Aug. 19, 2015

What to Look for in a Home When You’ve Got Furry Friends

Shopping for a new home is complicated enough when you’re dealing with humans. When you start factoring in your family members from the animal kingdom (no, we’re not talking about your Cousin Howard), things can start to get a little bit hairy. Will your yard meet your dog’s tastes? Is there enough space indoors for your cat to roam? With pets, you have to take these questions and more into consideration, just as you would with human roommates.

 

Is Your Pet Welcome?

 

Buying a house is certainly much different than renting. You make the rules, so no more strict guidelines on whether or not you can have your companions. However, you still have to comply with local regulations, or risk some severe consequences.

 

Familiarize yourself with local law on pet regulations. Laws on how many dogs can reside in a household vary not only between countries, states, and provinces, but can even vary from county to county. Thus, even a move a short hour away can potentially mean that you’ll have to apply for special permits to keep your animals around. Cats generally aren’t subject to laws as strict as canine regulations, but if you have a more exotic species than these, you’ll want to confirm that you’re not running afoul of any legalities. You may need to apply for licenses and permits, and be subject to inspections by state organizations. Be prepared, and reconsider the area if laws are too draconian.

 

Get the Facts on Whether the House Is Up to Standards

 

Some homes are better-suited for pets than others, and you should keep this in mind when house-hunting. Before you hit the pavement, make a list of some necessities that your pets will need in a home, and note whether or not they’re must-haves.

 

For example, if you have a dog, inspecting a prospective house’s yard is a must. Fencing is all but a necessity, and you’ll need to make sure that the fence is up to the task of keeping your dog safely inside. Is it tall enough that your dog is unable to jump it, and installed well enough that your dog can’t dig under? If you’ve fallen in love with a house that has a miniscule yard, you may be tempted to excuse away the flaw – after all, you can take your dog on walks, take them to the dog park, and so on – but if you’re not dedicated to following up on those promises, your pet will suffer for it. Sometimes, you can pick up the slack on a dream home by making the missing pieces into a home improvement project. Fencing can be installed, kitty windowsills can be built, and other pet-friendly amenities can be implemented after you’ve moved in. However, you don’t want to bind yourself into a potentially lengthy and expensive project right after you’ve signed that mortgage contract, and have your pet be bored and stressed while you try to get their new home up to speed. In a pinch, you might consider having your pets stay with a friend or relative while you fix up the place – it’ll keep them from being underfoot while construction is underway, and will let you introduce them to a fully settled home.

 

See Who Your Neighbors Are

 

When you’re considering a new home, you’ll need to consider the area around it, as well – and this goes double for if you have animals. See who your neighbors are, and see if your pet will receive a warm welcome…or if you’re going to be biting off more than you and your pets can chew.

 

A neighbor with pets may wind up being your new best friend if approached correctly, but can just as easily become a huge thorn in your side. Approach your neighbors and introduce yourself without any pets in tow. While you may want to have your pets be part of your welcoming crew, it’s just not a good idea: you don’t know if neighbors have pets that are flung into a frenzy at the mere whiff of another animal, you don’t know if neighbors are phobic of your pet, and you don’t know if your neighbors just plain don’t like animals. Tell your neighbors that you’re considering moving in nearby, and are feeling out the atmosphere for you, your family, and your pets. If you establish a good rapport with a neighbor, you may be able to ask if there are any households with problem animals around. As an example, if a neighbor has a dog that’s poorly-trained, aggressive, or a constant barker (or, heavens help you, all three), you may want to seriously reconsider moving in next door. If your neighbors aren’t interested in keeping their dog under control with proper training and restraints, you, your pets, and even your family members can wind up facing real and present danger.

 

Poorly-behaved neighbors and the pets that love them aren’t just limited to the canine stripe. A neighbor who lets an aggressive cat wander the outdoors can pose just as much a danger to you and yours – anyone who has owned a dog and cat at the same time can attest that cats are no slouch in a dog fight. Beyond cats and dogs, your neighbors may wind up owning something more exotic. While individuals who own unique pets (such as chickens, goats, alpaca, etc.) are generally in-touch with their care and will go to certain lengths to make sure their oddities don’t affect their neighbors, there are some things you have to accept as someone living next door to a chicken coop: a certain amount of clucking, and free eggs if you play your cards right. Know what you’re getting into, and bow out if it’s not something you can safely handle.

