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Phone: 478-929-4444
jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net


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April 7, 2014

Southern Charm: The Final "Ah-Ha!"

 
Today we cover the final three questions to ask when interviewing a real estate agent:

Question #10:  What percentage of your business comes by referral and how much is repeat?

This is the million dollar question!  Competent, well-known agents get a large portion of their business from satisfied clients and people in their sphere of influence.  If an agent gets less than 25% of their new business through referrals it may be due to their quality of service (or lack thereof), their lack of marketing expertise, or they don’t cultivate their own contacts from their sphere of influence, either personal or professional.  If they aren’t cultivating their own contacts, they won’t be talking to many people about selling your property.  When someone is completely satisfied and appreciative of your services, the highest compliment they can pay you is a referral.

Question #11:  Do you have your own website (other than the broker website) and/or a blog?

Most agents have their own website, but many don’t have blogs.  Get the web addresses for every site the agent markets their services and properties.  Go visit these sites, and check out the content.  Do you like what you see?  Are the blog posts informative and fun?  Are the marketing pictures and videos creative and of good quality?  Is their content unique and contain timely news? If you type in the address of a currently listed property, how many sites does it pull up on, and does the listing look spectacular?

Lastly…..If you haven’t had the final, “Ah-ha!  This is THE Realtor for me!” moment….

Question #12:  Why should I hire you and not someone else?  What makes you different from everyone else?  Can you give me some examples?

If you still need to cover a few more details and specifics, most people want an agent that is:

Honest, of high ethical standard, hard-working, confident, personable, experienced with the local market, a creative thinker, readily available by phone, text or email, a good communicator, techno-savvy, an excellent negotiator, politely aggressive, results-oriented, prompt in returning calls, an excellent manager of time and tactful.  (If you have an agent like Cameran Eubanks on the new reality series, "Southern Charm" that bluntly tells a potential client from her sphere of influence, "You need to hire me as your real estate agent because you need a house, and I need cash...", you might want to consider asking a few more questions!

If you are ready to hire a Realtor that has all these characteristics and qualities, I can refer you to some happy clients that will refer you to me!  Or you can just give me a call and we can sit down and get to know each other!  I can be reached by phone/text at 478-973-2684 or by email at jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net.  And if you want to do a little pre-appointment homework/research to answer question #11, check out my sites on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Active Rain, my website, YouTube, Pinterest…..

My website:  http://www.janiepughsellshomes.com
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGoldenKeyRealty
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoInWarnerRobinsGA
My blog:  http://www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot.com
Twitter:  http://www.twitter.com/janiepugh
LinkedIn:  http://www.linkedin.com/in/janiepugh
Pinterest:  http://www.pinterest.com/janiespugh/
YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/user/JaniePughSellsHomes
 

#Realtor®, #buyingahouse, #sellingahouse, #WarnerRobinsRealEstate, #RobinsAirForceBase, #RAFB, #relocation, #movingtoanewarea, #findingaRealtor®, #whattolookforinaRealtor®, #GoldenKeyRealty, #listingyourhouseforsale, #homebuyerquestionsandanswers, #homebuyerq&a, #homesellerquestionsandanswers, #homesellerq&a, #findingtherightRealtor®, #janiepughsellshomes

March 31, 2014

Finding the “RIGHT” Realtor®! Part 3
 
We have covered the first 6 questions to ask when hiring a Realtor®, here are the next 3:
 
Question #7:  How Many People Do You Talk to About Real Estate Every Day?
 
This question will help you gauge the agent’s amount of focus and motivation.  Agents should be prospecting for buyers and sellers, all day, every day.  This can be anywhere from making phone calls to past clients, networking with other agents at Agent Open houses, public open houses, giving public educational presentations, talking to the person in the chair next to them getting a pedicure…(Who just so happens to be there with all the bridesmaids in her wedding party…. Ahem….Newlywed?  May need a new house?  And the bridesmaids getting their toes done, too?  Pass your cards out to the whole bunch!) If an agent isn’t talking to at least 40-50 people every day about real estate, they may not be as proactive as you need them to be.
 
 
Question #8: Who Pays for Advertising Your Services Or Homes For Sale?
 
Don’t worry about asking this question for fear that it is none of your business.  Since marketing your property is included as part of the real estate fees and it is one of the primary responsibilities of the agent, you need to know what it is you are paying for.  Marketing is a huge part of an agent’s overall operating expenses, so it is appropriate to ask how much and how they are spending their marketing dollars.  I would also ask if they have determined what types of marketing works and what doesn’t? Is placing a $50 classified ad in the Sunday paper really effective, or is there a better way that produces more results?  And while you are at it, ask them WHO does their marketing?  Do they write their own ads?  Do they have an in-house marketing department?  Or do they have a combo of marketing partners?
 
Question #9: Will You Personally Handle Contract Negotiations?
 
How confident is your agent?  Do you think they are aggressive enough to go to bat for you to negotiate the best deal, and work on your behalf?  I recently had a client that came to me from another agent because they didn’t think the agent was working in their best interest---they felt like they were working more for the other side.  You have to have an agent that is dedicated to making YOU the top priority, and getting what is best for you.  Did you ever see the movie, “Jerry McGuire”?  Once Jerry got focused, dedicated and passionate about his client, (after his client screamed at him to, “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”), they became a winning success!  You want an agent who has excellent negotiation skills, who is committed to your best interest.
 
If you are ready to sit down and talk strategy and success, give me a call!  I can be reached at 478-973-2684, or you can email me at: jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net.
 
Follow me on:

My website: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGold...
My Blog: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot....
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janiepugh


#Realtor®, #buyingahouse, #sellingahouse, #WarnerRobinsRealEstate, #RobinsAirForceBase, #RAFB, #relocation, #movingtoanewarea, #findingaRealtor®, #whattolookforinaRealtor®, #GoldenKeyRealty, #listingyourhouseforsale, #homebuyerquestionsandanswers, #homebuyerq&a, #homesellerquestionsandanswers, #homesellerq&a, #findingtherightRealtor®, #janiepughsellshomes

 

March 28, 2014

Finding the “RIGHT” Realtor®! Part 2
 
In Part 1 of this series, we covered the first 3 questions you want to ask when interviewing a Realtor® to work with.  Here are the next 3:
 
Question # 4:  Do you have a written marketing plan, and what are the key components of the plan?
Obviously, this question applies more to sellers than buyers.  The marketing plan needs to be extensive – If the plan doesn’t involve more than a sign in the yard and a classified ad, you might want to keep looking!

Be sure to take a look at some of their marketing samples, as well. Internet marketing is HUGE these days, so having a techno-savvy agent with some groovy photo gadgets and gizmos that can make your listing pop is important!  The key is consistent exposure in a variety of marketing arenas.

Question #5:  Can you provide me with client references and/or testimonials?
When an agent has a majority of their clients coming from repeat and referred business, you can be pretty sure they have a lot of satisfied people out there!  If they get a little shifty in their seat, and start babbling or changing the subject, you might consider this a red flag!  The agent should be able to provide you with a list of satisfied people that will sing their praises---you don’t want them to have to brag on themselves.

Question #6:  Do you have a team of professionals you can refer me to?
Your agent should have a high-caliber team of professionals that include a: good mortgage lender, home inspector, pest control inspector, licensed contractor, home stager, professional organizer, moving company and a real estate attorney.  They should have these numbers at the ready for you to call upon, and you will want to interview them, as well.  Keep in mind, if the referral is to their cousin Anthony that runs a little “financing company” from a little office in his restaurant in Florida, or that it is their brother Paul that came up with this really cool potion that “kills bugs dead” but is so strong they can’t get anyone to market the stuff, (and yes, these are true examples I have encountered over the years) you might want to keep looking!  And when you interview these professionals, if you hear the word “DUCK TAPE”, if it is anyone other than the moving company, keep looking!

So there are your next 3 questions.  As I mentioned before, if you are ready to make a move, either to buy or sell real estate, email me at jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net or give me a call at 478-973-2684. I would love to meet with you!
Follow me on:

My website: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGold...
My Blog: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot....
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janiepugh


#Realtor®, #buyingahouse, #sellingahouse, #WarnerRobinsRealEstate, #RobinsAirForceBase, #RAFB, #relocation, #movingtoanewarea, #findingaRealtor®, #whattolookforinaRealtor®, #GoldenKeyRealty, #listingyourhouseforsale, #homebuyerquestionsandanswers, #homebuyerq&a, #homesellerquestionsandanswers, #homesellerq&a, #findingtherightRealtor®, #janiepughsellshomes

 

March 21, 2014

Finding the “RIGHT” Realtor®!, Part 1

If you’re in the market to either sell your home or purchase one, there’s something you should know: Real Estate Agents Are NOT All The Same!
 
And as I mentioned in my previous blog post, not all real estate agents are Realtors®.  (I will cover the differences between Realtors® and real estate agents in a later post.)
 
Buying and/or selling a home is likely to be the largest transaction you will ever make on a single purchase.  The agent you hire can mean the difference between making money or losing money.  You want someone that is going to help you get the best for the least:  The best deal in the least amount of time with the least amount of stress!
 
Putting your house on the market is more than sticking a sign in the yard and holding an open house.  And buying a home requires more than looking at a couple house, making an offer and moving in. Unless you have experience interviewing people (and real estate agents in particular), you won’t always know what questions to ask.  Furthermore, you won’t always know what answer will best suit your needs for buying or selling.  So here are the first three of “12 Important Questions You Should Ask ANY Real Estate Professional BEFORE You Sign Anything”:
 
Question #1:  “How long have you been practicing real estate?”
Take it a step further by asking them to provide you with the number of transactions, average price range, specialized areas and types of homes they’ve bought or sold.  You also want to know how productive they’ve been each year.  You may find that an agent that has been in business for five years may be more productive than someone that has been in it for ten years!

