When Heroes Fall

It’s always tough when heroes fall.  I knew the Lance Armstrong interview was coming thisHero week, but I didn’t bother to watch it.  I was pretty sure the most damning sound bites would be all over the airwaves when it was over, and they were.

Because I’m a cyclist, Lance was always someone I looked up to.  My sons did as well, and it is terribly disappointing when someone you’ve admired, read about, followed his training regime and considered him one of the all time greats turns out to a let down.  It happens over and over, and it would be easy to get cynical.

I’ve always known that man is inherently flawed.  Scripture tells me that.  Experience tells me that, and history tells me that.  So, seeing Armstrong fall was terribly disappointing, but it was not all that surprising.

That brings me to my point.  Kids look up to professional athletes in a big way.  They want to emulate them.  They want to follow their programs for success, and they want to succeed like them.  I don’t blame them at all.  I did the same thing as a kid.

What I’ve learned in life is that if I want my kids to have good examples to emulate, they can’t find a better place to learn than in the home.  Whether you have a two parent family or a single parent household, you can still be a hero in the hearts of your children.  What do I mean? How?

  • Honor your word and follow through.  If you promise something, honor it.  That includes disciplinary moments.
  • Always be there.  Friends can be fickle, but family should be the one constant in a child’s life.  Our house is still a triage unit for our sons and their friends.  The boys are 20 and 22.  I assumed that would stop when they were out of their teens, but it hasn’t.  No problem.  We have experience.
  • Tell the truth, always.  If you mess up.  Apologize.  You would be amazed at how powerful it is for a child to have a parent apologize for a mistake.  No matter what the circumstance, be honest.  Your kids depend on that.  It’s another constant in their lives.
  • Listen.  When your kids need to talk, stop what you’re doing, turn the TV off and look them in the eye and listen.  If you’re in the midst of something really important, ask them to give you a couple minutes to tie up loose ends (if that is possible).
  • Be swift to hear, and slow to speak.  If someone accuses your child of something, before you react, let your child explain.  He may be in the wrong, or he may not, but he deserves the benefit of the doubt until you’re clear on the event.
  • Inspire them.  You are the coach for your children.  Encourage them to reach for the stars.  That doesn’t mean you give them trophies for showing up.  That only builds an entitlement mentality, not self-esteem.  Give them everything they need to succeed.  Pat them on the back when they deserve it, encourage better performance when they need it and always be their support staff.  Both of my boys are weight-lifters.  I put a gym in our house.  I taught them the fundamentals of weight-training until they were men, and then they moved on to a local gym with a lot more equipment.  They have far surpassed my instruction now, and that excites me because they are reaching their goals.  They are doing the same thing in other areas of life.
  • Challenge them.  Kids can be like adults.  If you let them take the path of least resistance, they may take it.  I always wanted my boys to be active.  So, we planned a lot of family events around physical activity.  If we could incorporate learning into those times it was a win-win.  That might mean walking the streets of Williamsburg, VA learning colonial history.  It might mean cycling through the back roads of Winchester, VA looking at Civil War battlefields.  We wanted them to love learning, and we wanted them to love exercise.  The best way for us to do that was to combine the two.
  • Push them, a little.  It’s not unusual for us to ask the boys, “So, what’s the next step?”  “What are you trying to achieve?”  “How are you planning to get there?”  If they start out doing something and suddenly they’re not following through, it’s a great time to ask why.  There might be legitimate reasons, but follow through is radically important because people tend to drop goals and dreams when the going gets tough.  TheyFather and Sonmay need a little push.
  • Always treat them with dignity and respect.  My sons never heard, “That’s a stupid idea!” Or, “What were you thinking?  If your friend jumped off a bridge, would you jump off too?”  Why?  Because we directed them when they needed it the most, and we allowed more and more freedom as they demonstrated they were becoming more and more responsible.  We treated them with respect.  Thankfully, we’ve never had an argument.  I think the mutual respect has had a lot to do with that.

This list could go on and on, but you get the idea.  The most important heroes in your children’s lives are sitting across the dinner table.  Have we been perfect parents?  Far from it, but heroes aren’t necessarily perfect.  Be that hero, flawed or not, be that hero.

