Thursday, December 19, 2013

Death Disclosure

So, sometimes I do dumb things. Sometimes I forget that I should sleep. Netflix can certainly be the enemy of sleep. I don't watch a lot of TV. I only "keep up" with one show, The Walking Dead. Well, Netflix has entire seasons at a time of shows. This is really bad for me as I have no self control if a show is good. I once watched all of Firefly, including the movie, Serenity, in two nights. Bad part is, I didn't start until around 10PM each night. Last night was one of those nights. 

I started watching American Horror Story. I got through the 7th episode. What a creepy, somewhat scary, fun show! Cool part is that (at least for now) it relates back to real estate! The family (whose last name happens to be Harmon) buys a house in California and the agent discloses a murder/suicide that occurred in the home. She conveniently leaves out the other countless deaths that have taken place in the home. In the show the buyers threaten to sue her and want her to re-list. In reality, it may be more complicated than that.

The house in American Horror Story

In the state of TN, sellers are NOT obligated to disclose deaths. In the state of California, deaths have to be disclosed if they occurred within the past 3 years, UNLESS that death was due to AIDS (because it is considered a disability). That said, neighbors talk (as they did in this show) and "infamous" deaths can certainly be an adverse fact affecting value. So, just because you don't have to disclose, buyers certainly would want you to. It can be a touchy subject for a real estate agent, especially the sellers' agent who wouldn't want to disclose anything they are not obligated to disclose if it runs the risk of killing the deal. 

My advice to home buyers, type the address into Google. Most articles site addresses. Also, if you are concerned about it, ask the neighbors. They always know. Plus, if it is a much older home (older than the 1950s), there is a decent chance that someone did die in the home. If it is a really old home (1800s), you can almost count on it. People died at home, not in a hospital. 

What do you think? If you bought a "haunted house" or one with many deaths in it, would you be creeped out? What about a suicide or murder? If you knew that before you bought, would you still buy? What if it was an "infamous" death, a "high profile" case?

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Condos and Parking

Happy Tuesday!

One week until Christmas Eve- I hope everyone has most of their shopping done!

Today I wanted to highlight some condo living in our area. One of the biggest differences in the condos is parking. Many condos assign one to two parking spaces, but sometimes you can find a great deal on a condo with its own attached garage. I have found a few in the Murfreesboro area with both assigned parking spaces and garages for you to compare! Take a look!

934 Shamam Xing 
Private attached garage 

2363 River Terrace Dr
2 Car Private garage

3156 Shaylin Crossing
2 Unassigned parking spaces

1002 Northfield Blvd, E
2 car Carport

As you can see- parking makes a dramatic difference in the asking price- not to mention location, location, location. Condos can be a great option if you want minimal upkeep but still want to own your home. 

Have a great week!

Taylore Massa

Thursday, December 12, 2013

I Don't Know Any Christians

We had a good conversation in the college class last night about the article I have attached here.

Here's the Article

The premise is that in North America, 20% of non-Christians don't even know a Christian. Take out Atheists and Agnostics and that 20% becomes 60%. In other words, most Atheists and Agnostics know Christians and thus they bring the average way down. This is an astonishing statistic.

One of the reasons provided in the article is immigration. The US is one of the top countries for Buddhist, Jewish, Hindu and Muslim immigrants. It is also the leading country for Christian immigrants. Immigrant populations (and native populations) tend to stick to themselves and thus don't get to know people of other nationality, let alone religion.

Another reason given, and the one I think is most relevant, is that there is a perception, albeit a much deserved perception, that Christians do not befriend people of another religion other than to try to convert them. Unfortunately this is all too true. I have friends in other religions and it is tempting to discuss religion and try to "win" the discussion instead of just trying to learn and relate.

Please understand, I am not preaching a "new tolerance" doctrine or making any statement about this religion is wrong or that one is right. This is, realistically, separate from religion itself. This is just being a good citizen and being interested in your neighbor. This is learning about the parts that make America great. If you happen to convert some souls in the process, congratulations (it wasn't you anyway, it was God).

My advice to my Christian friends lies in an analogy. I love eating food cooked in a crock pot. I don't particularly love microwave food. Think of friendships, relationships, religious experiences and ESPECIALLY a conversion process in the same way. Quit trying to microwave your relationships. If, and it is a big IF, you are going to convert someone that is another religion to your own, you have to first be their friend and build a relationship. Even then, if you go into the relationship with the stated purpose of conversion, you will never have the meaningful, lasting relationship that is just plain good for the soul. Try instead to put the relationship in the crockpot and let it simmer. Learn about each other, discuss similarities as well as differences. Be the melting pot. Let God work on the conversion if it is meant to be.

Be nice to others and seek out ways to learn about all the vast and rich cultures in our world.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Million Dollar Listings!

Happy Tuesday!

Check out these beautiful homes near you!

