Realtor Verbiage To Know

Whether it’s a designation related to an aspect of education or a term related to financing, acronyms are many times related to specific industries.

When I worked in automation systems, we used acronyms such as PLC, PAC, TON, RTD, OTE, and the list goes on. No one outside those circles understood anything about it. Even in places like the church, there can be acronyms. Ps., Rev., D-Min., Mk., and that list goes on.

If you are not in the specific industry, none of the acronyms make sense so it’s important for the Realtor to explain what they mean. If the Realtor is good, it’s no problem but if they are less than stellar, they may look at it as an inconvenience to have to take the time to explain everything.

What Is That Verbiage

MLS, FDA, FHA, RENE, VA, GRI, CHMS, CMA, FSBO, ABR. That’s just a few of the acronyms you might hear a Realtor throwing around.

Designations are nice and I have several. Mine are CHMS, GRI, and USMOM. CHMS is Certified Home Marketing Specialist. GRI is for Graduate, Realtor Institute. USMOM is United States Military On The Move.

The reality is that anyone who is not directly involved in real estate cares little about what these are or what they mean. However, for Realtors to use these acronyms without explanation could be construed as unprofessional. If you hear a Realtor using acronyms, stop them and ask what they mean.

Having said all that, here are just a few acronyms everyone who is thinking about a real estate transaction should know.

MLS – Multiple Listing Service. Every area around the country has a Multiple Listing Service. This is a program available to all Realtors and Brokers so they can see what properties are for sale, sold, expired, or canceled. No specific Realtor has an advantage over someone else over this. The exception is that the Multiple Listing Service is for a specific area. For instance, as a Realtor in Texas, I have access to certain information. However, I would not have access to the same information in Florida.

FHA, USDA, VA, HUD – These include the Federal Housing Authority, United States Department of Agriculture, Veterans Assistance, and Housing and Urban Development loans. Each of these loan types have different requirements to qualify for and your Realtor or lender should be able to help steer you in the right direction

There are so many acronyms out there for every industry. It’s only natural that if you aren’t in that industry, you will not necessarily know what they all mean. If you are having a conversation with a Realtor and don’t understand something like an acronym or a topic, stop them and ask them to explain it. Honestly, they may not have the information right away. A good Realtor will tell you that they don’t have an answer right then but can get it instead of making up an answer and hoping it will fly.

Always check with your Realtor about your particular area and the differences that might not be addressed here.

Thanks for stopping by. Please share this and remember, I’m never too busy for you or your referrals.

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Blog Focus Areas

I’ve been going through a lot lately. Especially when it comes to my business but I’ve also been refocusing on my writing.

Blog Personal Finance

I’m a Realtor but I have an “inner teacher” within me that needs a way out. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate teaching into my business.

As a result, I’ve been starting to write video scripts with the intent of creating video education classes related to real estate in the North Texas area. I’m trying to keep them to a few minutes since people tend to get bored with video if it goes too long and doesn’t get to the point.

This is a heads up. I’ll start filming in the next month or so and will be including links to the videos in this blog.

Blog Finances

But there are other things I like to write about.

I’ve been involved in a literary group on and off for most of this year. It’s called Carrot Ranch and they offer a weekly challenge to write a complete story in 99 words – exactly. Although I haven’t participated each week, I find it helpful in my writing. It challenges me to choose my words carefully and to get to the point. I encourage you to participate in this group if writing in any form is your cup of tea.

Other topics I write about that you can find in this blog are faith stories, personal finance, and sometimes, just straight fiction.

Blog Faith

If you like to write or buy/sell houses, this is the place to come.

In the future, I may create several different blogs so that I can put specific types of writing in each one instead of having it all in one place. When that happens, I will let you know.

I’ll be posting a sample of the transcript for the first video I will be doing related to real estate soon so you can get an idea of how long they will actually be. I’d enjoy hearing your feedback so I can improve the text for the video. I’d also like to know about any issues or pain points you have had around real estate. This feedback will help me to produce videos that answer your questions or addresses a pain point.

