Delivering Bad News

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Have you noticed how many people are rushing to deliver bad news these days?  I have.  I watched a financial Youtube channel yesterday and I swear I could almost detect the glee in the presenter’s voice.  Thing is, I disagreed with her gloom and doom fare; and I could not for the life of me understand why she should be happy to deliver scary ‘news’.  Well that’s not entirely true.  I know exactly why she was so hyped up.  She was hyped up because she had a ‘better’ opinion of the economy than someone else she either knew or followed and she wanted to win.  That’s what you have to know.  She did a lot of digging to prove HER point that we are crashing.  I don’t think she wants the economy to crash; I just think she wants to win.  Simple.

Everyone has an opinion, most will be different than yours.  And you can pick the population of stats you want to use to prove your point.  Read that sentence again, will you?  Before you just outright believe what you are told, you MUST know where they got their data!  If they want to prove poverty, you’d better believe the wealthy parts of the country will not be included, for example.  Dig a little bit.  If you look at these people with the side-eye, news won’t get in your head so much.  Look for the agenda. There is always an agenda.  If you watch the political pundits, you know by now that they play to their audience.  Half of the actual data is left out so that either the conservative or the liberal opinion wins.  It’s all about WINNING.  Get the rest of the data, will you?  Or spend your days in fear and stress.

I’ve lived a while, and I know things go in cycles. And I know that two things always grow and get worse: Greed and Lust for Power.  Okay, so it stands to reason that prices are going to go up.  The rich WILL get richer, and many of them will dip into my wallet, and yours, to make that happen.  So I adjust my sails and so should you, because there is nothing we can do about it, other than be smarter than they are.  It feels like nothing surprises me anymore.  I see every election cycle wreak havoc on the working people, and I see politicians and would-be politicians, pushing fear and stress out so they can PRETEND to offer relief, which of course they never do.  Why?  They are greedy and lusting for power.  I won’t tell you how many times I’ve witnessed this.  The days of any politician caring how you live and what you need are over.

I’m watching a talking head…about 12 years old…not really.  He’s in his 20’s with no real life experience.  He’s preaching gloom and doom about real estate, which he is NOT involved in, recommending renting.  Renting!  Well have you thought about how rent goes up 10% a year?  Okay, you can move to a different rental.  How about moving cost?  Then that place is going to be raising rent on you as soon as they can.  Gonna move again?  No sir.  Buying is still the best idea, but yes, a good real estate agent is critical.  Real estate agents know where the good areas are, they know where the bad ones are too.  They also know which builders build a good product and which ones do not, and they know which ones make you put up BIG money to write a contract.  Why?  If the builder depends on your money to buy materials….run.

Economy.  Yep, it’s crap.  Going to be that way for a while until the bad programs get unravelled and the bleeding stops.  Every once in a while you get people running things who cannot do math.  When that happens, gird your loins and hang on.  Things always get better.  The ‘universe will balance’ is what I say.  And watch what his happening around you.  Remember when the car lots were bare?  Now they’re filling up? Why?  Well, people can’t afford to pay for cars anymore, folks.  So let’s see how this goes. Prices of cars will go down.  To a point people CAN afford.  Nobody’s going to die.  Cars are not going to burst into flames.  Things will balance.  Just have a little patience and learn to do math.

See, the thing is, if the math doesn’t work, if everyone is getting something for nothing, the economy is going to tank.  You should vote for people who can add and subtract; that’s all I’m saying.  Or, just step outside and give your money to a passer-by, ’cause it’s going away from you in any case.  Meanwhile, don’t listen to these pundits with any kind of trust in what they say.  THINK about their motivation first, and then find out where their data is coming from.  I know I can make statistics say anything I want them to, and if you can’t do math, I own you.  But I happen to be honest.  Lucky for you.

Best thing you can do is just don’t watch these knuckleheads.  Take your debit card and go to the store.  Buy what you can afford.  Adjust your sails and be patient.

And about the housing market?  Any time you need a home is a good time to buy.  You just have to operate within the current economic situation.  If the interest rate is 6%, that’s what you pay.  Real estate agents, contrary to popular belief, cannot control the economy, and we can’t produce buyers for your home.  But we’re a valuable source of critical information about your market.  We are the boots on the ground and we have mud on those boots and scars from actually being out there working.  Most of us actually do care how you live and what you want.  Can’t afford the home you dream of?  Adjust the dream.  Simple.  Sometimes the adjusted dream is even better anyway.