This first home features a backyard retreat,  gourmet kitchen, theatre room, imported hardwoods, walk-thru showers and so much more-- all in Murfreesboro! You have GOT to check it out!
3510 Oakleigh Cv
7 Bedrooms
6 Full/ 3 Half Baths
7 car garage

Click for full listing and more photos!
Listed by Jonathan Harmon, Weichert

This second home located in Arrington sits on almost 5 acres. Featuring gorgeous wood ceiling beams in the kitchen and living spaces, beautiful trim work, and amazing outdoor spa experience.
5536 Hawks Landing
4 Bedrooms
4 Full/ 2 Half Baths
3 car garage
Click for full listing and more photos!
Listed by Becca Hollis,

If you want to come home to a retreat everyday- either of these homes would be a dream come true!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Time Management

Time Management is always the hardest part of my day. I have a finite amount of time to do what seems like an infinite number of tasks. I delegate what I can but still have more stuff to do than I could possibly dream of completing. I have great help but sometimes it is hard for me to delegate because I feel like it takes longer for me to explain what I want than to just do it myself.

Part of the reason time management "feels" like more of a problem is that many times, the tasks that get put aside are the personal stuff--the time with family, the football game, cub scouts, family dinner, etc. One way I have "gotten better" at time management is to force those activities into the schedule and NOT put them aside. If that means I have to reschedule something else, then so be it. It feels better to shift business around family instead of the opposite. I also try to schedule things and try to schedule drive times. That can get tricky if I am meeting with a client because you never know if those meetings are going to run over. It does help if you don't schedule back to back client meetings, build in a buffer if at all possible.

One other HUGE drain on my time is my inbox. I know email is important but there is an efficient way to do it and an inefficient way. Contrary to popular belief, multi-tasking is typically NOT efficient. Trying to write this blog and simultaneously looking at every new email as it comes in, constantly shifting my focus around is detrimental to getting anything done. I have heard suggestions to plan email time. I haven't done it yet but I am strongly considering it.

What time management tricks have you heard? What works for you? What are your biggest drains?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

What's Available in Berkshire Subdivision

Happy Tuesday!

Today I wanted to do a search in the Berkshire subdivision located in Murfreesboro. This neighborhood features beautifully trimmed out homes with decorated models to walk through. It also has a community pool!  I wanted to see what is on the market in there for around the $300,000 price point- look at what I found!

5344 Saint Ives Drive
3,392 sq ft
Click for full listing 

1212 Stockwell Dr
2,722 sq ft
Click here for full listing 

1254 Timbercreek
2,900 sq ft
Click here for full listing 

Take a drive though the streets of this community one afternoon and you will fall in love!

Take Care,
Taylore Massa
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Friday, November 29, 2013


So, yesterday was Thanksgiving. A pretty common thing to do is to think about and maybe share with your friends and family things you are thankful for. Maybe its your relationship with them. Maybe it is your health, your material blessings, your country, etc. It is also becoming increasingly popular to go shopping the day after (today) and immerse yourself in consumerism. Companies scratch and claw for your business. What used to be just one day (Black FRIDAY) dedicated to bringing the retail books into the black has gradually creeped into Thanksgiving day itself. We had 24 hours dedicated to pausing and reflecting, as a nation, on the things we have to be thankful for. That has now shortened into 20 hours with many, many stores opening at 8pm. Are we so materialistic and so "stuff driven" that we can't wait 4 hours? I know the answer is, if you don't like it, don't go shopping at 8PM. I 100% agree with that sentiment. The problem is that consumerism is like crack in our society. We are so addicted to our stuff that if we think we can get 4 more hours of it, we ARE going to take it.

Anyway, this blog is not intended to rail on retailers for serving the drug to the vein of America. I am talking to individuals. Spend time with your families. Allow others to spend time with their families. Be thankful for the things we forget about and take for granted on a daily basis. We worship at the foot of consumerism all the time. Spend the 24 hours not doing that. Just give it a try next year.

On a different note but somewhat related. Some of you are probably formulating your New Year resolutions. Let me encourage you not to wait until January 1. There is nothing magical about that date. If you are going to quit smoking, go to the gym, be nicer to others, work harder, eat more salads, whatever, go ahead and start now. Why wait?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

At least an acre in Smyrna?

Happy Tuesday!!

It's almost Thanksgiving- I know we are all ready for some delicious food and quality time with our families...hopefully the weather will cooperate!

Today, in honor of having so many out of town guests, I thought I would do a search on homes in Smyrna with at least 1 acre to stretch out!

126 Lee Hollow Ln
9.8 acres
Full listing

606 Seawell Ct
2.9 acres
Full listing

1604 Harrow Ct
1.08 acres
Full listing


Thursday, November 21, 2013


Do you believe in miracles? It is an interesting question to hear different people answer. Some will say "yes" because they want to believe that God is real and intervening in our lives. Some will say "yes" because they know that God is real and intervening in our lives. Some will say "no" because they believe God no longer intervenes in our lives and some will say no because they don't believe in God at all. Of course there are a million variations on these same themes.

If we are to have a discussion on this topic, I think we first need to define "miracle". Webster says a miracle is "an extraordinary event manifesting divine intervention in human affairs". Most would say a miracle is when something happens that "just shouldn't happen". The Bible has numerous examples. Many center around healing or raising the dead. Some center around providing sustenance. Still some others defy natural laws (walking on water) and prove God's dominion over the elements. I would say the vast majority of "modern miracles" center around health and healing. Doctors say someone won't make it and they make a full recovery, etc. Bottom line, a miracle is when something inexplicable happens that goes against reasoned, empirical, scientific knowledge and someone attributes it to divine intervention. 

