Letters from the heart.

20 years ago I started a simple mailing to my client list - I wanted to try to make this not so much about real estate, but about life and it's ups and downs and maybe a little real estate included.  20 years later I am still mailing this letter and I have clients tell me that they actually look forward to this little letter.  I now mail out about 300 of these things and the response is wonderful!

I decided to put it in a blog in hopes of reaching more people and to let you all know that there is a big heart on the other side of this real estate practice.  

 

I hope you enjoy and please feel free to leave your comments.

 

with much love,

Rasa

Nov. 19, 2021

How About Unplugging

 

How about unplugging?

 

 

Cellphone

Well - a whole year has almost passed - I can’t even believe it.  I went back to look at my letters from the past year and I kept coming back to my word.  

 

I pick a word for the year and 2021’s word was “journey.”  I have done exactly that.  

 

When I picked this specific word, my point was to keep myself detached from an outcome, which in my business is almost an impossibility, however, I decided to shift my attention from “end game” to middle game, and see what happened.  

 

So, I am sure you are thinking - Rasa, how on earth are you thinking that you can’t be concerned with the outcome of a sale?

 

I thought the same thing.  I figured that if I am process focused, and if the journey is what we are working, then the outcome has a pretty good chance at turning out the way it should.  Be present and be still.  I will admit that this was not exactly the easiest for me, and I will also admit that I have had a few moments of a temper tantrum on behalf of my clients and I have, in true Rasa fashion, lost my cool.  These moments this year were fewer and farther between than in years previous.  

 

What DID occur…

 

“What you focus on expands.” and expand it did.  This team became better listeners.  We became better advocates, we became better problem solvers, we began to anticipate challenges and we had better solutions.  We got almost every transaction we touched to the closing table. We had no financing issues.  We had no homeless sellers and we had extremely happy buyers.  We succeeded because we unplugged from the outcome.  We stayed in the present as advocates and agents for our people.  We stood guard of the process not the outcome.  

 

Folks, this is not about a commission check for us.  Yes, we need to make a living, but our work is truly one of service and guidance.  It is work that comes from being authentic and grateful.  

 

Now as we all sit with 2022 in our sights, I am asking again for a new word.  I need one that will truly empower and teach me and create an even better version of me than I was a year ago.  

 

Blessings and thankful at this time of year.  Shoot me a text with your word and why you are choosing it, and possibly even share what you think it will do for you!

 

Have a joyous and love filled Thanksgiving!

Sept. 28, 2021

A Moving Thank You

So, here we are, another change in season and closer to the end of another year.  The world seems to suddenly slow.  I think primarily - at least here in Wilmington, it’s because we have been running in and out to escape the heat and don’t bother looking around unless we are at the beach with our toes in the water.  

 

Today I looked up.

 

This past month for me has been not much more than a series of car trips back and forth between Raleigh and Leland, and then Waterford to Brunswick Forest.  It was one heck of a move.  We are now settled.  So, if you are getting this letter, it is because you either bought a house or sold a house with me or my team and I honestly have to say thank you to each and every one of you. (I’ll get to why shortly)

 

I was very lucky (or maybe unlucky) in the fact that I had the luxury (or curse) of having a month to move.  In my mind I felt lucky in the beginning.  As you all know, my business has been growing by leaps and bounds and I have the proverbial tiger by the tail at the moment.  I thought, gee, this is great, we can move at our leisure.  Sure - great thought, however that was not what happened.  No matter how much time you think you have, it’s not enough, or it’s too much.  All work expands to fill the time allowed.  

 

I was organized in the beginning.  I had tape, boxes, a month of Wall Street Journals to wrap things in.  I had friends to help me pack, organize and gift to.  I had the use of a moving truck and I had movers too.  I had it all together.  

 

Until I didn’t.

 

Things seemed to multiply like Gremlins in that awful 80’s movie.  And frankly I had no idea that I had that much stuff. Holy moly. I have made so many trips to Goodwill and Salvation Army that they know me by name, and “no, I don’t need another donation slip.”  Insane.  I have boxes that will be heading to Asheville with my daughter when she comes home next.  I have art supplies that were bequeathed to me by Mum so I promise I WILL NEVER BUY ANY MORE PAINT.  ugh.  Just so many things.

