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How Long Has it Been on The Market?

by The Barringer Team

Every year, and for as long as I can remember, the big question that always seems to come at every open house I’ve ever done is the inevitable…How long has it been on the market? I’m not sure why that’s such an interesting question to everybody. There’s SO many ways to interpret that question too! First of all, to me at least, it sort of implies interest in the property? I mean, if it really sucks and you hate it, what difference does it make how long it’s been on the market? So, assuming it’s OK and you sort of like it..what type of outcome are you hoping for by asking that? If the answer is “48 hours” does that make the place more interesting and desirable that if I said “48 days”? Or “148 days”?

I mean, if the place is really intriguing to you and it peaks your interest a bit…do you like it less if it’s been on for 148 days? Does the remodeled kitchen with that nice granite seem crumbier if it’s been on longer? Really, I can see the looks on people’s faces when I tell them “48 hours”…it’s definitely different from when I say “48 days”. The big question, for me at least, is…are you more interested if you think somebody else might like it too? If I say “48 days” doesn’t that sort of imply that those other folks have looked at it and found it wanting…and therefore maybe I shouldn’t like it either? Maybe there’s a problem with it that I don’t know and that’s why nobody else has liked it?

Really folks, it’s always seemed to me that plenty of people like a place and then discover it’s been on awhile and then like it less. As if the important thing, at the end of the day, is how somebody else perceived it. There MUST be a problem…otherwise it would have sold, right? I really think all of these feelings are in full play when people buy a place. There’s plenty of homes on the market in Tracy right now that have been on the market for awhile…and a bunch of them are actually pretty nice too! I’m not passing any judgement mind you…I’m just observing.

Ready to Start Over

by The Barringer Team

READY TO BEGIN AGAIN?

Have a child or grandchild who graduated this last year?  Whether it's high school or college, commencement exercises mark the end of a full curriculum of education - or do they?  In fact, why not ask the graduate?

After four or more years of study, homework, reports, science projects, and exams, many graduates would quickly answer that commencement marks the end of their education.  In fact, you can often hear students reinforce that line of thinking in their lament, "I'll never pick up another book as long as I live!"

The definition of "commencement" leads, however, in another direction.  It is the beginning, not the end, of a bright future.  It is the beginning of a life-long quest for knowledge, not the slamming shut of the books that opened so many new doors.

If it's been a few years since you graduated, perhaps you might also benefit from a renewed commencement - by opening some new doors to your own life-long learning curve.  When's the last time you attended a workshop, bought a recorded educational series, or thought about taking college courses or embarking on a new degree track?

No longer are books the only on-ramp to education. Distance learning over the Internet, tapes, videos, workshops, seminars, and many other educational resources are yours for the taking.  Why not let your graduating family member be the inspiration for your own commencement?  

Price Reductions

by The Barringer Team

Talk about an awkward pause…it’s that thing that happens when an agent initially broaches the notion of reducing the price on a listing. You see, when a seller puts their place on the market they’re all bravado…they really feel like their place is the greatest thing since sliced bread and certainly buyers out there will share their enthusiasm…won’t they? Often a seller will base their list price on what they feel they need to get out of the place. Those feelings can come from a variety of reasons, could be they need a certain number because they owe so much on the property that they’re stuck if they don’t get an offer at a given price. Could be they’ve done a fair amount of work on the property and their price reflects that expense. It could also be because the price they want will make them feel like it’s worth it for them to sell.

Here’s the problem…buyers don’t really care what the seller needs. Oh, I guess they do if it’s a multiple offer scenario, but then they usually exceed the sellers expectations. If you’re not getting multiple offers you can expect that the buyer isn’t going to be too excited to fulfill your needs if you’re a seller. The buyer is naturally concerned with his/her needs first and negotiating a price is typically high on their list.

If the relationship between the listed price and the perceived value of the house isn’t compatible there’s going to be a problem selling the place. There are several clues to whether or not you’re in need of a price adjustment of you’re a seller. 1) Are you getting showings? 2) Is your agent getting any phone calls inquiring about the property? 3) Is anyone picking up disclosures? 4) Are the open houses well attended? If the answer to these questions is no…it’s most likely time to make a move on that price. Maybe the greatest fallacy that I’ve discovered since I’ve been around is the notion that the right buyer is out there on the horizon and sooner or later they’ll come along and meet your expectations. All you have to do is be patient…eventually the right person will love the place just as you do…and they’ll meet your price. I have two responses to that, 1) Fat chance! and 2) be prepared to wait until the market naturally appreciates enough so that your current price looks like a value, probably over the course of several years! In some cases, if a house is going to sell it may need more than one reduction.

At the end of the day, all the marketing bells and whistles (virtual tours, magazine or newspaper ads, glossy flyers, broker tours…ad nauseum) are never going to sell the home if it’s overpriced to begin with. In my experience at least, buyers really know intuitively when a home doesn’t represent value. The house ultimately is the thing that sells itself…and if it doesn’t offer that value it’ll be very hard to sell.

October Podcast

by The Barringer Team

Check out this month's Podcast. Click on link below.

http://www.talkrealty.com/billbarringer/audio/player.aspx

Steve Jobs was a Great Man

by The Barringer Team

With the passing of Steve Jobs yesterday I wanted to blog his speech he gave again in tribute to him it is a GREAT READ I also wanted to wish his Family my BEST he was a GREAT MAN!

Bill Barringer & Family

 Steve Jobs, who stepped down as CEO of Apple Wednesday after having been on medical leave, reflected on his life, career and mortality in a well-known commencement address at Stanford University in 2005.

Here, read the text of of that address:

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I've ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That's it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: "We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?" They said: "Of course." My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

 

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents' savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn't see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn't interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn't all romantic. I didn't have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends' rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn't have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can't capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it's likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn't know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down - that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple's current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I'm pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn't been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don't lose faith. I'm convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You've got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven't found it yet, keep looking. Don't settle. As with all matters of the heart, you'll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don't settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" And whenever the answer has been "No" for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn't even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor's code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you'd have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I'm fine now.

This was the closest I've been to facing death, and I hope it's the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don't want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life's change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life. Don't be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people's thinking. Don't let the noise of others' opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960's, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: "Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish." It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Displaying blog entries 1-5 of 5

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The Barringer Team
Century 21 M&M and Associates
912 W 11th Street
Tracy CA 95376
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