A Simple Question to Start a Phone Call

The other day, a busy start of a real estate morning, I was trying to leave the house. You know those days when you cannot seem to get out of your pajamas, being caught up in emails, internet updates, and text messages from agents and clients? (Confess, you know what I am talking about). Well, it was one of those mornings.

Propping my phone onto my bathroom counter, getting ready for the day, I kept checking my emails. Lucky to jump in the shower at 10:00 a.m. Out of the shower I came, hair soaking wet, the phone rings. Normally, I would not have answered it at that time. Something possessed me to do so.  It was a mistake.

Believe me, I welcomed the call from a new buyer client referred to me by a local builder.  He was earnest, serious, and quite loquacious. While my hair continued to drip. He explained to me his past real estate projects, construction types, lot requirements, and knowledge of the area. There was no place to pause, and it continued.  I scrambled for a piece of paper and maintained my composure. As the frizz started to form on my head that would further explode from the humid day. No flat iron was going to solve this problem.

 

 

Which brings me to a simple piece of advice. When starting any phone conversation, after a brief “How are you?”, the added, “Do you have a moment to talk?” should be asked.  I always begin my  phone calls that way. Variations are, “Are you free?” “Do you have a quick minute?”. When the question is asked, the recipient is “let off the hook”. If they are busy, they will generally say so, with a sense of relief. Then, you can call them back or they can call you back when they are available. If I am asked the question, and I am busy, I explain that I would like to call them back, so I may give them “my full attention”. People appreciate that.

Did I survive the day? Of course. Did my hair look good? Not really.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Parlo italiano.

It Makes Me Not Want to Move!

 

I was on a listing appointment the other day at a very nice house off 30-A in Santa Rosa Beach, FL. It was lived in, but the finishes still looked good. I went through the house with the seller to advise him of things he could do to get the house ready for the market.  We noticed some areas that needed a little touch-up paint. The outside needed to be pressure-washed. There was one issue with a door that would require a contractor repair. Also, the home needed to be staged, and the many personal items stashed away. The wife was an interior decorator, so that would not be a problem.

The husband said, “Gosh, we are selling and doing these things now, it makes me not want to move.”  I have heard that same thing from sellers so many times and it resonates! I told him that I had been thinking that we should all take care of our homes, with maintenance, upgrades and updates, while we are living in the house instead of waiting until we are ready to sell! How much happier we would be!

 

And we all know those people.  Their houses are perfect. Their landscape is coiffed. The house is staged. Always. Their baseboards are spotless. Even the tops of their cabinets are clean. There is no dust on their blinds or door moldings. Their water heater is new. The air conditioner is new. The furniture is gorgeous. Open the drawers, open the closets, open the cupboards. Everything is organized, folded, and color coded.

 

 

After eight years in our “new” home, there are still half-completed projects and some we never got to. The lining of all the drawers and cabinets. The new doors that were installed with uncompleted trim. The neglected dings and paint projects. And the list goes on.

Every time I list a home where great care has been taken in its upkeep, I feel admiration and inspiration. That is the person I aspire to be. But I’m not there yet.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

The Dogs Bark; The Caravan Passes

So, I have a Zen page-a-day calendar that I am trying this year. It gives me something to ponder and maybe a way to grow.  Some of the Zen quotes are long, and I am too impatient to study them.  Sometimes I cheat and look ahead. And some quotes stick with me.  Those are the ones that make it up to my computer terminal. They are taped to the bottom of my screen until they become ingrained, or are no longer needed.

A particular quote has stayed with me and survived the year: “The dogs bark; the caravan passes“.

How I interpret this Arabic proverb is to visualize a caravan in the desert, with dogs barking as it passes.  (You can use a modern day car – dogs bark at them, too!) Whatever happens, the caravan does leave the picture, and the dogs become silent. The caravan will always pass. To me, it means that whatever trouble or trifle is happening, it will end. For example, it could be a work annoyance,  or something deeper.

After a kerfuffle, however much I let the “thing” bother me, the situation solves itself. It’s up to me how much import and attention I want to give it.

