That Thing On Your Wrist

Fitness trackers.

Everywhere you look these days, it seems like someone is wearing a fitness tracker of some sort. From the less advanced pedometer to the highly functional Apple Watch, the masses have spoken and they love keeping track.

I’ll admit, I wanted one for a while before I finally made the jump. I didn’t want to have that bulky thing on my wrist all the time. Gosh, it just doesn’t match anything, does it? It certainly doesn’t seem professional with a suit. And honestly, it’s a bit ‘mark of the beast’ for this church girl. C’mon, you know you’ve considered that, too.

Well, now that I’ve happily been wearing my Jawbone Up since September, I have a few things to tell the naysayers.Jawbone UP

Who Cares? Well, millions of Americans care. We’ve been told to care. The obesity in our country is out of control and one of the many ways to combat it is by keeping track of your steps, exercise, etc.

What does it do for you? Well, I am so much smarter about what makes me tick. For instance, I was going to bed and trying to sleep 8 hours every night only to lay there for a long time worried about not being able to fall asleep. Guess what I learned! I only need about 7 hours and 15-22 minutes of sleep every night. And….I can function perfectly fine on one night of 5 hours of sleep during the week. I have to catch up on sleep on the weekends, even though scientists debunked that theory years ago. When I catch up on the weekends, I’m far more active than I am when I don’t. In my opinion, just the sleep tracking is worth the $100 I spent on it.

How does it actually make you more active? Mine came complete with a great app that throws out challenges of all sorts during the week, like ‘drink more water’ or ‘most women your age have walked 800 more steps by this time of day’—you get the picture. Plus, I have my timer set to wake me up, go off when I’ve been inactive for 45 minutes, remind me to do crunches at night, and so on. In order to keep it quiet, I get up and move. It’s not really that I’m going great guns and running laps around the building, but I am so much more aware of what I need each and every day.

What’s funny is that I haven’t gotten tired of it yet. I think it’s because it’s so slim and comfortable, but also because I enjoy the knowledge. Normally, I’d be bored with something like this by now. Each night, I find myself curiously checking the app to see where I’m at for the day. Mid-day, when my eyes start drooping, I like to check on the amount of sleep I got.

So, if you’ve been on the verge of purchasing one, I’d definitely check into it. You never know what it can do for you.



What’s in a name?

Wow, this really is the era of pushing the limits. Every single day it seems I see another agent’s email signature, flyer, Facebook page, YouTube video or other media clearly showing their name, their team name, their cell phone number and little else. I’m here to warn you, this cannot last.

The Kansas Real Estate Commission and the Missouri Real Estate Commission have a set of rules we all learned when we got our licenses. One of those rules states we must clearly state our brokerage on all forms of advertising.

Here’s the Kansas rule:

(b) Except as specified by subsection (c), all advertising conducted by a licensee shall: (A) Be conducted under the direct supervision of the supervising broker or branch broker; (B) include the name of the supervising broker’s trade name or business name by prominently and conspicuously displaying or announcing the supervising broker’s trade name or business name in a readable and identifiable manner; and (C) include any other information that the supervising broker or branch broker considers necessary.

And here’s Missouri’s:

(3) Every advertisement of real estate by a licensee where the licensee has no interest in the real estate shall be made under the direct supervision and in the name of the broker or firm who holds the licensee’s license. If the licensee’s name or telephone number, or both, is used in any advertisement, the advertisement also shall include the name and telephone number of the broker or firm who holds the licensee’s license.

In school, we learned this was for the protection of the consumer. The consumer needs to clearly understand we are licensed real estate agents working under a certain brokerage. Why? Isn’t this just another blog post warning about those stupid rules? Why do I need to follow those? It’s just something my broker created so I can advertise them instead of me!!! It’s my business, my leads belong to me and if I put the company’s name on anything, those leads will be lost through the office.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all for agent branding, niche marketing, personal websites, Facebook business pages and all facets of creative real estate marketing. However, I really think we should all try to protect the consumer. Here’s the issue. If a consumer is working with us and something goes wrong, they have no idea there’s a bigger company behind that agent, and in turn, feels there’s nobody to turn to about an issue. <—-That, my friends, is a BIG problem. We’ve spent 102 years creating a better profession. 102 years of becoming better, more ethical, more protective of the people we serve.

102 years.

