Firefighters, Realtors Philosophies at Different Ends of ‘Fire’


While I will always put first responders in a slightly elevated position because their aid meant having my Dad for another Christmas several years ago, that their primary job is putting out fires and real estate agents try to create a fire to buy or sell homes is an appropriate analogy.

Because fire fighters (and teachers, police, often military) frequently get more lip service about their importance than actual support as people, doing whatever possible to help them gain their piece of the American Dream is my standard as a worthwhile goal. In this particular career of mine, that means finding houses that *don’t* require immediate rescuing, at the right price, and usually, as soon as possible. Because its logistically impossible to present information at individual stations—you’re on duty there– providing an online resource/contact point for information about elements like financing or finding a desirable home is a necessary starting point. As an essential first proof of my intentions, is a link to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) accuracy regarding 4 million houses you can gain TODAY.

First responders don’t go somewhere just for the heck of it, they’ve been called because there is a need. Despite the location– and obvious presence of beer and several hundred potential competitors for my next sale– at a recent realtors event at Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, the objective of better serving client needs was still the primary objective. Like the legendary Dalmatian that leaps from a fire truck to point fire fighters at the nearest hydrant, the last business card exchanged was definitely even more important than a green-eyed, Jennifer Connelly look-alike mortgage agent, a 5’3” ex-military dynamo-mother of four-broker-in-charge, or a definitely brainy, mid-30s finance grad-turned marketing maven for a law firm, who recognized me from working in the Nautica department at Belk from two and a half years ago.

No, that last-of-17 cards exchanged, right at 7 p.m., went to a lady who said, “Cool, townhouses!” after hearing my description of a 10.24 acre-zoned R6CD property off Independence, a situation that has moved forward quite satisfactorily since.

Relative to fire fighters doing 24-hour shifts, my Dad needed assistance before 6:00 in the morning (with thanks to two nephews who were up early to recognize he needed help). Although real estate business never rises to that level of immediacy, whenever you want to find out about programs that can put financing into a next necessary gear, or you’ve gotten to that point in time where looking at potential homes has arrived, consider me ready to serve.

Please use the accompanying Contact Form to notify me of your interest in additional information. Allow me the honor of trying to return the dedication you’ve shown in a specific way in my life.

Panther tickets, fire fighters, oysters—It’s a brother share thing


A lot of PSL owners got to send the Love to military-first responders 

Friday afternoon my older brother, Mike, informed me that other Charlotte brother, Steve, wanted to give us his tickets for Panthers home opener Sunday. After watching a 46-27 Panthers do-as-we-want victory, with Cam sharp (24/40, 353 yds, 4 TD/1 int) most of the day, Benjamin reminded people why this offense is dangerous (8/108, TD) with him back. Along with Olsen’s long catch-run for TD, and Funchess’ TD catch from 16 yards, Gano’s final kick with 1:03 left beat back every 49er threat..

As for the love showed to veterans and first responders at the stadium, it took a lot of people to carry that field-covering flag. Charlotte started this season on the road, but 9/11 wasn’t forgotten just because the date wasn’t same. Having met an articulate group of vets at a Charlotte Bridge Home luncheon, and many fire fighters are veterans, my “thank you for your service” is sincere.

Barring an ongoing feud over politics, or maybe someone’s stupidity regarding a recent carpet stain though, brothers getting first shot at sports tickets, that’s just how it should roll– definitely  before any guy in another cubicle.

Organizations like fire fighters are synced on being a brotherhood, trusting the guy next to you does his job right, knowing that in the clutch, you can rely on him/her to the max, even to making a life-death difference at times. Cops and military share that, too: they know and count on a shared line of thought, history, that common training in procedures. 24 hours together is common for fire fighters; if you don’t always like another guy on a daily basis, neither do blood brothers.

