Friday, December 6, 2013

The Eye Of The Beholder

Nuggets For The Noggin
Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder!
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, December 8, 2013

In the late 80's I was called by a Home Savings and Loan, if you remember those, to list a home for them that had been foreclosed on.  The addressed indicated that it may have been a condominium situated on Lake Pontchatrain in Slidell, Louisiana.  That was both good news and bad news.  The good news was that it was on the water, the bad news was that it was a condominium.  Condominiums at that time were very difficult to sell because the mortgage companies were under such heavy restrictions regarding funding loans on condos. 

As I drove to the property I turned on the road named Rat's Nest Road, how's that for a start?  On one side of the road where homes, townhomes and condos all situated on a deep water canal that lead out to the lake.  On the other side of the road where mostly what can best be described as "camps".  Some on land but most on pilings out over the lake.  Some camps were simply that, camps while others were very nice homes but still on pilings out over the water.

As I pulled up to the address given, I noticed that this was a 4-plex structure and incorrectly assumed it to be a condo.  It was not a condo but rather a townhome so my enthusiasm was given a good positive jolt.  Three stories with a garage on the ground floor and two floors of living area above.  But the closer I got the more I could see that this home was not in the best of conditions.  The key let me into the garage where you could not help but notice that a very large square was cut out of the ceiling sheet rock and that there was trash in the garage everywhere you looked including the stairs leading to the living area above.

Once inside the living area I discovered why the hole had been cut.  The appliances in the home had been stolen and they were lowered down through the hole into a truck apparently parked in the garage where no one could see what the thieves were doing.  The home apparently had been used by teenagers and the homeless as a place to party and/or live unnoticed; it was completely trashed.  Anything of value had been taken or so I thought.

I called the Home Savings and Loan representative to give them a report and asked what he wanted me to do about cleaning up the home.  He said to arrange for a company to clean the home and bill the company and that if there was anything I wanted to keep to do so.  Upon first glance there was nothing left in the home that appeared to have any value to anyone.  Rotten food stuffs, old stained mattresses, broken cups and plates, empty alcohol bottles, beer cans - everywhere you looked.

In one room there was a window screen that seemed to still be in tact so I moved some of the trash to get to it.  When I did I saw an overturned 8x10 picture frame.  When I picked it up it was an autographed black& white photo of Ricky Jackson, All-Pro Linebacker for the New Orleans Saints.  This was not his home, just a photo.  And then I found a real gem - a book.  From when I first saw it I could see that this was no ordinary book.  It was clad in vinyl with a spiral ring along the top and a vinyl clasp along the bottom.  It was designed to sit standing up on your desk where you could easily read one page at a time and then simply turn the page over to the back.  I also noticed that the pages were printed back-to-back but the numbering was completely off.  Then I realized that as you "flipped" the pages over, you simply turned the book around and continued reading - thus the pages remained in order.

The name of the book is "Making the I COMPANY More Profitable" by A. Lou Vickery.  The first page indicated it had been "Written and Edited" by A. Lou Vickery.  Copyright 1979 by MOTO, INC. (no longer in business).  It also indicated it had been printed in the United States of America by Aydale Litho, INC of Decatur, Georgia (no longer in business).  Below all of this was a handwritten note,

To Al (unreadable last name),
With my highest regards and many thanks.
Toni (and what appears to be "Buford")

I have literally spent years looking for A. Lou Vickery, Aydale Litho, Motto, Inc., and anyone who might know of either one, all to no avail.  Why would I do so?  Never thought you would ask.  The book has become one of my most prized possessions.  It contains so much wisdom that it is beyond description.  Quotes, poems, essays, articles, graphics - wisdom!  I wanted to purchase more copies because this book would not last long.  The pages had already become yellowed, some were beginning to tear along the spiral binding and some had become completely dislodged but all the pages were present.  I wanted my children to have a copy; I considered its contents that valuable.  155 pages of the guidance on how to become the best person you could become that I have ever seen in one location.

