March is over according to the calendar. Looking outside, it’s pretty bleak. Looking at the local market, I see a ton of potential for those buyers dreaming of a place to dock their boat when the ice is out, unpack & get settled over the warmer months, or sellers getting their existing home sold in the prime of the local spring real estate market.
March came with a flurry of business and opportunities to serve clients. I listed 3 properties in March – one went into multiple offers & pending on its 2nd day on the market, one that accepted an offer in its first week, and one that just went into contract: in its 3rd week of marketing. Two other listings accepted offers in March, one in multiples and one that came with a quick close in less than 30 days from a signed contract. On the purchase side, I helped buyers in getting into contract for new construction, a second home on the lake & a 40 acre hunting property. And believe me, I showed my fair share of properties and wrote quite a few contracts that never received signatures by both parties. Many of those buyers are still looking & I am excited to help them find the right property for them.
With all the madness of the month, I continued to enjoy my groove- balancing time with my family, time in my business, time with friends & family, and time for hobbies. Professionally, I loved the month- how satisfying to be in connection to so many wonderful clients and have the opportunity to be a part of their real estate adventure. Personally, I enjoyed preparing to host Easter, some extra spring break time with my husband & family (I lost my voice for half the week so parenting quietly was a new lesson for me), and pushed through some longer runs to stretch myself in running and get better prepared for an upcoming race.
Looking ahead, April showers (or, um..snow?) bring May flowers. And that mindset is completely accurate in real estate. The work I am doing now results in success in the future. Staying idle is not an option, to continue to grow my business it takes daily commitment, motivation, and action. So if I look busy now, it was because I was working really hard a month or two ago! So March Madness is going to lead to Happy Dance April & Making it Happen May!
We know it is coming…the icy patches melt into puddles each afternoon until the night’s temperatures drop. This cycle of winter mornings turned into hopeful sunny afternoons where the sun actually feels warm and we let our winter guards down for just enough to dream of spring. We leave our coats at home to run errands, in denial it is still only 30 degrees outside, but compared to 30 below- this feels like a heatwave. It sure feels good to shed a layer of outerwear, get a car wash, and hear the birds chirp.
While mother nature is warming up, I can attest so is the local real estate market. When the calendar flipped to March, buyers arose from hibernation and started looking and buying. Sellers who may have been sitting with a stagnant listing from last fall are receiving showings and offers while new listings priced competitively are finding themselves in multiple offer situations. Although it turns back to winter at night when the sun goes down, the real estate market continues to gain momentum.
I am enjoying this wave of business – listing, showing, writing, negotiating, executing contracts is a blast! My routine tasks for running my business get pushed to the sidelines when mornings start out early getting deals done and the day ends way past my bedtime and I close my laptop. It is an ebb and flow that is so different than typical employment of routine hours, tasks, and predictability. It is quite the adventure and just the right adventure for me.
When I was a kid, my dad received a book called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff – And it’s All Small Stuff” and the title caught my eye. I don’t have any memory of my dad reading it, I had never picked it up, but it sat in our house for all my years living there. I remember pondering over that title. I had heard the phrase “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” many times but had no understanding of why you would? At that point in my life, I only started sweating when biking as fast as I could to cross the busy highway to get to the park to watch little league games. As life continued and successes and failures shaped me, I started to grasp an understanding of “Sweating the Small Stuff” – events that blind-sided me into the fight-or-flight decisions.
Today I sit, being woken up from a phone call at 6:30 am on a Sunday morning from a situation that causes gushes of perspiration- what feels like big things to sweat over. It could be assumed my work as a REALTOR® expired once the keys were exchanged and my commission check was cut. But it doesn’t. I am the first one they go to when their home they have just moved into shows off its quirks and perhaps “used” condition. As the waves have settled into a calm from the storm of the morning, the realization that the size of the problem is completely relative to one’s own experiences and current situation. A stressful move, lack of sleep, hefty down payment that hits the bank account, and all that frustration of not being able to find where you packed your toothbrush can break someone when something goes awry their first few days in their new home. Moving – and even more so home ownership – is for the resilient.
Our country values the hard work of putting energy and resources into something to call one’s own. Taking responsibility and taking control of the problem is one of the first lessons in home ownership- especially when a parent or mentor is unable to help. Knowing who to call, when to call, what to expect, and not to literally freak out is a lesson from the school of hard knocks. My husband and I have walked a few miles in those shoes- waking up to a broken furnace with a new baby at home and a forecast of below zero temperatures, appliances that went rogue, and living in sheet-rock dust and construction with toddlers. But let me tell you, those miles were just the warm up on the marathon of being a REALTOR® and providing post-closing services to clients. With each client and house, I am putting more tools in my toolbox to serve others in the future- just from today I can tell which electrician & well specialist will answer the phone on Sunday morning- and that is a valuable thing to know!
