Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

Realtor Relationships

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

handshake-trustOk, so this week I had something happen to me that has happened many times to most real estate agents across the country.   Someone I knew and had a good relationship with used another Realtor to buy a house.   A Realtor they do not have a relationship with.  My first reaction is anger.  “How could they?”   They know I’m a Realtor.  They know I’m not new to the business and I’m knowledgeable about real estate.  They KNOW.   It made me mad!   To top it off,  I knew these friends had a house to sell as well, so I would have been party to both sides of that transaction had they used me.

And so I thought about it some more.  They most likely saw a house they liked either online or they drove by.  They probably called the agent who is listed on the sign or property data sheet.   That agent showed the home to them, they liked it a lot and the listing agent asked them if they’d like to write an offer (maybe enticing them to write now with the threat of other pending offers).   The listing agent could have also offered them a discounted commission fee on the sale of their current home if they wrote an offer with them now.  So many variables, but I can see how it most likely went down.

I don’t blame the other Realtor.  They were doing their job.  I don’t blame the home buyers.  I blame ignorance.  Ignorance of the way real estate works.  Most of the population only buy a few houses in their lifetime.  They don’t all know that Realtors only make their money when a property closes.  We don’t have a salary.  We depend on referrals of people we know, hang out with and do business with.  We hope for loyalty.

So on that note, I want to have a teaching moment.

First…if you use the agent listed on the sign, you are not being represented by a Buyer’s Agent.  You are being represented by the Seller’s Agent.  This means that the Seller’s Agent is looking out for the Sellers interest first, before yours.  So they may be fair and helpful to you, but in reality, they are working for the Sellers, not you.  Use a Buyer’s Agent to help you buy a house…someone other than the listing agent.

Second…Keep in mind the people in your sphere of influence who are Realtors. Understand that this (buying and selling of homes) is their livelihood.   As someone who knows you, they will make sure your interests come first, and they will do everything possible to protect you in this transaction.  Please ask them for help first before using a Realtor you don’t know.

It comes down to education.  I guess we, as Realtors, need to do the educating.

Have a great day!

Julie

 

 

Mother/Daughter–Parallel lives

Thursday, June 12th, 2014

It’s uncanny how lives can be so similar at times.  Two people who live in two different states, going through so many of the same things.  My daughter and I both just moved to new houses and new lives in new towns.

10360244_10152160368227844_3007280055751781245_nMy daughter Jill just graduated from Wayne State College in May.  She and her husband (they just got married last June) picked up and moved to Cambridge, Nebraska.  Cambridge is a small town in western Nebraska with a population of about 1000 people.  Jill’s husband, Dexter, took an Industrial Tech teaching position there at the high school.   Jill, an Elementary Ed teacher, will be substituting this year while waiting for an anticipated opening next year in the same school system.    They just got done moving and unpacking into a cute rental house in town, and are meeting new neighbors and friends as they discover their new surroundings.   Jill is also writing a blog about her moving experiences and trials and tribulations of beginning a new life chapter (like mother, like daughter).   Here is the link to her blog: http://improvisethislife.wordpress.com/.

And of course I just moved to Atlantic last September and started blogging my journey through it.  And just a few weeks ago, Mark and I bought a new house here.  We decided that to truly begin this life together as a couple we should make a fresh start and leave the past in the past.   We are making this new house ours and I love it!   So… the past several weeks have been spent packing, moving and now unpacking just like Jill and Dex.  No wonder I haven’t written a blog post in over a month!    A big shout out to the young men who helped us actually move our stuff from one house to another.  Mark lined up about 6 college-aged guys to do the heavy lifting and they worked hard all day.  We are so grateful for their strong backs and hard work!   It’s still a transition and we will be unpacking for the next several weeks I’m sure, but when I get stressed I just look at the view from our deck and it calms me.

backyard

Jill and I also compare some of the small town-isms and new couple-isms that we both notice.  Dexter is also from a small town, like Mark.  We both notice that the men need ‘meat’ in all of their meals.  Jill and I would be completely content to eat mac and cheese for lunch and call it a meal, but both Dex and Mark would want ham, sausage or at least a hot dog with it!    And Jill was surprised that the grocery store in Cambridge said she could put items ‘on credit’ and pay them off later.  That is unheard of in the big cities we are used to!  Mark does the same thing here at the local hardware store.  Crazy to us city girls and wonderful at the same time!  🙂

It’s fun to have someone going through the adjustment of small town life at the same time so we can compare notes and giggle about it together.  It’s great to know that my daughter understands my life changes and adventures as much as I understand hers.  It’s good we have each other.

