Happy New Year

Wishing you wonders of a New Year! May you be blessed with health, joy and all things to bring happiness to your life.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Happiness at Hanukkah

To all, I hope you enjoyed the beautiful light of the Hanukkah season!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick
Broker, Owner, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

 

Santa Rosa Mall, Mary Esther Florida – Not So Bright and Happy for the Holidays

Out for my annual Christmas and Hanukkah shopping excursion for my husband, I trekked over to Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther, Florida. On Black Friday! Was I nuts? Yes and yes! Yes, I was nuts because it WAS Black Friday, a traditional zooey day to shop, but the second “nuts” part was… it was Santa Rosa Mall!  My first clue was the parking lot… half-empty.  My second clue was… Sears. My go-to store for tools, stocking stuffers and all things my Hubby likes was also half-empty! What happened to the tool department?  They used to have rows and rows of every tool imaginable, from the center aisle to the left and of course, to the right.  Before the big turn into the clothing department, a major power tool section was missing! There were only lonely shelves and wide-open spaces.  The myriad displays of screwdriver, ratchet and toolkit gift packs in all sizes were… not there! I used to roam wide-eyed, even last year, wondering what to get my Hubby from the vast Craftsman goodie selection. Alas, there was nary a tool bauble to be found.  I could not even find a Craftsman Christmas ornament, one of the traditional gifts I give him on a Hanukkah night to decorate our tchotchke tree! As you may know, Sears isn’t doing so well. They recently closed 63 stores and their revenues are down 25% over last year’s third quarter. But not to stock the surviving stores? How sad.

I left Sears empty-handed to head toward the Hallmark store, another Christmas staple for us, to buy classic action hero or goofy film character ornaments for Hubby. (After I hit the scary, buggy Sears bathroom). I walked and walked. Wasn’t the Hallmark store there, next to Gamestop? Was I losing my mind? I found a directory and stared at it for a while, being map-challenged (one of my best Realtor qualities) and located the Amy’s Hallmark Store. I sauntered back, noticing the steel bars shuttering parts of the mall, and the few patrons strolling about. I still didn’t see the Hallmark store. I tried asking iPhone’s Siri for walking directions. It sent me in a circle. Finally, I asked one of the mall employees, “Where’s the Hallmark store?” “Oh, they closed last year right after Christmas. They had no business.” Oh my. Gulp. Why it was still listed on the Santa Rosa Mall directory, I don’t know, but I was depressed at that point and left. I drove over to Destin Commons – what a difference! I could barely find a place to park! People were crossing roads like families of ducklings! It was a happy place.  I found all the tools Hubby could want at Lowe’s and headed home. That Sunday, an article about Santa Rosa Mall appeared in the Northwest Florida Daily News.  There is a proposal to convert the former Belk store at the mall to a 228-unit apartment complex, called the The Renaissance at Santa Rosa Town Center.  Repurposing of indoor malls is going on all over the country.  For Mary Esther, it may be better than the gloomy shopping center that exists there now.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Book Review: “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results”

The book just jumped out at me from “surfing” on Amazon… “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results” by Stephen Guise.  One of his key premises is “Doing a little bit is infinitely bigger and better than doing nothing (mathematically and practically speaking)”.  The author proposes that you do something so infinitesimally small on a daily basis that moves you toward your goal, or the habit you wish to acquire, that you CANNOT fail.  Here is Mr. Guise’s main example. He wanted to exercise regularly, but dreaded the idea. So he decided he could try just ONE PUSH UP. That’s it- one push up every day.  He thought it was ridiculous, but he found he could do it. And his habit grew. He did more than one push-up a day. Now he is close to a gym rat. His theory is that you make the path toward your goal un-failable! Mr. Guise is a writer. One of his other main goals was to write every day. His mini-habit was to write just 50 words a day. (I’ve already written 180 words!) He says that is so easy, it often spills over to hundreds or thousands of words.  The point is – the mini-habit is not terrifying. It’s not hard. It creates success and builds a platform to do more.  Does it work?  I’ll admit, I’ve read about half of the book so far, and have successfully implemented a few mini-habits that are very rewarding!  If I miss a day or two, I don’t beat myself up. I’ve made it a fun little game, you see.

