Steinbach

Home Sellers On My Heart (And the Secret Buyer Advantage Most People Aren’t Using)

 

Normally, getting an offer to purchase on your house is exciting. After waiting all that time for the sale, finally there’s light at the end of the tunnel! Waiting for your house to sell was hard. But do you know what’s even more difficult? Receiving an offer that’s subject to the sale of the buyer’s home. It’s waiting for the buyer’s house to sell before they can buy yours.

My heart goes out to every seller in that stressful, helpless state of almost-sold-but-maybe-soon limbo. It’s a hard place to be.

Recently, my seller client had two offers on their property. Both were subject to the sale of the buyer’s home. An offer was accepted – which sounds exciting, but – then the anxious wait began. They waited for that buyer’s house to sell. They waited, waited, and waited some more. It was anxious for me too, because there’s nothing I can do to help them sell their house. I had no influence on the advertising or marketing that is or isn’t being done for their home or the number of people who are shopping for that buyer’s kind of house. All my house-marketing prowess and fancy tools don’t help the other agent’s client. So we waited…

The weird thing is that those buyers are sellers too, in that same limbo of waiting for their own house to sell, and probably getting the same kinds of subject-to-house-sale offers Emanuel others get. So it can become a domino effect of everyone waiting for everyone else’s house to sell.

And I get it. If I’m wanting to move, I’d want to find a place before selling too. I understand. Then again, after seeing how it all shakes out, maybe I wouldn’t. Those kinds of arrangements are extremely hard on the seller. The tension of living in that almost-sold limbo is unreal.

The Secret Advantage Buyers Can Have

When many offers are conditional on the sale of the buyer’s house, and when that common experience is stressful, someone with no such condition can pretty much rule the world. Well, at least they can have their free pick of what to buy, and maybe even slash the price a bit.

Because any offer that doesn’t make the seller wait for months and months is something sellers (and their agents!) are EAGER for. They’ll LEAP at it. Every single agent is going to prefer an offer without that condition. If you want sellers to accept an offer subject to the sale of your house, expect to pay top dollar for the inconvenience. If you don’t put them through the wait of your sale though, they might take a slice off the price for the certainty of that offer over the others that may or may not end up going through.

It’s a powerful advantage for a buyer to have.

The advantage comes at a cost, though. It means having to sell before buying.  If you don’t find your next home quickly, it might mean moving somewhere temporary while you shop, and moving a second time into that final home.

Why would buyers want to sell first?

The advantage to buyers for this two-move inconvenience is massive. First, it frees them financially and gives them time to search at their leisure. Secondly, it gives them the power to make an offer others can’t – one without conditions – the offer every seller and agent WISHES for. Not only that, but it also gives a competitive advantage over other offers.

Let’s say the house a buyer wants already has an accepted offer subject to the sale of a home. You can put in an offer.  The first offer will then be given 48 hours to remove their condition. It’s highly unlikely that condition will be satisfied in 48 hours, so yours will be the one left standing. You win!

Oh – and let’s not forget that that kind of offer is a powerful negotiating tool to hopefully get the purchase price down a few notches!

Emotional consequences 

You find the property you want. This is it. It’s the one. It has everything you want. Everything pales in comparison. So, you put in an offer subject to the sale of your house. Your house takes a while to sell. Another buyer comes along and writes an offer and they do not have a house to sell. You are given a notice to remove your conditions within 48hrs. You cannot afford two mortgages. You lose the house of your dreams. You don’t find another property like it. LOSS. Now you have the emotional consequences of dealing with losing your dream home.

The bottom line is that buying and selling is a stressful process either way, but you can choose which stress you’d rather: the stress of waiting for your house to sell while you wait for your buyer’s house to sell in order to satisfy conditions on your offer , or the stress of selling first, and risking moving twice while you search for that just-for-you home.

My guess is that you are also more likely to cave to a lower offer on your house when you are feeling pressure and at risk of losing the home you want.

If you’ve got to endure stress anyway, it may as well be with a big advantage in your back pocket.

 

Have you ever sold before buying? Would you consider it?

