Friday, January 18, 2008

New Kid on the Block: Moving With Children

Moving is a major change for all members of a family. Adult responsibilities weigh heavily when keeping track of all the tasks needed to make a move go smoothly. If you have children, this may be a difficult time to focus on their problems, too, but it's also one of the most crucial times to keep their concerns in mind.

Sometimes what seems like a major disruption to grownups is viewed as an adventure to the kids. Still, changing homes can also upset feelings of stability (in the case of younger children) and belonging (in the case of teens). These are special concerns for these age groups.

The most important thing a parent can do is maintain normal routines as much as possible – and when it isn't possible, to let the kids know that apprehension about a big life change is normal, too. Try to keep calm about the move yourself, and your children will be more likely to follow your lead. It is advisable to be open about what's happening and how everyone feels about it.
This means keeping your kids in the loop at each stage of the move. They don't have to get a vote, but it helps everyone for them to get increasingly used to the idea of this change. Bring them along when you look at houses, make them familiar with the new area you're moving to, and investigate its attractions (including the athletic or extra-curricular offerings that appeal to your kids). Exploring some of this on the Internet is a good way to relate your relocation to an activity they already enjoy.

Encourage your children to express any worries, and do what you can to reassure them. If you went through similar experiences as a child, you can share how you dealt with it – if it was easy, so much the better, and if it was hard, your children will know they're not the only ones who have ever had to deal with change.

Other neighborhood kids may grow distant when they know a friend is leaving. This is hurtful to your own children, but try and explain that some kids aren't yet mature enough to handle it another way, and that it isn't your kids' or even the others' fault.

Minimizing transitions and heading off family disputes are each essential to a smooth move with children. Try and arrange visits to the new school and meetings with the new teachers before the school year or semester starts. When you have more than one child, make bedroom assignments in the new house as soon as possible to avoid sibling strife (comfort, privacy and age seniority are all issues of kid politics that it is sometimes easy for grownups to forget).

Above all, be open and patient. If you pay the right attention, you will be letting your children know that, move or no move, the most important people in their life aren't going anywhere.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Career Path: Becoming a Realtor

Real estate professionals and customers alike give a good deal of thought to what the Realtor® can do for the homebuyer or seller. A question that may not get asked as often is why Realtors® do what they do. It's worth asking, both for focusing the real estate agent on how to get the most out of his or her profession and do the best for his or her customers, and for the customers themselves, to help them decide which Realtor® most suits their needs. Considering why real estate professionals do what they do may even help customers decide if it's something they might want to do, too.

Recruitment is an important part of any profession. Real estate companies want extensive teams of talented agents, and even when other companies acquire such talents, I welcome the competition to keep me sharp. The answers to why I am a Realtor® can serve to guide aspiring sales associates just starting out.

First, it's about helping people. Having a place to call your own is a reward we all seek and a need we all share, and helping realize homeownership dreams for others is a major source of my job satisfaction. It makes me feel that I've contributed to my community.

Then there's the satisfaction of self-reliance. Though my ERA® real estate company offers friendly cooperation with a first-rate team, each individual member can be as successful as his or her ambition and effort allow. My advancement is up to me, and it's a challenge I'm proud to meet.

Still, it's always encouraging to know you've chosen a winning team, too. Not only is ERA Real Estate a leader in its industry, offering state-of-the-art tools and services to attract customers and earn their loyalty, but the real estate industry itself has stayed strong in tough times. Housing is something that will always be in demand, and I can be the professional people turn to for it.

Of course, there are other reasons to be a Realtor® that are specific to each company, and each individual. I'm comfortable and confident working where I do because of the advantages the global ERA® system makes available. It supplies special resources to expedite home sales and purchases, like the extensive listings on our Web site, which is visited by more than six million customers a month. It provides unique assurances, like the ERA® Sellers Security® Plan, which guarantees "We Will Sell Your House, Or ERA Will Buy It!®" It offers one-stop-shopping opportunities for everything a real estate consumer might require – from moving services to rental cars – through the companies enrolled in our ERA® Select Services® program. And it gives me tools to meet the special needs of specific customers, from the growing senior population to the influential Spanish-speaking community.

These are just some of my reasons for being a Realtor®. The feelings of accomplishment and service, be it as a rewarding first career or a challenging new one, could be your reasons too.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Service Is Golden: Real Estate Programs to Put Seniors' Minds at Ease

The mature years can be the best time of life – retirement has come, the kids are grown and you can enjoy the results of your hard work and smart choices with all your loved ones. And now is a good time to be a senior – the U.S. Census Bureau says that the mature population is expected to jump nearly 80 percent by the year 2025, and business is already taking note, with many programs to suit seniors' special needs.

That's only right, since, even with all the rewards of a life well-spent, the golden years can bring unique concerns not previously encountered. The prospects of moving for the first time in years or even decades, selling a beloved family home, maintaining rental properties, and navigating related tax issues are all special considerations that call for special service.

For reasons like these, the real estate industry has established a special organization to address the unique needs of this fast-growing and significant part of the American family: the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council (SAREC). SAREC has in turn established a certification program by which Realtors® of all ages are schooled in the specific interests of senior homebuyers and sellers. The "Seniors Real Estate Specialist" (SRES) designation qualifies professionals to answer the many questions on the minds of mature customers contemplating their retirement moves.
SRES holders can help guide you through the complexities of selecting your next home for maximum quality of life, considering such factors as accessibility of homes (not too many stairs, high cabinets, etc.); availability of public transportation and senior services; comfort-level of climate and terrain; and much more. These Realtors® also have access to referral networks that can help put you in touch with qualified professionals and suitable housing nationwide.
Your local ERA Real Estate office participates in the SRES program. Among the many other advantages provided by our trained professionals is the ERA® Sellers Security® Plan*, which offers the relief of a guaranteed sale of your current home for those who need to move into their new one in a specified time (as can often be the case with commitments to purchase a new house or deadlines to join a retirement community). Unmatched among national real estate brands, the Plan promises that "We Will Sell Your House, Or ERA Will Buy It!®", and it's just part of the array of methods we have to meet your unique needs.

In the senior years or any other time, buying and selling homes is one of life's most important decisions, both financially and emotionally. It shouldn't have to be the most stressful and complex, and there are programs and professionals in place to make sure it's the opposite. With the right Realtor®, you can be the "senior" partner in your own lifetime satisfaction and sales success.