Saturday, April 30, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of items too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post. Let's get started!

My friend and frequent humor contributor Jared is back with more laughs. I received this with the subject line: The Pope's mug shot after being arrested on 1,347,692 counts of child molestation".
This past Mon was the season finale of RuPaul's Drag Race and, although I enjoyed watching the season, I was not happy with the winner Raja. Although Raja's looks showed a lot of diversity, I thought Raja simply looked too much like a skinny man in a wig and dress. I would have liked Manila Luzon to win. She was pretty, versatile, and funny.

Another 'beauty' from Jared:
Isn't THAT classy??

I received an invitation from the owners of a local bar/nightclub to a planning meeting this evening. I was honored to be asked, and rather surprised at what I learned at the meeting. I can't say much at this point, but I will say that I will be learning the lyrics to 9 songs over the next month! More details later.

Another doosey from Jared:

My friend Rick shared this with me. To many people the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is a somewhat abstract concept. They know it bans the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages, but beyond that, its effects have not been widely reported or understood. How does it impact every day life? How does it really injure same-sex couples who can now get married in certain states? Ron and Tom's story shows this in very real terms.

Yet another gem from Jared:

As expected, the Governor of DE Jack Markell will sign the Civil Union bill at a ceremony and reception next Wed evening, May 11. Hurray!!! I would love to be there, but its in Wilmington about 90 minutes away. But its free and open to the public. Civil unions go into effect in DE in Jan 2012.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I've mentioned before that realtors/agents sometimes offer other agents incentives for touring their agent open houses (AOH). Personally I need no incentive. If I have the time and have never been inside the house or neighborhood, I'm glad to go and educate myself.

Other realtors who've been at this for years probably feel like they've 'seen it all' and find less value in attending the OAH. Thus the incentives.

I mentioned a few weeks ago that I won $50. cash in an AOH drawing. Sweet!!!

Well, this week I won a free car wash from a local builder for coming and touring their model home.
You may not have thought about it much but realtors need car washes all the time since we frequently drive clients around in our cars, so I was thrilled to get the car wash gift certificate. Since I'm showing property tomorrow, I'm using my gift certificate and getting the car washed this evening.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy hour

Tonight I hosted a happy hour in the lounge at Saketumi.

The purpose of the happy hour was to celebrate my new career as a realtor. I invited all kinds of people: friends, realtors, neighbors, colleagues, 'the usual suspects', karaoke singers - 200 people in all!

Folks stopped at the bar for a drink, then came around the bar into the lounge where tables were set up with platters of appetizers - and my business cards - on them. Many folks already knew each other so they visited as they snacked on crab wontons, coconut shrimp, sushi, and spring rolls.It went really well! About 45 people attended and I was able to 'work the room' and speak with everyone at 1 point or another.

Several people brought congratulations cards, 1 couple brought me a bottle of wine, and another friend brought me cologne. What lovely, unexpected surprises!

But probably the biggest surprise was the cake decorated by my creative friends Deb & Greer.
If you click to enlarge the photo, you'll see the cake is decorated with color photos of the Realtor logo, actual photos of some of our listings, Big Ella, and my face Photoshopped onto bodies dressed in tuxedos and suits! I was so amazed I was nearly lost for words.

My real estate happy hour was a huge success and I'm hoping that these folks will think of me the next time they need real estate services, and will recommend me to their friends and neighbors.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekend highlights

Wow, what a day I had on Sat! It started at 9:00 when I picked up my friend Jon, who was staying at a friend's house nearby. We went to see 4 homes between 9-11:30. He ruled out 2 of them as I expected, and liked the other 2, as I expected. I dropped him off and ran to my next appointment.

Our real estate team doesn't normally have public open houses because in this area we usually get 'curious' visitors instead of potential buyers. However, because it was the Sat before Easter and lots of folks were expected to be in town this weekend, we decided to have 7 properties open to the public from noon-3:00. I arrived at mine with just enough time to put up the 'Open House' signs and start turning on the lights when the 1st couple came in. They were self-identifying "noisy neighbors" who were simply curious about the interior of the house. Of the 8 or 9 couples/groups who stopped in, I did manage to get 1 lead. A couple from PA who has just begun thinking about a 2nd home here at the beach. The wife mentioned her affinity for the 'classic beach cottage' style home so I will email them what's currently for sale that fits that description. When the open house concluded I turned off all the lights, locked up, and took down the signs before heading back to the office to debrief with the others. Then I went home and had a snack (since I'd not eaten lunch), packed an overnight bag, and left to meet Spouse at his mom's house.

