Posted in Buying Homes, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, home ownership, Motivation, Planning, Succeed

When Gratefulness Abounds

I had a reverse thrill at my double closing yesterday. I mean closings are always good, it’s what I work for, right? And a double closing where I have the buyers and sellers is even more amazing. However, yesterday I had a newfound “reverse” sensation at closing. I was so excited, not for myself, but for my clients. And when I came back to the office to update my closing chart, I had an even more amazing realization. Let me tell you about both that wild sensation and realization.

Yesterday I closed on a duplex with both buyers and sellers who were repeat clients. As I came back into the room to give the buyers the keys and saw their smiling faces it hit me; the great journey that they’ve been on. It was only a few years ago that I helped them purchase a couple of flip homes and re-sell them. Then they started to purchase up-scale rentals, beginning with hard money loans til they could “prove their worthiness” in the banking industry standards. They took risks and it paid off. After a few years, I had the opportunity to assist them in purchasing a warehouse because their construction company had taken on some great commercial contracts and they needed space. Now they’re a huge success on a Regional Nationwide scale. And they’re just plain great people. They always have a smile, they’re always polite and funny and have a vision for even greater things. It re-inspired me. It challenged me and it just plain made me joyful realizing the success and the journey they have been on.  

As I handed them the keys I thought, what a great story and fulfilling of an American dream. It has been a joy to be even such a small part of it. And then I thought of my sellers who have come full circle, selling off their first investment property, where they had lived so long ago and selling to be near to their beloved grandkids.

When I returned to my office with all the documents, I looked at my updated list of the 1st quarter closings. There were 13 of them, with over 2.5 million in volume. I can remember my early days in real estate that I hoped for that number for the year! But, the most amazing thing that caught my attention was that when I looked at that chart; showing the addresses, volume, dates, and where the business came from – I discovered that 12 of 13 deals were repeat clients or referrals from clients. That is an incredible thing. I had to sit down for a second and reflect on my gratefulness. What am I grateful for? You!  Somehow, somewhere, you’ve had an impact in my real estate career &/or my life. I just felt I really needed to say Thank You. I am so blessed and so excited for what is to come.

It is easy to forget our blessings in this often-crazy world. Sometimes we get in a rut. Sometimes we forget to dream bigger when we’ve achieved our goals. Sometimes we forget to extend our gratitude. So I wanted to do that today. I am grateful for you. Whether you’re a client large or small, a friend, my cheerleader, my mentor, someone who has referred me, reads my articles, or all of the above – I am grateful for you. Dream Big my friends, and don’t forget to thank those who have helped you become who you are. You are my blessing.

Posted in community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Home Buyers, Home Buying Tips, home ownership, Motivation, Planning, Realtor

The Most Misunderstood Loan – VA

🇺🇸 I have the utmost respect for the men & women who serve our country through any branch of the military. I am sure it is often times a thankless and misunderstood job. One of the ways our Country demonstrates its thanks in a small way, is offering our vets their own special type of home mortgage.

🇺🇸 There are some huge benefits for veterans who use their entitlement to purchase homes. However, especially in this insanely competitive world of home buying right now – the impression given to those receiving offers on their home from VA buyers are often being misled and tossing those offers to the curb.

👉 Let’s talk benefits and then cover myths about VA loans…

🇺🇸 A huge benefit for a VA buyer is that there is no required down payment. They of course can put money down if they so choose, but with the excellent interest rates VA loans have, the buyer may choose to keep their money in the bank to use for home renovations, family vacation or anything else they desire.

🇺🇸 In addition to the great interest rate and no money down, our VA buyers don’t have to pay MIP or PMI – loan insurance, which is required on all FHA loans, and on any conventional loans with less than 20% equity. That in itself, is a huge savings. Our vets can also choose to roll all of their closing costs and up to 4% concessions into the loan. So on closing day, they will have no need to walk in with a check if they have chosen this option.

🇺🇸 VA loans also have refinancing options to lower payments when interest rates are favorable. Veterans can also refinance their other home loan types into a VA loan if they had purchased previously without using their VA Entitlements. VA loans may also be assumable which can be a huge benefit in a market where the loan is a low interest rate but the current market has higher rates. Our vets also have staff who advocate for them to find alternatives to foreclosure if the need arises.