You will also want to know how many brokers they have worked for, and if they have moved around, why?  You want an aggressive agent that is exceptionally focused, and someone that moves from company to company may lack that necessary focus if they are always transitioning from one company to the next.
 
Question #2:  “What qualifications do you have to sell real estate?”
This question looks for their overall commitment and dedication to building his/her personal skills.  If they’re not willing to commit to improving themselves, they may not commit to your needs and satisfaction either.
First, look at their overall education.  Did they go to college?  Do they have any professional designations, and if so, what are they?  How many continuing education hours are they required to have, and how many do they actually have?  (Do they only take classes because it is required, or do they take them to become more effective professionals?) Is he/she a Realtor® or a real estate agent? How often, and how, do they invest in improving their skills and keeping up with technology and other industry trends?
 
Question #3:  “How do you run your personal real estate operation?”
This is an open-ended question designed to get the agent talking about their business.  You want to know how much they’ve invested into their business as it relates to giving you competent and quality service.  For example, do they have an assistant to help with administrative tasks?  Do they have a cellular phone, iPad, email, or other methods for easily reaching them?  How do they communicate with their clients?  Phone, text, email?  (And what is YOUR preference----does it line up with theirs?) How OFTEN do they communicate with their clients, and for what reasons?  Do they have a private office with their brokerage or do they share office space with another agent? (This is a telltale sign of a top producing agent.)
Here’s what you’re looking for:  The more an agent invests into his or her own success, office, and systems, the more he/she will be able to commit to you.

 If you are ready to start interviewing for a Realtor® to work with, email me at jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net or give me a call at 478-973-2684. (I will even provide you with the answers to the other nine questions we haven’t covered yet!)  I would love to meet with you!

In the next blog post, “Finding the “RIGHT” Realtor®!, Part 2” ” I will post the next 3 questions you might ask during the Realtor® interview to determine who to hire.
 
Follow me on:

My website: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGold...
My Blog: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot....
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janiepugh


#Realtor®, #buyingahouse, #sellingahouse, #WarnerRobinsRealEstate, #RobinsAirForceBase, #RAFB, #relocation, #movingtoanewarea, #findingaRealtor®, #whattolookforinaRealtor®, #GoldenKeyRealty, #listingyourhouseforsale, #homebuyerquestionsandanswers, #homebuyerq&a, #homesellerquestionsandanswers, #homesellerq&a, #findingtherightRealtor®, #janiepughsellshomes

 

March 19, 2014

New Blog Series: Home Buyer/Seller Q & A: Because Moving is a BIG Deal!

 
You Need a Realtor®, Right?

Spring is just around the corner and for many people, along with the daffodils and pollen come either the itch or orders to move.  In a military town, such as Warner Robins, GA, (RAFB), now is one time of the year when lots of folks are getting orders to relocate. So now is one time of the year when the real estate market really starts to pick up.

One thing I have found with my military clients is that they are experts at relocating! I am always impressed with how organized and ever-prepared they are to move at a moment’s notice.  But what about those that may be moving for the first time?  Or are moving out of the area?  Where do you start?  There are so many different scenarios:  You may have a house to sell and need to buy another one.   Or you may be leasing and have decided it is time to buy your first home.  You may be upsizing.  You may be downsizing.  You may be moving across town or across the country.  It may be a global move that has you moving to ANOTHER country, which is very common for our military folks.  At first glance, it can seem overwhelming because let’s face it:  Moving is a BIG deal!

So I thought I my next blog series should be, “Home Buyer/Seller Q & A: Because Moving is a BIG Deal!” I will be blogging answers to some of the most common questions I get from my buyers AND sellers.  It doesn’t matter your reason for moving or how many times you have moved---There are always lots of questions.  Since many times my clients are buying and selling simultaneously, each blog post will address a buyer question as well as a seller question.

Here is your scenario:  You have just found out you are moving to another area, and must sell your house.  You also plan to buy a house when you get to your new location.  The most important thing you can do to start?  Find the right Realtor® to work with, of course!  But how do you find that person?

If you don’t already have an established relationship with a Realtor®, get a referral and/or recommendation by talking to friends, neighbors, colleagues…getting names and contact info.  Set up interviews to meet with several Realtors®.  There are a lot of great Realtors® out there, but you want to make sure the one you hire is a good fit for you.  You won’t have the same rapport with every agent, so you will probably want to talk to several, until you make the right “connection”.  (And by the way, it is very important to know that not every real estate agent is a Realtor®, which we will discuss in a future blog.) With something as important as selling what is probably your biggest asset, you want to make sure you are comfortable and confident with your Realtor®.

If you are moving to an unfamiliar area where you know no one, (and you have a house to sell) once you find a Realtor® to work with in selling your house, ask if they can refer you to someone that would be a good fit for you in your new location.  Realtors® attend classes, meetings, conventions, annual conferences, etc., and network with agents from everywhere.  We have local, state and national meetings that we attend together, so we may know someone we can refer you to in another area.  If you are relocating for a job, ask your new employer for recommendations.  Talking to people about your move can also bring up recommendations for Realtors®.  When I moved to the Warner Robins area, I did not know a single person, and was nervous and uncertain what to expect in our new town.  When we announced to our Sunday school class that we were moving, one of our classmates said her college roommate lived in Warner Robins and that she would put me in touch with her.  I had planned to transfer my real estate license to Georgia, so finding a new broker to work with was one of the first steps, much like finding a Realtor® to work with! When I called her, she recommended I talk to her friend, who was a Realtor® at Golden Key Realty.   The irony is, that after I talked with her friend at Golden Key (Tracey Chastain), I met with the broker, Gwen Giles, and we connected so well that I hung my license there as soon as I arrived in Warner Robins a few weeks later, and have been with Golden Key ever since!

So as a buyer or seller, the first step is:  Find a great Realtor® to work with!  And if you are anticipating a move, either buying and/or selling, give me a call!  I would love to meet with you to get the process started! (478) 973-2684

In the next blog post, “Finding the “RIGHT” Realtor®!” I will post several questions you might ask during the Realtor® interview to determine who to hire.
 


Follow me on:

My website: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGold...
My Blog: http://www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot....
Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janiepugh



#Realtor®, #buyingahouse, #sellingahouse, #WarnerRobinsRealEstate, #RobinsAirForceBase, #RAFB, #relocation, #movingtoanewarea, #findingaRealtor®, #whattolookforinaRealtor®, #GoldenKeyRealty, #listingyourhouseforsale, #homebuyerquestionsandanswers, #homebuyerq&a, #homesellerquestionsandanswers, #homesellerq&a, #findingtherightRealtor®, #janiepughsellshomes

 

March 13, 2014

Oh, The Places You'll Go!

Factor Number 15:  Read to Succeed!
 

I tell my kids, ALL THE TIME, that when they open up a book, they open up unlimited possibilities for themselves.  This is where your imagination can take you to places your never dreamed possible.  And professionally?  I can’t stress enough, how important it is to read, and to read often.  Whether you read from a hard-back, paper-back, Kindle, or magazine…You don’t have to read only industry-specific information to improve and enhance your profession.  As mentioned in an earlier blog, industry leaders stay on top of their profession by learning from other professions, too! 
 
 
 
What are some of the titles you have on YOUR bookshelf that are helpful to you in your profession?  As a Realtor, here are a few of the books I have on my shelf, and they are NOT all real-estate specific:
 
 
“The Purple Cow,” by Seth Godin
“The Pursuit of Happyness”, by Chris Gardner
“Use What You’ve Got,” by Barbara Corcoran
“Heart and Sold,” by Valerie Fitzgerald
“Walk Like a Giant, Sell Like a Madman,” by Ralph Roberts
“Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss
What’s on YOUR shelf?
 
 
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
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Twitter:  https://twitter.com/janiepugh


#warnerrobinsga  #365thingstodoinwarnerrobinsga #janiepughsellshomes #goldenkeyrealty

 

March 12, 2014

Beautiful Newly Listed Home in Kathleen, Georgia!

Check out this beautiful newly listed home in Kathleen, Georgia!

Stunning home filled with upgrades and improvements galore! Welcome to this all-brick home nestled in a quiet, cul-de-sac neighborhood! Beautiful kitchen with upgraded cabinetry, new wood floors and carpeting, privacy fenced in yard with fire-pit and concrete patio and a master suite that's sure to fit the bill! Includes a one year 2-10 Home Warranty!
 
Give me a call for more details 478-973-2684 or check out the Virtual Tour on my website! www.janiepughsellshomes.com

 

 
 
200 Downing Circle in Kathleen, Georgia!
 
 
 


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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
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February 28, 2014

Rome Wasn't Built in a Day!

 
Factor Number 14: Stay consistent, focused and don't give up.

When I started this blog series, it was the result of several hours of preparation for the first sales meeting of the year.  My broker asked all the agents to review individual productivity, determine sources of business and create our own business plan for the year.  This was an excellent exercise to review what worked and what didn't in order to determine upcoming activities.

I started out by looking at where each client came from, then dissected this list a little further by reviewing it alongside my 2013 business plan.  Were there specific activities I did that triggered a transaction?  For example, did I meet the client at an Open House?  How many Open Houses did I do last year?  How did I advertise the event?  Was my listing sold to an agent that attended one of my Agent Open Houses?  Was the initial contact made from someone that had seen one of my posts on social media?  And just as important as what worked:  What activities produced NO results or return on investment after an appropriate amount of time?