On the Second Page was the following simple quote:

If I wanted to become a tramp, I would seek information and advice from the most successful tramp I could find.  If I wanted to become a failure, I would seek advice from men who have never succeeded.  If I wanted to succeed in all things, I would look around for those who are succeeding and do as they have done.
...Joseph Marshall Wade.

The book is literally about making the "I Company", that being you the reader, more profitable.  Page after page of really great educational and inspirational wisdom.  I felt its contents were so valuable and given that I could not find one book store, person or reference who could tell me how to contact the author to obtain more copies that I started to reproduce the book on my computer one page at a time.  I knew that it had a copyright; it was never my intention to reproduce it to sell but only to be able to make 4 copies to give a copy to each of my four children.  It was a timely process because most of the pages contained graphics and I wanted to give justice to the original by making it as realistic to the original as possible. 

So why am I telling you the reader all of this.  Because beauty, not to mention value, is truly "in the eye of the beholder."  The contents of this book will be forever available either in the book or elsewhere long after the value and/or benefit of the items stolen from the home have since disappeared.  In fact Hurricane Katina has even taken the home and left only a vacant lot in its place.  The contents of the book however, far more valuable at least to me, was and continues to be far more valuable than any of these other things.

If only the burglars and others that occupied the home as they destroyed it had read what appears on page 21, which follows and I can only assume written by A. Lou Vickery (most of the other material in the book gave credit as to who wrote it but the following did not), I would believe their lives would have turned out drastically different.

Every day we meet life situations which challenge us to decide what is right or wrong, good or bad, just or unjust and even where we are going in life and why.  Some of these situation are unique; many are a matter of routine; others are of extreme importance.  And behind almost everything we do, every choice we make, every choice of action we take (or not) in these situations, is our system of values.

Values are "preferences based on the feelings were have about what is desirable".  If we choose our own values wisely and discriminantly, we project ourselves into life situations with conviction of right and purpose.  But when our values are chosen, on the basis of what others feel is desirable and good, we experience difficulty in acting in accordance with the best that's within us.

Many of us know what it is to join the crowd and turn to indulgence, to diversions, or to the popular fads of the day, to satisfy the restlessness and hunger for meaning and direction.  While some of us find these way satisfying in varying degrees, most of us find the temporary and the momentary pleasure we experience from them creates a great deal of problems for us in the long run, because they did not spring from our best self.

It is not sufficient to know we have a system of values.  To live vitally we must know what it is we value.  And this is often difficult in a society which makes confusing and conflicting demands upon us.  Too many times we make important choices not on the basis of our own feelings, but rather on the basis of what a group or another believes is right for us.

When we let others decide what we should value in life we give them veto power over our lives.  If our worth as a human being is to be measured by how closely we conform to the wishes of others, then we become worthless to ourselves.  Our greatest strength then becomes our biggest weakness.  We no longer act on our own free will.

Values are personal .  The choice of what gives meaning and direction to our lives is ours and ours alone.  And when we are willing to go within to find out what we truly value, our actions will be consistent with the best that is within us.



Sunday, December 1, 2013

2013 Holiday Mode

2013 Holiday Mode
by Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, October 23, 2008; revised November 2013

Have you ever watched a 100 Meter Dash where the runners seem to slow down just as they reach the finish line?  You discover that the winner actually set a world record for the race but as you watch the replay, the runner did in fact slow down the last yard or so (meter or so for those so inclined).  What could the runner have accomplish had he or she run THROUGH the finish line rather than coasting to the win?  One could only imagine.

December 31st of each year is not quite a finish line because in sales there are no “finish lines”, it simply continues throughout the year.  Yet so many people in sales set December 31 as the “end” and January 1st as the “beginning.”

In the past the Thanksgiving decorations and products began appearing as early as July followed almost immediately by Christmas decorations and products showing up on the shelves.  Now the Christmas decorations and gifts start showing up weeks before Thanksgiving and this year the stores are opening on Thanksgiving.  The mindset begins to shift immediately from the first 7 or 8 months of the year to the last 4 or 5 months that include Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Hanukah, Christmas, New Year, College Bowl Games, the Super Bowl and in our area, Mardi Gras.  Those holidays engage us for as many as 6 months.

