them still has those memories because they took the time to do it in the first place. I reminisced, people-watched, and may have even dozed off right there in my chair. Eventually, as all good things must do, it ended and it was time to return home. Goodbye, beach. Thanks for the memories. I left with my chair, my towel, and a heart emptied of stress and filled with peace.

 

Mine is a career of haste. Of dashing. Of chasing down deadlines. Not figuratively, either – I’m literally racing against time in my car to courier time-sensitive legal documents from one place to another all the time. And connecting with people day in and day out at one of the most stressful times of their lives. Mid divorce. Mid bankruptcy. Mid health crisis. Mid-downsize. Many people are swirling in a critical-mass need to sell their home or buy a new one. It’s a hectic pace.

But I love the rush. I do. I love the challenge of racing against time, of problem solving under pressure, and most of all, of helping people through these difficult times in a way that gets the job done and also makes them feel heard. Understood. Not alone.

But it can be stressful, and in all that swirling twirling haste, a person can lose their marbles in a big way if they’re not careful.

 

How to De-Stress When You Don’t Have Time to Stop

You may not have time to sit at the beach for hours (or anywhere else, for that matter). Me either! But decompressing is critical, and there are quick ways to get it done.

Big De-Stress Tip #1: Don’t wait until “later” or for that ‘big chunk of time’ before de-stressing. It’s  as useful as waiting to win the lottery. Later is a time that never comes.  Instead, sneak moments of rest. Those can be collected from all kinds of corners.

 

Once you’ve got that down, it’s more about HOW you de-stress than it is about when or where or for how long.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

 

Sing.

Yes, I’m serious. For me, singing is a major stress reliever. When I’m working from my home office, I’ll take five minutes – that’s all it takes! – and belt out some tunes that have me dancing, swaying my arms, and laughing or crying. This is what decompression looks like, friend. Even on a drive to deliver a document (especially if it’s a highway drive where people can’t really see you), you can get in some fantastic tunes.

Scroll.
One of my favorite ways to decompress after a long day is to scroll my Facebook feed and check out what my friends are up to. I’ll dote on the photos of their kids, and snicker at a comic, maybe even send an encouraging note to a friend or two, and go to bed feeling connected with people. Loved. Having loved others.
Disclaimer: Your feed may need to be filtered for this. If your feed is a depressing place full of life-sucking drama and negativity, it may be time to block and unfriend. There is no need to tax your already stressful life with more negativity. Just sayin’.

Solitude.

Taking five minutes to ‘check out’ of life can really save your sanity. Being fully engaged every minute of the day is unsustainable. It just is. Take five minutes. Alone. Don’t check emails, don’t return messages.

Be absolutely, completely unproductive.

For me a quick fresh air break is another way I change gears to be “in the moment.” Perhaps a walk to the flower bed and back. Or a moment on the deck. Getting some affection from the dog can put a smile on my face any time of the day!

Play a game on your phone, do a word search, or crack open a comic book. Google something completely weird (that’s not at ALL related to work or personal stresses) – like Flavors of Beer or Weird New Scientific Discovery, or Hairstyles for the Balding.

Let yourself PLAY for a few minutes.

Then, and here’s a big secret people miss – refuse to feel guilty. You did not waste time, you invested it.

 

What’s a favorite 5-minute de-stressor of yours?

The Chivalry of this Fifteen Year Old Blew Me Away

 

The silvery-haired woman stepped into the utility room of her new house to receive instruction on how to maintain the furnace and various mechanical doodads.

She’d been recently widowed and had spent the last weeks and months searching for a home for this new chapter of her life. It was a huge undertaking for her to prepare the house for sale, then de-clutter and pack. She sifted through thousands of items, each holding their own memories, and went through the process of letting go of them. Of letting go of the house and all of its memories too. It was a challenging process. And that was just the selling part of it – there was still the process of looking for a new place she had to walk through.

Every step of the way, I was amazed to see her family right there, in the house, helping her with every piece of it. Her sister, her children, even grandchildren pitched in. In particular, one fifteen-year-old grandson seemed to be there often, helping sort and pack her things, helping move.

On this day, possession day, I’d arranged for the home seller to meet with my buyer to give her the rundown of maintenance. There, in the utility room, my silvery-haired buyer stepped up to the water pipes for instructions. The buyer’s sister and the fifteen year old grandson and I all crammed into the small room with her.