 

Researching a new home takes a lot out of you, but when it comes to having the best place for you and your family – pets and all – your efforts will be richly rewarded in the end. Do your homework, make some neighborhood friends, and have patience. Your pets will adapt to the change of scenery, and will come to love their new home.

 

 

 

Posted in Real Estate
Aug. 12, 2015

Great Things in Small Packages: How to Sell a Small Home

When you’re trying to sell your small home, no amount of dressing it up with words like “quaint” and “cozy” will disguise the cold, hard reality. When your home is small, you’ve got to address the issue, not just dance around it – sellers can tell when you’re doing so, and it definitely won’t result in a sale. There are ways to stage small homes that mask the space issues at hand, and furthermore, there are real benefits to smaller homes that you can communicate to buyers. Be upfront, be positive, and you’ll make the sale easily.

The Benefits of Living Small

While we all may dream of having vast acres of green lawn and massive master bedrooms, the fact of the matter is that big homes equal big bills and loads of upkeep. Utility bills for heat and air conditioning alone can double with larger houses, and large lawns equal long, boiling summer afternoons with your lawnmower. Couple that with more effort to clean and more room to collect clutter, and you will begin to see the benefits of a small home. Low upkeep and low utility bills are very attractive selling points for single buyers, young couples looking to buy their first home, and older couples looking to downsize and settle into a home where they can relax into retirement. Not every buyer has space as their main priority, but you should nevertheless make sure their hesitations are addressed.

Small homes rank far higher on the green grading scale for their higher efficiency in dissipating heat and A/C. If you want to play to the green market, make sure that you install other eco-friendly features to really seal the deal: energy-efficient windows, showers, toilets, and lighting are cheap to buy, easy to install DIY, and often make you eligible for government-mandated rebates. These features will add further value to any home, and will really make your small home the green purchase that buyers are looking for.

Interior Staging Tips for Small Homes

Home staging is all about making your home appeal to buyers by performing room renovations and makeovers. Staging is important for selling any home, but is absolutely vital when it comes to selling a small one. While many home sellers don’t have the funds or the appropriate floor plans to start knocking down walls for renovation projects, you can create the illusion of more space with the right furniture, and the right prep. 

Living rooms and bedrooms are perhaps the biggest battleground in home staging. To grant the illusion of more space in these rooms, go small – with small furniture, that is. For example, replace a large, bulky couch in your living room with a smaller loveseat. Your buyers will see more space available, and all you had to do was drag some furniture through the door. This trick works in most rooms, and also applies to things like sinks, toilets, and tubs. Replacing large, outdated hardware with smaller and modern options will not only allow you to take advantage of the optical trick, but will also help you get a step ahead on style.

Another common trick to give the illusion of a larger room involves light and mirrors. Having abundant lighting in a room will help your home feel more spacious, and mirrors add to the lighting’s effects as well as using their reflections to add depth to a room. Bringing in more light can be as simple as replacing heavy curtains with light, airy selections, and cleaning your window glass, or can be attained by installing tall corner lamps in corners to spread out the room.

And of course, any room can be made more spacious by removing clutter. Take out accumulated personal knickknacks: remove photographs and other wall ornaments, clean shelves and drawers, clear out your closets to make them look larger, and for goodness’ sake, make the rooms sparkling clean. A kitchen with dirty dishes in the sink won’t appeal to buyers, even if space wasn’t an issue! Consider this step as part of the greater moving project: packing away your things has to happen at some point, so why not get started now?

Don’t Forget the Exterior Work 

When staging a small home for sale, too many sellers forget that there’s another part of their home that needs their attention as well: the great outdoors. A small lawn can also be a difficult sell for some home buyers – for example, pet owners and gardening enthusiasts – so, you need to make the effort to space out your yard as well.