If you or someone you know is considering buying or selling a home, I’d like to be the one who helps make that happen. If you need a buyer’s guide or seller’s guide, visit my business website and contact me. Make sure you indicate which guide you need and remember…

I’m never too busy for you or your referrals.

Transaction Closed!

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS

Ebby Halliday Real Estate, Inc. is pleased to announce that its acquisition by HomeServices of America, Inc., is complete and the Ebby Halliday Companies are now proud Berkshire Hathaway affiliates. The three real estate brands: Ebby Halliday Realtors, Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate, and Williams Trew Real Estate, as well as the firm’s mortgage and title companies,  are now fully affiliated with the powerful HomeServices organization. The acquisition provides a unique avenue for the Halliday organization to continue its legacy of providing the unparalleled real estate services for which it is so well known far into the future.

Serving North Texas residents since 1945, Ebby Halliday Real Estate, Inc. is one of the country’s most highly respected real estate brokerages. Its affiliation with Home Services joins the firm with the nation’s second-largest residential real estate brokerage company and the nation’s leading provider of homeownership services.

Memberships in Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, Luxury Portfolio International, Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate, and numerous other industry networks, and now its new affiliation with Home Services ensure that Ebby Halliday Companies’ sales professionals are ideally positioned to continue to represent clients across North Texas for years to come.

I am personally delighted to share this exciting news with each of you, and look forward to our mutual opportunity for an even more successful and rewarding future as the undisputed leader in Texas real estate!

Mary Frances

The Right Price For You

All around us, we see what others have. We get jealous at times and maybe even envious of what others have that we don’t. Maybe we even force ourselves to get things that others have even if we can’t really afford them.

Brand New Car

The Car

It was about 15-16 years ago that I found myself divorced with a massive amount of debt and a car that barely ran. I had owned the car for at least 12 years and let’s just say that I was ready to beat it continuously with a sledgehammer to see how much damage I could do to it.

I lived about five miles from my work and every day, I would use one quart of oil and two gallons of water just to get back and forth a total of ten miles. I saw really nice cars that everyone drove at work and honestly, I was jealous and envious of what they had.

The sad part about it was there was nothing I could do about it. There was no money.

I tried though. I went to several banks and asked for a loan but no one would give me one. When I asked if I could use my car as collateral, they might as well have laughed out loud. No one was interested in using a 12-year old car to back a loan.

I was stuck.

The fan in the front of the car didn’t work either so it was dangerous to be stuck at stoplights because the car would overheat. If I got stuck at a light, I would pull into a parking lot and turn the car off instead. It made for very long trips to the grocery store.

I lived that way for 11-months before I was offered an opportunity to get a loan and purchase a used car from a private owner.

The House I Want

Houses

If we aren’t careful, we can end up in a scary situation when it comes to houses. All around us, there are new construction homes going up. Why would I want a used home when I could get a new home that no one has lived in? What if there aren’t many homes available to look at right now? I want something NOW!

As a REALTOR, I see all kinds of houses every week. Holding an open house for a new construction home is really nice. Everything in the house is perfect. Well, everything I can see looks perfect. Looking at used homes I can see how the house has been lived in. There are scrapes on the wall paint, worn carpet, and maybe the owner hasn’t fixed things along the way.

But that nice new home has none of these flaws so I want that one instead.

The Budget

When I went looking for another car to buy, I set a fixed amount that I would spend on it. Getting a loan when I was already carrying so much debt was scary in itself but I really felt there weren’t a lot of options. I set the price for $9000 and was fortunate enough to get something that lasted a while. Well, it lasted until one of my daughters had a wreck in it. Fortunately, I had it for several years and was able to pay down a bunch of debt in that time.

When it comes to a house, the budget needs to be seriously considered too. Just because you get a loan for a certain amount and the price you want for a home, any home, doesn’t mean the mortgage payment will never change. For the most part, you can expect the mortgage to go up a little each year. If you build that understanding in your calculations from the beginning, you can avoid having issues. I’ve written a post about things that change your mortgage. Read it when you get a chance but in the meantime, mortgages can go up due to variable interest rates, taxes and value assessments. If you’re not careful, you can actually be priced out of your home by these things.

