Customer Service? — Where has it gone?

Do you ever order something and sign into ‘chat.’  With the canned responses that do not always match up to your question do you wonder, “Is this a AI or someone with English as a second language?”  #service

Once upon a time FEDEX met guaranteed.  Today it means, ‘maybe so.’  Pay $30.00 and ‘maybe’ it will get there tomorrow.  The driver can always say they were here and no one was home because they didn’t ring the bell and I was home.  Or they could say my address is wrong.  Even though they’ve delivered many times before.  Is this reliable service? th.jpg

Perhaps not, but they have built a name for themselves and a little poor service or non-delivery isn’t going to hurt their overall bottomline. 

#Culpeper,  #living

When I asked if the Shipper would be given a discount for FEDEX failure to deliver on time I was ignored.  Even though I sat and waited for a package that didn’t come FEDEX never offered my sender a rebate or discount of any kind.  ‘I’m sorry,’ is all either of us received.   

The Pest Control People are delayed coming out because they have an issue with employees.  They assure me they are ‘fully staffed’ if the employees all show up on time, everyday.  With Low Unemployment there is an unforeseen issue few speak about…. bad customer service.  When we have so few workers… Employers higher what they can afford, those people are not always the best qualified or reliable.  We must be patient and understanding.

What does that mean for Real Estate?  Good news… people in real estate still need hours of training prior to taking an exam to become an Agent.  If they put in the time, effort and money required most truly want to do a good job.  The problem is they may not be clear what that job entails.  Further to complicate the issue is the why business is run.  Realtors are basically, ‘self-employed.’  Because they work under a Broker they are Intrapreneurs not Entrepreneurs.  They can be guided, encouraged but in the end they march to their own beat.  If that beat is continually away from the Company plan the Broker will ask them to move on and send their license in.  There will be another firm for them to work at tomorrow. 

We work on a curve.  It takes years of experience in most licensed positions to real get good at what you do.  Today, many ‘Agents’ may not be well rounded because they work in a ‘team.’  The Team Supervisor places them where they think they are best suited.  (ie:  buyer agent, closing coordinator, call center, etc.)  Real Estate is no different from other service oriented businesses.  If they are a new agent they have Enthusiasm working in their favor.  Ask them if they have a mentor or are they teamed up with an experienced agent who works along side of them. 

It makes a difference when there are issues.  That’s always when a Realtor shines.  What do they know?  Who do they know?  That can help you buy or sell a property.  An experienced Agent can help you move mountains to get the job done!  That’s why reviews and recommendations are the life blood of a Realtor!  We are only as good as our last deal.  ‘A few years ago I had buyers in Stafford, VA.  The home they wanted to purchase had an issue with mold.  I asked,’is this the home you want?’  ‘Yes!’ they assured me.  Ok, we got the home, they were disappointed because they did not get to chose who remediated the mold or how it was done.’  We must remember when purchasing a home it doesn’t belong to you until the paperwork is complete.  Up until that time it is maintained by someone else as that person sees fit!  It is not in the control of a Realtor or of you as the Buyer.

Sometimes a deal doesn’t go smoothly but it works out well for both parties, that’s a win for a Realtor.  22 Homeowner Association Violations and the home still sold ‘as is!’  The Seller had to give up some money and the Buyer had to agree to deal with the problems, but both ultimately got what they wanted.  So, the Seller is sore they walked away with less, it was still more than it would have been had they corrected all the violations!  Don’t be penny wise and pound foolish when dealing in real estate.  Don’t be the Seller that says, ‘I could make that repair myself,’ and not make the repair!  If you want the best price, provide a good produce!  Repairs lower that market value of a home.  This Seller never acknowledged the 22 HOA Violations, so in their mind the realtor didn’t do a good job.  How would it have worked had that Seller not had an Agent as the go-between in the same transaction?  9 out of 10 times that Seller would have had to correct all 22 violations in order to sell the townhome at the price they got on this transaction.  Why?  Because HOA Violations do not necessarily have a bearing on Market Price.  But a home in an HOA must comply with the codes of the Association in order to be sold.  An HOA can prevent a sale from happening based on the violations.  Note: had the owner taken care of the home there would not be any costly violations to correct before being allowed to sell their property.  When you buy in an HOA you agree to comply with the rules and regulations of that Association. 

th-1 . When you believe all photos online are a true picture of a home — think again!  Photos are met to show a property in ‘the best light.’  Not always the same as accuracy.