 

BUT I realized how rich my life really was.  How cool that I had all these things memorializing different aspects of my life.  There were all my show posters, my grandmother’s piano music, my piano music, numerous paintings by my daughter and my mom, ones they did together. Photos in boxes ( and negatives) stopped me in my tracks and I spent a lot of time digging and reminiscing.   I have costumes from theater, Halloween costumes from Skye’s many trick or treating escapades.  Tons of baking and cooking pans and accessories from years of cupcakes and kid-themed parties.  You can’t move without touching every single thing in your life.  EVERY SINGLE THING IN YOUR LIFE.

 

So, here is the thank you…

 

You all worked with me with a tougher time constraint, and you all were going through all this insanity of moving.  Along with lenders, processes that may not have been clear.  Some of my clients are doing this and going through estates, divorces, big huge moves across the country or to another country.  And each and every one of you was KIND.  Because as stressful as this process is, it’s super easy to get rattled.  And you chose kindness.  So THANK  YOU!

 

Aug. 16, 2021

Blog from the South, In August

Blog from the South, in August.

 

Hey y’all.  It’s hotter than hell and half of Georgia.  Welcome to August.  Welcome to North Carolina and it’s always hotter than 90 in the shade, and to my Northern friends who moved here because it’s so crazy cold up there and this is your first summer in the South- told ya it was hot.  We really weren’t kidding.   (Be glad you didn’t move to Florida)

 

You know, I realized that I talk a lot about being from here and all the awesome things that make me proud to be born and raised right here in North Carolina (kinda like Pepsi) but what I don’t talk about much, well, until now, are the things I could really live without.  I still really wouldn’t change up much about here.  I even marveled at the existence of tobacco fields the other day on the way to Richlands via many backroads.  I love the fact that I can still drive out of Wilmington and find backroads.  

 

So, let’s get some things off my chest about the South. 

 

I usually despise being called “Shug.”  It’s sort of the same thing as a “bless your heart” although that has really been driven into the ground at this point - and frankly I still say that in the context of sympathy - If I wanted to tell someone to go jump off a bridge - then I would just say that.  The use of “shug” usually is said looking down ones nose with a slight arch of an eyebrow - with utter disdain.  - Not to be confused with the use of “sweetie” which is exactly that - a complete and lovely compliment. - “hon” sort of ranks up there with “shug” but not quite as bad - “hon” is really more apathetic. 

 

I am not a fan of screened porches - most southerners just have a porch and you sit there.  I really can’t think of a good reason that people started adding these things on to a house unless it was a great way for a builder to up-charge a buyer.  Think about this for a moment…the purpose of a screened porch is to keep the bugs away from you while you sit outside.  and are YOU sitting outside currently?  Did you notice the humidity? The times you will be sitting on your porch is about one week in October, most of November and maybe a little in December - but by that time the mosquitoes and no-see-ums have gone to other warmer zones (Florida) and you can, in fact sit on your front porch.  Winter is perfect for fire pits and backyards and then you have about a week of Spring before everything is a lovely yellow hue…anddddd you’re back inside.  So, just have a porch, a seriously cool porch swing and some rockers.  Trust me, you won’t be drinking coffee in August on the screened porch. Nope. Not happening unless you are just proving a point.

 

I am also not a fan of August and September.  Oh, I love summer and the beach.  I love flip-flops, my summer wardrobe, gin and tonics, boat rides, paddle boards, and so many other things, the two months of the year that I really struggle with are August and September.  August gets muggy and when I didn’t think it could get hotter, then it does.  And I’m surprised.  I am 51 and for the years that I was aware of weather, I am still surprised.  It’s humid hot (not to be confused with the still very hot- dry hot and that sucks too, but at least with dry hot, your hair can still be managed) Our humidity is unbearable at times and whatever makeup or clothing that was chosen that morning is ruined before lunch as the makeup slides down your face and the clothing sticks to parts of your body that it shouldn’t be sticking to. And that lie they tell you about Southern women having great skin due to the moisture level? Yeah, that’s just plain made up. (But Florida is still more humid) …….and then there’s the hurricanes.

