Thursday, August 29, 2013

MTSU Football

Absurd. That is the best word for a truly objective observation of sports fanatics. It is absurd to get worked up over a group of guys smashing into each other for the sake of moving a little ball down a field. It is especially absurd when you throw in the fact that you have not met them, will probably not ever meet them and usually have no desire to meet them. It is even more especially absurd when you factor in huge salaries, monumental stadiums, large fortunes spent on merchandise and all the tremendous pomp and circumstance that truly does sometimes cross into worship and adoration. I know it is all absurd. I am aware of this absurdity. Yet I still love MTSU football. 

I am an alumnus of the university. I know that, right or wrong, football and other sports bring prestige to my alma mater. Prestige brings value to my degree. Perhaps it is "wrong" that this happens, but it does not change that fact that it does happen. In addition, I like football. I like the chess match that plays out. I like the drama. I like the violence. I like the skill. It is, to me, a modern gladiator match. The overall game is so very simple--move a ball across a line--but at the same time it is incredibly complex. 

Football brings out camaraderie. The emotions of many rise and fall with the performance of the team. If they do well, you have thousands of people celebrating. If they do poorly, you have thousands of people down. Either way, they do so together. I know this is strange to some but I love it. I like being part of a community that exists for a completely superficial reason. Maybe I'm living vicariously through the team, players and coaches. Probably so. Thats fine with me. I'm fine with a little absurdity in a world full of extreme reality. 

Go Blue Raiders!!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Just Care

Have you ever really thought about how bad people are to each other? I know its a weird question. I was listening to Civil War by Guns N Roses this morning and then had a flash memory of the scene from "The Fifth Element" where Leeloo
"catches up" on history and freaks out. People are really bad to each other! They steal, lie, cheat, murder, punch, kick, stab, shoot each other. Often just for trinkets or fleeting wealth. Sometimes for "power" which is really just authority to do more of the same stuff with less risk of getting in trouble. Its pretty sad and scary when you think about it. The really sad, even depressing, part is that when you think globally, the problem is so big that you get hopeless. There is nothing I can do in Tennessee to relieve the hell in some foreign country.

What should we do then? Do we just throw our arms up and say oh well, might as well get in on the action? I think not. I think it all comes down to individuals, not necessarily huge organized movements, but the actions of individuals. Individuals just have to decide to not be horrible to others. I know that sounds so simple it is almost childish. Think about the ramifications though.

Lets look at my business. How often do I have the opportunity to mess up someone's life--almost daily. I can lie, cover up things, cheat on paperwork, forge signatures, talk people into loans or products that will ultimately hurt them, sell them on a house that will ultimately hurt them. I could do all that. I could probably make more money (at least short term) if I did that. I could only refer service providers that gave me a kickback. This means I wouldn't necessarily refer the best person and I would certainly not have my clients' best interest at heart, but instead my own pocket. I could do that. But, again, I wouldn't have my clients' best interest at heart. Instead, I choose to care. Just care about my clients, their well being, their health, their wealth, their needs and wants. I care if the house they are buying is not what they need. I care if the person fixing their commode does a bad job. You get the point.

Lets take that a step further. It is so easy to see hardship and suffering in far off places on TV and say, well, its not in my back yard. I don't care. Even if we don't actually say that out loud, we still say it in our actions--or lack of actions. I'm not asking you to do much. Just care. See that suffering and say, "wow, that is heartbreaking." Then do whatever your heart stirs you to do. Maybe it is just to say a prayer. Maybe it is to find a relief fund that actually does the work and support that. Maybe it is just to tell all your friends about it through social media. Maybe you are stirred to actual action and you get up and go there to help. I don't know. I just want you to care first. Stop being so cynical and jaded and cold and numb to the reality that people are terrible because they don't care. Just care. It will change your life and lives around you.

I know I sound like a "feed the children" commercial but I think this needs to be said. How much better would the world be if people just gave a crap about each other?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Do Zip Codes Make a Difference?

Today I wanted to do a little experiment with zip codes. I did a search for 2 comparable homes in the 37167 zip code and 37086 zip code. I thought this might be interesting to consider for a couple of reasons:
1) Is how much house you're getting for the $ most important?
2) How important is resale value to you in the future?

I searched for homes built around the same year, 4-5 bedrooms, 2-3 baths,  and 2 car garage. The homes I found are similar with a few differences. Each home has a couple of pluses that should (were they in the same area) make them very competitive in the market. Take a look at what I found!