Spacing out the exterior of your home is at once easier and more difficult than interior staging – it can be a whole different animal, but certain principles still apply. First and foremost, decrease outdoor clutter before all else. Clean out fallen branches, overgrown gardens, and other various detritus that isn’t only unattractive and potentially dangerous, but makes your yard appear far smaller than it is. Replace cheap outdoor furniture with something more stylish – an attractive patio setup can draw a buyer’s eye away from a cramped yard. Just as small furniture and small hardware can make an indoor room feel more spacious, smaller landscaping features will help expand your yard. Skip bulky bushes and go with smaller, more ornamental flowers to line the property. Keep things minimalist, and your lawn will feel spacious indeed.

Modern home buyers want low-cost, low maintenance options, so selling a small home is easier than ever – however, that doesn’t mean there’s not a bit of work in it for you to make sure you get the best price possible. Staging and selling savvy is essential, and don’t forget to talk up your home’s proximity to local attractions when you’re able. Real estate is all about location, location, location, and if your home’s in a sweet spot, the rewards can be immense, even for the most cramped abode. Do your homework and throw in some elbow grease, and you’ll have the mortgage contract signed in no time flat. 

Aug. 5, 2015

Preparing Your Family for Your Big Move, Without the Stress

Moving is hard enough when you’re on your own, but as you factor in more and more variables, things can rapidly spiral out of control. Children, pets, your spouse; all of them will have opinions, emotions, and stress associated with the move that you have to address. When moving to a new area with your family, you will need to take the time to ensure that everyone is prepared and involved with the effort to ensure that stress remains low, and feelings remain unhurt.

Moving with Children

Planning a move with a child can be the most complicated – and often, most stressful – item on your moving list. Emotions will always run high, and there’s no blanket all ages how-to. A toddler will handle a change differently than a baby, a grade schooler differently than a toddler, and a teen differently than all of them. Moreover, it varies on a person-by-person level. Some children will handle the change better or worse than others: your teen may be singularly unaffected by the change, while your grade schooler may feel like it’s the end of the world.

Your children’s feelings are valid, so treat them with the respect they deserve. Whether they react with anger, tears, or joy – you should accept these emotions as they are, even if you’re negative. Tell them about the move as early as possible (they should be among the first you tell about the move, and you should tell them as such) and give them details on a level they can understand. For example, you can tell them that you’ve been promoted and must move for the position, but don’t confuse or overwhelm them with the irrelevant office politics that came with the decision. Let them be involved in the moving process if they’re able, and keep them updated every step of the way. If possible, take a weekend trip to see your new home and help your children familiarize themselves with the house, their new schools, and local fun spots. If the move is too far away, have a local friend or family member, or even your real estate agent, take some photos. Don’t forget the tech age we live in: even a simple smartphone can help give your family a live tour from a thousand miles away.

Be firm, and explain that the move is happening for a reason – and no amount of yelling or begging will be able to change that. While you can and should make the effort to help your children keep a connection with their old home if they so desire, don’t make promises you can’t keep. Allowing them to keep in contact with friends, family, and beloved teachers through social media and Skype is simple and safe. Making promises that you’ll go back to visit regularly, or hinting that the move is only temporary – if these promises aren’t absolutely something you’re determined to make happen, even breathing a word of them to your children is a recipe for disaster.

Moving Day With Furry Friends

Pets pose their own problems when it comes time for a move. While they may not hurl dramatic screeds at you across the kitchen table as an upset tween might, they can’t be reassured with a heart-to-heart talk – that language barrier is something awful. Pets can have just as many emotional and psychological ties to your old home as any other member of your household, and as such, they must be taken into consideration when planning your move. 

Cats and dogs are creatures of habit, and as such, you should expect behavioral hiccups when you’ve moved to your new home. Cats may hide under the bed all day, dogs may have accidents in the house – you have to expect this behavior, and not stress your pets further by getting angry or reprimanding them for it. Consider making arrangements to introduce your pets to the new home after all the dust has settled. Having them temporarily room with local friends or family members until the house is unpacked fully is not only a good way to help your pets settle at the sight and smell of familiar furniture, but will also keep them from being underfoot while you’re hauling and unpacking boxes.

Make the appropriate health and wellness arrangements for your pets before you touch down in your new home. Having an appropriate vet already lined up is essential at a time when your pets may be encountering a great deal of stress that can potentially influence their health, so do your research and interview veterinary hospitals online and over the phone before you’re out of your old home.

