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Tue Nov 13 16:45:16 UTC 2018

Sewer problems…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Sewer clogs & back ups are never fun - check out my latest adventure!

Well that’s sh++!

Literally. Sh++.

Two weeks ago I was doing a load of laundry. Came back in to put said laundry in the dryer…wait… what’s that smell… is that…  omg… what’s in the bathtub… O.M.G.!!

Yep. Bad deal. Started making phone calls to plumbers, drain & sewer companies. Turns out that a Wednesday at 4pm is not the easiest time to get someone to respond. But never fear A-1 Drain & Sewer Cleaning answered their phone and said they were finishing up a job and would be right over. I had to share a pic of the truck below… great marketing!

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As soon as they showed up (two guys) they listened to my story, assessed the situation and started to work. I heard some grumblings about tree roots and then they brought in a bunch of equipment. First up was pulling the toilet that was nearest the street, they laid down sheets to protect the floor & rolled the equipment into the bathroom. I managed to stay out of the way and tried not to ask too many questions but it was quite the sight.

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After some time and quite a bit of racket from the big machine they rolled in (I know, I know, real professional terms here) they said they had “60′ out and couldn’t get thru” so they needed to get under the house and into the crawl space to try something different.

One of the guys crawled all the way in to our crawlspace while one stayed outside with and ran the equipment, then some more equipment, lots of flashlights, quite a bit of noise, another hour of work and… they got it!! Whew!!

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Now that they were done, I felt more inclined to ask questions. What was the problem? He said we had a small amount of tree roots which they’d easily cleared from inside the house but the biggest problem appeared to be a combination of rock hard, undissolved toilet paper and grease. I loved this quote… “Dried up Charmin is harder than concrete.” Then I asked what should we do, what do we need to do? Pretty simple he said, don’t be afraid to use/run water. With all of the water saving faucets, toilets, shower heads we aren’t pushing as much water thru the pipes. And never, ever put grease down the sink.

In an effort to make this a learning lesson for you, I’ve done a little more research. This article does a little better job of explaining what they actually did to clear the sewer line and the equipment that they used at my house! And I copied this explanation from the San Francisco Chronicle’s website on how to avoid these problems in the first place…

Preventing Clogs

To prevent clogs, use as little paper as possible to get the job done. Choose a paper that is soft and absorbent enough to be comfortable but that dissolves quickly – the trend toward more absorbent and softer papers increases the strain in plumbing. Test the paper’s ability to dissolve by placing a few clean sheets in a sink full of water and gently swishing them around to see how easily they fall apart. Avoid packaged wet wipes as well if you know you have plumbing problems, even if they are labeled “flushable.”

And from Mr. Rooter’s website

Grease – If the grease is still hot, simply pour it into a dedicated grease jar or can. A mason jar or old coffee can with a lid works well, or you can make a disposable grease can by removing the lid of a soda can with a can opener. When the jar or can fills up, simply scoop out the solid grease into the trash bin or throw out the entire can. You may also leave the grease in the pan, wait till it solidifies, and then wipe it out with paper towels & throw them away.

Cooking Oils – Allow the cooking oil to cool off before you do anything with it. If there is less than a cup of oil, pour it into the trash can on top of a few paper towels. This may not be an option if you’re dealing with large amounts of oil. If you need to dispose of more than a cup, pour the oil into a container and reuse it next time you’re frying. Or you can save plastic milk or juice jugs with screw tops, coffee cans or mason jars to collect used cooking oil in and throw the entire container away when it’s full. (Make sure the lid is on tight.)

 

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Wed Oct 31 22:31:21 UTC 2018

Leaves…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Leaves. Leaves, leaves and more leaves. Holy cow for leaves. I feel like I never noticed them before… sure I’ve noticed the pretty colors in the fall, I hear about people going on “leaf watching” trips, I usually feel a little sad when they are all gone from the trees… but leaves that need raked […]

Leaves. Leaves, leaves and more leaves. Holy cow for leaves. I feel like I never noticed them before… sure I’ve noticed the pretty colors in the fall, I hear about people going on “leaf watching” trips, I usually feel a little sad when they are all gone from the trees… but leaves that need raked & bagged? Nope, not in my normal routine.

Cory and I have lived on an acreage for 20 years as of last May. For 20 years I’ve never had to deal with leaves. For 3 years before we bought our acreage we lived in a little rental house in Roland but I’m convinced we were too young and too naive to even notice we had leaves.

Some of you may have seen my Facebook post last week when I was cleaning up the leaves at our Clear Lake property. It was unreal. How can one, just one, pretty tree drop so many friggin’ leaves?!? Lucky for me (ha!) the wind had piled most of the leaves in 2 spots, up against our garage and in the walk way between the neighbors’ house and ours. In most areas they were 2-3 feet deep!

I’m quickly learning this a yearly task that I’m going to need to add to my fall to do list and it’s a task many, many people face every year. So here’s what I learned & some helpful tips.

#1 Make a plan for your leaves. If you’re really lucky you have a bagger on your mower & you can skip the rest of my steps completely! But if you don’t keep in mind that some towns allow you to burn leaves, others don’t. Some allow burning during certain times of the year. Some towns have yard waste pickup (make sure you know the rules & have the right bags, etc). Some towns have a yard waste site where you can take your leaves. Here’s a few links below to different towns’ rules on leaves, sorry I haven’t included every town but you can call your city hall or look up the city’s ordinances online. My plan was to bag our leaves & leave them on the curb on a Monday for curbside pickup as Clear Lake offers this service.

Here’s a handy site that seems to have links to all the towns… Iowa Municipal Codes.