Over the last couple days, I’ve had opportunities to help several fire fighters find RESPONDER-1 site, the KW app with MLS accuracy I promised in first blog, and previous real estate focused writing. The goal of ‘RESPONDER-1 on Real Estate’ ( is providing something worth knowing about, considering, and using, so I’ll share two facts: Wells Fargo’s 3% down mortgage program, which is both better than FHA rate and less stringent about buyers ability to have ‘gift money’ involved in down payments, is worth hearing more about from a financial agent. More importantly, while called yourFirst Mortgage, the program is also available to buyers who *aren’t* buying first homes.

While I don’t have any Panther tickets, I do have a couple books of $25 tickets for my community groups Oyster Roast & Music Jam on October 22, which is Panthers off week. We showed everyone who attended—that Saturday between the ice storm and NFC Championship game–an excellent time in January. When I say, “Trust me on that,” I believe pointing you at a good time is as right a place to start on trust as any.

Welcome Baskets Are Always About Good Thoughts

welcome basket

Originally published LinkedIn PULSE, August 15, 2016)

My own commitment to senior communities as a specialty came as the direct result of a Tampa, FL realtor’s professional handling of listing and sale for my mother’s home, and the equally smooth and excellent transition team that packed her house and distributed it with the loss of a single coffee cup. That Mom’s happy in Charlotte is what I expect everyone wants their folks to be, so holding myself to that standard of almost fault-free process drives me as a realtor in Charlotte, NC.

‘Happy’ and the subject of welcome baskets came up recently with a friendly sales-marketing resource, and most of 10,000 realtors in the Charlotte region have favorite ways to say, “Thanks for trusting me with your previous home, and let’s celebrate the new life here.”

  • A 3-pack of Ferrero Rocher won’t cause anyone’s diet to explode, and a split always makes celebrations legitimate. One always thinks of chocolate and champagne– or appropriate sparkling whatever, some communities require a doctor’s note that alcohol isn’t a hazard– and possibly towels or candles as standards, yet standards exist for a reason.
  • Flowers vs. plants: Colorful works every time, unless you actually know tiger lilies are someone’s favorite. How big/kind of a plant is relevant to a client’s space and taste; a nice bouquet is on point and lasts a week.

Every minute of every discussion, there’s an opportunity to show others just how dedicated to serving clients you can be.

Keeping the good feelings of a successful sale going shouldn’t make gifting a financial burden, and being memorable is still better than expensive. Practical is a consideration—seniors downsizing from five bedrooms don’t want or need tchotchke.

  • The basket in picture is solid vs. cheap, with a decorative stamped-copper band; the bright purple pocket square, rescued from a drawer, can be re-tasked by a creative recipient.
  • The blue hanger represents two free items of dry cleaning, so having a few qualifying discussions with local vendors who might consider welcome baskets an ‘in’ should be considered. There is almost certainly a salon in the neighborhood that will do a makeover to impress new clients.

It took just over two hours to assemble the above ‘something thoughtful’, three hours of effort including talks with vendors. Personal touches are a picture of client’s recently sold home, a small quantity of coins, and a miniature hoe-rake-shovel set. They’ll have pictures of the Olde Homestead, but a clear, evocative one is still fine, and however you phrase it, pennies or change translates to  “Certain small things you paid attention to for years, and now you’ve got all the Goodness right here.’ The tools? A small reminder that their new lifestyle doesn’t include maintenance chores, unless they want to putter.

FYI– Having made the effort of a basket, I’m proud of both classy black-with-red KW cards I have, and writing good notes.

Editor Note: I picked up a potential client at Rite Aid while hunting for basket supplies, one of the blown-away-in-2008 people who are emerging as buyers again. Always remember, every minute of every discussion, there’s an opportunity to show others just how dedicated to serving clients you can be.

