8 Ways A Great Real Estate Agent Can Change Your Life

A real estate transaction can be an exciting thing to experience, but it can also be nerve-wracking and stressful. Your experience will largely depend on the circumstances surrounding your transaction and, perhaps more importantly, the agent you’re working with.

Read More

It’s Time We Had A Realistic Discussion About Your Home’s Value

When you go to sell your house, there’s a good chance you’re not going to agree with what a real estate agent suggests for a list price.

It’s one of the most common issues real estate agents deal with, and help homeowners understand.

Problem is… many homeowners don’t necessarily see it as agents trying to help them, so much as convince them to do something they don’t want to do.

Naturally, you want as much as you can get for your home. And, you’ll certainly have your own opinion on the value of your home. You’re totally entitled to your opinion. And it’s totally your call to ignore the agent’s advice, and list your house for as much as you like… if the agent is still willing to work with you.

But if the agent is not willing to, it doesn’t matter, you can always find any number of agents who will put it on the market for as high of a price as you want.

But, it might be the biggest mistake you can make…

In the least, you’ll just waste your time. (And the agent’s time.)

But, it could also lose you money, instead of make you money…

There’s lots of ways this happens, but one of the biggest reasons is that the longer you are on the market, the more it impacts how buyers perceive your home, and what it is worth.

And that is hard to hide…

It has become more and more of an issue as so much data and information has become available online. Like, how long a house has been on the market, and how many times it has been listed without selling.

So, the best thing to do, is list your home based upon the current market data… not what you want, wish, or think.

When it comes to pricing your home for sale, Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric, has such an appropriate quote…

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.”

Read More

Happy Flag Day!

Happy Flag Day!

Most of us know that once an American flag is worn, torn, or otherwise in need of being retired, we’re supposed to burn it.

But most of us probably aren’t in any position to burn one properly.

Going in and out of so many homes each year, I see people with flags that need to be retired, just sitting in the garage, or basement. Most likely because nobody ever motivates to figure out where to bring a flag to be properly retired.

So, with today being Flag Day, I thought it would be a good idea to send along where you can bring any flags you have that need to be retired.

In our area, you can bring your flags to your local American Legion, VFW, or Amvets. If you know a Boy Scout, you could contact their troop and ask if they will be accepting flags for retirement any time soon. Typically around Flag Day, there are several flag retirement ceremonies.

Hope that comes in handy for you now or in the future!

3 Reasons You Shouldn’t Hire The Agent With The Most For Sale Signs In Town

You want to hire the best agent when you sell your house.

You see real estate agent “John Listalots” all over town. His signs are everywhere. So, you figure he must be a great agent.

It seems like he sells almost everything in town, and you figure that he probably “has all the buyers”.

From an outsider’s point of view, this makes sense…

What better way to gauge and choose the best agent to list and sell your home?

You have the evidence in front of your eyes. So many other people have chosen him to sell their home, how could it not be true?

Something you should know…

Before we get into the three reasons why you shouldn’t just hire the agent with all the signs around town, there’s something you should know.

Very few real estate agents do tons of business. In any given area, there’s always an agent or two who seem to do all of the business.

But that doesn’t mean that the few agents who do most of the business, are the best agents.
Nor does it mean that the agents you don’t see doing much business are not the best agents.

There’s a difference between “top” agents, and “best” agents.

The “top” agents aren’t necessarily the “best” agents, who will do the best job for you, and get you the most money for your home. (But that isn’t to say they can’t, don’t, or won’t either.)

It’s just to say that you can’t judge an agent by the number of for sale signs they have up in town.

Don’t hire a real estate agent just because they have tons of for sale signs around town.

And, don’t not hire an agent who doesn’t have a lot of for sale signs around town.

The 3 reasons…

1. Appearances can be misleading.

Just because an agent has tons of for sale signs up around town all of the time doesn’t mean that the agent is selling them all. He might only sell half of the houses he lists.

And, the ones he does sell, he might not necessarily sell for the highest possible price.

Maybe he does. But maybe not. Just don’t base your decision off of appearances.

You might be better off hiring an agent who doesn’t sell lots of houses per year, but gets them all sold, and for the highest price possible.

2. Time and attention.

An agent who has lots of listings on the market could very well not have a whole lot of time and attention to devote specifically to you and your house.

Again, maybe he or she does manage to pay close and careful attention to every single one of their clients. But maybe not. In fact, there is a good chance an agent doing so much business cannot pay you lots of attention.

You might be better off hiring someone who has less listings, and can devote a lot of time and attention to you and the sale of your home.

3. They are too good at selling.

An agent who is good at finding and getting so much business is likely a very good salesperson.

