Becoming an Obsession

There are things we want in life that we just have to have. We’ve decided “This is it! Gotta have it. Going to get it.” Partillo’s Chicago Dog was my gotta-have-it thing yesterday. Check out their history. Becoming an obsession is a start, and exceeding expectations for decades is a smart business strategy. And yet, is that what we do?

A common business strategy is to see what we want, and go get it. An easy trap is to thing we can sustain a business by getting more of what we want. In reality, businesses last because they become what other people want, and have to have. You don’t get their being a lot like everyone else.

Every product or service is not for everyone. Those that try to be end up becoming something everyone can replicate. Nothing special. Recognized, but not necessarily desired. A commodity does have a market value if that’s the goal.

Looking around the real estate business I see some talented people who create something special, and strive to continue to enhance the experience beyond customer expectations. It’s uncommon to be wanted. And it’s possible. Visit Partillo’s in Madison this weekend. You may never have a reason to go to Chicago again.


Fear No One. DIY Real Estate.

Know what to look for. Know what you want. Negotiate success by knowing what the contract says.

Fear is a great motivator. Marketing experts quickly turn to fear messages to drive customers toward their business. Maybe this is a first choice option when a business owner knows their offering isn’t appealing enough to attract customers. Even if fear messages inspire some people to rush to be saved, what’s the net effect of fear messaging on a business?

The real estate industry has a long history of banking their business on fear marketing. Analytics are readily available to measure the consequences of any marketing message, and I wonder what the evidence shows about the impact of inspiring people by fear? Without a study, I’m going to believe short term favorable results do not equal long term consequences in the same way that crying wolf, “FIRE!” in a crowded theater causes suspicion, not action, as a first response in the future.

When a real estate business warns consumers that they see a world of risk of loss, dangerous consequences, and potential for peril in a real estate sale, I’m not going to disagree with them. People who see opportunity as risk probably do so for a reason—they’re well versed in causing complications in a transaction. It’s entirely possible a real estate transaction is risky in the hands of the fear monger.

Through the efforts of the State of Wisconsin, attorneys, bankers, and REALTORS, standard real estate contracts are designed to make sales in Wisconsin relatively simple, and fairly safe for residents. As the years go by more good and not-so-good ideas become part of the real estate contract and the document balloons to nine pages, and then to 11, or 13, or 21.

Trigonometry, rocket science, brain surgery and statistics are complicated for those who don’t know what the scientists know. For those who commit themselves to the practice of science and math solutions to the problems come quickly.

Real estate is not rocket science. But it’s also not point and click, check this box, not that one, fill in this blank with this, and that one with that. With a logical understanding of the pre-written provisions of contracts it’s easy to develop a base of competence to confidently negotiate safe and sound terms regardless of who’s on the other side.

With confidence in place of fear, fewer errors are made, fewer chances are taken, and expectations remain reasonable. No promises you’ll net more money or buy a home at a discount. But I do promise your opportunity for peace and happiness without fear increases dramatically by knowing a little more than the folks on the other side.

I believe better transactions are better for our industry. I’m not offering free market price opinions. Anyone can do that. But I will meet with you to help you learn what the contract says. No charge. The payback is in the long term.

The Courage To Be Disliked

Standing your ground in the face of threats and accusations is admirable. I don’t mean being obstinate, but when you have the facts, and the other side prefers to build their position on imaginary possibilities, giving in on fear of being disliked is the difference between rules of order and rules of whim and circumstance. The cost of being disliked is nothing compared to the consequences we trade out of fear.

People who stand for positions and beliefs with courage to be disliked probably have the preponderance of the evidence on their side. The people who threaten, accuse, and condemn, I think, are acting out of fear of being found out. I’m learning the way to a solution is to seek resolution, without changing the stance of the other side. The solution is much closer than the impossibility of changing minds based on fantasy and conspiracy theories with facts. Facts are closed doors compared to the self satisfaction and imaginary outcomes fantasy affords us.

We’ve all been through the test of courage to be disliked. In grade school the stakes are high for developing minds. By high school the stakes can be life and death. As adults in the world, the stakes typically involve money, prestige, position. I’d rather be known in the end for standing with facts than conceding to be liked. I doubt conceding ever ends with being liked anyway. This book I am buying today The Courage To Be Disliked.

We didn’t have to be told

Did you spring the clock forward Sunday morning? Neither did I. It just happened. Reminding and being reminded to spring ahead, and fall behind was a big marketing theme for, well, all my life. Without being aware we ran the risk of arriving too early or too late for Sunday mass.

Technology has just about eliminated any mention of springing, and falling. Most time telling instruments are self dependent today. No need to do anything more than trust the technology. There are still a few clocks in our lives that need attention. Older model cars will tell you you’re an hour early for work today. But we will adjust even if adjusting the clock is something we have not figured out. Mentally adjusting without manually correcting is certain to fail us when we can least afford to fail.

Trusting technology is the way the world is going. The masses will be dependent on somebody knowing what to do when the source of power goes out. Those who know how to adjust for themselves will always have an advantage. Thinking and doing for ourselves is a skill we choose to develop. It takes some work, but it’ll be worth it.

The weather is right for backyard sugaring.

An evaporation system does not have to be fancy. This was one I made out of a fire pit and some steel posts to hold the grate and pan.
A Sweet smokey aroma is a sure sign spring is here.
Daytime temps above freezing and night time temps in the 20's is all that's needed to start sap flowing.
This is the weather pattern we’ve been waiting for.

Winter’s grip is slipping. Highs above freezing and lows in the 20’s at night are ideal to start maple sap running. Backyard sugaring is a great way to get out into the fresh air. This weekends taps will provide next weekends sap for evaporating. Mixing sweet syrup and smoke from a fire is the recipe for delicious.

Scrutinized In Emotional Times. The Case For Documentation.

When all is well, the Offer to Purchase doesn’t get much attention after acceptance. All those words on all those pages have nothing to do but sit and wait to be called on to settle disagreements. Most often the contracts end up in a folder packed in a box, or converted into an electronic version of its self and sent off to wait out eternity in a cloud. But when all is not well, you drafting work is going to land in the midst of some high charged emotions.

A well written offer doesn’t get the attention it deserves. The flawed documents do. They get scrutinized by all sides in the most highly charged emotional times. Flaws can’t hide and memories can’t be trusted under this kind of scrutiny. In the end, someone you’ve never met is going to find fault with everything you did, and how you feel about the treatment is of no concern to them. Documented evidence is you protection against scrutiny.

And carefully constructing contingencies, expectations, promises and agreements is your best defense. Get it right, get it documented, keep the conversation between the parties, and carry water for no one from start to finish. When you begin to draft an offer, think like the litigator who may scrutinize your work. She’s not looking for your good work, she’s looking to poke holes in your good work and shine a spotlight on the flaws or potential flaws.

Maybe our job is to help people buy and sell real estate. Our responsibility is to craft agreements to reasonably ensure the agreement is enforceable as a contract. It’s not up to us to decide the validity of the agreement. It is up to us know what makes a contract enforceable and what flaws fail the test. No one tries to make errors and all accusations of error are not accurate. Keep yourself safe by becoming a note taker, a better writer, and a logical thinker. Work smart. Stay safe. Lawyers work hard to find faults. Make them work harder. They’re up to the challenge.