The first home is one of Jonathan's listings.
Gorgeous brick home in Smyrna. (37167)
Fenced back yard,
Shade trees,
Huge back deck,
5 bedrooms/ 2.5 bath,
2 car garage
Hardwoods and tile
Built 1995,   2,173sf

203 Cedar Forest Dr  Smyrna---$209,900
Click here for full listing

The 2nd home:
Partial brick in LaVergne (37086)
Treed back yard
Double back deck
Hardwoods and tile
4 bed, 3 bath, bonus
Finished basement
2 car garage
Built 1994,   2,292 sf

620 Knollwood Dr  LaVergne--- $182,900
Click here for full listing

A couple things to consider...
- If you are planning on putting a lot of $ into remodeling/upgrading a home, make sure you do a little homework. You want to be sure the home values around you will support your added investment down the road. 
- If you are planning on being able to make $ on a home in order to upgrade later, it makes a difference to do some research and talk to a professional about how the market is trending in the areas you are shopping. 

Happy Monday!
Taylore Massa, Realtor
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Truisms and Soundbites

I wish I could have met Ben Franklin. He was a master at the soundbite. So much so that people attribute all kinds of things to him that he may or may not have even said. Soundbites are awesome because people will remember them, sometimes laugh at them and will almost always recognize the "truth" in them. It takes skill to weave them into conversation without sounding like an idiot. I would definitely not say I am a master at it yet. It is a worthwhile pursuit though in being an effective communicator. If you can convey an entire idea in a short, catchy, memorable, poignant "saying", that's a big win. It is the art of "less is more" when it comes to talking to people.

Here is a list of sayings/soundbites/truisms I use sometimes. I have "collected" these over the years from all kinds of sources. Please add your own to the list. If you feel you must explain them, go for it:

Pigs don't know pigs stink
If I can smell it, I can't sell it
The fortune is in the follow up
The answer is always no if you don't ask
That's a $10,000 cat
Never let perfect stand in the way of better
A closing date is a lot like a pregnancy due date (Thanks Tracy Taylor)
If its not in writing, it didn't happen
Everything is negotiable
Excuses are like armpits, everyone's got em and they all stink
God only made so many perfect heads. The rest he put hair on. (makes me feel better about myself)
Work is worship
Perception is personal reality
Just care.

Some I like but haven't really used:
Clutter Eats Equity
If you have to sleep on it, you might not sleep in it
When you buy the best, you only cry once
Luck, where preparation meets opportunity
You don't have to be a millionaire to be sued for a million bucks

Monday, August 12, 2013

Relocating? Get more for your $

I have talked to several families lately that have been relocating (wether it be for work, family, etc.) from the Franklin area to the Murfreesboro area. I decided it would be fun to compare the price difference between two very similar homes in Franklin and Murfreesboro. Check out what I found!

Both of these gorgeous homes are:
-All brick
-Just under .3 acres
-4 bedrooms, 4 baths
-Built in 2005

Home #1
2047 Alexander Blvd, Murfreesboro  $354,900

Click here to see full MLS listing

Home #2
121 Cornerstone Cir, Franklin  $490,500

Click here to see full MLS listing

Taylore Massa
Realtor, ASP
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Why Do Businesses Exist?

Had a very good conversation last night with one of my friends. It was especially good because we disagreed on some fundamental principles but yet we were both able to maintain a civil, eloquent, thought-out conversation. So often those conversations devolve into name calling or other slights just out of convenience or exhaustion.

The conversation centered around the idea of the rights of workers versus the ability of employers to intrude into the workers' personal lives outside of the workplace. To frame the argument in as short a space as possible, the question was posed to me, "should an employer be able to fire someone for failing a drug screening?" Then he proceeded with, "should that employer even be able to drug test?" Now before you get up in arms either way, his logic was sound. If the employee chooses to smoke marijuana on his own time, what difference should that make to the employer, as long as the employee comes to work sober. On the surface I see where he is coming from. However, when you look a bit deeper, this presents a fundamental problem and this is where we hit an impasse.

My friend thinks that the employer being allowed to drug test is an invasion of privacy and prevents the employee from living his life. My argument was that the employer tells the employee before employment ever begins that drug tests are a part of employment and that failing one will result in termination. The employee willingly submits to these conditions and thus a contract is made. If that employee is tested and shows positive, he has broken the contract and the prescribed remedy, termination, is enforced. It is all willingly agreed upon up front. That employer is not  preventing  the employee from doing anything. He is just adding a repercussion. Its all still by choice. The concept of "rights" snuck into the conversation. My friend said, "what about the rights of the employee to have privacy?" I said, " what about the rights of the business owner to operate his business however he wants?" The very nature of voluntary employment is really a means for trade. Workers possess hours, which they exchange with employers for money. It is voluntary. If you dislike the terms of the trade, maintain walkaway power and sell your wares (your hours) elsewhere.