Remember the sun is alway shining above the clouds.  It might be yucky for a while, but it’ll get better.r

Am I Wrong to Feel so Sad?

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Alex Murdaugh.  I’m guessing everyone has heard that name by now.  The Murdaugh name came forth years ago, in fact, after ‘The Boat Crash”, during which Paul Murdaugh was supposedly driving The Boat.  It was a runabout, center console it looked like, nothing fancy, but still deadly in the hands of drunk kids, mildly or terribly.  Mallory Beach died in that crash, a lovely young woman with the whole world at her feet.  I was heartbroken for her and for her family.  And I felt terrible for the other kids too, the ones who lived and now must live with that tragedy a part of their psyche.  And I also reflected on how many times I should not have survived my own antics, and the universe wobbled a bit.  Why do some of us just get away while others go down in flames?  Are we able to sit in judgement solely because we didn’t get caught?  No.  We are not.  But then we do, we all do, and this makes me sad for us.

All of the teens had been consuming too much alcohol, it is said, with Paul and another young man on video at a bar doing shots just before heading toward home, intercepted by The Crash. I was a boat person once; that kind of behavior is completely illegal and dangerous…as it turned out to be.  There was a terrible crash into a bridge during which Mallory was thrown overboard, not to be found for days.  Others were taken to the hospital.  Immediately, we saw, a swarm of legal guys rallied around the emergency room (it’s on camera), one of whom was Paul’s father, Alex.  It seemed wrong that attorneys were talking to these kids, or attempting to engage them, without their parents being there; something just felt wrong about that.  And that was my introduction to the Murdaughs and that area of South Carolina.

Then there was the suspicious death of Stephen Smith, with the Murdaugh name woven into that story as well.  Stephen’s death wasn’t suspicious.  Someone knows exactly what happened to that young man.  Again, a beautiful young life with the world at his feet, snuffed out terribly.  He was left, dead, on that SC road and I think his killer(s) hoped he’d be hit by a vehicle on that dark, unlit road, conveniently blaming his death on the victim being in the middle of the road.  Thankfully that didn’t happen.  Someone saw him and called the police in time for him to be moved off the highway.  But something fishy happened with the coroner’s report or the medical examiner.  I can’t keep them straight.  But the news says, over and over, there was zero indication of a hit and run.  More likely he was hit by an object (baseball bat), held by a person leaning out of a speeding car.  You know that stupid game.  Seems like all young upstarts do it, usually targeting mailboxes.  Yeah, I think that’s what happened to Stephen.  And I listened to his mother and cried with her too, at the death of her boy, and at the surety that nothing would be done to find out the truth.  Man’s inhumanity to man.

Then there was the shooting on that lonely SC highway.  Someone shot at good old Alex Murdaugh.  He was driving a Mercedes SUV, the ones that have drive-flat tires?  And he stopped to change a tire.  Pa-lease.  Nobody driving a Mercedes gets out to change a tire.  I know.  I used to drive one.  You either call roadside assistance, or BETTER YET, drive those drive-flat tires to a shop for repair.  Then we find that Alex set the whole thing up to have himself wiped out so his oldest son could inherit 10 million dollars.  Well…what about his WIFE and his YOUNGEST SON?  What about THEIR 10 million dollars? See now I’m starting to smell something that kind of smells like a rat.  I’m sensing a family divide: Maggie and Paul on one side and then Alex and Buster on the other.

And let’s not forget about the drugs.  Oh my.  A twenty year addiction to opioids, if you can believe that.  Who was addicted?  Well Alex Murdaugh.  There’s that NAME again.  And listen, I can’t keep up with how many pills he took or bought, but apparently there were SO many that he had to steal to pay for them.  From whom, you might ask?  Well let’s take a look.  And by the way, I do not believe Alex’s addiction story.  I just do not.

He was a personal injury lawyer, apparently.  And he handled the big cases, along with some small ones.  He won multi-million lawsuit payouts and then, well, kept the money.  From a LOT of his clients.  From a young man on life support who later died, from a young woman whose mom and brother were killed in a terrible accident she survived.  She lived in poverty because Alex kept her payout, embarrassing her by having her ask for grocery money when by then, she was actually a multi-millionaire, not knowing it.  Then there was Alex’s housekeeper who ‘fell down the stairs’ at Alex’s house after which he jumped in and volunteered to sue himself.  Gloria died, leaving children behind, and Alex got a huge insurance payout.  He kept that money too.

