Referrals: The backbone of any local business

April 15, 2014
A personal introduction can be invaluable for building your business. Ask for the referral!!! Be specific!!!

A personal introduction can be invaluable for building your business. Ask for the referral!!! Be specific!!!

As I look back on the last several years in business, the one source of growth that is often overlooked and under appreciated is the referral. A referral is the most source of prospect that any business can receive…including my business. Many talk about referring business, but few actually do. Why is that? Whether you are selling real estate, legal advice, or servicing an HVAC unit, referrals are the easiest way to build a strong relationship with a future client. So, why don’t many people refer?

The answer is simple, but also very complex. The primary reason a business doesn’t get referrals is they fail to ask for a referral. I am no different in my business as I often fail to ask for the referral. As a business owner, I often believe that my professional services I give to my clients will result in referral business. This can happen, but not in the kind of numbers you would think. Many people do not think about you when they run into a potential referral situation. I know I have many things on my mind in any given day and often, I fail to think about those service providers who have made my business a success. A past or current client is no different. They simply do not think about you.

Another reason few referrals are passed occurs from a lack of training. As a professional, I need to demonstrate to my contacts how to best refer potential clients and who would be a good candidate for my services. In my business, anyone is a potential client and a potential source for a referral. It is not like this in all businesses, but a good many professions are similar. For instance, a property and casualty insurance agent has a wide range of potential clients, if not all adults. If you own a car, you need insurance and this is a potential source for an insurance agent. As we know, most people in our area own a car. Even if you don’t own a car or a house, you need renter’s insurance to protect your belongings from a fire or flood. How do we get more referrals as business owners?

When you are speaking with a potential referral source, be specific with them. Ask them if they would prefer a lunch with the three of you or if you can use their name when you call the person. Find out what their preference is and follow it. Be flexible, but ask for the referral.

The most effective way to train your contacts while asking for a referral is to describe the client you are looking for. For instance, I am looking for renters who are considering buying their first home. This client would be a young professional who’s in their late twenties or early thirties and have an interest in investigating homeownership. I would phrase my comments like this “I heard your son/daughter recently landed a great job and are they interested in possibly owning their own home? I would love to sit down with them to discuss their options and see if buying a home is the right thing for them and if it is the right time for them to purchase a home”. It is that easy…but you need to know what type of client you are looking to gain.

On the other end of the spectrum, I am looking for homeowners who are considering downsizing or up-sizing. This would be too broad to ask, so I should limit to one or the other when asking for a referral. Since I have experience working with homes on golf courses, it would be a natural fit for the downsizing client. So, I would ask in much the same way if they have a neighbor or friend who is a recent empty nester and looking to downsizing their homes. “Are they interested in selling to move into a condo in downtown Raleigh?”

If you are in a profession that requires you to continually lead generate such as a financial planner or a real estate agent, you need to work on building your referral base to insure you are successful. The cost to generate a new client can be extensive, but typically, referrals do not cost you a dime. You may have to take someone out to lunch or buy them a drink, but you would be eating and drinking anyway and this is not a typical business cost since you have some personal enjoyment out of it. For instance, I send out postcards to generate business. This is more expensive than a lunch would be and is less effective. Don’t be cheap when trying to garner referral business…take them to lunch or host a dinner party. You will build a stronger relationship and can build a referral base that will benefit you and your business.

I would be remiss if I didn’t ask if you have a son/daughter or family member who recently landed that dream job and is now considering homeownership. If you do, I would appreciate an introduction. I hold my referrals dear and give them a level of customer service that will make you look good in their eyes.

Golf Fanatic? 2014 will be a great year for Triangle Golfers!

March 24, 2014
The pose of a Champion! Who will pose at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst?

The pose of a Champion! Who will pose at the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst?

The Triangle will be the focus of golf this year as we welcome both the 2014 U.S. Men’s and Women’s Open to Pinehurst in June. It will be a unique opportunity to watch some of the greatest golfers in the world compete. Nothing is more impressive than witnessing amazing golf shots with millions of dollars in prize money on the line. We all remember the great shot by Payne Stewart to win the U.S. Open in Pinehurst or the more recent Bubba Watson shot to win The Masters in 2012. However, if you are like me, you would much rather play golf then watch it. Here are some of the great opportunities to gather your friends and business associates to play tournament golf in the Triangle this year.

The tournament was named after past president Jack Andrews who supported this tournament. We lost Jack in 2013, but he will never be forgotten!

The tournament was named after past president Jack Andrews who supported this tournament. We lost Jack in 2013, but he will never be forgotten!

I would be remiss if I didn’t place the greatest emphasis on my Rotary’s club golf tournament which will be held at Wildwood Green Golf Club on May 6th. It is a 1 pm shotgun start with pizza lunch provided by Little Caesars. The 5th Annual Jack Andrews Memorial Golf Tournament will benefit the many organizations that the Rotary Club of North Raleigh supports throughout the year. More details can be found here or you can contact me directly as I have the inside information on this event. This is an important fundraiser for this organization and without your support, we cannot help the many people we do every year.


The Inaugural Holly Hill Hospital Charity Golf Tournament will be held on May 12th at the Lonnie Poole Golf Course on the NCST Campus. Registration opens at 11 am with a noon shotgun start. Cost is $130 per player and more details can be found here. The Lonnie Poole Golf Course is always a challenging and interesting course so you will want to make your plans to participate in this event.