Everyone in sales understands the sales pipeline theory.  The imaginary pipeline involves sales agents inserting lead generation activities into one end of the pipe such as telephone calls, personal meetings, mail-outs, brochures, etc.  It is a constant and uninterrupted “feeding of the pipeline” and eventually successful sales start to emerge, or for the more successful agents, continue to flow from the other end of the sales pipeline.  If nothing is fed into the mouth of the pipe, nothing flows from the end of the pipe.

Enter the Holiday Mode of thinking for a great many sales people.  The pending holidays tend to take the edge off lead generating activities and people and families get into the “holiday mode” of thinking.  The focus shifts from conducting mail-outs, telephone calls, face-to-face meetings, etc and more on scheduling family outings, purchase of gifts and, let us not forget the parties.  Is it just me or do people seem to get more tense and distressed during the holiday season than at any other time of the year?  Why is that? 

Let me put my spin on it and this is nothing but spin, no research, no study, just an opinion.  Let’s look at income taxes.  If you are like me, I tend to put it off until I absolutely MUST do something in order to meet a deadline.  In the mean time I either consciously think of what I SHOULD be doing or subconsciously (including dreaming) thinking of what I should have done days, weeks or even months ago.  If your mind is not clear of “need-to-do’s-that-should-have-already-been-done activities”, how can it focus on the things that need to be done at this very moment or tomorrow? There is a guilt feeling as a result of not doing something.  These feelings compound and build on each other.  They are like having a page of half-circles each representing an incomplete job.  The more half-circles, the more depressed we become.  Not only are there things we need to do in the future, there is an entire page of activities left completely or partially unfinished.  How does that make you feel?  Depressed, inadequate, discouraged and even a failure.  But it is the Christmas holidays when everyone is supposed to feel good.

Enter the “monkey wrench!”  What else happens during the holiday season?  We spend more money on “stuff” and “activities” than we normally spend during the rest of the year.  Some of this spending has been planned; most has not.  While spending increases, income for salaried individuals remains stable but for people in sales, no lead generation, no additional sales, decreased sales, decreased income.  In fact, sales typically and routinely decline due to the seasonality of the sales business.  The thought process goes like this, “Everyone is thinking of spending time with their families over the holidays, they are not thinking of buying or selling real estate (or whatever it is you sell) so…..why bother?”  That is exactly what most sales people do; they begin to shut down their sales generating activities about mid-October and do not restart until well into January of the following year.  In the Southeast Louisiana area, this shut down is extended into March and even April while people gear up for Mardi Gras.

It’s called the “holiday mode” in sales; it would better describe the attitude by calling it the “holiday slump”.  Now enter the 80/20 rule.  In this case, 80% of the people do what 80% of everyone else is doing and if that 80% of our market is in the holiday mode, the sales people also get into the holiday mode.  As a result - sales drop, anxiety increases because income decreases while at the same time expenses increase.  Then when the 80% get charged up to start doing those activities they should have been doing throughout the “holiday mode” season, so is everyone else.  As a result, there is no market share shift in YOUR direction because you have being doing what 80% of your competition has also been doing - NOTHING!  Or at least NO LEAD GENERATION ACTIVITIES!  No one seems to realize that whenever you STOP doing something with the idea of STARTING it again in the future, it takes time to restart and to reenergize your business.  Therefore even if you set a restart date of January 15, chances are and history shows, you really don’t get started on January 15 you only get ready to get started.  In the mean time your pipeline of potential sales has completely dried up.  Therefore you must start pumping in the leads and culturing them until the leads begin to produce sales and that does not happen overnight.  And the 20%?  They have been lead generating all during the holidays and their businesses have a more steady result.