When Parents Decide to Downsize (a Peek into my Family Life)

“I want to move while I still have a sound mind,” Mom said. She was in her sixties, and she and Dad knew they wouldn’t be able to stay on their country property forever. “I want to be able to decide where we live and what we’ll take with us and what we’ll get rid of when it’s time.”

 

My parents had lived in the same homestead they’d raised us in. As adults, now with our own lives, spouses, children, my five younger siblings and I would return to that familiar place we once called home and celebrate together. Christmas. Easter. Thanksgiving Day. We sat with our own children around that same table from our childhoods – the one we did homework on and had breakfast at before heading off to school. We sang in four-part harmony, with some playing guitars, just as we did when I was a child. There’s something special about connecting our pasts with theirs, overlapping memories like that.

 

But my parents knew it couldn’t last forever and began to prepare for their inevitable move. They took it slow. Over months and years, they took time going through their belongings and preparing for the estate auction sale they’d eventually have.

 

Finally the day came. It felt strange to watch their possessions be sold piece by piece like that. The old familiar coffee table we’d laughed around, the familiar serving dishes we’d all eaten from together. The paintings I’d thoughtfully stared at as a child. It felt weird, but it was also good for us to be there – I think it gave us a sense of closure and helped Mom, Dad, and the children and even grandchildren with the process of letting go.

 

That was ten years ago. They bought a condominium in town and have embraced the new chapter of their lives, diving right into the community life of living in town and in a building with others. I love seeing them take hold of it. I love having them near enough that I run into them in a local restaurant or see them go for a walk when I’m driving in town.

 

We feel the change the most when we try to get together.

We won’t all fit in a condo suite, after all.

 

It felt like a jarring difference at first to have to rent a facility for gatherings or meet in someone else’s home. But it quickly became the new normal. At Christmas my parents always rent a place for us to get together. They make sure we have a lot of space so that we are able to do some sort of activity together. Usually there’s a place to play sports. They make sure there’s enough room for everyone to eat in one room. Most of all there has to be a place where we can pull out the guitar and sing our hearts out. As soon as we gather around the table to eat or around the guitar to sing songs in that familiar four-part harmony, we once again feel at home together.

 

Home, we discovered, was never a place; it was the happy experience of being together.

 

Letting go doesn’t have to be as difficult as one might fear. Especially when we have the blessing of living near each other and being able to get together and love each other.

 

We are blessed to have the memories of the past and the old homestead. We are even more blessed to continue to spend time together and watch our families grow.

 

What ‘new normal’ have you experienced, and what felt like “home” to you in it?

The Blessings of Hip Surgery (When ‘Out of Your Comfort Zone is an Understatement)


I sat alone in a room with the clock. Just me and the clock. For hours each day. Its loud ticking reminded me of every mind-numbing second that slipped by as I recovered from hip surgery.

If you’ve never had hip surgery, recovery basically involves one simple instruction: whatever you do, DON’T BEND! A 90 degree bend – even to just sit on a chair – could pop that thing out of its socket and next you’d be blinded and howling by the searing pain. Or so I imagined. I didn’t want to find out, so I didn’t bend.

(Think for a moment of how many times you bend in a day, by the way. To sit on the couch. Use the toilet. Get in a vehicle. Even eat a bowl of soup. Even with some handy-dandy tricks and tools at my disposal, it was a challenge, folks!)

So I lived in our living room, laid back in our recliner or on the hospital bed we had brought in special for me. Once I got over the weird feeling of living in the main room, it was actually pleasant to be surrounded by our walls of windows and enjoy our gorgeous country view anytime.

There was a problem though.

I had to be still and quiet and alone for most of every day for weeks.

Here’s the thing. I’ve always been the busy, hard-working type, even before my single-mom years required it. I love to work hard, bustle from task to task, and be highly productive. I’ve also adored being with people.

Sitting by myself unable to work nearly drove me plumb insane that first month. I wished more people would visit. I desperately wanted to climb into the car and grab a coffee with someone. Or show someone a house. Or do… something. With anyone. The walls seemed like they were closing in on me some days and I felt like life was passing me by. It was difficult. Uncomfortable. I started to hate the sound of that clock announcing every second I was missing out on.