When I sorted through my 2013 list of closings, I realized the positive results were due not to just one thing, but an assortment of activities that I had completed, consistently, over time. I must admit, there were times I thought, "Is this Open House really worth my time?  After all, lots of people say Open Houses don't sell houses."  But when you get a phone call from someone that attended one of your events (in my case, an Open House), and they are ready to buy, then you have your answer!  One of the first Open Houses I ever did as a new Realtor produced 9 transactions over the next 8 years.  So yes, I am of the firm belief that Open Houses DO work!  This is why I put them as a priority on my business plan.

It is important to realize that it may take a while to see the results of a new activity, but keep doing what you think will work, and then evaluate the effectiveness next year!  It is also important to create a plan, ON PAPER, that you can use as a guide for the year.  I realize not everyone is as Type A as I am-----I have lists to make lists....But I can't stress how important it is to write your goals down to help you stay focused.  Start with the end in mind, and work your way back.  I have my yearly goals, then I have broken them down into monthly, weekly and daily "Ta Da" lists.  (And these lists are the outlines for regular, and/or spontaneous, meetings with my assistant.)  And for the agent in my office that asked me how I manage to get so much done every week?  That's my answer:  "Ta Da" lists that are focused, attainable and that produce results.

Growing a successful business is hard work, no matter what industry! Rome wasn't built in a day, and I am sure it wasn't easy.  But I would say it started a vision, a plan and a team of hard workers that eventually made it happen with focus, drive and determination.

So what's on your "Ta Da" list for today?


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February 26, 2014

Factor Number 13:  Follow the Successful!

 
Whatever industry you are in, there are those that are more successful than others.  Ralph Waldo Emerson suggested, “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”  Those successful folks you are looking for are those that were willing to go where no one else has been to stand out in their field.  Your job is to find these successful leaders, follow them and study their journey!  (This is especially helpful if you are new to your industry.  We all have to learn the basics before we can take it to the next level!)  But keep in mind, it really doesn’t matter if you are a butcher, a baker or a candlestick maker….Every industry has leaders that rise to the top. Once you master the basics, your goal is to become one of these leaders and to leave your own trail!
 
With unlimited industry info at our fingertips on the internet, you have a goldmine at your fingertips!  Do you already know who the industry leaders are in your field?  Google them!  What are their habits?  Have they written any books?  Do they have a website and/or blog you can follow?  Do they teach industry-related courses you can attend?
 
Once you find these industry leaders, follow their lead/examples and learn along the way.  Read their material. Attend their classes. Interview them.  Ask them to be your mentor!  And by the way, these folks don’t have to necessarily live in your area or be in your specific industry, either.  For example:  Why would a restaurant owner want to attend a class in computer technology?  Why would your veterinarian want to attend a seminar on elderly care?  Why would an athletic coach want to attend a class on psychology?
 
Please note: I am not suggesting you “COPY” these leaders, by any means.  I am suggesting you learn from them, and then apply what is relevant to your business by developing and personalizing the information to your specific business, with their permission, when necessary.   By looking for ways to build your personal career, branch out by “thinking outside the box.”  Are you still sitting in the same, comfortable box you have always sat in or are you trying a new chair?  As far out as an idea may seem, you just never know if it is going to work if you never give it a try!  If it doesn’t work, either tweak it and try it again or try something else.  Just be sure you give “it” a try!
 
“Don’t let the fear of striking out hold you back.”  -Babe Ruth
 
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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoIn...
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February 24, 2014

Help Wanted!

Factor Number 12:  Delegate!

One thing I heard over and over again when I first got into real estate was to hire an assistant.  I was told that my business would take off when I did so.  What I found out was that these seasoned agents knew what they were talking about!

Whether it be hiring team members to help with your business, or hiring help at home, such as a housekeeper....Hire people you can count on to do the things that don't require a license (or your expertise), to free up your time for those productive, income-producing activities that only you can do.

My initial fear was that I would have someone depending on me to pay their salary.  And as the real estate market had been in such a state of despair, how could I afford to pay for another employee when I sometimes worried about my own income and expenses?!?!

My solution was to start with a part-time assistant.  She was only looking for a few hours a week, wanted to work flexible hours and for the most part, work from home.  This was exactly what I needed, as this was an affordable way to ease into having another expense!  Our intention was to increase her hours as we grew.  What I found was that what I had heard so many times was true:  My business really took off when I hired help!  I had already hired a housekeeper to take care of tasks that I often didn't have time to get around to at home, but hiring an assistant for my work-related tasks took my business to the next level.  Among the many perks I found in hiring my assistant, not only did I have someone helping me get things done, but I had someone to bounce ideas with and keep me accountable.  I consider myself a hard worker, but my assistant keeps me focused on getting everything on our "Ta Da" list done....every day, on time.  No excuses.  We have regular meetings to discuss our goals for the year, month, week and day, and we know what needs to be accomplished and keep each other accountable to the tasks.

So take the plunge:  Hire help!  You can't be all things....to everybody...all the time.  If you try to do it all, you will get burned out, and not be nearly as effective at anything you do.

Note:  If you are just joining in on this series of blogs, I invite you to go to: www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot.com to see the entire series.


 
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February 21, 2014

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble!

Factor Number 11: Pull what you love to do into your business.

Think back to when you were in school.  What were your favorite classes?  Which classes did you make the best grades? Were these "easy" classes or subjects that you would consider as challenging to you?   There is a pretty high likelihood that, even if it was a really hard class, you probably succeeded the most in the classes that had the best teachers. And by "the best teachers", I mean, the teachers that you loved and with whom you really had a connection.  And why did you love them?  Because these teachers made the classes fun. They were passionate about their work, and their presentation of the material reflected this love of their calling. (AKA: job.)  The teacher loved what they were teaching, and their passion and excitement was contagious, making students want "some of that"!

I had several teachers like that.  The subject may have been a challenge, but the way it was presented made learning fun. I had several English teachers in high school that were amazing.  They actually made reading about Shakespeare’s cauldron of toils and troubles and Hester Prynne's secret scandal, pretty darn cool.  How many of you had an English teacher that wore a red letter "A" on her sweater the day Hawthorne was introduced to the class?!?!?  Let me just say that was more than 30 years ago, and I still remember it like it was last week.   My teacher was just doing her "job", but she did it in a fun way that was memorable.

So how can you make what you do fun and memorable?  One way is to incorporate what you love, or a favorite hobby, into your business.  When you love what you are doing, it shows and will make you better in your profession.  Anyone that knows me, knows that I love to cook, entertain and decorate and being a Realtor allows me so much opportunity to incorporate all these things into my career!  Residential real estate is the perfect career to share all those things I love!  I can host Agent Opens and Open Houses, and prepare and provide the food and decor myself!  I can help sellers stage their homes.  I can get creative with marketing by pulling in some practical, seasonal and/or fun ideas to feature the benefits of their homes.  And the sky is the limit when it comes to closing and house warming gifts when you use your talents and creativity!

So take some time to figure out how to use the talents and gifts you were blessed with, and put them to work.  Then watch what this does for your business!

Passion generates energy and energy generates activity!

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February 17, 2014

We’ve Only Just Begun!

Factor Number 10:  Stay in Touch!
 
This is one of the easiest things to do, yet one of the most often neglected business practices.  To begin with, you should have an accurate, up-to-date database.  But are you using it?  Your database is an excellent reference tool for staying in touch with your customers and clients on a regular basis.  Contacting folks in your database can either be with a face-to-face visit, delivering a small gift, sending something in the mail, an email, a phone call, or whatever you think would be most appreciated.  I contact my folks in various, client-specific ways, depending on what I know about them: their interests, their families, their jobs, their plans, etc.  But whatever you do, make sure you do it at least four times a year, per person!
I was on the receiving end the other day, when I got an email from a contact that has been in my database for years.  Knowing that I am a baseball mom, and that my son’s baseball games will soon be starting, she sent me an email with a picture of some really cute baseball flip-flops.  Her message said:  “Every time I see these, I think of you!”  Well, I can tell you, that made my day!  Knowing that something reminded her of me, and she took the time to share it with me, really made me feel good!
 
Relationships with customers and clients shouldn’t end when the ink dries on the paperwork. Remember the words of The Carpenters?  “We’ve only just begun!”

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February 14, 2014

 iPods and iPads and iPhones, Oh My!

 

 
Factor Number 9:  Keep constant internet presence, but make it count.

The internet is a jackpot of information for those who are in search of answers.  It is the first place people go to research anything:  houses, community info, homework assignments, how-to and DIY projects, vacation destinations, product comparisons, school info, professional service providers,  identifying the unknown......the list obviously goes on and on!  The internet is critically important to any business, but you have to learn how to use it, and to use it wisely.  And of course, you don't have to be sitting at your desk in front of a computer to access the internet.  I don't know of many people that don't have an iPhone, an iPad or a laptop, but the devices you use should coordinate and work with each other in order to make your technology use timely, smooth and efficient.

Interenet presence can be through your company website, your personal business website, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.  If you are unfamiliar with media and technology, I would recommend you take some classes to get up-to-date.  Technology is here to stay, and it is developing and changing at a rapid pace, so you need to stay current and in-the-know.  By this I mean, taking one class doesn't make you techno-savvy for life----you will need updates and refresher courses over the years.

Social media is just one form of internet information distribution that can be a great resource for potential customers and clients.  I have found some excellent resources on Facebook that help me to improve, expand and simplify my business.  However, in going through Facebook posts looking for relevant information, you sometimes have to weed through a lot of irrelevance to find the posts that can be helpful or of value to you and/or your needs.  Social media can provide a wealth of information, serve as a marketing platform for your industry, provide a forum to easily share and network with friends, family and other professionals, but it can sometimes be a challenge to find the great info that is embedded in the feed.  Make your content interesting and your business easy to access.