The “holiday mode” happens every year as certain as the sun rises every day.  If you want to be part of the 20% of our business who easily does 80% of our business it involves being steady for 12 months; not just 7 or 8!  That is the rule!  Work 12 months of the year.  Work “through” the finish line, not up to the finish line.  If the market IS seasonal in nature and if the market tends to slow during the holiday season, does it slow because it is the holiday season or because 80% of the agents in the business slow thus slowing the market?  Great question don’t you think?  Which comes first, the chicken or the egg?  It doesn’t matter!  If you continue to feed your pipeline, 12 months a year, results will be forthcoming 12 months a year.  Even if the market does slow, real estate is being bought and sold.  If that is true, and it is, then why shouldn’t those sales be yours?  If you are in the “holiday mode” the sales could be right in front of you and you would never be aware enough to realize the opportunities.

The sad part of our business is that there are no surprises.  There are models that have been proven to work.  All one really need do is make a study of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, written by Gary Keller, Dave Jenks and Jay Papasan and then implement the model.  The model, however, involves not giving up or taking off during the holiday season.

Let’s go back to the 100 Meter Dash (or 100 Yard Dash for us old timers).  If you as a real estate agent remain focused during the holiday season and continue to perform lead generation activities, it would be like getting a 20 meter head-start at the beginning of the 100 Meter Dash when it begins shortly after the holiday season.  If you want to be an industry leader, learn to be a leader during the holiday season and you will excel the rest of the year not to mention winning the 100 Meter Dash!

Here are more questions to consider:

  1. Do people moving from one area to another often take the holiday period to house hunt so they won’t have to take off extra time from work?  From personal experience, the answer is YES!
  2. Do homeowners have guests in during the holiday season?  Is it possible that these guests may see a home for sale and think it might be just the right place for a friend?
  3. If a home does not look magnificent during Christmas with all the decorations when will it look magnificent?  Christmas may be just the right time to show your home at its absolute best.
  4. If you are working as hard as ever during the holidays, would it not be a point-of-difference in your favor to explain that to buyers and sellers?  Again, I’ll answer that – YES!
  5. How are you going to pay for all the holiday expenses if you go into the holiday mode?  You-know-who may need some help answering that one.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Thank You For Your Service!

Nuggets For The Noggin
"Thank You For Your Service!"
By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 11, 2013

My grandson invited me to take part in his elementary school's tribute to the Veteran relatives of the kids in his school.  Today was the day, Veterans Day.

Initially I had my reservations as his school is about 45 minutes away and in all my years of military service (20) and all the years since (23) I had never been invited or exposed to any such activities on not only Veterans Day but for that matter any day of the year.  It simply did not happen.

Let me take you back to the 60's and 70's.  I entered the U. S. Coast Guard in 1965 at the height of the Viet Nam War.  How I actually got into the Coast Guard is a funny story and that is for another day.  What I can tell you is that during the 60's and 70's the general U. S. population had little use ore respect for the men and women in the uniform of their country.  I have heard the labels like "baby killers" used more often than I care to admit.  I watched the treatment or lack of treatment our service men and women received or did not receive upon their return for war zones.  Never once did I ever hear anyone say, "Thank you for your service."

Now it is 2013 and the first time I heard those words occurred when I was leaving a Sam's Store.  I had my Coast Guard ball cap on and there was a rather elderly gentleman entering Sam's in a wheelchair wearing a World War II cap and a jacket with a couple of military patches.  As I was getting ready to say to him, "Thank you for your service", he said to me, "Thank you for your service."  I was embarrassed that he got it out first and more importantly that he said it to me, a World War II veteran telling me thank you.  You had to be there.  I was uncomfortable for quite a while after that encounter.  This veteran was clearly 20 years or more older than I was and probably endured years of strife during a most miserable war.

Then came today.  The first thing that happened was that I stopped at a gas station wearing my Coast Guard shirt and cap as requested by my grandson.  The lady behind the counter said, you guessed it, "Thank you for your service."  As I arrived at the school, there were several children playing in the soccer fields just outside the school and as I pulled up they were waving at me.  As I pulled into park my car a police officer pointed me in the right direction and again you guessed it, "Thank you for your service."  From the moment I arrived until I left, everyone was so polite and greeted me not only with a smile but also with "Thank you for your service."

