Posted on Leave a comment

Reflection Friday: I’m taking you back…

Prompt: What don’t you want to go back to?

“I’m taking you back to the very place you suffered shame and defeat and you will have victory.”

A couple of years ago, I came across this old journal entry. At the time I wrote it, it spoke to me about my return to Arizona in 2018. Heavy, profound, life & family altering changes happened during my first stay in Arizona in the 1980s. When I stumbled upon this message a couple of years ago, I had just returned to Milwaukee after sixteen years away. This time, a return to all the places, people and things that  have impacted my life seemed to be the warning and lesson. 

I don’t know what the victory is, but I know the promise is that I won’t die in defeat. My end won’t come while I’m low. If I’m not shouting for joy now, I need only hold on because the morning will certainly come.

The first time I left Arizona, I vowed never to return. I was thirteen. It’s now a place I think of as an ideal home for myself. A place I want to settle in before retirement so I can build a community to age with before old age keeps me in place.

The last time I left Milwaukee, I swore I was done with it. I was thirty. Yet when I came back in 2021, Milwaukee was the most promising city for me as a new real estate investor. Among other cities, my top considerations were Atlanta, Baltimore and Detroit. Anywhere may have been a profitable choice, but I knew none of those cities intimately. However, I understood Milwaukee – it’s markets, culture, neighborhoods and its people. It’s biases. I remembered where it was  twenty and thirty years ago. I was beyond excited about recent, current and future development projects.  More importantly, I could afford to buy in a neighborhood that was one minute from the interstate, ten minutes from most major points in the metro area, and adjacent to a neighborhood I wanted to work myself into. 

When I left New York City, the mantra that drove me was, “I’m not going to die here!” I was forty-three. New York is where I first became my most authentic self. I was able to push boundaries, explore concepts, sample possibilities, and dismantle walls boxing me in identities I wasn’t sure represented me. It’s where I was most alive even when the City began to feel like a gilded cage. Six months after selling my co-op apartment and completing my relocation to the Tortolita Mountains in Southern Arizona from East Harlem, the Covid-19 lockdown began. I couldn’t have asked for a better place to be a shut-in during a global quieting.

How we begin our journey is no indication of how we will end it. How we leave a place, people or situation doesn’t mean we will return the same way – stuck in our hurts, frustrations, disappointments or soaring on triumphs and memories of greatness. If we are open to change, not only will we evolve but the way we interact with the world will bring opportunities we never could have imagined the first time around. As our perspective expands, life forms everywhere we look and joy becomes an expectation.

Reflection

  • Where is the one place you are determined never to return to? Why? Is it fear based? Shame? Regret? Whatever the reason, have you confronted and explored it? 
  • What is the best lesson learned after you returned to a place you didn’t want to go back to?

#live #life #covid_19 #chooselife #getup #go #newperspective #newchoices  #newday #newmercies #live #woman #womanhood #iamwoman #harvestlife #reflection #doover #keepmovingforward #onward #whatsnext #rethink #restructure #reflect #build #reapingmyharvest #Iamtheharvest #joy #peace #selfawareness #chooselife

Posted on Leave a comment

Harvest Life 2022 Content Engagement Goals

Spoiler: More audio and video!

Monthly
💻 Zoom Bible Study
🎙Conversations/Interviews (#twitter #spaces + #zoom)
🏠 Home Ownership

What topics are you interest in? Share in the comments.

Watch for additional details here:

#harvestlife #harvestbooks #harvestphotography #harvesthomes #harvestlifer #keepmoving #forward #grace #space #opportunity #harvest

Posted on Leave a comment

Thank you for Contractors

What’s a new day without gratitude or a new year without reflection? Woke up with the contractors who showed up to perform heavy on my mind. Frustrating processes, but grateful for the results. Keep moving, folks. The only way it doesn’t work out is if you don’t put in the work.

Peace, joy, and gratitude to you all. Be sure to give yourself grace, space and opportunity. You are the writer and executer of your story.

Message on photo: “Happy New Year! We’ve come a long way.
Thank you for your expertise, suggestions and contributions.
All the best for a Healthy & Prosperous 2022!”

#gratitude #joy #peace #contractors #renovation #rehab #fixandflip #fixandhold #airbnb #realestate #realestateinvestor #newday #newyear #workrelationships #happynewyear #2021 #2022 #Milwaukee

Posted on Leave a comment

Update: Rehab Progress

Pre rough-in electrical inspection walk through of my gut rehab – with some gems of wisdom.

