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will it be enough? Anytime is a good time to create a budget, but it’s especially important if you’re getting ready to buy a house or refinance your home. These free online tools are a great place to start getting your finances in order.

Mint allows you to access your financial accounts all in one place so you can get a big-picture look at your money. You can also set up budgets and goals such as credit-card debt reduction and emergency or vacation funds to keep you on the right financial track.

BudgetPulse doesn’t link to your bank accounts, but it will let you import from Quicken, Microsoft Money, bank statements and spreadsheets. It also offers charts and graphs to track your money and lets you export the data to other financial tools software programs.

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“Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn

Ready to List With A Real Estate Agent?

Do you understand the process of selling your home — all the “little” details? Before you list with an agent, educate yourself about all the possible things you could face. Be as informed as possible, so you can make the absolute best business decision. After all, the sale of your home is a business decision.

Most of us are not tuned in to the trends and fluctuations of the real estate market. Additionally, we are not aware of the steps necessary to maximize profits from the sale of your home. Typically, you rely heavily on an agent to lead you down the most profitable path. Well, when you consider your home is probably your largest financial asset, doesn’t it make sense to list with someone who will maximize your profits? But how do you find that agent?

This report is designed to empower you with critical information necessary to evaluate an agent’s qualifications and help you identify the professional top producer. The more involved you become, the better chance you have of choosing the right agent and consequently, the higher your profits will be!

Start by doing some research. Who are the most active agents in your market? Look at advertising to see how professional it is, ask friends and family, drive around the neighborhood looking for yard signs, then compile a list of agents.

1. The Phone Interview – Place a call to each of the agents on your list. Document how quickly they returned your call; keep in mind, they will be returning calls to your prospective home buyers. Do an initial ‘feel-out’ interview over the phone so when you meet, you will both be prepared.

2. Request a Complete Plan – From title to escrow, request a complete plan of all the services they will provide you when you list with them.

3. Evaluate Their Team – Top producers will have established relationships with lenders, title reps, inspectors, etc. These professionals are there for your benefit. If they are ill-prepared to handle all the steps of your transaction, look elsewhere!

4. Alternative Report – Request a complete report of alternatives to the home sale. What would current market leases generate? Rentals? Responsibilities attached with leasing? Have your agent educate you about all your options.

5. Insist on Pre-Qualification – Don’t waste valuable time negotiating or showing your property to unqualified prospects. Insist that your agent pre-qualify candidates to screen out all unwanted prospects.

6. A Net Sheet – See in writing a complete net sheet, minus commissions and fees, showing your exact proceeds at the time of sale.

7. A Marketing Plan – This is the heart of your agent’s overall strategy. Require a step-by-step plan with innovative new ways to attract home buyers.

8. Telemarketing Efforts – Investigate the agent’s telemarketing team. Do they just cold call? Or do they have a strategy to create proactive leads and call on those prospects.

9. Direct Mail – Investigate the agent’s capacity to send direct mail. How often do prospects receive mail? Is it professional? Does the mail piece motivate prospects to pick up the phone and call?

10. Advertising – Is it well written and professional? How many ad venues do they utilize? They should be advertising to as many on-line , community or local newspaper, and yard signs. Remember, the quality of the advertising will directly influence how well your home will be perceived.

11. Negotiation Strategy – Have a written, well-conceived, negotiation strategy. The old adage “You don’t get what you deserve, you get what you negotiate,” rings very true in real estate. Insist on a sound negotiation strategy before you entertain buyers.

12. Closing Strategy – Be sure to get a written closing checklist. You need to know in detail how you will conclude the sale of your home. This should provide a step-by-step procedure that will be easy to understand and follow.

My hope with this report has been to educate you and help you avoid the pitfalls many home sellers go through. I hope you found the ideas valuable and if there is every any way I can be of service to you or anyone you care about, please contact my office. Your initial consultation is always free and you are under no obligation of any kind. I’d love to hear from you!



“Action is the foundational key to all success.” – Pablo Picasso

This is the last key element in you top-10 goals checklist – Your goals need to be supported.

Now there are 3 schools of thought on this last key element.  One is that you tell the world about your goal/s because that will make you more accountable.   But I feel this is putting undue pressure on yourself.

The second school of thought is tell no one and when you do succeed, you’ll be the hero. Trouble with this theory is if you tell no one, it’s too easy to just give up.  After all, who will know the difference since you never told anyone.

The third school of thought is to tell a few key friends who will be there to help you with some much-needed emotional support when the going gets tough and you feel like quitting.

So there you have it.  The ten key elements to goal setting and goal realization.



“Let us touch the dying, the poor, the lonely and the unwanted according to the graces we have received and let us not be ashamed or slow to do the humble work.” – Mother Teresa

This is number 9 in the top 10 goals checklist – Your goals must include contribution. Contributions can and should be in time, talent and/or money because remember what you sow is what you reap.