 

So there’s my hissy fit about the current situation and not really much to do about it except sit in the air conditioning and let the weather be what the weather will be.  Only two more months to fall, and then maybe another two months to sweater weather - a girl can hope.  (But then I’ll want summer again)

Thank goodness 

July 2, 2021

Coincidence? I think gnocchi.

This is a multifaceted story, and I am going to do my best to wind this all together. 

A couple of weeks ago I reconnected with one of my college friends here in Wilmington. Both she and I have had a lot of ups and downs in our lives and somehow they have all strangely mirrored and paralleled.  We chose this quaint restaurant in Mayfaire by the name of Roko to connect face to face.  I had heard wonderful things and all true. 

 

We sat at the bar and chatted with our neighbors and the bartender and began delving into our catchup time.  I opened their menu and to my delight I saw so many wonderful Italian dishes listed.  BUT, there, right in the middle of the list was my very favorite dish.  Gnocchi.  

 

I do not know if you have ever tried gnocchi - however - to me it is the most wonderful culinary invention that has ever been created.  It is a perfect carrier food for pesto, marinara, or meat sauce.  It can be made with or without cheese.  And it’s made with potatoes.  Cheese, butter and potatoes.  I first had this spectacular dish in a small restaurant named Nicola’s located in a lovely old house in Morehead City just off the main drag in 1992, and that restaurant and that dish still haunts my tastebuds to this day.  Oh the joy.

 

As we sat at the bar talking, we heard a scuffle behind us and a scream.  Nothing more sobering than seeing a man on the floor and a woman crying. Two people who were eating outside came in as they were nurses and patrons and staff were moving tables and chairs out of the way.  Two more people came in through the doors bringing with them a gurney and medical equipment and immediately began working on this gentleman with an apparent heart attack.  You could have heard a pin drop.  (I am still in awe of the response time for our first responders - it was literally less than five minutes)  One fireman was doing chest compressions for what seemed like hours - and one was monitoring.  Then, all of a sudden, this man on the floor took a huge breath and his legs moved.  A breath.  A life giving breath.  They beat this heart attack.  Together.  The whole restaurant beat this heart attack.  I do not know how many prayers were offered at that time.  We were all holding our breath.  We were all looking on in complete silence pulling for those firemen and the man on the floor, and silently propping up his bride.  

 

That breath then allowed them to get him on a gurney and out to the waiting ambulance and we all exhaled.  

 

 It was one of the most human and beautiful things I have ever seen.  We all celebrated that breath.  

 

As we turned back to our dinner which promptly arrived after all this, the chef came and sat with us all obviously to catch his own breath. As our conversation moved along, I asked him how long he had been in North Carolina.  He told me the story of how he and his brother were both restauranteurs and that his journey had taken him through many parts of the state for many years, including Morehead City in the late 80’s and early 90’s.  He had owned this lovely restaurant in an old house just off the main drag called Nicola’s.  He made the gnocchi.

 

My conclusion is this, we are all tied together.  We all have gone through a pandemic separately, but together.  My friend and I sat together in a crowded restaurant with other people, separately but together holding our collective breaths for that family.  My friend and I went through trials and tribulations separately, but together.  And my long appreciation for really wonderful food had come full circle.  Life really is just beautiful and I am grateful for this journey and each collective breath.

May 12, 2021

Welcome to the Big Top!

 

 

 

Markets up, and markets down.  Interest rate charts looks like an EKG.  No inventory, some inventory, inventory that won’t sell, then in a matter of a weekend has ten offers.  Welcome to the real estate market circus of 2021.  

 

Photo by Golnar sabzpoush rashidi from Pexels

 

About a month ago I decided to commit to reading the Wall Street Journal every morning with my coffee.  I do like the financial news - and I am particularly fond of Marketplace on NPR, but never have I made it a point to read the WSJ cover to cover every day, until now.

 

I love the Leisure section.  I love the Mansions section.  Front page and the column down the left side - particularly handy for the up to the minute - or day - news.  Editorials get my blood pumping and I argue audibly with the writers, in fun in my pajamas, but I still do.  Then comes the market section - the famous Section B with all the graphs and stats.

