Category Archives: Real Estate Therapist

Personal Safety While Living a Public Life…

Personal Safety While Living a Public Life…

 

I am a Realtor, a therapist, a teacher, a writer, and a consultant. I work with charitable organizations, I support causes that are near and dear to me, and I am a patron of the arts. I have a worldwide network of friends, colleagues, associates, and acquaintances that overwhelmingly make it a joy to be a committed citizen of the world. I take full responsibility for the information and content that is available to the public, but at the same time I reserve the right to shut down any negative activity, association, or harm directed at me by others.  Don’t even get me started if that negativity is directed at my family or friends. I am blessed with the people I have in my life because of the way I value, care about, and protect them. It makes no difference to me what your station is in life – if you are in my circle you are valued, as is your privacy and safety.

 

I also have a very large circle of friends, associates, colleagues & acquaintances in the social media community. If I have not accepted your friend request, or deleted your friend status, it is for a reason. If I don’t follow you it is for a reason. Primarily I do this when I feel your intent toward me, or those I am connected with, is questionable at best. If I see that I have no logical association with you, if you have a sketchy profile, or if I know you in real life to an extent that I do not want the energy you put out in my life in any way shape or form I will not accept you into my virtual life.

 

Don’t ever mistake my kindness with stupidity, my professionalism with vulnerability, or my choice to let most things go with my inability to act when necessary. My resources to secure my own safety, as well as those I care about, are all in place. My contact list would astound you, and my ability to track you down if necessary is pretty awesome. I am smart, I am responsible, I take precautions to make sure that everything possible is in place so that I can live the life I live focusing on the positive adventure of it all.

 

As I review my lesson plan for The Family Program regarding safety concerns for kids, parents, and families my focus is proactive. Have your safety parameters in place, talk about potential risks and develop plans to avoid and or deal with them, be educated as to how social media works and know that everything you put out there on line is out there forever – and is traceable.

 

Personal safety as a Realtor, both in person and on line, is also a very topical subject. We have always been aware of precautions that should be in place, but recent news headlines have shown that we are perhaps not cautious enough.  We become complacent, and are all only human in subscribing in the belief that it will never happen to us. At the same time the nature of our business is such that our image and our contact information is readily accessible on a global scale. A good friend and professional safety instructor, Thomas Grimes of New York’s Finest Speakers, said something that solidified the need for Realtors to be proactive – “Realtors make their living meeting strangers in empty houses.”   That sobering thought is always top of mind when making sure that I have steps in place to conduct my business in a way that does not put me at risk.

 

In the past month I have experienced harassment in person, online, and via text message. My ability to judge “threat level”, as well as my sense to call my professional personal safety resource to make sure I have put all appropriate precautions into place makes me feel that I have taken all necessary steps. Adult bullies, cowards that hide behind technology, or someone with true nefarious intent – I do not want to be the person that did not take the time to make a good judgment call in this arena. Know that when these things happen I have a plan – go to the place of my cold black heart, gather resources, and put an end to it. Having this plan in place allows me to continue living the adventure of my life feeling secure, happy, and positive as quickly as possible. I choose to live my life in a spirit of kindness, compassion, and service and will not allow anyone to take that away from me.

 

When my kids would push the line a little more than they should, my response was always “if you think that is happening here you picked the wrong mother”.  To those that make the mistake of pushing the line with me now – you picked the wrong woman.

 

black heart

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Adam Grant, Selfishness, Generosity & Karma

Adam Grant, Selfishness, Generosity & Karma

I am a big fan of Adam Grant, especially his recent book Give and Take.  This morning Adam’s blog asks who is smarter – the selfish or the generous?

Interesting read. I find that many people that take a win at all costs, let’s turn every interaction into a contest of one upping stance never can get out of that loop. It is always the next deal, the next situation to take advantage of, the number of toys they have in relation to their closest competitor (sibling, family, friends, person at the gas station). These are also the folks that tend to judge kindness as naivety , generosity as stupidity and the choice of peace over fighting as weakness.

The sad outcome I have observed is that that lifestyle leads to stress, unhappiness, bad health, selfishness, and broken relationships. Just as there is always a next deal, there is always another person – friend, colleague, partner, spouse – if the current model doesn’t support your idea of self.

The most successful people I know in all aspects of their life learned early, and practice often, the concept of selfless giving. Whether to family, friends, colleagues, or strangers – giving of time, energy and talent is a foundation of their lives. The giving does not have judgement of status, payback or publicity – they give whenever they can because it is the right thing to do. They will give the hand up, the atta boy/girl, the introduction, the opportunity because it feels good, because they can.