The event lasted only about 40 minutes and it was moving to say the least.  There were about 30 veterans who were seated on the stage and the children flowed into the auditorium and all took their places on the floor.  The Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps presented the colors.  We all sang the National Anthem and then we were all thanked for our service.  But then 5 of the students came on stage to introduce everyone to The  American's Creed.  It was written in 1917 by William Tyler Page who had a very interesting story that you can learn more about by going to  

The American's Creed
By William Tyler Page

I believe in the United States of America as a Government of the people by the people, for the people, whose just powers are derived from the consent of the governed; a democracy in a  Republic; a sovereign Nation of many sovereign States; a perfect Union, one and inseparable, established upon those principles of freedom, equality, justice, and humanity for which American patriots sacrificed their lives and fortunes.

I therefore believe it is my duty to my Country to love it, to support its Constitution; to obey its laws, to respect the flag, and to defend it against all enemies.

Each branch of service was then called out and the respective veterans on stage stood up to be recognized.  Following the ceremony we all went into the cafeteria for refreshments and conversation.  It was a wonderful experience especially for someone like me and I am certain others on stage who rarely if ever heard the phrase, "Thank you for your service."

As nice as the ceremony was, there was something nagging at me.  The Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard and Coast Guard including their reserve components were all recognized but I noticed that there was no mention of the U. S. Merchant Marines nor the U. S. Public Health Service, both members of the uniformed services of the United States.  In fact the Merchant Marines had the highest percentage of casualties during World War II; one casualty for every 26 members.  Compared to the Army at 1 in 46 and the Marines at 1 in 34.  I have no information on the Public Health Service members.  This may or may not have been an oversight as there may not have been any relatives of the students that served in these branches of the uniformed services.

Therefore my recommendation to everyone would be that in future years and future Veterans Days please remember all the branches of the uniformed services of the United States - Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, National Guard, Coast Guard, Merchant Marines and Public Health Service and their reserve components.

More importantly, don't wait until Veterans Day to thank a veteran or for that matter a police officer, sheriff deputy, fireman or first responders in general.  Take it from a retired veteran, it not only felt good, it felt reeeeeeeal good as Zig Ziglar would say.  Thank you for noticing.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Do What You Love; Love What You Do!

By Jim "Gymbeaux" Brown, November 7, 2013

The title of this Nugget has been a mantra for me when teaching classes over the last 32+ years.  I don't know where or when I first heard it but it obviously struck a nerve.  Sadly, no one ever suggested such a notion to me in my formative years like Junior High, Senior High and even College.  By the way, the reverse is also true, Love what you do; do what you love! 

What kind of a life would you be living today if your parents and/or a career type counselor asked you:

·         What do you really love to do?
·         How can you make a career out of doing what you love?

How would you answer that question?  In my early years parents thought that their children should attend college.  In my case I gave it a shot.  But in the two years I attended college I found myself taking all sorts of courses that I had absolutely no interest in and my grades reflected that disinterest.  I just couldn't get into what was being taught except for one course - U. S. Air Force ROTC; that course I loved.  It planted seeds of the military in my subconscious mind.  Then when I found I was one of the lucky 10% of active college students who received draft notices while Viet Nam was increasing in severity, I immediately looked toward the military for my next career move and found myself in the U. S. Coast Guard - I loved it. 

The U. S. Coast Guard gave me the opportunity to do what I love and love what I did and my career clearly showed that love of work as I progressed up through the ranks rather quickly.  I say that not to brag but rather to make a point.  When you truly love what you do, you tend to do it well and constantly look for ways to do it even better.  The same was true for my real estate career that followed my military service.  I loved sliding the keys to a new home across the closing table to a first time homebuyer - it was and would still be a very good feeling.

Having explained that will hopefully lead you to the same conclusion about Mr. David G. Murray who I met in Biloxi, Mississippi this afternoon.  I was wasting time waiting for my wife to exchange something she purchased when I spotted the most unusual business in the Biloxi Edgewater Mall.  "Puzzles USA"  My first thought was:  "Can't be!"  How could someone possibly have a profitable business just selling puzzles.    What would you have thought?