The seller bent and pointed to a valve. “Here’s how to release the pressure on this valve…”

It was good of him to take the time and explain it all, but I wondered how much the woman would remember or understand. Through their whole marriage, her husband took care of the mechanical aspects. Suddenly, all this maintenance was dumped on her. Not only did she not know how it all worked, but it was a LOT of detailed information to take in at one time. I wished there was a better way.

The grandson, I noticed, had been watching with intense eyes as the seller pointed to this and that. Then he said something that nearly made me gasp. “How often should I release the pressure on that valve?”

I? As in, he would do this for his grandma?  I glanced at the buyer’s sister, who wore a look of surprised tenderness.  My chest swelled with such joy I thought I would burst. I looked away, afraid I might bawl my head off. The air in the room seemed to thicken with emotion, but the buyer and even the boy didn’t seem to notice.

He was intent on listening to every single instruction. There was no Grandpa to take care of her anymore, and he would see to it she was not left alone and overwhelmed.

Most fifteen year olds would be hanging out with their friends or in front of a video game, but this gem of a person was sacrificing his weekends and summer days to clean, pack, move, and watch over his grandma, perhaps reciprocating her loving protection and guidance of him.

It was a deep joy to witness. One of those moments that floods you with a new hope in humanity.
These are the moments I live for – moments of hope and joy and love.
And what an honor to behold them and be invited into these moments as a part of my work.

In those moments of stress or worry, cling to the good memories. The inspiring stories you’ve witnessed or somehow been a part of. Remembering them will brighten even the darkest day.

What’s a lovely story you’ve been a part of?

-Tina Plett

Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Surviving the Storm – Self Care for a Hurting Heart

Recently we got together with our pastor friends. Our conversation was like a breeze of spring air in a stale apartment. It had been a rough week and our visit had been a refreshing oasis. There’s something powerful about connecting with others who are likeminded and who build each other up and encourage each other, isn’t there? Whether in work, relationships, parenting, or our own spiritual, mental, or emotional health, these moments of refreshment are critical.

A Realtor friend and I were talking about life and the stresses we’ve come through or were in, and reflected on how to survive or even thrive in the storms. After some thought, I said, “We have to remember where our strength comes from.”

There is so much stress, competition, rejection, rudeness, and disrespect in this world – it’s bound to pound us into the ground sometimes. It’s in those moments, when the days are hard and long and we wonder if the sun will ever shine on us again (have you been there?) that we need to feed our spirits.

Where does your strength come from?

For me, I don’t have enough strength in myself, so I rely on someone else’s. I draw from God’s strength. If I’m having a day, I’ll crank up some worship tunes, lift my hands, and pray the words with Lauren Diegel to bring to life the dry bones in my life. If you haven’t heard that one, give it a listen! It’s such an anointed piece, spoken passionately and from the heart, it moves me to tears.

 “But we know that you are God, yours is the victory,
we know there is more to come that what we may not yet see
so with the faith you’ve given us, we’ll step into the valley unafraid.

We call out to dry bones, come alive!
We call out to dead hearts, come alive!
Up out of the ashes, let us see an army rise.
We call out to dry bones, come alive!”

These are the words that revive my heart on a day when it’s feeling dry. I’m reminded that regardless of how situations look to me, they’re not hopeless. I’m reminded that everything, even whatever my storm at the time, is in God’s hands, and He is a loving Father who cares for me. This truth has pulled me through the darkest times in my life. Divorce. Single parenting. Death of loved ones. And so many more hard days.

 

I want to build people up. Being an encourager is who I am. If I’m not doing that, I feel like I’m dry and empty inside. In those storms, when circumstances have tossed me around so hard I feel like I might come apart, it’s impossible to encourage others. Unless I refuel from my Source. With His strength and love reviving me, I can be who I am. Even on those dark days.

 

If you’re in that storm right now, I just want to encourage you to find your source of strength, and draw again from that pool of refreshment. Take that time to care for yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Connect with people who will build you up and who you can encourage, too.

 

What has helped revive your heart in your own storms?

 

“I will lead the blind by ways they have not known, along unfamiliar paths I will guide them; I will turn the darkness into light before them and make the rough places smooth.
These are the things I will do; I will not forsake them.”