Make your posts count!

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February 11, 2014

Valentine's Day Ideas!

 

Need some ideas for your Valentine this year? Well I have some ideas that just might hit the spot! 

If you are opting to stay home for Valentine’s Day, here is a delicious menu that is can be prepared in 30-45 minutes! Make things easier by using a packaged Hollandaise (I like Knorr's) and desserts from your grocer’s bakery!

Love Me Tenderloin with Red Wine Sauce!dfsfhg
Whipped Potatoes
Steamed Asparagus with Hollandaise
Recommended wine pairing:  Either a Red Bordeaux or Cabernet (Louis Martini is my favorite!)

Petit Fours and Mini Chocolate Éclairs, or Hand-Dipped Chocolate Strawberries
Champagne or Sparkling Wine

Beef Tenderloin with Shitake-Red Wine Sauce-Serves 4
4 (4 oz.) beef tenderloin steaks (about 1 1/2 inches thick), trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
1 teaspoon canola oil
1/4 cup minced shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 1/4 cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (7 oz.)
1/2 cup dry red wine or beef broth
1 cup beef broth, divided
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon cornstarch
2 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley

Sprinkle steaks evenly with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.  Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add steaks; cook 3-4 minutes per side, or until desired degree of doneness. Remove steaks and keep warm. Reduce heat to medium; add shallots, garlic and mushrooms. Sauté 2 minutes. Add wine, 1/2 cup beef broth, rosemary and remaining salt and pepper. Increase heat to medium-high, and cook 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping pan to lose browned bits. Combine cornstarch and remaining 1/2 cup beef broth in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Return steaks to pan, and cook 1 minute until thoroughly heated. Remove and discard rosemary. Garnish with fresh parsley. NOTE: Head over to your local craft store to get heart shaped confetti, red or pink candles, and flowers to decorate your table!

 

If you do plan on staying at the house for this special day, the age old question arises…what will I do with the kiddos? You can be assured Valentine’s Day is a hard time to find a sitter, so I’ve found a cute, super easy craft that will keep your kids busy during your special time!

 

Each year kids are always asked to bring Valentines for parties at school and this can help make them more personable! Who wants to see the same 'ol same when getting a Valentine? Show your little ones how to make their own monster valentines and get creative!

 

Head on over to http://spoonful.com/crafts/monster-valentines to see your step by step instructions on how to make these little creatures!

 

If cooking not your expertise, you may want to go out for the night! I sought out the two best places here locally that have Valentine’s Day specials!

 

How about The Perfect Pear located Perry? For Valentine’s Day they will be serving several of their fabulous dinner plates as well as some new items including desserts for two!  Seating starts at 5:30pm 2/14 so you better call and get your reservation! (478) 224-7327.

 

Or you could treat your special someone to some authentic Italian food from Marco Ristorante Italiano in Warner Robins. For just $65 you can get their Valentine’s Day special that includes a 3 course meal and dessert! Add $25 and they will pair each course with a glass of wine! Call for reservations at (478) 330-7070.

 

Whether your staying at home with your loved ones, going out for a night on the town, or are single and ready to mingle, show yourself and others a little love this February 14th!

 

 

 

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February 7, 2014

Hit the Road, Jack!

Factor Number 8:  Get Out of There!

Get out of the office and get busy networking!  Every person you encounter throughout the day could be a potential client or know someone that could use your product or send your way.  Before you get started, though....Before you leave your house in the morning....Before you leave your office.....What do you need to have, either in your pocket, briefcase, purse or car?  BUSINESS CARDS!!!!!  DON'T leave home without these priceless pieces of art!

So, starting closest to "home", network with others in your industry.  This gives you an opportunity to talk about your product, which might work for one of their current clients.  (In the real estate industry, for example, we have Agent Open Houses to showcase our listings to agents from other firms.  If an agent has attended one of your events, your property will be top-of-mind for them should they have a suitable buyer. You want to market your product to someone that works with buyers.)

Networking is something you must do EVERY DAY, EVERY WHERE! It is just one way to "prospect". So where else can you network?
Attend social and community events.  It doesn't matter if they are business or personal.....just GO!  Dinner invitation?  RSVP with an enthusiastic: "YES"!  Ball game going on this weekend?  Grab a t-shirt with appropriate team colors and stick a stack of biz cards in with the sunscreen and sunflower seeds!  Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours or Speed Networking event?  These are no-brainers.....Networking is what these are MADE for!  GO!!!!  And make sure you have that magic stack of cards.  Non-profit event?  Maybe a 5k Mud-run? Put your cards in a plastic zip-top bag.  You never know when the conversation might turn to something related to your business when your hosing off the mud.

And how about running errands and waiting on the kids?  I have discussed my business at the salon with a guest in the next chair when she was talking to her stylist about a friend that was moving to the area.  Heck, we both had our heads covered in foils, roots getting processed, and nothing but a timer between us and a glam new "do".   So, we were definitely comfortable with each other from the start!  And how many hours of athletic, dance or music lessons and practice have you sat through?  When I am not working my business on my iPad while waiting, I have plenty of opportunity to ask a lot of questions of the other parents experiencing the same wait!  One of the moms I met through my son's baseball team last year is now a part of my creative "team", making holiday decorations for my December listings!

So how is anyone going to get to know who you are if you never go anywhere and/or you never tell them what you do?  Social events, community events, business meetings, running errands....... Always keep your business cards on hand to give out no matter where you go!

And of course there is always the "accidental" card drop......."Ma'am, I think you dropped something.  Here you go....Oh, you are a realtor?  My wife and I were just talking the other day......."

Now go grab a stack of those miracle marketers and hit the road, Jack!
 

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February 5, 2014

Shake, Rattle and Roll

 
Factor Number 7:  Getting back to basics.
In every industry, we have some basic "go-to" methods of generating business that we can always rely on, but who likes to stick to the basics?  Well, why not take the basics that work, keep them in your business plan, but shake them up a bit?  In my business, real estate Open Houses are a basic activity of the trade that have been around for YEARS!  If you ask agents whether they work or not, you will get the same answer:  Maybe, maybe not.  So why do them?

Because they get your product exposed.  They get YOU exposed.  They allow opportunity to meet new people.  They make your clients happy that you are promoting their property. And let's face it----they sometimes work.  I can track a lot of closings to an Open House as the initial point of contact.  And as an added benefit, I can say that I have met some amazing people at these events that are now very close friends that started out as clients!

But as a basic activity of your business plan, do you just slap an ad in the Sunday paper and stick a directional sign in the yard with a few balloons and grab a book to read while you are there?  Why not take the time to prepare for the event, and make it worth attending?  Give some serious thought to what you can do to advertise it better and make it an event your customers won't want to miss!  I personally like to celebrate as the host of a fun, Sunday afternoon Open House Party with balloons, refreshments and music!

So what are some basics of your industry, and how can you shake it up and make it rock?!?
 
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February 3, 2014

"Put Your Dollars Where It Makes More Cents"
 
 
Factor Number 6:   Where is your business coming from?

Return on investment (ROI) is a big deal when you are looking at budgets and how you allocate your marketing dollars.  Keep track throughout the year to determine where your business comes from , then do more of what is bringing you business, and quit doing what isn't!  Determine your budget for marketing, plug the funds into income-producing mediums and activities, and stick to your budget.  I receive hundreds of telemarketing calls each year, soliciting this marketing service and that marketing service that is "not like all those others". If it sounds to good to be true, it is.  Being self-employed is not for the lazy:  You have to do the work, and you have to do a lot of it!  Marketing takes a lot of time and effort, and if someone tells you they are going to get you exposed to millions of potential clients and send you more leads than you can handle, good luck with that.  After falling for a couple of these sales pitches, and having no viable leads,  I will tell you:  Do your homework.  Research these companies.  Go online as a consumer and see how easy they are to find. Then go back to your marketing plan, and plug in some better ideas that will generate more legitimate business!

Most of my business is repeat and referred business.  There is a huge compliment you can read into that:  My clients are happy with me and want to share their experience with others.  Now in my industry, most people don't buy houses often.  BUT,  they may know someone that is in the market for real estate.  By keeping in close contact with my clients, I stay top of mind!    The closing of the transaction doesn't end our relationship when we leave the table.  It is just the next PHASE of our relationship:  Their "Realtor for Life"!  There are so many ways you can stay in touch with your clients!  This is one of the things I enjoy the most about my career---Surprising my past clients with the unexpected!  Years and years ago, I bought a car from a successful, well-known car dealership.  After a week or so, I received a package in the mail that looked like a gift.  The dealership had sent a tin of designer cookies as a "Thank You" for our business.  A small gesture, but obviously, it left a lasting impression----This transaction was almost 20 years ago!

So get in touch with your creative side and have some fun!
 
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January 30, 2014

Today’s blog is the result of a rare occasion: A snow day in middle Georgia!

I took advantage of the snow day when writing the blog for today! While preparing for the first sales meeting of the New Year, agents at Golden Key Realty were asked to think about what worked and what didn't work in the success of our individual real estate businesses this year.  Having a couple of weeks to prepare for the meeting, I started with a giant calendar in front of me.  I took notes while looking through the various forms of documentation, some of which were new to my business in 2013.  I reviewed:   Facebook posts on my business pages, blogs, pictures, videos on my YouTube channel, my calendar/planner…I evaluated my closed transactions, current listings and active clients.  By the time I was finished with my review, I realized I had the rough draft of my 2014 Business Plan!  I also realized that this was actually looking like a much more realistic set of resolutions than the traditional, “Lose weight and exercise more”.  These were goals (AKA: Resolutions) I was excited about, and would definitely incorporate into my business for the year.