Julie

Discovering Iowa One Town at a Time

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Real estate business is picking up this spring, and I’ve shown several homes to potential buyers. Many of the homes I’m showing are out in the smaller towns in Iowa surrounding Atlantic. I’ve been to Harlan, Irwin, Kimballton and Elk Horn recently. I’ve shown farm houses on small acreages with barns, hog pens, chicken coops and stables. I’ve learned about well water testing, septic system operations and propane heating. Rural life is new to me, and yet so normal and common place to everyone in these small towns. I think some people here get a kick out of my questions, assuming that everyone knows how a farm operates. I’m the ‘city girl’ asking silly questions these days, but I’m learning!

Harlan, Iowa downtown square

Harlan, Iowa downtown square

I DO enjoy seeing the different towns. I think Harlan is a really nice ‘bigger’ small town with a lot going on. They have a quaint town square downtown, but the outskirts are growing and developing with several beautiful housing areas and newer business parks.

Kimballton and Elk Horn are communities with a deep Danish Heritage. Kimballton has a replica of ‘The Little Mermaid’ a statue made famous in the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark which honors the H.C. Anderson fairytale, “The Little Mermaid”. Elk Horn has a Danish Museum and a real operating Danish Windmill. I sold a house in Elk Horn to a woman moving here from Denver. She fell in love with the feel of the town and the community. I have to admit, I did a bit too!

Danish Windmill, Elk Horn, Iowa

Danish Windmill, Elk Horn, Iowa

The Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton, Iowa

The Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton, Iowa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also noticed that while going to these towns I was driving on the Iowa Western Skies Scenic Byway. I googled it when I got home and discovered that Iowa has several ‘scenic byways’ throughout the state. Here is the link to them: http://www.iowadot.gov/iowasbyways/IowaBywaysTravelGuide.pdf.  Mark and I love to get on the motorcycle and just explore for an afternoon. I’m looking forward to checking out some of these routes and new small towns.

downtown Atlantic, Iowa

downtown Atlantic, Iowa

And of course I am loving Atlantic. I love the beautiful downtown with its many trees and shops, and the recreation areas and the organizations I’ve joined. I have come to know so many wonderful people and have been welcomed into the community with open arms.  This is truly my home now.

Re-Energized!

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
Early morning from the beach bed....

Early morning from the beach bed….

Everyone needs a little R and R to get the mind and soul back in balance. I did just that last week and now I feel relaxed and re-energized!

We spent the last week in the Riviera Maya area of Mexico. Stayed at an all-inclusive luxurious resort where Mark and I were able to soak up the sun, play in the ocean and truly relax our minds and bodies. We pampered ourselves with massages, wonderful dinners, and fancy cocktails. We loved that our biggest decision was whether to hang out by the beach or the pool.

We met some wonderful people from all over the world and had some amazing conversations and shared meals with them. It’s so interesting to me to realize that everyone is basically the same. Whether young or old, from the US, Canada, Europe or any other country, we still all have the same trials and tribulations with our careers, our children, our families and our emotional health. It humbles me to talk with others and share thoughts, concerns, etc., and know that you are not alone. Across the world, people everywhere are stressing about their jobs, their income, their families.

So we’re back home. Back to the ‘grind’ as they say. But today I feel happy and relaxed and so very blessed for everything I have in my life. It’s time for me to re-focus and build my career here in Iowa, and to feel okay about it if success doesn’t come as quickly as I’d like. I’ll just think about the sand and the sun and the wonderful friends we made and everything will be just fine.

pool side

pool side

Selfie from the beach bed!

Selfie from the beach bed!

View from our bed

View from our bed

The Atlantic Golf and Country Club

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

atlantic_golf_small Just about two years ago I made my first trip to Atlantic for Mark’s 50th birthday party. He had his party at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  Mark has been a member there for about 30 years, give or take a year or two.  He went there as a kid and teenager to swim at the pool.  He took his children to the same pool while they were growing up, and he’s played many rounds of golf on the 18-hole course.  He and his family have enjoyed countless meals and social engagements at the bar and restaurant.  It’s been a place where life time friendships have been built.   And he invited me in.

I met about 100 of his closest friends that night of the party.  These were people he’d grown up with, his high school buddies, his parent’s friends, and his daughter’s friends.  The country club was the meeting place, the glue that bound them all together over the years.

