Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Are You Courteous in Real Estate and Life?

What happened to good old fashioned common courtesy? Even if we are in a fast paced environment with so much so readily available, why should that have been the one simple thing to be thrown out - something that takes almost no time at all?

The definition of courtesy according to the Random House Unabridged Dictionary is the "excellence of manners or social conduct; polite behavior; respectful or considerate act or expression; help or generosity." We are in a social atmosphere and a social discipline. What else can real estate be considered? Unless you are totally isolated, then you will have interactions on one level or another with others.

I know that many will blame the change on the familial environment and make-up. Yes, that may be partially true, but it has to go much further than that into the fabric of our society.

Now, don't get me wrong, I must admit that there are times that I may be lacking in such myself, especially with telemarketers. Usually, I try to say ‘no thanks' and ‘goodbye,' but I won't deny that I've also just hung up the phone. Yes, they are annoying and shouldn't be calling you since you are on the DNC list. OK, so we know that's a joke - neither here nor there.

Do you say ‘thank you' to others? Now I won't deny that when I feel someone is rude, I may say ‘you're welcome' if they sometimes do not say ‘thank you'. And, maybe, that's rude on my part. Granted, I don't do things to be acknowledged, but...

Here are some questions to peruse:

Do you hold the door open for the next person or do you even look to see if there is someone behind you?

Do you allow pedestrians to cross in a parking lot or do you feel that they should wait for you? (You do understand that pedestrians do have the right of way most of the time.)

Talking about driving, are you courteous on the road? Do you make room for traffic to merge? Do you use your turn signal all of the time, not some of the time? Do you allow people to move into your lane when they have a turn signal on?

Do you thank a realtor for showing your property?

If a realtor calls you for feedback, do you return their call? Unfortunately, I find that most don't.

But more importantly, are you courteous with your clients - whether they be buyers or sellers?

A major part of being courteous is to take the time to listen and not to interrupt. Too many people, and I'm guilty here as well at times, just hear part of what is being said and then interject because they may feel they know what the other person is getting at. Listen completely, it's not only courteous but makes the other person feel important. Actually, by not doing so, you are indirectly telling that person that they are not worth your time. And, that is just downright rude, everyone has a value and none of us has the right to take that away from anyone.

How much effort does it really take to be courteous to others? We are entering the major shopping season with all the hustle and bustle. A little kindness to the next person goes a long way - and for both of you. They'll appreciate it and you should feel good about yourself. It's all about the aura that you project.

Being courteous in life and business is not something that takes a lot of effort or even a lot of thought. But the rewards, personally and otherwise, are just so great. People do remember the little things.

So, maybe, take a little extra time and send that thank you note. It's interesting, I have a listing and there appeared to be an issue with an upstairs bathroom. Neither here nor there, but I sent a short note to the owner and thanked him for being helpful, etc. The day he got the note he called me. It was obvious that he was taken aback and quite pleased that I thought enough to do this. Will you get a call every time? No! But is the effort worth it? It depends on what you want out of life and your real estate career.

Thank You & You're Welcome!

Till next time - Marc It Sold!

Friday, November 9, 2007

You Are What You Wear - The Psychology of Color in Dress

We’ve read much talk about the psychology of color in staging and decorating a home. But there is much to be said about our dress & what the colors evoke in others.

Colors affect us both physically and emotionally depending on their use. It has to be noted that color psychology differs from color symbolism, which in itself differs greatly between societies, cultures and religions.

Colors are basically broken down into two main categories –

Warm Colors – which are those on the red side of the spectrum including orange & yellow.

Cool Colors – those on the blue side of the spectrum including green and purple

Now to the colors themselves:

Blue – is probably the most popular color, but then one might expect that since it is the color of the ocean and sky. Blue is considered a business color as it reflects reliability. It also symbolizes loyalty.

– is probably only second to blue as a favorite color. Green is the color of peace and ecology, as it is found quite prevalent in nature. But let’s not forget that green is also the color of money. Dark green is considered masculine, conservative and is associated with wealth.

Yellow – is associated with joy, happiness and optimism. Remember, yellow is the color of the sun. At the same time yellow can be overpowering when used too much.

Red – is the most emotionally intense color, but it also considered the color of energy. Red is not a good color to overuse and will make someone appear a little heavier, but will also attract attention. A navy blue suit with white shirt and a red tie gives you just the right amount of energy to draw attention.

Orange – the most flamboyant of colors is associated with fun, happy and lively, but also ambition. The different tones of orange usually have a love-it or hate-it relationship.

Black – is the color of authority & power and at the same time makes people look thinner, but remember that it can be very overpowering. Black can be formal, but also can represent evil (think of the bad guys in the movies).

White – What can I say? White wedding dresses, white picket fences, white lab coats. Purity, innocence, clean and happy, but not a fun color to keep clean.

Brown – reliable, stable, solid. It is the color of the earth; and, therefore, associated with nature.

Purple – is associated with royalty, prosperity and wealth. Purple is a more feminine color, but young girls are more likely to choose it. Purple can also appear to be artificial.

Gray – is considered practical, timeless and solid, but also is sometimes associated with depression and loss, whether it be mourning or a general lack of direction. Gray is a great color to use because it mixes well with other colors.

Now, these are basically the primary colors. Different shades will elicit different emotions due to the combination of these colors.

Hope you enjoyed!

Till next time – Marc It Sold!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Wealth & Social Disparity and Real Estate - A Social Commentary

It’s the old story of the rich getting richer & the poor getting poorer. Even though the average living standards have increased considerably in recent times, the distribution of wealth has become more skewed. One percent of the richest people own 40% of the world’s wealth, while the bottom 50% of the world’s adult population own barely 1% of the wealth.

In the U. S. alone, the top 1 percent earn as much as the bottom 33%, which is equivalent to over 100 million people. While the U. S. economy has grown approximately 160% over the last 30+ years, the top 1% saw their income levels rise 250%. During that same period, the bottom 90% actually saw a drop of 11% in their average income. These are astounding figures and the wealth distribution disparity continues to widen.

Home equity is a very important form of wealth for most households. Only about half of those in the bottom quarter of the income distribution own their homes, while 88.9% in the top quarter do own their homes. Household debt has consistently trended upward, and it was over 130% of disposable income in ’05. As expected, this disproportionately plagues lower-income families moreso and attributes to about a fifth of their income and upwards of 40% for many.

Many and especially the middle class have been utilizing the equity in their homes for continued consumer spending – vacations, vehicles, remodeling, etc. – while salaries have not increased at the same level. The problem is that the equity is running out with lower home prices equating to lower household wealth.

This greater disparity has to affect us as realtors. Each and every day we are shutting more and more people out of homeownership. I’ve been saying this for years. Here in Central Florida we’ve been mostly a service-oriented industry. As prices were rising within the last several years and even before then, we’ve daily locked more and more people out of the market. Our appreciation was approximately 12-13% a year before the last couple of boom years hit. Yes, that has been much better than the national average of approximately 8% per annum.

It is widely believed that one of the main ways to address this gap between the have and have-nots is to improve education and training. But this is not something that can just happen overnight. Our education system has been failing us, but it goes way beyond that to the familial system.

Can this trend possibly be reversed through social and economic policies? This further leads to the question that if such reforms are possible, are they either practical or feasible? I don’t know what the answer is or even if there is one. But that doesn’t mean that we should just forget or ignore that this is occurring to the fabric of our society.

Till next time...Marc It Sold!