I came up with over a dozen key factors while preparing my business plan. As I looked over the list, I realized these are things that don't just apply to the real estate business, but to ANY business.  So a couple weeks ago, I started a blog series of posts that related to these business resolutions, and now being a third of the way through, here is a summary of the first five!  If you missed any of the first five detailed blogs, I encourage you to go back and take a look!  You can connect directly to my blog by clicking this link:  www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot.com

 

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January 27, 2014

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off to Work We Go!

 
Factor Number 5:  Stay fresh and creative.

Toward the end of each year, I start working on my business plan for the upcoming year.  But the last week of December, I fine-tune my goals, and add deadlines.  This year, I created a detailed monthly plan for the entire year.  I established specific goals for each month, but left room to add ideas throughout the year.  Having an on-going list of ideas makes it easier to roll out the new things you want to corporate into your business, especially when you have assigned deadlines to make them happen! Having someone to hold you accountable to achieving these goals is helpful.  I recently hired an assistant, and she makes sure everything on the list gets done, on time----no excuses!

Some of the ideas I use are a year or two in the works before I actually roll them out.  Toward the end of 2012, I decided to add decorative holiday swags to all my “For Sale” signs during the month of December, starting in 2013.  So after plotting the steps and deadlines on my 2013 calendar, in August I was prepared to hire someone to make them for me, and she had them ready by the weekend after Thanksgiving.  Obviously, this was something that required forethought and planning.    Another example is client closing gifts.  For years, I had a plan to complete a tangible gift to give to my clients at closing.  I knew what I wanted to do, I just kept putting off initiating the project.  But after putting it on my January Goal Sheet this year, I am happy to say it is complete, and ready to give to my clients!

My current list energizes and excites me every time I look at it! Along with a monthly focus, it has ideas for all seasons, holidays and a variety of events and activities I want to incorporate and complete throughout the year.  For example, my January plan has a focus on “Resolutions”, which can be expanded into many areas, and was the basis for this series of blog posts.  As I think of something new, I add it to the appropriate month.

Don't get stuck in the ho-hum, day-to-day, mundane tasks of your job.  If you constantly look for and think of ways to make things fresh and fun, your work will take on a totally different energy.  Don't think you have a job that allows for creativity?  Tell that to the young man with Down's Syndrome who was a grocery bagger.  He decided to personalize his service by dropping a cheerful thought  into each bag.  His customers loved it and it transformed the culture of the entire store.

Great ideas create great customer service. Great customer service keeps customers and clients coming back, and referring others to your business!  So what great ideas are you going to incorporate into your business this year?  I promise the more focused you are on thinking “purple” (see my January 22nd  blog post at www.janiepughsellshomes.blogspot.com for more on being “purple”), the more excited you will feel about your career.  Who needs vitamins when you have an awesome business plan to get you motivated every morning!

 
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January 24, 2014

"I Got the Power"

Janie Pugh and Claire Green of Golden Key Realty
learning about 2014 GAR contract updates
 Factor #4- Attend Continuing Ed Classes----And Not Just Because You HAVE To!

Knowledge is power, and when educational opportunities are maximized, you can turn your power into passion.  What results from this combination of power and passion is a high likelihood of success in your business!  In professions that require a license, there are a certain number of continuing education credits that are required to maintain the license.  Classes are offered at various times of the year, for various prices, on various topics and in various venues.  Classes may be offered in your local area, in-state, out of state, at dinner meetings, annual meetings, conventions and conferences, through satellite broadcasts, classroom settings with a live-instructor, on-line......the list is endless. Bottom line: You can get classes everywhere, so you have no excuse when it comes time to renew your license and you are running short on credit hours.  But what has me shaking my head with confusion is: Why would you go to classes just because it is required to maintain your license?  Tsk! Tsk! Tsk!

I love education. I love to learn and I am always looking for a new class to pick up some new ideas, techniques or concepts.  With technology changing at such a rapid pace, I try to attend technology classes as often as possible, taking copious notes and hanging on to every word. Technology is here to stay, and will be a continuous evolution, both professionally and personally. Those that don't stay on top of techno-changes are unfortunately going to be left behind. So now is the time to learn how to use it to your advantage!

You may not be required to have continuing education in your industry.  But it is easier to rise to the top of your profession if you attend industry-related classes, and attend them often, whether they are for educational credit or not.  Take what you learn, and practice what they teach!  Don't waste your time attending classes if you have no intention of taking what you learned and putting it to work.  If the only reason you are attending a class is because you need  the credit to maintain a license, then you are doing it for the wrong reason. Go to the classes to gain power and passion for your work!  Would you go to a doctor that only took classes that were required?  Or would you rather go to the one that stayed on top of the latest medical advances and technology? Would you rather go to someone that just does what they have to do to get by, or would you rather go to someone that is passionate about what they do, and eager to learn how to do it even better so they can be better service providers for their clients?

Being an education fanatic, I attend every class I can fit into my schedule.  And by the way,  I will proudly admit: I am the dork that likes to sit at the front of the room!  But, this is where I can best see, hear and interact with everything the instructor has to offer. I have gotten some real pearls in the classes I have attended over the years.  By incorporating the ideas into my business, it has grown exponentially, is constantly evolving and is a creative outlet that keeps my career fresh and exciting! Keep in mind, it is important not only to attend classes, but to pay close attention, takes notes and start a preliminary "Plan of Action" to fine-tune and finish when you get back to the office.  But above all, implement that "Plan"!  Anyone can sit through hundreds of thousands of hours of instruction, but if you never implement anything you learn, why bother?

Not only are continuing ed classes a learning opportunity, they are a chance to network amongst your peers and to develop relationships with professionals that may become future mentors. One of the most career-changing classes I have ever taken was a technology class (which was the first of many) I took a couple years ago taught by Juanita McDowell, Lead TEACHnology Trainer at InMotion Real Estate Institute.  She literally planted the seeds that changed the climate of my career, and for that, I will be forever grateful to her. She is always available to be a great sounding board for ideas, an expert in technology questions that are well beyond my scope of knowledge, and to be on the sidelines cheering for my success.  If I hadn't attended her class that was "voluntary", I would have never met this amazing mentor and friend!  Find someone in your field that you admire and respect, and whose teaching style you enjoy.  Be sure to find someone that has the spark you need to light your fire to get pumped and passionate about your career!

 Now......get to class!
 
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January 22, 2014

"Being Purple"

Factor Number 3:  Be unique!


Everyone has their own set of fingerprints, and so do you. Put your own handprint on everything you do and make your business practices and style unique! If you take the time to really think about your strengths and how they tie in with the responsibilities of your job, you can take those characteristics and build on them to personalize your business.

 
One of the things I love about travelling outside the area to conferences, annual meetings, certification courses and continuing education is the info and ideas I get from people outside my area.  These ideas may come from instructors or attendees, or they may come from recommended reading material. It is great to learn and get ideas from others, but don't try to be an exact copy of them. You are unique---find out what it is that makes you stand out and develop it with your own ideas and special touch!

This point is made perfectly clear in Seth Godin’s book, “Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable.”  It is a short read, and one I highly recommend.  The main idea is that there are probably hundreds of thousands of people in your industry, but in order for you to stand out, you have to find a way to be different, but in a useful way.  I put this idea to work for me in my business almost two years ago, and it changed my business at least 360 degrees!  I evaluated, assessed, planned, created and implemented changes that have made me absolutely love what I do for a living!  My attitude changed almost immediately, and my work was something I was excited about, every single day.  (And of course, I still am!)  The wheels are ALWAYS turning in my mind, and I can’t wait to implement and try new ideas.  Keeping things creative and fresh is so much more fun than getting stuck in a day-to-day rut, where everything stays the same.

So what are you going to do to stand out in your industry?  Start by thinking “purple”, and you will be off to a good start!

 
 
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January 17, 2014

"It's What I Like About You"

Factor Number 2:   Have you ever had someone ask you, “Why should I work with you and not someone else?”

I can't tell you how important it is to have a genuine, solid answer to this question, and to actually instill these unique characteristics into your business. Whether you are in health care, law, sales, management, finance, real estate, fitness, retail....whatever your industry, there are probably hundreds of thousands who do what you do, and consumers have choices.   So why would they choose you?
 

Give this some serious thought and be prepared to elaborate what makes you different.  If you really, truly stand out, your market presence and reputation should be enough, and they shouldn't even have to ask! But if you meet someone that is unfamiliar with you and/or your services, give them the highlights!  You don't have to share EVERYTHING you do...let them experience the special, less obvious perks of working with you, once they have committed to you.  What special services do you offer? What are the benefits to working with you vs. someone else?
 
Here is an example that comes to mind:  Years ago, before we moved to Warner Robins, I had bronchitis, and needed to get a prescription filled. A couple days later, I got a phone call from someone who was just calling to see if I was feeling better. Guess who it was? The pharmacist that filled my prescription! Nowadays, with all the healthcare privacy guidelines, they may not be allowed to make those follow up calls.  But my point is, I knew the reputation and basic expectations for the pharmacy and I am sure they had filled dozens of prescriptions that day. But because the pharmacist took the time to follow up with a phone call to check on me made me feel like I was the only customer they had that day, and they secured my business from then on!
 
Repeat and referred business is so important in any industry. Ask your clients to share their experience working with you by giving you a testimonial and/or sending you referrals!  You can use testimonials and written recommendations in a variety of ways.  Treat each and every client you work with like they are the only client you have.  No one wants to hear apologies and excuses for being late, not returning calls or coming through for them. If you are too busy to take care of them, they will find someone who has the time.  So as I mentioned in my post Wednesday, spend quality time with them and really listen to what they want and need, and follow up appropriately.


