#WFH-Day 10

We are 10 days in, at least in the Butler household, being in work from home mode. And we certainly had the ante raised today when the Governor issued the official stay home order. As he said, it was a recommendation to this point now it is a directive. While it will be challenging, it is the right thing to do. It actually helped Kelsey and I, as we had decided yesterday that we were shutting Charlotte down from leaving the yard. To this point we were letting her play with a neighborhood kid or two, but we just cannot risk it anymore.

Which led us to numerous new activities to help keep them entertained. I built a raised bed for us to plant a small garden. The kids and I have already started the seedlings, and we will hopefully plant soon.

Macon was hunting for dino eggs in the new beds.
Day 10

We spent the weekend at two different parks, which wore the kids slam out. Getting outdoors is going to be one of the few outlets we have for them.

Charlotte has also been very helpful in the kitchen. She has helped me cook the last two dinners. Chicken parm and chicken noodle soup

Kelsey and I also decided to make a purchase for the kids to help with outdoor activities. You will have to tune in later this week to find out.

That was most of the our last few days. Luckily, having Kelsey home these last few days has been super helpful. I was able to take several work calls this morning and plan a few new projects. Hopefully you will see these soon too!

Learning the Lingo-Listing Agent

We are continuing Learning the Lingo this week with Listing Agent. The listing agent is the real estate agent representing the seller in any real estate transaction. The listing agent’s responsibilities are below:

  • Listing the property in the local MLS.
  • Marketing the property to potential buyers and buyers’ agents.
  • Fiduciary duties to the seller.
  • Providing knowledge and experience to support appropriate price, showing techniques, and negotiation techniques.

The listing agent will meet with the seller and provide guidance on how to prepare the property for sale. At this meeting, usually a CMA or comparative market analysis is provided as to give the seller great information on how to price the home and what to expect relative to the market.

Once the home is prepared for sale, the listing agent will facilitate marketing via photo and videos and then list the property on the local MLS. From here, showings will be scheduled and offers received. Based previous planning with the seller, the listing agent will present the offers to the seller and negotiate on their behalf with the seller’s agent.

Listing Agent-video is a little dark.

The listing agent will serve as the representative at all inspections, appraisals, and other pertinent tasks during the ratification process. They are the eyes and ears for the seller. Consistent and constant communication should be offered to the sellers.

#WFH-Day 8

Another successful day of working from home and homeschooling these crazy kids. Mostly because I had help all day and we were able to shift to man-to-man defense, as opposed to zone the whole time. A few thoughts on today that may be helpful.

  1. Let them wear what they want. Everyday, I make the kids get out of their pajamas and into school clothes. Today, Charlotte made her way down in a bathing suit and coverup. My instant reaction was “no!” Then I thought about it a little more (after a scowl from Kelsey and frown from Charlotte) and told her it was fine. Giving her that choice, not only started us off on a positive note but allowed her to trust me that we were going to make today great.
  2. Use the mood they are in. With the beach-vibe taking over, we infused into everything we were doing that morning with our lessons. We made colorful/tropical bookmarks, we had a beach-dance party, and when it came time for math Charlotte had to use her coins to make purchases from this awesome vendor selling popsicles on the beach (it was me).
  3. I am still struggling with what to do with Macon. Primrose has been great sending us ideas, just harder for him to get going with it. I am accepting that as long as we are not sitting in front the TV, we are good. We used the beach theme today to make up a fun story with pictures he and I sketched and then shared them with the rest of the family.
  4. Kelsey and the kids participated in a really cool neighborhood activity, I think it was suggested by the school. They went on a bear hunt. Everyone around the neighborhood, who was interested in participating, put a bear in their window. The kids and parents then took a walk hunting for the bears. Luckily the sun came out and weather was cooperative. If you are in a neighborhood, you should think about it!

That was our day. Helpful when it goes well. Especially as we realized that we should be heading to a cheer competition at Myrtle Beach. But, plans change and we made the most of it. You will too.

WFH-Home Office Fixes

Transitioning to work from home is likely not easy for everyone. Whether you are a business owner or forced to stay home by your company, there are likely some needs to be addressed in your house to make the work space efficient and pleasant. The kitchen table can be suitable in the temporary, but let’s make the most of this with these tips.

Home Office Tips

Right lighting: Optometrists recommend avoiding having direct light in your line of sight. Setup lamps at your desk and rely in natural light in your work space. Especially for those of us staring at screens all day, we need to protect our eyes. One extra tip is to hang a mirror to disperse light around the room.


Natural view: If you have a great view of a landscape, make that the direction you face while you are working. What if you don’t have one? Consider a picture of a landscape.

Be comfortable: Yes, the dining room table is the easy place to plop down and get to work. But it may not be the most comfortable. There is a reason your office spends a little on those soft, wheely chairs. Keep that in mind.

