Laura June and Ari Lahdekorpi RE/MAX Little Oak Realty

I have long held the opinion that the real estate profession has the power to make anyone comitted to the job a better person. It's almost a necessity actually! It seems that the best REALTORS® are the ones who are able to work through the foibles of personal demotivation, ridicule, stress, and disappointment...and still come out on top!

Because of the fact that real estate is a people business above all else, there is a built in incentive to take the "high road" in the interpersonal minefield we sometimes find ourselves tip toeing through! Afterall, interpersonal relationships and networking are the core of a successful real estate career. The levels of trust and cooperation needed to be a successful  extend from the interoffice politics within the brokerage, to the interbrokerage dynamics within a community, and then onto the streets dealing with the general public.

The normal reactions and tendencies that we might have must be kept in check for the betterment of the long term professional life. For example, consider this: Your best friend, or a close relative doesn't inform you of his intention to upgrade his residence. You find out through reading the real estate periodicals. Obviously your first tendency is to be upset and take it as a personal afront. Your options are: 1) Call him up and let him know how you feel,  2) Never speak to him again, or "punish him" in some way, 3) Ignore the situation and carry on.

 While your first tendency is to be upset or hurt, if you call them up they will get defensive and of course you will be the one considered at fault. Seeing you as a victim is not an option in their mind because then they must face the possibility that they did you wrong...and no one wants to admit that they have wronged a REALTOR® ...believe me!

If you never speak to them again, you have just written off a lot of potential business...remember that everyone is a potential customer in real estate. That was one of the great truths about real estate that drew me to this sales career over other sales opportunities. The potential in this business is not limited by anything else except your own initiative.

If you ignore the situation and take the high road, you may get the business eventually, maybe even some future referrals, but more importantly you have not sacrificed a  human relationship for the love of money. One important rule of thumb is that people should always come before material things...and that includes your next deal! Unfortunately, that ideal has not always been met in the past, as a result, we are facing increased consumer protection statutes.

Our role as REALTORS® is to help put deals together. It is a skill and a special knowledge that is unique in the real estate transaction. Lawyers are involved to help with the clauses, registrations, and projecting how to be protected in a worst case scenerio. Your neighbourhood banker also helps  with the dollars and cents issues and protecting the lender's interests...but it is the REALTOR® alone who is there to hold the buyers hand through the emotional roller coaster of the process, and it is the REALTOR® who will be there to comfort the seller when they must say goodbye to there "home" of many years. I am convinced that 80 % of the residential deals out there would not happen without the helping hand of a qualified Real Estate professional!


There is an old saying: " painting a crooked fence doesn't make it straighter". I like that saying because of the truth inherent in it. A REALTOR® may look good and speak elequently,  but if he hasn't got the basics of human relationships down, he will not last in this business! It is of primary importance that an agent gets his life in balance if he wants to reach his potential as a long term professional. Consider the burn out rate among Realtors...think of the top producers that seem to be on top of the world for a few years and then quickly fade away. Repeat business is the great equalizer in this trade! Referrals are the life blood...there is no better advertising than a sincere third party endorsment. On the other hand, nothing kills a career quicker than poor reports on an individual REALTOR®. The stereotypical  "snake-oil salesman" doesn't exist for long in the real world of real estate!

Real estate as a profession brings out the best in people in other ways as well. Studies have shown that one of the traits of a successful person is the ability to set and work with goals. In this business, if you are not able to set a course for yourself, you will ifs ands or buts about it! Many agents have learned this the hard way over the do you get yourself going when you are demotivated? It is the strong willed, disciplined person that can overcome the negative impulses and discouragement that real estate sales can bring.

If you have a routine broken into daily, or weekly patterns, you can achieve your financial goals in real estate.That is a fact proven daily in every market in Canada. I am always impressed with how the top producing agents in our office make it look so easy! The simple truth is that if everyone you meet likes you, trusts you, and has a good experience dealing with you, the business will take care of itself as the years roll by!

In my view the most successful Realtors have these traits in common:

They sincerely care about and enjoy the people they deal with.

They are honest to a fault.

They are hard working.

They are disciplined.

They are motivated.

They are passionate about the profession.

They are commited to continually learning.

I believe that it is the job these professionals took as Realtors that helped to mold their characters into being the quality  people they have become.