It is curious that in order to be a miracle, a human has to attribute it to the divine. Or do they? Is it possible that miracles happen and we don't see them? I guess it depends on if and how God intervenes in our lives. If you don't believe in miracles as I've defined them, how do you explain the inexplicable?

“a discussion about the miraculous quickly devolves to an argument about whether or not one is willing to consider any possibility whatsoever of the supernatural” 
― Francis S. CollinsThe Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief

“I refer to them as miracles-although some may call them fortunate circumstances-because I believe there are no accidents or surprises with God.” 
― Don Piper with Cecil Murphey90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death & Life

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

What's Available in Westfork Subdivision- Smyrna

Happy Tuesday!

So, today I wanted to do a search on the great subdivision of Westfork in Smyrna! This neighborhood doesn't leave homes sitting for very long! These homes are one level and very well built. Take a look at what's currently available....

6007 Boxer Pl
1,189 sq ft
Click here for full listing!

9016 Nevada Ave
1,209 sq ft

Click here for full listing!

9019 Nevada Ave
1,352 sq ft
Click here for full listing!

Check out Jonathan's neighborhood FB page!  Westfork Subdivision Page
Have a great day!

Taylore Massa
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Quotes--Rabbi Daniel Lapin

One quote that is working on me now to shape the way I do business is one that Dave Ramsey uses fairly often. I think it sums up a lot of how I want to do business (though I fall short sometimes). It also sums up the book "The Go-Giver" which I will write about soon. Tell me what you think about this

"God is inordinately pleased when we are obsessively, compulsively consumed with the needs of others." - Rabbi Daniel Lapin

I know this isn't exactly a business quote but it certainly can have implications in business if you want it to. Think about how this can apply to other people. If I am consumed with the needs of other people, i.e. my clients, won't my needs be met? Isn't that attitude infectious? If you are in "the corporate world" won't you be able to move up the ladder if you constantly work toward the well-being of your coworkers, clients, bosses? It sounds crazy but letting go of your own needs, focusing on the needs of others exclusively will bring success. It will also bring a measure of happiness that can't be generated any other way.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Quotes--Daniel Quinn

I am going to periodically share a quote and solicit your input on the quote. Some of the quotes will be widely known, some will not. Some will be funny and inspire thought, some may make you angry. Whatever the case may be, this will only be fun if you share your thoughts.

“Thinkers aren't limited by what they know, because they can always increase what they know. Rather they're limited by what puzzles them, because there's no way to become curious about something that doesn't puzzle you.” 
― Daniel QuinnMy Ishmael

One of my favorite authors. I've only read two of his books but those two books changed the way I look at almost everything. They challenged me in ways I did not want to be challenged but am very grateful that I was. I like this quote because it challenges the idea of thinkers being people that acquire knowledge. This quote says, and I agree, that anyone can be a thinker if they stay curious about things and seek knowledge in order to solve their own personal questions. In other words, its ok to NOT know something if your lack of knowledge prompts action to rectify the situation. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Goodness versus Godliness

We had an interesting conversation last night in class. Do Christians corner the market on goodness? Also, is goodness the same as Godliness and vice versa?

The scriptural base of this conversation was 1 Timothy, chapter 6. Sometimes Christians think that non-Christians can't share "goodness" because they are not Godly. Can a non-Christian still be good?

For my Christian friends, before you jump all over me and say, "Christians never think that, " think real hard about your prejudices. Have you ever met an outspoken atheist and automatically jumped to conclusions about his or her stances on various topics? How do you feel about Muslims? What if you met someone that was evangelizing for Scientology? I don't want you to answer these questions publicly, just think about them and answer them honestly to yourself.

The Bible says that all good things come from God but it does not say you have to be a Christian to experience those good things or even to share them with others. I believe that everyone has a spirit and thus everyone can tap into "goodness." This is completely separate and apart from any discussion of salvation or belief in the source. I think it is programmed into us simply because we are made in God's image. I think it is arrogant of us to think that other people, non-Christians, can't do good things. It is also a limitation we place on God.

On a different note (only slightly), I read "The Go-Giver" yesterday. Great little book. You should read it. One of the ideas in there is that you can't successfully have influence if you don't give (I badly paraphrased there). This is a very important lesson for Christians. Quit trying to convert people. YOU can't convert a non-believer, that's God's job. Instead of trying to convert, focus on what you can do--give and give abundantly. Give your time, give your money, give your heart, give your ear. Give whatever you have to the service of others. If you give, you will have fantastic success. You may also be surprised at how many people see God in you and think you are a good and Godly person. That's how you start the process for God to convert someone. Don't focus on the end result ("conversion"), just give and let the rest happen.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

What's In Smyrna for $350k?

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

I hope everyone has their Halloween costumes picked out and their candy shopping almost done, because its 2 days until Halloween!!

Today I wanted to do a search for what is available in Smyrna for around $350,000...check out what I found. Who knows, maybe you will be handing out candy from your new home next Halloween!

Built 1997
3,340 sq ft
Click here for full listing 

Built 2004
3,070 sq ft
Click here for full listing 

Built 1997
3,906 sq ft
Click here for full listing

Have a great Halloween!