👉 What are the myths & potential disadvantages of VA loans?

🇺🇸 Two of the biggest myths I hear are that sellers believe someone using a VA 100% loan is not as strong of a buyer as someone putting 20% down on a conventional. That is simply not true. Being able to finance all of their purchase is simply a benefit, their credit worthiness has no bearing.

🇺🇸 The second myth I often hear of is that a VA loan appraiser is going to require the seller to pay for a bunch of repairs. While it is true that there are appraisal stipulations with a VA loan that aren’t there for a conventional loan; they’re simply safety measures, such as peeling paint (that could be lead-based) the lack of hand-railings going down a staircase. For a quick view of the guidelines see the link at the end of this post. The truth is, if your home is in average repair, you’re not likely to have an issue and everything is negotiable even if it came up.

🇺🇸 I do believe and have often expressed my disappointment in the appraisal structure of the VA loan; that it is a disservice to our veterans to have the additional appraisal requirements, simply because of the stigma associated with it. I understand that passing the added appraisal inspection may give a sense ofsecurity that our vets are getting a “good house”. But in reality it is costing many of our veterans the possibility of owning a home that may need a simple $250 in repairs because of the mentality and lack of education in both the sellers and often Realtors advising sellers. I would love to give our vets the opportunity to see what appraisal issues come up and have the option of being able to move forward with the loan with a post-closing resolution. For example, the vet can move forward on the purchase of a home with peeling paint around an exterior door frame and have 30 days or “when weather suitable” time period to bring it up to snuff themselves after closing and provide such documentation after the work is done.

🇺🇸 For specifics on any home loan, be sure to ask a licensed mortgage broker/loan officer. I’m happy to help you find an excellent VA lender. Every person’s situation is unique and speaking with a lender and getting a pre-approval is the best way to get all the facts.

VA LOAN BENEFITS:
Zero $ Down
No Extra Insurance Premiums
Roll in Closing Costs
Lower Interest Rates
No PrePayment Penalties
Foreclosure Advocacy*
Refinance Options*
Assumable*


DISADVANTAGES:
Perception as a weak buyer at 100% financing
Perception that there will be tons of repairs
Potential Appraisal issue if closing costs are rolled into price

👉👉https://www.benefits.va.gov/…/M26_7_Ch12_MPRs_NEW.docx

🇺🇸 Talk to a licensed VA lender for details! 📝 Getting a Pre-approval is an absolute must in this busy real estate market. If you wish to get moving, let’s find a loan officer to start pre-approving! 📞 989.475.2958

Posted in goal setting, Motivation, Succeed

Vagabond Realtor Returns Home

There was no greater groan heard than that of a certain teenage girl at the mere mention of Social Studies class. Learning about cultures and geography/travel was about as boring as it could get. Fast forward 20, well let’s be real – 30+ years and this girl now considers world culture, geography, and travel among her favorite and fascinating activities.

I think my love of culture and travel, which has led to new appreciation for both and including the awesome variety of geography around the world, all began with my first mission trip to Peru back in 2005. It was there, homeschooling my young children high in the Andes Mountains in a 3rd world setting that made those ole boring social studies and geography classes come to life. Since then, my travel days haven’t stopped and my experiences just keep growing.

In 2019 I started my domestic adventures with a two week trek West to work as a hired hand on a cattle ranch. It was some of the hardest work of my life but afforded me such experiences I never could have imagined. And my meandering route there without a schedule had me stopping to see Mt. Rushmore, historic towns, mountain hiking adventures, and more.

We can’t really have a story about 2020 without talking about the effects of Covid. It did unfortunately prevent my planned trips to Scotland and Germany. It did however allow me much more time in our great State of Michigan experiencing trails, beaches, and time for cabin remodeling.