After a couple of weeks though, something weird happened.

I began to enjoy the quiet. Solitude grew on me. The joy I discovered in that peace and calm was beautiful, but it also frightened me. Was this the new me? I was turning into a hermit, and I liked it. Would I even be able to enjoy the bustle of my work and the busy social calendar once I returned to work? When I would think about work, I could somehow only remember the long hours and stress I would return to. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to go back.

Over a few months, I returned to work. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that my love of my work and people remained intact. In fact, I think the whole hip surgery and recovery deepened my enjoyment of work and my appreciation of people.

The blessing of hip surgery for me was the gift of time to rest and refresh – something I didn’t realize I needed so badly and didn’t know how to do. Recovery forced me to stop and smell the daisies.

The blessing of surgery also was to remind me what I love about my work – the people.

When a person is in a great deal of constant pain, it’s difficult to remain positive. Heck, it’s difficult to even SEE the positive. Now that the pain is gone (thank you, Lord!), I have eyes to see the good stuff again – and that good stuff is always the people I get to work with.

There’s something deeply moving and intimate about helping that young married couple find a home. She’ll have a tummy round with expectation, and their eyes will also be wide with expectation as they search for the home they will grow their family in. Create memories in. Make love in. It will be their own little nest, and I adore being welcomed into that very personal experience. It feeds my soul.

They say we don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone. I would agree. My hip replacement journey helped me appreciate my health, my career, and the people I get to serve every day. Thankfully, it wasn’t gone for too long, and I get to return to the health and work and people I love.

Name a time you’ve been pushed out of your comfort zone.
Did it help grow your appreciation?

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

From Zero Computer Skills to Tech Savvy in a Few Short Years – If I Can Do It, You Can Too!

 

Eight years ago, I had never sent an email.

Or owned a computer.

I’d never had internet or been on social media.

(Yes, there are people who choose such and can even survive like that.)

Then I decided to make a major mid-life shift and venture into the great big career of real estate, which meant having to do all of those things every day. Eek!

I knew going in, my number one weakness was that I had zero tech skills. Like, none. I remember those first weeks learning how to use a computer. We’re talking about learning simple things like where to find the on switch. How to send an email. How to Google search something.

One day, at the first office I worked at, two people came back from a conference saying Facebook would be key to our industry in the coming years. So I started an account. I never realized how important it would be all these years later.

I smile when I think about how little I knew because now, people actually seek me out for tech help. Peers ask me how to market online, how to use social media, and how to use apps for business like I do. Funny. Just eight short years ago I didn’t have a clue.

But I’m stimulated by personal growth and energized by trying new things, so it was a joy to chase down knowledge. I took courses, pursued knowledge, and practiced what I’d learned and became good at it.

I was approaching fifty years old when I made that major career change. I was 46 years old when I used a computer for the first time. And guess what. All those things they say about old dogs and new tricks? It’s LIES! All lies!!

And this is the reason I’m telling you this at all – my hope is to release you from any lie that’s holding you back.

If deep inside you’re languishing in a circumstance you hate or secretly want to try something new or weird, but are too afraid, I desperately want you to know you don’t have to be trapped!

It’s scary to take those first steps into uncharted territory, trust me, I know!

But when you walk through the fear, even if you’re trembling with each step, you’ll come out on the other side and discover a load of good stuff. You’ll be glad you risked it and tried that new thing.

 

What’s one time you faced your fear and came through to the good stuff?

 

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

You’re Never Too Old to Make a Change (Celebrating 8 Years!)

 

Eight years ago I made a massive career change.

I was 46 years old.

When I confided in a friend about my desire to shift careers, she said “Do it before you’re fifty. In your forties people see you as experienced. After your fifties, starting on a new path is more difficult. People see you differently.” I took her advice and started looking for new opportunities.

Drawn to careers in which I could help others in need, I sought out social work type vocations. Things like working as a health proctor or in a women’s crisis center. I even looked into becoming a social worker.