Taylore Massa
Weichert, Realtors -The Andrews Group

Thursday, October 24, 2013

How To Fire A Real Estate Agent

**Disclaimer: This post has stirred up a few people. I have run it by two other brokers and both agree there is no issue with it. This article is not intended to solicit business. It is for educational purposes only. In fact, if you are reading this article because you want to fire your agent, please DO NOT contact me to take their place. Please read another one of my blogs on questions you should ask your prospective agent and find someone else that you can work with. I wrote this article because I get asked the question and I am uncomfortable answering it on a specific basis. I would rather answer it in generalities and let you fill in your own blanks. 

Sooo, this one may not be a popular post with some of my Realtor friends but, if they are doing a great job, it shouldn't matter to them! On a rare occasion  someone will call me and say something to the effect of, "I have my house listed but my Realtor is terrible because... How do I get rid of them?" The specific reasons can vary but almost always include some element of bad communication, unrealistic expectations or a perception that the Realtor is ignoring or avoiding the client. This question presents an ethical conundrum for me. I am allowed to speak with someone else's client if they approach me first. It is gray area for me to tell them how to break their client contract, however, as this could definitely be interference in an agency agreement (more to come later on this). It is safe for me to say something like, "I can list your house for you only if you are no longer obligated by contract to your current Realtor." Anything beyond that is shaky ground and I will just refer you back to your agreement and an attorney.

Since I can't answer the question for you each time you ask it, I thought it would be wise to inform the consumer before they have a need for it. One disclaimer, the documents I am going to refer to are what are considered the "standard documents" in the state of TN. If your Realtor deviates from using the TAR (TN Association of Realtors) documents, I would tell you to speak with an attorney. The only documents or agreements I know a lot about are the ones I use (standard docs).

Let's start with a little discussion of agency in the state of TN.

When you sign a listing agreement or a buyer representation agreement (typically) in this state, you are almost always making a contract with the agency, not the individual Realtor. So, if you list your house "with me," you sign a document that says that Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group has the exclusive right to market and sell your home. The document further stipulates that Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group has designated me to be their representative in your contract with them. This is important because if I leave Weichert, my broker can (and many brokers do) retain the listing and reassign it to another agent within his or her firm. In other words, the contract is not really with the individual Realtor but instead with the company. In some cases, when an agent leaves, the broker will allow the agent to take his or her listings with them but they don't have to.

Next, the concept of agency is basically that of an advisor, advocate and representative. When you hire an agent, it is very similar to hiring an attorney. That agent is obligated to retain privileged information, to represent your best interest at all times without regard to his or her best interest and to give you sound advice and representation with the other parties you encounter. This brings up an interesting position when an agent wants to sell his or her own listing to someone they are working with as a buyer. If that agent tries to "represent" both parties, they are practicing "dual agency." Dual agency is legal in the state of TN but is certainly not advisable. Many individual brokerages do not allow their agents to do it. Instead, the advisable way to manage this situation is to retain one of the agency agreements and either refer the other party to another agent or to drop the agency agreement and just treat them as customers instead of clients. Essentially, you would not offer advice or "act in their best interest." Working as a facilitator does not mean lying, cheating or stealing as those are not acceptable at any time but you could not offer any advice or guidance--basically you are an order taker.

You should also know that all agency agreements in this state have a timeframe built in. In a listing agreement you say the property will be listed for 90 days, 180 days, 360 days, whatever. Once that listing has expired, there is no agency agreement in place (unless you made a new one). Same is true on a buyer representation agreement.

One concern that comes up sometimes-- just because an agent has showed you a house or two, you are NOT in an agency agreement with him or her. You are only in that agreement if you signed a buyer representation agreement. If I show you 20 houses and never get that buyer rep signed, you are not obligated (by law) to me. If, however, you signed the buyer rep and then went to another Realtor, you could have some major problems (and so could the other Realtor).

OK, so you have signed a representation agreement (buyer or listing, doesn't matter) and you are not happy with the service you are receiving, what should you do. The first advice I will give you is this--don't fire them. Remember you hired them for a reason. You liked something about them enough to trust them with helping you on a HUGE investment. So, don't fire them just because you had a disagreement. Don't fire them because they are not communicating with you the way you prefer if you've never discussed your preferences. Of course, if they are doing something unethical (check the REALTOR Code of Ethics here) or illegal (visit Tennessee Real Estate Commission here), that's a different story. Instead, do this first:

Number 1, tell your Realtor and give them a chance to fix it. Maybe they don't know what you expect, service wise. Tell them specific things to improve. Help them help you. Give them an opportunity to fix it. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. Either way, give them one more chance.

If they don't fix it, Number 2, contact their broker (if they are the managing broker, see if there is someone equal to them or higher than them in the organization). The broker is ultimately responsible for the agent. The broker is also ultimately responsible for you getting out of your contract or not. Contact the broker and tell them your gripes. Be calm, reasonable and have some sort of actual issue, not just "he stinks." Build your case. Most likely the broker is going to ask you to give the Realtor one more shot after the broker talks with the Realtor. If you have it in you, try to give them that chance too.