Then he stole from his law firm.  Millions!  His law partners had to come out of pocket to pay his debts and make his clients whole.  Alex’s firm had a manager and an accountant, who were responsible for the firm’s numbers adding up.  He threw them right under the bus.  His paralegals were stunned, fooled by lies and sleight of hand.  These things hurt.  They hurt because this behavior is perpetrated by someone trusted and even loved.  Man’s inhumanity to man.  Inhumanity without the slightest hint of regret.

Now, the horrific murders:  Alex’ wife Maggie and son Paul were BRUTALLY murdered by gunshots, from both a rifle and a shotgun.  Maggie was shot 6 or 7 times, two of which entered her head.  Paul was shot twice, the last one blowing his brain out of his head, or what was left of it. The intent was murder.  No doubt about it.   Alex Murdaugh has been found guilty of this crime, folks.  The husband and father.  It might seem somewhat run of the mill these days; there are SO MANY murders by ‘loved ones’.  And Alex lied and lied about nearly every step of that investigation.  It seems he put a lot of thought into how to do this and get away with it, and seemed to be establishing alibis in the immediate aftermath.  But still, he was the husband and father.  How could this even be real?

This man fooled every single person he knew, lied to every single one.  Every one, meaning he was a special kind of liar, a very good one to say the least.  He seems to be a narcissist or psychopath, or maybe both.  Because of that I fully expected him to take the stand in his own defense.  He would have thought, and probably did, that he was the smartest person in the room.  He was wrong.  He didn’t fool anybody.  His jig was up.  And how many dead bodies are scattered around this man?  I count at least 6, including the boy on life support: Mallory, Stephen, Gloria, the young man on life support, Maggie, Paul.  There may be more.  Man’s inhumanity to man.

Now comes the part I can’t understand.  I saw him break down when he heard or spoke about Paul…not Maggie, just Paul.  Those tears seemed real, and I believe they were. But psychopaths don’t feel pain like normal people,  and when narcissists don’t need you anymore, you are worthless to them.  I get that.  That’s when it gets dangerous.  That’s when you become expendable.

And still, I feel terrible for Alex too.  I cannot shake the sadness I feel about this tragedy, the entirety of it, including Alex, which had to begin with one decision, one moment in time when he decided that rules didn’t apply to him.  We had the chance to meet Alex’s family during this trial and they seemed like really good people, part of a close knit family who loved one another…except for Alex, who was just fooling them all.

Then I think about Buster Murdaugh getting kicked out of law school for cheating and how hard his legal family were working to slide him back in…he did nothing to help himself, by the way.  And there’s Paul.  Paul had a nickname for when he was drunk.  His personality was so angry and aggressive, abusive, that they called him ‘Drunk Timmy’.  And after the Boat Crash, he was walking free, ostensibly awaiting trial.  He had been charged in that case.  So what kind of legacy was Alex leaving behind anyway?  And now, it looks like Buster might as well choose another course of study because the Murdaugh name has been x-ed out with red paint.  I don’t know how I feel about that yet.

See, this “rules don’t apply to me” mentality had to come from somewhere, and maybe Alex’s DNA was inherited.  Maybe his long-standing legal eagle family members were also criminals.  Well, we may find out.  That’s being looked into.  And it seems Stephen’s death is now being investigated.  So the Murdaugh name may still pop up again.

And I will be reminded how important choices are, how important it is to have consequences for our actions, to not be rescued from crime, even the small ones.  And I will still feel so incredibly sad about how we treat one another.  We are supposed to love our enemies, and maybe this sadness I feel has something to do with that.

UHM is Sweeping the Country by Storm

UHM I just wanted to point out UHM that there’s a new phenomenon out there, taking over communication.  It used to be “like” that was taking over but I think a lot of people did not get the job for which they interviewed because every third word they said was, “like”.  I know I said I would never hire a person who used that word as a stall tactic when there was really no vocabulary skill.  There must have been others.  Thank GOD that has waned to some extend.  But NOW….OMG.

UH, now, UHM UH it has become popular to use the UHM UH pause that someone must have thought was charming or informal in conversation.  THAT person started it.  But NOW….it just makes people sound…dare I say it?  Unintelligent.  That’s not the word I wanted to use, but it’ll do.  I hear this all the time now and it makes me crazy.  It’s not just once in a while.  It seems like once someone starts doing that speech stall tactic, it worms its way into the brain and oh no, you can’t have a conversation with these people!  And…people are often like mules on the cart path, and they COPY copy copy.  It’s UM ridiculous.