Over the past two years I’ve grown to know many of these people through activities at the club.  I’ve played in a Pitch card tournament.  I’ve played Friday night 2-ball golf.  I’ve watched the golf “Tournament of Champions.”  I’ve had many meals and Friday night get togethers with others in the bar. I’ve become friends with the bartenders and wait staff.  This year I celebrated my own 50-year birthday with several new friends there and I’m going to be golfing on the women’s league on Thursday nights this spring.  They might regret that decision later!

I feel incredibly grateful for the wonderful new friendships I have developed through my association with Mark, his past friendships and the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  I know they are running some new member specials this year.  I joined as a member with Mark and I’m looking forward to many years of new memories!  Call Sheryl for questions about joining.

The club is located at 102 West 29th Street, Atlantic, Iowa 50022.   The general manager is Sheryl Dusenberry.   Phone number is (712)-243-3656.

Website: http://www.theagcc.com/Home_Page.html

I hope I see you out there!

Julie

Atlantic_Golf_Country_Club_238425 agccinside

 

Snowstorm Reflections

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

snowsnow3

 

I love the snow!  Yes, I’m really tired of the cold just like everyone else, but this snowstorm is beautiful!  I’m sitting indoors today, warm and cozy in my new home, looking outside and feeling very blessed to have the life I have.

Life is about the choices you make.  I think back on some of the choices I’ve made in my past and how those choices brought me to where I am now.

I chose to take a trip to Europe in high school instead of getting a car and that trip sparked my love of travel and acceptance of cultural differences that has stayed with me throughout my life.

I chose to follow a a man in his military career, moving 6 times in 20 years.  Each time we moved I had to start over, meet new friends, build a comfortable home, take care of my children and be independent while my husband was away with work.  This has led me to be a strong, independent woman who can handle conflict and change when it happens.

I chose to be a stay at home mom even though I am a driven career person.  I was lucky enough to be able to do it financially and  I truly felt it was the right thing to do for my family.  I believe my time spent with them when they were young molded them into the successful young adults they are with independent, driven lives of their own.

I chose to get into Real Estate once my children were all in school, a career that allowed me my independence to be successful or not depending on how hard I was willing to work.  It also allowed me the freedom to travel and set my own hours.  It allowed me to be the driven career person, as well as the parent I wanted to be.

Together, my husband and I chose to move out of the marriage that wasn’t right for either one of us anymore.  We chose to put our children first and not argue or put each other down.  We were both good parents.  We chose to respect that first and to love our children above all else.

I chose to live independently for several years, raising my teen children and enjoying their successes.  I wanted to make it on my own, both financially and emotionally.  There were a few difficult years but in the end it’s about the decision to choose how to handle those difficulties.  It’s up to us to make a change, or a connection or a move.

I chose to move to Iowa for a man.  Yes, I said it.  It sounds cliche’, but in life… love and happiness are powerful things.  Isn’t that what everyone is looking for?

The choices I made in my life shaped who I am today.  They will help me make the choices I’ll need to make in the future. I’m still the driven career woman who is going to do her best to make an impact in this market.  I’m still the mom who will always love her children.  I’m still independent and love to travel.   My choices have made me who I am, where I am… and I don’t regret any of them.

All this from staring out the window at a beautiful snowfall.  🙂

Have a great day.

Juliesnow2

Atlantic Eye Doctor

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Family Vision Center in Atlantic

Family Vision Center in Atlantic

Once again I was in search of a local professional to work with.  When you move to a new city it’s like starting all over again with the everyday things, like finding a new eye doctor.

Throughout my life I have always has 20/20 vision, but then I turned 40 and things started going downhill in that area.  I started out with cheaters, buying several inexpensive pairs of reading glasses to leave all over the house,my car and office.  But… it quickly became inconvenient to be showing houses, needing reading glasses to read the details of the house on an MLS sheet, then not needing them to walk around and look at the house.  Glasses on the top of my head became the norm and I didn’t like it.  I decided that would try bifocal contacts.  Now, this isn’t something that is easy to get used to.  At first I hated them, feeling like I was giving up some of my distant vision (which is still pretty good) for the ability to read up close.  My doctor at the time said to give it at least a month to allow my eyes to get used to them.  So I did.  And I have to say that after a year of wearing them, I would find it hard to not wear them now.  They allow me to read a menu or a text message without having to put on reading glasses and I can see far away as well.