Just as I was heading out of town I got a call from the listing agent that 1 of the properties I shown Jon that morning had gotten a contract so I pulled over to call Jon. He said it was just too soon for him and that he wanted to make sure he made a well-thought out decision, not a hasty one. I told him I understood completely, and then called the agent back with the news. When I arrived in VA I had a late dinner with Spouse and his mom, and then Spouse's eldest brother arrived from out of town. We visited a little while but I was exhausted and began nodding off so I went to bed.

Sun we had a leisurely morning at Spouse's mom's house. After a light breakfast (saving our calories for Easter dinner) we went to Trader Joe's to stock up on stuff we can't get back in DE. At 1:00 I picked up my aunt Mary and met the rest of the family at Spouse's other brother's house for Easter. The food was terrific as usual, and we all had a great time. I took my aunt home and then at 7:00 I headed back to DE.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

Today is Good Friday and Spouse is off work. I encouraged him to go back to VA today so he could spend today and tomorrow with his family since I am working both days. I'll join him there Sat night so we can spend Easter Sun with the family.

When realtors want to get extra exposure for their listing they will sometimes hold an agent open house (AOH) and include some kind of drawing to entice agents to come. To familiarize myself with new listings and to meet agents who work for other agencies, I try to attend as many AOH as I can. This week I won $50. cash from an AOH drawing!

Today's home tour with Maria and her daughter Valerie went very well. Maria called me this evening to say that she'd like to find out if the living room ceiling could be vaulted in a particular home, and if so, she'd like to talk about making an offer!

My friend Jon is coming tomorrow to look at a few properties. He's trying to decide between an investment/rental home near the beach that he can enjoy when its not rented, or a more moderately priced home he would simply enjoy whenever he wanted. This should be fun!

We've had crazy weather this week. On Tues it was 86 degrees. On Thurs it was 46 degrees.

I hope everyone has a nice Easter weekend! Mmm, chocolate...

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Career change

So, for the past few months I've been going on and on about my career change. I went to real estate school, got my license, and scored a position as a buyer's agent on a very successful real estate team. Every day is a new experience as I pick up different nuances of real estate.

But the other day as I was thinking about my life over the last 6 months, it occurred to me that I've made a complete career change... a career change!

I think a lot of people (including myself) throw that term around without really understanding its true weight.

It can be stressful and traumatic just to change jobs within the same industry. People frequently lose sleep (literally) over promotions or moving to a different company within the same industry.

Then, of course, in sales you have the added stress of when you'll actually sell something so you can get a commission check.

Yet, for some reason, I've acted as if changing careers wasn't that big of a deal. I thought of it as what I needed to do in order to move on. I didn't want another job like I had before. I wanted to really enjoy my work, so I went about retraining myself to become a realtor. Then, I didn't just affiliate with a brokerage, I sought out 1 of the most successful real estate teams in the area and explained to the lead agent that I wanted to join the team.

Its as if I fully expected it to all work out. A concerned friend questioned my new career choice due to all the real estate doom and gloom heard on TV "news" shows. (I use the term "news" quite loosely here.) My response: "I have no plans for anything but success." Now, that may sound as if I had no back-up plan, and I guess that's pretty much the truth. I'm only planning to be successful so I don't feel that I need a back-up plan.

But perhaps subconsciously I knew my career change was a big deal. Several times I've woken up at 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning after a stressful dream, and then been unable to fall back asleep because I can't stop thinking about work. Its not that I'm worried or stressed about it, I just can't seem to stop going through all the mental gymnastics in my head.

But I am really, really enjoying my work now. I love real estate and I love working with people so I'm certain I'm doing the right thing.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I met with Maria and Valerie again today and showed them more homes.