Employers said the weirdest thing when I applied though, “We know what you would have been making in your past profession. You won’t be satisfied with what we pay.”

Stunned, I thanked them and left office after office. How could they possibly know what would satisfy me? I was seeking work with meaning – something that satisfied my soul – not some dollar amount. I wanted to pour myself out to help people; whatever it paid was secondary.

Then I came upon the profession of real estate – a unique way I could help people with an important need and connect with them in a meaningful way. (Little did I know the work would involve a lot of the emotional elements of social work I’d initially sought.) It helped, too, that my main concern wasn’t money because that first year was a rough ride!

Here’s the funny thing you might not believe.

8 years ago, I’d never sent an email.

Or turned on a computer.

I’d never sold a home and had no clue how to market online.

Now, after years of learning and trying to keep at the front of new trends,  I have a reputation for being tech savvy. People seek me out to ask me how to use an ipad for business  or how to leverage a blog or social media to connect with new clients.  Amazing what can happen in 8 short years!

I have to stop right there and encourage you

If there is a step you’re afraid to take or a change you’re afraid to make, I’ll be the first to tell you – it’s possible. Do it! Take a risk! If I can become tech savvy when my starting point was looking for a computer’s on/off switch, I’m telling you – you’re more capable than you think.

 

Since I’m celebrating the 8 year mark, can I just spend a minute with you sharing my gratitude?

 

People

I’m so thankful for the opportunity to meet people from so many different countries and circumstances. This month I sold a home to a couple who moved here from Mexico City. To be on that journey with them – to witness all the excitement and joy of starting their new life in a new country – was an honor.

The newlyweds, empty-nesters, and growing families – many of the people I’ve connected with – have been a blessing to me. It’s hard to express the joy one feels, being invited into the personal, sometimes even intimate experience of selecting a home. I can tell you though, it’s the people and relationships that fill me up and satisfy me and are my driving reason for what I do.

Knowledge

I look at my thick binder full of legal documents, and I’m grateful I know what they’re all for. That first year, boy, I’ll tell you… If anyone had handed me this stack of paper and said, “Here. Know this. All of it. Know what they do, when to use them, and what every legal line means,” I might have run screaming for the hills.

Thankfully, no one did that. I learned in steps and pieces, like we all do, and now I’m so glad I don’t have to wonder anymore, “What the heck is THAT paper for?” Knowledge IS power!

Help

As my business grew and I became super busy, I began to lose my personal life to real estate. Weekends, days off didn’t exist for me in those years. It took over my life and I was starting to feel burned out. My friends and family were getting lost in the chaos. Something needed to change.

I needed help. Really, I needed a day off!

That’s when God directed me to agents Wes and Clare, who helped me immensely, providing trustworthy staff to take my workload one day a week. I began to enjoy the thrill and joy of a regular weekly day off.

More than that, I also learned a lot about leadership from them, and was greatly encouraged. It can be a lonely business and sometimes you need more support than you can muster on your own. Self-motivation is necessary for this line of work, but we’re also created for relationship and we need each other.

For the help of Wes, Clare, Yvette, Eniko, and many others who have contributed to the success of my career and family life, I am deeply grateful.

 

Returning from Surgery

Oh – and then there was my hip surgery! For several years, hip pain made my work difficult. I clenched my jaw and carried on though, because what else am I going to do? That’s life.

After surgery, as I healed at home, my life became quiet. I wasn’t dashing all around the province all day like I was used to, and I wasn’t talking to fifty or more people every day either. Life became quiet and still.

At first, it drove me nuts. I like to be busy and be with people. Then after a few weeks, the quiet grew on me and I savored the peace and solitude. I started to worry. Was this the new me? Would I be able to enjoy bustle of work when I came back?

Now, recovered from surgery and back in the swing of things (and feeling awesome, by the way!) I’m connecting with people every day again, and I LOVE it. Every time I connect with someone, I get that jolt of joy and love my work all over again.

 

A lot can happen in the small space of a decade!

I hope you’re encouraged by some of this. You’re not too old, to post-surgery, to unknowledgeable, or too alone to make a change.  I was all of those things and then some.