Yeah, I’m UHM UH obsessive about using at least reasonably good speaking skills, I admit it.  But come on.  Most everyone has a college education these days, and they TEACH communication skills there.  I don’t THINK that’s been replaced by some kind of useless UM UH garbage.  Yeah, keep the cute accent and colloquialisms; I find them wonderfully charming and interesting.  Lose the UMs and the UHs.

Yeah, I know, you do you and I do me.  But UH don’t talk to me if you use that ridiculous UH UHM crap.  I’m begging you.  And if you are doing that, please.  Count how many times in a phone conversation you do it.  Then call that person back and ask them how much they enjoy your calls.  I dare you.

CATCH UP, Justice System


My name is Brenda and I’m a true crime junky.  There, I said it.  I pay attention to what happens in our society and I believe in staying ahead of the times technologically.  So now, every time I turn around, criminals are whining about needing a CHANGE OF VENUE, so they can have an UNINFLUENCED JURY,  so they can have a FAIR TRIAL.  Meanwhile victims wait and wait and wait and wait, for their grief to be plowed up years down the road.  That’s bull.  

If you’re gonna do that, do NOT let pre-trial incarceration count towards the ultimate sentence.  And how about we consider the victims?

Listen up:  Surprise!  We have social media, we have an intelligent and engaged society who pay attention and have interest in victims getting justice.  And we can follow law enforcement press conferences and updates, and we can see the principals talking on the news or on social media.  We can email the police chief and the sheriff.  We get to see them talking, read their body language, decide whether they are bold face liars or not.  Oh my God I’ve seen some doozies.  Good thing we now get a TON of information, both true and untrue.  That’s the nature of the beast now.  That’s a GOOD thing.  Crime sleuths online have done some AMAZING THINGS.  Chris Watts:  The online community shouted collectively, “GUILTY!” when we saw that ridiculous interview.  And of course we were right.  What about little Quinton Simon’s mother and that RIDICULOUS fake crying?  Again, we shouted, “Guilty!!”  Gonna be right on that one too.  Serene and Classic, those adorable boys?  Yeah, that interview was telling too.

We, the potential jurors are observant.  Can we be fair?  Damn right we can.  Stop treating us like we’re stupid.  We are NOT stupid.  Show me the facts, show me the evidence.  So what if I have ‘formed an opinion’.  Opinions are just that: Opinions.  Facts pointing out error can foment a change of opinion, and isn’t that what prosecutors are supposed to do.  Prove guilt?    What are you worried about then?  Do your job.

I have a suggestion: Get better at spotting the leeches.  Weed out the ones hoping to get a book deal.  Get better at figuring out who is actually going to be able to be fair.  Ask for examples, real ones, about when a deeply held opinion was changed.  If a potential juror can’t come up with one, bounce him and move on!   

And for  God’s sake get rid of the unanimous decision rule.  ONE person can sway the course of justice?!?  Have you LOOKED at society lately???  The latest school shooter trial dodging the death penalty was a travesty.  ONE person did that.  

However you decide to do this, it’s time to catch up.  We have a level of connectivity in society we could never have imagined a decade ago.  It’s here and it’s not going away.  So, Justice system catch up or step aside in favor of AI.  Give more time for jury selection and LEARN HOW TO DO IT.  Stop spending taxpayers’ money to change the venue, to sequester the jury, to bog down the process and cause victims more grief.  Get your shit together and learn how to do voir dire.  I’m not the only one who appreciates truth.

One last thing:  If a lawyer says “quite frankly” more than once, can we just chase him out of the courtroom???? Yeah, talking about the Vallow Daybell case.  

Time for our Real Estate to WAKE UP! And it will…

close up photo of cute sleeping cat

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First, our market is the NC Triangle Market, with Raleigh NC at the center.

Second, real estate agents don’t own a crystal ball. We cannot materialize buyers.  We don’t actually control the rotation of the earth.  Hurts to admit that.  FORTUNATELY we have access to market experts who can tell us what to expect.  Here, (Triangle, remember?) we have FIVE THOUSAND PEOPLE A MONTH moving in, according to the Triangle Business Journal.  I know that’s true when I drive around.  And, our market is predicted to keep right on humming along.  Hmmmm.  I wonder if the Journal are biased in any way.  Don’t think so.  Why?