Keeping Your Partner in the Loop

Home buyers with partners or spouses often neglect the importance of considering their reactions to a move. Sure, you’re both adults, and at least nominally have a mature way to cope with change. Many moves happen due one partner’s job opportunities or transfers, and while these often can’t be avoided, they force the other partner to give up their job, their friends, their families, and all the local amenities they’ve become accustomed to. So, while one partner enjoys their new position, the other is stuck job-hunting while alienated from their previous life. This situation can breed great resentment in a relationship if not handled properly, which will only cause further stress and strife for children, pets, and all others involved.

If your partner expresses hesitations, trepidations, or resentment toward the move, listen to them and do all that is in your power to help them through the issues they bring up. They’re your equal in the household, are not to be treated like your children – they can, and absolutely should, be your partner in deciding all the aspects of the move and choosing your new home. Help them in their job hunts and accompany them in exploring your new town. Volunteer and hobby organizations can help you make some local friends, and the move itself presents a peerless opportunity for your spouse if they wish to further their education in a local university or community college. Remember: not considering your partner’s needs just as you would other members of your household will send the message that you don’t value them.

Posted in Real Estate
July 29, 2015

Room for Improvement: What’s Worth DIY, and What’s a Risk too Big to Take?

 

When you’re looking to buy a house, you won’t always find a place that satisfies every need on your home-buying checklist: in fact, it’s rarer to find a home that’s absolutely perfect. Homes that are a little bit imperfect can still be perfectly good buys, especially if the flaws can be fixed with a bit of DIY effort. However, you don’t want to sign yourself up for a long and grueling home improvement plan on top of your new mortgage. Some projects are a snap, while some are just not worth the time, effort, and most of all – cash.

Consider Your Resources First

Even the smallest of improvement projects need resources, so consider what you have available. You don’t want to sign up for a home improvement project that will bury you in work and stress from the moment you move in. If you’re an experienced technician or have good industry contacts to have things done professionally, you’re already a few steps ahead of the crowd. However, if you and your housemates all work forty-hour weeks, are in a new neighborhood with no knowledge of reliable contractors, or just don’t have the money to start, you’re starting behind the curve, and are paying mortgage on an inferior house right from the get-go. Really keep in mind what you’re prepared for, before you think about signing that mortgage.

 

 

Improvements Made Easy: When a Fixer-Upper Is Easily Fixed

Not all home improvement projects mean that you’ve got to call in the bulldozers, and not all home improvement projects need to be done professionally. Smaller projects can easily be done at home by someone with patience and determination, and will save you plenty of cash while still being able to enjoy your new home.

Consider, for example, a humble tiling job. Ripping up some ugly kitchen tiles and revamping the room with something a bit more stylish is an easy DIY project that fits easily inside a weekend, and won’t wind up making the home unusable in the process. Walkthroughs and tutorials are plentiful on YouTube and home improvement blogs alike, and you’ll find plenty of support and advice from the DIY community in their comments and forums. This project is medium-skilled, has few dangers, and isn’t likely to damage the home if left unimproved or if improved incorrectly: it’s a perfect DIY for nearly any new home owner, and can easily be excused as a minor imperfection when considering buying a home. Once you’ve gotten one DIY project complete, you’ll always find yourself hungry for more: suddenly, that overgrown yard doesn’t look so tough to tame into the garden of your dreams, and that ugly tub in the bathroom is easy enough to replace with a stylish free-standing ceramic number, or even a standing shower. You’ll find yourself not only improving the flaws that you originally saw, but improving your new home even further beyond that – increasing its resale value more and more as you go.

Even a project that requires a professional’s touch isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker as far as whether or not you should buy a home. If you’re really in love with a home’s look and all it’ll take to make things perfect is a professional knocking down a wall or two, you’ll find that it’s well worth the added price. Do your research, and investigate contracting companies around your home’s new area. You may wind up finding a company that you can really stick with for years to come, throughout all your home improvement projects.