Do you need a Realtor when purchasing New Construction?  Hmm.  Do you?  Can you negotiate sufficient outlets in each room without a huge up-charge?  How about a finished basement?  Or are you sticking to the base price?  If so, will you get out of the home the amount you put into it in 5 to 7 years without upgrading?  An experienced Realtor can guide you through what is and what isn’t worth upgrading.  They are experienced in negotiating on your behalf.  Many have relationships with builders they work with on a regular bases.  #newconstruction, #Realtor, #Broker

We work on commission… each job is a new experience.  Most people work on Salary.  No matter how well you perform when you’re on salary you are paid.  On commission you may work very hard and should be compensated for your efforts.  If you do not work when on commission, there is no pay.  It is a service most people do not want to do or do not have the experience to do.



While attending my step-daughters college graduation this past weekend I was struck with how time changes…. I may still feel 30 something, hmm!  So often I hear, “when I was… or when we were…. we….”  Times change, standards change.  Our 20somethings are not as prepared to venture into the world as we were expected to be at 18.  Our generation has worked so hard while our children were young that  we often try to make up for the lack of time that can never be recovered.  We often fall short when it comes to preparing our children or sharing our values, hopes and dreams on a day to day bases.  Life is only the dash between 2 numbers… how do you want your children to remember your dash?  Were you to busy to go for a teddy bear picnic, or and imaginary tea party with poo?  Are they going to remember how much you worked rather than the moments you shared?

I have a 10 year old step-son that wasn’t thrilled with attending a college graduation.  To make it fun we rented space at Great Wolf Lodge and invited all of our children to come and participate.  Not only with the formal Graduation to mark this moment of time for Leslie, but they will all have a memory of family time even though most of them are now young adults venturing out into the world.  As I grow older I often step back and reflect on how to continually connect with others across the generations.  I am grateful for this weekend in which I could see that reflection in action.

Oh, where are we going? Does Dr. Seuss have a book for that?

Should 2 + 2 have two correct answers?

Can I get an “a” for that blank?

Where is America headed? I help people #move from one home to another in and around #Culpeper County Virginia as a Realtor. I have enjoyed real estate for many years and love helping others through the process. I LOVE the Blue Ridge Mountains views, scenery and people.

Last year COVID was overwhelming! I limited the amount of media, especially news I consumed. The beauty of living near the mountains is the abundance of outdoor activities away from computers, cellphones and television. However, when I see, articles of entire states reevaluating math it makes me wonder!

Have you seen the NY POST February 12, 2021 article: The Oregon Department of Education (ODE) recently encouraged teachers to register for training that encourages “ethnomathematics” and argues, among other things, that White supremacy manifests itself in the focus on finding the right answer. (What?)

An ODE newsletter advertises a Feb. 21 “Pathway to Math Equity Micro-Course,” which is designed for middle school teachers to make use of a toolkit for “dismantling racism in mathematics.”

Part of the toolkit includes a list of ways “white supremacy culture” allegedly “infiltrates math classrooms.” Those include “the focus is on getting the ‘right’ answer,” students being “required to ‘show their work,’” and other alleged manifestations.

“The concept of mathematics being purely objective is unequivocally false, and teaching it is even much less so,” the document for the “Equitable Math” toolkit reads. “Upholding the idea that there are always right and wrong answers perpetuate objectivity as well as fear of open conflict.” (excuse me?)

The ODE, led by Colt Gill, confirmed the letter to Fox News. ODE Communications Director Marc Siegel also defended the “Equitable Math” educational program, saying it “helps educators learn key tools for engagement, develop strategies to improve equitable outcomes for Black, Latinx, and multilingual students, and join communities of practice.”

Instead of focusing on one right answer, the toolkit encourages teachers to “come up with at least two answers that might solve this problem.” 

We make smooth moves in Culpeper…

WHAT? I feel the nails scrapping the chalkboard as I re-read the article! What on earth is going on? This morning, I awoke to my husband reading an article that 6 of Dr. Seuss’ books will no longer be published because they are racist! What? Dr. Seuss would be 117 years old today, March 2, 2021. Do you think ideas were different 117 years ago? I was not much of a fan of Dr. Seuss, but I never thought of him as racist. He saw issues in everyday life and made them laughable. Would he be shaking his head at the idea that math should have 2 correct answers? 2 + 2 = 4; 2 x 2 = 4. Hmm, let me see, can I come up with an alternative? If the x an y in algebra are moved on the line to suit answer 2 is answer 1 still correct? If you go to a pharmacist for a prescription and they are .002 correct on your dose will you survive? Maybe. Maybe not.

As a, #Realtor, I live on commission. Some companies now ‘hire’ agents for a ‘salary.’ As a commissioned salesperson, we do math everyday. I need 10 sales to make $50,000 at the end of the year. That is based on an average sales price and an average commission. If I do not do my math correctly I will not have a chance at reaching my goal of $50,000. There is no second answer… either I know my numbers and work toward them daily, or I miss the mark and starve. That is reality.