Our area ranks fourth in the US, behind Seattle, Austin and San Francisco.  People love it here, particularly people from NY, CO, NJ, FL, TX and AZ (again, according to the Business Journal).  Why?  Tech jobs, healthcare jobs, universities, and just plain awesomeness.  That’s from me.  I live here and I work in real estate.  We are halfway between north and south east coast, halfway between mountains and coast.  I know, the only reason people from Seattle would come here is 1) job; 2) running away from something.  That’s a joke.  No, not really.

Well what happened in Dec and Jan around here then??  Well, holidays, interest rate shock, actually nose bleed from the fast elevation of interest rates, price increase of everything needed to survive, and maybe sheer exhaustion from 2022.  But things are beginning to normalize and will continue to do so, and people realize that even with a 6.5% interest rate, you can still buy a home.  And don’t forget that lenders are working hard to make it possible to get a loan.  Relax!  You can do this!  My first home carried an interest rate of SIXTEEN PERCENT and that was with perfect credit.  Seriously, relax.  I did it in my 30’s.  You can do this.

We have to keep an eye on the tech PLANS, because there are supposed to be some big dogs coming in to our area who may be slowed down because of inflation and all of the accompanying poop storm.  But they still have to have a ‘forward’ team who need housing and my expectation that they will 1) buy rather than rent; and 2) look in the luxury market.  Let’s see how that goes, because that’s a wild guess.  I do know that executives are ‘expected’ to live to a certain standard.  In other words, don’t count on them to buy the flipper house.

I have seen an early bump in activity in my business.  Normally my market wakes up and stretches in February’s but it started stretching in January.  That’s early.  So far, that’s supporting the TBJ prediction about the health of our market for 2023.  In the 2008 crash, as a reminder, we were the LAST in the US to fall, and the FIRST to start climbing out.  This wasn’t a crash, it was a forced nap; so we should be fine.

If you want to buy, you should still expect to put some cash up front on the table.  Due diligence, earnest money, inspections, etc.  Want to get a handle on that stuff?  I can help.  NOTE: Real estate laws in NC are not the same as those in TX, FL, CO, NJ, NY, AZ.  Yes you have the internet, but yes, you need an agent.  Because this is NC.

If you want to SELL, by February, you should be calling me to list your home, because by March it’ll be a race again.  I’m Brenda with Coldwell Banker Advantage.  Call me.

Dear CNN

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I tell the truth and I apologize if I hurt someone.  I do the right thing, even when it might hurt.  That’s what my father taught me.  My mother taught me that I’m no better than anyone else and neither is anyone better than me.  Look people in the eyes, in other words, on equal ground and expect them to be looking back.  It was a great lesson.  I live by it every day.  I am also a person of faith and my faith says “Love one another”.  This is why I cut out CNN and anyone or anything associated with them, years ago.  They in every way go against my value system….and apparently that of a LOT of others too.  

I’m patient, and I know it takes time for ‘voting with my feet’ to take effect.  I knew, years ago, that spewing out hatred, attacking individuals and institutions that disagree with you, was the absolute wrong thing for a respected, beloved NEWS organization, to do.  And I knew CNN was crippling itself by degrees and would fall to its knees.  I also know that when I feel this way, so do a WHOLE bunch of other people.  I knew others were doing the same thing I did.  

CNN was my go-to for news, for truth, for objective reporting, done professionally.  Then…the environment became toxic and one pointedly trying to make me believe what they thought I should believe.  WAIT a minute.  YOU are supposed to tell me facts, people, just facts.  I can make up my own mind how to FEEL about them.  Exactly who gives you the right to tell me how to think and how to feel??  And I saw things happening in the news that CNN wasn’t reporting, because it apparently didn’t align with the great big talking head on the screen’s agenda.  What exactly was happening over there?

Look, I don’t watch one single outlet; I watch dozens.  So I can clearly see when the same phrase is recited by ALL of the manipulating outlets.  People don’t do that.  We’re not robots.  We don’t walk in lockstep repeating a mantra doled out by the great big talking head on the screen.  Good writers don’t WANT to use someone else’s words!  Apparently CNN does, and so do their affiliates.  That tells me something about their content writers, actually.  So the intelligent ones of us who like the truth and need clean data in order to make decisions, can EASILY see ‘talking points’ shared among the outlets who have an agenda to manipulate, rather than to disseminate actual news.  The job of these people is to JOURNAL the truth, not to fold in their corporate agenda designed to manipulate the people.  That’s why they are CALLED journalists, but actually are not.  There’s no journalizing; it’s called crybaby whining and temper tantrum manipulation.  Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Now, it should be said that this TACTIC works for ‘some’ people, who might say, “Oh wow, they’re all saying the same thing!  It must be true!”  Well bull crap.  That behavior should make you nervous! Why?  Because you are very likely to be manipulated.  Check it out.