 

I have never claimed to be a math person or anything related.  Econ terrified me and statistics was just learning an alien language.  However, I persevere through Section B every morning and what I have realized is that these poor schmucks are just as confused as we real estate agents are.  The backtracking is mind-blowing because just a day before they predict a sector of the market skyrocketing and then the next day it plummets to earth like a deflated weather balloon. At least in real estate we get a few months, not minutes.  

 

This brings me to  Bitcoin.  As I sit here typing away on a basic word processing program, someone, elsewhere in the world is writing code that becomes currency.  I am crafting words, and they are crafting cash.  And as we sit here - at this exact moment, one single Bitcoin is worth $58,808 dollars.  And apparently you can go to your local car dealership and buy a car with this.  But this is the crazy part.  I am writing this letter to you on Monday, April 26th at approximately 9:24pm.  The number I quoted you is $58,808, at this moment.  

 

On April 23, Bitcoin had $200 Billion in losses and the price plunged below $50,000.  ($200,000,000,000.00) - get your head wrapped around that number.  I can’t.   Then, at the opening of the markets-  not sure which market - it rose again to $54,000 making up 10% gain to settling in at the $58,808 mark as I am writing this.  Now, whoever thought this up is genius.  Do you wake up in the morning and say, I think I am going to create some new money so I can avoid international currency exchanges?  Avoid taxes?  How does one just make this happen?.  It gets traded, out in the open.  Just like that.  The IRS can’t even figure out how to tax people on this yet, and somehow they - not sure who they is -  just lost $200 Billion.  Poof.  

 

So, for those of you, like me, who can’t just seem to get their heads around this either, stop and think for a moment.  You may be getting frustrated with our current real estate market because of a lack of inventory, and that there is nothing for you to “move to” and things are getting really expensive.  Or, maybe, we are  just seeing the real value in the area that we live in.  Either way, we aren’t going to see the volatility in the real estate market like the rest of the investment world and we know that land is still just as priceless as it has always been.  

 

Glad that the WSJ has solidified my belief in real estate.  We can’t write code to create more dirt..yet. 

 

CNBC - UPDATED FRI, APR 23 20214:06 PM EDT 

 

April 2, 2021

Secrets of Southeastern North Carolina Revealed

Secrets of Southeastern North Carolina revealed…

 

There are some days that I really think about where I live.  I have lived here my entire life.  Don’t get me wrong - there are plenty of places I could easily live and I have explored a lot of options.  There were times in my life that I wanted OUT of this area for various reasons, but my heart continues to come back here.  Every time.

 

When I was a kid, there were posters of North Carolina in the little barbecue restaurant we went to weekly, and those posters somehow supported my belief that this really was the best state to live in.  There was a poster of Linville Falls in the autumn glory, there were posters of the beach with cutesy bathing beauties tossing a beach ball (we all know that beach balls here are futile) and there were pictures of Raleigh and the downtown glamour. I was smitten by the fact that I lived here, in this state, that had really cool posters. 

 

I grew up in Kinston, North Carolina surrounded by tobacco fields and tons of trees.  I could ride my horse from the barn where she resided, to my backyard and have lunch.  I rode dirt bikes up and down trails that had no risk of any danger outside the obvious dangers of riding without a helmet.  I didn’t have a cell phone.  My mom didn’t worry about me getting abducted by bad people or aliens.  I just knew to come home when it was getting dark for a tomato sandwich.

 

 

I cross three bridges every day to work and look over the mighty Cape Fear and still imagine the old ships and saw mills that once lined the shores.  I walk around Southport’s old cemetery and imagine what life looked like in coastal NC in the 1600’s.  I can still find a quiet beach in the early morning for my dog to chase pelicans and shorebirds with no one around. 

Meara

I still look out in awe when I fly out of Raleigh and look down over the landscape and see all the glorious, hardwood trees and forests that still incredibly exist.  I still watch the hawks fly overhead and slow down for the deer that are grazing on the side of the road.  I’m still smitten.