After an intimate December wedding for my daughter, and an exhausting whirlwind of a year in real estate I took a short trip to Sedona, AZ where I could relax amidst nature and spend some quality time with myself. The trails were endless and the views were breathtaking. The vastness of the land and mountains is hard to put into words. The colors, shapes, and even vegetation are completely different than here in Michigan. The people and their culture are different too, even right within our own country. Can’t say Mother Nature gave me the best weather, as it seems I brought an end to their drought along in my suitcase. The Sedonians were very pleased about that.

It is always an adventure to roam our Country or travel abroad and I anxiously await the opportunity to go on my next trip as, I hope, we get a handle on this horrible pandemic. But, I must say that despite all the adventures, despite all the amazing vistas, history, culture, and real estate to be seen across the world; it is always good to come home, isn’t it? There’s just something about home that you just can’t get anywhere else. Here in Michigan, we’re never more than 6 miles from a body of water! We have rolling and flat farm fields, woods, water, and friendly neighbors. No matter what, nor for how long, nor where I go: it is always good to come home. I’m not sure what it is. Do you experience the same? Can you put it into words? It might be reuniting with my puppies and their wiggly little backsides, plopping into my comfy bed with its fluffy duvet, the smell of home, the familiarity of the neighborhood. I’m not really sure what it is. But, this vagabond Realtor is glad to be here, living and working right here in the Great Lakes Bay Area. I can’t imagine home being anywhere else.

Posted in goal setting, Motivation, Planning, Succeed

Remembering Your Dream

adult-armchair-beverage-846080Nestled under a downy soft blanket as the breeze dances through my hair, and the sun peeks over the horizon with the sound of small waves lapping just steps away. The strong black coffee in hand awakens my senses. Small almost imperceptible details come to mind in the stillness; the plip plip of acorns hitting the metal roof and rolling down to hit the deck, swishing of the reeds as they sway in perfect rhythm, light patter of chipmunk feet scurrying to ready himself for winter.

Ok – wake up! A scene from my most recent vacation is what I described above. In my mind, it is about the most heavenly of settings possible. So much so that after that short trip to an amazing lakefront cottage up north, followed by another vacation to visit my daughter and son-in-law in the mountains of North Carolina; I re-awakened a dream. An image that really I’ve had since childhood, back in the days when I was certain I would grow up to marry Grizzly Adams. I want a home in the wilderness and on the water. I want a peaceful refuge where I can interact daily with nature. I want a place where my family loves to gather and my grandchildren will want to spend the summers with me.

This wasn’t a new dream. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t even say it was a real dream as a kid growing up on the farm. I just thought it was a reality, a for certain kinda thing. When I thought of life as a grown up, it always included wilderness, water, animals, and of course family. But then I grew up and as I went through the twists and turns of this life that I love by the way – things were different than what I’d once imagined. And that’s ok since we certainly can’t map out our futures when we’re children. Many of the things that were important to me then aren’t so much now, and visa-versa. But going on that trip reminded me that “This is something I want” and before I’m too old to enjoy it.

We should all have dreams. If we don’t dream – we won’t know what to focus on, what to strive for. Where do we want to be in 5 years, 10, 20? How do we make it a reality? Every so often it is a great idea to reboot. To stop and figure out what is really important in life and be sure when everything is said and done, we’re happy with what we’ve accomplished and where we’ve ended up.

Now that I’ve been re-inspired and have put that home on a lake in a woods on my vision board; how do I make it a reality? For me, it is through real estate investing. Not something I’d have thought of 25 years ago. But I’ve done a lot of studying, and also having been in real estate for 12 years now I know that fact of the matter is, most people (about 90%) who are multi-millionaires do so through real estate. Whether it is as a residential or commercial landlord, development, or whatever. Now, don’t get me wrong – I don’t need to be a multi-millionaire to accomplish my dream, however that would be nice. I do need a steady stream of permanent income and a nice lump of funds for a purchase.

I set my business development goals as a Realtor for several years and have accomplished each one so far. I write them down, map them out, share them with my coach, etc. But I haven’t allowed myself previously to dream personally and I think that’s been a great oversight. Because what is accomplishing my work goal if it doesn’t change my personal life? What good is it slaving away, despite loving my job, if I don’t per se, “stop and smell the roses”?