It doesn’t mean you need to go through a foreclosure however, you may end up having to sell your home and humbling yourself by buying something less than what you had before so you can actually afford it.

Car Update

I kinda left you hanging there with the car. I did do something with that car that needed all the oil and water to keep going. I donated it to the senior high school class with the understanding that they would take a sledgehammer to it and destroy it. I wasn’t able to make the event but I hear they had a great time destroying the car.

I’ve moved on since then. It’s a memory that will stick with me but also one I never want to experience again.

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If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

I’m never too busy for you or your referrals.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX

Why Are You Letting Your House Sit On The Market?

It seems, at least for now, that the days when you would slap a sign in your yard and sell your house in 24 hours are ending. Things have changed in the market in North Texas. People are tired of overspending on a home when there are others nearby that will work just as well. Sometimes, even new construction homes will sit on the market because people don’t want to spend that much.

The Number One Reason Your House Doesn’t Sell

I see it often. A perfectly good house in a great neighborhood and it’s been on the market for half a year or more. Unfortunately, sometimes seller’s are just not realistic about the pricing of their homes. Even if you have the best Realtor in North Texas, you still won’t sell the home if the price is not in line with what is going on in your area.

It doesn’t matter if you put in a $100,000 pool with lights and an outdoor kitchen. If no one else in your neighborhood has a pool like that or an outdoor kitchen, it’s likely you won’t get near what you put into that pool or kitchen. People just won’t pay for it.

A decent Realtor will tell you where the house should be priced. Still there are those who insist that their house is better than everyone else’s home in the area.

An Honest Question

Market Bikes

Would you honestly pay more for something when there are other choices that will do the same thing for you? If you don’t race bicycles, would you pay $8000 for a bike when a $200 bike will do what you want it to do? I could ask the same thing about so many items we use every day.

When my grandson was born, my daughter insisted on buying Tommy Hilfiger clothes for him. When I asked her why, she said it was because she never got nice clothes growing up and she was not going to have her child be embarrassed by the clothes he wore. Ouch! When I tried to explain that he would be in those clothes for two months and they would never get worn out, it fell on deaf ears. There was no convincing her about the practical aspects of buying clothes for babies.

What About A House?

Market Similarity

I recently had a conversation with another agent in my office. He had a house listed on the market. It had been going slow and he was considering having a conversation with the owner about possibly lowering the price.

Just when he was about to do that, another house in the same neighborhood came on the market with an inflated price. Before he knew it, he received multiple offers on his listed house. Why? Because the houses were almost the same. People could look at both of them and soon realized that the house he was promoting was just as good as the other house.

Why would you spend extra money on a house when there is another one down the street for less?

Unless there are specific features or needs that one house has over the other, it just doesn’t make a lot of sense.

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If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

I’m never too busy for your referrals.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX

My Return To Toastmasters

 

It’s been a few years since I was in Toastmasters International. It is an organization that helps people come to terms with public speaking. They offer education and practice in front of a group, offering constructive feedback on your progress through a series of speeches.

Toaastmasters Logo

Why Did I Go In The First Place?

When I first started going to Toastmasters, I had been a corporate trainer for years. I had been in front of groups of people in a teaching environment. There was a need to take very complex concepts and make them understandable to people who had never used the technology before.

Although it was just a part of my job, I enjoyed it immensely. After a while, I became very comfortable teaching any subject to this group. The nervousness had gone away for the most part because these were people I had dealt with for years in the work environment.

I wanted more.

Something Was Very Wrong

One day, my boss invited me to go with him on a recruiting mission. My job was to present our “pitch” for getting new people to apply at the company. When I got up to speak in front of this “foreign” group, I stammered terribly. I was suddenly so nervous speaking that I barely got the words out.

Afterwards, my boss asked me what was wrong. I knew but I wasn’t about to tell him. I was nervous because I had been speaking in front of the same group of people for so long. I had not experienced speaking in front of groups I did not know and it was completely different. I knew I needed to improve. Enter Toastmasters

What I Accomplished

After about 18 months and two different clubs due to relocation, I achieved Competent Communicator status. I think the name has changed now to Competent Toastmaster Certification but it doesn’t matter. To get to that level, I needed to give ten speeches on different topics in front of people I didn’t really know. I even gave an evaluation at a competition and came in second place. It was kinda cool to accomplish those things.

