It’s the dream that’s long been idealized on HGTV shows and Instagram accounts alike: purchasing an old home with lots of charm and the potential to be restored to its former glory. For some, such a project is about maintaining and experiencing a piece of history as part of their daily lives, while others see flipping old or rundown houses as opportunities for resales, inns and other business ventures.
Renovating and restoring an old home often comes with as many built-in challenges as there are built-in bookshelves. If you’re working with a buyer who has their heart set on flipping their own little slice of history, here’s how to help them navigate the purchasing process.
Sharing the Vision
Millennials love doing research and being prepared when purchasing a home, but they still value the input of real estate agents. Surpassing the Silent Generation, younger Millennials have become the largest home buying group, and 92% of them purchase homes with the help of an agent.
When Sara and Rich Combs, owners of the Joshua Tree House Inn in Arizona, were looking for a place to set up a sister business, they took to searching online listings themselves. When one listing with unusual photos piqued their interest, they sent their realtor to investigate: “He basically reported back that we needed to come see this place immediately. He was right. As soon as we stepped foot on the property we knew we were in for a lot of work, but also felt that this property had been waiting for us,” the couple wrote in an Instagram post about the buying process. The casita, which was built in 1978 by Merv Larson, a former director of the Sonoran Desert Museum, has since been renovated into an Airbnb that shares the contemporary western flare of the Joshua Tree House.
Sharing your buyer’s vision is important with any real estate transaction. But understanding the level of commitment and ability of your buyers, as well as imagining the possibilities, can be the difference between finding the dream project your buyers are looking for and overlooking a diamond in the rough.
No Ordinary Dreamers
As a real estate agent, you’re helping buyers to make the most advantageous and informed decision on not only one of the biggest purchases of their lives, but what might also be their passion project—the one they take out a hard cash loan for and mortgage their future to achieve. Although they might be pluckier than most when facing the challenges and expenses associated with restoring an old or historic home, they need just as much help to calculate the risks and determine the return investment they can expect from their purchase.
Gauge their level of knowledge and experience when it comes to a restoration project. Do they insist on hiring professionals, or are they more of the do-it-yourself type? If they plan to tackle projects themselves, work with them to determine their level of knowledge and ability so they don’t commit to any projects outside of their depth or that will exceed the amount they’re able to invest in repairs.
Realities to Consider
Along with quirks and gorgeous craftmanship details, old homes can have unwelcome surprises that create issues during renovation and upkeep. Enter lead paint, copper pipes, and asbestos. Hiring an inspector who’s well versed in older materials and structures can help identify problems and present solutions before any dotted lines are signed. Find out as much from the seller as possible, but don’t be hesitant to do a little sleuthing and research to discover the history of a home or the land it’s situated on. You may even turn up something the existing owner is unaware of.
Old homes are different from historic ones, which must meet special criterion to be considered such by the National Register of Historic Places. Restoring a historic home could earn the buyer grants and tax incentives for rehabilitating and preserving it, although they’ll likely face limitations when making changes or additions to the exterior. If your buyer has a bold plan to meld old with new in their renovation design, choosing an old home will give them more freedom to create something truly original, while lovers of period-accurate details won’t sniff at restrictions aimed at maintaining aesthetic accuracy.
Buyers of historic houses are not just fulfilling the dream that millions aspire to, love to follow, and live vicariously through; in a fast moving, disposable world, they look at homes in disrepair and see the beauty that was and could be with some love and sweat equity. By purchasing and preserving this history, they ensure that notable places can continue to be learned from and enjoyed by generations to come, while helping maintain what make communities special in an increasingly cookie-cutter society.
What is a restored historic building or landmark you’ve enjoyed visiting? What is a renovation project in your community you’d love to see someone tackle? Comment and share below!
Email, texting and social media have long been important facets of marketing and conducting business, but many still struggle to communicate effectively through these mediums.
If you think your online communication skills are in tip-top shape, there’s a good chance those around you might beg to differ. According to Udemy, an online learning and teaching marketplace, a whopping 72% of employees think their coworkers need communication skills training. Ouch!
Whether you’re a studied social media whiz or rarely stray from work lunches and phone calls, here are three common digital faux pas to watch out for and tips to improve your online interactions:
Not Responding Promptly
Rarely do people allow their physical mailboxes to become crammed to the brim while they’re home or away on vacation. But that same fastidiousness often doesn’t extend to email, where inboxes quickly become chaotic with messages from clients, leads, marketing websites, and co-workers. Things seem to disappear once everything starts piling up. Have you ever experienced that sinking feeling when you discover a long overdue correspondence languishing in the depths of your inbox?
According to Toister Solutions’ 2018 survey of 1,200 customers, an email response within 1 hour would satisfy 89 percent of customers’ expectations. It wasn’t just younger consumers looking for rapid response times; out of all generations represented, Baby Boomers who took part in the survey expected the quickest response. Customers across the board also expected a super speedy response on social media—15 minutes or less.
Tip: If you’re not responding to work emails because they’ve blurred together, set aside some time to get organized. Create subfolders and filters so reoccurring messages are immediately categorized and not jumbled up in your inbox. You can also set autoresponders to let people know you’ll get back with them asap. Many people are satisfied getting an acknowledgement that their email has been received and a response is coming their way.
The downside to the instantaneousness of online correspondences? There’s little holding us back from saying exactly what we’re thinking, when we’re thinking it.
The speed at which we communicate today can lend itself to impulsiveness—generally not the characteristic professionals want to handle their business dealings with. If someone gets on your last nerve or leaves a negative comment, you can fire back within mere seconds to vent your frustrations, all without looking someone in the eye. Knee-jerk reactions rarely produce their intended result, and you run the risk of alienating clients or ticking off important work connections if you’re trigger happy with the send or post button.
Tip: If you’re itching to send an email or post a social media comment written in in the heat of the moment, don’t—especially if it’s 2:00am. Allow yourself a moment to ruminate or sleep on the matter and reevaluate with fresh eyes. Chances are, the message you wrote while stressed or uninhibited from lack of sleep isn’t quite what you were going for. Neither were the typos. Nor the grammatical errors.
Whether by habit or reaction to looming deadlines, skim reading can seem like a good way to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Similar to multitasking, skimming can actually cost you more time and headaches in the long run.
According to Front App’s analysis of 5,000 inboxes, the average number of emails per conversation were 4.5 to 5 responses. How much time have you personally spent going back and forth with clients or coworkers because the point of the original inquiry or response was missed the first, second, or third time? Email threads begin to look like Wimbledon and both parties become bewildered.
Responding without paying attention to what's being said also causes friction between coworkers. The Udemy research mentioned previously also revealed the top email pet peeve (25%) was directed at coworkers who did not read the previous message before responding.
Skim reading doesn’t only cost us time by missing nuance in our search for key words and phrases, but it changes how our brains function. Skim reading impacts comprehension, emotional intelligence, auditory processes, phonemic awareness, and more. It can make face-to-face interactions harder when characteristics like empathy slump in the pursuit of speed.
Tip: Slow down enough to fully comprehend a message to prevent frustration and time-wasting back and forth. Re-reading a message just once will improve your chances of understanding the actual meaning and can help cut down on unnecessary delays.
Along with creating more successful online interactions, this will also increase your ability to listen and empathize with work connections, clients and leads while interacting in person.
Honing your online communication skills is as easy as thinking twice before you send, re-reading to prevent confusion or delays, and getting organized so that you can attend to what matters most.
What facet of online communication do you find most challenging? Comment below and share your thoughts! We’d love to hear from you.