This discussion continued for a while and ended up, as these things tend to do, going around in circles. Finally, however, we touched on a fundamental difference in our way of thinking that I think warrants a mention here. The question arose, "why do businesses exist?" His answer was that businesses exist to serve customers/clients. My answer was that businesses exist to please the shareholders. Most of the time that is by maximizing profits but it is not limited to such. A little sole proprietorship exists according to the will of the proprietor. Maybe it is to make the person money. Maybe it is so the proprietor can make others happy. Whatever the case, when the share holders (single owner or millions of stockholders, it doesn't matter) are no longer "happy", the business is dissolved. In the process of pleasing the shareholders, the workers may have as their mission "to serve customers" or whatever but that mission serves the purpose of maximizing the return on investment of the shareholders (investments can be anything, by the way--money, time, love, whatever).

This fundamental difference is what made it so difficult for my friend and me to reach a conclusion on the previous discussion. According to him a business exists to serve customers so what difference does it make what the workers do as long as the customer gets served. From my perspective, the business ultimately serves the owners so the power is held by the owners and thus they can run the business as they see fit. If it ceases to serve them, they will cease to operate it.

It was truly an enlightening conversation for me. It was an exercise in thought about free enterprise, the concept of "rights" and the very core nature of business in general. I feel like I grew from the conversation. I hope he did as well.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What Can I Get For $200,000 in Murfreesboro--Oakland vs. Riverdale

Location and school zones play big roles when it comes to price! Today we are looking at what you can get for your money in the Riverdale High vs Oakland High school zones.

Both listings are new construction homes finished this year.
Both around 1,800sq ft
3 bed, 2 bath
Bonus over the garage

Home #1
214 Drema Ct., Colonial Estates--Murfreesboro
Riverdale High School Zone
To see full listing click here

Home #2
2042 Grandstand Dr., Twelve Corners--Lascassass
Oakland High School Zone
To see full listing click here

Both homes are beautiful! Interesting that a school zone can cost you a little more or a little's all about location!

Taylore Massa
Realtor, ASP
Weichert Realtors, The Andrews Group

Thursday, August 1, 2013


Lunch is an amazing thing in business. Lunch gives people an opportunity to connect better than they ever would by sitting in an office. People let their guards down a bit and display habits they can otherwise conceal. So much information is communicated at the lunch table that cannot be communicated elsewhere. You can learn a little bit about the person's tastes (literally), their manners, the way they treat people that serve them and even how they approach unknowns.

When you take someone to lunch and it is already understood that you are paying, what do they order? If they find out you are paying after you get to lunch, do they change their order or demeanor? Are they cautious not to order something somewhat messy? Do they order something complicated, like fajitas? Something spicy? Something boring? Do they order alcohol? Do they order water? Can you tell if they are health conscious? All of these questions speak to the person's tastes and preferences. The answer to these questions will communicate different things to different people. The point is, these are valuable things to watch--and to be aware of. What do these communicate about you if someone is paying attention?

Manners are also very important and absolutely show up at the lunch table. Does the person place the napkin in their lap? Do they eat "continental style" or "American" or with no etiquette at all (Check out the difference here)? Do they rest their elbows on the table? Manners also enter in in the way they converse. Talking with mouths of food, being curt with the waitstaff, interrupting, beginning to eat without everyone at the table, etc.

One other key factor that is very easily overlooked is how you talk to the person or people serving you. This is perhaps the most telling aspect of the lunch. Does the person talk down to the server. Does the person treat the server as an underling? Are they grateful to the server for serving them? How does the person tip (if they are the one tipping)? If you are interviewing for a job, this is a golden opportunity to really blow it.

The last one is something I heard about in my management class. We were studying a famous business leader that always conducted interviews over lunch. One of their tactics was to watch what the person did with the food. Specifically, they watched to see if the person salted the food before tasting it. For this leader this simple action spoke volumes. If they automatically assumed the food needed salt before they tasted the food, would they also automatically assume whatever task they were being assigned would need to be changed before they even "tasted" what was already there? Would this middle manager try to implement changes before even seeing what was already in place?

I think it is pretty cool how something as simple as sharing a meal can tell so much about a person. Its why we take dates out to dinner. Its why churches have meals together. Food brings people together and allows them to relax. If its a business meal, however, pay attention. Remember what you could communicate to an observer.

What do you notice about people during meals? What messages do you pick up on? Have you been accidentally communicating the wrong thing during meals?