The only thing that might hold you back is if you’re too afraid.
At the risk of sounding cliché, don’t let fear keep you from the good stuff on the other side.

Blessings,
-Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

What is the Difference Between a Deposit and a Down Payment?

 

In my years as a real estate professional in Steinbach and much of SouthEastern Manitoba, I’ve helped many people navigate the myriad of confusing things that come up while shopping for their next home.

One of the most common questions is, “What’s the difference between a deposit and a down payment?”

 

Allow me to help clear that up.

 

What is a Deposit (and Why should I Make One?)

A deposit is money that accompanies the Offer to Purchase. Basically, it’s trust money, the point of which is to show that you are serious about offering to buy the house, and can be trusted not to waste the seller’s time or somehow torpedo their efforts to sell their house to others. Your money says you will not change your mind and, if you do, you’re willing to compensate them for their wasted time.

What Happens to the Deposit If Your Offer is NOT Accepted?

Nothing. The cheque will not be cashed. It will be returned to you.

What Happens to the Deposit If Your Offer IS Accepted?

If your offer to purchase is accepted, the Cheque will be deposited into the listing broker’s trust account. Later, when the deal goes through and the purchase becomes official, the funds are forwarded to the lawyer’s office and distributed toward the purchase price according to standard practice.

TIP: Bigger deposits give you an advantage. The bigger your deposit, the more seriously the Seller will take you and your offer.

                What happens if they deposit our check and then we can’t meet the conditions on the offer?    (What if we don’t get financing? What if the home inspection fails? What if…?)                   

We will fill out a simple form requesting the deposit to be released and the funds will be returned to you.

 

 

What is a Down Payment?

The down payment is what your lender will require of you before approving your mortgage. This is between you and the lender and does not involve the real estate agent or seller.

For a traditional mortgage you will need 5% of the sale price for a down payment.

When arranging your down payment, if you can manage to put down 20% of the purchase price (or more), you will avoid the cost of paying an insurer like CMHC or Genworth.

If you do not have sufficient down payment available and you have a steady job, stable income, and a good credit rating, I can hook you up with a mobile specialist who has different products available and you may possibly be eligible to buy without a full down payment.

 

There are LOADS of other questions that crop up in real estate.
Good news – I have some awesome resources to set you up for a successful and pleasant buying experience.

Check out my HomeBuyer’s Information Package HERE 

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

 

A Gardening Lesson from Dogs

 

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I love getting dirt under my fingernails in the flower garden.

And the way dirt crumbles in my hand.

I especially love the way weeds pull right out sometimes, root and all.

Recently, when I was down on my hands and knees digging in the dirt, my little dog joined me. At first, she supervised nearby for a few minutes, possibly to see what treasure I would unearth. As I continued pressing my hands and tools into the soil, pulling out weeds, and humming, she decided to dive in right next to me.

She claimed a patch of weeds right beside me and set her paws to furiously digging. Dirt and leaves flew everywhere, even onto me. I paused my weeding to watch (while guarding my eyes from flinging flecks of dirt). She worked and worked, finally digging a little pit for herself. Then she stood in the middle of it and plunked herself down, nestling as deeply as she could into the cool earth.

I smiled, petted her, and returned to pulling weeds.

In the quiet, I thought about how she and I were both digging in the garden but for different reasons. I want the flowers to be visible and not crowded out by weeds, and she wants a cool place to sit.

We all have different motivations for doing what we do.

Many people can do the same thing, but for different reasons.

I’m a real estate agent, but my why might surprise you.

It’s not for the money (It’s not as much as you think anyway)

It’s not for the glamour (People tend to see agents more as salespeople than industry professionals)

And it’s definitely not for the primo hours and awesome vacation times (Days off can be hard to come by. Heck, attending a wedding uninterrupted can be hard to come by!)

No, I’m an agent in spite of all these challenges.

Because I’m a helper and encourager at heart, and I love, love, love to help people find their perfect-for-them home. As an agent, I get to protect people from pitfalls, walk them through scary and difficult circumstances, and make them super crazy happy.