But what are they good at selling? Maybe they do sell a lot of the houses they list, and quickly

Does that mean that agent did the best job and sold it for top dollar, or is it that the agent is good at selling their own client on agreeing to less than the best price and terms? Could they get more for their client? Is the agent pushing his or her own clients to do things, just to make a quicker sale, or a sale at all?

Almost impossible to prove. And not necessarily the case with a top producer. It’s just food for thought.

And it’s food worth chewing on…

Because so many great real estate agents, who take a tremendous amount of care in getting their clients the absolute best results, get overlooked simply because they aren’t the agent with the most for sale signs up around town.

Don’t overlook the best agent in your area, by just hiring the top agent in your area who has the most signs.

Dig a little. Ask around for that local agent who happens to be the best kept secret. And when you find one, don’t doubt your choice just because they aren’t the top producer. Trust him or her, and let your agent do the best job possible.

Mattlin Achieves NAR Certification on Diversity



(Lancaster, Ohio) December 6, 2018- Jay Mattlin of Gorsuch Realty has been awarded the At Home with Diversity® certification from the National Association of REALTORS®.

Mattlin joins 20,000 other real estate professionals in North America who have earned the certification after completing an 8 hour course addressing topics of diversity, fair housing and business planning development. The program is designed to meet the nation’s fair housing commitment by educating and equipping NAR’s members with the tools they need to expand homeownership opportunities for the growing number of culturally diverse buyers and sellers in the housing market who identify with groups entailing race, ethnicity, religion, gender, handicaps, familial status, or national origin.

Today, more than one third of Americans are minorities. By 2050, minorities will be the majority. Real estate professionals like Mattlin who adapt to increasing cultural diversity in the market and wisely plan to meet the needs of diverse clients gain a competitive edge and expand opportunities. At Home with Diversity® certification allows REALTORS® to not only apply the multi-faceted skills and tools they learned in the course to business practices, but conveys to clients they’re dynamic real estate professionals with expertise that transcends cultural barriers.

For more information on the At Home with Diversity® certification, visit www.nar.realtor/ahwd.

Jay Mattlin can be reached at Gorsuch Realty at 740-974-4190 or JayMattlin.RealEstate@gmail.com.

5 Confessions on Becoming a Real Estate Agent

If you’re old enough to remember the 1980s, you remember when everyone had that friend, family member, or acquaintance who tried their hand at becoming a real estate agent. Somewhere along the line, real estate became perceived as a glamorous, easy job that anyone could do. But if you’re seriously considering getting into real estate, you should know that it isn’t glamorous or easy. It definitely attracts a certain personality type — strong, independent, and willing to take responsibility for their own success. That’s why not everybody makes their real estate career last! Read on to discover 5 real confessions of successful real estate agents and decide if you have what it takes.

<h3>1. You can’t snap your fingers and get your real estate license.</h3>

Yes, it’s true that in most states, it only takes a few months to become a licensed agent. That’s why so many people are drawn to the idea of giving it a shot. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy thing to achieve! The state licensing exams are far from simple. Even these days, when it’s easier than ever to get your real estate license online, you have to invest time and money into understanding laws and procedures inside and out. Don’t wait until you’ve finished training to interview brokers, either. It’s not uncommon for a brokerage to ask for additional coursework before letting you jump into the field. This often means even more cash is coming out of your pocket.

<h3>2. Don’t expect to work a little and make a lot.</h3>

How much do Realtors make? It’s enough to make the cost of getting trained and licensed worth it, right? Well, not for everybody. The idea that Realtors have a ton of free time and make huge paychecks is a myth. In reality, it all depends on the sale. Once you start working for a brokerage, they will take a large portion of your commission. Not to mention what you owe in taxes. You’ll also need to use some of the money you have left for business cards, flyers, and other promotional material. Factor in the many hours you spend driving around, answering emails, and talking to the client, mortgage company, and everyone else involved in a home sale, and it’s daunting math. You might not necessarily be making the big bucks for all your hard work.

<h3>3. You have to be the best salesperson around.</h3>

A shy person might hesitate to become a Realtor, and with good reason. You’re selling homes (actually, lifestyles) which are enormous and important purchases, and that means you have to be better than the average person in sales. Real estate agents can gain the reputation of being sharks. They’re often aggressive because they have to be. In every major city, there are thousands upon thousands of real estate agents, and each one depends on commission to make a living. That doesn’t mean that you should be pushy. The best real estate agents know how to network within the industry and gain the trust of their clients. It definitely requires talent.

<h3>4. Dealing with clients can get wild.</h3>

Sure, buyers and sellers might think of real estate agents as unpredictable sharks with questionable negotiation tactics. But what about them? The clients acquired by a real estate agent can vary in crazy ways… and some can actually be crazy. Many real estate agents answer late night phone calls from buyers in tears, cracking under the stress of deciding on their first home. Others are simply impossible to please and looking for a combination of amenities that is either way out of their budget or simply impossible to find. Sometimes, the process of buying or selling a home will reveal cracks in a marriage, and then the real estate agent is right smack in the middle of a couple’s war!