The Wake Tech’s Sixth Annual Athletic Golf Tournament will be held on April 25th at the Eagle Ridge Golf Club. It sounds like a wonderful event with a silent auction, 50/50 raffle and a $5,000 putt for Cash. More details for this event can be found here.

The Northern Wake Optimist Club’s Golf Tournament will be held on April 4th at the Reedy Creek Golf Course. Proceeds benefit kids in our community. There will be a monetary prize for the top 3 teams. The cost is minimal at $65/player or $260/team and it includes both a bag lunch and dinner after the round. For more information, please visit here.

The Camp Royall Classic Golf Tournament will be held on May 5th at the Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Club. The tournament will help provide life-changing experiences to children with autism at Camp Royall, the largest and oldest camp exclusively for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the United States. The cost is $500/foursome. You can learn more about this effort and register here.

On June 16th at Bentwinds Country Club, the Eighth Annual Raleigh Area NFFF Golf Tournament will be held. It will support the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation which supports the families of fallen firefighters. The cost is $100/individuals or $400/team with many sponsorship opportunities. For more information on this wonderful event, please click here.

The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) Golf Tournament will be held on May 15th at River Ridge Golf Club. It will be a 9 am shotgun start and sponsorships are still available. Please visit here for more information.

The Raleigh Claims Association (RCA) Golf Tournament will be held on May 16th at Wilmar Golf Club. It will be a 1 pm shotgun start and cost is minimal at $50/player to include golf and the picnic. For more information, please click here.

The Ed Shook Golf Classic raises money for the education of developmentally challenged children in Wake County!

The Ed Shook Golf Classic raises money for the education of developmentally challenged children in Wake County!

The Ed Shook Golf Classic will be held on September 8th at the famed Raleigh Country Club. Celebrating its 49th anniversary, this event is one to remember and participate. Sponsored by the Frankie Lemmon School and the Rotary Club of North Raleigh, this event directly assist students with developmental challenges. The school was named after the founder’s son shortly after his death. For more information about this event, please visit here or contact me directly.

This is just a sampling of the golf tournaments throughout the Triangle region. As you can see, there are many opportunities to play golf for a good cause. If you have a tournament that I didn’t mention, please let me know and I will promote it as well. You can email me at We always try to show as many tournaments as we can, but it is impossible to know all of them.

Don’t forget to Spring Forward this weekend!

March 7, 2014
Don't forget Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 9th. Don't be late for church!!!

Don’t forget Daylight Savings Time begins this Sunday, March 9th. Don’t be late for church!!!

As you may know, Daylights Savings Time is set to take effect on the 2nd Sunday of March according to the Energy Policy Act of 2005, which extended the period of DST by about a month in the U.S. So, at 2 am on Sunday morning, you are to ‘Spring Forward’ and make it 3 am…thus losing an hour of sleep on that first day.

The history of DST is an extensive one and one that goes back to Ancient times such as the Roman water clocks that used different scales for different months of the year. The first mention of it in more modern times was by the esteemed Benjamin Franklin, who proposed it when he returned from Paris in 1784. In an essay he published upon his return, “An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light”, he proposed the change to economize the use of candles by rising earlier to take advantage of the sun. Of course, it was not implemented in his time.

Some credit the modern use of DST to George Vernon Hudson, an entomologist from New Zealand in 1895. He proposed in a paper a two-hour shift forward in October and a two-hour shift back in March. Although there was some interest in his proposal, it was never implemented.

In 1905, William Willett proposed moving the clock forward in the summer and back in the fall to take better advantage of brighter sun in the summers. Many credit him with the modern DST as it was implemented shortly after he suggested it during World War I, though he died in 1915 without it being adopted. A bill was introduced in 1908 in the House of Commons, but was not passed.

DST was first adopted by the Germans to replace artificial lighting and reduce energy usage on April 30, 1916. It was soon followed up by the British and many countries shortly after on both sides of the war to include the U.S. After the war, most countries reverted back to the old standards and it would not return until the 2nd World War.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt instituted year-round DST called “War Time” from February 9, 1942 until September 30, 1945. It was enforced 40 days after Pearl Harbor and the time zones were originally called Eastern War Time, Central War Time and Pacific War Time. After the surrender by Japan in August, 1945 it was relabeled “Peace Time”.

Daylight saving was first recognized as an energy-saving aspect during World War II when Double Summer Time was applied in Britain which moved the clocks two hours ahead of GMT during the summer and one hour ahead of GMT during the winter.

DST caused mass confusion in the U.S. between 1945 and 1966 for trains, buses and broadcasting since many states and municipalities were free to choose whether to use DST and when to implement it. The Uniform Time Act of 1966 ended the confusion as it set the standard that DST would begin the last Sunday in April and end the last Sunday in October. Local municipalities were still allowed to not to use DST by passing a local ordinance.

The U.S. Congress extended the DST to ten months in 1974 and eight months in 1975 after the 1973 oil embargo. It was estimated that DST saved 10,000 barrels of oil per day, but it was still controversial. Some complained that the darker winter mornings were dangerous for the children going to school in the dark. After the energy crisis ended in 1976, the U.S. changed back to the last Sunday in April. It was amended in 1987 to the first Sunday in April and remained unchanged until the Energy Policy Act of 2005 to its current standards, which started in 2007 and began on the second Sunday in March and ends on the first Sunday in November.