Isaiah 42:16 NIV

 

The Thing that Keeps You From Being the Awesome Person You Already Are

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It’s scary to be ourselves.

 

It’s risky to admit to others that we are depressed sometimes, that we love Jesus, or that we’re rednecks who like celebrating Christmas by firing guns.

 

After all, if others knew us, or even caught a glimpse of who we really are, they’d drop us like third period French.  So we wear masks. We smile and pretend and post only the happiest, most winning comments and Facebook updates. And we most definitely avoid anything slightly controversial or off color.

 

The problem is not just the isolation it causes or how fake we feel. The biggest problem with our mask-wearing is that it keeps us from being ourselves, or even exploring who we are.

 

Years back, I used to berate myself a lot for the way I looked. I was embarrassed by my weight and size, and wished every day to look different. Younger and thinner like I used to. I didn’t like how my body had changed. It was difficult to look myself in the mirror everyday and dislike what I saw. And I didn’t really talk about it, either, because I was sure others thought about me like I did. I was afraid they’d say the hurtful things I said to myself. So I put on a smile and went about pretending I was okay.  It was isolating, which only deepened my pain.

 

On my long journey to becoming comfortable in my own skin, I learned from a few people the value of being yourself.

 

Leigh Brown is one of those people.  She happens to be a Remax Broker and salesperson in North Carolina, and I had the chance to hear her speak a few times at the National Association of Realtors Conference. From the first time I heard her, I knew I was about to be blown away.

 

She is like no one I’ve ever met. Her personality is big and strong, and she lets it show. She doesn’t wear the stuffy masks like most of us do. She doesn’t filter her words through a bland sieve of diplomacy. As an example, one of her YouTube videos is called, “Sh*# Leigh Says”.

 

Her boldness and energy reminds me a lot of one of my favorite Bible teachers, Beth Moore. Both of these women are who they are, and they like it that way.

 

It’s women like these who inspired and motivated me to work through removing my masks and let my colorful personality show too. Now, as a (more) confident woman who’s (more) comfortable in my own skin, I (am still learning to) love who I am.

 

I wear moccasins to work, cloak my ipad in wild zebra print, and tell buyers that a major benefit of a deck off the master bedroom is for “those who like to smoke after”. Our Christmas tradition includes shooting Targets, and I’m not ashamed to be both tech-savvy and a redneck all at once. I love integrating my faith into my work, calling out bullies, and advocating for seniors and the brokenhearted.

 

But here’s what I didn’t expect.

 

Accepting and loving ourselves as we are AND as we would be is important, but something even more wonderful happens when we can do that.

 

The time and energy previously spent on hiding, second-guessing, and maneuvering around our insecurities suddenly becomes available for other uses. Suddenly we can empower and encourage others, adding value to their lives.

 

And here I learn a critical, hidden cost I didn’t realize before. By wearing masks and avoiding rejection, we don’t just miss out on being the awesome people we already are – others actually miss out too! When we put down the masks and forget the fear, we can take all the good stuff we do have to offer and offer it.

 

So get out there and be awesome.

 

Like you already are.

 

If you are an agent reading this, you may want to listen to this video of Leigh Brown on personal branding called The Art of Being You. Be inspired to be yourself.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Realtor Rescues – How My Clients Saved Me (And Might Restore Your Faith in Humanity)

knight
Vans and semis zoomed past me on the highway shoulder.

I sighed and dialed my client. “I’m sorry – I’m going to be quite late for the showing. I’m stranded with a flat tire.”

We can’t choose what happens to us. We do get to choose how we’ll respond though.

I could choose to be angry about the guy who fixed my tire last, or whoever left nails on the highway.

I wondered how my client would respond. He’d really wanted to see that house today.

“Where are you?” he asked. When I told him, he said he’d drive out and fix my tire.

I couldn’t believe it. Within a half hour, he arrived, fixed the tire, and off we went to the showing. My hero.

It was an additional bonus for me that he wrote an offer on that house and it was accepted.

The funny thing was that it wasn’t the only time I was rescued by the kindness of a client or stranger.

There was the frozen winter day when I had just finished listing my client’s country property and was about to leave. But my tire was flat. I was stuck. Again. Before I could even call someone about it, the man of the house noticed, and just took care of it. The wind was biting, and snow felt like ice pellets, but he rescued me anyway. I was so grateful.