If all that fails and you just cannot get it worked out, and you want to part ways, you will need to contact the agent and likely the broker to be fully released from the agreement. It is important if you have a house listed that you say "fully released" because if you just say you want your listing pulled, you have not broken the listing agreement. You have only instructed them not to put it on the MLS. If someone else then puts it on the MLS and you sign that exclusive right to sell agreement, you have two agency agreements in place and that is a problem. In order to know you are fully released, you will have to have, in writing, with signatures from the agent and broker, that you are fully released from any obligations created by the listing (or buyer rep) agreement dated on whatever date. It is important to get the signature of the broker because, remember, the contract is the property of the agency, not the agent.

Remember also that they don't have to release you from what you obligated yourself to. Again, you liked something about them and you obligated yourself to them. Agents spend a ton of time and money getting a listing listed. Sometimes they are reluctant to release someone if they feel like they can sell the house.

I truly hope you never have to do this. I hope that any real estate agent you interact with is a true professional and treats you well. If you do run into one of the few bad apples, I hope this helps.

Thursday, October 17, 2013


What are you doing to leave a legacy? Have you even thought about it?

Are you diligent and disciplined with your finances so you will leave your kids an inheritance that will change your entire family tree (as Dave Ramsey talks about)?

Are you a hard worker that is leaving your children a legacy of work ethic and not settling for good enough?

Are you a philanthropist that is leaving a legacy of community service and good deeds for the community to remember?

Are you an excellent friend that is leaving a legacy of warm memories with your best friends?

Are you someone that leads by example in all that you do so that people will remember you having strength of character?

Do you face adversity in such a way that someone will remember you as a strong, principled individual?

Are you leaving a very public, widespread legacy or a quiet legacy for just a few, fortunate people?

I don't know yet what my legacy will be. I am not done working. I hope that I will leave a legacy of laughter, kindness, a servant's heart and an unwillingness to settle for good enough. I hope my kids learn work ethic and humbleness. I know I can be full of myself but I do not look down on people in a "lower" state than I am in. I try to treat everyone as a valuable human being with his or her own faults, strengths, dreams and possibilities. I don't dwell on what my legacy will be. I do, however, think about it for a moment. Sometimes it is a gut check as I see my son seeing me. Sometimes I have pride in what he sees.

Think about it. You don't have to lose sleep over it, just make sure whatever you do, you do it on purpose.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

What Will 200,000 in N. Murfreesboro Buy?

Happy Tuesday! I am loving this fall weather!

I wanted to do a little search today to see what was available for about $200,000 in North Murfreesboro. Here's a couple that I found- check them out!

939 Central Valley Rd
2,032 sq ft
Built 2005
Click here for full listing

2222 Byron Ave
2,188 sq ft
Built 1983
Click here for full listing

2040 Woodside Ct
2,200 sq ft
Built 1987
Click here for full listing

Taylore Massa
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Is Life Getting Harder?

I think life is getting more difficult. Technology is supposed to make life easier but I don't think it is. The more technological we get, the more we rely on it and the more we want. As a society, we can't get satisfied (think Rolling Stones). The hunger for information is insatiable. Worse yet, it is accelerating. With every "improvement", we want another one even faster. And its not just in the arena of information. We also want more and faster in every other aspect of our lives. More material things, more interaction with people (electronically, of course), more "scoop" on our friends and on celebrities, more everything.

With this flood of information and gluttony, we continue to make life harder through self-imposed governance. We willingly let the nanny government protect us from ourselves. We ask them to ban things that are perfectly fine if used properly. We decide that instead of allowing ourselves to make healthy choices, we need the government to protect us. Can you see the irony there? We "need" the government to protect us from certain foods, sodas, drugs, etc. because, allegedly, people are too dumb to do it themselves but yet we have more information at our fingertips than any other society in the history of the world. We don't know what to do with the information. More likely, we indulge in the wrong information and don't bother to look at the info that matters.

What's the solution? How do we make life easier instead of harder? Should we just "unplug"? Should we withdraw from society? How do we make the choice to filter out so much information? Should we filter it?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Log Cabin Home In Murfreesboro?

Happy Tuesday!

So everyone has always imagined what it would be like to live in a log cabin, right?

Well, there are several for sale in your very own town of Murfreesboro! Check two of them out...

6755 Manus Rd
5.7 acres
3 bed/ 2 bath
Built 2005
Listed $249,900
Click here for full listing

651 Rucker Rd
5 acres
3bed/2.5 bath
Built 1976
Listed $253,700
Click here for full listing


Thursday, September 26, 2013


The following blog is purely my own observation and opinion. I have not done any scientific research or read any scholarly works on the subject. Therefore it is open to discussion, disagreement, your own observation and any anecdotal evidence you may wish to reveal.

We are a nation of conflict avoiders. The vast majority of people will not face a potential conflict. If someone "wrongs" you in some way, you ruminate about it but don't do anything about it. We tend to see conflict as distasteful. If we get bad service at a restaurant, we say nothing or are passive-aggressive about it (this steak was cooked wrong, but that's ok I'm just not going to tip the server that didn't actually cook the food wrong to begin with). We glare at other people arguing in public. We are aghast when someone loudly pleads their case or expresses their disdain. Some even call police when people are just arguing. Parents will often not resolve disagreements in front of kids. We feel it is best to shield them from the fact that mommy and daddy sometimes disagree.