My curiosity got the better of me and I went in.  But before I actually entered the establishment, there was an easel outside the entrance with a rather large and beautiful matted and framed picture of a New Orleans street scene with street musicians doing what they love to do, play music.  You could almost hear the music coming forth from within the picture.  Needless to say, that got my attention.  Upon closer observation you could see that the picture was actually an assembled puzzle.  It was the lines between the pieces that gave emphasis to the picture as if it were something special and it was.

The business contained wall to wall framed pictures all of which were assembled puzzles, small, large and in between.  Sitting amongst these wonderful puzzles sat a fellow who let's say turned out to be both a character (in a good way) and a very colorful individual; David Murray, the owner of Puzzles USA.  (For those who are reading this and are not familiar with my background, I have been in sales for the past 32 years.)  To say that David is a very effective salesman would not be doing him justice.  He may be one of the best salesman I have ever encountered.  After all, he was selling puzzles so would you not admit that for him to be in the business of selling puzzles for the past 18 or so years, you would have to not only be a good salesman; he would have to be a great salesman and that he is. 

What made him so good at what he does?  You could immediately tell that he loved what he was doing and he was doing what he loved.  He was NOT selling puzzles; he was putting smiles on the faces of his customers.  He actively engaged the customer rather than just asking, "Can I help you?"  When you can put smiles on your customers' faces, you are well on your way to making a sale.  By the way, he not only made a sale with me today, he also made a friend and an admirer. 

If you have not seen a colorful puzzle that has been matted and framed, you are missing out on something you would be proud to have displayed on any wall in your home.  The initial visual attraction was only the beginning.  David then displayed his knowledge of not only what the pictures of the puzzles represented, he could also discuss the artist and/or location and even some of the history of the picture and/or artist.  There was one puzzle that was built from, are you ready for this, 24,000 pieces and it hung proudly on his wall over his work area.  By the way, you can purchase this puzzle in his story and as you will see, he will happily frame it for you.

We talked not only about the various works of art on his wall but also his business of selling puzzles.  He asked me the nagging question that I had been wanting to ask him; how do you stay in business just selling puzzles?  He then volunteered the answer - he does all his own framing.  He can also create a puzzle out of your photographs and that is something special.  He explained that he has created a solid white puzzle for weddings where he breaks up the puzzle into large pieces.  Each guest to the wedding is then given their own piece to the puzzle to sign their wishes to the bride and groom.  Then when the puzzle is reassembled it is still all white but each piece contains the wishes from their friends and family.  That is thinking outside the box.

I discovered that David is actually NOT in the business of selling puzzles, he is in the business of selling memories and individual creativity.  People remember assembling puzzles but then the puzzles are typically dismantled and put away to never again see the light of day.  David encourages his customers to assemble the puzzles and then have them framed to be proudly displayed in the customer's home and of course he does the framing.

I would describe his business as a frame shop thinly disguised as a store that sells puzzles that puts smiles on the faces of his customers.  Customers, I would guess, who would happily return and refer their friends just as I did in this Nugget.  If ever there was a poster child for doing what you love and loving what you do, it would be David Murray.  By the way, Puzzles USA Inc is believed to be the ONLY exclusive puzzle shop in America; maybe even the world.  If you happen to visit or call David, tell him Gymbeaux sent you!

The BIG QUESTIONS:  What do you love to do that you could be turning into a career?  What are you currently doing that you may actually be loving but not realizing that you are loving doing it?  What would have to happen regarding your current work to create work that you would love doing?

Puzzles USA
Edgewater Mall
2600 Beach Blvd, Ste 56
Biloxi, MS  39531

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How Much Is Your Home Worth?


How Much Is Your Home Worth?
May Not Be As Much As You Think!
Article by: Jim “Gymbeaux” Brown, originally written October 31, 2013

DISCLAIMER OR CLAIMER:  I have spent over 32 years in the real estate business as a salesperson and as a Broker/Manager and even owner who has taught real estate courses to real estate agents.  This Nugget needs to get into the hands of homeowners more so than real estate agents for reasons that will become obvious as you read the Nugget.