Ames Yard Waste Days

Ellsworth (chapter 105)

Jewell (page 425)

Nevada

#2 Get your tools organized. Like I said, this whole leaf thing was new to me. In my newbieness glory and excitement I bought a big rake and 3 of the “leaf bags” I kept seeing in all the hardware stores. This was going to be a fun adventure! As soon as I arrived at the house I knew I was in over my head. I’m not real good at math but even I could compute the fact that all of those leaves = way more than 3 bags but I started to work anyway. I quickly realized my huge rake was worthless for the leaves already piled up on the concrete driveway and way too big & awkward to use as a scoop. Several trial & error sessions later I found that a simple broom and dust pan worked great. More on my technique later…

#3 Buy quality equipment. I’ll admit at times I can be a real cheapskate. Why spend money on something just to throw it away? Why buy something different/new when we have one that works already? Well, let me tell you… cheap leaf bags and a not-so-good leaf blower… that’s why. As soon as I announced I was heading up to the house to “do leaves” Cory said, “go buy a good leaf blower.” No, no… we have one & it works fine I said and off I went. That didn’t last long. Within the first hour my $.19 cent leaf bags I bought on clearance were in the trash because they’d torn easily and wouldn’t stand up, I’d worn out 3 batteries on our cordless leaf blower and I was on my way to the local Ace Hardware Store for new bags & a better blower. I know it’s overkill but I bought and highly recommend a really good leaf blower … the Stihl Kombi KM 111. The main motor unit can handle a bunch of other attachments too. And let’s just say it’s the bomb!!

#4 Have some entertainment. It took me two days at about 4 1/2 hours each day to get all of our leaves rounded up. The first day I had a lot on my mind and it was very therapeutic to be in my own head but by the 2nd day… I needed something to occupy my mind! Grab some headphones and fire up some music, a true crime podcast (I can suggest several!) or your latest audio book and get get to work.

#5 Get your technique down. I mentioned earlier I ended up using a regular broom and a normal/large dust pan. Now our leaves were pretty dry and there was not much wind the two days that I worked on leaves. I was also working on a concrete surface, not dirt. My first suggestion is to stomp on the leaves. Yep, stomp. I’m not sure that this is actually necessary but it made me feel a lot better. Hearing the crunching and seeing the leaf pile get smaller (read more condensed, not as high) was well worth the extra effort. I also felt like I was getting a little bit of physical work out in too. Then I used the broom/dust pan combination to get a big scoop of leaves & drop in the large, heavy duty leaf bags (don’t be cheap, buy the good ones the first time). Next step… this is important… use your broom to tamp down the leaves in the bag after each scoop. I didn’t do that on the first bag and it’s amazing how much more I could get into a bag when I pushed the leaves down inside the bag.

#6 Be a good neighbor. The picture below is the walkway between our house and our neighbor to the south. Technically it’s not our property, it’s theirs. But technically it’s our tree that dumped all those leaves! I had some time on my hands so I did the good neighbor thing and rounded up 90% of the leaves that were in that walkway. Only 90% because I ran out of daylight and I got really cold! I’m not saying you have to always do your neighbors leaves but be kind, don’t blow your leaves into their yard or driveway, go a little further than have to… just be nice. Four different people/couples from our little street stopped for a quick chat while I was working, every one of them thanked me for bagging the leaves and every one of them mentioned that the previous owner hadn’t done anything with the leaves and they usually blew into everyone else’s yards.

All in all, it was a great experience. I have the right tools to jump right in next year. I spent 9 hours in the great outdoors during some of the best fall weather we’ve had in years. I got a little bit of bonus physical activity. I met 4 really nice people/couples from our neighborhood. I’m completely caught up on all of my podcasts.

And I have 13 big bags of leaves!!

 

Tue Jun 05 15:25:18 UTC 2018

3 things to do after you pay off your mortgage…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Paying off your mortgage is the goal and dream of almost every American. In fact over 30% of Americans own their own with no mortgage. If you pay/paid off your mortgage do you know what you need to prove that it’s paid off? Our team recently had a listing where the home was debt free, […]

Paying off your mortgage is the goal and dream of almost every American. In fact over 30% of Americans own their own with no mortgage. If you pay/paid off your mortgage do you know what you need to prove that it’s paid off?

paid

Our team recently had a listing where the home was debt free, the owners had paid the mortgage off over 15 years ago! Woohoo! We listed the house, we received 4 offers and it went pending the first day on the market. Closing was set for 36 days later. Should be a nice, simple deal.

During the pending period (36 days in this case) one of the important steps of the process is a “title opinion.” A title opinion is the written opinion of an attorney, based on the attorney’s title search into a property, describing the current ownership rights in the property, as well as the actions that must be taken to make the stated ownership rights marketable. It also reveals if there are any liens or encumbrances… like a mortgage.

The sellers of the above property had told me they didn’t have a mortgage anymore but the title opinion showed a mortgage and a home equity line of credit were still “open” against the property. No worries, we’ve seen this before. Occasionally the bank or lender fails to record the release (pay off/close) of the mortgage.  The closing agent in our office contacts the lender, they confirm the mortgage has been paid off and the bank/lender sends us a release to record at the county.

But in this case the original bank is no longer open. We research and find out it’s been absorbed by a big bank. No problem, we contact the big bank, sit on hold for long amounts of time, get transferred and transferred and transferred again. Finally talk to someone in charge and they promise to send the releases before the day of closing. We follow up every day… fast forward to the day before closing. Still no release. We can’t close, we can’t sell the house until we have the releases.

My seller, the closing agent from my office and myself spent over 2 hours on the phone, my seller sat in the local branch for almost 4 hours, we collectively sent 27 emails and left 13 messages and finally at 4:34pm the night before closing the bank finally emailed the releases. No explanation. No I’m sorry this took so long. Good news is that we were able to close at 9am the next morning.