I don’t CARE what your political affiliation is, nor do I care what anyone’s is, unless they try to strong-arm or manipulate me to thinking like THEY think.  I get to make up my own mind and furthermore, I’m capable of doing that.  I refuse to hate anyone and certainly won’t do it because you TELL me to.  That goes against what my parents taught me, it goes against my faith, and…I have a high IQ and I use it.  By the way, if you are a news anchor I should in NO way be able to detect your political leanings.  I do not CARE how you feel about the news.  

Speaking of IQ, I could see that every issue they ‘hated’ they made sure to say ‘Trump’ with it.  I believe it to be a psychological ploy to align the name Trump with everything bad.  That, by the way, is still going on.  Watch for that and see what you think!  Trump can’t be the reason for everything that goes on!  Intelligent people know that, and we also know…are you ready for this…ALL politicians are full of crap.  ALL of them.  So when you try, as a NEWS organization, to make me think Trump and Bad Stuff go together, give me a break. Go away.  Oh yeah, that’s what you’re doing.

Trump.  Oh my god.  I got SO tired of hearing them smear him like school children misbehaving!  I did not care, do not care now, what they think about him, and if they know anything about politics, they know ‘mainstream’ means people use some of the democrat ideas and some of the republican ones.  That’s the mainstream, the ones CNN lost, by the way.  MAIN being the operative part of that word, implies the great numbers of folks they were pissing off.  Well, good bye CNN.  I hope you get the message finally.  You are still on your knees but you will fall onto your back soon enough, and that will be okay; in fact it was my hope when I cut you out of my life. There’s no coming back from a cancer like the one that took over this once great company.  It’ll be a shame, because I REMEMBER when you were the giant, the best, the most trusted.  I kept you on my TV all the time in those days.  But, now, I will still be glad to see truth win.  Truth, remember, is important to me.

Now when I see the vitriolic talking heads being fired or moved to the shadows, I’m not sorry.  They are getting what they deserve.  They forgot they are there to tell the news, unbiased.  Didn’t that used to be part of their advertisement years ago?  Apparently MSNBC takes some of them, but hmmm.  Let’s see what happens there.  And here’s another thing personal to me: I’m not inclined to be a follower, particularly a follower who looks right into the butt of the mule on the cart path in front of me as the CNN employees do,   I’m either a leader or a loner, most of the time.  If I’m in a job where I am forced to go against my upbringing, I’M QUITTING!  Why?  Because the dollar bill is not my god.  In other words, I have integrity and I have a brain I actually use.  And now, what are the chastised ones saying?

Oh they’re denying they did what they did, the things that are actually in video archives to be replayed to the universe.  So when they lie, it’s a galaxy-wide lie.  And the ones glad to see the lying institution falling, are happy to show those videos.  Look, these toxic people need to be OFF CAMERA.  Period.  I don’t need to be whined to; I need the news, the FACTS.

Late night talkshow hosts who jumped on that bandwagon were also cut from my list of people to watch.  So, mainstream, whatcha think?   Netflix?  Are you listening?  Facebook, looked at your stock lately?  Disney?  How about you?  Twitter?  I know you are.  All of our ‘institutions’ need to get in touch with reality, the mainstream, and start realizing, we can take you down, and we are doing that.  Watch the news, watch the stock market.  WE matter.  WE are the mainstream, and we are all colors, all genders, all socioeconomic groups, all faiths, we work all kinds of jobs and we do not like hate being forced into our lives.  

Do we want you to think like we think?  Nope.  We want you to see facts, all of them, so you can make up your OWN mind.  You can still do what you do, but you won’t have the big microphones and big cameras to try to manipulate smart people.  You will still get the dumbasses to follow you, the ones too lazy to do little bit of homework, but that’s another blog.  Know there are a lot of thinking, smart folks out here, who do NOT do the things you accuse us of, and we do NOT think the way you say we do.  We DO love one another; we are NOT racist; we are not killers; we are not ANY of the things you “stereotype” us to be.  We are good people, hardworking people, who pay taxes, who help others, who donate to causes, you know, the mainstream stuff.  And isn’t it wrong to stereotype?  Isn’t it wrong to discriminate?  Well, CNN, that’s exactly what you have been doing to us.  So good riddance.