Where are we going if 2 + 2 may = 6?

Will someone enlighten me?

Can I move the Blue Ridge Mountain chain so I can have better cell service? Or would it be easier for me to change my address from Rappahannock County, Virginia to Fredericksburg? You do the math and come up with your second answer.

Should I stay, or Should I go?

It all depends on who you talk to.

Headlines like these: HEADING INTO 2021, housing market experts are predicting a year of high demand and rising home prices. After an initial drop in housing market activity last spring coinciding with stay-at-home orders and closed businesses, homebuying and selling rebounded quickly. Buyers are still eager to move, but the lesser supply of homes on the market in many parts of the U.S. is contributing to rising home prices. As a result, it remains a seller’s market that benefits homeowners who are choosing to sell now.

You’re on the fence about selling? What are your choices? Put your house up for sale now! Take advantage of the current demand. Or you can wait out the pandemic (however long that takes) for a more vivid picture of the future of the economy. Or stay in your current home for the foreseeable future.

others say: Housing activity is expected to remain strong in 2021

You be the judge. Many say, growth is likely to decelerate in the second half of 2021 due to the global pandemic. As many many have experienced, Buyers are faced with more competition, and are forced to act quickly or loose out on their ‘dream’ home. Despite millions being payed-off house hunting has not slowed its pace. Rather than seen prices come down we have seen an over all record breaking growth since June 2020.

Due to a number of factors: an intense housing demand, and low rates. Builders are not able to keep up with the demand of new homes. Home prices are presently at a point of no longer being affordable for the first time homebuyer. So if you’re ready to buy… accept you have entered a sellers market and may pay more for a ‘move-in’ ready home.

Are you considering selling a home? This is a Great time for those with well maintained homes. However, if you have a fixer upper, or something dated you may wish to team up with an investor. listens to your goals and has ideas 💡 to help you get the best price for your ‘as is’ property. Do not despair! Call 📞 us: 540-455-1086, we care and offer solutions within your budget.

Should I Hold or List my Home?

Last week I had two potential Listings let me know they were going to hold off selling.  My scheduled closing for Monday of last week happened on Tuesday due to the COVID Virus that is sweeping the Globe.  What are we doing?  Where are we going?

Truly we live in unprecedented times!  Are you still working inspite of the unrest caused by this global virus?  Many people are working with minor adjustments to their daily routines.  A lady, I met, at Snap Car Buying, Chantilly, Virginia, is still planning to purchase a home within the next 12 months.  Snap Car Buying is a wonderful used car business that stands behind every vehicle they sell with a 7 day return policy!

My business partner and I are still planning on listing a townhouse by the middle of April.  I have a closing taking place this afternoon.  I looked at an investment property last week…. so, even though some are frightened into changing their plans; others are not.  Business goes on.  The stock market took a major fall… but yesterday it was adjusting up again.

Have I scaled back?  Yes, I am choosing to view new listings online rather than walking through them.  I am doing more business online as are all those around me.  I am spending more time at home rather than going into Elevate, Culpeper, Virginia.  An excellent ‘work share’ office space on Davis Street.  Great energy there!  I am cutting back on physically socializing for the next few weeks.

As schools across the state are now closed I am spending more time with our pre-teen child.  I am forced to re-balance work vs home life.  Yesterday, he and I had to run to Culpeper and we were both surprised to see that the pre-school at the Baptist Church was open with many little ones running around the yard.  So, in some regards life continues as normal even as other areas have drastically changed.  Walmart is only open between 8 – 6 pm.  Many restaurants have had too close based on their business model.  I noticed fast food isn’t as effected as sit down restaurants when it comes to operating.  Everywhere has seen a drop in business overall.

That being said… the answer to the initial question is that some people will no longer qualify at the moment for a loan.  Many around the globe are laid-off for the next few weeks as we wait for this virus to pass.  The good news it that… this Virus will pass.  It will fade away and we will all be able to return to the business at hand.

Considering other countries have closed boarders and restricted citizens from travel, should we as Americans not desire to do the same until this virus has time to die out?  Let us not allow it to continue to infect others due to our stubbornness.  Let us be a unified country that chose to cooperate in an effort to kill this virus before it picks up more speed.

Let's Weather this storm
America can withstand any storm as long as we Unite.

Reflection of the year

Warm Vibes


The sky was so blue, and the sun so bright, that an eternal summer seemed to reign over this prospect.