These success stories do include people who have achieved great success materially, who have made true change in their field, and who are considered incredibly smart (if not brilliant on a good day).

The selfish or the generous – perhaps both do arrive at the same finish line in the big picture. Maybe, if you judge by those with the most toys, you might be more inclined to see the person who follows the “me first” motto as a clear winner. However, I believe the quality of a generous life versus a selfish life is richer. I wholeheartedly believe in Karma, and I know that the intangible rewards of a life of kindness, compassion and service directly lead to a life of abundance, freedom and creativity.

Hearts & Peace, Chuang Yen Monastery, Carmel, NY

Hearts & Peace, Chuang Yen Monastery, Carmel, NY

 

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7 Tips for a Stress Free Rental Experience

7 Tips for a Stress Free Rental Experience

As the rental market continues to heat up I like to have my clients and customers prepared to make an offer when they see something that they really feel suits their rental needs.  Sometimes having to wait a day or two (or three) can mean the difference in securing the rental of your dreams and starting the search all over again.  I had a client that was in the process of moving and had all of his tax information in storage – the co-op he was hoping to rent required last year’s tax return and because he couldn’t get a copy in time he lost the unit.

By having these basic steps covered you are a ready, willing and able renter – exactly the kind landlords are looking for!  If you have any questions, or if you have other tips to share please let me know!

 

7 Tips for a Stress Free Rental Experience

 

  1.     Determine your budget – know exactly how much you can afford per month for your rent. Ask your realtor to provide all expenditures necessary to secure a rental property (security, application fees, broker’s fees, pet security, parking fees, etc.).
  2.     Have your most recent credit report ready, there are free sites that provide scores from the top three credit agencies.
  3.     Have your most recent pay stubs as well as your tax returns for the past year (depending on the landlord you may need one or both of these items).
  4.     Have two references – ideally one personal and one professional. If you have a reference from a past or current landlord citing that you are a good tenant that is wonderful!
  5.     Know what areas/locations you want to rent in – consider conveniences, commute, access to roadways. If you have seen listings that interest you share them with your realtor.
  6.     Prepare two lists to share with your realtor – must have list and wish list. Realize that you may have to be flexible – but be clear with your realtor if something is non-negotiable.
  7.     Make sure your realtor knows if you have a pet, if you need laundry facilities in the unit or in the building, if you are a smoker/non-smoker, if you need on-site parking. This information can help to prepare a list of considerations that best suit your needs.
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7 Traits Of A Realtor Who Will Provide Quality Service

7 Traits Of A Realtor Who Will Provide Quality Service

One of the most important things about being a realtor is remembering that you are helping every customer and client realize a dream. Buyers, sellers, renters or investors — each one comes to me for assistance to turn a dream, wish or desire into reality. There are various times in a person’s life where they need a realtor – some are just starting out, some are downsizing. There are those that need us to help them move to the next big step and others who need us to help them when they are in a difficult financial situation. Some folks are relocating and some families are handling an estate. At whatever point they are at  people seek a realtor they can trust.

A realtor needs to develop a skill set that not only gets the job done, but inspires confidence and dependability along the way. Seven qualities to look for when consulting a realtor include:

  1. Listening Skills – Does your realtor listen when you are asking questions or expressing your opinion? Does your realtor respond to your needs and respect your input? Does your realtor provide time for you to ask for additional information along the way? Does your realtor ask you questions that show that he or she is truly understanding your situation?
  2. Communication Plans – Has your realtor spoken with you about how you are most comfortable communicating? Have they asked if you prefer email or phone calls, what time of day is best for you and how often you would like to be contacted?
  3. Knowledge of the Market – Has your realtor met with you to talk about the market your property is in or the market you are hoping to move into? Have they given you an overview of the market in terms of price, inventory, average days a property is on the market for, etc.?
  4. Tactics & Strategies – Has your realtor outlined a plan of what needs to be done to best achieve your goals with actions that will implement that plan? Have they discussed pricing strategies or negotiation strategies with you? Have they discussed what financial information you might need to rent, or the pre-approval process for buyers? Have they asked you if you are a seller if you have your deed and if your property is free & clear? Have they asked if you require any referrals for professionals aside from a realtor that you will need to consult in the process of your real estate transaction?
  5. Ethics - Did your realtor explain to you and have you sign a disclosure form making it clear who they represent in your real estate transaction? This is the law in New York State and the duty of a realtor to execute with every client and customer. Does your realtor only provide information to you regarding matters of real estate and make it clear that you must consult experts in each field (home inspection, plumbing, electricity etc, legal issues, tax issues) to have your questions answered properly? Does your realtor provide referrals to you of at least three professionals in each area for you to interview on your own?
  6. Follow Up – Does your realtor respond to you in a timely manner? Does your realtor keep you up to date on submitted offers? Does your realtor provide you with options for you to consider throughout the process – whether buying, selling, renting or investing?
  7. Getting the Job Done – Does your realtor give you confidence that they will assist you in achieving your goals? Do you feel that your realtor is invested in your success? Do you feel that your realtor is going above and beyond to provide you with information and service? Do you feel your realtor truly cares about your achieving your goals?