I don’t have anything against a good debate.  I grew up in science, where sometimes scientists disagree and they have debates, they defend their work, they work it out!  And then, we went for coffee together and talked about our lives.  A true debate has NO HATE in it.  It has a position to be defended.  Remember, you learned that in college?  If you have to manipulate and lie,  you have no actual position; you have a WISH.

So yeah, CNN.  I would say, “See ya”, but I won’t see ya.  Haven’t for many years.  MSNBC, look out the window at the mainstream down on the sidewalks.  Don’t say you weren’t given a heads up.

Another Adjustment?

Photo by Olena Bohovyk on

Constant change.  There’s an oxymoron for you.  That’s the real estate market now, though.  Sellers who have worked diligently to get their home ready to sell have now missed the blazing hot market, and must deal with crickets.  Yep, that’s what you hear while you wait for the elusive buyer.  It’s a shock! We’re expecting to get an offer in the first week and now, nothing!  It is frustrating and financially scary in many cases, particularly the ones where the seller has already moved out and still has a payment on the vacant home.  But that’s the reality we face now.  So it’s more important than ever for you to understand a falling market.

A falling market is the hardest to price, in my opinion, because by the time you are ready to upload the details for the galaxy to see, that price is no longer in the bullseye.  And you can’t predict how far nor how fast the market will fall.  In a RISING market you can just add in some percentage and get pretty close, still being flexible enough to RAISE the price as needed.  But things are different in a falling market.

The key is the ‘ing’ part.   (I had my fingers on the wrong keys and instead of typing ‘ing’ I typed ‘omg’.  I’m laughing because, well, that’s SO appropriate!!)  But, present participle is what that ‘ing’ means.  That means something that’s “in process”.  FallING.  What does that mean to you, seller?  It means you have to put on your running shoes and be flexible and nimble as regards pricing.  I can get you close to the bullseye, but as the market falls, we have to be ready to chase it in order to stay IN THE MARKET.  Stay with me now, because that statement comes with a caveat.  That’s important! Lowering the price may not make a difference!

You can be ON the market and not be IN it, and ‘normally’ you can tell you’re not in the market by the absence of showings.  So if you’re not getting showings, you’re THEORETICALLY not IN the market.  I know, this sounds weird but stay with me.  I promise to explain.  IF you lower your price enough, you’ll capture a buyer, but if you have to go to 5 bucks, is that really a good idea?  Uh, NO.  I say that because of this, the caveat. 

If a huge factor in trying to sell is the ECONOMY, then you may lower the price and STILL not get a buyer (read that sentence again, carefully).  That would be because of how financial conditions have changed and maybe your intended buyer can no longer a) get a loan; or b) afford the payment if they can still get a loan.  Follow me?  It’s not always about the price.  It is always about the economy.

I’m saying all of this to give you a couple of factors of many about pricing a home to sell it.  It is never easy, except when there are   six cars parked out front with drivers frothing at the mouth.  Those days are gone forever, by the way.   But it is exceptionally hard when the government sticks their spoon in the pot and stirs it.  It gets crazy, and listen, we cannot control that.  We can only adjust our sails. You know that metaphor.  Now more than ever it’s important for sellers and their agent to collaborate about pricing and strategy.  Yes, I said strategy, a HUGE factor.  If you cannot afford two payments, for example, you’re going to have to price low and take your medicine. That’s just plain reality.  And that’s an example of your strategy being: GET IT SOLD FAST.  Another strategy is: I don’t care how long it takes, I want my price.  (That doesn’t usually work, by the way hahaha).

Understand that I, your agent, still have not figured out how to conjure up a qualified buyer from the ether.  All of the chanting and sage burning hasn’t worked.  Gosh, would my life be different if I could.  I, like you, am at the absolute mercy of a FALLING MARKET.  And while I always want to get you a good price for your home, the MARKET tells us what your home is worth.  The MARKET shows what has sold for how much in your proximity, and like it or not, we have to be IN the market, or we hear….you guessed it: Crickets.

Another thing to KNOW is that ‘days on the market’ are going to increase in a falling market.  Instead of days to go under contract, it could be MONTHS.  Sorry, that’s the reality.  If you sell for 5 bucks though, hey you can sell in a week.

So don’t beat up your agent please.  We are just as upset as you are, maybe more.  Believe that.  And, put on your thinking cap and your running shoes because this market is whew…a bear.  And in real estate, playing dead is the wrong strategy.  So is yelling and making yourself look bigger.  This is teamwork time.  

