Personal Knick-knacks

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I’ll start with the Top 12 Female Bloggers announcement by Sellsius. I have joked and shamed and groveled my way into this acknowledgement over the past year. They had to include my name in their list so I would finally leave them alone. I am honored, no question, but the reality is that the really great industry bloggers, female or otherwise, will never get the recognition they deserve, because they are quietly going about their business with purpose and focus. They are reaching their audience, the consumer and their future client, with little regard for how other’s might perceive them or might see fit to throw accolades in their general direction. Sure, I know people, but until the Joe and Rudy are ready to buy or sell a home in San Diego, I am not worthy of distinction. Nonetheless, I thank them, and I am proud to know them. (Don’t think this get’s you off the hook for next year, guys.)

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Real estate is a rough and tumble business these days, particularly in my San Diego market. By all accounts, I again cut off my nose to spite my mortgage bill this afternoon. Responding to what agents refer to as the “come list me” call, I had to just say no. With the average first-month marketing cost to us for carrying a home for sale neighboring $$$$$ (you do the math), not to mention recurring costs, time and business expenses, we are finding ourselves more often in the value-engineering role. As much as I want to try to achieve everyone’s goals, I recognize that it is not always possible in this market. Every bone in my body wanted to tell this wonderful couple with this magnificent home that I could deliver on their expectations, but this wouldn’t have been genuine. It’s a bummer-maximus all the way around.

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I took another one of those query calls from an agent this morning. “I have clients who have expressed interest in your listing. Is it still available? (Yes.) Have you had any offers? (No.) Do you have any offers? (No.) Are the sellers motivated? (Their home is on the market, isn’t it?) Will they accept an offer well below the asking price?”

“Have your clients seen the home?”, I asked. “No”, the agent replied.

Call me silly, but why are we even having this conversation? If I hadn’t interjected, the next question would likely have been,”How much will the sellers pay my clients to move in, feed their hamsters, and take over title?” Good grief.

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By far, my favorite read these days is the The Davison Files at Inman News. I can’t link to the article, because you need to subscribe, but trust me when I say that Marc Davison is a writer-extraordinaire. Most recently, he wrote about technology and argued both sides of the “Are agents worth their fee?” debate – Technology has both diminished the agent’s perceived value and increased it. While I appreciated the “in defense” remarks, I was at the same time offended.

It’s amazing the things agents can do today. They snap their fingers and millions of dollars worth of amazing technologies service our every need.

Mr. Davison, I am not snapping my fingers. I was on the Internet at 5:00 AM yesterday and again this morning, as I will be tomorrow morning. I spend a measurable amount of each day investigating and testing and applying every new technology that might (or might not) enhance my business and my value. I have a front office, which looks fun and simple and lucrative, and I have a back office, which the consumer does not see and will likely never appreciate, that occupies my energies and my days and my dreams. I sacrifice time and money and a “normal” lifestyle to make it look easy while servicing your every need. In my spare time, I remain studied in my market and in the contractual nuances of my business in an increasingly complex and litigious environment. This is how I earn my compensation. Snap!

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And, speaking of compensation, whether we blog loudly or we quietly go about our business, we agents are not unlike everyone else, except that the measure of our value and our paychecks is publically debated every minute of every day. We, like others who work to engineer or build or service or sell, enjoy the recognition and appreciation of others, because this validates our efforts, inspiring us to do more and be better. We also enjoy the knowledge that we are making a difference, even if this knowledge is ours alone. The news from the seller of the million-dollar home who, after my six months of tireless work and personal financial investment, informed me this week that they will now be offering the property for rent was more than offset by the reaction of the couple buying the entry-level home who found every switch plate and baseboard to be worthy of tears and hugs at the walk-through. It is during these moments that I am most proud of what I do. Allow me the tired adage, “Work like you don’t have to; the rest will follow.”  Sometimes, the “rest” isn’t about money.

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I am thrilled with the Sellsius recognition, but I am much more elated that my daughter seems to be getting over the flu, that the cat, too, seems to be feeling better (I know this because she is again eating the dog’s food), that the dry cleaning was picked up on time (thanks, Steve!), and that my car stopped making that funny noise (even if the “fix” involved turning up the radio). More than blogging recognition, I am excited that my clients, through some serious due diligence, discovered just today that their home under contract is not in a landslide-prone area and are once again excited about the move.

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My father used to get irritated when people would ask, “What do you do?” He argued that what we do shouldn’t define us. I argue that, if you do it well and with passion, the lines become blurred, and what you do is who you are. My youngest daughter presented me with a handmade birthday card this week. Among her top ten “why you are the best mom in the world” examples, number seven was, “You are funny, even when you blog.” Now, that is recognition of which I am proud.

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