It’s almost 10:00 PM and I’m just now able to turn my attention toward writing a blog post. This has been a long day in my real estate business, one in a busy week of helping clients. I have no complaints, as it just is what it is. As I turned over ideas this evening, the one that rose to the surface involves story and my new symbol for next year, the queen chess piece. How’s that for a collision of two worlds? I’m calling this brief story The Queen of Real Estate.
The Queen of Real Estate
Sometimes, as a realtor, I need to handle a challenge. Such a situation arose yesterday. For many people, it would have been a breeze. Have the talk. Be firm. Accept no excuses. Walk away.
Sounds simple enough…however, the combination of my former dread of confrontation and possessing a heart that feels compassion toward the struggles of others creates hesitancy on my part where some would bold.
I’m learning to speak up while allowing my compassion to govern my words. However, such conversations are still not easy for me. I fretted in the car as I drove to the appointment, choosing careful words in my head and almost hoping the other person would not be there.
Adjust Your Crown
As I arrived at my destination a sudden thought came to me.
Adjust your crown. You’ve got this.
The image of a queen followed the words…a queen of real estate. I wondered, How would a queen handle this situation…a kind and good queen, but a woman of authority nonetheless?
And that question changed everything. I felt calm. I felt empowered. My back straightened and my shoulders came back, opening up my heart chakra and my throat chakra. I mentally adjusted the invisible crown on my head. And I handled the situation with the grace, authority and compassion that was needed. The outcome was good.
In all my years of entering into a new year with a word for the theme and a symbol to guide me, I’ve never quite been impacted in this way by my visual image. This is fresh and deep and I like what’s happening.
I’ve already thought of queen chess piece art to create and fun ways I can incorporate this image. However, yesterday’s experience goes beyond that. This symbol is already reshaping me and making me think differently. I’m enchanted by what’s going on, for going beyond is what my life is all about.
I am becoming something new. The Queen of real estate? Oh yes, I can own that title. And beyond that, I am becoming the Queen of my life. The keys to that kingdom are mine.
The focus of today, and indeed, of much of the last couple of months, has been real estate. Summer is a busy time for realtors. Families move while kids are out of school. Out of town buyers come in to look at properties while they are on vacation. Continued low interest rates make it a great time to buy. And low inventory, creating competition for housing, makes it a great seller’s market as well.
Into every realtor’s life comes challenges that pop up during a transaction. It’s my job to handle each issue as it arises, in a manner that is satisfactory to all parties concerned, which typically includes my clients, another realtor, their clients, and various affiliates.
Such was the case with a transaction that was scheduled to close today. There were a few bumps as my clients and I journeyed toward closing. Those were dealt with and we kept moving forward. However, late yesterday, on the eve of closing, one of those bumps quickly grew to become a wall that appeared to be immovable. It was the kind of grave situation that left the other realtor and I standing together saying, initially, “I’m not sure…I’m not sure how to handle this.”
This is not the story of what went wrong. This is the story of what went right.
What I am incredibly proud to say is, that after a time of shock and understandable reactions, everyone came together and talked…and talked…and brainstormed about how to proceed. My clients were open and gracious. The other clients were open and gracious. Both compromised to reach an agreement.
The agent on the other side of the transaction stepped up and waded in, putting in long hours and going above and beyond without a word of complaint. I did the same.
And this is where my attitudes and thoughts about being a realtor have shifted dramatically these last few years…I do all I can to take care of my clients in a conscientious way, and stay open and in communication with the other realtor and all parties involved. And then I open to the Divine and ask for guidance. I ask for grace and compassion and love and kindness to surround each person involved and all situations. I ask for angels to surround us all. I listen for and look for inspirational nudges and Divine messages. I express gratitude each step of the way as I act on what I am given. What I have stopped doing is worrying, fretting, struggling, resisting and coercing.
This morning I met my clients at the title company at 6:15 am, thanks to an extremely accommodating closer. We closed our sides of two separate transactions. The sun was just coming up as the final documents were signed. They went on to work and I went to my office. As I drove to Keller Williams, during the dawning of a new day, I expressed deep thanks to the Divine, whom I call El-le. El-Hebrew word for God, elle-French word for she…both pronounced “ell” and together reminding me that the Divine is neither male nor female and yet encompasses both male and female.