DST is not implemented in over 70 countries worldwide and effects over a billion people. Though many countries now observe DST, few use the same schedule as the U.S. The European Union adopted the summer time schedule that had been observed throughout the U.K. for several years where it begin on the last Sunday in March and ends on the last Sunday in October.

This is just a brief history of daylight savings time and more information can be found not he web. If you are interested, you could spend hours reading all of the different accounts of it. In essence, remember to move your clocks forward this Saturday night before bed or risk being late for church on Sunday.


Considering Selling your home this Spring: Here are some ways to get your home ready!

February 19, 2014
Planning on selling your home this is the time to get it ready for sale!!!

Planning on selling your home this Spring…now is the time to get it ready for sale to ensure is becomes SOLD!!!

As many people know, the optimal selling season for real estate is Spring and Summer. So, many people plan to put their homes on the market in the Spring to take full advantage of the optimal selling season. There are some specific things you can do to prepare for the Spring to best optimize the season.

1. Choose a competent agent.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) indicates that most sellers only interview one agent. This can be good and bad, depending on the one agent you interview. This could mean that was the agent who sent you a postcard or called you when you were first considering selling your home. Does this make them the best agent for you? Maybe, but you need to be sure. Does your agent have to be the most successful agent in your market? As an agent who isn’t the most successful in my market, I can say with certainty that this is not the case. Past success does not equate to future success.

I would suggest that you take your time when interviewing the prospective agent. Do not be afraid to ask tough questions of each agent you interview since this is their job and they should be prepared for your questions. The agent should have a detailed marketing plan to best position your home. Additionally, it is not simply the marketing avenues, but how your home is positioned. The agent needs to know how to properly expound on the virtues of your home, not just simply place it on the MLS and websites. Remember, the marketing should be geared towards the buyer, not other agents. Personally, when I look up homes for my buyers on the MLS, I rarely read the remarks about the home. I am looking at the specifics of the home such as amenities, room sizes, or whatever else my buyer finds important. Buyers always read the comments and those comments are published on several websites, so it should be effective to appeal to the targeted buyer.

In real estate, we cannot steer our buyers or properties, but in essence, each home has a specific target market. For instance, you would not promote the features of a starter home towards an empty nester couple. Most of the starter homes will be purchased by young families who are making their first home purchase. I live in an upscale town home subdivision where most of the homeowners are empty nesters. Why would I promote the great schools when chances are, the buyer would be an empty nester who wants the benefit of maintenance free living. I would sell my townhouse to a young family in a heartbeat, but the odds are against it. Your agent should be able to target market your home.

In essence, your agent should be able to demonstrate his/her market knowledge. They may not know all of the answers, but they should have a general working knowledge of your market. I like to keep it simple…you should like and trust your agent. Like because you will be communicating with them and working closely with them until your home sells. Trust because you need to be confident they have the knowledge and experience to do the job, while honest enough to tell you the truth about your home.

2. Start packing.

You should start packing since you have already mentally moved out of the home the moment you decided to sell. This is no longer your home. Of course, you cannot pack everything in your home, but you should start packing many of the personal items and removing the clutter from the home. This is a great opportunity to purge your home of those items we collect over the years, but no longer want or need. If needed, rent a storage room close to your home to move these items since you don’t want boxes lined up throughout the house. This does not show well when trying to sell.

While packing, make sure your house is cleaned completely. It can be a huge challenge if you have to start cleaning your house for marketing pictures and can delay getting the house on the market. You are looking to list in the Spring, so consider this a Pre-Spring cleaning. Make sure you also clean the exterior of the house, possibly with a power washer and clean all of the windows. I know this is a hassle, but in a competitive market, anything can make the difference.

3. Repair any broken or damaged items.

Since any buyer will order an inspection of the house, you might as well as get these things done before you list your home. A home that is well-maintained will always sell quicker and for more money than one that needs major repairs. After you are sure all of the mechanical items work such as furnace, A/C, etc., you need to focus on the cosmetic. Buyers do not fall in love with the HVAC unit, they fall in love with the house, then they have the HVAC unit inspected to see if it is working properly. While you are painting, cover any unique wall covers with a softer, more generic color. Even though it is very easy to paint a wall, many buyers are turned off because of the wall colors.

Be sure to repair any minor issues such as sticky doors, burned out lightbulb, and loose knobs as these minor fixes can make a buyer believe the house is poorly maintained if the small items are not working properly. When your home is on the market, I would encourage my clients to pick up, clean up and fix up daily, so you might as well as start now.

4. Prepare your yard.

As you may imagine, every aspect of the property can help determine whether a home sells or not and the yard is no exception. Since you are preparing before the Spring flowers start to bloom, you may not spend as much time on planting flowers, but you could always make a landscape plan that can be implemented just before you contact an agent. Either way, the grass needs to be treated and may even require you to add grass seed and fertilizer. The optimal time to do this is in the fall (from my limited horticulture knowledge), but its better to do it later than to not do it. A full lawn can be a huge selling point. Also, make sure you have pruned all of your bushes and trees so they look presentable.

One thing many sellers fail to do is to walk to the curb and look at your home. What impression does it give you? If it isn’t warm, welcoming and inviting for you, it will not be warm, welcoming and inviting to a potential buyer. Curb appeal does sell and greatly impacts the mojo of your home.