I am feeling a newfound zest for life since I’ve made my commitment to have my own paradise to enjoy with family and friends. Work comes a little easier, and sacrifice of delayed gratification more realistic.

And certainly there will be sacrifice. I understand that the key to being where few people are is to start doing what few people do. That’s a line from a favorite author/speaker Brian Buffini.

As we see the current season changing from Spring to Fall, I encourage you to take a few moments and remember your dreams and make your own change toward making them a reality. Yours may be completely different from mine – most likely they are! Just like the beauty that comes from myriad of colors in the fall, life too is beautiful because each of us is unique. Realizing and achieving your dream might not be an easy journey but I guarantee it will be an adventure. Awaken your passion in life and the world becomes brighter.

Posted in community, Finding a great Realtor, goal setting, Midland Saginaw Real Estate, Motivation, Planning, real estate, Realtor, Succeed

Overcoming Adversity

Come on, Rise to the Challenge, Persistence Pays, Stick with It, are all a few common phrases that we hear when people talk about facing adversity.  Can a couple words actually help?  What is it that really allows us to overcome adversity and why do some people do so well and others often seem mired down continuously?

 

I don’t think a phrase in and of itself is going to help us much when we are faced with adversity. And let’s be honest – we all face it and all too often whether it is in the workforce or our home life.  As a Realtor, I face it often.  You may think that sounds crazy, as many people’s perceptions and expectations of a Realtor are very low.  Granted there will always be agents who live up to that low expectation, just like in any field. However, as a professional with two degrees under her belt and more importantly, decades of experience I can tell you the real estate world is full of adversity of varying degrees.

 

In real estate I face a couple different types. The first is pretty plain and simple – how do I get enough business to survive in this dog-eat-dog arena?  The second is the type of adversity I face with clients.  Sometimes this is personal, but I’m focusing more on the struggles that we face in trying to close a deal.  A couple of recent examples have been, a buyer whose employer changed their manner of payment in the middle of a deal.  The buyer being a caretaker had always received one bi-weekly check for taking care of multiple people. Week 3 of the deal, the employer decides to pay by the patient and the buyer now receives 7 different checks.  This throws the lender into a fit. How can they verify the income? We’re involved with a big bank, supposed to close this next week.  Seller wants to walk because we should already have the clear to close and now we need to postpone. It all sounds ridiculous to us but this is out of our control.  We can’t do the bank’s work for them.  What can I do?  Well, yes I can rise to the challenge and be persistent.  What does this mean specifically?  That’s where overcoming adversity becomes possible – find out the specifics.  In this case I needed to speak with the lender daily.  I needed to speak to the seller’s agent daily to quiet their fears, to show them the income hadn’t changed, to talk to them about how putting it back on the market meant starting over and possibly a worse deal, etc. I needed to keep the spirits of my buyer up so they didn’t get frustrated over what seemed such stupidity and let them walk away.  It took an extra 3 weeks, but my buyer is now happily in his new home and the sellers walked away with their check.

 

How about when as a listing agent you recommend strongly that the seller make some type of improvement that you know (from years of experience) it will not only make their home sell faster and for a higher amount – and they choose not to follow your direction?  They may even think they know more about real estate than you do! What can we do?  Stay the Course of course.  Find those facts, show them homes that sell, dig up examples, find out how your seller’s brain works – will they respond to statistics? Or will they be more affected by photos of before and after? Approaching it one step at a time until you find out what works.

 

Your adversity is different than mine. We all have our own struggles.  Though the cliché phrases aren’t going to do anything, if we think about how those phrases came about – we are on the right track to overcoming.  What does it actually entail to “Stay the Course” or “Rise to the Challenge”? Figure out what the end result needs to be. Then step by step work toward that result.  Life is not full of many one way streets.  We may have to re-route or recalculate a few times along the way.  But if you have a goal/end result that is the most important thing.  Once we know where we want to be, we will figure out a way to get there.  It may not all be clear at the beginning.  But, we’re way smarter than we usually give ourselves credit for.  Decide what you want and then go. And as another familiar saying says, Just Do It!