One of my new daily habits is to do something outside of my comfort zone, regular pattern of behavior or even defying a small or large fear.  Let me give you some simple, and some harder, examples. It’s quick and easy to go through the drive-through at the bank or the pharmacy.  Sometimes, instead, I go inside! I talk to people! Wow! It’s not that hard, it’s interaction, it takes longer and it may even be good for business. Here is another example. I may call a For Sale By Owner! That’s really outside my normal pattern of behavior, but guess what – I already got one listing with another on the way.  The mini-habit isn’t to list 100 For Sale By Owners within six months.  It’s just to do one thing outside my normal modus operandi each day.  It may or may not be business related. That part doesn’t matter.  When my husband and I were in the store, I wasn’t feeling well, but made a point to say “Hello” to someone I knew, that wouldn’t have noticed if we had just walked by. Typically, that may be something I would do, just get in and out. But I made a point to say “Hello”.  Fun, huh? What about doing something “hard” with this mini-habit? Hard may be to pick up the phone to relay unpleasant news instead of sending an email. But just one thing a day – you can handle that, right?  Here is another mini-goal I have started, meditating for five minutes a day with breathing exercises. One of my friends taught me to breathe in, filling the belly, hold for a count of seven, then breathe out more slowly, for a count of eight. OK, I admit five minutes is hard for me. I sometimes do three or four minutes. Maybe I should re-make that mini-habit into a one-minute meditation instead?

Here are some mini-habits you could consider, depending on your goals:

1. Drink one glass of water a day

2. Walk to the end of your driveway once a day

3. Read one new word in a foreign language a day

4. Read one page of a book a day

5. Call one friend a day

6. Clean one counter a day

7. Send one hand-written note per day

8. More Mini-habit ideas from the website

Anyway, I can see the usefulness of  Stephen Guise’s book and techniques in “Mini Habits: Smaller Habits, Bigger Results”. Perhaps you can apply it to something in your life, too! (And I just wrote over 700 words!)

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy:
itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

I would love to hear your story…

As a means to get new business, I sometimes mail out what is called an “expired letter”. I mail these letters to owners who had their properties on the market in the Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, Niceville, Fort Walton Beach Florida areas, but whose house, condo or lot failed to sell and their listing contract “expired”.  A portion of my letter reads:

“I would love to hear your story and see if your information combined with my creativity may get your property sold.   I’ve found that sellers have unique insights that are often the key to a successful sale! What are yours? Please call me to share your story…”

Interestingly, I got a call from a gentleman who owns waterfront property in Santa Rosa Beach, and his listing expired, but he didn’t want to sell again. He was intrigued by my letter and said that was HIS line – “Tell me your story”!  He found it fascinating that I took the same approach, then he proceeded to ask me for “my” story. Of course, I was caught unawares and stumbled and stuttered. Was this a telemarketer with a new line, or what? It turns out he was for real and I found out I didn’t like talking about myself much, but I glanced around my office and saw a Derek Jeter poster on the wall. I told him I was a real New York Yankees baseball fan!  We hit it off, as he, too, was a fan of the Yankees and baseball! We talked and exchanged a few emails relaying our past baseball experiences, my going to the World Series, and him growing up listening to the game of the week. He knew all the players way back in history and recounted how his father had played for the minor leagues and how he was named after a famous baseball player! He inspired me and my husband to watch the Ken Burns’ “Baseball” documentary, especially about the Yankees of the 1960’s. I recounted this to my new friend and it was quite touching – to get to know someone a little with a brief exchange of our shared mutual interest.

Is there a moral to this story? Not really, but I do take a sincere interest in my clients. Everyone has a story. It may help me sell your real estate better.  Tell me yours!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

You Just Bought a House – Change the Locks

I recently sold a house in Destin Florida. The buyer’s agent asked repeatedly for the seller to turn over all the keys – they only had a couple of them. Where were the rest? Who knows? They had two teenage sons and there was an ex-spouse. Perhaps they had extra keys. Maybe a neighbor, or two, had a key to the house. Perchance, the pet sitter had a key.  When the seller bought the house, he may not have received all the keys from the previous owner. What does this mean? Stop worrying about all the keys. As a matter of course, when you buy a new house, condo, townhouse or commercial property, change the locks, yes, even for a brand new house! There is such a thing as a master key that builders use. What does it cost to re-key a house? Not much. I just called A to Z Lock and Safe, who cover the Emerald Coast of Florida. Their service call charges are between $50-$75, it’s $12.50 per lock change and keys are $2.25 each. So, you could change locks on your new property easily for under $150.00!