When That Fixer-Upper Has too Many Flaws

Unfortunately, not all flaws can be easily dismissed when you’re out to buy a home. There are some home improvement needs that are just too severe and too resource-intensive to justify signing up for their responsibility, especially when you can’t safely enjoy your new home. If a single project will have you kicked out of the house for months on end, it’s time to reconsider the investment.

Electrical and plumbing issues are not only bothersome on a convenience level, but can also be very dangerous to anyone living in your home. Bad plumbing can damage the home’s structure (if it hasn’t already), and poor electrical work can potentially start fires. A home that has issues with pests –termites, cockroaches, rats, etc. – is unsanitary and unsafe for even the most devoted of animal-lovers. If your new home has issues with any of these items (a seller or real estate agent is legally obligated to inform you of them, lest you unleash judiciary wrath upon them down the line), it’s not just a home improvement project: it’s a big problem, and one that you may not want to get yourself tangled up in.

If you’re still determined to buy a particular home despite these glaring issues, demand that the seller or real estate agent take steps to sweeten the pot for you. Often, they can legally be given the financial responsibility for funding repairs, especially when it comes to issues that fly in the face of safety regulations: faulty electrical work, slapdash plumbing, insect or vermin, and so on. Don’t let yourself back down on these demands, as they’re well within your rights as a buyer – and believe us, a real estate agent or seller knows that they’ve got a house that gravely needs improvements on their hands. Real estate agents often have connections with local contractors to provide improvement services at a discount rate, and will be all too happy to sign you up with them to seal a sale. A good seller or agent will work with you on negotiating prices and demands. Remember: buy smart and buy safe, and don’t sign up for a home that you can’t really throw yourself behind improving.

April 28, 2015

Why You Deserve A Beach House

So for about twenty years or so, you've been working hard. You've done all the right things. You've invested cautiously. You've spent wisely. You're about to turn 40 something. You're a work hard, play harder type of person. Each year you've taken your annual two-week vacations, one at the beach, one in the mountains. When it comes to the beach, you come to Ocean City. You want to wake up each morning with the smell of salt in the air and the ocean lapping against the shore. Who hasn't grown up wanting that beach house that is your private retreat? You've done the math. You've accepted the financial part of this. You are ready. You earned the right to a beach retreat.

Take a moment to reflect on your best vacation. If you're anything like me it was at the beach, sitting on the deck and playing penny poker with my Dad. Everyone, especially around here, has that one photo whether they're big or small, where they're sat out on a beach towel with some dated bathing suit and big sunglasses. After so many years of back and forth, why not own a little property on your favorite stretch of sand.It's not about you. A beach house means family. Family is escaping with me. You're letting your kids know the real joys of sun and sand. Enjoy your wife's company with a margarita. This is your happy place.

It's not about you. A beach house means family. Family is escaping with me. You're letting your kids know the real joys of sun and sand. Enjoy your wife's company with a margarita. This is your happy place.

 

 

When you own a property at your favorite vacation spot, you have guaranteed yourself to more than just a once a week two year trip. You officially don't have to worry about hotel vacancies or remembering to pack your toothbrush. This is your second home. You've kicked back here before. It already has all the comforts of home but better. It has sun, sand, and surf!

Here is your rational statement! Look, your kids grow up fast. Your family grows faster. Time is the most precious commodity. Life is short. Your time with your kids is limited. Don't pass on an opportunity to create those moments and cultivate wonderful memories with them. Before you know it? Poof! They're grown up and headed to college. Poof! They've got a family of their own. What do you want them to know as an adult? You want them to know that time with family and time with their kids is where their best moments in life are cultivated. With a beach house, you've plucked them from their day to day and focused them on their time with their parents. When you get to the beach house, your brain is instantly in vacation mode. You're willing to relax more. You're willing to adventure more. You're willing to have more fun, and your kids will see that side of you. The beach brings that out in people.

Don't limit yourself to just two weeks of that.

No one ever lies on their death bed and says “Oh boy, I should have spent more time at work!” No. You think about the time you spent with your family, your kids, your spouse. When I think about a beach house, this is what I remind myself of. It's not about what you spent or splurged, it's about the memories you made while you were there.

