It’s All in the Game (Room)
Unused space is something of a luxury in most homes. Most of the time you buy a home that fits your family. If you’re lucky you’ll have some extra storage or a guest room or two. Otherwise, you’re probably putting every room to a practical purpose, whether it’s sleeping or cooking or solitude.
But sometimes the kids finally move out. Sometimes you get that big promotion. Sometimes you just have the good fortune to be able to use a certain space for whatever the heck you want. Crafting rooms, home theaters and stand-alone living quarters for an aging parent are popular choices for this “found space.”
But let us make a more fun suggestion: A rocking game room.
Now, “games” can be whatever you want them to be. Maybe you install a rack of powerful servers and a 60-inch 4K to play the latest Madden or Call of Duty. Perhaps you blow that holiday bonus on a billiards table, dart board and poker table. Maybe you go retro with stand-up arcade cabinets, Skee-ball, pop-a-shot basketball, and pinball machines. Your games, your rules.
To help you start your brainstorming, we’ve complied some of the coolest, quirkiest, most over-the-top game rooms on the Internet for inspiration, or if you’re actually serious about a game room.
You might start by dusting your brother at darts over the Thanksgiving holiday… just to make sure you’re ready.
Tips for maximizing fall listings
You’ve probably had this conversation with your friends already this year, but we’ll broach the subject again: What the heck happened to fall? The most pleasant season of the year also seems to be the shortest, with many parts of the country seemingly slipping from a 90-degree Indian summer to snow in a matter of weeks, if not days.
But we digress. For the Real Estate market, fall (however long it is) is a time to recover from the busy summer season and take stock of your listings. What sold? What didn’t? Why? Some sellers may take their homes off the market while some buyers may call of the home search until spring, opting to not add the stress of moving to the already loaded holiday season.
But for those who stay in the market, the motivation factor ratchets up a notch. They’ve already missed the summer season, so they’ll want to make up for lost time, even if that means a price drop or willingness to negotiate. For you, the upside is more time to devote to those who remain in your portfolio, which is never bad for peace of mind or relationships.
Without further ado, here are some tips to making the most of your fall listings:
Before a potential buyer actually comes to see a home you’ve listed, they have to WANT to see the home you’ve listed, and the only way to do that is with top-flight photos with the listing. You can have the most gorgeous write-up and the absolute best price in the market, but if someone can’t see what the home looks like, they’re moving on.
Alas, you went to business school, not photography school. How is a busy real estate agent supposed to go all Ansel Adams on each and every house they list? It’s easier than you might think: Here’s some of the best advice we could find.
The house has been an important part of storytelling since time immemorial, long before Gone With the Wind’s burning plantation or The Wizard of Oz’s tumbling farmhouse. Edgar Allen Poe made great use of different abodes to set the scenes for his scariest works – The Fall of the House of Usher, A Cask of Amontillado and The Raven all come to mind. Even the stories and parables from the Bible make rich use of the places people called home.
But often truth, or at least a version of it, is even more terrifying than fiction.
The copier has finally cooled down. You’ve put salve on your paper cuts and your clients have applied the icy hot to their aching wrists. The bank checks have cleared and the escrow is signed, sealed and delivered.
Now, it’s time to party.
The concept of celebrating a closing is nothing new – homebuyers and sellers have been treating themselves to dinners and vacations for years to mark a major transaction. Likewise, we agents – for whom it may be a less momentous occasion but quite possibly a more stressful one – aren’t known for our timidity around a happy hour bar or patio. Order that second* cocktail and call an Uber. You’ve earned it.
But what if, to celebrate the BIGgest of big closings, you opted to celebrate with your clients? It’s not so far-fetched. Obviously you won’t be going out with them if they’ve been a pain throughout the process, or if it was a less-than-ideal outcome, but sometimes you just click with folks, right? There’s nothing wrong with making some plans and celebrating your mutual success and profit together. It could stick in their minds and ensure future listings and certainly positive word of mouth.
Real Estate Investing: Risk and Rewards
We spend a lot of time at Zbuyer focusing on the needs of real estate agents who are seeking motivated sellers. That is, to use a cliché, our bread and butter. But interwoven among the many buyers, sellers and, yes, agents that we communicate with every day are a particular subset of the population: real estate investors.
Anyone with any mind for investing knows that diversification is important, and most experts advise that real estate is an important part of any sustainable portfolio. But, unlike mutual funds and bonds, it’s not often immediately successful to the novice (or even average) investor. Sure there are ways to invest in real estate-heavy portfolios, but actually BUYING a property takes opportunity, cash… and a strong stomach.
5 Things to Remember When the Going Gets Tough
Agents have a reputation – to an almost ridiculous degree – of being positive in all situations. And, most of the time, real estate actually is a pretty shiny-happy industry. When there’s a job to do involving clients, we put on our best faces and genuinely enjoy the process of helping people sell or buy their greatest investments. Most of the time.
What the sitcoms don’t show you (though American Beauty certainly did, if dramatically) are the long nights, the slow months, the entire darn recessions that can make this a terribly difficult industry to navigate for the long term. Many people don’t realize that agents pay for their own health insurance, or don’t carry it at all. A big commission doesn’t always guarantee a Caribbean vacation – it often has to be set back for the inevitable month without a sale. Many of us are one typo away from a lost sale, if not a lawsuit. Sometimes it’s enough to make even the most relentlessly perky agent consider going into teaching.