Cap’n Curt’s Wedding Beats 21st Anniversary in Charlotte Cold

curtiss pilot

While most of my recent blogs have been pointed towards a real estate career, there’s something about the period around Memorial Day that is both personal and military enough to discuss appropriately. I will add that 6 stitches and a quantity of facial scrapes from a bicycling accident on Saturday might’ve made me look like I’d been in a battle, but if I won’t forget that small disaster soon, it’s not going to be something held dear as a capping event to a 21st anniversary in Charlotte.

Returning to upstate New York this week for the wedding of my nephew, Captain Curtiss Shorkey, and his terrific bride, 1Lt. Stephanie Whiteman (USAF), allows for a lot of contemplation. My recent career move into real estate is miles different from their paths: Stephanie is an A-1 ‘military brat’ and specialist with AWACs surveillance, and Curtiss wanted to be a Blackhawk pilot for a long, long time. He was an upset 5-year old when I rolled down the driveway in Ballston Spa for Charlotte; at twenty-six he’s obviously a mature Man now, a respected and well-liked leader of others. He’ll wear his bars and the title of Husband equally well.

Thoughts of that DFN (Damn Fine Nephew—the military loves acronyms, I’m willing to oblige):

  • Curtiss and I advancing through the woods for paintball during an end of school year fun day. I looked ahead for a second or two, and when I turned back, I had NO IDEA where he’d disappeared to. In a later pilot evasion exercise, he apparently exhibited the same ability; he admits his small crew kind of let themselves get captured near the end “because they (searchers) get really pissed if they don’t find you.”
  • His graduation from Embry Riddle (top of class, which he’s essentially done at all levels), when I asked him the difference between wanting to go to West Point and doing college ROTC. “If I was graduating from West Point I’d be an engineer, but right now I’m a pilot, and that’s what I always wanted to be.” That’s what they mean about clarity and goal orientation.
  • The actual last lines my Dad wrote in the journal I’d given him, about Curtiss showing them around when they met at his training base, that “Curtiss seems to like this life, and if he wants to serve his country, we can’t have too many good leaders.”

Dad and his brothers all served: Dad and Harold were Navy men, Uncle Donny in the Air Force, Howard was a Marine during the Pacific island-hopping of WWII. None of my brothers or I ever had the call, although I’ll state without a lot of soul-searching that Vietnam being overrun my senior year of high school (1975) and being spared from that meat grinder wasn’t the worst thing that could’ve happened to me.

For what it’s worth, I take the opportunity to thank veterans for their service frequently. I read Tom Brokaw’s ‘The Greatest Generation’ and yes, surviving the recession and that bike accident is extremely small potatoes compared to what Dad’s quickly disappearing generation went through. For at least this week though, I salute the commitment that two very specific people, Curtiss and Stephanie, have made to each other and their country.

I also expect to bust my brothers chops one more time at the rehearsal dinner (with the expected usual response) about how Curt apparently was building skill levels vs. just wasting time doing video games in high school, because monitoring allll those dials and factors on a screen was clearly essential career training for the helicopter pilot he became.

Four Entrepreneurs in a Row, Senoras y Espanol– All of Us Pursuing the American Dream


Perhaps it would be more surprising to encounter *me* in such company, but discussing the progress and potential of a future sharing in an event between our groups during a few minutes of conversation after church, the only senora present who didn’t offer me her real estate card was the Hispanic Ministry person I’d met two days before.

It brought a vivid reality to what is so attractive about real estate: Opportunities for success are very much within any individuals control, and that makes it an essence of the American Dream. Maybe not the same as Trump’s dream for America, but…

You hit the standards– in North Carolina its 79 hours of approved instruction, taking/qualifying via the state exam, paying your fees. Once you are legal on those points, everyone starts from Go!

Carve your own niche or go large, the absolute effort required is a great leveler; ‘up’ personality is never a drawback, communicating skills are a given. Taking the original real estate course– after a long period of working primarily by myself– being with 80 people of high verbal ability was immediately noticeable. The barrier to entry was incredibly low: $450 course, about $70 more for books and suggested prep materials. After that, reading-studying-testing is your deal, definitely the priority (sorry kids).