When you own a beach house, you are creating a space for yourself that you don't settle into the way you would at home. You still care for it with the same due diligence you would of your primary residence, but you know when you turn that key that it's vacation time. It's the fun house. It's your best trophy ever, because making memories with your friends and family is really what makes for a wonderful life.

 

 

Posted in Ocean City, Real Estate
April 23, 2015

College: Could You Get In Again?

Could you get into the college you attended back in the day? I'll use  my lovely wife and I as examples. As most folks know, Beth attended Michigan State University. She took her college boards with her bathing suit under her clothes. She applied to two schools and picked MSU without ever visiting the campus! She had a successful four and a half years that provided her with great internship opportunities. She graduated with BA in Hospitality. At the time a board score of 1100, got you an admission to MSU. She started her college career with 9,349 other freshmen, of which 6,359 were first-time college students. There were no advanced placement classes in 1989. The admission requirements had been revised to mandate that each student have scored a minimum of 21 on their ACTs or have graduated in the upper half of their high school class. Today MSU requires an ACT of 23 or higher, as well as a SAT score of 1040-1210 in Critical Reading and Math. Yeah. Beth could attend MSU again.

My college search was a little different. All I wanted was to shoot hoops and play right away. Terry Riley isn't the type of guy to wait on a bench! So I looked all around Boston. I visited six or seven schools and talked to any Basketball Coach who would lend an ear. I ended up choosing the coach who promised the most playing time as a freshman. Bridgewater State College, which has since become Bridgewater State University, was my pick and my 1180 boards zipped me in. Today BSU would still be okay to get in with an admissions rate of 70%. However, Northeastern University MBA program would be a huge stretch for me these days! Northeastern has become a top ten MBA program! My GMATs were good. I had a BA in History with a minor in secondary education...I've come to terms with the fact I am unlikely to get in a second time around. They've got a 32% admissions rate. That's a big difference. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So what about you? Where did you go to school? Could you get back in?

 

 

Posted in
March 31, 2015

Blogging About Blogging!

Rambling thoughts about blogging from a rookie blogger/vlogger

The number one reason I suspect folks don’t blog more is it is harder than it looks. There is what topics will interest readers, and then there is the fun of having to actually put words together in a coherent, readable, manner.  

The beginning step is finding something you have great and passionate knowledge of that you want to share with your readers. I like to think I know something about Real Estate. Real Estate has many parts, so next you need to narrow it down to a specific topic. This is all just the setup, next comes the actual process of writing! They say part of being successful is showing up. The number one thing about being a blogger? Actually blogging. Dive in!

As most of you know, I’m no  journalist. For me, the hardest part of the process is not finding a topic. It’s finding the words. It’s forming the content.  Let’s not forget the grammar and the endless proofing. Sometimes I look at these blogs and I still want to re-word, re-write, or just fix something. Did I explain this properly? Did I say this the right way? How are the people reading perceiving what I’m saying? This is why I always use and recommend you using a second set of eyes.  

I haven’t been doing this long, but I’m going to advise you in the way I’d want to be advised. As a blogger, set realistic goals. Plan some sort of blog at least once a week, whether it’s video or typed. Before I even started this, I wrote down twelve topics I wanted to discuss. It’s easy to say “I’ll remember to write about that”, but actually following through is different. It helps to have a record of the things you felt were important enough to discuss in a public setting. As you all know, I live by one of my favorite Terry-isms: A goal without a plan is just a wish! 

I started blogging in a more personal manner. I talked about my mission statement, my goal in this business. I talked about how I got into Real Estate and why. Talk about how your past experiences and circumstances shaped you, how they lead the path you walk today. Build a strong list and while you can vary from it, use it to inspire!  Personally, I like to keep my blogs light and fun. I like to keep them motivating for myself and for the people who read them. My video blogs are meant to show and sell, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a laugh while watching them. What are we doing if we’re not having fun?

Video blogging takes a little more time and effort. I can blog from my desk. I can write a couple paragraphs and call it a day. Rain or shine. Vlogging means watching the weather. You have to be mindful of your equipment. If it’s rainy, or dark, I can’t go shoot a video telling you to buy a beautiful beach house. It ruins the scene. It kills the mood. The beach buying public enjoys warm, bright, sunny days. 

