Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Q: I came in to see you with my mom and she said you answer questions for people about houses and stuff.

My grandma is writing this email for me and she said you would know the answer to my question.  We don't have a chimney.  So how can Santa bring me presents if he can't go down the chimney?

A:  I think your mom and grandma have more confidence in me than I deserve.  However, I have other experts I can call on when a question is beyond my own experience.  This one is definitely in that category.  I understand, from the experts I consulted, that way back in the 1950's and 1960's when people started building more one story homes with no chimney's, Santa figured out that he could slip through several other places in these houses.

One of those places is doggy doors and cat doors.  Another is the dryer vent, and yet another is the fan vent over your range.  He can also, apparently, squeeze through the plumbing vents but doesn't really like that one much.  The point is that magical creatures can do impossible things.  So don't worry. 

The holiday season is one where magic of every kind can happen.  It doesn't matter if you celebrate Chanukah, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Solstice or just enjoy the change of season, you can set aside the commercialism and the stress and instead focus on the natural beauty of the season and reach out to those you care about with love.

We wish you all a wonderful holiday and very happy new year!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Q: I just love going to open houses and looking at homes for sale.

I enjoy it so much that I'm thinking of becoming a real estate broker.  I've always had a really good eye for decorating and can advise people on how to prepare their homes for sale and what colors would look the most appealing to get a buyer interested.  Working with buyers, I could offer ideas on how to make a crummy place really look nice.  Where would you recommend I go to school to get my license?

A:  I can recommend a school but I think you may need a little reality check first.  Real estate is not a business for the faint of heart, especially in our current market.  You will work very long hours and there is no paycheck waiting for you until you've sold and closed a transaction.  It's common to put in 50 to 60 hours a week or more for months without a closing.  You need to be prepared for that. 

  In addition, showing homes is a very small part of the business.  In fact, I would say that I spend about 10% of my time showing houses or land and 90% doing transaction paperwork.  That also includes interacting with lenders, title companies and escrow agents, and most important; negotiating for my clients.

  Then there are continuing education classes that we must take, seminars and forums on real estate regulations as well as issues of land use, water, critical areas, septic systems, title insurance and the constantly changing rules and regulations we must follow in this business.  Plus there are hours of communicating with my clients, marketing, returning dozens of emails and calls a day, doing research on specific property my clients are interested in and a thousand other things that good brokers spend time doing.

  Your interest sound far more like those needed to stage houses for sale or do interior design or decorating.  You might want to get some career counseling at one of our community colleges and see if those areas might be a better fit.