I never forget that when someone trusts me to be their realtor they are depending on me not only to help them achieve their real estate goals, but to assist them in realizing their hopes and dreams as well. I love what I do, I love that my job is a helping one and I pride myself on providing quality service to all of my clients and customers.

 

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Take Charge Tuesdays: Upgrade Your Social Media

Take Charge Tuesdays: Upgrade Your Social Media

The world of social media changes and grows by the day – but the changes do not have to be daunting. If you take the time to understand the changes and upgrade the sites you use you can get the best of what is offered.

Social media has become day to day communication with friends and family, a source of news, a business tool and an outlet for self expression. While not everyone will see the need or feel comfortable with all aspects offered, having basic social media knowledge is becoming a necessary skill.

The basics to consider are a facebook page and a twitter account – these can be a fun way to communicate and update your immediate circle. You can utilize both of these platforms to expand your business presence online and stay in touch with clients while building referral opportunities.

Foursquare allows you to check in  from wherever you are and rate businesses and locations.  You also have the opportunity to add photos and comments. While you may not want to check in at your home address or add every place you may be at due to safety and privacy reasons,  for business use this is a great way to promote an event or an open house.

If you are interested in your own website or blog you can look into hosting and domain sites such as godaddy.com and web building sites such as wordpress.com. Depending on whether you will be using these for personal or business content you may want to consider hiring a professional to get you up an running.  I used  The Tech Byte which specializes in social media platforms for real estate professionals and I could not have been happier with the results. While real estate consulting is a specialty, they can also either help you with your set up or direct you to the best place to suit your needs.

Not every social media platform may be for you, but for both social and business purposes being present and feeling comfortable with the choices offered is really important. Being social media savvy is truly a way to take charge!!

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Fabulous Friday – Being Professionally Fabulous!

Fabulous Friday – Being Professionally Fabulous!

Success in any part of your life not only depends on your preparation and hard work, but also on your attitude.  You have to truly want something and be able to see yourself achieving it for the best to happen.  You have to find it within yourself to set goals and make a consistent effort to bring them to fruition. This is just the beginning of the recipe for success, not just doing well but being truly, fabulously successful!

So what does this very practical advice have to do with being fabulous? The combination of the practical steps plus passion, a sense of humor and joie de vivre makes the difference between someone who is good at what they do and someone who is great at what they do.  It makes people talk about you and their experience working with you. It makes you stand out among your peers and become a role model to up and comers.

If you only equate being fabulous with the exterior – looks, fashion sense, the right toys – then you are missing the most important part of the equation.  Have you ever met someone who hits all of those marks and is just incredibly boring, self-centered, vapid or a hideous combination thereof? On the other hand there are those who are at the pinnacle of their professions in terms of knowledge and skill but who can put a room to sleep faster than it takes to get their power point presentation up and running. The hard work, preparation and sweat equity is not enough nor is just the exterior presentation – fabulousness is achieved at the point where all of these qualities meet.  At that point the true sign of fabulousness that shines through is the personal achievement and pure joy of someone who has reached their personal best. Others want to be around this person, work with them, learn from them and refer them. The positive attitude, sincere curiosity, warm concern for others and professional polish naturally draws others in.

The truly, sincerely, bone deep fabulous person is not only a leader but a teacher. Someone who is continually learning and at the same time mentoring others. Someone who always is setting new goals  to achieve new  personal heights while looking for opportunities to do good with the resources they have earned.

