#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!

#WFH – Day 3

My zone defense improved today for sure. It was more like I let go of the control and OCD feelings of sticking to the schedule. Which we did adhere to, but with more breaks and chunking (I do remember something from my classroom days).

Charlotte, unprompted, wrote letters to her great grandmother and her best buddy. I thought that was very cool, and likely going to be greatly appreciated, especially by Namaw. Depending on where this WFH life goes, this will be a regular practice. In fact I encourage it. It is important that we do not allow our elderly get isolated from the world. As I said we are setting Namaw up with Facetime.

Something that really struck a chord with me today was the power of gratitude or appreciation. I fired off several emails this morning pertaining to a variety of issues. I made sure in each email, I sincerely thanked the person for their time and efforts during these challenging times. It is something we purposefully always remind the children to express when someone helps or give them something. It is important and impactful. So it again, thank you to everyone who helped us today.

Last thought was another shift for real estate. The market is not necessarily going to stop, but how it operates will be interesting. I mentioned last night how sellers may be unwilling to allow buyers into their home. We will see a rapid rise in virtual tours and a variety of video. We received two addenda today from brokerage outlining impacts COVID-19 will and is having on real estate.

This world is going to keep changing quickly. Keep making the most of it. As you can see in the pictures from today, we did our best with our walks and picnic time, and the 1:1 teaching they are getting.

WFH Day 3

Stay healthy and see you tomorrow.

#WFH – Day 2

We survived! I would scoff at anyone who raised their eyebrows and asked how I handled a classroom of thirty teenagers. It was cake. Sure there was an occassionally raging hormone challenge, but for the most, easy. This 6 and 3 year old on the other hand… Elementary school and day care providers are saints. Let me say it again, saints!

It was easy getting them out of the house for a little morning activity playing Monster tag and climbing in the tree house. The challenge came when we returned inside.

Morning playtime

Charlotte got right to work with her literacy activities. Macon, eh… not so much. We did get a fun game of shape search in. Charlotte and I put colored shapes around the house, and Macon had to go find them. After a quick work call, we had some lunch and then headed back out for some science time. Charlotte had to find a tree and then draw it. We will observe it the next few weeks and see it how changes. She picked the willow tree Kelsey gave me for our ten year anniversary.

Charlotte sketching the willow tree.

We had some struggles this afternoon as social distancing started to become reality. Charlotte is social butterfly, she wants to be around and engaged with people all the time. Kelsey and I struggle with what to allow her to do. And I think other parents in the neighborhood do to. I think it is going to become more and more challenging. How do you explain all this to a six year old??

We did set the kids up on ABC-Mouse and they already had ABC-YA, so they spent an hour or so working through those. Those platforms are amazing. They are engaging and educational. Should be very helpful.

I did get my workout in. Working through a deload week. Deadlift day.

We will see what tomorrow brings. We just got word that Charlotte’s school is closed for another week. Each day seems to get more and more interesting. There are going to be some really interesting outcomes that no one is considering at this time. Major policy changes and protocol creation to deal responses and scenarios we never have faced before.

Where does the housing market go is a really interesting question. The biggest challenge we were facing was the lack of inventory. This is going to shrink even more as sellers do not want people in their homes to showings and open houses. The virtual market will be even greater.

The buyer is the other interesting player. How much impact will shut down business impact their buying? You would think significantly. Where will this put prices then? If demand began to reduce drastically, you would expect price to reflect. Again, a lot of uncertainty at the moment.

Stay safe, stay healthy, see you tomorrow.

WFH Day 2

#WFH-Day 1

Wow. What a few days we have all experienced. I do not think anyone would have expected the rapid changes to our world we have seen. And there are still more to come. I think it is really important to remember a we only know what we know, and to ensure we work hard to be safe, smart, and take care of loved ones. We can find growth opportunities during this time and make the most of it.

I am officially work from home as of today. The kids are officially home from school as of yesterday, and while we all have some dates for when this may end, there is a lot of uncertainty.

Therefore, today I took some time to reflect and plan the next few weeks. I still have a professional goals, personal ambitions, and family responsibilities. As I thought about all these, I thought that it would be valuable to chronicle this. Not to show off, not to overshare, but to reflect each day. Some may think this is too much, some may appreciate it. Honestly, it is mostly for me.

So each day, I am going to write a little about our day and video a little about our day. I will share them at night. Here we go!

  1. In an effort to ensure Namaw (my grandmother) can still stay connected to everyone and avoid putting herself in unnecessarily risky situations, we decided it was time to introduce her to the world wide web! Mom and Pops activated her internet service, and we are working on setting up a device for her. She will soon be Facetiming and Click-listing.
  2. With the kids home for at least two weeks, and probably the foreseeable future we want to ensure we do not lose what they have lost in school and keep moving forward. Thanks to the educators at school we have a full notebook ready to roll, and we mapped out a daily schedule for both kids. Here is the schedule.
  3. Then it was a little me time. I want to ensure I keep growing and working on my professional development. I had an hour chat with a potential new coach, took the Clifton Strengths assessment to develop more, and mapped a few activities for myself. Even made my own daily checklist where I am reading, writing, and exercising every day. Also added some research planning, time to setup my Roth IRA.
  4. I did venture out today. Popped into Home Depot because the kids and I are going start a garden. A little STEM time.
  5. And so you know it is not all roses and butterflies, we had a wrench thrown at us due to the closures. We are refinancing the house. We were scheduled to close yesterday, but with the courts closing, we had to postpone. We are in a holding pattern until the county courts open, hopefully Thursday. Big shout out to my team in this process doing what they can.
  6. Stayed outside and raked up the leaves, might as well take advantage of the weather and time.
  7. Finished the night with a good cardio session from the Beach Body series. Kelsey and I like to get a few of these in a week together. She has been super committed the last two months.

Again, I think it is really important to ensure these days home are not “snow days.” We will have fun, we will appreciate the time but we will keep getting better. Maybe sharing what we are doing each day will help someone else out too.

Stay safe, stay healthy and see you tomorrow.

RVA, Restaurants, and Real Estate: Episode 14 – Jason Kilgo at Tang & Biscuit

It is always fun to have an RVA guy on the show who is building a successful business and raising a family back in his hometown. RVA, Restaurants, and Real Estate had that this week when we hosted Jason Kilgo of Kilgo Insurance. And we did at one of the hottest spots in Scott’s Addition, Tang and Biscuit.

This eatertainment spot is putting out special plates and cocktails that you can only get here. You have to try the lightbulb drink and the tang-tang cauliflower.

Jason and I chatted about his insurance business and how they want to make every customer feel confident they are covered. We also chat about our love of the Tar Heels.

Parney and Kitchen 64

RVA, Restaurants, and Real Estate: Episode 13 – Parney and Kitchen 64

RVA, Restaurants, and Real Estate had a very special RVA guest on this past week when we stopped Kitchen 64. We had the one and only, Parney. Better known as the Todd Parnell the COO of the Richmond Flying Squirrels.

Parney and I chatted about how the Squirrels have been so impacting on RVA and really vice-versa. If you have ever interacted with Parney at a Squirrels game, you know why he is the face of the franchise and his personality is as big and fun as the pants and suits he sports everywhere.

But let us not forget about Kitchen 64. Scott Watts, chef/owner is putting out massive plates of traditional diner style food. We had a club as big as our heads, and the Scott’s Addition french dip/steak and cheese hoagie that was life-changing. Next time you hit up the Diamond, be sure to stop here for your pre- or post-game meal.

Parney and Kitchen 64