As they toured the homes they didn't provide as much feedback as I was hoping. Part of it was likely because they didn't know me very well yet, and part of it may be because they didn't want to say negative things. What Maria did talk about was all the updating and renovating she would do if she purchased each home. This told me she was definitely open to customizing a house to her taste, while other clients only want turn-key, move-in homes.

I guess I should think about some subtle ways of eliciting feedback. "So, what do you think?" is too blunt and may sound a little desperate. I'm sure I can come up with something better.

I got the impression that Maria was not impressed with what she saw today, but at least I know why. The price range she gave me is definitely doable in this area, but not for someone with her taste. Maria likes tile and marble baths, granite countertops, hardwood floors, and stainless steel appliances. Those things simply aren't found in the price range she gave me.

I drove them through a few new construction communities where Maria might be able to take advantage of some builder incentives (1/2 off of upgrades, free granite counters, etc.) to get closer to what she wanted.
However, most new construction communities here are built on former agricultural land so there's not very many trees. Maria decided a new construction community was not for her.

So after completing today's tour I gently explained that 'this is what you'll get for that price'. I was going to suggest that Maria either compromise on some of her wish list items or extend her price range when her daughter Valerie beat me to the punch. Valerie suggested to her mother that she might want to up her price range by $50K to see what that could get her.

Maria agreed, so I told them I'd email them additional properties to drive by tomorrow and make note of any that interested her. Friday's tour should be much more focused.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

First client

Although I've been coming into the office 6 days a week, observing procedures, and accompanying agents on appointments for several weeks now, today it felt like my new career finally started!

The receptionist got a call from someone sitting in front of 1 of our listings and the on-duty agent had stepped out for a few minutes. I took the call and agreed to show the house to them. I discovered they'd just arrived in the area and were driving around looking at communities.

Maria is originally from NYC but has lived in Newport RI for the last 3 years. She retired and is looking to relocate in DE which is known for its very low real estate taxes and no sales tax. She brought her (adult) daughter Valerie with her. This particular home didn't do much for her but almost like a page from a realtor role play booklet, she asked me what other properties were available!

I invited Maria and Valerie to meet me at the office after they had lunch, allowing me time to select some properties and make some showing appointment calls. Maria told me she was open to everything from single-family homes to townhomes to condos, so I picked a few of each within her budget to show her that afternoon.

Although she claimed to be open to all property types, by the process of elimination we discovered she really didn't want a home with stairs, so we ruled out townhomes and condos not on the main floor.

Maria and Valerie will be in town through Fri so we are meeting up again tomorrow to see some additional properties.

It was really fun and exciting to work with them today. It really felt like my new career finally started!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Weekend highlights

Sat I worked. I went along with a colleague to show several properties to her potential buyer. Our group has an agreement with the local hospital so that they refer doctors and nurses to us from other areas who have accepted jobs at the hospital and will be relocating. Great idea, right? Spouse went to the gym then relaxed at home. It looked like it was going to rain all day, then it finally started just about dinner time. Spouse & I were supposed to meet Steven & Thad, 1 of the Bobs, and Jack and his friend Jon for dinner but only I went. Spouse elected to stay home since it was raining hard and very windy. I had a good time with them but got soaked trying to get home.

Sun morning Spouse & I went to the gym together where we ran into Steven & Thad. After working out the 4 of us each had a healthy breakfast at Crystal's restaurant. Unlike Sat, it was bright, sunny, and warmer on Sun. That afternoon Spouse & I put the roof down on the Mercedes and went for a nice little drive. The sunshine felt so good! We stopped at a few stores to look but didn't buy anything. That night we ate dinner at home and watched TV.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, but too small to be their own past.