As Jack Nicholson said in the movie "As Good as it Gets", " You make me want to be a better man".

Thank you Real Estate! It's a career like no other...

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 Here are budget-minded enhancements you can do to make your home stand out.


1. Tidy up kitchen cabinets.

"Potential buyers do open kitchen cabinets and look inside," says Morrissey. "Home owners can add rollout organizing trays so when buyers peek in, they feel like there’s lots of room for their stuff."

2. Add or replace tile.

"By retiling very inexpensively, you make a room look way cleaner that it was," says Javier Zuluaga, owner of Home Repairs and Remodeling LLC in Tempe, Ariz. "Every city has stores that offer $1 to $2 tile, so home owners have to pay only for the low-cost tile and labor to replace a dated backsplash or add a new one. We also use inexpensive tile to upgrade bathrooms."

3. Add a breakfast bar.

When a wall separates a kitchen from a family room, suggest cutting out an opening to create a breakfast bar. "In one home, there was a cutout in the wall between the kitchen and living room," explains Matthew Quinn, a sales associate at Quinn’s Realty & Estate Services in Falls Church, Va., who handles estate and real estate sales for family members whose loved ones have passed away. "We left the structure of the cutout, added an oversized granite breakfast bar, and put chairs in front of it. That cost about $600."

4. Install granite tile instead of a slab.

"Everybody is hot for granite kitchen countertops, but that can be a $5,000 upgrade," says John Wilder, a general contractor and owner of Fence and Deck Doctor in New Castle, Ind. "Instead, home owners can put in 12-inch granite tiles for about $300 in materials and get very high impact for little money."

5. Freshen up a bathroom without retiling.

"With a dated bathroom, I recommend putting in a new medicine cabinet for $100 to $150, light fixtures for about $100, a faucet for $50 to $75, and a vanity for $200 to $300," says Wilder. "And instead of replacing the tile, the existing grout can be lightly scraped and regrouted, which leaves a haze that can be buffed out and will make the tile look brand new. Also install glass shower doors. A French door adds a lot of panache and elegance for $250, and people will notice the door, not the tile. With all that, you’ve done a bathroom remodel for $1,000 to $2,000."

6. Freshen up the basement.

"If home owners have cement block or poured concrete walls in the basement, suggest they have a contractor fill in cracks with hydraulic cement and then paint with waterproofing paint," recommends Wilder. "They can then add a top coat to add color. They can also paint the basement floor with a good floor paint, which spiffs it up. The basement may not be finished, but it’s no longer a damp dungeon."

7. Add a room.

Look for large spaces that can be enclosed to create a new bedroom for just the price of creating a wall. "One time, we closed off a half-wall to an office and added a door to the other side of the room, thus creating another bedroom," says Quinn. "That $400 procedure, which took a contractor one day, netted about $40,000 in the sales price." Zuluaga has also added bedrooms inexpensively. "In a two-bedroom house, there was an archway that led to a third room that was used as a den," he explains. "It had a dry bar where there would have been a closet, so we took out the dry bar and created a closet so the owners had a third bedroom."

8. Spruce up cabinet fronts.

Suggest home owners update tired-looking kitchen cabinets. Reconditioning is the least expensive move for under $1,000. "If the wood is starting to look shabby from use or contaminants in the air, we take out the nicks and scratches, recondition it with oil, and put new hardware on," explains Heidi Morrissey, vice president of marketing and sales at Kitchen Tune-Up in Aberdeen, S.D. For $1,500 to $4,000, owners can replace the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, and for $4,000 to $12,000, they can have all the cabinets refaced. "With refacing, owners can change the color of the cabinets by replacing the door and having a new skin put on the boxes," says Morrissey. "If they have oak cabinets today, they can have cherry the next day."

9. Replace light fixtures.

"In a foyer and in bathrooms and kitchens," says Wilder, "replacing overhead light fixtures provides a lot of pop for a little money." If the kitchen has track lighting, Zuluaga suggests the home owner spend $450 to $600 to have an electrician replace it with recessed canned lights on a dimmer switch to add ambience. For about $700, Zuluaga also suggests installing pendant lights over a kitchen island or peninsula.

10. Tech-up the garage.

"Sometimes we replace the garage door opener with a remote touchpad entry system," says Zuluaga. "That costs about $425 and makes it look like a high-end system."

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