And now, after 102 years, everyone decides they want to build their personal brand and disregard the rules set forth by the real estate commissions. It’s misleading which also makes it unethical, which means you’re freely using the distinction of being a REALTOR that subscribes to the Code of Ethics while blatantly going against it.

Not only that, a large majority of agents belong to a company that’s part of a larger franchise. Our company agreements with those franchises clearly state the company name under which we operate. Manipulating that company name for your personal use by leaving off or rearranging words violates that franchise agreement. Who cares? Well, I bet the franchise cares. The broker definitely cares.. YOU should care. You see, manipulating the name of the company DILUTES THE BRAND. Why did you choose the company in the first place? The reputation of the brand? The popularity of the brand? The size of the brand? And here you come along and do anything you want to dilute that message  Lets take a brand like Starbucks and consider the thought of every single Starbucks store creating their own Facebook page. One employee names their page Starbucks Coffee Store, another one types it in wrong and goes by Storbucks, another goes by Your KC Starbucks, how about Starbucks Local….. You get the point. It dilutes the brand. Unfortunately a-POPnd fortunately, the real estate world operates differently. Agents are allowed and encouraged to create a brand within a brand. (As long as it meets the company guidelines and the real estate commission guidelines and the NAR Code of Ethics)

Dear consumers, on behalf of the real estate community, I truly apologize. We’ve let this issue get so far out of hand, we’ll need to fight hard to find our way back. Please know, it’s okay to ask an agent about the company they’re associated with. It’s okay to find out the name of their managing broker. After all, this was created for your protection.

I’ll get off my soapbox now, but not without warning. More rules are coming. Stricter protection of the rules will happen. Tell me, what’s really the harm in complying? What’s the harm in having a chat with your broker about what’s right and wrong? Wouldn’t you rather boost the power of the brand you’ve chosen instead of diluting it? Be Better. Talk to your friends, say something at a sales meeting, invite a trainer into your office. Take a stand and make it right. Protect your friends, while protecting your office, while protecting your brand…all while protecting those wonderful consumers. It’s an incredibly professional decision, 102 years in the making.

So You Want to Run a Real Estate Office

Several times a week, an agent or friend tells me how they’d love to have a job like mine.

In their minds, I receive the benefit of the fun of real estate sales without having to get into the nitty gritty part of showing or listing homes. I get to sit at my desk all day and check contracts, talk and laugh with the agents and walk through beautiful properties whenever I want. All for a salary!!! Heck, why not?


I love my job. I love what I do for my people. I love the good and the bad days. It’s perfect for me. That being said, it isn’t perfect for everyone. Not only has the industry evolved, management has been forced to evolve as well. If you’re going to lead a real estate office you’re going to need a wide range of skills in order to compete in the marketplace. (And we’re all competing. We’re competing to be the best office, to be the top selling office, some want to be the largest office, the most fun office, the most skilled office, etc)

It’s definitely not what it used to be…and that’s a good thing.

Essentially the job is the same, but there is so much more to it now. For example, in the past, it didn’t matter if the managing broker of the office could cook. Well, these days, with social media, everyone is sharing how their broker made them the ‘best breakfast’ for sales meeting. They’ve upped the ante and you either become that great or you overcompensate with something else. When was the last time an employee at a 9-5 job walked into their manager’s office and asked them how to fix their cell phone? It’s happening every single day in the real estate world. How about the conversations about the best ways to advertise a new listing on Facebook? Is your broker comfortable with digital signatures, digital contracts and all sorts of digital communication? Well, today, they have to be. How much time do most people spend researching new apps geared towards their profession? Most brokers I know spend an incredible amount of time on research.

When you place all of that on top of an already intense career, you’ll find what a tremendous amount of passion one needs in order to WANT to stay in a position like this. Yes, it’s 24/7 (almost, I utilize the Do Not Disturb on my phone). It doesn’t have to be 24/7, but you are responsible for the actions of your agents. When they have a question, I fully intend to answer it quickly in order to stay out of trouble.

Yes, it can be stressful. A home is usually the largest purchase most people make in their lives, so transactions can get tense quickly. Plus, managers are dealing with independent contractors, not employees. So there’s suggestions and best practices, but no orders to be followed.

Yes, it’s really fun. There isn’t a day that goes by that we don’t laugh hysterically at something. Plus, the diversity of getting to do something different every single day is fabulous.

Overall, it’s consistently intense and busy. I find I enjoy the challenges and the way the days seem to really fly by. I have a passion for it, though, do you?