Little did I know that my personal interpretaion of this proverb was not its intent, per my google research. Apparently, the quote is supposed to mean that progress goes forward, no matter what the noise or criticsm.  So move ahead. However, I think its meaning to me was what is was supposed to mean – to me.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Fast Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry – Get the Recipe

Being a Food Network addict, I got excited watching the “Kitchen” where celebrity chef Jet Tila was demonstrating his easy stir-fry recipe.  It looked incredible, so I gave it a try, and also bought his book “101 Asian Dishes You Need to Cook Before You Die”. Now, we end up making a couple of meals from Jet’s book each week. Of course, I throw in some modifications.

My Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry is fast, healthy, and delicious. It will only take about ten minutes to prepare and five minutes to cook!

Ingredients:

1 pound broccoli florets
Can of sliced water chestnuts (my addition – you can add any vegetables, like onions, scallions, shallots, cauliflower, canned baby corn, beans, you get the picture)
1 T soy sauce
1 t sesame oil
2 t cornstarch, divided
1 t baking soda
1 lb chicken thin sliced
1/3 cup chicken stock
2 t rice wine
1/4 c oyster sauce
2 T vegetable oil
2 cloves minced garlic
Thai basil (I found this at Whole Foods in Destin- but I added it – you don’t need it)

(Don’t be intimidated by the oyster sauce and rice wine. You can get them at any grocer in the Asian food section!)

Directions:

Mix soy sauce, sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of the cornstarch, and baking soda in medium size bowl.  Add the chicken, stir and let it marinade for at least 20 minutes, or for several hours. If it’s beef, I often let it marinade all day)

In small bowl, whisk the chicken stock, oyster sauce, rice wine and remaining 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Set aside.

Heat the vegetable oil in wide sautee pan or wok.  When screeching hot, add the marinated chicken and minced garlic. Stir fry for one to two minutes. Add the broccoli and water chestnuts, stir fry for a two minutes.  (Note – if you like softer broccoli, you can pre-microwave it a little prior to cooking).  Add the stock, oyster sauce, cornstarch mix from the small bowl, and stir fry another minute. (I did add some pre-cooked shrimp at the end! – Play with this!)

Can you smell it?

Garnish with Thai basil and serve with a fortune cookie!

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

This is How We Are Supposed to Work – Together


I met a fellow real estate agent the other day in Destin, Florida. “Joe” was the listing agent for a waterfront condo in the same building where I had a listing.  I contacted him to get information about his offering, as I wanted to keep on top of the market.  Joe said he would meet me the next day to show me his condo listings in the building, and I would show him mine.  I met him at the property, and not only did he show me his units, he explained a lot of things about the condo complex that I didn’t know.  Helpful hints, so to speak, that gave me insight into the labyrinthine building and layout, like where the other elevators were, and the best place to park in the garage to get to the back stairwell. While looking at one of his units, Joe explained that he had taken down the dark curtains and moved things around for the seller to help the unit show better.

After making this connection with Joe, we kept in touch to talk about the Destin real estate market and the condo complex. I was happy to see that he got his unit under contract, even though it was before mine.  Eventually, my listing also went under deposit.

The condo complex was difficult to finance, so again, I called upon Joe to see if he had any suggestions for mortgage lenders.  I would pass these along to the agent selling my listing.  Joe gave me several lender names, explained the financing nuances his transaction was going through, and was happy to help. He said, “This is how we are supposed to work together.”

A couple of weeks passed, and I happen to check on the status of his sale. I couldn’t find it. I dug, and saw that his listing had been cancelled! Shocked, I texted Joe to find out what happened. He said the buyer had backed out for no reason before closing. He said the unit would be coming back on the market, but with someone else.  I told Joe that I was sorry, and I knew how hard he had worked on that sale. He thanked me and added it was a “punch in the gut”, but it was the start of a new month.