Back to the moral of my story… if you have or plan to pay off your mortgage make sure that you #1 – keep a copy of how you paid it off (cancelled check, wire transfer, funds transfer, etc) #2 keep a copy of the bank statement, account statement, etc that shows the transaction and #3 about 30 days after your bank/lender for a copy of the recorded release!!

Tue Sep 12 15:32:41 UTC 2017

10 things polite Realtors hate to tell sellers (even though it’s important)

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes I offend people when I tell them their house smells. Sometimes I die a little inside before I tell them their house is filthy. Sometimes I hurt their feelings when I explain not everyone loves 7 cats in the house. Sometimes I come off brash when I explain, “but you […]

Sometimes the truth hurts. Sometimes I offend people when I tell them their house smells. Sometimes I die a little inside before I tell them their house is filthy. Sometimes I hurt their feelings when I explain not everyone loves 7 cats in the house. Sometimes I come off brash when I explain, “but you didn’t actually do those things you planned.”

But sometimes, ok most times, it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Litter box Background image via Shutterstock. Modified.

Tilted couch Background image via Shutterstock. Modified.

Messy closet Image via Shutterstock.

Dirty microwave Image via Shutterstock.

Extension cord Image via Shutterstock.

Bong Image via Shutterstock.

Switchplate Image via Shutterstock.

Moving boxes Image via Shutterstock.

Throw rugs Image via Shutterstock.

House for sale Image via Shutterstock.

Thu Feb 16 21:32:20 UTC 2017

Being a Realtor is easy…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

I’m generally pretty laid back, but when I let things build up, it can get a little ugly. That’s where this story starts, let me tell you about my week… It all started on Monday when I ran into a past client in the grocery store. She was so excited to see me and tell […]

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I’m generally pretty laid back, but when I let things build up, it can get a little ugly. That’s where this story starts, let me tell you about my week…

It all started on Monday when I ran into a past client in the grocery store. She was so excited to see me and tell me that she’d gotten her real estate license and was now “working” for (a not to be named, but obviously not C21) real estate company. I told  her I was happy for her and that I had no idea she was interested in the business and she said… “When you  helped us buy our home it was so easy I knew immediately that I wanted to switch to something easier.” I’m not upset with her getting in the business, not one bit. I wished her the best, in fact I told her we should have lunch sometime and if she ever needed anything to call me.

Tuesday I was driving between appointments and saw a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) sign in a past clients yard. Like any good Realtor, I called them immediately and asked them if I could help… “Oh no, we’re good. You know when you sold our last house all you did was put a sign in the ground & it sold,  so we thought that was easy! we can do that and save all that money.”

At 8:30pm last night, I finally took a little time to catch up on some reading, clean out the “extras” in my email, etc and found this lovely little article on Inman News (a leading real estate news source for Realtors)… Why a real estate license empowers women & could change your life.  Should be a great, uplifting article right? WRONG!!! It promotes women having their real estate license in case they get divorced. That you should have your real estate license even if you only do one deal a year. Let me do the math… if you do 3 deals in 3 years then subtract license fees, e&o insurance, office splits, MLS dues, continuing ed classes, lockboxes, signs… well you’d be in the hole, big time and I didn’t even go into business cards, gas, advertising, etc.

Topping it all off was a call this morning at 7:32am. Nice lady called, asked some questions about a house I have listed and said it might be something her son would be interested in. She asked if we’d had any offers, any showings… I said there is a showing scheduled for tomorrow but no offers yet. I asked if her son was pre-approved for financing? “No, not yet, but he just got a great job.” Ok, has he looked at other properties? Is he looking at any other towns? “No, he hasn’t looked at anything yet, he’s very busy. I want to make it easy for him.”  The she asked if I could show her (not the son, his time is very important) 19 other properties (not interested in my listing since someone else is looking at it) this Saturday. I stuttered a little, I started to explain the need for financing pre-approval and that we should narrow down the list a little… she screamed “You’re not making this easy. I will find a Realtor that values his time.” and hung up on me.

So now I’m in a mood, need to go for a walk and have a glass of wine and try not unleash on the next unsuspecting person I run across. I’m having Dr Jekyll / Mr Hyde type conversations with myself. I go to great lengths to make my clients transactions go smoothly and without stress… maybe I should just let some of these deals blow up! No, that’s not a good idea. Maybe I should email/text them every single time I do any single thing on their transaction so they know I’m doing something… no, again not a good idea, I’d need a full time person just to send out those text/emails. Maybe I should call & email my past clients more frequently… no, I think that might qualify as stalking. Maybe I should have agreed to show 19 homes to the mom of an unqualified buyer on my Saturday… no, probably not the best use of my time.

So here I sit repeating… “I love my job, it’s easy. I love my job, it’s easy. I love my job, it’s easy…” in my best mocking, snotty, rebellious 15 year old, valley girl voice and writing a blog post to vent about it! Because in the end, I do love my job. No it’s not easy but I still love it. I’ll work tonight and I’ll get up tomorrow and I’ll keep doing my best because I do love my job.. most of it. Like 98% of it…

On the bright side… I’m doing an awesome job of making this gig look easy!

take-it-easy

 

 

Tue Jan 17 23:01:24 UTC 2017

Innovate or…dissipate?

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

  I started in the real estate world full time in 2005 at the ripe old age of 32. New career, new goals, new outlook on life… yep, I was a bonafide newbie. I was scared to death yet had the whole world in front of me. I was willing to try, didn’t have any […]

 

I started in the real estate world full time in 2005 at the ripe old age of 32. New career, new goals, new outlook on life… yep, I was a bonafide newbie. I was scared to death yet had the whole world in front of me. I was willing to try, didn’t have any bad habits (yet) and didn’t know what I didn’t know.