Take-aways:

  • Life is never a straight line. You can’t avoid doing the work.
  • “Be stubborn with the vision, but flexible with the details. ~ Jeff Bezos

#realestate #rehab #homerenovation #fixnflip #fixnhold #communitydevelopment #onehouseatatime #makeitwork #getitdone

Posted on Leave a comment

Tenth Lane

As shared on Instagram @ljonesrealtor

This is the current apple of my eye. Haven’t named her yet though.

Video from my first walk-through with an old friend, Ron, whose a general contractor.

While I was still in AZ, I was shopping online for investment opportunities I could begin working on #asap and that would keep me occupied through the summer. My target cities were: #Atlanta , #Baltimore , #Detroit and #Milwaukee . I focused on city-owned properties, city programs and opportunities. I really thought I would be in ATL digging into that market by now, but God obviously had other plans.My sister is in Milwaukee. I’m normally not sentimental, but I was really ill a year ago and the thought of being in closer proximity to my closest family member (only living sibling) was really appealing. MKE gained prominence on the list by romanticizing the idea of spending a summer in the same city as my sister for the first time in nearly 20 yrs. Needless to say, she ghosted me within a week or two. 😫

Whether we spend time together or not doesn’t impact my investment plans.My goal was to find a city I could begin building an investment portfolio in. My aversion to returning to my old hometown, Milwaukee, colored how I viewed any opportunities here. My sister’s part in this process was to get me here with the least amount of resistance. That she did. Now that I’m here, I think #MKE is the best fit for me financially, historically, emotionally, and geographically.

I don’t plan on being here for the winters, however, so ATL is still in play. 😉 And honestly, winter in NYC never bothered me. 🙃 We’ll see….

While on my road trip earlier this year, I put in 3 offers for city-owned properties. This is the only one that was accepted. Quite honestly, I’m relieved. I would probably be crying daily if I was committed to rehabbing 2-3 properties immediately as a first-time flipper. This property will cost a lot more to restore than what the City projected, but I’m okay with the challenge.

Let me know what you think in the comments.

#realestate #realestateagent #realestateinvestor #realestateinvesting #realestatephotographer #distressed #community #revitalize #rehab #restore #affordable #quality #housing #dowell

Posted on Leave a comment

Real Estate: Self-Representation

Unpopular Opinion: I think everyone needs to invest in a real estate course and learn what they need to know to do what they want to do – rent, own, invest, etc. – in their local market. This doesn’t mean you have to represent yourself in your deals. It does however, make it more likely for you to know when and how you are not being well represented.

I had four listing agents for my first resale in NYC. During the tenure of three of the agents, I was in real estate school in AZ. I had literally gone along with things suggested by the agents that I assumed was a ”professional knowledge” thing, that was nothing of the sort. Real estate agents are just people with their own opinions and biases just like you. More than likely, they are more concerned with their best interests than yours. Who knows what they consider to be their best interest on any given day dealing with you?

I’m absolutely certain there are excellent real estate agents in the world who truly strive to be good representatives of their clients and are respectful counterparts in a transaction. I have not had the honor of working with one. In either of the two states, I’ve bought and sold homes in.

FSBO’s (for sale by owner) are laughed at by professionals. They’re derided. As an agent selling my own property, I was scoffed at repeatedly. Another agent actually told me it was illegal for an agent to sell their own property. It’s not. One of my former brokerages made it impossible to remain with the agency if you sell on your own instead of listing with them. The average homeowner has the option to sell their own home or hire someone to do it for them, but a real estate agent can only sell through their agency? Nah. I didn’t get into real estate to have my options restricted. On property I own.

What I will tell you as a new agent with a clientele of one, myself, I am my best representative. I was the best representative of my properties. No one know the home better than the homeowner. Even if you work with an agent, your job is to make sure they market your property well. Only one agent of the six I’ve worked with got a better number for me than I got for myself, but she didn’t close the deal. She dropped the ball and told me to my face face, in front of her broker, that she did her job my getting me the offer. With my limited real estate knowledge (still in RE school at that point), I told her, “Your job is to close the deal.”

Agents don’t get paid for offers. They get paid when their brokers get paid. Their brokers get paid at closing. No close, no pay.