5. Research the market.

Your agent will do this, but you need to do it as well to avoid sticker shock and to ensure your agent is knowledgeable of the market. Trust but verify is not just a slogan, but a great way to approach your interactions with anyone, let alone a real estate agent. With the Internet, it is very easy to see how homes are priced in your area and to get a strong indication of the selling price. I don’t expect you do perform your own Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), but you should have knowledge of homes in your community. This will help you avoid pricing your home too high or too low. Most agents will push to price your home lower as it is the perception that this will ensure the home sells quickly, but you don’t want to give the house away. If you do not have a good understanding of the market, you can be convinced to price it low.

While you are researching the market, another item to check is the average Days on Market (DOM). This will give you an idea of how long it will take you to sell your home. We would all like to think that we can sell our precious homes within weeks of putting it on the market, but in reality, many homes takes several months to get an offer…and usually only if it is priced right.

Some outside factors that can impact your homes sale is the overall economic conditions of your market. We have all heard how a few years ago you could purchase a 3,000 sq ft home in Detroit for less than $10,000. Where this is an extreme example, if the unemployment is high in your area, there are fewer buyers who can qualify to purchase a home. It can be a snowball effect. For example, if your home is a larger home that an established family would purchase, you may have the issue where they cannot sell their starter homes because there are no buyers for it. In the Triangle region of North Carolina, this is not a major issue as the unemployment level has dropped last year and the general health of the economy has begun to strengthen. I mention this aspect to make sure you are informed. The best marketing strategies will not work if the economy is poor.

I hope these have helped you prepare for the Spring market. In Raleigh, the market tends to begin to improve in March so you still have a few weeks to get your home ready for sale. If you are looking for the right agent, call me. I may not be a good fit for you, but I will give you solid advice on your home and a pricing strategy.

Trulia’s Housing Predictions: How 2014 Will be Different

January 22, 2014

Since I didn’t think I could word it any better, I have copied and pasted this article, written by Jed Kolko, Chief Economist for Trulia. It was written on December 11, 2013. All rights reserved by Trulia.

Do you have your Crystal Ball to tell you what the real estate market will be like in 2014? I don't, but this is a great assessment!

Do you have your Crystal Ball to tell you what the real estate market will be like in 2014? I don’t, but this is a great assessment!

Next year looks to be the year of the repeat home buyer, as worsening affordability discourages first timers and investors; also, the buying process will be less frenzied. Hot markets to watch are primarily in the South, Plains, and Mountain states. Rental activity will swing back toward urban apartments, away from single-family homes.

The housing market continued its uneven recovery in 2013 and will enter 2014 closer to normal than it was a year earlier. Consumer optimism is climbing back: in Trulia’s latest survey, 74% of Americans said that homeownership was part of achieving their personal American Dream – the highest level since January 2010. Even among young adults (18-34 year olds), many of whom struggled through the recession and are still living with their parents, 73% said homeownership was part of achieving their personal American Dream, up from 65% in August 2011. Rising prices over the past two years have been great news for homeowners, especially for those who had been underwater, and the real estate industry has benefited from both higher prices and more sales volume.

At the same time, the effects of the recession and housing bust still sting: the barriers to homeownership remain high, and a few markets – mostly in Florida – still have a foreclosure overhang. Plus, the housing recovery itself brings its own challenges, including declining affordability and localized bubble worries, especially in southern California.

Barring any economic crises, the housing market should continue to normalize. Here are 5 ways that the 2014 housing market will be different from 2013:

  1. Housing Affordability Worsens. Buying a home will be more expensive in 2014 than in 2013. Although home-price increases should slow from this year’s unsustainably fast pace (see #4, below), prices will still rise faster than both incomes and rents. Also, mortgage rates will be higher in 2014 than in 2013, thanks both to the strengthening economy (rates tend to rise in recoveries) and to Fed tapering, whenever it comes. The rising cost of homeownership will add insult to injury in America’s least affordable markets: in October 2013, for instance, 25% or less of the homes listed for sale in San Francisco, Orange County, Los Angeles, and New York were affordable to middle class households. Nonetheless, buying will remain cheaper than renting. As of September 2013, buying was 35% cheaper than rentingnationally, and buying beat renting in all of the 100 largest metros. However, prices and mortgage rates might rise enough to tip the math in favor of renting in a couple of housing markets – starting with San Jose.
  2. The Home-Buying Process Gets Less Frenzied. Home buyers in 2014 might kick themselves for not buying in 2013 or 2012, when mortgage rates and prices were lower, but they’ll take some comfort in the fact that the process won’t be as frenzied. There will be more inventory on the market next year, partly due to new construction, but primarily because higher prices will encourage more homeowners to sell – including those who are no longer underwater.  Also, buyers looking for a home for themselves will face less competition from investors who are scaling back their home purchases (see #3, below). Finally, mortgages should be easier to get because higher rates have slashed refinancing activity and pushed some banks to ramp up their purchase lending. Moreover, the new mortgage rules coming into effect in 2014 will give banks better clarity about the legal and financial risks they face with different types of mortgages, hopefully making them more willing to lend. All in all, more inventory, less competition from investors, and more mortgage credit should all make the buying process less frenzied than in 2013 – for those who can afford to buy.
  3. Repeat Buyers Take Center Stage. 2013 was the year of the investor, but 2014 will be the year of the repeat home buyer. Investors buy less as prices rise: higher prices mean that the return on investment falls, and there’s less room for future price appreciation. Who will fill the gap? Not first-time buyers: saving for a down payment and having a stable job remain significant burdens, and declining affordability is also a big hurdle for first-timers. Who’s left? Repeat buyers: they’re less discouraged by rising prices than either investors or first-time buyers because the home they already own has also risen in value. Also, the down payment is less of a challenge for repeat buyers if they have equity in their current home