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January 15, 2014

“Resolutions” or “Goals”? The Revolution of the Business Plan

 
In preparing for the first sales meeting of the New Year, agents in my office at Golden Key Realty were asked to think about what worked and what didn't work in the success of their individual real estate businesses this year.  With a giant calendar in front of me for planning purposes, I took notes as I reflected on the year by looking through the various forms of documentation, some of which were new to my business in 2013.  I reviewed:   Facebook posts on my business pages, blogs, pictures, videos on my YouTube channel, my calendar/planner…I evaluated my closed transactions, current listings and active clients.  By the time I was finished with my review, I realized I had the rough draft of my 2014 Business Plan!  I also realized that this was actually looking like a much more realistic set of resolutions than the traditional, “Lose weight and exercise more”.  These were goals (AKA: Resolutions) I was excited about, and would definitely incorporate into my business for the year.
 
I came up with over a dozen key factors while preparing my business plan. As I looked over the list, I realized these are things that don't just apply to the real estate business, but to ANY business.  So over the next couple weeks (in order to keep the posts brief), I will post these factors as a series of blog posts.  So if you want to join me in changing the way you work in 2014, let’s go!
 
Factor Number 1:  Stop thinking about your career as a TITLE, and look at it as an opportunity to build relationships with everyone you encounter.  Now, I am not talking about giving a 60 second infomercial on what YOU can do for THEM.  I am talking about getting to know someone and most importantly: “What can we do for each other?”
Here is an example:  I had a client that was 93 years old when he passed away a year ago, just before Christmas.  I had met him at an Open House I was hosting when I first moved to Warner Robins.  He didn't do any business with me for several years, but I followed up with him after that afternoon and stayed in constant contact with him over the years.  Little did I know, this was someone that would make a tremendous impact on how I would conduct my business!  After meeting him 7 years ago, we had many long conversations, either in my office, over lunch, or while driving him to the hospital when he was ill and didn't have any family close by that could take him.  We didn't just talk about business; we talked about our families, the Depression, World War II, politics, finance, vacations, the economy, poker (!), etc. Although we did eventually close on several transactions together, the most important thing about this gentleman is what we did for each other:  We took the time to visit, and genuinely LISTENED to one another.  He shared wisdom from when he was a young boy, and how the work ethic and determination he developed over the years helped him go from a young orphan to one of the most successful salesmen in the company he worked for:  Nabisco.  This was DECADES ago, but the ethic and determination are still supremely superior business practices required in today's markets.
 
So by me “doing” for him (i.e., listening and spending time with him), he did even more for me, without even realizing it:  He motivated me to maintain a firm work ethic and determination, to always do my best, and to not think of myself first---take care of others first and you will always be taken care of.  There are so many memories and lessons learned that I still remember and laugh about when talking with his son, who lives in Texas, and with whom I still do business.  These are life-long clients that I now consider friends, and almost feel like part of their extended family.  Had I not taken the time to develop a relationship with that sweet man, I would have missed out on some wonderful memories and unforgettable wisdom.  I still get a little teary-eyed, knowing that I will never have an opportunity to have lunch with him, and laugh about lessons learned as a young, up and coming professional "back in the day."
 
Those you encounter daily may not be in the market for the product or service you provide right now, but by listening and building relationships, you just might need each other someday!
 
 
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January 10, 2014

I had the privilege of hearing our new Warner Robins Mayor, Randy Toms, speak at the Central Georgia Board of Realtors yesterday.  He is a bundle of energy and enthusiasm that is simply contagious!  I was so pleased to hear that he is on the same page I am, with regards to our community.  Like me and other Realtors across the country, he knows how important real estate sales are to economic growth.  But real estate growth depends on so many other factors-many are out of our control.  But by getting actively involved in our community, we can make a difference!  And it all starts with positive, enthusiastic ideas and attitudes!

As we have all heard for as many years as many of us can remember, there has always been the potential that the base will realign and close, or that jobs will be lost.  We are so dependent on the base for sustaining employment, that we are terrified at the thought of what will happen if it really DOES happen?  Have we put most of our eggs in one basket?  This is a scary thought!

Relocating from a major metropolitan area 7 years ago, this has always been such a foreign concept to me.  When you are in a large city, one company closing may not have a tremendous affect on everyone in town, but in a town the size of Warner Robins, it can be devastating.  So why DO we put so many eggs in one basket?  We have to be planning and preparing a Plan B, should that actually happen, and I am confident that Mayor Toms has that Plan B in the works.  I see that there is so much potential in this town for growth and development, and I really think Mayor Toms is ready to get this town moving!  We need new businesses and corporations to come see what we have to offer.  For example, just take a look at our schools:  We have some of the highest rated schools in the state, right here in Houston County!  I was talking to a customer the other day that is a teacher.  She recently relocated from another GA school district, and she has noticed the difference in teachers was night and day----She said the attitude and drive of the Houston County teachers is that they take PRIDE in the success of their students, and they take it personally when they don't.  This is one of the reasons, after an very short time being here, she has fallen in love with Warner Robins! Her excitement and enthusiasm as she talked about the school where she teaches was refreshing!  This is the attitude we all need to have when we talk about Houston County and all it has to offer!

Let's get excited about this community!  We have folks that live and relocate here that have come from all over the world (hence, the nickname "International City").  Let's embrace, learn and enjoy what these different cultures bring to our area!  Let's get excited about new businesses opening their doors, and support them with our local dollars!  Let's share with people from outside the area what Houston County is all about, and get them to come visit, and maybe they will want to come back on a more permanent basis.

On New Year's Eve, downtown Perry was THE place to be, and there were thousands of folks that will agree.  We had lots of locals, but we had loads of people that came from out of the area to enjoy a fun and festive celebration, attending the first annual Buzzard Drop!  Yes, I said BUZZARD!  The merchants were slammed with customers, food and beverages were sold out at the local restaurants, the New Perry Hotel had NO rooms left at the inn, and everyone had a wonderful time celebrating what is sure to be an amazing year.....One that I personally think is going to be one of the best ever!  And they all came to watch and celebrate with a BUZZARD descending from the sky at midnight.  What was the draw?  Was it the bird?  Heck, no!  It was the excitement and enthusiasm generated by the locals that caught the attention of thousands!  Many of those attending commented they didn't even know about Carroll Street before that night, and fell in love with all the wonderful shoppes, restaurants, hotels and businesses that line the quaint, downtown street.

Now this kind of event doesn't just happen without the hard work, dedication, creativity, and motivation to make a difference.  Perry Mayor Jimmy Faircloth is doing an amazing job leading the community in an upward direction, moving and shaking everyone into joining him to make Perry one up and coming, super-cool place to be!  Perry is ready for new businesses, they are ready to welcome newcomers to the area and in turn, we are ready to get the real estate industry, not just back on its feet, but up and RUNNING!!!!

It is going to take all of us having the enthusiasm and excitement these leaders have in our communities, and to go out and share the contagious spirit that will certainly spread.  It is going to require SYNERGY from everyone, and I can't WAIT to see the results!!!

 

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June 5, 2013

M and T Meats in Hawkinsville, GA is a little hidden secret you will want to discover for yourself! Make the short drive to check out this awesome meat market! In addition to outstanding customer service, they have an amazing selection of meats, fish, seafood, country ham, frozen foods, prepared salads, jams, jellies, sauces, pickles, Big Green Eggs (and all the gadgets gizmos and cookbooks to go with), and more! We went out to check it out last weekend on the recommendation of a friend, and came home with a cooler full of assorted fish, (Mahi Mahi, red snapper, tuna steaks, grouper and scallops) a huge bag of fresh Italian green beans (already snapped---and only $1.59/lb!), and a pork loin stuffed with jalapenos, cream cheese and wrapped in bacon. We have been putting fish on the Big Green Egg all week, and I can tell you, this is some of the best fish I have ever had! My favorite has been the blackened Mahi Mahi with cheese grits. 

Go ahead and check them out! They are open Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am - 6 pm. Check them out on their website, http://mtmeatco.com/ or look for them on Facebook.

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April 8, 2013

Now that everyone is getting back from Spring Break and MLB (Go Atlanta Braves!) has everyone pumped and in the mood, it is time to get back into the Warner Robins American Little League (WRALL) baseball swing and PLAY BALL! Games start back up on Monday, April 8, 2013.

WRALL baseball and softball games started in March and will continue through mid-May when the various All-Star teams start preparing for the tournaments that will play through mid-August.   If you are not familiar with WRALL and the success of this local program, in addition to numerous District and State championships over the years, in 2007, the 11-12 year old division won the baseball World Series, in 2009, the 11-12 year old softball team won the World Series and in 2010, they won the 11-12 year old softball World Series. 

The success of this program is largely due to the hundreds of dedicated players, parents, coaches, and team moms that spend countless hours preparing to play in these games.  There is a lot of "behind-the-scenes" activity before the first ball is pitched, and all deserve a big THANK YOU for all the hard work!

If you are interested in attending these games, the schedules and field info are posted on the website at: www.wrall.org.  Parking and admission to the games is free, so it is the best entertainment deal in town!  If you are hungry after the game, you can find several nearby restaurants such as El Jaliscience or Casa Mexico (Mexican), the Mellow Mushroom or Stevie B’s (pizza), or Shane’s Rib Shack (barbecue).  And I am sure you will see a few hungry baseball “stars” there, too!

Here's to a wonderful baseball season!  Good luck to all these great kids! 

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March 20, 2013

If you are a "Duck Dynasty" fan, this post is for you......                                    

Although the Roberson men are avid DUCK hunters, they need to rely on a qualified, professional Realtor to get what they want when it comes to house hunting.