I believe as Realtors, we are natural hams.  We play it up because we need to sell. We sell because we play it up. You have to be excited when selling a property. This is your bread and butter. I’m not going to deadpan in front of the camera and talk about a beautiful house the way I would with a grocery list. I’m going to smile and be enthusiastic. I’m a buyer/seller cheerleader after all! I love my listings. I want to show them off. The camera needs to see that. My readers need to see that this is what I do because I love it. You gotta love what you do! So go! Blog!

 

 

 

 

March 24, 2015

Don't Call It a Throwback

When you're young and fearless, life can't scare you. Each challenge is met with fresh, youthful, exuberance. I have written about my past experiences in reference to finding my way in to the real estate field.  My oldest daughter is currently applying for colleges, finding her way in life and pursuing it. I wanted to post this here so she can see that it all has to start somewhere. I thought this week it would be a throwback to show my original request to Northeastern University.  This was typed on a manual type writer on June 1st, 1981.

 

Posted in
March 19, 2015

The Importance of a Real Estate Agent

If you've been following my blog, you’ll have gotten to know me and my business fairly well by now. You’ve read our Mission Statement as well as how I got into the business. You know we have nothing but the best intentions when it comes to helping you invest in your home. I’m glad you are reading this blog and are considering buying a property in Ocean City, MD. The Ocean City market place is not a complicated market. It is not too difficult to understand or wrap your head around with the right assistance.

If you’re surprised to read that statement, don’t be! Here is the truly hard part of buying a property in Ocean City, Maryland. The hard work is determining what you want out of your beach house and where do you want it to be. The answer to both those questions seems simple. You want to be near the beach after all! But just how close? What do you need the property for? Do you want it for year-round living or just the summer getaway? Will you be renting your property? If you answered yes to that question then how often are you renting it? More importantly, who are you renting it to? Okay, so maybe there is a little more to consider…but that’s why you have people like Chris Jett and I who help you ask the questions you need to know, and help you figure out the answers to the ones you don’t.

This is where a Real Estate Agent comes into play. We can listen, protect, and guide you. A quality agent welcomes an inquisitive buyer. Questions are important in this process, and knowing which ones to ask are as important as their answers. We are here to provide feedback and direction.

Let’s start with the listening skills. Does your agent ask questions? A solid Real Estate agent is part of this journey. Sure, if you know what you want, you may not think you need an agent. Just remember: Caveat Emptor – Buyer beware!

As agents, we live and breathe this real estate business. It is our every day. As an educated consumer, you know, to talk to a lender and know what you are pre-qualified for. Your agent is there to recommend solid local and trustworthy professionals. This way you don’t become overwhelmed by an endless list of choices. (Thanks Google!)  The agent has a stake in your success negations and purchasing. We want what is best for you, because a good word of mouth is what’s best for us.

Choosing the right lender is important. A banker might tell you what THEY think you can afford. We know to ask what YOU can afford. What does your cash flow look like? If you are self employed, then you already know the road is a tad tougher, right? Nothing in life comes easy. You are meant to work for the things you want, and know you earned them. Buy beach house you want! You earned it. You made smart decisions to get it. Perhaps, the best decision you make along the way is hiring a Real Estate Agent who will keep you motivated and engaged! We know that if you want a beach property, you need to be prepared to roll up your sleeves!

Now you’ve decided to have a candid discussion with yourself. You’re ready to pick a great, ready to listen, realtor. You don’t want just any licensed agent. You’ve found a Realtor who knows you and knows what you want. They know how to communicate in the way you need them to. Consider your realtor’s recommendations. You’re in this together. Everyone has skin in the game. Buying a home is a team sport. I believe in being honest and upfront. I tell you what you need to know, not just what you want to hear.

To get the most out of your money and time with us, you need to ask me the following questions. What are the condo fees? What are the HOA fees? What are these fees for and what do they include? You want the full story. I’m going to ask you about your budget, your cash flow. How big is your family? Will you have a lot of family coming to stay? Are you renting? How are you finding these renters? What is important for your tenant to understand?