I went through two more agents after her before getting my license in NY, joining an agency and listing my own property. Listing with your brokerage as an owner/agent does have some benefits. In New York City, there’s no public MLS. Agencies market properties to each other. Agents build networks and databases for marketing units or buildings. It’s easier to be seen via an agency’s platform. I was in contract within a few weeks of listing my own property with my agency. The buyer had expressed interest to one of my former listing agents. Had even made a low offer, which I rejected. When I relisted my property, they reached out again and we met in the middle on price.

For my AZ resale, I had one agent before delisting and going FSBO. He fielded an offer. It was low. I nudged him to follow up. I got the sense he thought I was being unrealistic in my expectations. Honestly, I think he was going by the book. He was focused on comps and the comps on the block didn’t support my pricing. This is where personal knowledge of your property and neighborhood comes in.

The two recent sells on my street hd been quick and urgent. The first one may have been fear of market collapse or perhaps the owner was over-extended. A lot of homes in this community are second homes before they become primary residences.

The second home that sold under market felt trapped by the comp of the first sale. They were also on contingency with the builder for a larger home down the street. They were at risk of losing the lot they wanted, so they were desperate to close fast.

I wasn’t in a hurry. I had a low number I didn’t want to go below. The offer my agent got was about $30k below ask and $20k below my low number at the time. The house wasn’t showing, meaning either agents weren’t aware it was available or it simply wasn’t being shared/marketed by y agent. Tucson had very low inventory at this time. Other properties in the area were getting offers within a week of listing. I stayed listed for three months before canceling the listing. I rested during the holidays and relisted on Zillow in January.

The offer I accepted came in $500 below my floor and $10,000 below my ask. Decent numbers but not the best for the times. I hadn’t kept my eye on the market. The absolute lack of inventory in the Metro Tucson area meant I could’ve netted $30-50k above my ask had I been more patient and discerning. As it was, the offer I closed on was $30,000 higher than the offer my agent brought me months prior and $9,500 higher than the highest cash offer from a corporate cash buyer. Not to mention the 4-5% commission fees saved for any of the offers.

Representing myself has earned and saved me tens of thousands of dollars per transaction. Because proof is in the pudding, I don’t see myself using an agent unless it’s absolutely beneficial to me.

For example, I’m planning on buying investment properties in a state I’ve never owned in before. The properties are city-owned, deeply discounted and comes with performance requirements. The city also requires licensed agents to process the application. No problem. I’ll hire an agent. The city as the seller, pays the agent’s fee. If I choose well, I may have someone to navigate a new market with me. If my agent streak continues as it has been, then I’ll have another cautionary tale.

Speaking of cautionary tales, the buyers of my AZ home and their agents are intergalactic level assholes. Like truly, I’ve never encountered the audacious level of disrespect and entitlement as these four individuals exhibited throughout the course of the transaction. I already shared their numbers were within spitting distance of my range, so in my mind,not enough to to trash the deal over. However, their treatment of me was so insulting, I asked them to cancel the contract twice. I simply was not comfortable dealing with them. In Arizona, sellers can’t cancel purchase contracts unless there’s outright fraud. I suspected they were misrepresenting themselves and their intentions but it didn’t amount to the level of fraud. Essentially, I asked repeatedly for verification of identity and funds. Their agent ignored my requests. I ended up contacting their banker, whom I don’t know and who could say anything on the phone, but he claimed they were legit and he had verified identity and funds. He also forwarded a chain of emails which mollified me a bit. I was assured by my broker at the time that the title process would shake loose any discrepancies. Title was a breeze. These people weren’t.

Because of this experience, the next home I sell for myself, I will not pay for the buyers agent. If I am FSBO, and the buyer wants an agent, then the buyer can pay for their own agent. In my mind, I paid money for licensed professionals to disrespect me during the resale of my AZ home. The state board says their behavior (more than shared here) is neither an ethics violation or a professional standards violation. One broker told me this is what I get for representing myself. Another said, next time you’ll hire someone to represent you, won’t you? Yet another said, why don’t you believe in the system? Each of these people make money off of agents listing and closing properties with their firms. That’s the only way they remain profitable entities. Me selling outside of the agency is of no value to them. That’s a blaring intrinsic bias. I had to stop and ask myself, “Who does their advice benefit?” Then more specifically, “How does this advice benefit me?” It didn’t. So I had to continue to move in a way that benefited me. Honestly, this is how I’ll be moving for the foreseeable future.