Being professionally fabulous elevates you to a place where  financial success is a by product of personal achievement. It may take you longer to reach some of your professional goals, and certainly the way you go about it will not be similar to those around you.  Sometimes holding on to your integrity, core beliefs and personal ethics while working hard in a competitive environment may be frustrating – but don’t give up! This is a marathon, not a sprint and staying true to your path will ultimately provide you the rewards you have worked so hard for. Being professionally fabulous is not a popularity contest – don’t be discouraged by others who are not supportive or don’t understand what you are trying to accomplish. Sometimes others are envious of the skills you have worked hard to achieve and the talents you may possess, sometimes others unwillingness to put in the same effort results in frustration as they see you achieve results. At the end of the day the only measure you need to consult is your own stated professional goals and personal wishes. Those who you meet along the way who are supportive, who are great professional allies, who see the same value in reaching their own personal best will become your core group.

Finally, once you have the substance down don’t forget the style! Now that you have the professional tools and personal goals you need to move forward take the time to address the package you will be delivering your skills in. Are you taking care of your health, do you have an exercise routine in place, are all of your basic grooming needs up to date? Don’t forget the value of polished shoes and clean nails! Do you have breath mints and a lint remover handy at all times? Are you dressing with purpose or throwing something on in the morning?  These are all basics that make a first impression and if you aren’t paying attention you may never get to share the skills you bring to the table with an attentive audience.

What hobbies and activities make you happy? What was the last book you read, movie you saw, museum you visited. You cannot be fabulous without being interesting, well rounded and curious. Unless you are interested in the world around you you will not be an interesting person to be with. Uninteresting people are definitely not fabulous!

How can you take your fashion sense up a notch? Are your clothes well taken care of, altered and  up to date? Do you look at other professionals you deal with and think about what kind of an impression they are making by how they are dressed?  Is their clothing adding or subtracting from their professionalism?  Look through magazines and online and note what appeals to you, what makes the statement that best matches your idea of what your personal and professional best would look like. Now use those as guidelines when cleaning out your own closet and purchasing new items. If this is not your forte, or an area that holds little interest for you, find a personal shopper, consultant or friend who can guide you through the process and save you time and effort. In the long run the return on your investment of time and money in this area will certainly be returned to you.

Some of these last items may seem elementary or perhaps even insulting – but often these are the things that others may be embarrassed to say to someone. They may at times even be the reasons that people with excellent skills are held back from being professionally fabulous. Take a minute to go through your basics, or find the most truthful person you know and ask them to give it to you straight. You may uncover something easily fixed and ultimately valuable.

Are you ready to be professionally fabulous? Do you have the attitude, determination and willingness to work hard to make it happen? Then go for it and know that nothing will be as satisfying as achieving your personal best!

 

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Step It Up Saturdays!

Step It Up Saturdays!

The beauty of the Positive Thinking Cafe is that I can share in a way that hopefully is helpful to you, or gives you food for thought, but at the same time enables me to challenge myself as well.

I embrace technology in all its forms, and I would say I am fairly competent and capable when it comes to making the most of the opportunities it affords me both in my business and personal life.  However, I must confess my biggest weakness – a failure to weed out my email.

In my excitement about learning about many things and staying on top of various interests I have subscribed to many newsletters, blogs and alerts.  In my most positive sense I feel I can truly get a lot of information, but realistically my time constraints and organization of my email accounts are not keeping up.

I feel that at this point I should share with you how many emails each of my various accounts have that need to be weeded out – I just can’t – suffice it to say they are each over one thousand.  Not that I haven’t read or weeded through them, but I haven’t deleted them because on some level I thought ” oh, I need this”. 

Well today’s step it up challenge is to build some time into each day to actively work on this. I am going to start with fifteen minutes of dedicated deleting a day to address this and will let you know when I reach my initial goal of under 1,000 on each account. Do you have a system or ways that you address “techno-clutter”?  If so please share – I for one would be greatly appreciative!!

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The Real Estate Therapist Is In!

The Real Estate Therapist Is In!

With all of the challenges involved in real estate what a client really wants is someone to hold their hand through the process. Your realtor has to be someone you trust implicitly to look out for your interests as well as someone who truly listens to your concerns and does their best to address and hopefully alleviate them. Imagine if your realtor could be the perfect blend of a sales agent, marketer, counselor and teacher? Kind of like Mary Poppins with a bag containing something to address every need! And if they don’t have expertise in an area or know something first hand, they have a lengthy list of resources for you so there is always a plan. What you are really looking for is a real estate therapist!