Last week DE's Senate passed HB 30, the civil unions bill, sending it onto the House for consideration. Yesterday the House voted and passed the bill too! That means DE will become the 7th state to perform civil unions!! The bill now goes before our democratic governor who has already promised to sign the bill, so we should have civil unions beginning in Jan 2012. Although I would prefer civil marriage, Spouse & I will definitely get civilly unionized (or whatever its called) sometime in early 2012. I'd prefer to do it on the anniversary of when we met so that our civil union anniversary would be the same date as our actual anniversary. However, once we are civilly unionized Spouse will be able to add me to his Cadillac-grade health benefits program, saving us hundreds of dollars per month, so we likely won't wait until our actual anniversary on May 26. We've already heard from several of our coupled friends that they intend on becoming civilly unionized too, so there should be a great deal of celebrating in early 2012. More details on our plans to follow.

And speaking of legal recognition of same sex relationships, did you hear about Louis Marinelli's change of heart on marriage equality? He had been touring the country and speaking against it, but recently severed his ties with the anti-gay National Organization on Marriage (NOM) and publicly stated that he supports full civil marriage equality! Check it out here.

Remember the Crush du Jour segment I used to include at the end of each blog post for well over a year? Well, one of my Crushes must have Googled his name and found himself on my blog. He left a comment and since his name was hyperlinked in the comment, I clicked on it which took me to the friend request part of his facebook page. This seemed like an invitation to me, so I clicked the button to send him a friend request. He responded and now we are facebook friends! Actually, this is not the 1st time a Crush has commented or emailed me. Fortunately all 3 times the guys have been cool about it and somewhat flattered that I found them crush-worthy.

My friend Kathryn sent me this incredible video about Yosemite Creek. Its a little long (over 7 minutes) but its very interesting and beautiful. Enjoy!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A new Leaf

I've written several times about my interest in and support of alternative fuel vehicles.

First came the gasoline-electric hybrids like the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight. They utilize both an electric battery powered engine and a gasoline powered engine at the same time. The battery is never exhausted because it is constantly being recharged, however it is constantly using the gasoline engine as well.

Then came the gasoline-electric hybrids like the Chevrolet Volt. It begins by using just the battery powered electric engine until the battery runs down (about 40 miles per charge), then the gasoline engine kicks in to recharge the battery. In theory, a family could run most if not all of its daily errands (up to 40 miles) each day without using any gasoline or creating any pollution.

But what really excited me is what came next: the 100% electric Nissan Leaf.

The Leaf does not have a gasoline engine so it emits zero pollution and requires zero fossil fuels. Who knew zero could mean so much? Each battery charge should allow the Leaf to go 75-100 miles, depending on who you believe. (Nissan says 100 miles; the EPA says about 75.) Here's their latest commercial illustrating the 'value of zero'. Obviously there are pros and cons to all 3 vehicle types.

The Prius could be a person/family's sole vehicle because it does not depend on the battery life. Therefore it can be used to commute to work, run errands, and be driven on a cross-country trip.

But how many families have just 1 car?

I love the fact that the Leaf never uses any gasoline (the price of which fluctuates for seemingly no reason at all) and produces absolutely no pollution! While you can't take it on a cross-country trip, you certainly can commute back and forth to work every day, and probably run a few errands on the way. Just plug it in at night and let it charge back up.

Just think of all the money you'll save by NOT filling up a gas tank, paying for oil and filter changes and tune-ups! And while it does cost money to recharge the Leaf's electric battery, the cost of electricity is cheaper than the cost of filling up a gas tank. And, one could install a solar panel to utilize the sun to charge the battery for free.

Most couples and families have 2 cars, so I think we should all consider keeping a 'regular' car for long range driving, but purchase a Nissan Leaf for daily commuting and errand running.

Its good for the economy and good for the earth.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Business cards

My business cards arrived yesterday!

Since Spouse doesn't think I should share too many personal details (last name, city, where I work, etc.) on my blog, I won't take a picture of my business card and post it here. But I will say that I am happy with the way they turned out.

My friend Steven took a bunch of photos of me so I'd have lots to choose from. Then 1 of my colleagues Photoshopped the photo a little to lighten it up and give me a little color in my face. I chose a turquoise colored shirt for the photo to bring out my blue eyes. I like the way the cards turned out and can't wait to start passing them out.