    Biggest Obstacle to Homeownership

    All adults

    18-34 year-olds only

    Saving enough for a down payment



    Not having a stable job



    Having a poor credit history



    Qualifying for a mortgage



    Unable to pay off existing debt



    Rising home prices



    Rising mortgage rates



    Limited inventory



    Among renters who wish to buy a home right now. Respondents could choose multiple options. Survey conducted November 2013.
  4. How Much Prices Slow Matters Less Than Why And Where. Prices won’t rise as much in 2014 as in 2013. The latest Trulia Price Monitor showed us that asking home prices rose year-over-year 12.1% nationally and more than 20% in 10 of the 100 largest metros. But it also revealed that these price gains are already slowing sharply in the hottest metros. How much prices slow matters less than why. If prices are slowing for the right reasons, great: growing inventory, fading investor activity, and rising mortgage rates are all natural price-slowing changes to expect at this stage of the recovery. But prices could slow for unhealthy reasons, too: if we have another government shutdown or more debt-ceiling brinksmanship, a drop in consumer confidence could hurt housing demand and home prices. Where prices change matters, too. Slowing prices are welcome news in overvalued or unaffordable markets, but markets where prices are significantly undervalued and borrowers are still underwater would be better off with a year or two of unsustainably fast price gains.
  5. Rental Action Swings Back Toward Urban Apartments. Throughout the recession and recovery, investors bought homes and rented them out, sometimes to people who lost another (or the same!) home to foreclosure. In fact, the number of rented single-family homes leapt by 32% during this period. Going into 2014, though, investors are buying fewer single-family homes; loosening credit standards might allow more single-family renters to become owners again; and fewer owners are losing homes to foreclosures to begin with – all of which mean that the single-family rental market should cool. At the same time, multifamily accounts for an unusually high share of new construction, which means more urban apartment rentals should come onto the market in 2014. Urban apartments will be the first stop for many of the young adults who find jobs and move out of their parents’ homes. In short, 2014 should mean more supply and demand for urban apartment rentals, but slowing supply and demand for single-family rentals. Ironically, economic recovery means that the overall homeownership rate will probably decline, as some young adults form their own households as renters. Still, the shift in rental activity from suburban single-family to urban apartments would be yet another sign of housing recovery.

What other reasons will cause 2014 be different? New local markets will take the spotlight. Our top 10 markets to watch are entering 2014 with strong fundamentals, including recent job growth and longer-term economic success, as well as recent construction activity typical of vibrant markets. They are, in alphabetical order:

Why are so many of the high-profile markets of 2013 missing from our list? We ruled out markets that were more than a little overvalued according to our latestBubble Watch, which eliminated most metros in Texas and coastal California. We also struck markets with a large foreclosure inventory (thanks for the data, RealtyTrac), like most of Florida. Our 10 markets to watch, therefore, should have strong activity in 2014 with few headwinds.

Finally, our most certain prediction: Trulia will be giving you the inside scoop on the housing market in 2014. Our Housing Barometer will track the recovery; our Price and Rent Monitors are the earliest leading indicators of how asking prices and rents are trending nationally and locally; our Rent vs Buy reports will lay out all the math; and we’ll keep analyzing home-search patterns, demographics trends, affordability, and more. We can’t wait for the year to begin.

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist

Jed Kolko, Chief Economist

Jed leads Trulia’s housing research and provides insight on market trends and public policy to major media outlets including TIME magazine, CNN, and numerous others. Jed’s background includes a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University and more than 15 years of publications and research management in economic development, land use and housing policy, and consumer technology adoption.

Making 2014 the Greatest Year Ever!

January 7, 2014
What is your New Year's Resolutions? Do you have your goals? Make 2014 the best year ever!!!

What is your New Year’s Resolutions? Do you have your goals? Make 2014 the best year ever!!!

As we enter into a new year, it is important to establish your goals or resolutions that will make it a successful year. I know what you are going to say about resolutions…they are useless and are typically broken before the end of January. Yes, this is true in most situations, but there are ways to ensure your goals/resolutions are a success.

I am not a personal expert on reaching goals and achieving resolutions, as I haven’t always been successful with mine, but the one driving theory with any goal is to plan it out. A goal without a plan of action is basically a dream. We all have dreams but how many achieve our dreams? This is where you must have an established plan.

Once you have your plans, you have to break it down into monthly, weekly and even daily activities you will need to perform in order to reach your ultimate goals.

Goals should be grand, but attainable. Goals need to be measurable and transferable to an action. In other words, your goal cannot simply be to become a millionaire unless you have the means to make it a reality. If you do not have the expertise that will assist you with becoming a millionaire, then you will need to first take the measures to learn how to achieve this goal before you can take action to make it happen. You cannot learn to run before you have learned  to walk.

You should have a well-rounded set of goals that can include professional, personal, spiritual and many more. I have never met a person who on their death-bed said they wished they had spent more time at the office. With this in mind, you have to focus on your personal as well as your professional/business goals.