     The Opportunity to Directly Affect Your Own Future (and others!)

Having an entrepreneur inside cuts across cultural lines, and real estate rewards effort. The picture of car and commission check is worth the usual 1,000 words. Real estate as a career in a hot market, its got visuals you can appreciate, especially after the penury that was retail during the recession. Perhaps rewards come less often than is desired, but sometimes in unreal proportion to any actual brilliance, often by doing necessary steps and being there.  You follow through on leads and necessary paperwork, learn more whenever possible, make sure your technology and transportation work, be fearless, or at least mostly determined to put yourself on the line when asking if anybody you stand next to knows somebody else.

During orientation (at Keller Williams) there was a question about our Big Why? What would get us out of bed daily, make us stay on task, maybe neglect family and friends attention-wise, invest in worrying about an appraisal or offer? For myself, literally, walking out of 2016 in better way than I came in was the reason– left knee has been shot for a long time. Whatever it eventually costs for a replacement, by the end of the year– and primarily by the grace of Affordable Care Act– getting right on that can be accomplished.

Of primary importance, because of user-friendly technology, running my business won’t totally grind to a stop when two-six weeks of therapy after that knee replacement happens and actually affects any mobility.

Throughout a variety of careers, a strongly held belief is not having limits imposed on my choice of jobs because of extraneous, often legal, factors. Its rational to understand some leavening of opportunities, even in what is finally starting to feel like a better economy TO ME. Pero, (but) like those senoras, nosotros vamos forward with business on our minds, and helping in our hearts. There are few satisfactions better than delivering a major part of the American Dream– owning your home– to someone else, while ringing the register for yourself.

How a Great Fish Fry is Like Your New Home

After the final customers had left our charitable organization’s annual fish fry last week, there was a significant amount of clam chowder left. After I informed one of the other workers about that and suggested he fill some to-go containers, he asked, “Can I selectively skim it so I get more clams? I didn’t think there were enough in the bowl I had. And I really think the potatoes should’ve been a little more tender.”

Now, we haven’t seen the financial totals, but between 4:30 and 8:00, having served over 600 people all you can eat baked or fried tilipia, shrimp, mac ‘n cheese, fries, crab-shrimp-artichoke dips in line, ice cream– and that chowder– provided free (donations accepted) beer, wine, tea and lemonade, and had both a bluegrass trio and the ACC tournament on a big screen TV for entertainment, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind the event had been a huge community success again this year.

Those comments about the chowder were actually true though, which makes for a great analogy about the search for a new home: There’s almost no such thing as a 100% perfect house.

Your Top 5 Factors vs. Wish List Items

Customer satisfaction with the home buying process doesn’t rely just on price, or having granite counter tops in a super-large kitchen, a well-situated bonus room for Mom’s internet company office, a fair amount of yard, 2 1/2 bathrooms, and 2,150 square feet of space on a quiet cul-de-sac in a desired school district. It would certainly SEEM like everything is in apple pie order if buyers could check off that many favorable factors, but any real estate agent will tell you, everyone wants More.

“Gee, we’re going to have to paint that room something besides Carolina blue,” or “We really wanted to be a little closer to X, the yard isn’t enclosed, the 4th bedroom is a little small, the homeowners association dues are kind of high,” are common enough examples of Wish List. Unless someone has to move NOW because of a company relocation or similar situation, it’s rarely *just* the house that’s being considered, and that’s when having clients keep a Top 5 checklist in hand makes a difference.

Most agents will put The Perfect House idea in perspective at the beginning of the process by asking what a client needs, then “If there was something else, what would that be?” and probably even a “If one more thing would make it perfect…” type question. Beyond all the what if…? desires though, the single biggest factor in the hot-hot Charlotte market is that clients probably only get one shot at really liking a house. If they aren’t pre-qualified and ready to make a decision-offer, the next people in the door almost certainly will be. Those dreadful days (years!) when buyers could dither over fourth bedrooms or expect major concessions on closing costs by the seller are history.