Reflecting 2019

It’s hard to believe another year is drawing to a close.  Have you reached all your goals?

Wow! When I hear that question I immediately think of business, and career; but those are not the most important goals to me these days.  Every morning my husband and I enjoy praying together and spending a moment in the word.  We pray for each of our seven children.  We pray for extended family, and friends.  We pray for our community and those we know are in poor health, or in need.  We pray for our clients, customers, and tenants.

This has not always been so, but since we began taking these quiet times together each day our relationship has grown.  Our businesses have prospered, and our situation in life in general has improved for the better.


We enjoy spending time with family and friends.  We enjoy helping each of our children succeed and pursue their dreams.   If you had asked me 5 years ago if my son, Adam would pursue the same line of work as my husband, Charles, I would have doubted that to be so.  But Adam is employed in HVAC construction for Data Centers today.  He earns more than many of his equals with four year degrees.  And he has the opportunity to continue to grow.

We are proud of our College Graduates, and the two soon to be graduating from college.  We just attended the sixth young adults graduation from Nursing School!  How awesome to see her smile because she is ‘Living Her Dream!’

We are blessed with the opportunity to dote on child number seven as he is eight years younger than number 7.  People often ask me if he’s my nephew or grandson.  Hmm, well as I had my first just a few years shy of 30 it would mean he or one of the others started young… thankfully, that is not so.  My nieces daughter is only 6 months younger than daughter #3, but none of our children have children.


The great thing about having a preteen around when you’re in your 50’s… they keep you young!  They want to go check out fun places like the Fiesta Ware Outlet in PA near his older sister’s home.  Or a trip to the Land of Oz at Beech Mtn, NC.  He doesn’t complain about taking a 4 hour trip to an Aunt’s home in WV to repair her failed heating system.  And he loves to see all that join us at my Sister’s in Ohio for Thanksgiving each year!

The older we get the more we’re able to do that we had on our bucket list.  The more we continue to grow and share with one another and with others.  WE dream about the next decade of our lives and what we hope to accomplish for ourselves and others.  We enjoy dreaming of places we would like to go.

Our lives continue to have ups and downs.  We have been blindsided by college student loans that are not attached to any of our children – and yet we must repay to loosing all our chickens to wild life in the area.  We open our home to others, and to beautiful cats in need of a forever home.

We enjoy learning new games like ‘Llama Drama,’ ‘Cards against Humanity,’ and ‘Jumanji to play with family and friends.  We enjoy home parties where there is no judgement for enjoying a bit of moonshine and a game of ‘corn hole.’   We enjoy sharing our knowledge and experience with others to help them find a home or real estate investments.  Life is the dash between two numbers and Charles and I enjoy living every moment of that dash.  How about you?,

#life, #Culpeper, #Virginia, #Real Estate









BBB: Complaint Submitted

In 2004 The BBB met they would contact a business you had an issue with.  That business would communicate and come to a resolution you could not get on your own.

Flash forward to 2020, the BBB is automated.  Sometimes it works, and sometimes business simply change their LLC name and act as if there was no issue to resolve.

When you chose a Realtor, a national name brand is not always the solution.  Real Estate is still a localized business. What is working in Northern Virginia may not work in Culpeper County!

When I moved to the Culpeper area six years ago homes commonly sat on the market for a year or more!  I decided to preview as many homes as I could weekly.  I saw homes well lived in.  All their flaws for every one to see, ‘just as they are,’ type of sales.  I thought back to a home I once listed in Fredericksburg that smelled terrible!  Before putting it on the market we hosted a ‘Yard Sale.’  And sold loads of stuff left by tenants.  Even without power or water in the home I did some basic cleaning and we mowed the lawn.  Just those small efforts netted the seller a good price in a weeks time!  How much more could I do in Culpeper?  Staging inside and out, and a through cleaning goes a long way in any market.  I have repeated success with a proven strategy.  I even put it in a book I offer to Sellers that List with me.

Clean, Clean, Clean
what is obsolete?

How many times must you hear?

How many times does a Seller need to hear how important it is to CLEAN UP the INSIDE and the OUTSIDE of their house before they understand it effects the value?

Over the last 2 years I have seen thousands of dollars left on the table due to Seller’s choosing not to make the effort too ‘DEEP CLEAN’ the inside of their house or Clean up the Outside of the house!  They always blame the agent because we live in a society that doesn’t not want to be responsible for their own inaction.

As a Realtor, we can ‘ADVISE’ you in the way you should go.  We DO NOT make the decision for you.  Nor do we do all the work for you.  We may help you, or direct you to where to find help.  But, ultimately the work completed is up to you!  Where should you invest your money to get the biggest bang for the buck?  CLEANING INSIDE AND OUT!!