I have several actionable goals/resolutions for 2014 that will make this the greatest year for me in my 45 years on this planet. I am also taking it to the level where I have developed a plan to reach these goals. For the sake of accountability, I wish to express my goals and resolutions for 2014. In fact, you may be able to assist me in reaching  some of my goals as ultimately, I am hoping to improve my business in the new year.

My first goal/resolution as it pertains to my business is I would like to improve my sales volume by 50%. I experienced a 90% increase in business for 2013, so this is an attainable goal. I plan to continue to reach out to my database, social media and continue to build my brand in order to accomplish this goal. I also plan to spending more time on the 20% of activities that directly correlates to 80% of business growth. In other words, I am going to try to eliminate those activities I have traditionally done that results in little business growth. This is where you can help me as your referrals can mean the difference between reaching my goals and falling short.

On a personal level, I plan to get at least two books published, possibly a third. One book, My First Home, has been written for some time, but I plan to get it proofed by a real estate expert for legal reasons and then get it self-published. I have already started the track to get it published and have an expert reading it. I should have it ready for distribution by the Spring of 2014. The other book is a novel that I have spent most of 2013 writing. I finished the initial draft at Christmas and will spend the next couple of months doing personal edits and additions. Not knowing how long this will take, I am hoping to get it done by the end of February or the beginning of March. Once I get this second draft, I will employ a professional editor to review the book to get it ready for publication. The next step will be to shop the book around to publishers. If I fail to get it published, I may decide to self-publish it, but my ultimate goal is to get it published by an established publishing house. I am also considering other social media avenues to generate a buzz about the novel to assist a publisher in wanting to publish it. I have other ideas for books that I may start working on in 2014, but the ultimate goal is to get these two projects completed.

Another personal goal is to get more healthy. I hope to reduce my weight by 50 pounds in 2014 and have already started the process by building a diet plan that will work for me. I am keeping track of my food intake to ensure I do not overeat while planning times to exercise. In this vein, I would like to utilize my love of biking and get out with my bike more often. Once it warms up a little, I will make a plan to ride at least once a week while utilizing the Greenway system in Raleigh.

Of course, I have other spiritual and familial goals which I will not share here, but I am establishing a plan of action to accomplish these goals as well. Ultimately, I will hang the final goals in my office to be a constant reminder that I have these goals. Every week, I will establish a weekly ‘to-do’ list that will push me closer to accomplishing all of my goals. This is important to make your resolutions and goals a reality. You need to break them down into daily and weekly occurrences in order to ensure you stay focused on the ultimate prize…your goals.

I hope this has been helpful for you and I would love to hear from you concerning your personal goals and resolutions. Like I mentioned earlier, it is important to make yourself accountable and the easiest way to do this is to share it with others. It is often a daunting task to share your most inner personal goals with family and friends, so this can be an easy way to do it that allows for a bit of anonymity.

Let’s together, make 2014 the best year ever!!!

Like new home on a quiet street in Garner

December 21, 2013
Welcome to your new home! A well maintained home in a quiet neighborhood close to amenities and downtown Raleigh.

Welcome to your new home! A well maintained home in a quiet neighborhood close to amenities and downtown Raleigh.

I am pleased to announce a like-new home for sale in Garner that I am representing. This home has many upgrades and additional features that would be hard to find in a home priced in this range or this neighborhood. Priced at $129900, this 3 bedroom 2 bath home offers over 1,300 square feet on a corner lot.

Home offers a drip irrigation system for the flower beds with each plant getting direct water on a timer. As one who attempted to do this myself, I know the time required to install this system. It is the most efficient way to water as your plants do not get too much water and you use less water. Furthermore, this house offers a very well manicured lawn (best in the neighborhood) and the drainage ditch is in the backyard, eliminating the front yard ditch. The seller has even installed a decorative cap over the main drain so it doesn’t stick out.

The house offers a whole house water filtration system that give you the best tasting water. It uses city water and sewer, so there are no issues with a backed up sewer or replacing of a pump for the well. The seller has even placed a water filtration on the shower head to ensure the best water being used for your showers. This treated water ensures smooth skin and is more healthier.

The sellers have also upgraded the appliances. A like-new solid surface oven and a refrigerator with a filtered ice maker are just a few of the upgrades with the appliances. It also offers a built-in microwave and a dishwasher. The washer and dryer, which are being included, are front loaders with the capacity to wash a comforter.

The home has additional energy-efficient features to include a higher grade of insulation to ensure a lower utility bill. The seller actually had the builders remove the original, lesser quality insulation and replace it with the higher end insulation.

The family room offers cathedral ceilings and a wood-burning fireplace with a mantle that is a focal point in this room. The fireplace can easily be converted to a gas fireplace should that be your preference. The plush carpet is in great condition and is great for those cold winter evenings. The master bedroom also has cathedral ceilings with a large, decorative picture window for tons of natural light. The master bathroom offers a separated double vanity and a huge walk-in closet.

The kitchen is amazing for the size of this house. It is spacious with tons of cabinets and counters for those large family meals. It offers pull-out shelves for easy access to its contents and a corner lazy susan. The seller has taken great care of the counter tops. It has two pantries for storage, one in the kitchen and the other just outside the kitchen. The attached dining room is cozy and offers a warm window that overlooks the backyard.

With two additional bedrooms, this house is waiting for your family. Each of the bedrooms are spacious with oversized closets and huge windows for natural light. It has a split bedroom floor plan to allow for privacy for the masters of the house.