I'm not saying this is, in and of itself, a bad thing. I don't think that conflict is either good or bad. It is, however, inevitable. Conflict happens at every level in nature. Beings disagree with each other. Whether it is territorial, reproductive, religious, or just a disagreement about price, conflict is going to happen. Gosh, sometimes conflict happens within oneself! Why then do we shy away from it?

Obviously conflict is not overly "comfortable" and it is not always pleasant to find yourself in a disagreement. For some, the mere fact that they are not "right" is such a blow to their ego that they are indignant ("wait, you mean I am not the omniscient center of the universe?!?!?!?"). No one has ever taught that person the value of "no." For many, many others they have never been taught how to disagree. They never saw an example of healthy disagreement when they were forming their world view. Perhaps they had an abusive, tyrannical parent. Perhaps they had a single parent that had no one to disagree with. Perhaps their parents were "perfect" and never disagreed (in front of them). Either way, they never got to see two adults settle a disagreement and still maintain a relationship. They fear conflict because healthy resolution is an unknown. Unfortunately, as stated earlier, conflict is inevitable and thus when it arises they handle it poorly. At best they get their feelings hurt, at worst they lash out in a violent way. 

So what do we do? Do we purposely have conflict so we can teach our kids how to deal with it? No, of course not. I suggest we work on it ourselves first and then don't be afraid to talk to our kids about our own success and failure when conflict arises. Kids are more perceptive than we give them credit for. Ask them questions. "Junior, mommy and daddy disagree about what to fix for dinner tonight. Mommy thinks we should have meatloaf because the ground turkey is about to expire. Daddy thinks we should go out to eat because we don't have any veggies to fix with the meatloaf and he is tired. How should we settle this." Let them know it is not a situation of "daddy won the argument." It is more a situation of "the argument got settled and no one lost any blood." Most importantly, once the argument is settled, it is settled. Also, once the argument is settled, the relationship is back to normal. This is key. Kids cannot go through life thinking that a single argument will make me not love you any more. 

Finally, teach them that sometimes things aren't worth arguing over. Have principles, stick to those and otherwise go with the flow. If you love someone, let them "win" sometimes. Decide what is actually important to argue about and then be gentle with it. Don't be a tyrant. You can avoid conflict sometimes by just not being selfish. At the same time, don't be spineless. Be strong and be flexible. 

Again, that's just my 2 cents (well, it may be more like 12 cents, I got to rambling a bit). I would love to see what you think about conflict, our tendency to avoid it and how to teach kids about it. Have a great week.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Is Available in The Oaks Subdivision?

Happy Tuesday!

I wanted to switch things up a little bit today. I wanted to highlight a subdivision and see what properties are available right now.

Today I want to focus on what's available in The Oaks subdivision. The Oaks is an established neighborhood located off of Florence Rd in Smyrna. Almost every lot has a handful or more of HUGE mature trees providing tons of shade throughout every street. The roads are wide and great for taking a quiet stroll on a breezy evening. Each home has plenty of character and a nice sized lot. If you are looking for a quiet and shady space with a great home, this may be a good starting point!

Currently there are two homes listed on the MLS in this neighborhood- take a look!

113 Oak Hill Dr.
4 bed/4.5 bath
3,906 sq ft

See full listing here

205 Laural Hill Ct
4 bed/ 3 bath
4,356 sq ft

See full listing here

If you get a chance, take a drive though this neighborhood and see how it feels!

Have a terrific week!

Taylore Massa
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, September 19, 2013

How to Get Your Real Estate License in TN

This blog entry is pretty straight forward. I am going to tell you how to get started in real estate. Why am I doing this? Because I love my job and I know, for sure, that some of the people that read my blog would love it too. Plus I am opening an office in Rutherford County and I WANT some of my friends, neighbors, family and acquaintances to come join me. So, without further ado, here are the steps:

1) Decide you want to do it.  Ask some people in the business. Do some research. Read the rest of this blog. I know, this sounds dumb as a first step. But I'm telling you, this is the most important step. Like anything worthwhile, it is a lot of work. Just the process of getting your license is a lot of work. It's not necessarily hard work, just a lot of it. If you just think you might want to maybe do it, you won't. Decide you are going to do it and then do it. Making this decision 100% will determine the outcome.

2) Assess your finances. Now that you know you are going to do it, figure out when you are going to do it. The "when" can depend on the $$$, at least a little bit. It will take a relatively small, but significant, up front investment to get it done. I will summarize the fees below. PLEASE look over that before you start as you will need to have much of that money up front. It will start to feel like you are bleeding money. It won't hurt as bad if you are prepared for it though.