If you have a beautiful home inside, but lots of rundown cars outside, no curb appeal and green algae growing on the side of your house very few people will see inside.  Some will turn away at a door gouged with claw marks, or peeling paint.  Are you creating a scary movie set or are you staging a house for sale?

You may need to drive down the road and come back to your driveway with an impartial look in order to truly answer this question.

You laugh, but I have seen homes listed at the top of the market with clawed up double doors, algae growing on the white vinyl siding, and seedlings in the gutters.  Let’s not mention the junk cars next to the driveway and the pink sofa on the front porch.  People may turn away from this clutter, because they do not want to envision themselves living here.

Your goal as a Seller is to create a vision of beauty to attract a Buyer.  There are two main buyers in today’s market… the Investor, who is going to offer 70% under your list price so they can clean up the house and flip it or rent it fast.

And the second is someone who wants to move-in ready without much work or effort.  This group wants to see the walls painted neutral colors they can live with, and every thing clean and done.  They will pay extra for not having to bring it up to their standards and to have a few newer appliances or a new roof or HVAC system.

So, you need to ask yourself… “am I willing to do what it takes to get Top Dollar for my home?”  Or, “am I content to take less just to get it sold?”

Deep cleaning, doesn’t mean just having a ‘clean home;’  I’ve been in a home that had boxes stacked to the ceiling of the living room.  They were neatly stacked and the walkway to the kitchen was clean and dust free.  But the house was ‘Cluttered!’  I couldn’t see it and it felt dark and claustrophobic!  If you want a ‘decent price’ do a decent job!  Declutter inside and out!

In the photos above one room is empty, but doesn’t show well because the vinyl is old and doesn’t belong in a family room.  In the other the carpet is clean but the shelves and hearth are cluttered.  Less is more when selling a home.  A Staged home sells better than a vacant home… if ‘Staged’ well.

You want a mowed, well kept lawn.  If your front door is scratched… Paint it!  If you can’t paint within the lines – pay someone else to do a great job!  Clean the gutters and siding.  If the roof needs replaced, and you can swing it… do it!  If you have old vehicles in the drive, or off to the side… remove them.  If you have a long drive in need of gravel… get a load of gravel, raked out.

Inside: Clean and tidy goes a long way.  If your Kitchen and Bath are dated, but well done and you have no money to update; Shine the cabinets.  Clean and shine as much as possible.  Pack up or through out anything you can live without.  You want to give a sense of space that has been cared for in every room of the house!  If need be… wipe down walls, remove pictures and priceless possessions from prying eyes.  You can leave a few photos or paintings… but keep it minimal.  Repaint walls that have a lot of scuffs, or are colors wrong for the use of a room.  Neutral color or white is far better than an all black kitchen.  Most people want to have a lot of natural lighting.

Just because HD TV makes it look easy… doesn’t mean that it is.  If you need repairs done it pays to hirer a professional.  They may cost cash up front, however, ask if they’re licensed and guaranty their work in writing.  You want someone to take responsibility for the repairs in the first year after you have sold the house.  If not, the buyer maybe be able to come back after you depending on where you live.  Do you want to take that chance?


Rash Season

brown pendant lamp hanging on tree near river
I Photo by Rachel Xiao on

It’s that time of year when you want to be out in the yard or garden or enjoy a hike.  You feel invigorated by the Great Outdoors!  Then you wake up the next day to ….  what is it…  loads of itchy, red dots and blisters spread in various parts of your body!

Ugh!  Why didn’t I stay inside?  Why am I drawn outside

only to awake to spots!   If you’re like me, you would rather seek a home remedy rather than run to the doctor.  When the tried and true wasn’t getting quick results I turned to the modern day encyclopedia… yep the Internet.  Loads of ideas and options there.  What kind of cream should I try next?  I was amazed at how common and widespread itchy skin rashes appeared to be on the web.  The conditions is linked to a variety of causes: poison plant life such as: poison ivy, poison oak, sumac, general allergies, eczema, parasites, etc.  Over-the-Counter medicated creams like hydrocortisone or corticosteriod creams, age old standby of menthol or camphor, help tame the itch and clear up the rash.  Oral antihistamines may also relieve itching.  It’s important to note that different causes may require different treatments.  Regardless, the more you’re able to avoid itching the easier it will be to contain and dissolve the rash.  It seems recommended you only use these creams for no more than three weeks at a time.  If a rash continues after that or you have a sever case it is best to seek a health care professional.  Be sure to wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap to avoid spreading.  When all else fails consider it a lesson in patience…. because most rashes do heal if you can bear the itch!