I was dismayed that his seller didn’t know how hard he had worked, but I admired his resilience. Being a real estate agent isn’t always easy, and sometimes it isn’t fair. I wished Joe double the rewards to come back to him for his work in the future, and that his next seller would appreciate him. This is how we are supposed to work – together.

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Blackened Grouper from Destin, Florida – Get The Recipe!

I’ve been learning to cook for 18 years. Ever since I gave my husband, new boyfriend at the time, the years-frozen shrimp appetizer. After he bit into it, the look on his face was frozen. I had some learning to do. Fast forward 18 years. I am still learning to cook, but sometimes my dishes come out good.

We love fish. Living in Destin, Florida aka,  “The World’s Luckiest Fishing Village”, we have lots of delicious local seafood options that are brought in from the fishing fleet at Destin Harbor, the largest commercial fishing fleet in the nation. One of my favorite catches is grouper. We hadn’t had it in quite a while, and my husband was hinting that it would be a good treat. We weren’t going out. I was going to make it.

Grouper is not cheap.  At $32.99 a pound,  I almost had them put it back, but I bought 1.5 pounds and prayed that I wouldn’t mess up the dish. I went home and found a recipe for blackened grouper online and pulled out our well-used cast iron skillet.

How did it come out? Just WOW!!

Here’s the recipe:

 

BLACKENED GROUPER

  • 1.5 pounds grouper fillets 6 ounces each, skinless
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter divided
  • 1 lemon

Blackening Seasoning

  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (***I used less cayenne, because my husband doesn’t like spicy)
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

Instructions

  • Combine all spices above in small bowl and mix well.
  • Pat the fillets dry with paper towel.
  • Melt two tablespoons of butter and brush on both sides of fillets.
  • Rub seasoning mix on both sides of fillets.
  • Add three tablespoons of butter to cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  • When the butter has melted, and the skillet is hot, add the fish and cook undisturbed for three minutes. Turn the fish over and cook for another three to four minutes or until the fish is done. ***Watch your timing and use your intuition, as you may need to cook it less or more depending on thickness of fillet.
  • Serve it up with lemon slices.

Mamma mia!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It was a little spicy, even though I toned down the cayenne. I squeezed on some lemon juice. Just wow!

Mouth-popping, buttery, sweet, tender, succulent, grouper!!  For the accompaniment, I roasted green beans and cherry tomatoes with a good drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper for about 15 minutes. The tomatoes blistered nicely.

Give the blackened grouper recipe a try and let me know how it comes out!

 

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, lists and sells real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Okaloosa Island, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Freeport, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Emerald Coast of Florida Real Estate Market – Pending Sales Increase

Real estate pending sales on the Emerald Coast of Florida in May are returning to the start of March levels, after an early April plummet. Looking at the entire region, including Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30-A, Miramar Beach, Freeport, Crestview, Niceville, Freeport and DeFuniak Springs, pending sales of real estate were almost 96% of the earlier March count. Pending sales are a good indicator of the current pulse of the market, compared to closed sales (solds), which show the result of activities a month or more old.  Pending sales track where the market is going.

Here is a recap of the Emerald Coast pending real estate market statistics for May 1- May 15, 2020, as compared to March 1 – March 15:

Properties going under contract decreased from 790 units to 755 total units.

That’s 96% of  of the previous number of houses, condos, town homes, lots and commercial properties going under contract. It’s a great sign of buyer interest.

Destin Pending Sales increased from 51 to 64  ( +25%).

Miramar Beach Pending Sales dropped from  67 to 45  (- 33%).

Niceville Pending Sales increased from 57 to 61  ( + 1%).

Fort Walton Beach Pending Sales dropped from 123 to 108 ( – 12%).

Santa Rosa Beach, North of Hwy 98, Pending Sales dropped from 37 to 26 (- 30%).

30-A Santa Rosa Beach, South of Hwy 98 Pending Sales increased from 102 to 107 (+5%).

Crestview Pending Sales increased from 120 to 128 (+7%).

Navarre Florida Pending Sales dropped from 131 to 115 (- 12%).