3) Decide how you want to do it. Are you OK taking classes online? Do you have the time to go to real estate school all day, 5 days a week for 2 weeks? Do you need night classes? All of those options are available. Here are some resources:
  •   This is the school I used. I did the day classes and really enjoyed it. I learn better that way. I am not disciplined enough to do that much content online. Some are, I am not. CLI's in person 60 hour pre-licensing class is $350 (paid for A and B together)
  •   Heard a lot of good things about this school. Trees' 60 hour pre-licensing class is $350 (paid upfront). They have a location in Murfreesboro and Nashville.
  •  Relatively new school in the Nashville area. I know the director. He's a good guy and a smart Realtor. Success Real Estate's pre-licensing in person class is $350, their online version is $259.
4) Enroll in the courses, attend every meeting, absorb as much as possible. Once you finish the first courses, (Pre-Licensing A and B) you will be given a certificate to fill out and you can schedule your test.

5) Start talking to managing brokers. You may have already done this. If you haven't, you should now. Interview them. Hopefully they will interview you. Be wary of brokers that make wild claims or ones that assume you belong at their office without even knowing your name. Some offices like to "warehouse" licenses and won't offer the support you need to get started. For some, this is fine. For most, you will have a hard time being successful. Ask a lot of questions. Here are just a few:
  • Ask what they pay for you (cards, signs, marketing, copies, lockboxes, office space). All of them are slightly different. See which one fits better. 
  • Find out their commission split and their policy on growing this. 
  • Ask what their training actually entails. All brokers are going to tell you they will train you. Few actually do a good job of it. 
  • Do they offer a mentorship program? 
  • Does that program cost you any money? Some charge just to participate, some charge only when the lead closes. I know which one I would prefer!
  • Do they offer leads? 
  • Does participation in their lead system cost you money?
  • Are the leads that are generated "scrubbed" or "raw"? This is a big deal. If you get 400 leads a month but they are all "Michael Jackson" or have phone numbers of (123) 456-7890, are they really leads?
  • What sets that brokerage apart from others?
  • What activities are going to be expected of you (open houses, floor time, cold calls, direct mail, etc.)?
  • What is the office's target market (where does the office spend its marketing dollar, can you capitalize on that)?
  • Does the office market itself?
  • What "fees" does the office charge? Some charge a "desk fee", some charge a "marketing fee", some charge a "technology fee". Some charge no "fees", per se but they charge a set amount on each transaction. This can vary widely and you may have to ask several different times and different ways to get the full answer. If it feels like they are covering something up, run.
You will be tempted to focus solely on the commission split. I encourage you to look deeper. An office can give a big split but then turn around and nickel and dime you for every little thing (copies, custom marketing, leads, signs, etc.). This structure may be fine for you if you are more independent and going to do a lot of that stuff yourself anyway. Other offices give a decent split and give good services. Some offer a low split but do EVERYTHING for you. It truly is about finding the right fit for you.

6) Take your state and national test. There is one test location in our area. PSI Exams--1100 Kermit Drive, Suite 103 (close to the airport). Cost is $55. Study for this test. Some of the schools offer a cram session (usually around $100). I highly recommend you take this test as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the more information will leak out of your brain.

7) You will be told immediately if you pass or not. Assuming you passed, you have to register for the 30 hour "Course for New Affiliates." Pretty much everyone offers that class as a correspondence class. Most charge $185 for it. Finish it quickly, turn it in, get your certificate.

8) With all the paperwork and certificates you have accumulated at this point, you are ready to ship it off. Finish interviewing managing brokers and decide who you want to affiliate with. They should be able to put your package to send to the State together for you. You will have to have Errors and Omissions Insurance (~$250 for 2 years, prorated) and will pay an application fee of $110.

Below is a summary of the required fees/charges you will run into:

Total Cost:
Pre-Licensing Course                                                   $350
PSI Exam                                                                       $55
Course for New Affiliates                                            $185
State Application                                                          $110
Local/State/National Realtor Association application   $200 (GNAR)
Local/State/National Realtor Association dues             $525 (GNAR, prorated based on when you join)
Errors and Ommissions Insurance (can vary)               $250/two years, prorated
Sentri-Lock access card                                               $120/year, prorated
Realtracs New User Fee                                                $25
Realtracs Membership                                                  $112/quarter

Some other costs you will likely incur:
  • Business cards--could be free from your brokerage, could cost anywhere from $20-$100 for your first few
  • Signage--again, could be free from your brokerage, could cost as much as $100 each (or more!)
  • Lockboxes--sentrilocks (electronic, very safe) cost about $100. Combination key boxes are $15-$30. Buy these as you need them--don't stock up on them in the beginning
  • Marketing--be cautious about this money. Outside companies will bombard you with all kinds of promises. The best initial marketing is free--call people, tell them what you are doing, knock on doors, hold open houses. Bottom line--MEET PEOPLE, TELL THEM WHAT YOU ARE DOING and ASK FOR BUSINESS.
I write this not to discourage you. I want some fresh ideas, new agents in my office. If you want to do this, I want you to do it. I also want you to be prepared for it. I want you to be able to focus on the important stuff because you are not freaking out over whether or not you can afford to pay for MLS access. At our office, we can get you started quickly. You can be on the lead network in just a few weeks. You will get scrubbed, real leads almost immediately. Best part is, you don't pay for those leads until you close them. I would love to tell you more. Let me know if you are interested.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

What $250k Will Buy in Murfreesboro

Happy Tuesday Everyone!