Duck Dynasty, CEO, Willie, decides that as a result of their financial success, his parents, Phil and Miss Kay need to make an upgrade in their living quarters, and move to a better house.  Having recently moved up himself, he gets them together with the agent he used. Unfortunately for Phil and Miss Kay, (and much to Willie's dismay and typical frustration), the agent was more interested in showing them what HE (the agent) thought they should be looking at (think dollar signs) rather than what THEY (the potential buyer) had in mind.  (Phil and Miss Kay in a mansion on a golf course?  "That's a TERRIBLE idea!") As a result, the agent lost a potential sale, and they stayed in their humble abode, complete with an occasional alligator in the yard.

If I have heard it once, I have heard it dozens of times when working with disgruntled buyers:  The agent they had worked with only showed them what the AGENT wanted to sell them.....Not what THEY wanted.

Finding an agent that will take the time to sit down with you and do a "Buyer's Interview" is critical.  The Buyer's Interview is an opportunity to fact-find and build rapport with one another.  As a result, the agent must have a clear and solid understanding of what the buyer is looking for, and the buyer must have a clear understanding of what they can expect from their agent.  When you are buying a house, you are making one of the largest financial decisions you will probably ever make in your lifetime.  You will, likely, be living with the choice you make for several years---It is not like a pair of shoes that you can return if they don't really "fit", or just buy another pair that looks a little better.  You are getting ready to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars:  You want to work with someone that will take the time to find out what you truly want/need, and will put your best interest first and foremost.  

Buying a home is a multi-step process, and you need to work with a qualified, LICENSED professional that understands the importance of integrity and a solid work ethic.  Over my years in real estate, I have developed my own systems for both Buyers AND Sellers, and it all starts with an interview:  You of me, and me of you.  

If you are ready to start looking for a new home and would like to set up an interview, just give me a call, Jack!  I can be reached at 478-973-2684 or by email at: jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net.

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January 14, 2013

26 Random Acts of Kindness

Today marks the one month anniversary of the tragic event of the Sandy Hook Elementary school massacre, December 14, 2012.  The tragedy was devastating to our country.  Whether you knew someone personally or not, it hit us all hard.  I have never cried so much for people I didn’t know than I did for those helpless victims.  No one can or will ever be able to make any sense out of what happened.
 
Just as religion and politics have always been the source of controversial and oftentimes, heated conversations, so has the protection of our communities as it relates to gun control. I don’t choose to start a heated discussion over gun control, because this was not merely an assault because there was a gun readily available.  Violence isn’t a one-step solution any more than it is a one-source problem.  There are mental health issues, parental responsibility/accountability issues, gun safety issues, and so on.  None of these are easy issues to address, nor are there any quick fixes. 
 
The issue of gun control?  I am going to leave that one alone.  I have my own opinion, and I choose to keep that to myself.
 
As far as the mental health component is concerned?  I can tell you a few things I learned after having worked in the mental health industry for many years:  MANY people do not get the mental health care they should either because they can’t or they won’t.  Many, who ARE diagnosed, refuse to take the medication to control the disease.  Many can’t AFFORD to take medication because they lack insurance.   
 
So what about parental responsibility and accountability?  I am STILL scratching my head, trying to figure out why the mother of the shooter kept weapons and ammunition in her home, knowing she had a family member with a diagnosed, documented mental disorder. 
 
I am not going to try to solve all the problems of the world.  I am going to stay in my own vicinity and do what I can in my own way, and that is to start with what I consider to be one of the roots of the problem:  Raising children that are kind and respectful of others.  I grew up in a medical family, and my college degree is in public and community health education.  I was raised and educated to believe largely in preventative measures to avoid potential issues and problems.  You can’t put a Band-Aid on a cancerous tumor and expect it to get well.  You are better off trying to prevent the disease with what we know to be cancer prevention behaviors like eating right, not smoking, etc. The problem with violence needs to be dealt with pro-actively by taking preventative measures. 
 
Now don’t get me wrong:  I am not saying this will totally solve the problem of violence in our society.  I am merely stating that it is my own personal way of contributing to the solution.  I am but one person, but I would rather not sit around and complain about who is not doing what, or who is to blame for everything that is wrong with the world.  I would rather use that energy doing something positive and constructive to add a bit of awesome to someone’s day---A bit of awesome that may impact them enough to keep in their memory bank for a lifetime, as was the case in several of the examples I gave that I personally experienced.
 
So 26 Random Acts of Kindness later, and I am hooked.  I had the most peaceful, relaxing and laid back Christmas I have had in a long time, and I attribute it to the fact that my focus was different this year.  I spent a lot of time thinking about what I could do to make someone’s day.  I had an eagle eye out to catch other’s “doing good” so I could share those examples.  I can’t walk past a grocery cart in the parking lot without taking it to the front of the store.  I can’t walk past a display of flowers without the urge to buy some for someone.  I can’t let one of my clients move in to their new home without taking them dinner on moving day.  I can’t see a homeless person without extending a helping hand.  My heart is in a different place.  I had a tough year this past year, and spent a lot of time concerned about myself and all the issues and problems I had to deal with and/or figure out.  What I now realize is how trivial those things are in comparison to the loss of so many beloved lives. 
 
After the murders in Newtown, I decided to dedicate 26 days of kindness to honor each life lost, in search of the good in humankind.  Whether it be a random act I personally did for someone else, one that was performed by one of my kids, husband or other family member, one that had been done to me, or one that was suggested by another:  I decided to focus on being the positive change that I wanted to see.  (Thanks, Gandhi for the great advice!)   The very day I took my mind off myself, and starting to focus on everyone else, everything changed.  I don’t know if the things that bothered me before went away, or if I just quit worrying about what I couldn’t change or control.  As soon as I put my focus in the right place, everything else seemed to take care of itself.  I can’t control the economy.  I can’t control gas prices.  I can’t control whether or not my clients are able to get a mortgage or not.  I can’t control maniacs with guns.  What I can control is my attitude, how I treat others, and the example I set.
 
I started posting 26 Random Acts of Kindness as a tribute to the children and professionals that lost their lives in the senseless massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary, and I plan to do so again starting on December 14, 2013.  I would love for you to send me examples of things you have done, things that have been done to you, or acts you have witnessed.  And with your permission, share them as suggestions for the 2013 Random Acts of Kindness. 
 
If you haven’t seen the posts, rather than do a re-cap on this blog, you can find them on the daily posts on either of my Facebook pages over the last month: https://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGoldenKeyRealty or https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoInWarnerRobinsGa
 
Sometimes it takes a tragedy to make us realize how lucky we are.  Let’s learn from these sweet babies and the teachers that tried to protect them, and never take a single day for granted.  

Janie Pugh

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December 7, 2012

Several years ago, my husband gave me a digital photo frame for Christmas. Who knew how many memories would come to mind as a result of this gift!?! Birthday, holidays, graduations, etc. But some of my favorite pictures, of course, are those of Christmas. Traditional get togethers with friends, celebrations with family, and of course, the annual picture of William running from his room and "sliding into home" (AKA: the foyer by the Christmas tree), as we announce that Santa DID make it to Kathleen, GA the night before, and he did good!

 

As I always do at the end of the year, I reflect on the events of the year, and yes, we have had a really tough year. The economy, political dis-ease and unrest, natural disasters that have affected families and friends... I could go on. But I won't. My eyes are turned toward what is ahead, not what is behind. It is on being the change I want to see. Each of us need to look at 2013 as a year to get out a make a difference.


But for now, enjoy your family. Give them loads of hugs and tons of kisses. Tell them you love them and what a difference they make in your world. Spend quality time with your kids. But first, turn off the computer, and put down the cell phone. Perform random acts of kindness. Be a blessing to someone that needs a bit of cheer. Simply enjoy the sights, sounds, tastes and scents of the season!

Whatever you are celebrating this season, enjoy it and be blessed!

Peace, love and all things good!

 

December 1, 2012

Santa Has Been Spotted in Warner Robins!

 
Santa has been spotted, and he is making the rounds of Houston County in the next couple weeks.  It looks like our community is ready to welcome him with lots of Decked Halls and Jingling Bells! 

This Saturday is the day for parades!  Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville will be marching all day!  The 55th Annual Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will be Saturday, December 1, starting at 10 am. The parade will commence at the intersection of Watson Blvd. and Houston Road. Local artist and rising Nashville star Colby Dee will be this year's Grand Marshal. Bundle up and head on out for a fun morning!  Later in the day, bring the family out to Perry to enjoy Christmas at the Square in Downtown Perry on Carroll Street, on Saturday, December 1. The Christmas Parade starts at 4 pm, and runs from Main Street down Gen. C. Hodges Blvd. Centerville will host their Annual Lighted Christmas Parade a bit later at 7:00pm, and should commence close to the new library on Gunn Road.  

The Perry Area Historical Museum will host an "Old Fashioned Christmas" at the museum on Saturday, December 1, from 1:00-3:00. The museum is located at 901 Northside Drive in Perry. Come enjoy a delightful old- fashioned Christmas with friends at the Perry Museum. The event will be hosted by characters from Perry's yesteryears, showcase a special Christmas exhibit, provide carolers for a Christmas sing-a-long, and teach the children how to make Christmas crafts. There is no admission charge and refreshments will be served. For more information, go to their website:  
http://www.perryhistoricalsociety.org

The second annual HODAC Christmas Tour of Homes will be held on Sunday, December 2, from 2-6 pm. There will be six beautifully decorated homes in Statham's Landings Subdivision. There are lots of great door prizes and raffle items available again this year. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 the day of the Tour. You can purchase your tickets at any of the following locations: Hodac on Watson Blvd., Golden Key Realty on S. Houston Lake Road, SunTrust Bank on Watson Blvd., SunTrust Bank on Hwy 96, SunTrust Bank on Houston Lake Road, Phillip's Furniture on Watson Blvd., and the Landings Golf Club Pro Shop. Tickets are $20.00 before the tour and $25.00 the day of the tour. All proceeds to benefit HODAC, Inc. founded in 1971, which provides education, prevention and intervention programs and services that impact the health and welfare of Georgia citizens locally and throughout the state.