I know its a small thing but its important to me to have a card and photo I'm happy with.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


One of the things I like about my new gym is that all the classes are free. Last night I tried the beginner's Zumba class.
Zumba is a fun way of get aerobic exercise. It combines salsa-like dance moves and music in a way that elevates the heart rate and makes you work up a sweat. Since this was a beginner's class, the instructor showed us how to do the moves/dance steps, we repeated them a couple times after her, then linked them together with the music.

I went to the class thinking it would be more 'fun' than workout, but I was wrong. It was a serious workout that had me sweating and left me 'feeling it' the next day. I will definitely go again!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend highlights

Sat morning Spouse decided to go back to VA to visit with his family for the weekend. Since I had to work on Sat I couldn't go with him. But I had a good day at work. I accompanied another agent on some property showings, which allowed me to see the properties with the client, and allowed me to gain some extra info the agent knew from working in the area for so many years. The day seemed to fly by.

After work I chilled out at home for a couple hours, then got myself together and met my friend Steve for dinner. I just got to know Steve recently; he's a single guy from PA and is very nice. As we talked over dinner I learned that he is a licensed real estate agent! A few years ago when the market got really tough he decided to do something different for a few years so he currently works as a construction consultant at a big hardware store. After dinner we stopped in at several nightspots to check the vibe. Steve & I both sang karaoke songs at 1 place, then moved on. It was a fun night!

Sun I met my friends Thatcher, Ron, and PW for breakfast, then stopped at Walmart to pick up some stuff. On my way home I decided to drive by some homes that my potential clients might like. Once back at home I did some tidying up around the house and washed a couple loads of laundry before Spouse returned home. We caught each other up on our respective weekends, then decided to go out for a casual dinner.

Friday, April 08, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post.

Delaware City, DE (about 75 minutes north of me) elected the
state's 1st openly gay mayor. Its kind of cool by itself but even more cool when you consider that the state is currently considering legalizing civil unions in order to give same sex couples the same rights as married couples.

I saw this on
FailBlog and had to share it. I've been hearing a song on the radio with the tag line " a G6, like a G6, like a G6". I finally asked a younger, hipper friend what it meant and learned that its a form of bragging. A G6 is a jet that costs over $58 million. Check out what Urban Dictionary has to say. Saw this on FailBlog too. Lately I've been struggling between getting the lowest possible price on something by shopping online versus supporting local merchants and employing local people by shopping locally. The bargain hunter in me always wants to get the best price, but the humanitarian in me wants to support local merchants who employ those who reside in my community. How do you all deal with this?

I've been having the worst time with blogger and paragraph spacing. Every post seems to get messed up with either no space between paragraphs or too many spaces between paragraphs. If I go back to edit a post I lose all the correct spacing that was there. I easily spend several extra minutes editing my posts to look right. Anybody else experiencing this? What do you do to fix it? Then there's the whole 'not able to paste into blogger' issue...

On Wed I joined a new gym. A full membership is $19.99 per month and it includes unlimited free Zumba, yoga, spinning, and step classes, free tanning, free towels, and its open 24 hours a day. I have a feeling its going to put a serious hurtin' on all the other gyms. Wed night I took a yoga class with Thad and it was really fun. Its a serious work out; I was really sweating and straining but I enjoyed it.

Thursday, April 07, 2011


This week I was able to complete the 3 final tasks of becoming a full-fledged real estate agent:

1. I joined the necessary real estate associations which enable me to use the term REALTOR. Its not well known but obtaining a real estate license alone does NOT allow you to call yourself a REALTOR. You are simply a licensee. The term REALTOR (in all caps) is reserved for those who join the national and local real estate associations.

2. I enrolled in the Multiple Listings Service (MLS) which is the tool agents use to list and share details about properties for sale. In addition to being assigned a user name and PIN I also picked up my MLS token which gives me a unique 'safe' password every time I log into the system.

3. I was issued a lock box card that will allow me to open lock boxes to get the key for listed properties. The lock box cards record my name, company, and phone # on each lock box I access so that the listing agents can prepare reports for their sellers regarding how many agents showed their property. It also allows the listing agent to contact me if there is an important change (such as a price reduction) on a property I've shown recently.

Considering the importance of the MLS token and lock box card, there is a substantial free to replaced them if either is lost. I've decided to attach mine to a cord I can wear around my neck when I'm out and about.

