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