Why risk it?

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Monday Diary of a Realtor in Destin Florida

Think it’s all glamorous being a Realtor in Destin Florida? It’s Monday!  Today some of my tasks were:

  1. Calling clients to confirm commercial listing appointment in DeFuniak Springs, Florida and to confirm receipt of market analysis sent by email.
  2. Calling Walton County Public Works to get status of one-way road proposal for Driftwood and Ellis Roads, located behind Miramar Plaza, in preparation for the annual meeting, where I am association president.  I will also get a status update on the traffic light that may go at the end of Driftwood on Highway 98, and find out when construction is to begin on the hotel being built on Highway 98 next to my office.
  3. Updating sellers in Fort Walton Beach and 30A in Santa Rosa Beach about last week’s property inquiries and the marketing I’ve done on their behalf.
  4. Entering property disclosure information online for a Holley by the Sea listing to ensure that my MLS entry is accurate.
  5. Talking with my Buyer Specialist about the trek he’s made from Apalachicola to Santa Rosa Beach to Milton in the last few days, showing buyers waterfront homes.
  6. Setting up showing appointments for my Navarre Florida listing.
  7. Recommending a surveyor to my buyer purchasing a home with acreage in Panama City Beach, Florida.
  8. Recommending a lender for my Destin Florida condo buyer who wants to get a reverse mortgage to increase cash flow.
  9. Paying business bills.
  10. Calling State of Florida Department of Revenue to decipher correspondence.
  11. Contacting one of my short sale sellers to get an update on their paperwork progress for entering information into Equator for a Nationstar/Mr. Cooper short sale.
  12. Buying a box of Godiva chocolates as a closing gift for my Sandestin Florida seller.
  13. Going to a closing in Shalimar Florida.
  14. Buying myself the Italian issue of Vogue magazine as a closing present!

Happy Monday, All!

Wendy

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Are You a Customer or a Robo-Caller? Excuse My Tone While I Answer the Phone

 

Ring, ring!! “Rulnick Realty, may I help you?”

PAUSE

“Hi, (stutter) this is Sarah from Travel Rewards, can you hear me ok?”

Ring, ring!! “Rulnick Realty, Wendy Rulnick speaking.”

“Hi, is this Wendy?”

“Yes, it is.”

“I’m calling from Fast-Loop Sales. We’re looking for aggressive real estate agents to handle leads in your area. Could you use more business?” 

Ring, ring!! “Rulnick Realty” (down tone)

“THIS IS AN IMPORTANT MESSAGE (recorded voice). DO NOT HANG UP!!!”

If you are a business owner, you understand how interruptive these robo-calls have become. I get several a day. Oftentimes, there is no one there, they just hang up after you answer.  I’ve read this is a way to identify there is a live person at the number dialed, and thereafter, you will get another call from an actual salesperson robo-calling you.  A new ploy is to spoof a local number, so you think the call is legit before you answer. For example, my Destin Florida real estate office gets many calls from an “850” area code, but the company is somewhere else, maybe not even in this country.  One of the classic tricks is for a robo-calling salesperson to say, “Can you hear me ok?”  Don’t say “yes”! (read the article). That’s your clue to hang up. I typically say, “Take me off your list.”  I doubt that’s sufficient.  It’s gotten to the point where every call I get is suspect unless I know who it is from the caller id on my phone. It’s really sad. Being totally forthright, it’s hard to remain upbeat when answering the phone when every other call is either a computer, a hang-up, or a robo-calling salesperson.  I actually accidentally hung up on a real business associate once because I thought they were spammers! After realizing my mistake, I called the party right back and apologized, and we both laughed over it.  But, seriously, how much time is spent by businesses handling these calls, when it would be better served helping customers?

Here are some interesting articles on handling robo-calling telemarketers from USA Today:

Can the FCC really put the kibosh on robocalls?

