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Monday, July 29, 2013

Your Mid-Year Checkup

Here’s a great summer project to help you enjoy an even better version of yourself.

1. It’s the “who” that matters.

Focus on who you want to be. The goals we have in life are important, but who we want to be when they are attained is even more crucial. Want to lose weight: “I enjoy great health, nutrition and hydration each day.” Want to be a better parent: “I’m a committed and devoted parent who loves his/her kids no matter who they are or what they do.” After you identify your who, ask yourself what actions would be fit with your desire to "be" instead of "get".

2. Let go of the need for control.

Much of our anger and stress in life comes from our inability to control people and situations over which we have no control. The person in front of us taking too long in the checkout line, the driver who seems to be going left around the world with the directional stuck on, the customer service rep who endlessly puts you on hold while “resolving” your credit card issue, etc. The only thing we can control are our emotions and what we do with our time. Other than that, we need to accept that much of what happens in life is out of our control and just roll with the punches.

3. Be a giver.

Look around your homes for items and articles of clothing that just get no use anymore. Serve your heart, soul and someone else by giving and expecting nothing back in return. Life always gives back to those who give and here’s a perfect opportunity to do something nice for someone.

4. Get organized.

Messy desks, drawers and closets are often sources of stress for us…especially when we really need to find something. Take the time to organize things that are in disarray in your life. Being able to locate what you want, when you want it, can lead to a much happier you. Plus, you may find some items that you can give away to make you an even better giver.

5. Establish rituals.

Yes, some routines  can seem boring and confining, but in reality, they are actually freeing. Instead of being worried and anxious wondering if your credit-card bill is late again, you'll feel calm knowing that you always pay bills on Thursday after work, so you have nothing to be concerned about. Rituals remove stress!

6. Stop worrying.

In How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by Dale Carnegie, you’ll find that more than 90% of the things that we worry about in life never come to fruition. Instead of focusing on what you don’t have or what you don’t want to happen to you, focus on what you want and what you’d like to experience. Just doing that will erase most of the worry you experience each day.

7. Merge things in your life

Look for something in your life that is spread all over the place and consolidate – group of small bills, paper clips, tools – anything to make things easier for yourself. Instead of spreading your collectibles all over the house, combine them into one main cupboard or cabinet to make things really easy on yourself. By merging things together by type, style or form, you'll be able to see the duplicates easily and free up some time and space.

8. Touch it once.

We can waste a lot of time in life by moving the same thing around the house or our desk just to get it out of the way. When a project like paying bills comes up, get the bill, pay it and file the payment receipt or information at the same time. You’ll get some of your valuable time back and feel a sense of accomplishment all at the same time.

9. Learn your lessons.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. It’s an old adage, but it’s still relevant today. Learn from your mistakes and take those lessons into the future. Don’t repeat the same behaviors expecting different results as that’s the definition of insanity.

10. Take time for yourself.

Build time into your schedule to regroup and check in with yourself. If you have to schedule it…schedule it. Time passes by fast enough without us having to run around like crazy to make it go faster. Spend an hour a week being by yourself with your favorite book, a journal or just listening to music. You’ll connect with yourself in ways you can’t when you’re busy and put your life back on center.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

4 Questions Buyers Must Ask Their Agents

A home buyer must be thorough when choosing which agent to hire in order to aid them with the purchase of a home.  For many people, this will be one of the biggest investments of their lives, so putting forth diligence and research and feeling comfortable with the right real estate agent is a key step in starting the home buying process.  There are four key questions a buyer must ask their potential agent before they hire him or her.

Number of Sales

The first question a buyer must ask is “How many homes has the agent sold this year?”  The number of sales is a very good indicator of the amount of experience the potential agent has in today’s market.  The market changes quickly; this year’s market is different than even last years, so knowledge of the hot button issues of today’s market is a significant factor in the negotiation process.

Years of Experience

The second question a buyer must ask is “How many years of experience does the agent have?” The real estate industry is an industry that has low barriers of entry because it does not take much for a person to get a real estate license.  Because of this low barrier of entry, many people achieve their real estate license and work as an agent only part-time.  To find the most qualified individual, make sure that they have good experience as a full-time agent.

Administrative Support

The third question a buyer must ask is “What kind of administrative support does the agent have?”  Any championship sports team or Oscar winning film crew will tell you that a good supporting cast is paramount to success.  The agent you are working with may have great people skills and negotiating skills, but may partly struggle with paper work.  This is why it is imperative that the agent has a dedicated and skilled administrative staff.

Find a Specialist

The fourth question a buyer must ask is “Is the agent a buyer’s specialist or a jack-of-all-trades?”  A serious buyer will be much more successful with an agent that is focused on specifically helping buyers.  Many real estate teams have members who have distinct functions and skill sets.  Find the agent that is a true expert in their field.

For any home buyer, asking these four questions is critical to making the decision on which agent to hire to help find the best home and best deal for the buyer.  Having the best buyer can relieve a great deal of stress for any home buyer and make the home buying experience an enjoyable one.