I would always explain to the homeowners who selected me as their REALTOR® and to the many students in the real estate courses I taught that "a person's home is only worth what (1) a buyer is willing to pay for it; (2) a mortgage company is willing to lend to the buyer if the buyer is NOT paying cash; and (3) an appraiser can support based on sales of "similar" homes over the past 3 months."

What the homeowner paid for the home has nothing to do with its fair market value with the key word being "market".  The market determines the value of real estate based on what has been selling.  The value is not based on what someone paid for it, how much a seller "needs" to net on the sale or what Uncle Louie thinks the property is worth.  The market determined value!

But wait...there is far more to determining value than what was just stated.  Change directions for a moment.  Put yourself behind the wheel of your car as the buyer of real estate, primarily residential real estate.  You and your family, if you have a family, are out and about looking at neighborhoods and homes that are for sale.  What do you see or what do you consciously look for and subconsciously see even though you may not realize that you are seeing it?

If you are like most people:

  • You look for what the route to and the entrance into the various subdivisions look like.  Are they attractive.  Do you have to drive through commercial areas or areas that are not kept up to get to the home you may be interested in?   If the answer is yes you are deducting value in the calculator in your head and you may not even be aware that you are doing it.

  • Now you are in the neighborhood what do you see BEFORE you even get to the home you desire to see?  Are the lawns and homes well kept or do you see lawns that need mowing, flowerbeds that need weeding, homes that need painting, boats, trailers and/or campers parked in the yards or in the driveways, homes with children's toys left lying about the yards, a lot of For Sale or For Rent signs (which would indicate that there may be problems in the area), commercial trucks parked at homes, cars or trucks up on blocks, cars or trucks obviously in a state of disrepair,  or commercial business signs within a residential community.  These are just some of the features of a neighborhood that a buyer typically sees BEFORE they see the home, repeat BEFORE.

  • Now you are at the home you came to see, what do you see BEFORE you enter the home?  Some of the above?  Does the home need any obvious repairs like broken windows, broken or missing shutters or window screens, broken or damaged garage doors, doors needing painting or staining and finishing, and probably even more importantly, what the homes to the right, to the left and directly across the street look like.

As you can see, the decision to buy or not to buy may have been made before you even enter the home.  That is what this Nugget is all about; not the actual home but the environment surrounding a home or property that you or a buyer may be interested in, or not.  As an example, if every day as you leave your home you have to look at the neighbor's boat, trailer or camper parked right next to your home, you are not going to have a good visual experience.  But over time the distraction becomes the "norm" and you ignore it.  But a buyer looking at your home will not ignore it because it is the first time the buyer sees it and the buyer may consciously or subconsciously be ruling out your home before even entering it.

In short, YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD MATTERS!  So the question I would ask homeowners is:  Are you adding value to your NEIGHBORHOOD, let alone your own home, or are you detracting from the value of your home and the homes of your neighbors?  It's referred to as:


Is the "pride of ownership" apparent in your neighborhood, or not?

If you own rental properties, how are you insuring that your tenants are properly maintaining the homes they rent from you?  Do you realize that if the tenants are NOT maintaining your rental properties that the value of those properties is diminishing as well as the other homes in the same neighborhoods?  How do you think those homeowners feel about YOU who have apparently left the decision to maintain or not maintain totally in the hands of the tenant without your periodic inspection?

I have shown homes where the buyers upon pulling up in front of the home that is for sale would refuse to even get out of the car because of the condition of the immediate neighborhood.  I have had buyers who would race through a home being shown because of a lack of interest that started long before we arrived at the home.  I know of one buyer who would park his car near the local schools early in the morning and late in the afternoon just to observe how the students were dressed, how they acted and how they arrived and departed the schools.  This buyer was concerned for the welfare of his children and rightfully so.

Here is the rule: