Thursday, August 26, 2010

Really, I Am Not Being Rude - Please Respect My Need For Personal Safety!

I don't know why, but I still find it amazing when Potential Buyers get mad at me for not dropping everything at a moments notice and meeting them at a vacant house.  Mind you, complete strangers! 

By my nature, I am a friendly person, never met a stranger and can ALWAYS strike up a conversation. I love meeting new people and
Realtor Safetyfinding out what they are about, how they live their life, what they enjoy and what we have in common.  My career also dictates that I have this pre-determined outgoing nature - I mean, really?  How can one sell Real Estate if they don't like meeting new people.

What may be one of my greatest assets could one day be my demise if I didn't adhere to my own personal "Code of Safety" and listen to my common sense.  There are simple rules that I self-administer and well, quite frankly, if a Buyer or Seller can not appreciate them and/or respect them then we simply weren't meant for each other.

  1. I will NEVER respond to an email from a stranger and agree to meet them at a vacant home.
  2. I will NEVER respond to a phone call from a stranger and agree to meet them at a vacant house.
  3. I will NEVER host an Open House by myself.
  4. I will NEVER work with any buyer until there has been rapport established and identity verified.
  5. I will NEVER meet a COUPLE at a vacant home. 
If you call me/email me and I don't know you then be prepared to meet in a public place, answer questions, and verify your identity I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, an aunt, a friend to many and I love my life and security. 

If a Buyer can not respect these wishes and rules of mine then perhaps they are better suited with another Realtor®.  Keep in mind, though, I am not a bitch,  I am just smart.

Recent cases of Unpleasant Realities*:
  • St. Louis, MO - A man posing as a home buyer waited until he got a 24 year old real estate agent in an unfinished aprt of the basement and then pulled out a handgun.  He handcuffed her and sexually assaulted her, at one point putting a knife to her throat.  Afterward, he robbed her and warned her not to scream for help before leaving her alone in the new home she thought he wanted to buy.
  • Liberty Township, OH - A man wearing a ski mask showed up at a model home.  The on-site agent immediately asked the man to leave and closed the model home's door, but the agent later found the man standing inside the garage.  The man grabbed her, but she fought him off and he fled the scene.
  • Cary, NC - A man registered in a neighborhood's model home, then asked to see homes in the community.  Once the agent had taken the man to another home in the development, the man pulled out a knife and attacked the agent.  She was bound and sexually assaulted. 
*cited from the 2009-2010 NC Real Estate Update Course

The incident in Cary NC, for those of you that don't know, was literally 10 minutes away from me.  While many may always have the feeling "that could never happen here" - THINK AGAIN!
Realtor SafetyI would be remiss if I didn't also mention an incident that happened to my West Coast Sister, Cristal Drake.  She was robbed at an Open House in July 2009.  I'll never forget how I felt when I read her post - she really is my kindred and I just can't imagine.  You can read about her unfortunate event at her blog post......  Be On The Lookout for These Open House Thieves! North Orange County Agents PLEASE READY!

End of story and there really is no discussion needed.  There are many tips that I could give as both an agent and a Broker-In-Charge.....

  • ALWAYS have new clients meet you at your office or public place such as coffee shop, etc.
  • When at all possible - have another agent go with you when working with new clients.
  • If you get that icky feeling - ALWAYS go with your instincts!
  • Have a code word set up between you and your office so that when you are out and about showing you can call your office and they will instantly know that you need help.
  • ALWAYS leave an itinerary of where you are showing with either your BIC or another agent in the office.
  • Keep you cell phone on you at ALL times!  Have 911 programmed into speed dial.
  • There are many "tools" that are available for protection now available nationwide through the various Association of Realtors® offices - explore them and find one that you are comfortable with.
And for all of you buyers reading this right now.  Yes, you are what keeps me going in my career and without you I wouldn't be as successful as I am.  However, there are quite a few "YOU'S" out there and if you can't respect my wishes then how can I possibly respect yours?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Are You Still Renting? Check Out This Amazing Home for Sale in North Raleigh NC!

4509 Cobble Creek Lane is located in North Raleigh near Hwy 401 and is convenient to both I-540 and Capital Boulevard!

This sparkling 3 bedroom home has an Open Floorplan with a Fireplace in the Family room, arched entry into the Formal Dining Room, a passthru from the Kitchen to the Family Room and a large open foyer! The fantastic kitchen has loads of cabinet space and counterspace, a pantry and has easy access to both the Family Room and the Dining Room. French doors lead to patio and back yard which has a garden area and a tree buffer in the rear of the lot.

Upstairs is an oversized Master Suite with deep trey ceilings and a private En Suite bath with shower/garden tub combo. Huge WIC in master and large linen closet in bath. Secondary bedrooms are generous with ample closet space and share a full bath in the hall. The bonus room has vaulted ceilings and is the ideal spot for a homework area, playroom, hobby room or in home office.

This home is complete with a one car attached garage!

Come see all that 4509 Cobble Creek Lane in Raleigh NC has to offer - you will pleasantly surprised with all the architectural details, the spotless condition and the new and improved price!