The community is quiet and well situated. It is close to shopping, dining, movie theaters and less than ten minutes from downtown Raleigh and all that Raleigh has to offer. It is a real find and is move-in ready, waiting for your family. You will not be disappointed.

For more information and photos, please visit its own website at


Giving of yourself to a grateful nation…1Lt. Nathan Rimpf

November 8, 2013
A great photo! L-R: President Steven Nelson, 1st Lt. Nathan Rimpf, Tim Minton (Pres. of Operation Coming Home) and Scott Tarkenton (our liason with Lt Rimpf and OCH).

A great photo! L-R: President Steven Nelson, 1st Lt. Nathan Rimpf, Tim Minton (Pres. of Operation Coming Home) and Scott Tarkenton (our liason with Lt Rimpf and OCH).

I had the immense pleasure this week of meeting a young man who inspired me through his service to our nation and his positive approach to life. 1Lt. Nathan Rimpf is a young man of 25 years, born and raised in the Raleigh area, who felt the ‘call’ to serve his country in the Armed Forces. As a graduate of Leesville High School and East Carolina University, he joined the U.S. Army as an officer after serving in the ROTC program in college. He was stationed for a brief time in Kansas before deploying to Afghanistan.

He was in country for 53 days when he stepped on an IED. He recalled that he wanted to show leadership to his company so he remained calm and instructed them in the proper procedures they had learned from their training. As he later explained, it was a ‘flesh wound’ and there could have been worse things that could have happened to him. He is a very grateful and humbled young man.

With all the praise that has been given him over the last year, he explained to the members of the Rotary Club of North Raleigh on Wednesday that he doesn’t know how to accept it. While there, his purpose was simple, “My mission, my men and myself”.

Nathan was selected by Operation Coming Home, a local charity of homebuilders, to receive a new home. The key ceremony would be the following day, but he will not actually move into his new home until the first of the year, when he will officially be retired from the military.

The Rotary club had taken up a donation from its members the previous week and the club matched the funds, which presented Operation Coming Home with a check for $1600 at the meeting on Wednesday. President of Operation Coming Home, Tim Minton was on hand to receive the check that will help defray some of the cost with future builds. This home was the sixth home they built for a returning wounded veteran and they have already planned the seventh and eighth.

L-R: President Steven Nelson, Tim Minton (President of Operation Coming Home) and Scott Tarkenton with our BIG check for $1600 donated to OCH. The newly built home for Nathan is the 6th OCH with more to come. The returning vet does not pay anything for the house!

L-R: President Steven Nelson, Tim Minton (President of Operation Coming Home) and Scott Tarkenton with our BIG check for $1600 donated to OCH. The newly built home for Nathan is the 6th OCH with more to come. The returning vet does not pay anything for the house!

North Raleigh Rotary Club president Steven Nelson was on hand to present the check to OCH. “I am honored to give this check on behalf of this club to this organization whose commitment to assisting local veterans who have given more of themselves than many people would ever think to give”, commented Mr. Nelson, “I just wish we could do more as a club”.

At the meeting, a standing ovation was given to Nathan Rimpf and to all those brave young men who volunteered to serve their nation is such a dangerous capacity. “As one who did not serve, I am always amazed when I see these young men and women who serve, despite the apparent dangers to their life. It is truly a selfless act”, added Steven. “They deserve our respect and our support”.

Nathan vows to do much with the gifts he has been given. He plans to attend grad school to earn his MBA. It is not sure where he will attend as he has applied to Duke University, the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia. He plans to continue to be involved with his community.


A Raleigh Cultural Experience

October 16, 2013

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to meet an Editor for the New York Times and a resident of that city. He had come here to visit his daughter whom I sold a house to and wanted to take me and my wife out to dinner. We ate at the always amazing Second Empire Tavern and as a New Yorker, he was eminently impressed with this restaurant. We are lucky here in Raleigh to have some fine dining experiences without the New York, Boston, Chicago, or Los Angeles prices.

Raleigh, A Great Place to Live and Work!

Raleigh, A Great Place to Live and Work!

This led me to consider all of the cultural benefits to this fine city. After dinner, I drove him around the downtown area and pointed out the many amenities our great city has to offer and he was impressed with the vibrant downtown. This further impressed upon me the important cultural relevance our city offers both North Carolina and tourist, but the local residents as well. If you do not take full advantage of the arts and museums, it is at your own peril.

My wife and I recently attended the dinner at the NC Museum of History for the new exhibit of the Russian Czar. It was a wonderful evening and the history was awe-inspiring. While in St. Petersburg Russia last year, my wife and I attended a Dinner with the Czar at Catherine’s palace and this experience led us to partake in this evening. The dinner here was much more impressive with the lone exception of the entertainment at the palace that featured Russian dancers and singers. The exhibit at the museum was very educational and flowed beautifully. If you haven’t seen it yet, I would highly encourage you to visit the museum on Edenton Street. It will be worth the effort. The exhibit will be in Raleigh until March 5, 2014, so you should plan accordingly.

At the same time, the NC Art Museum has an exhibit that I am sure most husbands will be willing to attend, the Porsche by Design: Seducing Speed. Yes, you heard me correctly…Porsche. My wife and I are planning on visiting the exhibit this Saturday and it should be amazing. As a car buff, I have always appreciated the Porsche and their design. This exhibit shows cars from the 1930s to the present to include Janice Joplin Porsche that is on loan from the Rock and Roll Museum in Cleveland, Ohio. It should be a wonderful exhibit and one you are sure to remember for years. It runs through January 20, 2014, so don’t miss it.