Disclosing a potential pitfall, here it is…Which property is right for you? We’re going to tell you not to try to do too much. You can’t have a single family home, a town house and a condo rolled into one. Do you want a yard? Do you need a view? Top floor? Bottom Floor? Is there a pool? How close are we to the boardwalk? Do you need a gated community? Bay side? Ocean front? Ocean Block? Back front?

Are you overwhelmed? Don’t be.

The point of this blog is for you to come into the conversation with your Realtor as an educated and prepared buyer. Your agent is here to listen, communicate, and provide assistance. I can’t speak for my industry at large, but I know that Chris and I are great at all three things. (Not to brag! Okay…maybe a little.) Think about it. Talk about it! We’re here to help.

I always tell people to work locally. We’re a community here in Ocean City. We encourage working with our neighbors. We use local title work companies, appraisers, and mortgage professionals, who have proven to want what’s best for our clients and our wonderful little beach town.

In the end, you need to consider three things when hiring a Real Estate Agent. Are they knowledgeable in their community? Do they communicate in the way you need them to? Most importantly, can you trust them? If you answer no to any of those questions, it’s time to think about hiring someone else.

 

Warm Regards,

 Terry Riley

Posted in Tony Prochazka
March 5, 2015

Getting Started

I got into the Real Estate industry after graduating from Bridgewater State University in 1980. The teaching market was tight, so I took a job working in the Department of Youth Services teaching troubled youth for a program called The Challenge Program at Roxbury, MA. I interviewed and landed the assistant coach position at Curry College in Milton, MA. The coaching position was awesome for a 23 year old. I was living the dream, coaching D3 hoops by night and teaching Boston's at risk youth by day. I was pursuing my dream of teaching and coaching basketball.

I learned quickly that the best coaching jobs were going to older more experienced guys. One monumental problem was that neither job paid much causing me to reevaluate where I was going in life. I often joked that my car insurance was more than my income. It was like a puzzle, but all the pieces didn't match up to the same picture I saw for my future. I realized I needed to stop and really construct a picture of my life. So, I sat down with my mother to see things just a little more clearly. I had taken the law boards (LSAT) and was considering this. Ma, also known as Thelma, said Boston did not need another Irish Catholic attorney. So I took the GMATs for business grad school. I was young, and unafraid of business school or how to pay for it. Confidence, blind faith, and determination is what I had. That was all I needed.

I got started in the Northeastern University MBA program. I chose NU because I knew I would need business experience, and this is what the co-operative education is all about. The first two trimesters flew by. I was a full time student with coaching duties. Every day there was a lot to do. I ended up retiring from coaching after two successful seasons at Curry College. I needed to concentrate on my studies and my new career path.

My paid internship with Ryan Homes in Germantown, MD set the hook for the home building industry. I worked directly for the then President of Ryan Homes, Mike Canizzo. My favorite part of my first couple of years out of grad school was working full time for Ryan Homes as well as all the money being spent to train me. The awards were nice too! Perhaps, I also liked going to Pittsburgh, my mom's home, and to Ryan Home's corporate headquarters. Six months of on the job training, annual and short term planning, working in the field as a construction superintendent, and training as a sales agent in the sales center. They had a lot to show me, and I was a sponge to it all. I knew I would be working in this industry for a long term career. I finished grad school despite the pull of work and accepted a great job offer to come to Maryland with Ryan Homes in October 1983.

I worked hard. Promotions came quickly and soon I was moved to cross training and sales. Sales came easily to me. The training I received just clicked and felt natural. My claim to fame was I wanted to sell 100 homes in my first year. My goal was reached in my first six months. I was inducted into the Ryan Homes sales honor society called the Burgundy Club. Check my closet. I still have the jacket! Money got spent.

A fond early memory for me is remembering Ed Ryan's speech about how he founded Ryan Home's. I have wonderful memories of my very early sales and management career. I still recall a sale, which took me about a week to help a Montgomery County Police Officer buy his first home. It was a $65,000 2BD/2BA Pepperwood in Gunner's view off Middlebrook Road. It took a week because his down payment had to come from the sale of his corvette. Getting a bachelor to sell his Corvette? Yup. It was a sign. Even at 26, I could sell.

 

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