Those are the things that satisfy my soul that I count as excellent results, and that drive me forward each day.

What motivates you in your work?

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

You Only Drown in Water if You Stay There (How to Recharge in the Face of Obstacles)

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We all face obstacles.

A controlling parent, a cheating colleague, lying clients, or a bullying boss.

When you’re in it, especially if stress and difficulty come from multiple sides, it can feel like the most miserable isolation. But the truth is that none of us is alone. We all struggle.

So what do you do when the pressure becomes relentless and you start to feel like you’re drowning in negativity?

You don’t drown in water by being in it. You drown in water by staying in it.
-Edwin Louis Cole

Many years ago, I was in just such a place – drenched in deep, extreme negativity. The enormous personal stress resulted in my losing 50lbs in a month. I couldn’t eat – my body wouldn’t allow it.  My insides felt shaky – like I’d swallowed a phone stuck on vibrate. And all I could think about was the very difficult circumstance that was turning my heart inside out.

Then something happened that changed my life.

A friend noticed and did something. She saw what a mess I was and how it was damaging my body.

“You need to go to a doctor!” she said.

I insisted that I didn’t – that I could handle it. She insisted more though, and made me go. She drove me to the doctor’s office. She sat with me in the room. She forced me to get help.

And it rescued me.

Most of the stress and difficulty we face in our work and relationships isn’t that extreme. But it’s critical to recognize when we’re maxed out on stress and negativity, and to take action before we make things worse – for others and for ourselves.

 

How to Recharge in the Face of Obstacles

Be Your Own Friend

I was lucky that time to have a friend not only notice, but then help me initiate change.

We can’t wait for a masked hero to arrive though. Most of the time we have to be our own friend, noticing that we are a mess and that something has to give.

 

Give Yourself Permission

I don’t know why we find it so hard to give ourselves permission to be wounded; to feel hurt. I’ve got news for you: humans hurt, hearts break, and we’re not robots who can flick a switch to make it all stop.

Healing can only happen when we realize we need it.

Needing help does not mean you’re weak. In fact, it’s what’s going to strengthen you. Admitting your wounds is itself an act of strength and the next step to progress – no guilt required. Give yourself permission to need help.

 

Rest

There is a time to take a break. When you’re slammed from all different sides, it’s tough to pull out a smile. We have to recognize when our bodies, emotions, thoughts need a break.

When we are in a bad mental state, we’re probably not the most effective in our work and relationships anyway. We need to invest in our own well being with the gift of a rest.

 

Let It Look Different

Know that your rest and recharge time doesn’t have to look like sunbathing on a beach in Cancun.
It doesn’t have to be two weeks long. Do and be what refreshes you.

For some, it’s going to be retreating to a cabin with a stack of romance novels. Or others it looks like camping out in a recliner for a few days, refusing to cook or clean, so their body can heal.

Recently, I took a break to recharge, and spent that time attending classes, learning online, brainstorming my brand positioning, and product development. That – especially the brand positioning and marketing – is what revives my motivation. It refreshes my confidence in my abilities to excel, and fires me up to work with renewed gusto.

What refreshes you will be different than what works for others and that’s okay.

I’m curious – how to you recharge when facing obstacles?

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

What is Virtual Staging?

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What is Virtual Staging?

Virtual Staging is the use of software to stage the photos of a home. The key to doing this well is to have good quality photos to begin with and then have a skilled Stager do the decorating.

When would you use Virtual Staging?

Virtual staging would only be done in a VACANT HOUSE.

What is the benefit of Virtual Staging?

  • NO added costs to hire a stager
  • NO added cost to get content insurance for furniture
  • NO damaged walls from moving furniture in and out
  • No risk of furniture being stolen or vandalized
  • Increased perception of value
  • Buyer is able to picture what the space is to be used for

See the difference in the following examples:

This first photo is an odd room. The window does not appear to belong to a specific room. We cannot see what is behind the wall. Can you see how these two options help clarify the use of this space?

Tina Plett, Sutton Group-Kilkenny Real Estate

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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

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