I can help you; I’m a strategic pricing specialist.  That sounds impressive, but in reality, we are a team and we work together.  I wouldn’t want it any other way.  Call me.  I’m Brenda and I’m a Coldwell Banker Advantage agent.  Let’s talk!


Get Off of my TV

Photo by Sora Shimazaki on

A ‘journalist’ with Fox is reporting on a crash into an Apple store.  She said, “He had went….”  That’s as far as my brain would let me go.  WENT????  HAD WENT???  I missed the whole rest of the story.

This a a journalist.  Kill me now.

One Bad Photograph

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

I spend a lot of time online looking at real estate photographs.  I’m a real estate agent; it’s my job.  But these days, I expect to see crap photographs on listings.  ISN’T THAT NUTS?  I EXPECT to see bad photos???  In the digital age???  Listing agents, you are supposed to represent your seller client, and the photos you post online represent YOUR expertise as an agent AND your customer service skills. Think about that for a minute, will you?  I’m saying there are a lot of slack agents out there.  And sellers, if the photos used to advertise your property are terrible, will you please fire that agent?  We excellent agents don’t need the bad press.  One bad photo can lose your buyer.  Yep, they’re going to find interest in the homes where the photos look GOOD.  Nobody wants to actually shop FOR a dingy, creepy looking house.  Well, maybe some do, but not most buyers.  Let’s just say that.

I am sharing this insight with you, although I cannot believe I need to:  One bad photograph will make your potential buyer click off of your listing!  My GOSH, agents, can you please take good photographs?!?  It’s EASY; at the very least you have an expensive camera on your PHONE WITH editing capability.  Or, here’s a novel idea: Why don’t you hire a photographer who CAN take good photos??  I have a good camera with a bounce flash attachment, but you don’t need that.  You just need to photograph at the right time of day and think about what you’re doing.  By the way I use both my Nikon camera and my smart phone when I photograph a listing.  

Listen, I’ve had to photograph homes where bright lighting is not a good thing….I know.  Sometimes tar from years of smoking has created streaks on walls that show up in bright light.  But in general, it’s the LIGHTING that can make the difference in someone clicking OFF, or sticking around to investigate your listing.  Remember, selling is largely psychological.  I studied marketing in college; I know this to be true.  Most importantly I have the experience to prove it is true.  It’s about lighting, color, description language, camera angle…you get the idea.  You want to put assets in a good light, not hide them in shadow.  Give it a second’s thought!  Try being creative with your advertising, rather than dark and dull.

Here’s another idea: Don’t put 10 pictures of the ‘new kitchen island’ in the listing.  One or two will do nicely.  These days, buyers want INSTANT gratification, and clicking through ten images of the same thing will annoy your potential buyer.  Annoying is not what you want to do.  And besides, you want these folks to be interested enough to tour the home IN PERSON.  There’s a novel idea!  Create interest, not boredom.

Look, I’ve photographed spaces that were tough to present in a good light.  Don’t be afraid to ask your seller to help you move the King Kong statue out of the picture for just a minute.  And I chuckle when I think of how many times my awesome fake green plant showed up in photos of various homes and various rooms over the years, just to give the room some life.  Hmmm, I wonder where that plant is. Anyway, help out if you can!  Make the spaces look fantastic enough to draw in buyers.  Yeah, sometimes the seller loves the neon orange carpet complemented by neon purple walls, and you just have to go with it.  But at least take a good picture of it with fantastic lighting.

Now…about editing.  Don’t photoshop in extra square footage, and for goodness sake stop using WIDE ANGLE LENSES to stretch the photo or using the equalizing feature to create a photo that looks like an acrylic painting!! That’s fake, and when buyers see ‘fake’….well, buh bye.   The leap from ‘shopping’ to ‘running away’ is fast and short.  I’m talking about editing the brightness, highlights, contrast.  THAT kind of editing.  And use the crop feature to LEVEL the shot, or crop out a bush you don’t need in the shot.  Be HONEST, but present your client’s home in the best light.  I’m trying to help you, here.  And if you get fired, I’m showing up.

Seller, check out your agent’s advertisements online.  You’re paying for good service; make sure you get it.  Oh, and uh, why not move the King Kong statue to storage?  Just saying.

I’m Brenda Briggs with Coldwell Banker Advantage.  Find me online and contact me to talk about your real estate questions.  I like to chat.  And I’ve been doing this a while; I know what I’m doing.