I do in fact hold a master’s degree in Marriage & Family Therapy and I have come to realize that my training is not only a benefit, but in some cases the reason why I am able to truly help my clients.  The reason why people seek therapy is change, pure and simple. Change can be positive, negative, by choice or forced upon us – but any kind of change requires some adjustment. An outside person who can guide you, point out the upside as well as the pitfalls and support you through the change can make all the difference. Most importantly therapists are trained listeners and both buyers and sellers need to have their needs heard in order for their needs to be addressed.  Every single client has a story and unless you know and understand that story you are not doing your job as a realtor.

In real estate every transaction inherently involves change, and just like life, change happens for many reasons. Starting out on your own or with a partner, having a new baby or more babies, new jobs and new locations can all bring about the need for a new place to live. Conversely, downsizing, divorce, illness, death and financial difficulties can all place a person in a situation where they need a realtor to assist them as well. Considering that change can be scary, the idea of selling, buying or renting a home can be scary and the stereotype of a realtor can be scary it makes sense why many approach dealing with a realtor with the same excitement reserved for a root canal!

What I have found in both therapy and real estate is that most of the fear comes from not having enough information, the correct information and a game plan of what to expect. When I first speak with someone about their real estate needs I try to understand why they are making a move and what their goal is, once I have this information I can help them structure a plan and help them to understand what to expect. Simplifying the process is so very important and educating along the way is vital.  When someone knows why something is happening and what to expect next the process makes sense.

It is equally important to have someone on your side when a deal doesn’t happen, when offers don’t come and when you find yourself in a position where a short sale may be your best option. As a realtor I see it as my responsibility to help you move forward and regroup.  At the very least my role as a realtor is  to remind you some things just weren’t meant to be and perhaps there is something better in store for you – part cheerleader, part coach. My client mantra in those frustrating moments is “just keep packing and think positive thoughts”.

I truly see an opportunity for each experience in real estate to be an opportunity to help, to support and to assist the client as they work to achieve their goals. I believe that it is my responsibility to treat each person with respect and integrity and to provide stewardship, confidentiality and professionalism in each transaction.  While my approach may take more time and effort it provides me with tremendous satisfaction and a sense that I was truly able to make a difference. I believe in the power of positive thinking, I have a passion for real estate and I have the training to help people move toward positive change – the real estate therapist is in!

 

 

 

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Welcome to The Positive Thinking Cafe

Welcome to The Positive Thinking Cafe

There is not much I enjoy as much as sitting and talking, sharing ideas, laughing and learning.  Regardless if my company is my family, friends or new acquaintances I find I never lose interest in the possibility of conversation, the meeting of minds and the potential for growth. One of my goals is to meet as many people in the world as I possibly can!

Add coffee or a nice glass of wine and conversation just seems to get better!  So welcome to my cafe, my kitchen table, my front stoop.  Think of all the places that talk just seems to flow naturally. We don’t often get a chance to do that in person, but now is my chance to do it here.  I have always said I wanted to have a cafe, but I only wanted to have it open when I felt like cooking, when I felt like socializing and welcoming friends new and old. I guess you could see the potential for failure for a cafe that is only open when the owner is in the mood.  Thanks to the beauty of the internet – my cafe is now open just the way I imagined it!!

I like to consider myself a renaissance woman, someone who has lived life to the fullest and followed the path wherever it lead me.  I have worked in advertising, public relations, development, consulting, in a florist shop, as a substitute teacher, as a marriage and family counselor, as the facilitator of a family program and as a licensed realtor.  I have been involved in dance, theatre, volunteer work, philanthropy and fund raising. I am married and a mother of three who loves  traveling, reading, writing, cooking, learning, shopping and aspiring.  Every time I became curious about something I took the opportunity to see how it fit into my life.  Some things were passing fancies, some became hobbies and some helped me discover exactly who I was meant to be. 

In my heart I believe each and every experience was necessary to lead me to where I am today.  When I look back I have very few regrets and when I look ahead I am filled with excitement and wonder.  In those rare instances when I stand still I work hard to focus on the present, to be mindful of where I am and grateful to be experiencing the now.  My now.

Join me on this adventure, sit with me at my cafe.  We will share thoughts, dreams, aspirations and recipes.  I want to share all the parts of my life, the trials and tribulations of what it means when we say  “we are all only human”. Some joy, some laughter, some deep thoughts and some questioning.  Welcome to my next adventure!!  xo

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