Another Top 10 . . .
I came up with another top 10 list I wanted to post. I've been getting hits on my blog recently from other Real Estate Agents around the country, so I thought I'd share this little pearl of wisdom.
John's Top 10 Real Estate Agent Tools
This is a collection of tools that I could not live without nor could I provide the level of service to my clients that I'd be proud of.
01. Palm Treo 650
- It's my phone, my PDA, my lockbox key, a modem for my laptop, occasionally a camera and even provides entertainment in the form of games or MP3's while I'm waiting for an appointment. Cost: As Low as $299 with activation
02. Canon G3 Digital Camera
- This little baby takes awesome pictures. Makes up for my lack of photographic skill. Adding the wide angle lens and external flash for pictures of bedrooms and bathrooms was a GREAT addition. It also takes AWESOME panoramic photos as well to be stitched together later. Cost: Approximately $599, Flash $110, Wide Angle Lens with adapter $150
03. Adobe Photoshop CS2
- Again, if any of my pictures are dark, need to be cropped or I have a series of panoramic photos that need to be stitched together, this is the ultimate photo editing software. Photoshop Elements would be a worthy substitutue for those on a limited income. Cost: $649, Elements $99
- Having my own personal 1-800 fax number that turns received faxes into scanned PDF files and e-mails them to both me and my assistant saves me countless trips to the office. Having the ability to send faxes from nearly everywhere is priceless. Cost: Varies according to plan
- Having the ability to log onto my home PC or my assistant's PC to retrieve files from anywhere with an internet connection again saves countless hours driving to and from the office. Cost: $20/month for connection to 2 PC's
- The ultimate gift basket site for closing gifts. Baskets tailored to a wide range of tastes and a variety of prices makes this a no-brainer. I've never gotten more compliments on closing gifts than I have since I've started using these baskets. Cost: Varies on type of basket purchased. $30 - $250
- 1 day turn around on full color flyers with reasonable color printing costs. Awesome service for uploading, printing and mailing your Just Listed/Just Sold postcards too. Simply upload your card design, upload your mailing list in Excel format and they will print your cards, address them and mail them out. All for $0.69 per jumbo LAMINATED postcards. Cost: Varies by product
09. Pioneer AVIC-N2 Navigation System
- If you really want your clients to think you know what you're doing, you've got to have a navigation system! Simply type in up to 5 addresses and it will pick the shortest route to take you to all 5. Need to find a restaurant for a quick bite to eat or to sign a contract, no problem. Know a phone number of a business, but no clue on the address, easy. Never get lost again. I also added the XM satellite radio tuner and the iPod connector so I'm always entertained when I'm making the rounds to visit clients. Cost: Approximately $2,500 installed.
10. Continuing Education
- You can never learn too much in this business. In Washington we have to have 30 clock hours of continuing education every two years. IMHO, this is not nearly enough to keep you "in the know" and well informed about the real estate industry. I try to hit 90 - 100 hours per year on average. Whatever your state's requirement, it's not likely enough. Cost: Priceless (sorry to steal the MasterCard tagline)
Fences and Fireworks . . .
So this past weekend, my neighbor Mike (yes I have another neighbor named Mike) and I decided we were going to build our fences. We have 3 fences to put up. The one between us, and the two on the opposite side of our respective yards. We thought we'd get the holes dug on Sunday, the posts set on Monday and throw up the cross members and fencing on Tuesday. WELL, we DID get the holes dug on Sunday and we DID get the posts set on Monday. But GEEZUS was it work! The Puyallup valley may be some of the most fertile soil in the world, but South Hill is certainly some of the rockiest! We rented an auger to dig the holes and the guy at the rental place said "I hope you have better luck than I did, it took me 5 hours to dig 5 holes" . . . well it took us a good 15 - 30 minutes per hole. One hole in particular got moved and I'll have a very short fence section and a very long fence section because of it. But the rock we unearthed, I swear must be the keystone for the western hemisphere! So be thankful we didn't pull it out or surely our half of the world would have slid off into space. We dug a hole that was at least 3' in diameter and still had not uncovered more than 50% of the rock. We decided that should we get it all uncovered, there was no way the four of us were getting it out of the hole, so we just moved the hole. Then on Monday, we realized that a few of our holes were off center and we had to move them over . . . well the auger was long gone by that point and the hand tools came out. By the time we finally quit around 7 on Monday, we were all spent. I honestly don't think I've ever worked that hard over 2 days in my life. So we decided to take Tuesday off. We'll work on it in the evenings for the next week or so and get er' done.
Tuesday, we just bought a whole s*** load of fireworks and proceeded to blow up the neighborhood . . . it was great! Mike and Jen had us over for a BBQ and we ate, drank and were merry until dusk when the mayhem erupted. It reminded me a lot of 4th of July as a kid. Cooooooooool.
I was happy though on Monday morning. I stepped on the scale and although I've had a month or more of debauchery, I've only gained 1.5 pounds back of the 13 I had lost. So that feels good to know I don't have to start all over again. Hopefully I can get another 10 or so gone before Teri and I head to California next month. We do have an elliptical trainer now. My parents were kind enough to buy us one for a housewarming present. The unfortunate part is it has a weight limit of 250 pounds. So I have to lose 80 before I can use it. DOH! Handy though that one of my Life Goals
is to weigh less than 250 pounds.
Speaking of the life goals, since I put them here, I've been thinking of them more and more. And actually I do think there is a somewhat logical order to them. So here they are repeated, but in order of importance:
John's top 10 Goals in Life
(Ranking indicates presumed order of completion)
01. Weigh Less than 250 Pounds
02. Enter and Complete a Triathalon
03. Summit Mount Rainier
04. Obtain Private Pilot's License
05. Shoot Under 90 in Golf (I guess I should try for under 100 first?)
06. Visit Australia for more than 2 weeks
07. Ride across the United States and back on a Motorcycle
08. Write a Novel
09. Get aforementioned Novel Published
10. Have a net worth somewhere north of $1,000,000
So here's my thinking . . . If I can get my weight down to a managable level, i.e. under 250 . . it's likely that by obtaining that goal, I'll be in good enough shape to enter and complete a tri. Now with the newfound confidence of completing the tri, I'll go for Mt. Rainier again. While weighing less than 250 is not necessarily a pre-requisite for obtaining my pilot's license, it does make plane rental and lessons cheaper because we can use a smaller plane. Again, I'll likely be in pretty good shape from all that swimming, biking, running and mountain climbing that my core strength will be much better and shooting a decent round of golf will just kind of fit in. After all that exercise, it'll be time for a break and my new sexy body will look awesome on the shores of an Australian beach. Of course I'll be more comfortable on my motorcycle too, so a quick jaunt out to Boston, down to Key West, over to San Diego and back to P-town will seem like the right thing to do. Now with all of this new found skill and confidence, I'll have to write a book about my adventures. Publisher's will eat up this normal guy to American legend story and be beating down my door to publish it. It'll end up on the NYT non-fiction bestseller list and my net worth will be all the richer for the experience.
So there you have it . . . a refinement of my goals and a plan for the next few years of my life. I won't forget you . . . :-)