Today I used my lock box card for the 1st time to 'preview' a house. (A preview is when an agent looks at a property without a client.) I have a friend who is interested in possibly purchasing a beach house so I previewed the house for him, and to test my card.

So now I'm fully equipped to show and sell property!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011


Today was the vote in the DE state Senate on SB 30, the civil unions bill. I'm happy to say that it passed!

Rumor had it that the conservative, religious folks had organized bus loads of opposers to fill the Legislative Hall during the discussion and vote. So SB 30 supporters mobilized our people and got a bunch to attend as well. The viewing gallery was filled and the overflow watched via closed-circuit TV from another room. Spouse & I were both working, but several of our friends were able to go and hopefully level the field of support.

So the final hurdle will be the House vote next Thurs. The Governor has already said he will sign the bill if it passes the Senate and House.

Tuesday, April 05, 2011


Although I've tried to remain somewhat anonymous on this blog (no last name, no specific city, etc.) at Spouse's request, I've always secretly wished someone would recognize me as this blog's author.

Occasionally I read accounts of other bloggers who are recognized at bars or restaurants and I think how fun it would be if that happened to me. Well, something similar happened to me, finally, after more than 6 years of blogging.

In January I went with my friend Hadley to an after-Christmas party where I met Andy. In our conversation I told him I was in the process of changing careers and was excited about becoming a realtor. After the party I friended him on Facebook, and then I saw him again a few weeks later and we exchanged greetings.

Then recently I got a message from Andy via Facebook. He said he'd been reading my blog for almost a year, without knowing who I was. Then as he was catching up on my blog after the party he realized that we'd met each other at the party in Jan.

So although I wasn't recognized in public like by fellow bloggers, I was recognized after the fact, which kinda makes me feel special.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Weekend highlights

Sat I worked and Spouse went to the gym. Steven & Thad joined the new gym so Spouse went with them for free as their guest, rather than going to the ghetto gym. I left work early because we were due for an early dinner at 4:00 at Steven & Thad's. Their good friends John & Carol Ann came down from NJ for a visit but were leaving that night, which explained the reason for dinner at 4:00. Steven made his version of braciole (pronounced bra-shole), meatballs, Italian sausage, spaghetti, shells, and salad. Spouse & I brought plain ciabatta and rosemary focaccia, and Carol Ann brought a homemade pound cake. We had a delicious dinner and a wonderful time visiting with our buddies and their good friends.

Sun morning Spouse went to the ghetto gym and I went to the new gym as Steve & Thad's guest. Its really nice! Its a huge space with lots and lots of machines, free towels, free yoga, free spinning, free zumba, free tanning, and a 'movie room' that shows films on a huge movie screen while you work out. Its open 24 hours and only costs $19.99 per month! Its all the things the ghetto gym is not and I love it. I'm definitely going to join. I spent an hour on the treadmill, on the 'weight loss' setting. Afterward Spouse met us for breakfast where I had a fruit plate and an egg sandwhich. Spouse had a fruit plate and an egg white omelette with spinach and mushrooms. Afterward we tood Jordan for a walk and then ran a few errands. Later that evening we went back to Steven & Thad's to try and finish the leftovers from the previous night's dinner. Then we watched Temple Grandin on DVD, starring Claire Danes, based on the real life story of Temple Grandin. We really liked it and I would recommend everyone add it to your Netflix queue.

Friday, April 01, 2011

Friday fragments

Welcome to Friday fragments, my weekly recap of topics too big to forget, yet too small to be their own post. From friend Jared sent me this odd marquee. Today I went on my very 1st listing appointment! As a buyers agent I typically won't be going on listing appointments, but my friend Ron referred his friends to me who want to sell their place and buy another. I'd done my research on their neighborhood and was prepared to present a factual estimate of their property's value. They verbally agreed to list their property with my firm and allow me to assist them in finding a new one. Strangely I really didn't feel nervous on the appointment. It felt quite normal and natural for me, which I believe is a confirmation that I'm in the right profession. My friend Jared provided me with this ditty.

I completed my 2nd week at the real estate office. Time is flying by!