<h3>5. Being your own boss is actually cool.</h3>

When you begin researching how to become real estate agent, the reality can feel a little daunting. But if you’re the type of go-getter who actually enjoys knowing that nobody but you is in charge of your success, you could end up loving this job. There are plenty of days you’ll end up working from the couch in your pajamas, fielding phone calls and thinking up your next strategy for a sale. You have to be a strong organizer and a jack of all trades, but if you can make the industry work for you, there’s no more powerful feeling.

So there you have it. Becoming a real estate agent is not for the faint of heart, but it’s a great job for the right kind of person. You’re part salesperson, part therapist, and part police officer — at least when the neighborhood kids start terrorizing your next open house.

13 Weird Real Estate Facts To Entertain Your Brain

1. The makers of “Extreme Makeover Home Edition” had to downsize their makeovers due to families not being able to afford utility bills.

Photo by Mike Yukhtenko on Unsplash

2. The world’s largest treehouse has over 80 rooms, 10 floors and has taken the builder over 14 years to build.

Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash

3. From 1949 – 1952, the white house was completely gutted and rebuilt with concrete and steel beams in place of its original wooden joists.

Image by Wikipedia

4. Fans of the hit TV show “Breaking Bad” continue to drive by and throw pizzas onto the roof of building featured as Walter White’s house.

Photo by Andreas Weiland on Unsplash

5. In 2013, 300 teenagers broke into a home while the owner was away and caused $20,000 in damages. Some of the parents threatened to sue the owner for outing them on Twitter.

Photo by Julián Gentilezza on Unsplash

6. There’s a company that specializes in building secret rooms and hidden passageways (one requires a chess board played in a certain combination to unlock)

Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

7. There are hundreds of ancient stones along the coast of Japan’s tsunami affected areas that says, “Do not build your homes below this point!”

Photo by Aleks Dahlberg on Unsplash

8. There is a machine that transforms concrete rubble into Lego like building blocks. The blocks allow victims of war or natural disasters to construct their own new, earthquake resistant houses.

Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

9. The Empire State Building makes more money from ticket sales for its observation decks than it does from renting office space

Photo by Osman Rana on Unsplash

10. Built in 1859, the Cooper Union Foundation Building included an elevator shaft in anticipation of elevators someday being invented.

Photo by Jørgen Håland on Unsplash

11. There are castles for sale in France that cost less than a two bedroom apartment in Australia.

Photo by Nirzar Pangarkar on Unsplash

12. The location of Tony Stark’s mansion in Iron Man is the same cliff from Planet of the Apes where the Statue of Liberty is sticking out from the sand.

Photo by Tyler Lastovich on Unsplash

13. Most traditional Chinese temples were designed with curved roofs to ward off evil spirits, which are thought to only move in straight lines.

Photo by Lin Qiang on Unsplash

The housing market does not turn into a pumpkin on Labor Day

A lot of people feel that once Labor Day comes along, the real estate market changes.

It’s true… to a degree.

For instance, families who have to make decisions based upon where their children go to school are more likely to have tried to move before the school year begins. So, people with kids in school may very well decide not to sell or buy a house until the school year is done.

But otherwise, who’s really directly affected by Labor Day, when it comes to buying or selling a house?

Think about it…

There’s constantly:

People moving in and out of the area for job transfers. (Even if they have kids in school.)
People who are retiring and moving out of the area, or downsizing.
Newlyweds buying their first house.
Single people buying their first house.
Sadly, there are deaths, divorces, and desperate times that lead to people selling homes.
That list could go on for pages.

The point is, the real estate market may change more in some markets that are heavily dependent on seasonal sales (think resort / vacation areas). But, even in those areas, people buy and sell throughout the year.

But, in almost every area, it isn’t like Labor Day is the equivalent of the clock striking midnight and the market turns into a pumpkin until Spring.

Maybe there are minor adjustments. But the market doesn’t stop, or entirely turn into a buyer’s market or seller’s market overnight, just because it’s past Labor Day.

So, if you’ve been thinking about buying or selling, or are in the middle of it, don’t be concerned about what you might hear elsewhere. Just ask me, and I’ll help you figure out whether it affects you and your scenario at all.

Lancaster’s New Trash Cans – Just the Facts

Recently, Lancaster Sanitation and City Council passed a resolution for the Sanitation Department to purchase large trash bins or toters for each residential household in the City and new trash trucks to accommodate the new toters. The toters began showing up at citizens’ houses this week and they have generated some questions and confusion.