I was grateful that we had made it this far, grateful that people came together to find a solution. Was it perfect? No…everyone involved sacrificed something. And yes…because nothing happens by accident. For myself, there were lessons to learn and opportunities for growth. Trust has been a big lesson for me the last few years. This experience was the next exercise in trusting that all is unfolding exactly as it should, even if I can’t see what’s around the corner or explain all the whys about what is happening.
I was very aware that even though my clients had closed their sides, things could still go wrong. However, I chose not to focus on that. I chose to trust. I chose to let everyone else do their jobs. I chose to express gratitude, aloud in an empty car.
As I walked into the office a little after 7:00, I felt settled and centered and at peace. We have background music that plays in the office during the day. Perhaps it plays all night too. As I walked down the hall, the song playing literally overhead suddenly caught my attention. Bob Marley was singing out, at that precise moment…
Don’t worry about a thing, ‘Cause every little thing gonna be alright. Rise up this mornin’, Smiled with the risin’ sun, Three little birds, Pitch by my doorstep, Singin’ sweet songs, Of melodies pure and true, Sayin’, (this is my message to you),
Singin’ Don’t worry ’bout a thing, ’cause every little thing gonna be alright.
I stopped to listen, amazed. I laughed. I teared up. Oh sure, it was Bob Marley’s voice but it was El-le speaking…Don’t worry. Every little thing gonna be alright.
The Divine didn’t say it was going to be easy or simple or without challenges. It is big stuff, to all of us working through it, yet in the end, three sets of clients will have ended up with what they ultimately wanted…new homes, fresh starts, stories to tell. I can only speak for myself, but for me this time also includes lessons about trust, growth, gratitude, higher awareness, intuition and deeper faith.
I’ve been singing the words all day. Every little thing gonna be alright. And so it has been and so it is and so it shall be.
Although I am based out of Joplin MO, as a realtor I can actually help buyers and sellers anywhere in the state of Missouri. Typically the majority of the transactions that I close are in the immediate Joplin area. And last year, all of my closing where on houses sold in the vicinity. But something unusual, for me, something out of the ordinary, has been happening. Of my last six closes in the past two months, and including my pending closings, half have been or will be away from Joplin. And I just made an offer on behalf of buyers on a property 78 miles away.
After an out of town closing this morning, I’ve been thinking today about the significance. I don’t believe anything happens by accident or coincidence. All that happens during my journey teaches me and reveal truths to me, or amazes and delights me. When something happens repetitively, it gets my attention, brings my awareness up and causes me to ponder.
Here are my thoughts on this string of closes that are in outlying areas.
At Keller Williams, we have sayings called BOLD Laws. One of them is: “Your business grows to the extent that you do.” I love that the realty company I am with cares for us as people first, and agents second. They encourage personal growth and provide classes designed to grow me and my business.
A couple of years ago, I began to test this “law” by setting the intention during a BOLD class that I would focus on my personal growth and see what happened. That was in the fall of 2013. My Year of Firsts took place in 2014, followed by my Year of Journeys this year. Business wise, they’ve been good years, and I can see the correlation between my life opening and opportunities opening too, and not just in real estate. Today I mused that perhaps growth isn’t just about number of units sold, but also has to do with expanding my territory, extending my reach, and enlarging my domain, both in life and business. That appears to be happening!
This thought followed. I also embrace the adage that my outer world is a reflection of my inner world. A mirror, so to speak, that gives me glimpses into my soul. About six years ago, during a chaotic time in my life with much upheaval going on, I was in a car accident, hit by a driver going the wrong way on a one way street. That was quite a shocking look into the mirror of my outer world. Things began to rapidly shift in my life after that.
Looking into the mirror of my outer world today, I see reflected back to me a life that is continuing to open and a soul that is expanding. Like my closings in new and distant places, I am journeying down new and unfamiliar paths. I am growing still. And my heart is full and overflowing with love, peace and joy. Creativity has awakened. I am having fun, in my real estate business, in my artistic endeavors, and in life.
Now that awareness has caused me to look deeply into the mirror, I don’t know what will happen next. More closings in far away towns? Or is something totally other waiting just around the far bend in the path. I don’t know but I don’t need to. I’m excited to see where the journey takes me next.