It was during that time that I applied to teach at a Junior College in order to get in front of people I didn’t know on a regular basis. My Toastmaster training allowed me to take on that role without getting into a panic.

Shortly after that, I relocated again and fell out of Toastmasters.

Why I Returned

Due to medical conditions, I had to leave my employment. I returned to school, got a degree, but ultimately decided on Real Estate as my new career.

While I was in school, there were requirements to give speeches as assignments. Again, I could feel some nervousness getting in front of people. I pushed through it though and was very successful.

I realized, getting into Real Estate, that I would need to be comfortable talking to people I had just met with confidence and assurance. They needed to know that I knew what I was doing and could help them.

As part of my transition into this career, I had mentors through my office but wanted different mentors. I thought it would be beneficial to have mentors from other industries.

My “lead mentor,” the one I  would be sharing everything with and asking for specific feedback, suggested getting back into Toastmasters as a way of improving my communications skills.

I thought back to all the times I had given a speech at Toastmasters and the valuable feedback I had received. I knew that I could not only continue to improve my communications skills but could also focus more on my leadership skills. Together, it had the potential to change my effectiveness in my career and dealing with people I already knew.

So here I am, getting ready to give the first speech over again, just like the first time I attended Toastmasters. It’s the “get to know me” speech, The Ice Breaker Speech, so my new group can know my background. It’s the easiest talk since I already know the subject – me!

I will post occasionally on my progress and even include video when I get it.

What About You?

There are many reasons to join Toastmasters. There are probably more reasons not to go. However, if you want to improve your speaking ability in a variety of ways, give it a try.

See you at the next meeting or competition.

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If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

I’m never too busy for your referrals.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX

Those Sneaky B@$t@rds

phishing

Phishing Scam

My wife and I had a scare several days ago. She had received an email that looked like it had come from our bank asking us to click on a link to authorize a deposit into our account. It was a bit suspect from the beginning because my wife doesn’t use the account from this particular institution.

I looked at the email and noticed there was no indication of what the account number was and the return email was random letters followed by something other than the bank (ex. gr13ccea@southwestbell.net).

Sneaky B@$t@rds!

Calling The Bank

I called the bank and talked to customer service. I also checked the account to make sure nothing had been going on with it. Nothing. No weird deposits or withdrawals.

After some time with the customer service folks, they sent me over to security and asked me to forward the email to the abuse center. They checked everything with our account and made sure there was nothing suspicious going on.

Phishing - Two-Step Verification

2-Step Verify

We set up a 2-step verification process for accessing the account. It’s something I had overlooked. I have 2-step verify on so many things and this one slipped by.

2-step verification adds an additional layer of protection to your accounts. When you log in, the system will send an additional code to your phone which you need to enter back into the system before you can get access to the account. It seems like that would make it much harder for someone to get in otherwise. If someone did get access to your account information, you would get a text message when they logged in and could immediately say it wasn’t you. You can then call the bank and change passwords, check account activity and change cards if needed.

Credit Monitoring

Did you know that many banking institutions have free credit monitoring? I didn’t. Check you bank and see if they provide this service for free. If they don’t, maybe it’s time to find another bank.

Solutions

Well, now we are safe. No one has stolen anything and our accounts are secure. It could have been a lot different if my wife and I were not talking regularly. Talk to others on your accounts and make sure they recognize suspicious activity.

In this instance, the bank said the email address was wrong, there should have been a partial account number visible, and any email that comes from them would be directed to a specific person on the account, not “Dear Customer.”

With so much fraud out there, it’s easy to get your finances screwed up. Take the time to make sure you are as protected as you can be.

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If you need help with the purchase or sale of a home, reach out to me for more information about how I can help you get where you want to be.

I’m never too busy for your referrals.

Patrick O’Connor – CHMS, GRI, Realtor®

Ebby Halliday, REALTORS®

Plano, TX