Agents who had been in the business for years and years were quick to tell me how lucky I was to be getting in now. You see, they remembered when you sat next to your corded phone in the office and waited for a buyer/seller to call, then they called the other party 17 times until they answered, waited 11 hours for that party to call back and then had to physically drive 22 miles to get real, ink signatures then drive back to the office, make 4 copies (buyer/seller/closing dept & one just in case) and then snail mail them out to all parties. Then they got a fax machine!  I could keep going but you get the idea…

Back to me… I was young, ambitious and tech savvy. I had a cell phone, access to a color printer and… a website of my own (gasp!) I was cutting edge! Within a few years I upgraded to a smart phone with unlimited talk/text/pics, my own color printer, a better website and Facebook business account.  Never one to get behind the times I moved on to an iPad,  and hired a professional photographer & drone videoer (is that a word?) for my listings, downloaded an app for on the go scanning & started using Dotloop for electronic signatures. I assume you’re seeing the trend here…

Now here I am starting my 13th year in real estate. I no longer feel like a newbie in the business. I love when any of the “new” agents come to me and ask how to do something because I finally feel like someone thinks I know what I’m doing! My new fear is being left behind. It seems like every day I see or hear of something “new” I should be doing or trying to market my listings or find new prospects.

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But staying cutting edge is a daily grind in this business. Just this morning I read an in depth article on how virtual reality tours will be the norm in our business within 1-2 years. I checked on my ads on Homes.com, Adwerx and Zillow. I updated leads from Agent Machine, Premier Agent Concierge, Lead Router and Zap. Last week I downloaded a new app (you should see the # of real estate apps on my phone!) last week that would make quick, visually pretty, videos for my listings. In the past two days I’ve texted, called, IMd, Messengered, Instagrammed, Facebooked, Pinterested, Snap Chatted, Skyped, Ripled and blogged all in the name of business. Unfortunately I haven’t had time to Google+, do anything on Facebook Live, my Contactually account is behind and my BombBomb account feels neglected.

All of this said, I absolutely love Century 21’s new commercial (see below) “Not an App” because it reminds us that even with all of the innovation, even with all of the real estate websites like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com there are things that machines, apps, programs can’t do. That’s where I/we come in… the real Brandi Nelson, a real person with two real buyer’s agents (The Brandi Nelson Real Estate Team) to take care of real clients.

So yes, we plan to keep innovating but we like to talk to and meet our clients in person. We spend sleepless nights worrying about clients being homeless or complicated deals falling through. We do everything we can to make the process easier & simpler for our clients but at the same time, buying/selling a home is most likely the largest financial decision of your life and that deserves our personal attention.

 

Fri Jan 13 13:34:00 UTC 2017

One last look at 2016 & our stats…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Check out the pictures below of most of the 58 homes & 2 businesses (sorry missing a couple of pics!) that my team helped people buy and sell this year. Here’s the rundown… 46 homes, 11 acreages, 1 condo & 2 commercial buildings 16 transactions were double sided (we worked for both the buyer & […]

Check out the pictures below of most of the 58 homes & 2 businesses (sorry missing a couple of pics!) that my team helped people buy and sell this year. Here’s the rundown…

  • 46 homes, 11 acreages, 1 condo & 2 commercial buildings
  • 16 transactions were double sided (we worked for both the buyer & the seller)
  • Sale prices ranged from $22,000 to $385,000
  • Our listings averaged 43 days on market and sold within 5.3% of their asking price
  • 15 of our listings went pending in 10 days or less, another 11 pended in 11-30 days
  • 4 listings sold on the first day they were listed & had multiple offers

The Brandi Nelson Real Estate Team is extremely proud of our 2016 stats and we’ve set higher standards and bigger goals for 2017!

To see our current listings, go to BrandiNelson.com

If you’re thinking about buying or selling in 2017 we’d be honored to help you, contact Brandi at 515-291-0914 or email her at brandi@c21sre.com

Tue Jan 10 19:38:15 UTC 2017

2016… was a BIG year!

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Before we completely forget last year, let me say 2016 was a BIG year for the Brandi Nelson Real Estate Team! I added two buyer’s agents, moved my main office, hit an all time sales high and helped over 60 individuals/families buy and or sell homes! Let’s start at the beginning… Nicole Haberkorn (now Krauel!) […]

pictures bye bye 2016 best

Before we completely forget last year, let me say 2016 was a BIG year for the Brandi Nelson Real Estate Team! I added two buyer’s agents, moved my main office, hit an all time sales high and helped over 60 individuals/families buy and or sell homes!

Let’s start at the beginning… Nicole Haberkorn (now Krauel!) quit her real job and became a full time real estate agent in April, then got married in October.  Karissa Elgersma, my assistant got her real estate license in April and started working with buyers too. Now I have two right hands! I couldn’t do this without them, nor would I want to try.

  

Nicole Krauel

 

Karissa Elgersma

 

As you can see from the map below (its a little hard to see but its the best my tech savvy self could do!) we covered a lot of territory in central Iowa in 2016. This is a map of the 60 transactions we were able to handle and successfully close from January to December of 2016, from Highway 20 in the north to Highway 80 in the south, as far west as Stratford and as far west as Clemons. Whew, our mileage deductions should be amazing for 2016.

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Personally, I moved from the Ames office to the Story City office (see New Year, New Goals, New Office ) and I had my best, highest grossing real estate year yet. I owe all my success to Karissa, Nicole, Cory (my husband), my family, a ton of great friends, my co-workers/support staff and all of my amazing clients!  I truly believe it takes a team to thrive in the real estate world. The encouragement that I received this past year from my husband, my family & friends was nothing short of amazing. The support from my team, my co-workers and support staff at Century 21 Signature Real Estate was above & beyond the call of duty. But let’s not forget the ever essential, incredible clients we got to work with and for this year – without them, none of this would be possible!