So many people are consumed with making more and more money that they forget to give back to society. You cannot constantly keep taking without giving back;  then you are simply a taker.  Eventually takers are seen for what they really are and will lose out in the long run.

I’m not saying you should blindly give to anything. Think, and think hard – remember #6 – your goals should be in alignment with your values. Well when you give back to society, make sure what you are giving to is also in alignment with your values.

This is fairly easy if we give back in time and talent because we know where and for whom we are giving our time and talent to.  When it comes to giving your money, do you really know what that organization stands for, what their core values are?

In giving, you need to understand that all you have comes from your Creator but you also need to ensure that the money you give is being used in accordance with you values. If you do not believe in abortion, contraception, pre-marital sex or homosexuality, then please, please check out the organizations you are giving to. So many seemingly good organizations contribute to other organizations that support some or all of the above.

Make giving a part of your goal program and do so unconditionally.  Don’t expect a payback, do it from the heart and you will reap benefits you never even expected.



“A man who wants to lead the orchestra must turn his back on the crowd.” – Max Lucado

Getting back to my post of Jan 11th 2012 the fourth and fifth key elements, of ten, to achieving your goals are:

Your goals must be flexible and your goals must be challenging and exciting.  These two elements to achieving your goals tend to go hand in hand.  If your goals are not challenging enough you may settle into a life of boredom.  When you set goals that are challenging and exciting you acquire an edge that keeps you focused and prevents you from settling on the mundane.  You also need to step out of your comfort zone if you really want to accomplish this. It will be scary to be out of your comfort zone – I know because I just did it – but this is where the greatest breakthroughs occur – when the challenges are great and your back is up against the wall.

The other element that goes along with this one is that your goals must be flexible. The last thing you want to do is design a system of achieving your goals that is so rigid it suffocates you.  The second reason you want your goals to be flexible is that if a genuine, once in a lifetime, opportunity comes along, you want to be able to change course to pursue that opportunity.



“If you’re trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I’ve had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”  –  Michael Jordan

Wow, a lot has happened since I last posted something on my blog. Believe it or not, I feel guilty for not posting in the past three weeks, but I have been very busy.  I’ve changed firms and in so doing had to learn a new platform for working with my leads.  I’m still trying to find a place for all the stuff I brought home from my office and I am also learning the Equator platform for dealing with short sales. One good thing is I did get all my files straightened out, so at least I can find a document when I need one.  To top things off, I’ve got my foot in an air cast.  It seems that it’s not broken, it’s a torn ligament.  I think I would have been better off breaking something.  Oh well this too shall pass.

I find it truly amazing that a small firm can get so many leads and a large firm such as the one I left, only gets a few leads per month.  So far in the three weeks I’ve been with this firm, I have received about 100 leads. Even if only 10% pan out – that’s 10% more than I would have had with the firm I was with before.

Now that I’m getting the hang of utilizing the lead platform, I believe I will be able to find some time to get back to blogging.  I actually miss blogging. I didn’t think blogging would get under my skin the way it did but it sure has; although there are times I struggle with what to write.

For this evening, I would like to leave you with something to ponder.  It is Werner Erhard’s definition of responsibility.

“Responsibility starts with the willingness to experience yourSelf as cause.

It starts with the willingness to have the experience of yourSelf as cause in the matter.

Responsibility is not burden, fault, praise, blame, credit, shame, or guilt.  All of these include judgments and evaluations of good and bad, right and wrong, or better and worse.  They are not responsibility.  They are derived from a ground of being in which Self is considered to be a thing or an object rather than context.

Responsibility starts with the willingness to deal with a situation from and with the point of view, whether at the moment realized or not, that you are the source of what you are, what you do, and what you have.  This point of view extends to include even what is done to you and ultimately what another does to another.

Ultimately, responsibility is a context – a context of Self as source – for the content, i.e., for what is.”



“If you want to succeed you should strike out on new paths, rather than travel the worn paths of accepted success.” – John D. Rockefeller

I know I have not posted much lately and it is due partly to the new and exciting change in my life.  I’m not talking about a man…. it’s all about success!  I just left one of those big national, highly successful, firms to join a smaller firm.  Although moving 7 years of files and 7 years of stuff from my comfortable, cozy office was very stressful, I know I will be happy and successful at this new company.  Leads are coming in left and right, and yesterday I showed property to three different customers.  It felt like 6 years ago, before the market tanked.

Between the work I do for a specific bank on short sales and now all the leads I am receiving from this new firm,  between what I have learned and what I am now learning, I believe my life is going to change dramatically for the better.  Watch out Gainesville, here I come!

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