My journey the past few years has been amazing. It has been characterized by growth, releasing regrets and old stuck energy from my past, and releasing as well anxiety about my future. I have no control over the past or the future, and I realized how much precious energy was being wasted by dwelling needlessly on either. A great deal of freedom, joy and peace has accompanied me as I travel, and new opportunities have opened up, and my creative side has reappeared.
As my life has shifted, I’ve wondered whether being a realtor was going to be compatible with my journey. Having been in real estate for 13 years, I can attest that this can be a very stress filled occupation. I can spend a lot of time helping clients and have it all fall apart literally at the closing table. Realtors only get paid when they successfully complete a transaction. No fully completed closing, no paycheck.
Realtors would agree that the most difficult part of the transaction begins when the negotiating is done, the contract is signed and we are moving toward that closing table. Inspections, appraisals, lender requirements, buyer’s remorse and seller’s change of mind all have the potential for derailing a transaction and creating stress for all involved. I don’t want to live in stress. I choose not to. And thus my attitude toward real estate has shifted as well. Things can and do go awry. I have no control over most of those things. I do have control over how I respond and how I help my clients respond.
Today brought the perfect awareness of how much I’ve shifted. We are one week away from closing and a surprise popped up. The kind of surprise that can upset buyers, sellers and agents. The kind of surprise that can hijack a transaction. The other agent was not at fault and did her job well, communicating the issue to me and helping her clients to understand what was happening. I talked to my clients, and back into negotiations we all went. Back and forth phone calls and discussions ensued.
These situations, this close to meeting at the closing table, used to set me on edge and create anxiety. I wouldn’t communicate that to my clients but internally, the battle would begin…and the desperate questions: How do I hold this deal together? What should I do, promise, manipulate or try to control, to make this happen? And then my mind would go crazy, sorting through possible solutions, creating stress.
This has happened less and less the last two years. And today, not at all. I handled what was before me to handle, to the best of my ability, without resorting to the past (this is bad when this happens) or projecting anxiously into the future (the what ifs). When I had done what needed doing, I let it rest with the other agent. The day wasn’t ruined. I wasn’t fretting. My mind wasn’t churning. When silence stretched out between phone calls with the other agent, I brought my attention to the present moment and enjoyed what was going on right then, without allowing my mind to create stories about what that silence meant.
How amazing was the peace that surrounded me. One of my sentences to live by this year has been, “I am open to everything, and attached to nothing.” I did what I could, as well as I could, and let go of the outcome, believing that whatever happened at this point, was supposed to happen. Whatever happened, even if the deal came apart, I’d handle it as it appeared and help my clients to do the same. I chose to stay open, stay unattached to the outcome, and let things unfold.
I had a delightful late lunch with my granddaughter and was on my way to see one of my grandsons, when a call came in. It was the other realtor. She was laughing. “I have good news for you!” And she did. There was a third party error. A simple mistake. All was well. No further negotiations were necessary. I had the joy of passing that news on to my clients. And then it was on with my day. I acknowledged the way my life has shifted and opened up. And expressed gratitude. And smiled.
I no longer wonder if real estate is incompatible with the journey I am taking. There is joy in what I am doing. There is trust that all is unfolding exactly as it should. I’ll practice real estate until the moment that I no longer do. I’ll know when that is.
While many in Joplin huddled indoors today, out of the cold north wind and the freezing rain and snow, 100+ agents and the staff of Keller Williams Realty gathered together at the OGAR Board Office. It wasn’t just a tactic for keeping warm! We chipped ice off our cars and braved slick roads to stretch our thinking, to learn new things, to take our business practices up a notch and to embrace time saving technology.
The Joplin Keller Williams office decided late last year to go paperless. Anyone who has practiced real estate knows what a huge commitment that is. A standard contract is seven pages long. Add in addendums, supporting documents, disclosures and closing documents and we are talking about a substantial amount of paper for each transaction. Then, the need for duplication triples or quadruples those numbers.
Picture by Carolyn Thompson
One of the things I love most about the Keller Williams franchise is that they are always cutting edge, always at the forefront of the newest technological advances. A year and a half ago, as part of our package at KW, each agent was given a powerful online tool to use called dotloop. Any form and document can be downloaded into this program or blank forms accessed online within dotloop and filled out there. A loop is created, for example 1122 Gracious Living Street, Joplin, and everything about that property, from listing docs to offers and contracts to closing documents goes into that loop. Once a loop is started, it can be shared with the key people in the transactions: buyers, sellers, agents, brokers, and anyone else associated with those people. With a few clicks, documents can be sent electronically to all parties and signatures are gathered online and looped back to the agent. Dotloop not only saves paper and trees, it is saving immense amounts of time.