 

Fri Jan 06 18:38:34 UTC 2017

New year, new goals, new office!

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Don’t panic. I’m still with Century 21 and still very happy there! Late last year, Century 21 Signature Real Estate (Ames, Story City, Huxley, Ankeny, Urbandale & Altoona) bought 511 Broad Street in Story City. For years and years it was the Story City Herald’s office building. It’s a beautiful brick building on the west […]

Don’t panic. I’m still with Century 21 and still very happy there!

Late last year, Century 21 Signature Real Estate (Ames, Story City, Huxley, Ankeny, Urbandale & Altoona) bought 511 Broad Street in Story City. For years and years it was the Story City Herald’s office building. It’s a beautiful brick building on the west end, north side of Broad St. (main drag), tons of woodwork and charm.

Moving our Story City office to the new building provides more office room for agents and private conference rooms to meet with clients. Lucky me! Now there’s room for me to work from the Story City office, be closer to home and be in the center of my sphere of influence. I’m super excited and I’m already loving hanging out here.

The plan is for Karissa Elgersma (my assistant and buyer’s agent) and Nicole Haberkorn (my buyer’s agent) to still work out of the Ames office, no changes there. I still have a spot in our Ames BNRE team office and will spend Wednesdays in Ames, go there for closings, meetings, etc.  With all the advances in technology and our office being 95% paperless this is a pretty easy transition, plus realistically I’m only 20 mins from Ames if I’m absolutely needed!

That’s my big news, stop in and check out our new office, I’d love to see you & we have a Keurig… just sayin…

 

 

Tue Jan 03 20:18:10 UTC 2017

It’s 2017… now what?

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Woohoo, it’s 2017! I’ve got all my resolutions made, goals set, plans in the works, a brand new year to look ahead to… but… wait… maybe we should start with a little reality… The last 10 days have been great. I had a wonderful Christmas, played with some new kitchen gadgets & gifts, spent time […]

Image result for 2017 images

Woohoo, it’s 2017! I’ve got all my resolutions made, goals set, plans in the works, a brand new year to look ahead to… but… wait… maybe we should start with a little reality…

The last 10 days have been great. I had a wonderful Christmas, played with some new kitchen gadgets & gifts, spent time with the family (but not too much time!), had two closings, celebrated a couple of birthdays, enjoyed a few late night/early mornings with friends, ate some really awesome food (maybe a little too much), slept til 8/9/10am everyday, relished a few really quiet hours setting up my new office, popped by a few clients to say Happy Holidays, did the whole shop/spend/return thing, ran errands for the hubby, spoiled my dogs rotten with naps/walks/cuddling,  completely cleared out our Tivo and actually loved my 10 days “off”.

It all started to go downhill about 1pm yesterday… panic and dread started to set in…

I. HAVE. TO. WORK. TOMORROW.

Like, actually, really work. I know, everyone does and I’m not special. Not looking for sympathy or anything, its just never really hit me like it did this year. You see I rarely take days in a row off. There have been a few vacations where we’ve left the country, I had zero communication but the longest was 7 days and I’m usually a wreck before & after. There are times when I “say” I’m off work but I’m still checking emails, answering calls and my mind is still in real estate mode because I truly love my job. I rarely think of it as work.

Image result for alarm images

My alarm went off at 5:30 this morning (Resolution #1). My FitBit silent alarm went off at 5:45. My overly ambitious self sent me a an appointment reminder at 6am that I should already be downstairs working out (Resolution #2). I literally sent a SnapChat from my bed about how unexcited I was about going back to work. At 7am I opened the fridge to find a lot of pre-made, healthy food, fruits and veggies (Resolution #3)… to be honest, it was already looking bad for the future of my resolutions. It’s early, it’s cold & windy outside, it’s January, whose bright idea was this?

But then it was like a little miracle… the phone rang…it was a new prospective client that had been referred to me (a glowing, only person you should use, type referral), then an email from a client I thought had given up the search for real estate saying they want to buy in the next 60 days, then a call from a lender that wants to do lunch and see what they can do better this year… and then the stars aligned, my to do list reappeared, ideas started flying onto the paper and I’M BAAAACK!!

Here’s to 2017 and getting back to my routine. Yes, there are some changes I’d like to make, some improvements I hope to make and new projects to start. But I’m really happy to be back to work! Speaking of which… gotta go…I need to drink another 20 oz of water (Resolution #4), still have lots of clients to call (Resolution #5)…

Tue Oct 04 19:18:59 UTC 2016

Why? How? What? What?

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

I repeat WHY? at least 1,000 times a day in my head and probably a few too many times out loud. Why did this deal go bad? Why did this happen? Why do they think that? Why didn’t I say it this way not that way? Why did they list with them not me? Why […]

why pic.png

I repeat WHY? at least 1,000 times a day in my head and probably a few too many times out loud. Why did this deal go bad? Why did this happen? Why do they think that? Why didn’t I say it this way not that way? Why did they list with them not me? Why didn’t we already know this? Why are they getting involved? Why on earth did they do that? Why hasn’t this been done yet? Why didn’t I see this coming?

Why… why… why?

The only thing that keeps me sane (please don’t laugh, I’m sane & I’m sticking to it) is going from Why? to How? and What? I usually try to allow myself a few minutes of whying and then I try to move on to more constructive thoughts and questions. How did this happen? What could we have done differently? What do we do from here? Some days that’s easier said than done.

Today is no different. Today I had a deal fall apart. Not just “a” deal but both sides of a deal, I represent both the buyer and the seller. Yep, as soon as I heard the bad news I could feel my blood pressure go up, tears of frustration welling up in my eyes, the muscles in my neck stiffen and the not so nice words swirling around in my head. But I took a couple of really deep breaths, took the dogs outside for a 5 minute walk (I’m working from home today, internet at the office is down) and did everything I could NOT to think about it for a few minutes.

stress is a choice.jpg

Once I calmed down a little and after I had talked to the buyer, the lender, the seller and made sure our closing department knew to stop everything,  I went back to WHY? Why did this happen? No finger pointing, just the facts. Then I moved on to HOW? Again, just the facts are important here. Then immediately asked myself WHAT could I/we have done differently? In this case there are a couple of little things I found & noted we could have done, a lot of this one was out of our control and probably wouldn’t have changed the outcome. And most importantly, I asked WHAT do we do from here?

There are more steps to cancelling a deal than one would think, so we’ll get started on those things and the paperwork asap. I’ve also got to work with the buyer and the seller to get new plans of action in place for each of them moving forward. Then I went back over those “little things” that I noted we could have maybe done different… I added another reminder a little earlier in the process for the buyer, I added another email to the buyer program in our pending communications, I added another item on the pending checklist to ask the lender and a I made a mental note that sometimes things out of our control happen.

Thu Sep 29 15:05:57 UTC 2016

It’s the annoying little things…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Yesterday I was walking thru Lowes picking up some lightbulbs and spray paint (that’s a whole ‘nother story) when I spotted the one thing I desperately needed, staring at me right there on an end cap, the one thing that could make my entire life better, lower my blood pressure… a small, glorious can of […]

Yesterday I was walking thru Lowes picking up some lightbulbs and spray paint (that’s a whole ‘nother story) when I spotted the one thing I desperately needed, staring at me right there on an end cap, the one thing that could make my entire life better, lower my blood pressure… a small, glorious can of WD40.

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Cory and I have lived on our acreage for a little over 18 years now. We live in your typical old farmhouse circa 1910 and our abstract even notes that it all started with “a cabin of unknown origin.” Needless to say its been updated and remodeled numerous times over its 106 year lifetime but let’s face it, she’s still old.

When we bought this place we were young and…poor. We bought all we could afford at the time and we were delighted! Oh the things we were going to do to this place. Now 18 years later, 3 sets of carpet, a kitchen remodel, 2 roofs, new siding, new windows, new furnace and a/c and countless coats of paint we still have a lot we want/need to do. But it’s the littlest of things that annoy me the most.

For 18 years the hinges on the cupboard in the bathroom and our bedroom door have creaked. In the early years it wasn’t annoying, no it was the cute reminder and euphoria of owning a home with character. In the mid years it was a slight nudge, gentle reminder of the list of things we really need to work on & update. But now? Now it’s just downright, absolutely, ANNOYING. I can hear the bathroom cupboard open from clear upstairs (it’s downstairs) and every time one of us gets up in the night to go to the bathroom the creak in the bedroom door wakes the other one up. CREEEAAAAK… (insert high pitched scream!)

I quickly picked up the can of WD40 and hurried home, I couldn’t wait. I dug thru my shopping bags, grabbed the can, awkwardly inserted the straw thingy into the spray nozzle thingy and went to work. I WD40’d every single hinge in our entire house. I was a woman on mission, no more creaky hinges on my watch! Something that’s been irritating me for 18 years took me all of 5 minutes to fix. Why on earth did I wait so long?

I now have 95% of the bottle of WD40 left and I quickly hit up Google to see what else I could use it for, check this out… Almost 2,000 uses for WD40 … Who knew?

This morning without thinking I opened up the bathroom cupboard and it hit me… no creaking!!! It was glorious!!! Now if I can just figure out how to make the dirty clothes put themselves in the washer…

Sun Sep 25 17:27:00 UTC 2016

To do… to do… to do…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

My to do list is never ending. Actually I should make that plural, my to do lists are never ending. I’ve moved well past one list to several lists… in several categories… some business, some personal, some broad, some detailed, some are items that need done ASAP, some are for today, or tomorrow, even next […]

Image result for to do list picture

My to do list is never ending. Actually I should make that plural, my to do lists are never ending. I’ve moved well past one list to several lists… in several categories… some business, some personal, some broad, some detailed, some are items that need done ASAP, some are for today, or tomorrow, even next week, there’s my bucket list and let’s be honest some are just a wish and a hope and I will never get to them.

I’m a serial list maker. I admit it. There is something very soothing to me about making a list. I’m pretty happy when I can check something off the list too but it’s the creation of the list that I like the best. And there is nothing better than taking a bunch of road worn, ragged 3 day old lists and combining them into one again. AHHHHH, bliss.

I’ve always known this about myself but I’ve never really thought about why it is, or how to “harness” the beast but last Thursday it all started to come together for me. Myself and about 20 other agents from my office took a Kolbe A Test, then we went over our results and discussed the why’s & why nots. I’m sure you’ve heard of DISC, Strength Finder, Briggs Myers and this is kinda like that but way different.

The short version of the story is that I’m a 3-4-9-3, my strengths are that I simplify, maintain, innovate and envision. I have lots of ideas, plans, my head is always spinning with new ways to market properties, add clients, better the client experience, get more business and on and on – that’s the innovate and envision part. But I naturally want to simplify my life and my business, so I make a list of all those things and then I make a sub list of what needs done for each item. Then I start to get overwhelmed with the details and I combine them back into one list that I’ll look at tomorrow.

Like I said earlier, I’ve always know this about myself to some degree and this test reinforced that its not something I can will to change but I can manage it. I will try to remind myself to tackle one project at a time and get thru it. 80% done is better than 100% never done. I’ve also learned the fine art of hiring help and delegating items to my team. I don’t mean that in a bad way, its a great thing! Every person is different, every person has a different set of strengths and some even thrive on the things that bog me down! Another AHHHHH moment!!!

Maybe someday I’ll show you the checklist we’ve created for every new listing, or the one for new pendings, and there’s the price reduction update list, don’t forget the list of projects to accomplish this winter, or my weekly social media posting checklist… ooh that made me remember… write blog post on Sunday, CHECK!

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Fri Sep 23 09:25:35 UTC 2016

It all started with…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

It all started a few days ago when I saw this great picture on Facebook and I just had to re-post it. I mean its totally me. I wear heels a lot. I’m 5′ nothing on a bad hair day and I love my stilettos. I’ve walked thru the timber in my peep toe camel […]

It all started a few days ago when I saw this great picture on Facebook and I just had to re-post it. I mean its totally me. I wear heels a lot. I’m 5′ nothing on a bad hair day and I love my stilettos. I’ve walked thru the timber in my peep toe camel pumps, I once took off my leopard print Jessica Simpson stilettos because I was sinking into the grass in a clients yard and there is no way I’m going to admit to how many pair I currently have in my closet.

Then I got to wondering what #bossbabe really was, so of course I Googled it. Yep… I’ve fallen head over heels in love. One little search lead me to about a thousand awesome pictures and enough witty, smart assy, girl sassy sayings to last me a lifetime.

Image result for bossbabe quotes

I think I’ll change my Facebook cover photo to this one for a few days.

You’ve been forewarned. There’s a good change this could get out of control.

Wed Sep 14 05:23:40 UTC 2016

It’s all relative…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

relative  [rel–uh-tiv] adjective 1. considered in relation to something else; comparative: the relative merits of democracy and monarchy. 2. existing or having its specific nature only by relation to something else;not absolute or independent: Happiness is relative. 3. having relation or connection. 4. having reference or regard; relevant; pertinent (usually followed by to): to determine the facts relative to an accident. 5. correspondent; […]

relative 

[reluh-tiv]

adjective
1. considered in relation to something else; comparative: the relative merits of democracy and monarchy.
2. existing or having its specific nature only by relation to something else;not absolute or independent: Happiness is relative.
3. having relation or connection.
4. having reference or regard; relevant; pertinent (usually followed by to): to determine the facts relative to an accident.
5. correspondent; proportionate: Value is relative to demand.
6. (of a term, name, etc.) depending for significance upon somethingelse: “Better” is a relative term.
There are a few words/terms/lingo in real estate that should be used with caution. No matter how you use them, it’s always relative to the person who is hearing or seeing them. I’ll give you a few examples… clean, nice, big, quiet, reasonably priced… just to name a few.
Clean to a surgical nurse and clean to 4 college guys living in a rental house… completely different meaning.
Nice… means so many different things depending on your age, your up bringing, your current living situation.
Big… if you currently live in a 400 sq. foot New York apartment, then a 900 sq. foot bungalow is big.
Quiet is a big one. Think about a young couple with two kids, 2 cars and a dog vs an 80 year old widow with a cat, who’s never driven a car.
Reasonably priced… surely you’re catching on by now…
If you are just browsing real estate ads, you’re buying your first home or selling your 5th home you’ll inevitably run into some of these words. Take them with a grain of salt, seek clarification if something is very important to you and above all else… please try to remember its all… relative.

Wed Sep 07 19:00:00 UTC 2016

So… it’s been over a year…

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Word Press was nice enough to remind me last week that it has been over a year since I wrote a blog post. Ironically that last post was We Need You(r House)!! and we still do, but I’ll get to that later. First I want to apologize, I didn’t really mean to abandon you! Let’s do a quick […]

14,767 Homes Sold Yesterday… Did Yours? | MyKCM

Word Press was nice enough to remind me last week that it has been over a year since I wrote a blog post. Ironically that last post was We Need You(r House)!! and we still do, but I’ll get to that later. First I want to apologize, I didn’t really mean to abandon you!

Let’s do a quick recap of 2016. Overall its been a great year for real estate in central Iowa. Personally I’m on track to have my best year yet. Sales are up, prices are holding steady, days on market are down but we are really short on listings.

There was a time early this summer in the Ames market when we were referring to “hours on market” and I overheard one agent in our office say… “I was a little disappointed, we only had 3 offers over asking price.” I think it is safe to say we’ve been spoiled. I’ve found myself saying to listing clients “We need to think about a price reduction, your property has been on the market a week with no offers…” It’s crazy. It’s different. It’s just a phase.

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Like I said, personally I’m on track to have my best year yet and The Brandi Nelson Real Estate Team is on a roll!  I’ve got two great “buyer agents” to back me up, Nicole Haberkorn and Karissa Elgersma who are doing a wonderful job. I’ve got them running all over central Iowa, writing offers, competing in multiple offer situations, and winning deals which allows me to focus on listings. David Whitaker, Whitaker Marketing Group has had some great auctions this year.

Now we’re already in September and people are talking about how much we will slow down. I don’t think we’ll slow down as much as usual. There are still a lot of buyers who haven’t found properties yet. The smart buyers will keep looking in Fall and into Winter, they’ll gobble (like my T-Day reference?) up properties that weren’t on the market during the crazy season. They’ll choose to move in less than ideal weather so that they can buy that perfect property. Sellers will realize that although there won’t be as many showings as a Spring/Summer listing, the showings will be better quality buyers.

That’s my quick synopsis. I don’t have a super clear agenda on where I’m taking this blog yet but I’ll cover hot topics that come up, go in depth on explaining common practices, discuss tools/marketing strategies and I’m always open to questions or ideas from you too!

 

 

Tue Apr 28 17:12:43 UTC 2015

We Need You(r House)!!

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

We Need You(r House)!! by The KCM Crew on April 21, 2015 in For Sellers, Move-Up Buyers 2.1k 1.3k 358 307 75 0 We Need You(r House)!! | Keeping Current Matters Though the real estate market has improved, we still have one item holding it back from a full recovery – a robust supply of […]

We Need You(r House)!!
by The KCM Crew on April 21, 2015 in For Sellers, Move-Up Buyers

2.1k 1.3k 358 307 75 0
We Need You(r House)!! | Keeping Current Matters

Though the real estate market has improved, we still have one item holding it back from a full recovery – a robust supply of homes for sale. Demand has increased dramatically. At the same time, housing inventory is decreasing especially at the lower price points.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recently revealed that there is a pent-up seller demand caused by the uncertainty created by the housing crisis of the last decade.

What does that mean to you?

Houses listed today sell quickly. With prices still below peak values of 2007 in many parts of the country and mortgage interest rates at historic lows, this may be the perfect time for your family to make the move to the dream house you always wanted – whether that’s a larger home or that vacation/retirement home you have been looking at.

What does that mean to the economy?

Housing has always been an essential part of the U.S. economy. As we have reported before, real estate not only provides housing for families. It is often the greatest source of wealth and savings for many. The recent increase in real estate sales has led to an increase in real estate prices. This has increased the value of everyone’s’ home, whether they are selling or not. This leads to an increase in consumer confidence which in turn leads to an increase in consumer spending. Plus, each home sale automatically puts money into the economy.

NAR compiled data from research conducted by the Bureau of Economic Analysis & Macroeconomic Advisors on the economic impact of a home purchase.

After reviewing the data, they concluded that the total economic impact of a typical home sale in the United States is an astonishing $52,205.

The more homes that sell, the better the economy.

Bottom Line

In order for the U.S. economy to get better, we need to sell more homes. Perhaps, it makes sense for one of those homes to be yours.

If you have considered selling but are still a little nervous, now might be the time to sit down with a real estate professional familiar with your market and see what your options truly are.

Tue Feb 10 16:45:44 UTC 2015

No Matter What the Groundhog Says… You Should Sell Before Spring!

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

No Matter What the Groundhog Says… You Should Sell Before Spring! by The KCM Crew on February 2, 2015 in For Sellers Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season. […]

No Matter What the Groundhog Says… You Should Sell Before Spring!
by The KCM Crew on February 2, 2015 in For Sellers

Is spring closer than we think? Depending on which Groundhog you witnessed today, you may have less time than you think to get your home on the market before the busy spring season.

Many sellers feel that the spring is the best time to place their home on the market as buyer demand traditionally increases at that time of year. However, the next six weeks before spring hits also have their own advantages.

Here are five reasons to sell now.

1. Demand is Strong
Foot traffic refers to the number of people out actually physically looking at homes right now. The latest foot traffic numbers show that there are currently more prospective purchasers looking at homes than at any other time in the last 12 months, which includes last spring’s buyers’ market. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now!

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now
Housing supply just dropped to 4.4 months, which is under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market.

There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future.

Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A recent study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference).

The choices buyers have will increase in the spring. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker
One of the biggest challenges of the housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. There is less overall business done in the winter. Therefore, the process will be less onerous than it will be in the spring. Getting your house sold and closed before the spring delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up
If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 23.5% from now to 2019. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30-year housing expense with an interest rate below 4% right now. Rates are projected to be a full point higher by the end of 2015.

5. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life
Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Mon Nov 24 16:22:07 UTC 2014

4 More Reasons to Sell Now

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

4 More Reasons to Sell Now Posted: 24 Nov 2014 04:00 AM PST 4 More Reasons to Sell Now | Keeping Current Matters As we discussed last week one reason to sell now is demand is still strong. With inventory levels also still below historic numbers, you could be missing out on a great opportunity […]

4 More Reasons to Sell Now
Posted: 24 Nov 2014 04:00 AM PST

4 More Reasons to Sell Now | Keeping Current Matters

4 More Reasons to Sell Now | Keeping Current Matters As we discussed last week one reason to sell now is demand is still strong. With inventory levels also still below historic numbers, you could be missing out on a great opportunity for your family.
1. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing supply just dropped to 5.1 months, which is under the 6 months’ supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in many areas, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in that market. This is good news for home prices. However, additional inventory is about to come to market. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. Homeowners are now seeing a return to positive equity as real estate values have increased over the last two years. Many of these homes will be coming to the market in the near future. Also, new construction of single-family homes is again beginning to increase. A study by Harris Poll revealed that 41% of buyers would prefer to buy a new home while only 21% prefer an existing home (38% had no preference). The choices buyers have will continue to increase over the next few months. Don’t wait until all this other inventory of homes comes to market before you sell.
2. The Process Will Be Quicker

One of the biggest challenges of the 2014 housing market has been the length of time it takes from contract to closing. Banks are requiring more and more paperwork before approving a mortgage. Any delay in the process is always prolonged during the winter holiday season. Getting your house sold and closed before those delays begin will lend itself to a smoother transaction.
With demand still strong and inventory below norms now is the time to sell #KCM2014
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3. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move-Up

If you are moving up to a larger, more expensive home, consider doing it now. Prices are projected to appreciate by over 23.5% from now to 2019. If you are moving to a higher priced home, it will wind-up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait. You can also lock-in your 30 year housing expense with an interest rate in the low 4’s right now. Rates are projected to be over 5% by this time next year.
4. It’s Time to Move On with Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should? Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take back control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps, the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.
That is what is truly important.

Thu Nov 20 20:05:35 UTC 2014

Thanksgiving is next week & maybe some g

Posted by: Brandi Nelson

Thanksgiving is next week & maybe some gatherings this weekend… you might want to review 10 taboo dinner topics! http://ow.ly/d/2JK4

Thanksgiving is next week & maybe some gatherings this weekend… you might want to review 10 taboo dinner topics! http://ow.ly/d/2JK4