 

As I had mentioned in my earlier letter, my word for the year is JOURNEY.  It was an interesting choice because we are all usually looking at the destination, but this word is keeping my perspective in the moment and looking at what is in front of me.  This state has held my heart for 50 years.  I am such a proud North Carolinian.  I love that my birth certificate says Wilson, my daughter’s says Cary.  I have lived through the hot summers of eastern NC, I have stayed through hurricanes, I have paddled by huge alligators, had more than my share of sunburns, mosquito bites and dirty bare feet.  I have looked for lost dogs by horseback, I have caught fireflies in a mason jar.  I have been fishing for catfish and bream and had a fried fish feast later in the day and I make a mean cornbread.  

 

I now know why NC is the top destination for the rest of the country, and I hope that everyone who moves here understands what it is to really live in NC.  It’s not just a lifestyle.  

 

I am proud to bear NC on my soul and I just may never leave.  I am home.

 

 

 

 

March 30, 2021

Sometimes, I guess, there just aren't enough rocks. - Forrest Gump

This quote often haunts me, as I have been in many situations in my life that hurling a rock at something would feel incredibly satisfying.  This is one of those times for me.  

 

This past year has been so full of moments to pivot.  With the changes in our lives brought about by this pandemic, I wish there was a huge rock that I could throw at this whole thing on so many levels.

With that said, I also am grateful for the opportunities that have been presented to me and that on a business and personal level, I have found the way and the means to navigate this new world order.  What HAS transpired is an abundant amount of growth.  

 

Our challenges are doing and succeeding in different ways.  Succeeding in different ways.  Every day I wake up and realize that in order to meet a challenge, make a difference and create the life that I want to lead, I have to do it in ways that I had never imagined.  

 

Now, I am having cocktails on Zoom with my clients, I am making sure that I have extra time at showings to allow myself the time to wipe down door handles and faucets that we may or may not have touched to provide safety for the next people coming through or the sellers coming home, I am working remotely with my team, and instead of all the classes being in person, I am making sure we all have scheduled time together.  I am using my beloved technology more and more than I ever thought I would.  I am forced to lean on things that before I just thought as a luxury.   

 

On the personal level, instead of doing shows at the local theatre, my dog and cats are the audience (but I am finding music that I never knew about).  I am socially distancing but having better conversations.  I am driving less, spending less (except for Amazon) and enjoying movies, series and online chess games - things that I never did previously.  

 

My life has definitely taken a different path.  I watch movies pre-pandemic and crave the life without masks.  Party on the beach without a mask in sight!  Wow - what would that feel like?  I used to forget my mask and have to turn back around to get it out of the car.  Now it’s just habit.  Not one that I particularly like, as it’s a constant reminder of our current state of affairs - and that’s where that HUGE rock I would like to hurl would really come in handy.  BUT……

 

What if all of the things that were forcing us to do things differently, succeed differently, were not all bad?  Longer conversations, taking more time for ourselves and our families, purposefully going through each day and planning - which we are all doing more of - makes us better humans?  We are witnessing loss of loved ones and learning more empathy (at least I hope so), we are all learning to navigate this new world. 

 

There are not enough rocks right now.  The only way I know of to navigate this is to wake up every day and just be creative enough to pivot and change and keep hanging on. 

 

July 31, 2017

Curious About Local Real Estate?

Receive the Latest Local Market Stats

Curious about local real estate? So are we! Every month we review trends in our real estate market and consider the number of homes on the market in each price tier, the amount of time particular homes have been listed for sale, specific neighborhood trends, the median price and square footage of each home sold and so much more. We’d love to invite you to do the same!

Get Local Market Reports Sent Directly to You

You can sign up here to receive your own market report, delivered as often as you like! It contains current information on pending, active and just sold properties so you can see actual homes in your neighborhood. You can review your area on a larger scale, as well, by refining your search to include properties across the city or county. As you notice price and size trends, please contact us for clarification or to have any questions answered.

We can definitely fill you in on details that are not listed on the report and help you determine the best home for you. If you are wondering if now is the time to sell, please try out our INSTANT home value tool. You’ll get an estimate on the value of your property in today’s market. Either way, we hope to hear from you soon as you get to know our neighborhoods and local real estate market better.

Posted in Market Updates