Let’s Talk about Communication

One of my biggest pet peeves in my job is the lack of communication from people in the real estate industry. Especially when it comes to email.

I will reach out over and over again to a lender or agent and never hear anything back. A lot of the time, they won’t return calls either. I understand things are busy, but if you aren’t communicating with your clients and the other members of a transaction, you are hurting yourself. Why would anyone want to recommend you if you disappear off the face of the planet as soon as a contract is signed?

On the flip side, there are numerous people in the industry that have realized the value of communication. They are the ones sending an email once a week with status updates. I don’t care if it’s a fill-in-the-blank form email, it’s USEFUL. They check in if something changes. They check – and answer (!) – their emails. I love working with people like that!

Here are a few things that will not only improve communication and impress your clients, but will make your life easier as well.

  1. Develop a plan for communication. Consistency is very important. Develop plans for calls, texts, and emails. Plan how often you will call to check in on your clients and what you will be calling them about. Develop a plan for updating your clients by email on where they are at in the process. Develop a plan for follow-up after the transaction is complete. Create templates for these emails so that they are easy to fill and send.
  2. Keep your voicemail clean. Don’t just put your name in your voicemail. Make sure you set an expectation in the message for how long it should take you to call them back. This will help prevent people from calling constantly because they reached your voicemail. And super important, learn how to delete emails so people don’t constantly get a “voicemail box is full” message.
  3. Check your email. I cannot stress this enough. So much is done through email that it can quickly get overwhelming. But you can’t just pretend email doesn’t exist. People are waiting on answers from you. Besides, if you are constantly asking for things that people already emailed to you, you just come across as a dunce.
  4. Set expectations in communication. Just like with voicemail, make sure people are aware upfront how you communicate. Let them know how long to expect an answer from a text or email. Set up a vacation responder when you’re not going to be checking your email, even if it’s just for half a day. If people are constantly overstepping boundaries at night, put your phone on night mode and turn on a vacation responder on your email that you will get back to them the next day.

These are just a few things I’ve found helpful. What other ways could we improve our communication with others? Have you run across someone who impressed you?

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Contentment in a Discontented World

It’s been a while since I’ve written! I let my worries take hold of me, and now I’m WIDE awake.

I’ve been thinking lately about how this country is so privileged yet so discontent. The vast majority of us have a high standard of living compared to most of the world, yet nothing ever seems good enough. I know so many people who have big houses, nice cars, a million followers – so much stuff. Yet, they continue to want more. Once they get what they want, they start to complain about what they have because then they want something “better.”

Yet if you’re happy with your life, if it means less money and less stuff, you are looked down on. Because you obviously lack the worshipped trait of “ambition.”

Even us Christians value the accumulation of stuff way too highly. Prosperity gospel is huge. Despite the fact that the Bible preaches contentment. Despite the fact that Jesus himself, and His closest followers, had next to nothing. We’re even told outright not to store up treasure here. Yet there are a multitude of books attempting to justify our desire to accumulate as much as possible. We glorify the “entrepreneur” over the janitor, the executive over the factory worker. Yet all are necessary and are linked together symbiotically.

Having wealth is certainly not in itself wrong. But if we are gaining such wealth by disregarding ethics and hurting others, we are doing wrong. If we think wealth is inextricably linked to God’s blessing, we need to take a step back and rethink our views of God. If we need a book to make us feel better about our pursuit of wealth and power, I would say that’s a pretty big red flag that something isn’t quite right.

There are other things we should be pursuing ahead of the accumulation of things we don’t actually need:

1. Love!

Above all else, we are commanded to love God first and then others. (Matthew 22) Are your pursuits taking precedence over love? What are you doing to help those around you? Are you neglecting your responsibilities to those around you to gain something you could live without?

2. Contentment

If you cannot learn to be content with what you have now, you cannot expect to be content when you have more. Don’t get trapped in the cycle of greed that you see so many celebrities/athletes stuck in.

3. Thankfulness

Hand-in-hand with contentment, learn to be thankful, even in the hard times. It will make the good times seem so much better. Stewardship improves when you’re thankful for what you have.

4. Generosity

Are you giving? I don’t mean just 10% at church. Are you giving to people in need? Are you volunteering your time? Practice giving to the point of discomfort. It’s extremely rewarding.

