Have you heard? Realtors take heart!

The U.S Department of Labor (DOL) has finalized its long-awaited Association Health Plan (AHP) rule to expand the definition of “employer” to include “working owners.” This change allows real estate professionals and other self-employed individuals to participate in association health plans. A key provision, forwarded for inclusion in the rule by NAR, will allow many REALTORS® who have access to coverage through a spouse to be eligible to choose an AHP option. (key phrase left out here — affordable AHP)

Bottom Line
The ruling is a major step forward for NAR’s long-standing advocacy efforts to expand AHP eligibility to independent contractors. This ruling allows NAR to keep up its ongoing program to evaluate potential options for expanding REALTORS® options for access to health insurance coverage. It does not mean that a REALTOR® AHP will be available in the near term, but action continues to explore such options.

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Although this is a step in the right direction, it seems to be one of feet dragging on a phenomenal level!  What a way to squeeze people out of their independence!  I see small businesses close, hear of people taking jobs because, “We couldn’t afford the monthly insurance cost.”  Say it ain’t so!

But I can not say it isn’t so!  Small business may have been the backbone in the past, but health insurance with an aging population of hard workers is certainly going to dramatically change the playing field of tomorrow.

OPEN HOUSE Weekend!

What are today’s buyers looking for?  It varies on LOCATION!  The biggest part of a home’s value is based on the Location, second is Curb Appeal, third is what’s inside.  Last spring a lady wanted to sell a wonderful home still overflowing with her stuff.

I asked her during our appointment, “Are you going to do minor repairs and paint?”

She said, “No.  I don’t have the energy to bother.”

“Are you willing to tidy up, and give it a good cleaning?”

Again she responded, “No.  This place will sell as it is.  I loved this home.”

That significantly lowers the value.  Sadie agreed it did effect the value but a local investor had offered her $390,000 as is in writing.  She pulled out the paper to show me.  I was certain we could do better than that because she had an all brick home on 2 acres with a 3 car garage.  Those are big selling features in our area.  Especially the garage.  I had Curb Appeal, I had Location working in my favor.  The inside needed some love.

I had multiple offers within 2 hours of it hitting the market.  She got her price over and above what the investor offered.  However, she had to empty and clean the home prior to the buyers taking possession.  After she had moved to a smaller home she said, “I could have gotten more for my home.”

“Yes, indeed,” I agreed.  “If you had been willing to paint, and clean you could have gotten more.  But at that moment in time your heart was not in to doing what needed to be done!

Commercial Real Estate is a numbers game.  When dealing with investors in residential one deals with the numbers.  Real Estate in Residential is generally very personal and emotional.  I keep hearing there is a shortage of homes on the market throughout the country.  And yet, as I look at homes on the market in the Culpeper, VA area I see 247 homes in the 22701 Zip code alone; 60 of which have been on the market for over 6 months!  Why?  Why would we have 24% of homes in a market listed for over 6 months when we have a shortage?  There are several reasons this is the case.  The first one that comes to mind is pricing.  The second one in this area is that over 50 of these listings had less than 10 photos taken… 2 had no photos at all.  In an image society where the average buyer begins their search online this is a deal killer.  These buyers literally never see your home for sale!  Those that agree to come by generally are looking because they missed out on the home they really wanted.  What are these Sellers looking for in a Realtor?  If you want excellent service look for a Realtor with designations and experience, like myself. Or a new agent you know that has a seasoned agent to work along side of them.  The biggest issue with new agents isn’t lack of experience, it’s lack of training and guidance.  I am looking for Homeowners in Culpeper, VA ready to list with me!  I have a proven marketing plan and a great deal of heart and knowledge to help you sell your home!

 

Reflection

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.