Are you ready to lead?

Does the grass look a little less green to you now because these things seem over the top or outside of your job description? It’s a lot to think about. I’m always happy to discuss this type of career with anyone that’s interested. Please don’t hesitate to ask.

Kicking Puppies and 1000 RAKs

Let’s consider, for a moment, someone special in your life. Is it a spouse, co-worker, friend, family member or child? It’s the employee that always says ‘yes’ to special projects. It’s the daughter that always draws the picture for your fridge. It’s the spouse that picks up your favorite bottle of wine to relax you after a long day. As you think about this person that you deeply care about, consider how many times a day you are considerate of/to them.

I want you to think of everything. Do you make the coffee every morning even though you don’t drink it? Did you spare their feelings when they asked you if you love their new hairstyle? Did you pick up their favorite snack when you ran out for lunch? I bet, as you consider this person, you can attribute a large part of your day or month to your Random Acts of Kindness (RAKs) towards them. I would also guess, as you started considering what you do for them, you started discounting it with the RAKs they do for you.

What if you stopped?

Really, What. If. You. Stopped.?

Chances are, that special person would slowly start to feel like a kicked puppy. They would keep up their end of the deal for a while. Depending on their personality, it could be a really long time before they end their RAKs. Isn’t that wonderful? This person cares for you so much they don’t expect anything in return for their kindness. Do you feel like you’ve won the friend lottery?

How would you feel if this situation were reversed?

What if they stopped?

After a while you would stop feeling loved. In would come feelings of loneliness, depression, doubt and so much more. You would begin to question the circumstances that led this person to suddenly ‘hate’ you. Your delivery of RAKs to others would lessen and contribute to an endless cycle of social exile. Isn’t it unbelievable how much these tiny RAKs affect your mood and life overall?

How many times have you taken these RAKs for granted? How many years have special people been considerate to you while you’ve taken those small things for granted?

We were riding in the car the other day with the dog. I was holding him gently with one arm while I moved something with the other in order to make him more comfortable. I jackmust have been holding him wrong because he snapped quickly, and so did I. I yelled at him since I’m always so considerate of him. I bring him toys, give him treats, let him sleep on the bed, etc., and this is how he repays me?!? I told him I was simply going to stop doing all those things for him. I’m not crazy, he’s a dog and will not understand, but it really got me thinking. (It was a long car ride)

My husband and I came up with RAKs after our meeting with the minister that officiated our wedding. He’d been married a long time and told us how he always worked to do small, nice things regularly. Grand gestures are amazing, but the random acts of kindness were the glue in his marriage. Every now and then, after fifteen years, you’ll still hear us refer to RAKs and it brings back a sweet memory about that very important talk with our minister.

Lately, I’ve been the recipient of a ton of ‘thank yous’ for things I didn’t even think twice about doing, or not doing. It opened my eyes to show me how many I haven’t said. All day, every day, I am the recipient of a thousand RAKs from the people who care about me the most. I know, beyond any doubt, my life is fuller because of you. It’s not just fuller, it’s what makes me tick. My notorious Pollyanna mood is the result of those RAKs. My ability to love my people (my agents) the same at 9am as I do at 8pm, is a result of RAKs. Now, I’m absolutely not perfect, but I am a way better version of myself because I’m surrounded by people that love me and constantly show me.

Dear kindness givers, THANK YOU for enhancing my life. You are more than appreciated…..and necessary.

2015 World Series from a Non-Baseball Fan

In an incredible display of heart, drive, athleticism, teamwork and sheer will; the good guys won.

I’m not a baseball fan. The heat and the time commitment involved in loving baseball just aren’t for me. However, for the second October in a row, I found myself dressing in blue, rearranging plans for games and screaming at the television wherever I could find one during the games. (I even had a superstition about the fact that they won every time I worked out over lunch–lost 5 pounds!) I don’t really feel like I have to be a baseball fan to be a head over heels, and super sleepy, fan of the Royals. To me, they’re not just a baseball team. They’re a culture.