The Coronavirus economic effect has impacted local real estate sales, but since the Florida re-opening began on May 4, the number of sales have continued to grow. Check back here for future analyses of the Emerald Coast of Florida real estate market.

If you find that during or after the COVID-19 crisis, you must sell your Emerald Coast real estate, consider your options. Let me know if you have any questions about real estate, whether traditional or short sale.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Growling Dogs, Mops, and Calm, Assertive Energy

 

The dogs were growling behind the chain link fence, pulling right up to the wire, low and threatening.  They were gathered together, two or three of them, their heads perched over the top, staring at me.  I don’t know what kind of dogs they were, mostly black with light brown splotches, and large.  I had parked the car across the street on the side of the road, in front of the house I was going to inspect. It was vacant, a short sale property I had just listed in Crestview, Florida. The driveway was steep, so I didn’t want to pull up to the garage.  That would have been safer. Nor did I want to turn around and go back home, I had come all this way.

After I made the decision to go in, I got out of the car and did not look back at the dogs. I walked directly up to the front door. Trying to act confident with my body language. Petrified. There was an electronic lock, a tricky lock, called a KABA.  I’m usually not successful the first time I attempt to open one, so I was panicked. I had the code and was shaking, praying that it would open, as I heard the dogs growling in the background.  I got inside, wondering how I would leave. First things first.  I looked around the house and took notes.  It was empty except for some things left on the counters by the tenants, and a few cleaning items.  I couldn’t tell if anyone was coming back.  I finished up quickly.

Then I called my husband (like what could he do? He was at work!).  I told him I was really scared and did not know how I would get back to my car with those dogs acting like they wanted to attack me.  He told me to find something like a stick, so I would look bigger to the dogs. Ok, there was no way I was going outside the house to look for a stick! I thought of the mop that I saw inside the house.

I took the mop, and a deep breath, and strode decidedly to my car.  Not too fast, but not slow. I was trembling inside, holding my body straight with the mop at the ready.  I got in the car and slammed the door, the whole time imagining the dogs making it through the crack of the door and getting to me! Then for some dumb reason which I cannot explain, I threw the mop out the passenger window onto the yard! (If anyone came back to the house, they would surely wonder about that.)

Sweaty and victorious, with my heart still pounding, I drove off to get a Starbucks!

What can you do if you are in a similar situation, with growling dogs threatening you?  Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, states in “What to do When Dogs Attack”: “Once you have successfully used calm assertive energy to keep that dog back, claim your own space. If you happen to be carrying anything in your hands, like a cane or an umbrella, place it out in front of yourself to appear bigger and be more in command of your space.”   Or, better yet, leave!

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

How a little bird told me to change my perspective

Day after day, year after year, I have been sitting at my computer, lost in a world of google searches, websites, email checking and other automatic behaviors. Caught in the minutia of the daily routine. Doing the same thing every day. As if by rote, life passing by.

After the pandemic hit, things changed. Like, working from home. Spending weekdays with my husband.  And of course, exercising at home.  This was all different.

Then, the bird came.

I was working out on my total gym in a little used bedroom. It is normally locked to keep the cats out, in pristine condition, reserved for the once-every-two-year visit from my brother.  But now, the room’s use was changed.  We had moved the work-out machine into it, along with some old dumbbells we had in the garage.  That morning, I opened the blinds so I could see out the window and started my cable pulls, when my eye caught a blue spark flitting on the ground. No, could it be? My husband had said that he thought he saw the elusive bird a few days prior, but I had doubted him. After all, I was the true birder in the family, even though he had caught on well after being married to me.

But, there it was. An Indigo Bunting. As a birder would know, joy leapt, and I ran for the binoculars.  The bird was hopping around on the ground underneath our feeder. It was a place we rarely saw, because we have a low brick wall blocking that perspective from our normal bird-watching spot in the sunroom. It had been seven years since I last saw an Indigo Bunting (I keep a journal). They are dazzling birds.  They are an Atlantic Ocean blue. They are also hunted and caught in Central America for their beauty.