5. Personal Growth

Growth is more than just an increase in the bank account. Make sure you’re also growing yourself. Grow in knowledge. Grow in skill. Grow in character. Most importantly, grow in your relationship with God.

I’ve struggled with discontentment. I often want more than I have at the moment. But then I take a step back and realize how much I have in this life, and you know what? I become happier. I give more. I judge less. ❤️

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The Great American Lie

The great American lie: 

That you’re not valuable unless you have a mortgage you can’t afford, 2 cars, and designer clothes. That working hard is what gets you somewhere. That the average person is honest. 

All lies. 
Children, if you want to get somewhere, just kiss butt. In the end that’s all that matters for most people. Which is why we have badly run businesses with even worse customer service. Because nepotism, not knowledge, is king. 

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Mondays

I had the best, most relaxing weekend (despite the unintentional, difficult hike on Saturday)! Today has been pretty good, but it still doesn’t compare to the times when the only ones I have to interact with are my boyfriend and my cats. 🙂

Learning the Purpose of My Story

 

I was raised in a family that had struggled with abusive people in their lives. Yet, I was taught — perhaps unintentionally — that abuse was a shameful thing for the victim to talk about.

“Don’t tell anyone what so-and-so went through — it’s embarrassing.”

“Keep the negative stuff off the internet. You’ll put other people down.”

“No one ever knew that person was having such a hard time. They have such a good spirit for never saying anything. God doesn’t want us to complain.”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

Does anyone see what’s wrong with this concept?

I don’t have this plan of writing this great self-help book or anything like that. I’m not even 100% sure why I let everything out at once when I finally broke up with my ex. Mostly it was my word versus his, I’m not good at talking, and I am definitely the less dangerous person. So, I did the only thing I could to protect myself and just laid pretty much everything out there for everyone I knew to see. And that’s when I learned an important lesson:

DON’T BE AFRAID TO TELL YOUR STORY.

You wouldn’t believe the number of people who came to me in those weeks and months just to say that they’ve been through similar things with an abusive partner or relative. Some of them knew each other for years and never knew that they had this in common. It was shocking really. All because I had done something “embarrassing” by revealing a secret I kept for years.

No wonder the trend of abuse continues the way it has. If you bought a drink that was tainted and made you sick, would you hide it from everyone else? Or would you make sure that everyone knew it was poisoned so that they didn’t drink it themselves?

Why don’t we do the same thing for something that is so deadly? “1 in 3 female murder victims and 1 in 20 male murder victims are killed by intimate partners.”*

Yes there are movements to stop abuse — that’s wonderful — but it doesn’t really seem to hit home until someone you know goes through something awful. And if they keep it a secret, how would you know?

(This was supposed to be a short “aha” moment. So let’s stop the tangent.)

Anyways, one thing I was taught in youth group that stuck with me is that sometimes bad things happen to us so that we can help others who go through the same difficulty.  And the more I heard stories from friends and coworkers and their friends and family, the more I realized that something good can come from the bad by putting my story out there. It had the plus of keeping me sane when I couldn’t tell the difference between my thoughts and his voice in my head.

And guess what? I had a good friend approach me this week because she realized she was in a toxic relationship. Apparently, I was the only person she knew who had gone through something similar. (I’m sure she knows more, but once again, people don’t like to talk about it.) We were able to get together tonight and talk things out. She just needed someone to not judge and validate the decisions she was having to make.

There was a lot of prayer going on the last couple of days! It’s easy for me to talk about what I went through (mostly — there are still things most people will never need to know, and those tend to be triggers anyway), but I’m no counselor! However, I can do my best to be there for my friends. We aren’t all called to be counselors; however we are called to lift each other up (I Thess. 5:11). We at least had a good time of catching up and venting. If anything, those 5 years of pain were worth it if they keep someone else from going through the same — and I truly believe that this is what God wants me to do with my experience.