Another time, I went to show a brand-new house in a new neighborhood in Oakbank. It was my listing and the person who asked to see it was a complete stranger to me. Just before arriving, I got my car lodged in a snowbank by the road right in front of the house.

We could have done the showing while waiting for a tow truck. Instead, this complete stranger started pushing my vehicle. Immediately one of the neighbors showed up too. It didn’t take long for them to free my vehicle from the snowbank. Their kindness blew me away.
Stuff happens. Sometimes a lot of stuff and all at once.
It can wear us down, making us bitter or jaded.
Life’s hard, and bitterness is contagious.

 

That’s why it’s so important to celebrate the awesome stuff. We’ve got to consciously choose gratitude and hope every day, and remember the good things.

 

If you’ve ever struggled to find something to smile about, or if your faith in humanity is lacking, this is the remedy. Remember the good stuff. Be thankful. And celebrate them often.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

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A Day in the Life of a Rural Steinbach Realtor: The Creepiest House Showing I Ever Did

creepy basement

 

Being a rural real estate agent is a big, weird adventure.

Icy country roads are a regular threat.

Moccasins are part of my winter attire.

And then there was the time I nearly got shot.
My real estate agent career is riddled with stories. One in particular haunts me every now and then.  I’d been on the hunt for properties for my client when I came across one I thought she’d be interested in. It was an old 1-1/2 storey, and it was vacant, in the process of being repossessed by the bank.
“Yes, you can see it,” they’d said, “but you’ll want to bring flashlights.” We’d been warned.

 

The first thing we noticed when we arrived at the property was the pile of broken drywall and lumber just beside the house. Before walking into the house, I asked, ‘You’ve got your flashlight?”

 

“Sure do.” She smiled and waved it.

 

“Okay,” I smiled too, “Let’s go!” I felt a wave of excitement as I turned the knob, but also a twinge of fear. I’d been to enough vacant, abandoned, and rental properties to know unpleasant surprises sometimes await us.

 

We entered to discover, thankfully, that most possessions had been cleared out. Even some of the light bulbs. That seemed overly thorough, I thought. I was glad the smell of mildew and cat litter was only faint.

 

Scanning the living room, it was clear someone had been renovating. Whether things were pulled apart or being put back together though, neither of us could tell. Across the room, one wall featured a smattering of painted images, from clowns to fairies. The painting skill was definitely there, but the sense of interior décor was definitely not.

 

“Why don’t we check out the basement?” I suggested, hoping to save the upstairs, which I assumed was the best of the floors, for last. She agreed, and we headed for the basement door.

 

I opened the old wooden door to the basement and, though I knew there was no hydro, was still surprised by the darkness of the stairwell. We clicked on our flashlights and headed down the old plank steps, guiding ourselves with a hand on the concrete wall.

 

Suddenly a cobweb strung across my face. I tried not to sound panicked as I clawed it away with both hands. Without a hand on the wall or pointing my light, I nearly lost my balance there in the dark.
As we descended, the musty litter smell intensified. In the darkness beside me, I heard her hold her breath. We stood at the bottom landing and pierced the darkness with our beams of light. Low ceiling. One large room. Concrete floors. Dingy.

 

“Yeah… I’m good.” She said, and hurried back upstairs.

 

Once back on the main floor, we headed to the stairway to check out the upper floor. They looked rickety. Dirty too. I was the REALTOR®, though, so went first. I gripped the wooden banister and it wriggled in my hand. I froze, looked back at my client, and said, ‘Careful…” and shook it again. How the poor banister had been worked into such a state, neither of us could imagine.

 

Despite it being mid-afternoon, daylight did little to brighten the house. With flashlights in hand, and feeling rather sleuth-like, we crept gingerly up the stairs. My heart pounded a bit faster as the carpeted steps snapped and popped beneath our weight. The banister continued to wobble. Instinctively, we each put a hand on the wall and moved a little faster.

 

The second floor was dark. Our small beams of light revealed the space to be vacant except for an overturned cardboard box, and a broken chair in one corner. The carpet throughout appeared to have had sand or gravel ground into it. I shuddered, glad to be wearing shoes. As the floor creaks echoed in the empty rooms, she moved to a bedroom window and inspected it.