For the next week, I pulled chairs into a new location in front of the window (one for me, and two for my cats, plus my husband when he gets home). After work, I wait for the Indigo Bunting to come back.  I saw it one more time.

This little story made me think. Maybe, if we keep doing the same thing we’ve always done, we will never see what else there is, or what else can be. If I hadn’t been working out at home, looking out a different window, I would have never seen that bird. With the same perspective, we always see the same thing, but maybe there is something more.

 

Wendy Rulnick

Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!
850-259-0422 | itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, sells short sale, pre-foreclosure, REO and traditional real estate in Destin, Santa Rosa Beach, 30A, Miramar Beach, Crestview, Sandestin, Seaside, Rosemary Beach, Fort Walton Beach, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Navarre, Florida.

Economists Discuss Covid-19 and the Housing Market – Destin FL

Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis

Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCM

In times of uncertainty, one of the best things we can do to ease our fears is to educate ourselves with research, facts, and data. Digging into past experiences by reviewing historical trends and understanding the peaks and valleys of what’s come before us is one of the many ways we can confidently evaluate any situation. With concerns of a global recession on everyone’s minds today, it’s important to take an objective look at what has transpired over the years and how the housing market has successfully weathered these storms.

1. The Market Today Is Vastly Different from 2008

We all remember 2008. This is not 2008. Today’s market conditions are far from the time when housing was a key factor that triggered a recession. From easy-to-access mortgages to skyrocketing home price appreciation, a surplus of inventory, excessive equity-tapping, and more – we’re not where we were 12 years ago. None of those factors are in play today. Rest assured, housing is not a catalyst that could spiral us back to that time or place.

According to Danielle Hale, Chief Economist at Realtor.com, if there is a recession:

“It will be different than the Great Recession. Things unraveled pretty quickly, and then the recovery was pretty slow. I would expect this to be milder. There’s no dysfunction in the banking system, we don’t have many households who are overleveraged with their mortgage payments and are potentially in trouble.”

In addition, the Goldman Sachs GDP Forecast released this week indicates that although there is no growth anticipated immediately, gains are forecasted heading into the second half of this year and getting even stronger in early 2021.Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCMBoth of these expert sources indicate this is a momentary event in time, not a collapse of the financial industry. It is a drop that will rebound quickly, a stark difference to the crash of 2008 that failed to get back to a sense of normal for almost four years. Although it poses plenty of near-term financial challenges, a potential recession this year is not a repeat of the long-term housing market crash we remember all too well.

2. A Recession Does Not Equal a Housing Crisis

Next, take a look at the past five recessions in U.S. history. Home values actually appreciated in three of them. It is true that they sank by almost 20% during the last recession, but as we’ve identified above, 2008 presented different circumstances. In the four previous recessions, home values depreciated only once (by less than 2%). In the other three, residential real estate values increased by 3.5%, 6.1%, and 6.6% (see below):Three Reasons Why This Is Not a Housing Crisis | MyKCM

3. We Can Be Confident About What We Know

Concerns about the global impact COVID-19 will have on the economy are real. And they’re scary, as the health and wellness of our friends, families, and loved ones are high on everyone’s emotional radar.

According to Bloomberg,

“Several economists made clear that the extent of the economic wreckage will depend on factors such as how long the virus lasts, whether governments will loosen fiscal policy enough and can markets avoid freezing up.”

That said, we can be confident that, while we don’t know the exact impact the virus will have on the housing market, we do know that housing isn’t the driver.

The reasons we move – marriage, children, job changes, retirement, etc. – are steadfast parts of life. As noted in a recent piece in the New York Times, “Everyone needs someplace to live.” That won’t change.

Bottom Line

Concerns about a recession are real, but housing isn’t the driver. If you have questions about what it means for your family’s homebuying or selling plans, let’s connect to discuss your needs.

It’s Wendy… It’s Sold!

Wendy Rulnick, Broker, Rulnick Realty, Inc.
Call 850-259-0422
Email Wendy: itswendy@rulnickrealty.com

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