Greenery: Plants elevate mood and thanks photosynthesis, improve air quality. Maybe even toss some fresh flowers in there too, they should be blooming in the next few weeks.

Home Office

Don’t sit all day: The standing desk or floating desk has become widely used across offices. Consider adding this to you work space. You can purchase adjustable stands for your laptop or devices that will help.

Color: Add a few pops of color to brighten the room. Consider painting an accent wall, adding decor, or hanging curtains

Credit to Melissa Dittmann Tracey and Styled, Staged, and Sold for many of these suggestions.

#WFH-Day 7

We had a great day today. Charlotte was much more cooperative and supportive of our efforts with school work. The way I presented it to her today was simply do it all up front and then the back end of the day was hers. That seemed to sink and we rolled through math, reading, writing, social studies, and she even did some music.

As many of you are feeling, I do feel like it is not quite enough relative to the time spent in school, but I guess when you pare to down to a 1:1 student-teacher ratio, we can be more productive.

Day 7

I think what will be interesting is what comes the next few weeks now that school is closed for the year. We will have to find ways to ensure kids are developing and progressing enough to advance to the next level. This is going to be an interesting challenge to say the least.

My productivity was solid today as well. I was able to touch base with several folks to check on them and let them know I was thinking about them. I am excited for a video happy hour tonight with the boys. And I even added a significant number of games to our 20-21 schedule.

One final note, and I know I have said this but a big thank you to all those in the medical field and other true essential personnel still working business as usual. Kelsey was stopped today, as she is in the medical field as a SLP and thanked by two random people at WaWa. I thought that was really cool, and so did she. It never even dawned on either of us that she is still heading out everyday to do her job without considering or allowing the risks to be to daunting.

Hope everyone had a great day and we will check in tomorrow.

#WFH-Day 6

Today was a little tougher than the past few ones. Charlotte is having a difficult time seeing that we have to complete “school” tasks in her home. I think the ability to separate the two worlds, while in the same building is going to take some time. Of course, I am not being the most patient with that I either. But it will come. We all are dealing with some significant changes. I am grateful that I have the means and ability to be home with the kids and provide some form continued education.

WFH Day 6

On a positive note, almost the entire Crenshaw staff (her elementary school) did a drive-by parade this afternoon. That was huge for her and probably most the kids who all of sudden have lost the their teachers. At least in the sense they understand. Luckily, many will begin to convert or create opportunity to connect with the students via video chats. I think that will be great.

Of course, my two needs to learn how to video chat. They just wanted to make goofy faces the whole time that were chatting with my parents. I had to actually pull Macon aside so there could be some productive conversation.

Despite the loss of the spring season yesterday, we did manage to keep working for next year. A little positive news for student-athletes that schedules hopefully will be completed in the coming weeks for the 2020-2021 school year. Have to keep moving forward because we will get them on the field and courts soon.

One last note on moving forward. I would encourage everyone to take this time, for those able to, to find means to improve yourself. Find more time to workout. Read a new book. Take an online course. Self-development is going to be critical to maintain some sanity and take the next step when we get past this all.

#WFH-Day 5

Well it just got real, didn’t it?

WFH Day 5

Virginia has closed schools for the rest of the academic year. That leads to a lot of questions, concerns, and really an array of emotion. What we do now in our own walls becomes more than just a few weeks. This is the next few months. And we have two paths:

  1. Make the most of it. Teach our kids the best we can, spend time with them more than we ever have. Take care of ourselves mentally and physically. Improve our relationships with our loved ones. Ensure our homes are where they need to be. Or…
  2. Dread it. Live in complanceny. Let screen time consume all time. This path is the easier one, but certainly not the one we should be taking.

In the Butler household we are choosing the former. And it will not be easy. We had tears and arguments this morning. Charlotte wanted what she was accustomed to with being in HER classroom, with HER teacher, and HER friends. Needless to say, it was hard and we had to each take a little break from each other. I am sure others are experiencing this. Once we cooled off, we got back to work and had a solid day.

Working hard

I do have one question for those at home with the kids: Do your kids want to eat ALL THE TIME?!?! My kids want snacks all the time. I feel like they eat a great lunch, and within in an hour, “can I have a snack?”

In an effort to maintain socialization while distancing, we are working on setting up some virtual happy hours. Some of you may have seen on my social media pages our efforts at this last Friday. Certainly interesting. And I just scheduled another for a few nights from now. I think this it is really important that we continue to foster our relationships with our friends, family, and co-workers. Isolation is not what we are meant to do, in my opinion. And as I have said, our ability to connect now is better than ever. We need to take advantage of it.

One final note. I cannot stress enough how disappointed I am for the thousands of student-athletes around the Commonwealth who have lost their Spring seasons. While some may find it trivial in the grand scheme of things, for kids, this is often the biggest motivator they have in their lives. It provides them with a sense of belonging and purpose. They work all year for these few months and now, it is gone. And that is not the only lost activity; proms, musicals, choir concerts, senior trips, graduation. This is really unprecedented times.