Until the 27th of this month, the NC History Museum has the “Turn the Radio On” exhibit which is a salute to Carolina Bluegrass. If you enjoyed the Bluegrass festival last month, you are sure to appreciate this exhibit which is in the lobby of the museum. While there, check out the North Carolina and the Civil War: The Ragin exhibit which will also close on the 27th of October. It is the second exhibit in a three-part series that commemorates the Civil War and the tumultuous year of 1863 which saw tremendous losses for North Carolina troops.

There are numerous events in the Downtown area throughout the month and I would encourage you to visit the Downtown Raleigh Alliance events to plan the rest of your month. If you are not taking advantage of these opportunities to expand your knowledge and appreciation of the world around us, you are missing a treat.

To see more of the exhibits at the NC Museum of Art, click here for more information.

What Motivates me to Sell Real Estate?

September 26, 2013
Snicker at the beach trying to warm up after going to the beach. He was cold and he stayed this way for several hours...trying to warm up!

Snicker at the beach trying to warm up after going to the beach. He was cold and he stayed this way for several hours…trying to warm up!

Aside from the basic reason to earn a living to pay my bills and save for retirement, this is a basic question that has had a profound impact on me and has changed since I first got into this business. Initially, it was a great way to make a living and earn a solid income while giving me a more flexible schedule. However, it has evolved over time to something much more than the income aspect of this business. As I have been prone to say, I could work in retail and make a better hourly salary than I would in real estate as this business can be long hours to include evenings and weekends. My motivation rest in other areas thanks to the personal growth I have experienced since going into business nearly 15 years ago.

My number one motivation will always be my family. Even though I don’t have any children, my wife is a huge source of motivation for me. I want her to be proud of me and give her a reason to tout me as a person and a real estate professional. Income aside, it is more important for me that my wife believes in what I am doing and accepts my chosen profession, despite the fact that it sometimes impacts our vacation time. We are a small, but impressive family. With only a Schnauzer named Snickers, we do not have the financial commitments that many have to deal with as it pertains to the cost of raising children, but we do enjoy travelling and experiencing the world.

We spent a couple of nights at the Empress in Victoria, BC prior to getting on a ship in Vancouver for our Alaskan cruise. It was amazing!

We spent a couple of nights at the Empress in Victoria, BC prior to getting on a ship in Vancouver for our Alaskan cruise. It was amazing!

This leads me to my second motivation for selling real estate…the ability to travel. When my wife and I first met, the only time I had been outside the Eastern Time Zone was as a child in Michigan when we would travel to Chicago. Since we have been together, we have been to Europe twice, Alaska, the Caribbean several times and Tahiti. I have personally traveled to Guatemala and none of this would be available to us if it were not for my career in real estate. This profession gives me the flexibility to travel with my lovely wife. We have additional travel plans and goals and I know that due to my profession, we will be able to travel as much as we would like.

Posing with fellow Rotarian Boyd Bennett and a couple of Guatemalan students who have benefited from the textbooks and computers that Rotary placed in their school. They were very pleasant and thankful for Rotary's presence in their country.

Posing with fellow Rotarian Boyd Bennett and a couple of Guatemalan students who have benefited from the textbooks and computers that Rotary placed in their school. They were very pleasant and thankful for Rotary’s presence in their country.

Another motivation for me is my ability to give back of my time, resources and talents to my community and the world. As a Rotarian, I have had the opportunity to participate in many wonderful activities that have changed people and their lives. From traveling to Guatemala for the Literacy project we support there to driving to New Jersey to work on a home that was devastated by Hurricane Sandy, these experiences have helped change me and give me a greater appreciation for my life and life in general. Last spring, many members of my club donated our time to tutor students in Wake county who were reading below grade level. This was a very simple activity, but one that will have a lasting impact on those children as they learn to appreciate reading as I do. Rotary has become very important for me because it has given me a vehicle to make a positive impact on this world. As humans, we impact our world no matter what we do whether it is positive or negative. Rotary helps me make a positive difference in our world. This motivates me to work with sometimes difficult clients so I can donate to causes, whether it be my time or money.

The primary motivation for me is ultimately….the client. For a brief moment in time, I am invited into the personal lives of my clients. I learn more about them than anyone else does as it better assists me in serving them. I remember a client recently who feared to let his child play outside due to the neighborhood. We listed their home and sold it. Now, they have purchased a new home in a community where he need not fear for his daughter’s safety to play outside. Another client wanted to sell her home so she could go back to the care-free lifestyle of renting. She wanted to live in the famed Midtown (North Hills) area and couldn’t afford to buy there. We sold her townhouse and now, she is renting an apartment there and enjoying walking to the shops at Midtown. The stories and examples go on and on…and this is the real reason I enjoy what I do.

I remember my first transaction once I got licensed. I had sold my client’s current home in ten days and as we began to look for their next home, it was apparent when we found it. After looking at several homes, some making an impact on them while others were simply forgettable. When we walked into ‘the home’, her eyes went wide and she began to picture her and her family in that home. This moment doesn’t happen every time, but when it does, it is always rewarding. That day, we didn’t find her a house…we found them a home!

So, ultimately, the reason I am selling real estate as a profession is the people I encounter on a daily basis. Each has their own specific story and I am welcomed into their lives….if only for a moment in time.