Saturday, March 25, 2017

Is That Your Home or Is That Your House?

Shall I bore you with shop talk today?  I have been working on a few real estate transactions as of late. As most of my regular readers know, I have been a Realtor for a very long time. In fact, I have all but retired from it at this point.  However,  every once in awhile, I get a call and can't force myself to say NO.  I can only attribute this to, perhaps, the first signs of senility.

Every time I dip my toe into a real estate transaction, it reminds me why people should retire at some point from their jobs.  For me it's the blatant reminder how "unfun" the process of dealing with anything linked to banks, large amounts of money and people can be. It could be said that for most people the process of spending or trying to recoup large amounts of money doesn't bring out the best in their personalities.



Plus, a lot of things have changed since I got my first real estate agent's license in the mid-1980s.  Most of it "not for the better" as it relates to working in the real estate industry.  BUT, I have to say, I still find the topic of homes and how people live in them fairly interesting.  I am a sucker for those in our society that still put value in their home for it's sense of well being and security as opposed to just four walls and a roof.  After 35 years of doing this, I can quickly size up the "nesters" versus the "residers".   How these groups buy and sell homes is decidedly different. (More about that later...just a spoiler alert that will be another post)

Anyway, circling back to my current tasks in real estate, some dear friends are retiring and needed to sell their house to "downsize".  This deal was easy-peasy because our friends are sane.  I know one shouldn't have to make that distinction but given that most people lose their minds when selling or buying a house, the fact these folks didn't needs to garner your respect and admiration for them.  They priced their house well, it was spotlessly clean and they were agreeable, friendly people during the negotiations.  Hallelujah!



In one of the other deals  in play, the other agent involved called the sellers "salty dogs".  Does that give you an indicator how well that is going?  But this is the new normal, now.  In most deals there is a contentious environment. It's the buyers versus the sellers versus the agents versus the bankers.  With all that being said, there are sometimes ineffective real estate agents, (load of them, in fact!) crummy mortgage lenders, dishonest sellers, and naive buyers.  There are valid reasons for real estate transactions to be volatile.

As for all of the unnecessary animosity being so common today, it seems to be where society has landed in so many scenarios.   Negotiating just seems to have gotten more difficult for people over the years.  A common theme seems to be that expectations are set high and willingness to compromise is set low.  That  seems to be the current trend.



 In the dark ages when I began working in real estate, people buying homes were evaluating the  "bones" of a house.  Prospective buyers would walk through a house and look past any of the decor and contemplate things like the floor plan, number of bedrooms and bathrooms and (most importantly) if the price of the house reflected the quality and condition of the home. There was less emphasis on everything being exactly fine-tuned to the buyer's tastes.  Buyers weren't so quick to assume that they were being cheated and seller's didn't seem to be so fixated on getting more than the neighbor down the street because that house didn't have the beautiful custom mural of Augusta National Golf Course in the den. Who wouldn't love that?

 Sure there are still some buyers that are willing to take on a fixer upper for the right price. (thank you Chip and Joanna Gains and/or the Property Bros.) but for the most part people want what they want.  What they want currently is for  everything to be perfect  and it probably should include hardwood floors, granite, and stainless steel....oh and they want the house to be a steal of a deal.


Yes, there certainly been a lot of changes in the industry in the 30+ years that I have been involved, Probably two of the greatest impacts would be the Internet and HGTV.  It's changed people's expectations on how buying or selling a house should look and feel.  It's not quite as fun and entertaining as the house hunting TV shows might imply.



Ultimately, even removing my cynicism and the constant drip of nostalgia that reminds me of an easier time, I do LOVE when people find a home.  Not a HOUSE, mind you....but a home.  These are two very different things.


To Be Continued....

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It Wasn't Curiosity that Killed the Cat

Brace yourselves!  I don't want the shock of seeing a new post from me to cause any cardiac events.  Honestly, steady yourselves because with healthcare insurance in a flux, you may or may not be covered.

After a non-stop deluge of activity around here (and none of it particularly exciting) I have a bit of time to chat.

Just to catch you up a bit....we have been on a never ending "remodel" of our house.  What started out with the intention of remodeling one bathroom but that quickly morphed into multiple rooms getting a major "redo". Clearly, we are insane.

If my mind and house weren't in enough chaos, we had out-of-town guests for a few days last week.  Now...don't misunderstand me!  I love having guests.  Truly, I do!  Just come and visit me and I will prove it to you.  BUT...and this is a fairly hefty BUT....it is often hard to entertain people that are very different in their interests and/or tastes than you are. No criticism, you understand.  It's just a case of different strokes for different folks.

This became painfully clear last week while trying to entertain people that live very differently in every aspect than we do.  That is not to say that their life is any better or worse than ours... but just different than ours.  Living in a large metropolitan city of over 3 million people is not everyone's lifestyle choice.  I get it!!  Traffic, congestion, lack of personal space seems to make people crazy if they are used to rural living.  I totally understand that.  I have lived in rural areas and small towns and find the peaceful, wide-open spaces wonderful.  Unfortunately, if you are staying in my guest room, I can't remove it from the geographical area of Kansas City.

Which is leading me to today's subject.  If you were in a new location (even if it was for a few days) aren't you even a least bit curious about "what's things are interesting?", "what is there to do?" or "what is there to eat?"  Are you a curious person????