I’ve been using dotloop for quite a while, and when the announcement was made that the office was going paperless, I began to run all my documents, buyers and sellers through the program. I appreciated how easy it was to use, and greatly enjoyed the time I got back that I used to spend in the car, driving to meet clients to get their signatures. When today’s class was announced, and it was stressed that EVERY agent needed to attend, rain or shine, snow or sleet, I agreed to attend. However, I thought I was pretty up to date with dotloop and knew my way around the program fairly well.
KW Tech Trainer Carolyn Thompson
I am so very glad I was there today! KW agent and tech trainer, Carolyn Thompson, from the neighboring state of Oklahoma, drove in last night ahead of the winter weather, intent on making realtors’ lives easier with dotloop. She was phenomenal, easy to listen to and understand, and very knowledgeable about using dotloop. I didn’t just learn a couple of new things….I learned a LOT of new things. I’ve been using dotloop, but I’ve been doing some of it the more difficult way. Carolyn had great hand outs so we could follow along as she created a loop and walked us through the many benefits of being paperless. I took notes and can’t wait to put into practice all that I learned today. The Joplin KW office staff, amazing souls that they are, even made each agent a laminated flip chart to use for ease of remembering and continued learning.
Dotloop’s tagline is “peoplework, not paperwork”. Keller Williams is all about people as well. This rapidly growing international company is always focused on its agents, seeing us as people first, with lives and families, and then agents. They continually search for and implement programs, tools and models that help us to be the very best people that we can be. They know the rest will follow. In fact, one of my favorite sayings from the KW Bold program is “My business grows to the extent that I do.” Best of all, they have given me the opportunity to prove that truth. Now, I can also feel great about saving trees, being resourceful, and reclaiming precious time, both for me and my clients. And that’s a definite win-win!
This was a great first today! Previously, I have closed as many as three transactions in a single day. On the last day of February, and a Friday at that, I closed four.
One of the things I enjoy most about being a realtor is closing the sale, and not because that’s pay day for me. I’m not complaining about that either! But for me, being able to hand a buyer a set of keys, or a seller a check, is a wonderful experience. I love the excitement that lights up the faces of new home owners as the last document is signed and they realize the house is now theirs. And often for the sellers, there are sighs of satisfaction that the sale is completed and they can now move on to whatever is next on their journey.
My role, as a realtor, is to come alongside a buyer, a seller, an investor, and help them accomplish their goals in real estate. It can be a stressful time for those who are moving. Often there is a life transition taking place at the same time: a new job, a new baby, the last child leaving home, a death, a divorce. If I can ease their stress by handling the details and making sure the transaction goes as smoothly as possible, then I have done my job. I also soothe, encourage, hand hold, wipe tears, hug and celebrate. This is a people business, not a house one. And emotions accompany people. I am honored when I can offer more to my clients than showing a house or writing a contract.
Today’s closings were the end of these transactions, but not the end of the journeys or the relationships with these precious people. Thank you, Kaleb, Amber, Mona and Terry, and Steven and Rachel, for allowing me to be your realtor! I am grateful.
On this last day of January, 2014, I’m looking back over my first month of “firsts”, and I am so grateful! This has been the BEST January I have ever had, in my 10+ years in real estate. Business has been incredible. December and January are normally the slow months in real estate. This month behaved more like a May or June, which are peak real estate months.
I believe there is a correlation between who I am being and what I am doing….and my business. At Keller Williams, we have a saying, “Your business grows to the extent that you do.” As I am opening, as my attitude about life is shifting and expanding, as I am in this space of doing new things and moving Beyond where I currently am, my business is tracking along with me. I am all smiles!
January has been an amazing month in all aspects of my life. I am excited each morning to see what the day brings. Doing new things has brought magical and unexpected opportunities and life lessons. I am full of joy. And I am loving how events are arranging themselves to meet me where I am, and then moving me into unknown territory. I feel the Divine calling to me. And I am answering with all of my being.
I’ve always loved anticipation. It is such a sweet state of savoring what is and what is about to be. I am in high anticipation for the remainder of 2014, and my year of firsts!