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Staying Organized in 2009

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IGoogle

The above photo is a screen shot of the top of my IGoogle Home Page. I have been using it to help me stay organized the last several months. I had set up a IGoogle home page a couple of years ago and really never clicked out of the classic search page until………..

Gadgets

There are thousands of gadgets that you can have on your IGoogle Home page. I have all the Agent Genius Posts brought in, my Google Feedreader, BeTwittered, Google Docs, MapQuest, Dictionary, GMail, and GTalk. I’ve been accused and rightly so of popping in and out of Twitter. That’s because I am on my IGoogle home page searching and see a friend there or a comment and pop in and say something and then back to work.

Multiple Pages

You can set up multiple pages in IGoogle to help stay organized. For instance I have all my working things mentioned above on my home page. Then I have a new page for shopping, Hulu, discount coupons, YouTube, weather, Outlook Tips and News. There is a drop down arrow next to the Home button on the left side which is a new feature where all the gadgets or pages you are using are shown.

A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place

How much time do we spend looking for things in our lives? keys? documents? How much time do we get over to our RSS Feeds?  I know mine were getting neglected.  Now all the things I do everyday are right there in one spot. IGoogle has helped me be much more efficient and use my time wiser.

There are thousands of gadgets to chose from to make IGoogle your own. It is really easy to set up and I have found it makes my day to day activities easier and more efficient.

If you haven’t visited it awhile, check it out and see what you think. Now if I could just bring in my MLS, life would be perfect.

Written by Missy Caulk, Associate Broker at Keller Williams Ann Arbor. Missy is the author of Ann Arbor Real Estate Talk and Blog Ann Arbor, and is also the Director for the Ann Arbor Area Board of Realtors and Member of MLS and Grievance Committee's.

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Steve Beam

    December 15, 2008 at 11:48 am

    You’re right! I love that home page. At first it was a little distracting but after a little tweaking it all fits my wants and needs.

  2. Ken Brand

    December 15, 2008 at 1:06 pm

    Ah-So, exactly what I need to tame all these freak’n tabs. Thanks.

  3. Lisa Sanderson

    December 15, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    I am going to check this out. Thanks for the tip!

  4. Andrew Olson

    December 17, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    You know I think you might have convinced me to give iGoogle another shot. I tried it for a few days several months ago and “gave up” but I think it might be worth spending some time to setup and give it another go.
    Thanks for the reminder!

  5. Missy Caulk

    December 17, 2008 at 8:18 pm

    Andrew, try it I find it easy and now that I have the exact gadgets I want in it, I use it all day long and use my Feedreader right there.

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Coaching

Reality checking real estate market conditions – feelings, perceptions and facts

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My perception of reality isn’t always factually accurate.

Mostly I’m a positive guy.  But every other day or so, I think and feel like opportunities are scarce and market conditions outside my control make success elusive.  Do you ever have thoughts like that?

When I think thoughts like that, my perceptions limit me.  When I feel like business is slow and scarce, my spirit saddens, I roll  uptight tense and I struggle.  As a result my attractiveness dims and my effectiveness dulls.  People and opportunity don’t seek out and choose the dim, dull and struggling.  Opportunity gravitates toward the positive, not the sad and negative.

To succeed, it’s important that I understand the difference between what I perceive and feel, and factual-reality.  So, I have this daily Reality-Check thing that I do.  It keeps my head on straight.

Here’s how I Reality-Check myself and my real estate market.

I consciously suspend my perceptions about my market.  I don’t consider how I’m feeling or what others are saying.  I flip my logical thinking switch to ON, suspend my beliefs and go directly to the MLS to see what’s really happening in my market.

Here’s what I do:

I search listing activity for the last 30 days.  How many new listing came on the market per day?

I search pending/contracts written activity for the last 30 days.  How many listings went under contract per day?

Running these simple searches give me the facts about actual activity in my market place.  With the facts in hand I’m not poisoned or paralyzed by the negative opinions, speculation, conjecture or feelings of other people.  What I discover is that no matter how well or poor I perceive my market to be, there are always available opportunities and possibilities.  Always.

Whether I’m feeling flush or frustrated, every day sellers decide to sell and new listing come on the market.   Every day buyers are buying.  This daily Reality-Check sets me straight.  People buy and sell everyday.  The only question is, who will they choose?

Understanding the facts gives me hope and inspiration.  Business is there, if I want it.  It doesn’t matter what other’s report, believe or perceive.  It only matters what’s really happening in my market, and what I’m willing to do to attract, discover and earn what I want.

I run my reports every morning.  When my feet hit the street, I know what’s real and what is possible.  I know the only thing holding me back is me.  If I take action, I can sieze opportunity and change my future.

That’s how I Reality-Check.  How do you Reality-Check yourself?

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Cheers and thanks for reading.

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Coaching

Is it time to bury the past and rise up? Is it time to advise “buy”?

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It’s 2011.  Not 2010 or 2009.  Viva 2011

What’s your real estate market like this week?  Is it better than it was a year or two ago?

Back then we had the difficult task of sharing mostly bad news.  A rational Fear Of Loss kept buyers who wanted to move from making a move.  It was simple logic, buy too soon and home values might fall, resulting in a financial loss.

Last year the Federal Homebuyer Tax Credit artificially stimulated 1st Quarter home sales.  The free-money party ended in April of 2010 and real estate sales activity went from gangbusters to bust.  It pretty much stayed crappy until January 2011.

From what I can see across the inter-webs and personal experience, the unstimulated 1st Quarter of 2011 is equal to or better than the artificially stimulated 1st Quarter of 2010.  Which means that most likely, the balance of 2011 will be way better than 2010.  Not a month to soon, amen.

