Category Archives: Real Estate Farming

Christopher Columbus: America’s First Real Estate Agent?

christopher-columbusHappy Columbus Day, folks! As the first holiday of the autumn season, I thought it fitting to take this moment to propose an idea. After all, the banks are closed & the kids are home. Why not sit back and spin a tale to celebrate the discoverer of our great land?

The story of Christopher Columbus has been told many times. There are historical documents that trace his entire existence. But what if they were wrong? His dad was a wool weaver, his mom owned a cheese stand. Why would Christopher turn out to be a world-famous explorer? What if his intention was to be a real estate agent? He loved discovering new places to inhabit, he loved to sell people on letting him find said places for them, and in the end it wasn’t him that wanted to inhabit those places…he wanted to be the one recognized as the discoverer of places people wanted to inhabit. Can you say farming?

In 1485, Christopher Columbus decides he wants to open his own real estate business and has a good feeling about some area on the west side (of the planet). The Indies was all the rage, but it was becoming a more unsavory area due to the invasion of the Ottoman Turks. People were looking for a new place to go, so Christopher wanted to start to build traction on his farm by showing space not currently available to the public before. And now he’s off to find his first clients.

At first it was tough to find someone interested in this undiscovered property. He sought out King John II of Portugal, but was rejected. He then went to Genoa and Venice, but again, no one was in the market to buy. Even Henry IV turned him down. Columbus was getting frustrated. Finally, he went to Spain to approach the newly married monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella of Castile. See, now that they were newly married, Ferdinand wanted to give his wife “something nice”. They wanted something large and spacious because they had a lot of family but cozy enough that the neighbors were welcoming enough to have a bar-be-que. Also on the list was lots of light and a good landscape to work with, but with lots of room for improvement.

Unfortunately, under the advice of their committee of Spanish savants, they rejected his proposal. But the monarchs saw something special in Christopher’s personality and trusted him and his farmed territory proposal, so they hired him to find their dream property and in return, ordered all their cities to allow him to live for free while they worked things out “with the banks and lenders”.

Finally, after years of trying to convince them of this great area he knows they’ll love, they finally agree to his terms and well, let’s just say he made quite the commission. He was given rank of Admiral of the Ocean Sea, appointed Viceroy and Senator of all the new properties he found them, 10% of all revenue accrued in this area and an option to buy into 8% in interest of any commercial venture with an 8% ROI!

So in April 1492, Columbus went off to travel west and report back the showing of a lifetime.

Sure, I could get into the ugly truths, but this isn’t about history. This is about inspiration! If you look at it this way, Christopher Columbus was one awesome real estate agent and you can learn a lot from his persistence. He believed in himself and his product, he got his clients to trust him and in the end, he made his sale. And now he has a world-wide holiday to celebrate his accomplishment. Pretty inspiring stuff, if I do say so myself!

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Life on the Farm: The Urban Farmer

Backyard-Farming

As we get closer to the end of long summer days and begin our courtship with autumn’s harvest moons, it is worth mentioning a new trend appearing in the housing market: the backyard farm. With society becoming more and more health & environmentally conscious, folks are beginning to take matters into their own hands, or yards. Fresh fruits and vegetable gardens are sprouting up, bees are being cultivated and there are even a few instances of livestock where you aren’t used to finding them – the city.

Having a backyard farm is not something to be taken lightly. A lot of work goes into creating this type of backyard. There are rules that need to be followed and making sure it’s all up to code with the city and/or an HOA takes some time and effort. Of course, then there’re always the neighbors. If having things like bees or chickens is something that suits your fancy, making sure it’s good with everyone surrounding you is something that must be done. No one wants to be shocked awake every morning by a rooster or stung by a bee while swimming in their pool on a warm day. Keeping everything kosher may involve some bribery, like a BBQ or some home-brewed beer as a token of appreciation for being so cool with things. But once all of the politics are cleared up, the fun can begin.

But what does that do to the sale of a home? How does a buyer see this built-in responsibility? Is it a perk or a deal-breaker? I suppose, it all depends on the buyer. What you need to do as a realtor is show the upside of having this type of yard. Mention the fantastic condition the soil is in from seasons of use and how much money could be saved by growing their own. Make sure the hives or coops are in good condition so it is seen as a pleasure rather than as a hassle. Stage the home with the fruits from the garden. Create a centerpiece of tomatoes or squash blossoms and make sure to highlight areas where vegetation grows best, like an herb garden windowsill. Features like chicken runs and raised garden beds have not only been cared for, but can also be repurposed to suit the new owner’s needs, for example turned into safe place for a dog to exercise. Those that are into sustainable practices, will be excited that steps were already taken before they have even moved in and those with pets could be excited that there is a designated place for their pet to run without disturbing the overall landscape.

The point is to focus on promoting these landscapes as lifestyle-friendly features that can be easily modified to fit needs of new homeowners. In fact, knowing in depth the rules and regulations that may affect the sale of a property will only benefit your business, as a real estate agent. Having knowledge a client can use when deciding on a new home purchase is a win-win situation. Put tips about seasonal vegetation or an article on how to keep a garden vibrant into your newsletter. Even folks that have a plant or two can benefit from this facet of your real estate repertoire.

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