Hubby and I are both major players on team "curiosity".  We are the type of people that drive the back roads to wherever we go, pull off the road to read historical markers, and visit museums that no one would actually consider to be a "real" museum. In cities that we are unfamiliar with, we seek out the local points of interest with the same fervor that the FBI tracks down one of the most wanted.


The subject of how different people's level of participation in "things to do and see" became evident recently when we were visiting a local museum here in KC in the River Market part of town.  There is a museum here that houses a pre-Civil War steamboat,  paddle wheeler (Steamboat Arabia) that was dug up from 45 foot under the Missouri River.  It sunk in 1856 while hauling 222 TONS of pre-Civil War goods to towns along the Missouri River.  Thanks to the glorious mud that sealed off all manner of air and light, the cargo came up not showing a bit of wear and tear.  Well...except for a mule that went down with the ship....he doesn't look quite as good as he did when the boat sank.


Anyhow...as I was saying about people with regards to their level of curiosity...there were a couple of people from New York in the tour that were totally fascinated by the artifacts and asked a lot of questions. (LOVED THEM!) and they mentioned that they had dragged their Kansas City relatives whom they were visiting to see the museum.  The Kansas kin folk had never visited the museum and it was apparent to me and anyone that saw them there was a definite lack of enthusiasm on their part for the sight of an enormous paddlewheel that was hauled out of the muck of the Missouri River.

Two days later while we continued to  force-feed our guests more KC tourist attractions, we signed up for the Boulevard Brewery tour.  AGAIN... I see different levels of enthusiasm among the crowd for drinking free beer.  OK...even if Boulevard Wheat or Pale Ale isn't your alcoholic cup of tea...IT's FREE!!!  Let's show some enthusiasm, folks.

I realize this need to see all that is to be seen stems from a long line of curious kin folk.  You might remember in long ago written posts,  that even as a small child riding around on the rear deck of my dad's old car (safety be damned in the 50's and 60's) we stopped to see every Civil War site, haunted house, cave, or "odd" museum that was in the continental U.S.  If there was a point of interest to be seen off of some random state highway, it beckoned us to stop and savor it's greatness.  There hardly exists a state that I haven't traveled the back roads to see some funky and unusual "claim to fame".



So, my blogger friends...I invite you to come to visit any ole time you want but beware that you will be wrangled into eating at old dive barbecue joints, visit random museums,  traipse around Country Club Plaza  and  you may possibly be forced to drink free beer.  Don't say I haven't warned you.  I hope you like adventures.












Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentine's Day

I am a big fan of romance.  I swoon over tales of true love and adore tales of happy endings. I delight in  hearing people's stories of how they found each other and formed a mutual love.  (Sadly...I am also pragmatic and realize that  some of those anticipated happy endings didn't  always come out the way one would of hoped.)    Still....I tend to be a sap for stories of love.

I find it fascinating how miraculous it is that among the thousands of people we have met (or will meet) that we manage to find a person to love and be lucky enough to have them love us back.   To be fair, I guess it's not so much luck as it is choosing well.   Of course, there might be a bit of luck needed to recognize the person we are choosing,  for who they really are. 







 
This morning I was driving to the gym and heard the radio announcer proclaim that today was the most romantic day of the year.   Yes, today....  February 14th, ....the pressure is on.  We are to dig deep into our hearts (and possibly our wallets) to express our devotion for our mate, partner, husband, wife ....someone???...anyone??????

If you follow all the advertising and marketing...today is the day for a grand gesture.  Flowers, candy, jewelry seemingly is the way we are supposed to recognize the amount we are loved.  One jewelry store chain comes right out and says that the quality of a diamond is an indicator of your level of devotion.  Forty-six (ish)  years ago when I chose my engagement ring I was going for beautiful while being "affordable" more than a measuring tool but I might of not been enlighten to how that was supposed to work.  My then boyfriend now husband, who was home on leave from the Army probably would of sprung for whatever I chose as his mood was pretty happy to be "home on leave."
Even then, I just wasn't into needing grand gestures.


As with all things.. some of this leaves me a bit conflicted about Valentine's Day.  (I'll bet you sensed that already, right???) The romantic side of me likes to think that loving gestures of the "non-purchased" kind are exchanged within couples 365 days a year and that not too much emphasis is put on a person to come up with a  "purchased" gesture for a single day.

Not that an occasional grand gesture isn't a great thing  but for me when I tell hubby that it really isn't necessary to buy me flowers, (which he is prone to do) candy, gifts  or any token of affection...I MEAN it.   Seriously, I am not one of those people that say don't and then get pissy because "someone" didn't.





On the subject of Valentine's Day....there is an anti-Valentine's Day contest going on over at  Life By Chocolate: Robyn Alana Engel's Blog.  It appears that I am not the only one that has some alternative/conflicting thoughts about this holiday.     I entered a few cartoons that leaned towards the lesser romantic leanings of the holiday. 


Crabby is trying to cut down on her use of bad words. 


Soooo...my wonderful readers, I hope you have someone that is worthy of doing a grand gesture for EVEN if it isn't needed or expected.  Have a great Valentine's Day.

This is how my other house mate would convey a sweet sentiment.