After the weekend, Mondays are so overloaded with new information and tasks to get started for the week-who has time for leisurely reading? So I have decided Tuesday's seem like a more enjoyable day to learn about what's out there in the real estate world. I officially name this Tuesday blog: "Tell Me More Tuesday". :-)

Today I wanted to show you what you can get for $250,000 in Murfreesboro! I found a good range of different properties that I'm pretty excited to share!


1914 Greenland

This is a 1980's renovated home near MTSU.
4 bed/ 3.5 bath
All Brick
2,545 sq ft

Click here for full listing


921 Northbrook Ct

This home was built in 2001 and sits on a Cul-de-sac
4 bed/2.5 bath
All Brick
2,848 sq ft

Click here for full listing


3335 Shady Forest Dr

Built in 2010 and has a community pool/ playground
4 bed/3 bath
All Brick
2,550 sq ft

Click here for full listing

Have a great day!

Taylore Massa
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Monday, September 9, 2013

What Can You Get for Around $200k in Smyrna?

Hello All,

Today I wanted to do a little research on what you could get for around $200,000 in Smyrna. There really is a wide range in the types of properties you can find in this price point- it all depends on what you are looking for! Check out what I found...

203 Cedar Forest 
5 bed, 2.5 bath
2,173 s.f.
Built 1995
Click here to see the full listing

416 Saint Francis Ave
3 bed, 2 full bath, 2 half bath
2,380 s.f.
Built 1994
Click here to see the full listing

103 Viola Ct
3 bed, 3 bath
2,088 s.f.
Built 2006
Click here to see the full listing

Have a wonderful  Monday!

Taylore Massa
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Subtle, Unintentional Messages

News flash of the day--Cell phones are important to business. Everyone in real estate has a cell phone that is the nerve center of their business. Because of this, voicemail is a necessary evil and is, sometimes a tool of convenience. The crux of this blog is to get you thinking about what your outgoing (answering) message actually says to people. I know your goal is to get them to leave a message with relevant info but what message are you giving that potential client, that friend, your mom, whomever gets your voicemail and then decides what to say back?

I received an interesting voicemail last night. The caller (who never identified himself) was (probably) calling to get information on one of my listings but never got to the purpose of his call because he was so put off by my outgoing message.

That message states, "You've reached Jonathan Harmon, please leave a message with a clear phone number and I will return your call at my earliest convenience..." Apparently the part about "at my earliest convenience" set him off. The message he left me was, "I'd rather not have you call me back. When I hear a person saying, as me a customer, you're going to call me back at your convenience, I'd rather not deal with a person like that." I went through a range of emotions over this message. 

First, I was shocked. I listened to the message about 5 or 6 times. 

Then I was kind of mad. How could this guy pass judgement on my willingness and ability to serve clients from this small, seemingly insignificant message? I mean, if there is one thing I think I do really well in my job, it is returning communication and being accessible by clients and potential clients. I always return calls and usually within a very reasonable amount of time. In fact, I am so diligent about returning calls that it sometimes irks my wife because I return calls that could really wait until morning. I do this because I serve my clients. This guy will never take the opportunity to know the level of service I provide simply because of my word choice in that outgoing voicemail message. 

That lasted about 3-4 minutes. Then I moved into panic. Do other people feel put off by this message and just don't have the guts to leave a message like that (most people choose to avoid, rather than confront)?

Finally I started to think about this and ended up sort of feeling sorry for the guy. My guess is he has had an experience in the past that has sort of jaded him. He has a chip on his shoulder. He won't know good service from me because of his perception of my message. At the same time, I started to think about my message. Is "at my earliest convenience" really the best way to word my message? It may be acceptable but is it the best? I decided it is not.

For some, that voicemail message is the first impression and it is a 15 second opportunity to sell myself. The subtle message communicated in that 15 seconds can be incredibly valuable. In my experience last night, I did not get the lead because of the 15 second message. Perhaps I didn't want that person as a client but that's not the point. The point is, my message communicated something to him that I did not intend and it was negative, at least to him.

I am working now to evolve my message and am open to suggestions.

My phone etiquette "plan" or "rules" go like this:
1) sense of urgency--I WILL call you back as soon as I am able to do so
2)  The most important person is the one in front of me and I am generally not inclined to interrupt with them for anyone

3) I know Realtors are notorious for not calling back. That's just not my style. I am not typical.
4) I am trying to work on "being present" with my family. Honestly, it is a struggle for me. If I have decided I am off the clock, I may not call you till tomorrow--especially if you call after 6 or 7 at night.

5) If you ask a bunch of questions in the voicemail, I will try not to call you back until I have the answers. If I think it is going to be a while before I have those answers, I will call you back to tell you I got the message and then call you again when I have the answers.
6) I have a business partner, Taylore, that is very capable and willing to help also. She can answer most, if not all, questions about my listings. If it is just a price/square footage/can I see it? type question, you might get a faster response from her.

Obviously I can't put all that into the outgoing message. Here is what I currently have on my voicemail, any input or examples of great outgoing voicemail messages would be appreciated!

Hi, you've reached Jonathan Harmon. Please leave a voice message or text me, with a clear phone number, and I will return your call as soon as I am able. If you have a question about a listing and want an immediate response, please call Taylore at 615-557-2240, 615-557-2240.