Q: I generate a lot of trash. What if all of my trash does not fit into the new trash cart?
A: The trash cart is 95 gallons. It is much larger than you think it is. It will hold a lot of trash. However, should you need another trash cart, you may call the Sanitation Department and request another. An additional cart is $25 for the cart and then an additional $3 per month for the trash. You could also save trash for the following week or schedule a bulk pickup for an extra $25.

Q: How much extra is this going to cost me?
A: Those currently paying $13.50 on their Lancaster Utility bill will receive one 95-gallon trash cart. Those paying $9.00 on their Lancaster Utility bill will receive one 35-gallon trash cart.

Q: May I continue to use my current trash cans?
A: You can but you must contact the Sanitation Department and let them know that you will be using your own cans IN ADDITION to the City provided trash carts. They will then issue you a sticker to attach to your personal trash can.

Q: When do I start using my new City of Lancaster trash cart?
A: Immediately. At the next trash collection day, sanitation will pickup your new trash cart.

Q: Why aren’t we using this money to start a recycling program?
A: I honestly ask the question all the time of why do we not have a recycling program in the City. What you’re really asking is why we don’t have a curbside recycling program. There are multiple recycle trailers throughout the City to drop off your recyclables. Community Action on E Main St also has a recycling program.

Q: What if I move? What happens with the trash cart?
A: The trash cart is assigned, by serial number, to your current address. The cart should remain at the address it was assigned and your new address will have it’s own trash cart. If it does not once you move, call the Sanitation Department and they will get you a new one.

Q: What are my responsibilities with the trash cart?
A: Your only responsibility is to keep the trash cart clean. If something should happen to your trash cart, the Sanitation Department is responsible for repair and maintenance.

Q: How should the trash cart be placed on trash day?
A: Well, the Sanitation Department has laid out several guidelines for this –

  • Place as much trash as will fit in the cart, with the lid completely closed.
  • Trash carts must be placed within 3 fee of the street edge or alley with lid opening facing the street and the wheels toward the residence.
  • Trash carts must be placed at least 3 feet from any tree, pole, mailbox, etc., and at least 10 feet from parked cars.
  • Additional trash cannot be stacked on top of the trash cart.
  • Multiple trash carts must be spaced 3 feet apart.
  • Trash carts must be set out at the street edge or alley by 7:30 a.m. on your scheduled pickup day.

Q: What do I do with yard waste? Does it go in the trash cart too?
A: Yard waste must be tied in bundles not exceeding four feet in length and two feet in diameter and weighing no more than 50 pounds each. It can also be placed in biodegradable paper bags weighing no more than 50 pounds each when loaded with yard waste. Co-mingling yard waste with trash within the same container is PROHIBITED. ALL yard waste must be set out at the curb in front of the residence.

Q: What do I do with my old trash cans?
A: If you have old cans that you wish to dispose of, you may set them out with your new trash cart and label the old trash can with a note that reads “TAKE CAN.”

Q: Do I have to use the new trash cart?
A: No. You may call the sanitation department and opt out but the trash can you plan to use must be approved by the sanitation department.

If there are additional questions, the Lancaster Sanitation Department is happy to answer any questions you may have. Their number is 740-687-6660.

Here’s What Real Estate and Independence Day Have In Common

What’s the first thing you think of when you think 4th of July?

Probably fireworks, right?

Okay, maybe you think about barbeques, pool parties, or parades first.

The point is, the first thought for most people isn’t about the nitty-gritty that we’re actually celebrating — our independence as a nation.

Deep down, we all know that’s what it’s all about. And we respect it. But, we’re also human. Who can blame us for enjoying our freedom watching fireworks, without giving all that much thought about everything our founding fathers did to get us here?

So it is in real estate…

There’s a lot of focus on the “fireworks” in real estate. The big, glorious, flashy, exciting moments. Like…

  • The moment your house first hits the market.
  • Seeing the pictures of your house all over the Internet.
  • Throngs of people walking through your first open house.
  • Receiving offers from buyers…maybe even multiple offers.
  • Going under contract.
  • Walking into “the” house, and falling in love with it.
  • Making an offer on the house you love, and having it accepted.
  • Closing on the sale or purchase of your home.

All really exciting “firework” moments.

But they’re not the full story. There’s a lot of stuff behind the scenes in order to get to those fun, celebratory moments. A lot of thought, knowledge, skill, and work… Not necessarily fun, or sexy stuff. But it’s all important. It’s all necessary to get to those exciting “fireworks” moments.

Not that the behind the scenes stuff should be something you think about. As a consumer, you should enjoy the glorious moments. Leave the nitty-gritty to your agent.

Just know that there’s more to it than the “fireworks” you want to see when you buy or sell a house.