So to all you homeowners – add an extra layer of deodorant because home ownership- and even more so LIFE – is going to make you sweat. Don’t beat yourself up about sweating the stuff, give yourself a pat on the back that you just had a rocking workout, learned a few valuable lessons, and have earned yourself a cold beverage at the end of the day.
It gets asked day in and day out – some ask out of pure curiosity, most out of a quest to gain a footing to know where they stand in their personal investments and goals in regards to real estate. Hey, you are in real estate…
As soon as I became a REALTOR®, the question came – and continues to come. It is a wonderfully complex, fascinating, and great question to ask!
So first of all, thank you for asking how the market is. And it really depends- are you interested in buying, selling, investing, or renting? They are all very different. Is your question coming from a curiosity about interest rates, the economy, a buyers’ market, sellers’ market, commercial transactions, investment properties, lake shore, second homes, or single family residential homes?
Here’s the solution: It really depends. Which part of the market are you most interested in? Let’s narrow down your focus to find out what you really want & I will bring the value. So next time you meet a REALTOR® and you ask “How’s the market?” – expect a conversation, if it’s a one word answer…you can always ask Alexa (or better yet, me).
NAR Code of Ethics
The first paragraph of the preamble to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics is chalk full of language that thickens the blood pulsing through my American veins. In a culture of scrolling, scanning, and split-second judging, a moment to savor the words can reignite passion and purpose for those of us juggling the balancing act of marketing, contracts, and putting deals together while others simultaneously self-destruct. Below in bold italics is the Code of Ethics Preamble – and my comments inserted.
Under all is the land. <The common denominator, the reminder that we are all human, all equal, all here on this planet that we share together> Upon its wise utilization and widely allocated ownership depend the survival and growth of free institutions and of our civilization. REALTORS® should recognize that the interests of the nation and its citizens require the highest and best use of the land and the widest distribution of land ownership. <Power to the people here – sustainable/responsible use & accessbility> They require the creation of adequate housing, the building of functioning cities, the development of productive industries and farms, and the preservation of a healthful environment. <We are called to be agents of change and progress for our community- to support safe and healthy homes, the towns we live in, the businesses that our neighbors own and we visit>
I would continue on with my commenting and silent fist-pumping but will leave it there for the evening. It seems like the forefathers who penned this preamble prioritized the individual for the good of the community – that allowing individuals to take ownership of the land under ones feet will relate to the benefit of ones community. And those who are assisting in home ownership (REALTORS®) are just the people to display these values. Treating each client as someone who is benefiting the community by the sale or purchase of a home & the land that is under all – opens my eyes to the larger picture of the privilege we have. Despite all the crud that plagues the news or my personal convictions on politics, saturating myself in the preamble for a few moments this evening sparked my patriotic spirit and appreciation to call this land under my feet: home.
Just a short note today to reminisce about Halloween traditions growing up on 1st Street in Aitkin. I am thankful for my childhood of growing up in town- being able to trick or treat with other neighbors and friends around town. I have fond memories of trick or treating, but my favorite Halloween memories of growing up in my childhood home were of passing out candy to little ones when I was in high school.
Even after my mom had passed away, I enjoyed getting candy and manning our front door to pass out candy to kids. As a teenager, I am sure there were cooler things to have done on Halloween night, but I was content to turn on our outside light and watch families come up our driveway. A handful of elementary aged kids would always say “hey, you are that girl from the musical” and that made my day! Like being a celebrity in our little town- when a few of the elementary grades were bused over to the high school to watch the spring musical each year.
This afternoon, as I shut my laptop off and pack the kids’ costumes and pajamas to head over to Aitkin, I have a thankful heart for the memories I have growing up on 1st Street. Jake and I love our new tradition of spending Halloween in our hometown- with our parents- walking with our kids along the same streets we did decades ago.
Yesterday I decided I wanted to take a picture every day until Thanksgiving to showcase my gratitude for living where I do. In the daily grind of analyzing, viewing, and selling properties it is easy to get lost in the square footage, acreage, and price of real estate. Although those details are essential to understanding each real estate transaction, I am dedicating the next month to highlight some of the things I cherish about living in the Brainerd Lakes Area.
My list is personal- I can imagine not every citizen of the area is thankful for the same things I am. But we often take the most crucial freedoms and privileges for granted. I become so nearsighted on the daily tasks, boulders to move, tasks on the lists, that I forget about the awesome weight that I get to own a chunk of land and a house in one of the most beautiful parts of one of the most beautiful states (this is subjective I know) to call my own. I am a goal-setter, accomplishment achiever, always striving kind of person- that reflects in my home ownership as I am constantly repainting, rearranging, and re-convincing my husband to “help” (aka DO) projects. But in my movement, I have grown in contentment for the little house that is home to my family.