Sunday, August 15, 2010

It's Back To School in Wake Forest NC

Here it is!  Are you ready for it?  Time to gear up, "feed" those brains, buy the new sneakers and get those bedtime routines polished up -
Don't panic!  Here are all the resources that you need to make this transition from summer toBack To School Wake Forest NC school-time much easier!
Whether you live in Wake Forest, Raleigh, Cary, Garner, Knightdale, or Rolesville you child's school will fall under
3600 Wake Forest Road
Raleigh, NC
919-850-1600 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              919-850-1600      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              919-850-1600      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              919-850-1600      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
Their website will provide you with a wealth of information in getting ready for the big day!  Here are some additional links that will certainly give you a leg up on the research!
Here is a list of schools for Wake Forest just to get you started:
I hope that this list of resources points you in the right direction in getting ready for that 1st day of school!  If you have any questions or can't find what you are looking for please feel free to email me!

And, don't forget to download your FREE Back To School Guide!  It has ALL the information you need for a successful 2010-2011 school year. 
If you have any questions about homes for sale in Wake Forest NC and perhaps the schools in the area don't hesitate to call your Wake Forest NC Real Estate Agent - that's ME!  I live here, work here and play here - I also have a son that attends school in Wake Forest NC so feel free to ask me any questions you may have!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Dear FSBO - Who Can Tell Me About Your House?

So, today I had a listing appointment right down the street from where I have a current listing.  I was FSBO Frustratedprepared with my notes, paperwork and CMA (Comparative Market Analysis).  When I get to the neighborhood today I notice that there is a brand new FSBO sign at one of the homes.  Hhmmm...

I called the number on the sign....

Me:  Yes, I am calling about the home that you have for sale.  Can you give me a little information?

Them:  Actually, no, you'll need to call another number.  It's my mother and her number is 555-xxxx

Me:  Thanks

So, I call the new number - the one NOT on the sign....

Me:  Yes, I am calling about the home that you have for sale.  Can you give me a little information?

Them:  Oh, ha, ha - I accidentally gave you my cell phone number instead of my mother's cell phone.  Her number is 555-xxxx

Now on the third call....

Me:  Hi, I'm calling about the home that you have for sale - can you please give me some information on it?

Them:  I'm sorry, you'll need to speak with my husband and he isn't here.  You can reach him on his cell at 555-xxxx

Oh, for crying out loud.......

Me:  Can you not give me any particulars about the house or at least what you are asking for it?

Them:  I think we want $164,000 for it.....

Me:  Thanks for your time.......

What if I were an actual person sitting in front of the home and was truly interested in the home?  It would have taken, at minimum, 4 phone calls to get information about the home.  If I were a real buyer I most likely would not have made that 4th call - actually, I probably wouldn't have even made the 2nd or 3rd call. 

So, if you ARE going to try and sell your home yourself you have got to have the information about your home ready at a moments notice.  You need to provide a correct and direct phone number on the yard sign so potential buyers are able to get information quickly.

If you have tried FSBO and are tired of the headaches please feel free to give me a call or simply send me an email - this is MY JOB!  I can relieve you of all the guess work and stress!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Stigma of "Crime Scene" Homes

What do you do with BIG crime scene properties such as those of Charlie Manson, Heaven's Gate, Jeffrey Dahmer,etc.?  It is interesting some of the tactics used to "heal" that stigma.

In the case of the 112 Ocean Avenue, Amithyville NY - the actual address of the home has been changed as a result of the address becoming notorious.  Randall Bell, a real estate economist, suggests that changing the address of a home that has been a scene of a horrific crime is a good idea however, you must be selective in your timing.  Mr. Bell suggests that if you change the address too soon the media wil pick up on it and cause even more of a stir.  The addresses that were the scene of the Nicole Brown/Ron Goldman murders, the LaBianca home that was the scene of Charlie Manson's massacre and the JonBenet Ramsey home which was the scene of her tragic murder have also been changed.  Eventually, the LaBiana homes was torn down. 
LaBianca murder houseOther measures that have been taken are to completely tear the home down.  The despicable crimes of John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer longered on in the homes in which they lived.  Ultimately, the locations were demolished.  While the memories of those horrific crimes with live on with the relatives, friends and, quite frankly, the entire world their physical locations have been banished from the face of the earth.  Another point the article makes is that there are people that lobby to presreve these types of buildings.  For instance, one lobbyist puts forth the arguement that the Texas Book Depository, which was the scene of the nation altering assasination of President Jon F. Kennedy, should never be torn down.  Personally, while a terrible moment in history, I can not liken it to the acts of monsters such as John Wayne Gacy or Jeffrey Dahmer.

Another interesting avenue that is often the case with these stigmatized properties is that the fact is NOT hidden, the home is NOT torn down but repurposed.  It would seem that businesses that are scenes of crime can actually overcome the stigma.  The article does not suggest that the businesses profit but merely states that the businesses try and downplay the events that have happened.  Take for instance the scene where Gianni Versace was gunned down.  The location is a 1930's building was purchased in 2000 and turned into a member's only club and botique hotel.  Sparks Steakhouse in Manhattan continues to operate even though it was the scene for a mob-hit in 1985.

A Walk Through Historic Wake Forest, NC