It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.

HP has a great commercial about a small fishing company.  In the commercial, there is a background chant of “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.  It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it.  It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it, that’s what gets results.”  What a great line.  I love the premise of the ad.

What separates the performers from the non-performers?  “The way that you do it,” that’s what separates them.  I was talking to a friend today and that concept came up.  I approach real estate a little different from my colleagues.

I’m a results driven broker.  That’s the kind of people I want around me.  Too much of modern sales are centered around manipulating the client pool.  I’m not interested in trying to manipulate buyers and sellers into using me Soldbecause of the initials behind my name, the company I work for, way I dress or the car I drive, etc.  Since I’m results driven, I bring a different approach to the real estate business, and I rarely fail to produce results.

This past weekend, I met a wonderful young couple looking for a second home in the mountains.  I drive a Volvo S80, but if I’m in the mountains. I’m not taking it.  I also have an Expedition, but it needs to go to the shop for a repair, so that meant my personal pickup truck was called into service.  No problem.  You’re most likely to find me in it anyway.

The couple seemed surprised to see me roll up in a pickup, but when we went to the second property I encouraged them to jump in and ride with me.  Once we arrived, they were so thankful that I didn’t have them drag their luxury car up the mountain.  It would have taken quite a beating on the way.

I was in a pickup truck, dressed in jeans and I was in my market – the mountains.  If you’re going to be walking around the mountains, you better be ready to traverse it and you had better be dressed for it or you’re going to get hurt or damage your clothes.  What’s the point?  It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it, that’s what gets results.  HP nailed it.  If you’re going to be a results driven agent, you’ve got to be in tune with every environment you’re in and ready to adjust to the needs of your clients.   Clients get it when they see results.




Use extra caution with electricity during a natural disaster.

Use extra caution with electricity during a natural disaster.

Hurricane Sandy left the Shenandoah Valley wet and soggy today.  She also left a lot of people without electricity.  One resident had her electrical service turned off because water was running into her electrical service panel.  The fire company responded to a distress call and found water running into her electrical service and shut it down.  Then, they called me.

I went to see what we could do to get her back up and running.  During the inspection of the problem I Shocktalked to the electrical company about turning her off at the electric pole, but they were too backed up.  They gave me permission to remove the meter and see if I could find the source of the water.

I’ve taken hundreds of meters off in the past 40 years.  So, it wasn’t a concern.  I took the cover off the meter-base, and then I removed the meter.  There was water inside the meter-base.  I took a towel and dried it out, but there was still evidence of water flowing into the meter.  It’s important to extraordinary careful when you’ve got your hands inside a hot meter.  Ironically, today while standing in the rain with my hands in a hot meter I touched a hot leg and zap.  It bit me.

Fortunately, I wasn’t hurt.  I was more frustrated than hurt, but it reminded me of something.  When you’re in a situation like a natural disaster, there are things you need to remember about electricity.

  • If you see down power-lines, stay away.  It sounds like commonsense, but people are killed routinely by downed power-lines.
  • Do not ever assume downed power-lines are dead because they are not sparking.  Always assume everything is hot.
  • Remember, water is a great conductor.  If you have downed power-lines around your car, stay inside the car, don’t touch anything metal and call 911.  Do not get out of the car.
  • Do not stand in water and handle something with an electrical source, such as a pump.  I ran into someone doing this today.
  • A wet tree can carry electricity.  If there are lines in a tree, do not touch or get near the tree.
  • Do not put your hands inside your electrical service panel.  Call a professional.  That’s where my service call started today.
  • Do not ever use an aluminum ladder around electrical wires.  If a tree falls across your power lines leave it alone and call the fire department, 911 or your electrical provider.

People always tell me they’re afraid of electricity.  I’m glad to hear that.  If you have any hesitation around electrical problems, call a licensed professional and stay away.  Saving a few dollars are not worth your life or a substantial injury.

Use extra caution with electricity during a natural disaster.

OK, Sandy, you’re not invited to Thanksgiving dinner!

OK, Sandy, you’re not invited to Thanksgiving dinner!

Sandy has come and gone, but she did leave a few things behind.  The Winchester/Frederick County area was soaked with rain most of Monday into Tuesday morning.  High winds and downed trees have been seen throughout the area.

Bad WeatherBoth Shenandoah Valley Electric Coop and Rappahannock Electric Coop had reported approximately 3000 customers without electricity as of 8:00 pm Monday night.  Many of those customers have had their power restored as of 9:00 am Tuesday morning.

The areas west and south of Winchester are looking at the possibility of snow Tuesday.  Most of that snow is expected to be concentrated in the Shenandoah and Warren County areas, but the mountains surrounding Winchester are not exempt at this point.  Current temperatures in the lower elevations are hovering around 39 degrees with the highs expected in the low forties.

Overall, the valley survived what could have been a major weather event.  Our friends to the east and further north took the brunt of Sandy’s wrath.  The impact of Sandy is still to learned locally, but it looks like life will be back to normal within a few days.  There are a lot of wet basements, downed trees and debris scattered around, but there are no current reports of lives lost.  That makes us incredibly blessed

Are You Really The Reason The House Won’t Sell? Maybe!

Are You Really The Reason The House Won’t Sell? Maybe!

I had a client this past year who was stunned when I gave her the CMA for her home.  We were in the midst of signing a listing agreement, and I had prepared all the things necessary to get her house on the market.

She had talked to me the year before, but when I told her what her house would sell for she went with another agent who convinced her she could get radically more.  Well, a year later and she was calling me back.  Unfortunately for her, the market had declined during that time in that area, and her house was worth less.

Her new CMA was approaching $100,000 less than the original CMAJ. Phillip Faranda posted an excellent blog on pricing a property right.  (Compelling Reason to Price Your Home Right from the Start)

In that blog he posted a graph of what the variables are over the course of 120+ days when a house sits on the market.  That  information should be included in every listing presentation we make in the future.

Seller after seller will have a dollar amount in mind when they call you to list their property.  We need to be frank with them about price in the beginning.  I know a lot of Realtors who are so hungry for listings they will accept the homeowner’s opinion over their own Realtor commonsense.  Friends, there some very negative consequences in making that choice.

  • The house can lose value over the months, and in some cases years, it sits on the market.  The one in my illustration lost over 30% in a little over a year.
  • The house may go into foreclosure if the sellers are trying to sell an upside-down house through a fair market sale.  Make sure you get all the details before you take a listing.  Some sellers will tell you enough to take the listing, but they may not tell you enough to know their situation.  You may need to steer them to a short sale to save their future pain.
  • The house becomes nearly unmarketable because it becomes stigmatized by other Realtors and people who pass by it month after month.  “I wonder what’s wrong with that house?”
  • The house can deteriorate if it’s empty.
  • The house can cost you money if you’re paying for advertising.  How many months can you carry advertising expenses on an overpriced house?  I had client who expected monthly paid advertising on her listing, but the total commission would have been less than 6 months advertising.  Count the costs.
  • The house can cost you a potential new seller in the future.  Neighbors driving by that sign for 3,4,5,6,7 months begin to wonder what’s wrong with you because the house hasn’t sold.  You must be doing something wrong.  You must not be marketing it right.  You can’t be doing your job.  Other houses are selling, but you can’t sell this one.  Your name becomes stigmatized.

I’m sure you could add to the list, but you get the idea.  It’s better to walk away from a potential listing than list a house that will simply not sell.  I realize everyone can use more business, but none of us need
business that will undo our business.  Just say, “No!” when a seller wants to control how you list, market and price a property.  You’re the expert.  Dazzle them with your insight and knowledge, and if you can’t, walk away.