The Royals have brought everyone in Kansas City together for many years, but these last two have really been something to stop and notice. What I love about watching them is how they all lead. There isn’t one player that is singled out game after game, it’s everyone. They own their own mistakes, don’t place blame on their teammates and they celebrate their victories as one. I can’t even count how many times I’ve been listening to 610AM or watching interviews and games with tears in my eyes. The moment I was most proud was during Moose’s pregame Game 4 interview. The reporter was trying to reel him into showing some anger over the Noah Snydergaard comment about throwing Escobar off his game by pitching at his head. Sure, it was intentional. I watched Moose with this reporter with so much pride. Two times Moose repeated his statement about how it was over and they just needed to come back and win. Again the reporter tried to rile him with, “How do you retaliate?” Moose shrugs his shoulders and says, “Win.”

This should be the story the kids hear over and over again in locker rooms throughout the country. This is class. Sportsmanship. RoyalsMetsJS 10-30-2015 0008

Being a part of something so huge in a city filled with fans is simply indescribable. You high-five people you don’t even know at the bar. You find every way possible to listen or watch the 3pm games at the office. You encourage your dog to bark just because it sounds a bit similar to “Let’s Go Royals”. Half the trick or treaters in Kansas City were in their favorite Royals uniform. Cueto, Salvy, Hoz, Cain, Davis, Moose, Esky—everyone has their favorite. I’ve picked a couple of favorites. I really dig Cain’s reach, speed and ability to steal a base. How about Dyson’s speed? And Salvy, what a smile. How about Hoz? Always rallying in the dugout. The example Zobrist and his wife have set for married couples everywhere. How about the pain we all felt as Eddie, Moose and Young mourned their parents? These guys aren’t heroes—they wouldn’t want to be called that. They just love the game of baseball. But, as a team, they have represented Kansas City to the world and to children everywhere with dignity. In and out of the spotlight, they’ve provided a shining example of how games are supposed to be played and teams are supposed to act.

So, my story from last night will forever live with me and it probably blends in with so many others. I was ready to stay home, eat dinner, drink my wine and lay on the couch to watch the game. But, there was another plan. One friend says to another and then to my husband who repeated to me something that hit home….”Is this where you want to be when the Royals win the World Series?” No, it wasn’t. I have to admit that being in a room full of people 12191734_10153699786914441_4878055473510212408_nwhen they took the crown was amazing. I’m not a party on a school night person and I was not going to have wasted a trip and a relaxing night at home—so I yelled. And yelled. And clapped. And jumped up and down. We weren’t going down like this. We were going to take the crown in game 5. Period.

It’s been an awesome time to be a Kansas Citian. Thanks Royals, for being you and for another beautiful Blue oKCtober. We heart you.

Exercise and Sparkles



It’s no secret that exercise plays an important role in the lives of the most successful people. When I lost my sparkle last year, part of the problem stemmed from my loss ofa4e52acaa9e540cb977b6a6f0970cdc7 motivation to work out.  I’ve worked out consistently for most of my life. It makes me feel good and gives me time just to be alone with my thoughts. Sweat and the treadmill create a great problem solving environment.

Recently,  I was chatting with a very successful friend of mine. We were openly talking about the good and the bad and discussing options for improvement.  When I got to how unhappy I had become with my lack of drive to exercise and excessive weight gain,  she said these super simple words.  “Well,  that’s what walking is good for.  Should we be digital accountability partners?” A few days later I re-joined the gym and starting making the effort.  I also started reading a book she recommended called The Miracle Morning. It served as my necessary reminder that exercise is not just important, it’s crucial.

It’s absolutely crazy how much better I feel.  There hasn’t been an ounce of weight loss yet,  but the energy,  drive, confidence and commitment have been so welcome.

I think it’s safe to say that another little piece of my sparkle had been found. Remember,  you are the sum of the five people you surround yourself with. I have some amazing people in my life that I forget I can lean on when I need to.

Stop telling people you’re fine! Open yourself up to receive advice and encouragement.

The Magic in Listing Preparation

If you’re thinking about putting your home on the market, you’re likely to interview more than one agent. Some will show up, look at your house, discuss pricing and put the sign in the yard. Others will take the time to talk to you about staging, photography scheduling, pricing and how to make sure your house wins against the competition. If it’s been a while since you’ve sold a home, you might think the 2 agents are comparable to one another. However, you really need to look deeper.

You see, there’s something that second agent knows (and the first one might, too). Every single residential resale home that is put on the market to be sold needs to win a beauty contest in order to secure the highest price in the least amount of time. Continue reading

Grass Seed–My Personal Version of “How It’s Made”

So, you look out at your lawn and you see some bare spots. You run to your nearest Westlake, Lowe’s, Home Depot store and buy the grass seed on the shelf. The bag might say things like “Heat Tolerant” or “Sun & Shade” or “Dense Shade”, etc. You pick the product, run home and toss it on your lawn. Presto, with a little love, you have new baby grasses.