 

“I don’t know…” she sighed and shook her head. “I wanted a fixer upper, but this place needs more than I really want to give it.” She shone her light at the floor and ground the carpet with the tip of her shoe. It made a crunching sound. “And what is that? Not only does the place need a lot of work, but it’s also pretty gross and creepy. I’m about done.”

 

“No problem. I’m glad to get out of here myself.” I shivered, remembering the cob web.

 

She cocked her head to the side, seeming to suddenly notice the closet door. “I love those old glass knobs.” We both shone a light on it as she approached. She cradled the knob gently in her palm before giving it a twist. She pulled the door open and shrieked.  I jumped, startled.

 

“What is WITH this place?!”

 

I hurried over to see. There, in the beams of our lights, stood an old metal trunk. Atop the trunk sat a small plastic person, staring back at us, wide-eyed.

 

“Wow. Yeah, I’m about done too.” I said.

 

In moments, we had slapped the door closed, creaked and popped our way down the rickety stairs with our little flashlights, and exited into the rubble-filled yard.

 

Maybe we’d both seen too many scary movies. Maybe it was the ugliest doll in the creepiest place that got to us. I only know the place gave us both the willies. I wouldn’t trade it though. After all, what’s life without some adventure?
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Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Top Rated Agent

In 2016 Tina Plett made the top ten list in the office at Sutton Group and made the top 10% list of the Wpg Realtors. It was a stellar year.

2016 Awards

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

Why I Took My Client’s Wedding Photo Off the Wall (and why she didn’t stop me)

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When I arrived, I found her hunched over a box, in tears.

She had been packing, getting ready to list her house. Well, their house.

They had lived there for decades. Now the marriage had come apart at the seams, and she was left to tie up the loose ends. She would pack up the house and ready it for sale.

It looked like about the hardest thing she’d ever had to do.

There, with tears still streaming down her cheeks, she held a stack of photos in one hand and a wad of tissues in the other. She still wore her wedding ring.

When someone in a happy marriage looks through photos, it’s a refreshing, satisfying time of reminiscing. Laughter and tears of joy accompany the cozy memories. But when a person is in the midst of separation – especially one they don’t want to happen – it is anything but cozy. Each memory stabs the heart, leaving a gaping ache for what will never be again.

I’ve been there. I know the deep grief of separation.

As I put a hand on her shoulder, a fresh wave of tears flowed from her eyes. Her head hung as though a weight were tied to it.

As I scanned the room I realized she would never get the house packed in time without some help. Little was packed, even less was cleaned. Grief overwhelms. At that point, a simple task like putting photos in a box or sweeping the floor can be too much to even think about, much less accomplish.

Just then, she looked up at the wall and sighed a heavy, hollow sigh.

I followed her gaze to a photo on the wall. There, in an ornately carved wooden frame, their wedding photo hung, looking as though nothing had changed since the day it was taken.

After a moment of thought, I removed my hand from her shoulder, walked over to the photo, and lifted it from the wall. For a second, I felt like an art thief.

“Let me help you,” I said, looking back at her for any sign of disapproval. Her mouth parted slightly, as though to speak. Then she closed her eyes, nodded, and hung her head for the next wave of tears.

The offending photo was turned to face the wall and tucked behind the sofa. Then, together, we packed a few boxes.

“See if you can get some friends to help you with this,” I suggested, “It’s a huge job on a good day but it’s overwhelming and feels impossible when you’re going through a separation. You need help.”

She nodded and, before I left, called some friends to help her pack up what was left of her married life.

People sell their homes for all kinds of reasons, but there is a unique dynamic when the sale is due to a separation. And it raises all kinds of issues for everyone – the sellers, buyers, and the agents caught in the middle.

Oddly, no one really talks about it.

Which is why I’ve written this series of posts about selling due to separation. It’s important to talk about it so we can understand when the issues come up, and know what to do about it. Maybe we’ll have some compassion or be able to avoid surprise attacks if we’re aware.

Wherever I’ve been, professionally or personally, it’s been because God has led me there. Helping sellers in the midst of separation is just another such opportunity I see Him giving me. I am not afraid of crisis. Lord knows I’ve had my share of it. And I’m honored that He uses me to serve others in their own crises. Whether it’s to help sell a house, pack boxes, or just pull a photo off the wall.

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

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