Hopefully, we will be able to find positive outcomes from this. Scratch that, we will find positive outcomes.

Stay healthy, see you tomorrow.

Learning the Lingo-MLS

Have you ever been in a situation where a few people were talking about a topic and it sounded as if they were using a foreign language? Maybe they were?

How did you feel? Frustrated, confused, ignorant?

I have been in that space many times, and I remember before being a Realtor, real estate was one of those spaces.

So much of real estate is built around knowledge and understanding. As your Realtor, I want to ensure when we talk about the process of buying and selling your home, we are on the same page. The worst thing you can do is nod and act like you understand everything.

Therefore, starting with this blog we are going to make sure you have a deeper understanding of real estate lingo.

Today’s word is MLS or Multiple Listing Service.

Learn the Lingo with Charlotte

The MLS is a tool used by cooperating real estate brokers within a region or state. This tool is a private database created, maintained and paid for by real estate professionals to help their clients buy and sell property. In most cases, access to information from MLS listings is provided to the public free-of-charge by participating brokers. Data that is not publicly accessible includes information that would endanger sellers’ privacy or safety, such as seller contact information and times the home is vacant for showings.

Each time a property is listed, it is assigned a MLS number which allows for Realtors in the association to access the property. This levels of the playing field for all Realtors, and in turn allowing buyers and sellers to work with the professional of their choice.

With the databases all virtual today, additional information is accessible to Realtors. Did you think the stats I share in my newsletters and article were all calculated by me? The data comes from the MLS. This provides more knowledge to all parties involved, optimizing success.

#WFH-Day 4

WFH Day 4

We made it through the normal work week. There were tears, yells, and some feeling sorry for ourselves; and that was just me. For the most part I think we were at 75% homeschool efficiency. Again, thank you to Charlotte’s elementary school and Primrose for sending guidance. I would have no idea what to do without those.

School work

Awesome time brining my mid-80’s grandmother to 2020. We actually spent ten minutes this morning video chatting with her this morning on her new tablet. I never thought that we would see the day.

Namaw video chatting!

The beautiful weather today made me think once again about the number of spring activities kids are going to miss. As a high school athletic director, I look at my normally full spring calendar with so many blanks. Kids have worked so hard for their spring seasons and just like that it is gone. Hopefully, temporarily.

We did start to plan our garden out. Felt like a bit of a doomsday prepper as I have some concern about being able to purchase fresh veggies in a few months. It will also be a great spring project for the kids to grow our own food.

Garden notes

We also had a big conference call for my entire brokerage with Keller Williams. Significant shifts occurring that luckily KW was ahead of the curve with embracing technology years ago. As I said earlier to today in a short video, virtual everything is where we are going to be for the immediate future. Luckily platforms are ready with KW.

Things are rapidly changing, but that doesn’t mean it should be “chicken-little” mentality. Make the most of it.

COVID-19 Real Estate Changes: Part 1-Video

Times are changing rapidly. COVID-19 is forcing the hands of so many businesses and cultural practices, and it is happening rapidly. We have little choice to adhere to this alterations to our lives, and in many cases they are mere inconveniences. For some though they are life-altering. Over the next few weeks, I am going to try and keep note of some these changes as it relates to real estate and you.

COVID-19 Part 1

One of the first and most important steps we are all taking GLOBALLY is to social distance ourselves. Which in theory sounds easy! But in practice for many of professions, that is pretty damn near impossible. At least if you want to maintain any level of productivity and revenue stream.

Where does that put you if you are trying to buy or sell a home. Or any property for the matter. Across the country we have seen sellers close their doors to potential-buyers and tell their Realtor’s they do not want open houses, all in an effort to mitigate the potential for bringing illness into their home.

And the buyer is not in any different position. It is hard to be entirely comfortable visiting random homes, where you are unsure of the level of sanitation that may exist inside those walls.

Where does that leave us? Well for starters, let’s be positive and know that eventually we will be able to interact with one another again soon. In the meantime, be ready to leverage video and remote shopping.

This will not be easy for many. But if you stop and think about it, how much do we purchase today via an Amazon search. In fact, people are finding their true love by swiping left of right on their mobile devices.

Why not home buying? Using any variety of platforms video showings of homes are going to increase and likely more common. What are you not able to see via Facetime that you would see in person? With today’s technology and streaming capabilities, we engage and interact in a variety of ways.

Now let me say this, I do not mean that you NEVER step foot in the home and purchase sight-unseen. But the traditional way of physically being in homes and viewing properties, at least in the temporary is going to change. And that is okay.

If you are selling, be willing to allow your agent to setup Zooms and Hangouts for potential buyers.

If you are buying be willing to view homes virtually with your agent.

Live video is where we are right now. We actually video chatted with Namaw this morning!