Like you, I had no idea what went into putting those labels on the bags and getting them on the shelves….until last week. I was honored to accompany my hubby (Williams Lawn Seed) on a live show and tell trip to Oregon. For 4 days, I was a mile deep in the lawn seed business, and it was incredible. Continue reading

Add Some Sugar: Cooperative Emailing

Years ago, during a real estate convention, I heard the incredible Tim Sanders speak about goals, being cooperative and always giving everything you can. It lead me to start following him and reading his books. I was intrigued to find someone with the same values as me that had experienced so much success. The first book I read, Love Is The Killer App confirmed that it’s really okay, even better, to be what he endearingly calls a Lovecat. There’s been times I’ve been told I’m too nice to succeed—which was a shock to hear. If I have to choose values over money, values win every single time.

Lovecat vs. Tyrant

As a managing broker of a small, but busy, real estate office, much of my job is advising the agents on working through their transactions. Trust me, when it’s the biggest transaction of a person’s life, there can be issues on top of emotions on top of issues. Most days, you’ll find me at my desk or hovering over an agent’s computer reading an email that usually trails a phone conversation about details. Why am I taking the time to do this? Well, when you’re conveying a difficult message, it’s easy to talk on the phone and in person and hear voice inflections of the other party and read when they’re concerned about something. You keep your voice calm and pause as needed to help manage and diffuse. However, there are times when messages have to be delivered or re-stated via email, so all parties can understand the same message. This takes tact. I love that the agents trust me to help them with these delicate messages. My personal “Lovecat” advice phrase is: You’ll need to add some sugar. sugar

I completely believe that the tone of an email or text can break deals, just as it can break relationships in your every day life. I receive an average of 75+ emails a day. Rarely does anyone take the time to stop and consider how the person on the other end of the web will feel when they read an email. How can I tell? There’s just no personal touch. There’s no sugar. There’s no please’s or thank you’s. Simple directives can come across as demands. Lighthearted jokes can offend. Short, quick responses can come off as cold.

Whether my agents are emailing a cooperating agent or one of their customers/clients, the importance of finding the right words remains. Reputation is of utmost importance in the service industry. Some well placed SUGAR goes a long way.

You’re Going to Need Help

I’ve been in the real estate market almost 15 years now and I’ve never witnessed a market like Kansas City is experiencing this year. We’ve been talking for months about the inventory shortage and low interest rates. What this has created is a plethora of difficulties in the real estate world. I feel like so many people are still trying to ‘go it alone’ when it comes to buying and selling and I worry, especially right now, they may be in over their heads. When people that aren’t being represented run into issues, the first person they tend to call is a REALTOR to ask their advice. This has been happening more and more, and most often, the agent will give a small piece of advice and then bow out unless they’re going to be hired to represent the deal. These situations have been common lately—are you prepared to handle them on your own?

1. Buyer bidding wars. Are you ready with your offer on paper? What will the market bear in this neighborhood, how high can you bid? What are the risks involved with going over asking price? What items can help strengthen your offer?

2. Seller remorse. A seller puts their home on the market and sells it on the first day. Some sellers are ecstatic, others are unprepared to move quickly and may think they under-priced their home. How do you deal with this? How can you help the seller feel more comfortable?

3. Low appraisal. What can happen when the appraisal comes in under contract price after a bidding war? What are your options as a buyer? What are the sellers options?

4. Backup offers and inspections. When there’s a bidding war and the ‘losing’ party still wants the house, they have the option of putting in a backup offer that will take over if the winning offer falls through. This can usually happen during inspections. What can the winning party do to keep the offer together instead of having the seller just balk and go to the next buyer?

5. Buyer remorse. Buyers today can feel like they were rushed into making an offer because of the low inventory, then feel like they overpaid. What can sellers do to keep the buyer on the line when they’re feeling some of that remorse creep in?

As you can see….You’re (most likely) Going to Need Help when buying or selling right now. Hiring a REALTOR skilled in negotiations with a calm demeanor can make all the difference. It’s an interesting market out there and I really would advise everyone to seriously consider hiring someone to help guide you through your transaction.