Both of our boys have turned out to be high achievers in life.  We couldn’t be more proud of them, and I would hope that they would be the first to say their parents are their true heroes.



Making things happen everyday!

Making things happen everyday!

My company has a motto that says we are, “Making things happen everyday.”  That means, if there is anyway we can get a deal through the process, we’ll do it.  We will always give 100% for every client every day.  This past week was a perfect example.

The first distress call came in from a seller whose water test came back with bacteria that needed to be Victorydealt with.  No problem.  It’s normally as simple as shocking the well that provides the water supply.  Have I ever done that before?  No.  Does that matter?  Not really.  I called a friend.  He couldn’t bail me out, but he told he how to do it.  Today, we received the new water test.  Clean!

Then, a rental that is supposed to be done today was in need of a few things.  It had five damaged doors and more painting issues than time would allow.  There were drywall problems and lighting repairs.  My contractor friend was still busy.  Do I panic?  No, don’t panic, adjust.  I grabbed my tools, my staff and off we went.  We fixed four drywall holes, installed 5 doors, painted the largest room in the house, replaced door stops all over along with more than a dozen light bulbs.  We polished the floors and hauled away the garbage.

Whatever it takes.  We are truly making things happen everyday.  You may not have the skills to tackle the same projects, but I bet you know someone who does.  There is no reason to let a deal fall through because something popped up.  No, pull your resources, be the “go to person” for making things happen, and you’ll never be without business.  We should all be making things happen everyday!

Are you going to miss the next shift in real estate?

Are you going to miss the next shift in real estate?  Maybe.  Much like the stock market, real estate is up, and real estate is down.  In the stock market, there are bull market cycles and bear market cycles.  Stocks are going up, or stocks are going down.

There are always segments where an industry takes a hit, hence the Dot.Com bust.  During the dot.com bust, energy stocks didn’t take a hit, but dot.com companies were wiped out or lost a great deal of their value.  Construction materials didn’t get wiped out with the dot.com companies.  The market was segmented.  That doesn’t mean that the market doesn’t take broad hits.  After 9/11, and in September of 2008, the stock market took a pretty sizable hit market-wide.

In real estate, segments of the country drop, and segments grow.  They can do it simultaneously.  When the markets collapsed in September 2008, the real estate market took a hit country-wide.  Some segments were hit harder than others, but it was a broad real estate market correction.  That is pretty unusual in real estate, but it has happened before.  The Great Depression comes to mind.  It’s rare.

In the stock market, certain segments recover faster than others.  The same is true in real estate.  The only way to really know if a market is in recovery is to look at the numbers.  A qualified real estate agent / broker can help you find out what the market is doing in your community.

Rather than wait for the bounce, or bottom or recovery – ask a real estate professional what they see in your local market.  A qualified real estate professional will be able to tell you what the local market trend is and where they believe it is heading.  Don’t wait until the market shifts into a different direction before you get involved.  Are you going to miss the next shift in real estate?  Not if you contact your Cornerstone real estate professional.

The Winchester, VA Real Estate Market Review for 2012

The Winchester, VA Real Estate Market Review for 2012

The 2012 numbers are in and it’s official.  The Winchester, VA real estate market is improving.  During the tenuous days of 2012, it was difficult at times to know which way things Upward Trendwere heading, but the raw data now clears that up for us.  The market is heading up!

The completed real estate transactions for 2012 came in at 1333.  That’s a 4.8% increase from 2011.  Of that number, 180 closings were short sales and 273 were foreclosures.  Short sales were up from 2011 by 6%, but foreclosures showed an adverse relationship.  The 2012 foreclosure rate was down 27%.  That’s good news for the market overall.  The absence of foreclosures may signal that the worst is over.

There were 375 properties sold as foreclosures in 2011.  The market was still feeling the impact of the market collapse of 2008, and the economic recovery was moving at a snail’s pace if it was moving at all.

The overall distressed property sales of 2012 were 33% of the total sales.  There was a 17% drop in overall distressed sales from the previous 2011 number.  Even though there has been a 6% increase in short sales in 2012, the overall numbers signal a new trend toward fair market sales and away from distressed sales.  Fair market sales climbed 17% in 2012.  The move toward fair market sales is a good trend to see on the horizon.