Like more tender potatoes, or an abundance of clams in the chowder relative to 600 smiling faces, free beer and entertainment, or even a highly successful fundraiser, the buyer of today has to know what really counts for them. Buying a home is one of the biggest and most stressful decisions people make; its a commitment right up there with marriage. If you (with your agent’s enabling) want to continue searching for that specific ninth desirable aspect, that’s your prerogative. ‘Settling for’ is not really the answer, but when a fourth or fifth strong possibility goes under contract while you thought about things, recognize how serious your Top 5 is to fulfilling both a need for shelter and an overall happy home.

‘More like Matt from Martian’ is a Legitimate Mantra

The mantra refers to a movie-ending classroom discussion by Matt Damon’s character in ‘The Martian’, about surviving Mars or whatever situation they found themselves in. At some point you feel its all over, but “You do the math.  You solve the problem, and then you go on to the next problem. You solve enough problems, you get to keep living.”

dave-glennat 40threunion

This wasn’t first thought about going into real estate

While accompanying photo, at 40th reunion with brother David, wasn’t the first time a future in real estate had been contemplated, from that first day of class, to qualifying/being licensed as a broker in North Carolina, and successfully acting as a buyers agent on a $280k condominium sale on February 13th, was less than 100 days. Deciding to make a major life change means nothing without action. One question every new real estate person consistently gets asked is, “How long before you sell your first house-get a paycheck?” First sales already handled, closing date is the 24th are facts I can count on.

Matt was resourceful as hell throughout ‘The Martian’ in fixing technological challenges, and beyond good people skills, technology is an essential in real estate.

                                            Technology vs. Personality

Making a first sale– to the FIRST PEOPLE you ever talk to— is a somewhat giddy feeling, but there’s no telling at that point whether anything will become ‘more real’, no matter how bright and warm a day the relationship starts on. Its important to recognize that, while I managed to get a particular search application our company offers for downloading sent to those clients, going to that location to check out open houses vs. doing previews by myself was related to a difficulty in using my eKey to unlock houses.

Although walking up and introducing myself was the ultimate starting point– and considering the eventually positive consequences of  meeting clients as a result of being short of the right technology wasn’t bad– a major truth in today’s real estate is, “Make sure your technology works.”

After fixing an e-mail address and setting my client up for automatic updates of all relative properties coming on the market, the software allowed tracking what they were most interested in, and their responses to follow-up phone calls kept the search tight. Just as the ice storm came to Charlotte they identified two condos; on Thursday we showed them, despite more trouble with obtaining keys. On Saturday they made an offer, which was accepted. Yes, Charlotte is a hot market!

After another episode with eKey failure, it took 2 1/2 hours– late on a Friday afternoon– down at MLS Services to determine my cell phone wasn’t on list of possible users for a reason. Buying a *much* better phone Saturday morning was a $75 investment in my future. There was also the recent purchase of a Toshiba laptop, after knocking out the screen on an old Acer unit, and at $325 + tax, its been a super addition as well.

                              People will help, but handle your own problems

As much as having people like and trust me as a professional counts, knowing that technology will work FOR me becomes more of a reality each day. There are regular classes, ‘playing around on it’ and seeing screens actually matters.

The atmosphere in a strong real estate company is the sense of team accomplishment, and after a long period of time having worked alone, its invigorating to me. The team leader I’ve become a Buyers Agent with was dead right in stating, “It’s your fault,” about eKey problem, because I’d delayed a month in handling something obviously wrong. While the laptop, and an unfortunate whack on car requiring a bit of credit card space, seemed like problems, it didn’t require any dynamic resolutions, just money.

That people are willing to explain three new functions a week to make me more effective for clients in searching, and therefore a better broker, that’s all I’m going to ask for. Oh, and hitting the two closings a month by April goal I set in training.