But I’m worried.  Real worried.

I’m Worried About Shell Shock

It’s been so crappy for so long, some us may be suffering from Shell Shock.  When someone asks if now would be a good time to buy, we start mumbling, our shoulders slump and the light in our eyes dim. We hem and haw.  Because we’ve been so beat up for so long, our answer limps from our mouth to their ears.  On occasion we allow past emotional scaring to over ride current intellect and logic. This is normal human behavior, but we’re not paid to be normal.  We’re paid to perform.

People are counting on us for unbiased and expert real estate opinion and analysis.   When they ask the question, “Is now a safe time to make a move?” they expect a thoughtful and intellectual answer.  Not an emotional reaction steeped in Shell Shock.

It’s Time To Bury The Past and Rise UP

Note from the editor: The video at the top of this article is of Maya Angelou’s “And Still I Rise,” particularly relevant to the theme of this article.

The Fear Of Loss is perpetually valid.  Yesterday, the likely hood of suffering a financial loss by buying in falling market was high.  Today’s and tomorrow’s market is 180 degrees different.  If our buyer clients want to make a move and they don’t, waiting may cause them financial loss.

It’s a new day and a new market. Let’s think, advise and act like it.

Let’s start by reviewing and sharing a few important factors with our homebuyer clients.

Price & Value and Cost & Expense Factors

Advising our buyer clients to Not-Buy-Now because home values may go down, and they will have lost money by overpaying, is an example making a decision based on the Value & Price factor. Last year in many micro-markets this was smart, simple and logical.

Today, if we’re sincere about helping our clients avoid financial loss, we’ll want to include Cost & Expense factors in our advisory analysis.

Unless our buyer clients are paying cash when they buy, they’re going to use mortgage financing.  Their mortgage interest rate determines the Cost & Expense of buying and has a bottom line effect on whether waiting to buy will result in a financial Win or Loss.

Here’s an example of what I’m talking about:

Here’s how we can use both Value & Price and Cost & Expense Factors in our advisory analysis.  To figure out if it’s better to wait or make the move, consider alternate future outcomes.

Three What If Scenarios

Keeping in mind that our local and national economies are improving,  inflation is real and mortgage interest rates, are rising, We can evaluate the financial risks by asking ourselves which of these three scenarios is most likely:

  1. Home Prices stabilize and mortgage rates rise. Using the example in the picture above, if mortgage rates rise to 6%, waiting may cost our buyer clients the extra expense of $175.86 more per month.  If the value of the properties they’re interested in don’t drop more than 13% in value before mortgage rates inflate from current rates to 6%, the decision to wait would create a financial compound fracture.  Waiting would mean they’ve lost on two fronts, Value & Price and Cost & Expense.
  2. Home Prices drop more than 13% and mortgage rates rise to 6%. 
  3. Home Prices drop and mortgage rates stay the same or fall too.

If you believe that home values in your market will fall faster and further than mortgage rates will rise (2. or 3. above), then advising your buyer clients to stay put is the way to go.  Keep your eye on the market and when you see a favorable entry point, advise them to make their move.

If you think prices won’t drop more than 13% before mortgage rates rise to 6%, then your logical left brain will tell you it’s wise to advise your buyer clients,

Because home values are less likely to fall more than interest rates will rise, now is a safe time to make move you’ve been waiting and wanting to make.

Do your homework on property-value-trends for your micro markets, consider the implications of rising mortgage rates, Rise Up and advise with confidence.

Here’s what I think about my micro-market. . .

I think home values are stable and some neighborhoods will enjoy a rise in prices/values.  Mortgage rates have risen about 1% in the last four months and will continue to creep up.

When my clients who would like to move, ask me if it’s a safe time to move, I would discuss Price & Value and Cost & Expense factors with them. Afterwards, we’d be out the door dream home shopping.  Pronto.

What do you think?

What’s happening in your market?  What are you advising?

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Cheers and thanks for reading.

 

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Coaching

Was Einstein Wrong About The Definition Of Insanity?

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The Classic Definition Of Insanity Is Wrong

Ok, it’s not wrong-wrong, it’s half wrong.   Here’s the classic definition of insanity:

The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over again, expecting a different result. ~ Albert Einstein

It’s true.  For example, you can’t lose a dollar on every deal and make it up in volume.  I think we’d all agree, if what we’re doing isn’t working, we need to make dramatic changes. Right? But, what if what we’re doing is working?  What if we’re not lazy?  What if we’re the opposite – we’re successful?  Should we keep doing the same things over and over again, expecting the same successful result? You’d think so.  But doing so would fall into the insanity category as well. Here’s why.

The Other Definition Of Insanity

Because the expectations of our prospects, suspects and clients are steadily rising and savvy competitors are constantly upping the ante, doing the same things that made us successful yesterday will leave us in the dust tomorrow.  Where would Apple be if it thought their first iPhone was such a big hit they didn’t need to change it or improve it?  You know, what if their mindset was, if it ain’t broke why fix it?  They’d be pipsqueaks instead of what they are now, right?  It’s the same for you and me. If Einstein was alive today, I believe he’d approve of this second definition:

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result.”

You see, to succeed tomorrow,we have to reinvent and relaunch ourselves today and everyday.  If we don’t, we fall behind.  Then disappear.  I bet you can think of a two or three formerly famous companies that fell on hard times because they didn’t change with the times.  For example Blockbuster comes to mind.  Renting DVDs was all the rage once, you know? What will you reinvent and relaunch this week?

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Cheers. Thanks for reading. Photo Credit

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