More: How to stop those endless, annoying robocalls to your smartphone

More: How to beat robocallers and telemarketers on your landline

Finally, when you call me, I will do my best to answer with a smile… that is, if I haven’t had a dozen robocalls that day!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Welcoming Showing – Buyer Agents into your Destin Florida Home for Sale

The other day I was showing homes in the Destin Florida area and had to schedule seven houses to show a couple.  This is an exercise in geography and timing. You see, you cannot just jump in the car and show up at people’s houses, knock on the door and expect them to let you in. Also, in my association – the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, you must even call to schedule appointments for houses that are vacant.  So to plan my showing timeline, I started with Google Route Planner (there is also Mapquest Route Planner) to show me which homes were most closely located.  I added my client’s current home, as I would be picking them up from there. From the map results, I picked the best order to show the homes.  I then had to guesstimate how long we would spend at each house and call the seller’s agents to schedule the showings and get instructions. Of course, the first house is the easiest to set a time to show. I still gave the listing agent a 30 minute “window” in case there was an unexpected traffic delay (and in Destin – there usually is). The next houses in order became a bit trickier to set up a window for arrival, as you never know how long a buyer will stay in a house. If they don’t like it – it could be five minutes. (Sometimes if they don’t like a house, they still spend time analyzing it). For each home, I gave about a 45 minute window for arrival, for example, between 11:00 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.  The last houses to show have the highest risk of being off schedule, so I may give those a one-hour time frame.  Interestingly, at one of the homes, I was met by the seller (it’s better not to be present at showings), who stated his agent said I would be there “at noon”. This was absolutely not the case, as I never give an “exact time” for arrival! My clients and I decided to leave and come back when they vacated the house, rather than wait in the driveway.

The other interesting Destin showing experience was the house with the piles of “instructions” in the foyer for the buyer’s agent. It was all typed in bold and numbered with items such as “1. Do not open any blinds 2. Turn off all lights 3. blah blah blah”.  I’m telling you, it was not a very friendly introduction to the home.  I called the listing agent later to ask a question about the home for my buyers and she asked, “Didn’t you see the packages I left?” Hmmmm, you mean there were packages underneath the pleasant instructions? I certainly wasn’t going to pick up one of those papers and cast a negative light in front of the buyers….

As luck would have it, my clients went to a couple of open houses the next day, and remembered to hand the seller’s representatives my business card. One of those homes was the one they bought.  I’m happy – they are happy!

Are you selling your home soon? Should you be present for showings? Also, check out my seller’s showing tips!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Free Instant Home Value

Pazzo Italiano – New Destin Italian Restaurant

Pazzo Italiano Destin pizza restaurant

We just lunched at the brand-new swanky Italian restaurant, “Pazzo Italian”, in Destin Florida. “Pazzo Italiano” means “crazy Italian”. It wasn’t crazy at all – but it was posh and elegant!  The first thing that struck me was the sleek decor, suspended lighting and touches like the contemporary metal map of Italy on the wall.

Our waiter, Art, was very professional and attentive.  He explained that one of the owners, Alfonso di Bonito, was from Naples, Italy, and emphasized that that was the home of the original pizza (which it is!). The other owner, Levente Tischler, is from Romania, and the two created the restaurant of their dreams (dei loro sogni), according to the website for Pazzo Italiano. My lunch date ordered the white pizza porchetta for $16.00, which had artichokes and smoked gouda, along with the featured porchetta (roasted pork).  It was a large pizza, enough for her lunch and dinner! She thought it was excellent and definitely “artisanal”, which they tout as their specialty. While eating, we heard the banging of the pizzaiolo, which means “pizza maker” in Italian, in the open kitchen toward the back of the restaurant. It added quite an authentic atmosphere. I was healthy at lunch, ordering un’insalata cesare con salmone (salmon ceasar salad) for $11.00, but we will be back for cena (dinner) with our mariti (husbands) soon.  Then I will splurge on the rest of the fabulous looking menu, especially the pacherri della mamma (jumbo rigatoni with shrimp and gouda cheese).

Pazzo Italiano is located next to Barnes & Noble on Highway 98 at 34904 Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin.  They are open Monday through Friday 11:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 5:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. Call 850-974-5484.

Lunch prices are between about $9.00 to $17.00 and dinner prices are also reasonable, between $9.00 to $18.00. There is also a separate menu for “Bambini” (children).

Non vedo l’ora di ritornarci. Buon Appetito!

(By the way, if you are interested in joining a local Italian speaking group, check out my Destin area Meetup Group Parliamo Italiano Emerald Coast!)

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-650-7883 ext 204
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Seagrove Beach, Watercolor, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.