#ilovewhereilive pictures will be on the whim – as life happens- and I hope to be persistent in accomplishing a tribute to the area I call home. I have no schedule, guideline, or numbered list of how many pictures I will post, other than a daily post with the hashtag #ilovewhereilive. Yesterday I shared a picture of my husband and daughter duck hunting 5 minutes from our house- because how cool is that? I think it rocks! Today I posted a picture of my running watch- because I meet up with friends to run the streets of Baxter a few times each week, and boy have we explored the area! Think I know every side walk that does or doesn’t get plowed all winter!
I hope you enjoy the pictures of my gratitude for where I call home. And if you don’t #lovewhereyoulive – you better give me a call! I can help with that. 🙂
Conversations this fall have had a common theme: getting back into a routine. The cycle of the year has spun onto autumn, with the change of the season and school in session, it seems like everyone with a sigh says goodbye to summer and admits the struggle of returning to a routine but the realization of how essential it is to our lives. Personally, I love routine- it is where I can become more efficient, accomplish goals, and carve out opportunities to do the things I need to do. Without a guideline for time management, our “to do” and “to want” lists blur into the background of procrastination and we allow time to manage us vs. the reverse- our ability to manage time.
So while everyone is “getting back on track” I have to ask the question, what happens when your track isn’t the track you were on the previous season when you returned to it? Or what happens when you come to the realization you don’t want to get back on that track? Change is difficult and as someone inclined to the mindset “a place for everything and everything in its place” this particular season is one of newness, firsts, and adventure. As my husband returned to his classroom where he has spent his career teaching and my children returned to their schedules, I am navigating through my career as a realtor with eyes set forward.
The getting back into a routine doesn’t exist in this career- the daily accomplishment of the tasks at hand, the foresight to prospect and invest in relationships for the future, and the wisdom to reevaluate and readjust for greater success are constantly in motion. My goal this fall isn’t to wind down and get into routine- it is to blaze a trail to lay the foundation for 2018 to be rocking. What does that look like professionally for me? Defining goals and making plans to keep myself accountable to achieve them, growing in knowledge and carving time out this winter to finish my GRI accreditation, and growing in creative and logistical ways to create and maintain my business- for an example a more organized contact management system and authentic networking through volunteering and living life with others. In my personal life it looks like carving out time to learn, read, and pray. To be in the moment with my children and set aside time for special intentional time with each of them, even more so for my marriage- to date my husband and dream together. To choose to go to bed earlier to wake up earlier to run in the dark with headlamps and friends. To register for the Twin Cities Marathon for 2018 and maybe a few scattered races before then.
So as we all get back on track, I challenge you to look at your track and tweak it to be even more awesome than last year.
And take a moment to check out the fall colors- doesn’t get much better!
Thank you and photo cred to the MN DNR for the latest report for fall foliage:
Last night some of my fellow agents out of the Brainerd office and myself headed to the International Market Square in Minneapolis to gather with other Edina agents to support the Edina Foundation. According to the Edina Foundation’s website:
At Edina Realty we know real estate is rooted in our communities. And, an investment in our neighborhoods gives us all a better place to call home. The Edina Realty Foundation offers financial support to non-profit organizations serving homeless individuals, children and families and/or homelessness prevention in communities across Minnesota and western Wisconsin. Since its inception in 1996, the Edina Realty Foundation donated nearly $9 million to these organizations.
Our funding is made possible by:
- Agent and employee contributions
- Year-round fundraising events
- Edina Realty Home Services contributions
Personally, I donate to the foundation from each of my closed transactions. The event last night gathered funds through auction items and donations from agents and Edina employees. It was a fun evening to meet at the beautiful International Market Square with agents from across Minnesota & Wisconsin. I appreciated the opportunity to connect with the agents in my office and have a little fun too!
What defines my home to me?
It is where I find rest from the world. Where I reconnect with the most important people and things in my life. Where my personal possessions rest when I am not enjoying them. Where meals are prepared and shared together.
Hard conversations around the dinner table. Splashing and a wet bathroom floor from too many toddlers in a bathtub.
Rest when I need it, want it, deserve it.
A never-ending list of to-dos and projects to continue to adapt and change it to my needs and wants. A place that I feel safe, secure, protected, at peace, and content. It is innate in me to need it and want it.
I use it to disconnect to the world, reconnect to myself, and get re-energized to emerge again.
I use my home to serve the daily needs of living life, and spruce it up and prepare it for holidays and celebrations. It is where the stockings are hung at Christmas time, a jack-o-lantern sits outside in autumn, where potted flowers get placed every spring.
It is a place to meet and a place to retreat.
It is always there, steadfast in the storm to cover us with warmth. Yet always changing, with each wear and tear, toil and improvement that happens over the course of life.
The best part of it: it is mine.