So tell your story. Don’t be ashamed that you were once a victim. It may be difficult at first. Will it scare some people? Yes. Will some people be offended? Of course. Will it be embarrassing? It can be at times. If you need to do so anonymously, that’s perfectly fine. You should make sure to stay safe. But doing so will do two things — it will help others, and it will help you heal. And those aren’t bad goals at all. 🙂

Story

 

*Bridges, F.S., Tatum, K. M., & Kunselman, J.C. (2008). Domestic violence statutes and rates of intimate partner and family homicide: A research note. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 19(1), 117-130.  http://ncadv.org/images/Domestic%20Violence.pdf

 

Restless Whatever Syndrome

Lately, I’ve found myself more and more in a state of restlessness. I have a good job and a good life, but I feel like I’m supposed to do more.

Here’s what dictionary.com says about the word “restless”:

1. “Characterized by or showing inability to remain at rest.”

I’m so tired of sitting all day long and staring at a flashing screen. Yes, it’s spring. Yes, the warmer weather naturally makes me want to go outside. But besides that, my eyes hurt from the computer and my back hurts from sitting. I really just need to expend some energy. Exercising after work isn’t really helping.

2. “Unquiet or uneasy, as a person, the mind, or the heart.”

You know how I feel like I need to chase a different purpose? Well, that would do with this part of the definition. I’m scared that I’m wasting my life sitting chained to a desk all day. I’m also scared of taking a risk. Something’s gotta give.

3. “Never at rest; perpetually agitated or in motion.”

Is that why my legs are always moving?! Ha!

4. “Without rest; without restful sleep.”

I sleep…but it’s almost never a restful sleep. I tend to wake up exhausted. I still have nightmares.

5. “Unceasingly active; averse to quiet or inaction, as persons.”

Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy binging on Netflix or my favorite movies, but doing that all the time can get old. I’d rather go somewhere. (Preferably, Disney World, but that’s a bit far away and expensive.)

But. But. But.

THAT. Right. There. is the problem. There are a lot of “buts” in my vocabulary. That needs to go away. Otherwise, I’ll be sitting here another three years from now and still be regretting the ideas and opportunities I didn’t follow through with.

Someone tell me that risk is worth it! I have to support myself — money is the scariest thing. Especially because I barely make ends meet as it is. But yet, there is always that whisper saying “take the chance.” My personal life is fulfilling and happy. Is it so bad to want my money-making life to be the same way?

It’s Been a While..

Apparently, I’m the most average blogger…

Life got busy, and I stopped writing. And so much has happened since then that I can’t even remember it all!

First off, my job got really busy. I ended up taking on extra responsibilities when my general manger changed jobs. I’m really grateful for the experience and extra work! But, it does make me end up feeling so tired at the end of most days, that I just don’t feel like turning on my computer at home. But hey, I know Quickbooks now!

By the time I was finally catching up with balancing the new work with the old work, it was almost time for my office to change floors in our building. Lots of work. Lots of haggling with contractors that weren’t that wonderful IMO. Eventually, the main contractor disappeared. My boyfriend and I ended up doing the last few things that needed to be done in the new office space.

In the middle of THAT, my mom and I went to Disney World! For my birthday! It was a pretty crazy trip, but we did several things on my bucket list — Yay! I FINALLY got to see Festival of Fantasy on our last day  — a day that we weren’t supposed to be in the parks. Long story! It seems like every time I was in Magic Kingdom since that parade came out, it was raining. I’ve seen the Rainy Day Parade more times than any other parade, I think. By the way, the bread plate at Sanaa is AMAZING! Definitely something you can share with two people. I also realized that I REALLY need a real camera. Relying on my crap phone for everything was so irritating.

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Festival of Fantasy

So, we got back from Disney, and I went straight into the office move which went straight into prepping for our client party (my first time organizing THAT, BTW) which went straight into Thanksgiving then the client party then Christmas parties then Christmas then New Year’s (each of which usually involves at least 3 different gatherings each night) then my grandma’s surprise 80th birthday party. *Gasp! I didn’t get a chance to breathe until mid-January — and then I got sick (of course!).

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Colin & Keira

Oh yeah, I also got a second cat right before Christmas. Totally unplanned, but it was a good thing because Colin was getting lonely by himself all day. She’s adorable. ❤

And how can I forget?! My brother got engaged! I’m happy for him. I’ll be a bridesmaid in their wedding this summer. Social anxiety much?

So here I am, finally healthy again. Time to start getting into this blog thing again. Anything you would like me to write about? Let me know!