I needed a check up recently to make sure my prescription was still what I needed and to order new contacts.  So I called Dr.Tom Thomsen, a licensed Optometrist, of Family Vision Center in Atlantic.  Tom was very professional and gave me a full eye exam and prescriptions for contacts and new glasses for when I was at home.  Then I had Jan Namanny help me find the perfect frames for my face and she got me set up with the right lenses.  All in all, it was a great experience with knowledgeable, friendly people helping me.  I would happily recommend them to anyone looking for a new eye doctor.

Family Vision Center is located at 4 West 5th Street, Atlantic IA  50022.  Their phone number is 712-243-1965.   Website is: http://visionsource-fvcatlantic.com/about-us/

Family Vision Store

Family Vision Store

Jan Namanny

Jan Namanny

 

 

A New Experience-Ice Fishing!

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Mark has been telling me how much fun ice fishing is for the past couple of years.  In the winter months he and his buddies get their fishing poles ready, bundle up in cold weather duds, grab the ice hut and beer and head to a local lake or farm pond on a pretty regular basis.   He always comes home in a good mood (maybe it’s partly the beer) bragging about how many fish he caught compared to the other guys.  They tell the story differently, of course.

It’s always sounded like fun and I wanted to try it sometime, but I truly don’t like be to cold and thought that sitting on a frozen lake getting wet fish off a hook would be miserable.  But this past Sunday I decided to give it a try.  The temperature was a balmy 46 degrees, which after the sub-zero temps we’ve had lately felt like a heatwave.  Yes, it was really windy, but the ice hut would block the wind.  So we went.  We went to a local farm pond, parked the truck and put our gear (fishing poles, bucket for the fish, auger, wax worm bait and beer) into the ice hut bottom and pulled it all out onto the ice.  Mark used the auger to drill three holes in the ice.  It was about 15 inches deep.  We set up the ice hut, climbed in, zipped it shut and got the poles out.  I got a lesson in ice fishing…letting out the line, watching for the bobber to pull, setting the hook and reeling one in.  I caught my first fish fairly quickly, within about 5 minutes of putting my first line in the hole.  Pretty exciting!  I caught my second fish shortly after that, then about 10 more within an hour or so.  Mark was catching them too and we had quite a haul when we left 2 hours later.  It was fun!   My feet were the only part of me that got a bit cold at the end of the outing, but otherwise I was comfortable and warm the entire time.  Who knew that I could actually enjoy ice fishing!?  We packed up and came home.

Mark set out to clean the fish and I offered to help.  So he filleted them and I ribbed them.  I think he was surprised that I would actually handle a fish.  Please…I was a girl scout!    We had about 25 fish total, mostly bluegill and a couple of crappie.  Last night we fried some up and had them for dinner.  Delicious!

Just another fun Iowa adventure!  Oh yeah…and I think I caught more than Mark.  🙂


Joining a Book Club

Friday, January 24th, 2014

I have always loved to read and when someone I recently met found out that I was a reader, she asked me to visit her book club.  So I went!

We read “The Shoemaker’s Wife” by Adriana Trigiani.  I tried to read the entire book in the two weeks prior to the first meeting, but didn’t quite finish it.  No matter, I went to the meeting anyway.  We had delicious appetizers, candies, and wine while we visited and discussed the book’s characters, plot and ending.  I loved it!  I enjoyed the connection of fellow book lovers, coupled with the lively conversation and diverse points of view.

I asked if I could become a full-time book club member, and after they sent me out of the room for a vote (not really), they all said I was in.   🙂  Our next book is “Flight Behavior” by Barbara Kingsolver.  I’ve read a few of her books in the past and have enjoyed them all so I’m looking forward to this one.

Are there any other readers out there?

 

New Updated Website and Blog

Thursday, January 16th, 2014

I’m excited that my website has now been updated to showcase my new home town of Atlantic, Iowa and the community and surrounding areas.   I moved here last September and have made this area my home.  I’ve met so many incredible people and really like the friendly atmosphere here.  Please browse my site and let me know what you think!

If you’ve been following my blog at www.JulieDiscoversAtlantic.com.blogspot.com, I invite you to please add this new site to your favorites to stay up with my blogs.  Just look to the bottom left of this page, type in your email address and click ‘subscribe’.  You’ll get an email notification each time I post a new blog.   I will be posting here from now on.

I’m very excited about starting a real estate career here and have been enjoying developing new connections and friendships.  If you know of anyone who is considering a move, either buying or selling, I would be happy to help them.

Thanks for visiting my site!

Julie