Also on Sunday, December 2, at 6 pm, come back to Perry for the traditional Lighting of the Christmas Tree and storefronts by the Perry Players Lamplighter. Free hot chocolate, free Picture at the Manger, and more.

  Santa will be at Golden Key Realty on Saturday, December 8, from 2-4 pm. Come see what Mrs. Claus and her elves have in store for the kiddos this year!  They have lots of games, activities, and refreshments you won't want to miss!  Great photo opp to include in your Christmas cards this year! Golden Key Realty is located at 526 S. Houston Lake Road, Warner Robins, GA.   

Christmas on Carroll in Perry is Saturday, December 8, with stores and restaurants keeping extended hours.....6-8 pm. This is another chance to Shop Small, supporting and keeping our small businesses thriving in our community.

The Perry Players Community Theater will perform "Southern Hospitality" at the theater located at 909 Main Street in Perry. Shows are December 7-9 and December 12-16 at 7:30 pm. Sunday matinees will be performed at 2:30 on December 9th and 16th. The play is a sequel to last years hilarious show "Christmas Belles" with everyone's beloved characters, and introducing some new ones, too! The favorite Futrelle sisters are back in a whole new mess! This time, their beloved hometown of Fayro, Texas is on the verge of extinction, so the sisters have to band together in a desperate attempt to save it.  Along with all the despaire, add an engagement, full blown mid-life crisis, a Civil War battle reenactment and a dead body.  The combination is sure to be a  hilarious good time! For more information and/or to get tickets, click on the link to the Perry Players website 
www.perryplayers.org

Runners and 10k-ers, grab your shoes and come out to Lane Southern Orchards on Sunday, December 9 for The Pecan Tree 10.4K. Start time is 3:04 pm, with registration starting at 2:04 pm. The race will be run through the pecan groves and along smooth, dirt roads. The proceeds from the race go to support GA 4-H and Peach County 4-H.

The Museum of Aviation will host their most popular workshop of the season: Science with Santa. Geared toward kids from pre-K through 5th grade, participants will perform a wide-range of experiments with a holiday theme. Since Santa loves science too, he will also be there to take pictures with each student. Come join Santa, December 20, 9 am to 12 pm. Cost is $30.  To register, go to the Museum of Aviation's website
www.moaeducation.com and go to the event calendar and educational events to pull up the registration form.
 
Have a festive time this month!
 
November 15, 2012
 
What Do You and Warren Buffett Have in Common?
 

 

 

I am in a small ladies investment club that meets monthly. We each have a stock that we study and report on each month, as well as reporting on any good information we have found on stocks worth considering for purchase. Yesterday, as I was reviewing the news of the stock market, I stumbled upon an article on Warren Buffett. I say I “stumbled”, but I actually Google him every month to see what he is doing, and if he has done anything notable. I like to learn from successful people, and when you are looking at improving your financial health, he is a good one to follow. The surprising thing I learned about this man is that he seems to be remarkably normal: He has a favorite chair with a stack a books piled up next to it that he refers to and reads daily, he reads several newspapers every day and he eats ICE CREAM for breakfast! But when I hear the word “billionaire”, I think of an untouchable celebrity that lives in a mansion, drives an expensive car, and has a different Rolex for every day of the week. However, for this billionaire, what I found out is that he has lived in the same house for over 60 years. He bought his current home in 1958 for $31,500. He drives a 6 or 7 year old car. And, he reads a LOT. Interestingly, a good amount of the information he acquires is from the internet. FREE information, which he would gladly pay half his net worth just to have the information available.
 
We had a wonderful sales meeting this week at Golden Key Realty. My broker, Gwen Giles, does an exceptional job sharing good advice with her agents, and this week was awesome. Her ideas are practical and easy to implement, if you will just follow up and do as she suggests. The best information in the world won't do you any good if you don't do anything with it! If you refuse good advice, your plans will fail. But if you take good counsel, you can watch them succeed! The bottom line for this week's sales meeting, in summary: READ. Every day. Pick up a book and read 10 pages every day. Not the fluff-stuff, the trashy novel, or latest celebrity magazine. Pick up a good non-fiction book that will help improve your business, whether your business is selling real estate in central Georgia, flying a C-17 for the United States Air Force or building and leading a high-performing team to have a successful Black Friday sale!
 
I love to read. I always have. I have stacks of books in my office. I have stacks of books on my bedside table. I have a Kindle in my purse that I pull out when I am stuck in traffic, waiting on an appointment or sitting at a home inspection. I love that we have such easy access to so much information! As I read through the daily Facebook posts this month of Thanksgiving, I enjoy reading the shared blessings and thanks of my internet friends. I realize how thankful I am for all that I have and all that is yet to be. But I am also thankful for the basic foundation I got in Kindergarten: Reading, writing and arithmetic; skills that allow me to absorb and use the loads of available information and apply it everywhere. I am especially thankful that I learned how to multiply double-digits in the 70's. If I had to learn it using today's math, I would never get out of 5th grade!
 
So I want to leave you with a recommendation of one of my favorite books, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas Stanley and William Danko.  In these times of economic struggle, it is a good read for anyone that wants to learn some good, practical financial tips. You might be surprised who could be living next door!

November 7, 2012

 

I have had several people ask lately about the Affordable Care Act that is part of the new health care bill.  The question is: Does the new law impose a 3.8 percent tax on profits from the sale of my home?

The answer is, no, with just a few exceptions. The new 3.8% tax will apply to the “unearned” income of “High Income” taxpayers. “Unearned” income is earnings from capital investments, such as capital gains, rental income, dividends and interest income.  The taxable portion of the unearned income that is subject to both income and the new Medicare tax is the amount of income gained from these sources, minus expenses associated with earning that income.

The sale must net a PROFIT of $250,000 in the sale of your PERSONAL residence, or the first $500,000 for married couples, in order to incur 3.8 percent tax.  Only those with Adjusted Gross Incomes (AGI) over $200,000 per year (or $250,000 for couples filing jointly) will be subject to the tax.   With these high figures, very few people will be affected. But don’t think that those with incomes over $200,000 ($250,000) are automatically taxed:  It still won’t apply unless the PROFITS from the sale of the PRIMARY RESIDENCE are $250,000 or more ($500,000 for married couples).  According to the Internal Revenue Service, in order to qualify for the $250,000 ($500,000) exclusion, you must be the owner of the home, and have lived in it as your primary residence for at least two years out of five years prior to the sale of the property. This exclusion does NOT apply to vacation homes or rental properties.  Using the September 2012 national median sales price of $183,900, as reported by the National Association of Realtors, you can see the vast majority of homeowners will not be affected, since the sale of a $183,900 home couldn’t possibly generate a $250,000 profit.

If you have questions, or would like to discuss the sale of your property, I would be happy to help.  Please give me a call at 478-973-2684 or send me an email at: jpugh@goldenkeyrealty.net

 

November 5, 2012

DON'T FORGET!!!!  Tomorrow is a big day......GET OUT AND VOTE!!!  To see your assigned polling location, check your voter registration card.  You can also click on this link for find polling locations and addresses: http://www.houstoncountyga.com/residents/board-of-elections/polling-locations.aspx   In order to vote, you must show a photo ID when voting in person.

Acceptable IDs are:

~Any valid state or federal government issued photo ID, including a Voter ID Card issued by your county registrar's office or the Georgia Department of Driver Services (DDS)
~Georgia Driver's License, even if expired
~Valid employee photo ID from any branch, department, agency, or entity of the U.S. Government, Georgia, or any county, municipality, board, authority or other entity of this state
~Valid U.S. passport ID
~Valid U.S. military photo ID
~Valid tribal photo ID
 
November 2, 2012
 
 
I'm a Leader. Unless It's Dark.  Then You Go First!

 

Halloween brings out the creepies, ghosts, and goblins!  Haunted houses have us paying to be scared senseless. But as I was driving to a listing appointment yesterday, I had to laugh about a memory of a creepy house that a client wanted to see, years ago, before I moved to Georgia.

 

As a brand newly licensed Realtor® in the State of Tennessee, I was eager to please my clients, willing to go the extra mile in order to find them a perfect, new home.  Little did I know, the “extra mile” was going to take me on a 10-county house-hunting expedition!

While I was an agent in Tennessee, my keypad gave me access to every lock box in the state---I had no limits to where I could sell properties, as long as I was willing to make the drive.  I lived in Knoxville, but if someone wanted to see a property in Memphis, I could show it to them.  Now, of course, I wouln't go to that extreme-I would simply refer a client to a Memphis agent.  But you get the idea.  The advantage was that if we had clients that wanted to see properties in outlying counties, it wasn’t a problem.

I was working with my second client as a Realtor®, and I was ready to impress them with my knowledge of the area and newly-learned skills I had gotten in the classroom.  I was ready to give them a tour of Knoxville, but they wanted to see properties in remote locations, as well.  They weren’t particular about what county they lived; they just wanted it to be rural, with privacy and acreage.  They were fine with a house that needed some repairs:  They were cash buyers, so my search required no limits as to whether the house was a fixer-upper or not.  I went to work searching for properties in their price-range, with the minimum required acreage and house that was suitable for the needs of their family.  In order to have several properties for them to consider, they asked me not to limit the search by county.  The search ended up with properties expanding across 10-counties:  Knox, