The JOY of a Holiday Home

“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.”
Edith Sitwell

2014 christmas

 

There is no other time of year that brings to mind all the things that mean “home” more than winter and the holidays.  It has become the gala of the home!  We dress it up, drape it in as much “jewelry” as we can find, put a spotlight on it and then just stand back and admire!  It’s the beauty, the whimsy, the warmth that invites people to share the love we have for our home!  Yeah- they say Christmas is for kids, but our homes get their share of spoiling and pampering during the season too!

 

I remember growing up in Bardstown- that we always had a door decorating contest – for the businesses downtown, but also the homes around town.  It was a big deal at our house, because our mother would always create the most beautiful doors.  One year, I remember a silhouette if the three wise men against a background of royal blue.  A single shimmering silver star led the way.  (Of course, she won that year!)  We also appreciated all the other homes’ decorations.  All of us loaded up in the car, driving through all the neighborhoods looking at the lights, door designs and wreaths.  A lot of things have changed about how people celebrate, but the adornment of our homes is not one of them!!

 

On the outside, I love the wreaths, candles in the windows and simple spotlights on a pretty house.  But my grandson gets most excited to see the colorful lights, blinking and twinkling around a yard full of various Christmas characters or woodland animals!  Whatever your preference, one thing is constant- the home decorated for the holidays emanates a warmth, coziness and a feeling that love is in that house!  When I drive by a beautifully decorated home during the holiday season, I wonder wistfully about the decorating going on indoors. Is there music, candles?  Is someone baking?  Can you smell the apple cider, hear the laughter? 

 

I know that the holidays can be hard for some of us who might be alone or missing someone special.  I know it makes it hard to get that Christmas spirit, or the right spirit.  “Humbug, not gonna decorate this year, why should I?”  Try this- begin with a simple wreath on the door, a holiday scented candle and fix yourself something warm and sweet to drink.  Feeling better?  Now add a bright red bow to your mailbox, gather up some branches and holly from your yard and place them in a large container on your front porch with another big red bow!  And there you have it- you just put a smile on your house!  It will greet you every day after a day at work or a cold day out!  There’s just something warm about a home decorated for Christmas.

 

Whatever your Christmas tradition is, I’m pretty sure that part of it includes dressing up your home to bring in the “magic” of the Holidays!  So enjoy bringing Christmas alive at your home (inside and out) for your family and friends.  But even if it’s all just for you… do it!  Create JOY at home! 

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REALTORS® and the WEB

 

I remember in 1999, when I was serving as President of the Old KY Home Board of REALTORS,  we had just established an MLS service, many of us didn’t do our work on computers, and the internet was only a big scary place where information lived.  We didn’t know really how it got there and were even less sure about how to get it out!  Times have changed!  Back then, there were a small number of clients who searched the internet looking for a home.

Realtor.com, started in partnership with NAR (National Association of REALTORS®), became the first reliable source of “home-shopping” for consumers.  There was some real concern with agents back then because we all know how the internet impacted the travel agent profession- allowing people to do their own homework and helping them cut out the “middleman”.

Many in our profession feared that we would suffer the same fate.  We knew that people were looking at this site as a shopping aid for buyers, but we weren’t sure how far it would take them.  We still advertised our listings the traditional way- in the newspaper and home magazines- hoping that most people would get their basic info there, and call us for the rest.  And they did, and still do- to a certain degree.  But, let’s face it; today’s homebuyer is much savvier than those of the last century!

Next- after Realtor.com became so successful, other search sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Homes.com started popping up and the real estate industry started asking- “What is happening to our industry?”  “How do we remain relevant- and central to the real estate transaction?”  Again, as it was after the launch of Realtor.com, many started predicting the demise of the profession.  Yet- even though approximately ninety percent of consumers go to the Web to begin their real estate searches (NAR), and even though forty two percent find their homes through online searches, 89% of them end up using a real estate agent or broker to make the actual purchase.

How in the world, you might ask, do REALTORS® continue to survive when they have been electronically replaced in the home buying process?  That’s the question that has launched many professionals into a panic and challenged many consumers to consider going it alone.  The answer is really quite simple- the shopping process is only a small part of the home buying process.  It’s the fun part!  It’s the rainy, cold afternoon when families sit at their computers and look at pictures, videos, virtual tours and dream, prioritize and educate themselves about the reality of the market, prices, and how prices may vary in different locations.  It’s where consumers can give themselves a pat on the back for being more educated before they set out on their home buying journey.

Part two of the answer here is that gathering information is only step one of the journey.  Then there is the rest of the story!  It takes experience and skill to be able to write a good and complete and enforceable offer to purchase.  It takes skill and experience to negotiate that offer into an accepted contract which addresses all the issues and explains them in a way that results into satisfied clients and good results.  It takes experience and skill to understand that your partners in the rest of the process (lenders, inspectors, etc.) need to be reliable, tested and held to the same degree of professionalism as your REALTOR®.

Finally, there is nothing like having an established relationship with a person that can answer your questions when you start to second guess your decisions, or when you want to know your options with this or that issue.  It’s peace of mind.  There is one thing that has always driven me to be the best REALTOR® I could be- and that is, “Did I bring my clients the feeling that they were in good hands?  Did I leave them with peace of mind, knowing that their dreams and my skills were the best way to take on the most complicated transaction that they may ever confront?”

Meanwhile- the internet will always challenge the real estate agent in terms of providing information- but nothing will cancel the impact that the personal representation of a REALTOR® has in pulling together all the pieces of the deal to result in the ultimate goal~ your new home!!

The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® is a local professional association representing REALTORS® from the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky.  www.okhrealtors.com

 

Home~ It’s Where Christmas Lives!

Home~ It’s Where Christmas Lives!
Over the years, whether I was working as a REALTOR®, as a broker, or as an Association Director, I always approach Christmastime with a feeling of reflection and appreciation for what the year has brought me to…and brought me through. There were years when I felt that prosperity was all around me, with people just busting out with big lavish parties, generous bonuses being spent, and lots of packages under the trees!
I also remember years when things were quite a bit more measured and, let’s say, a little simpler. Still, there were gifts under the trees- maybe a few less, but more thoughtfully chosen. We’d have a lot more homemade goodies; some smaller- more intimate gatherings; and more activities focused around the home and the family. Smaller in scale, but still- the “Magic” was there!
Harder times have a way of bringing you home, and home has a way of bringing you a clear perspective! I always loved being able to gather with my friends, family or co-workers and celebrate all the successes that each year had given us! But I also treasured the years that our rewards were more humble and our trials seemed to challenge us in our search for the joy of the Christmas season.
Home! It’s where we celebrate, reflect, bring in and let go. It’s where we plan, grow, nurture and conserve. If I drove past all the homes that I have sold over the years, and thought of all the wonderful families that I have gotten to know- I would be sure of this one thing; bringing people and houses together to create homes is the best profession in the world! I’d like to believe that there’s a little bit of Charles Dickens in every REALTOR’s heart that imagines that every client can have that magical fairy tale home!

“Happy, happy Christmas, that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days, recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth, and transport the traveler back to his own fireside and quiet home!” ~Charles Dickensnovember_christmas_scene

On behalf of the Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS®, I wish one and all a very Happy and Joyful Holiday Season and a Prosperous New Year!!
The Old Kentucky Home Board of REALTORS® is a local professional association representing REALTORS® from the Nelson, Washington, Marion, Larue and Hart Counties in Kentucky. http://www.okhrealtors.com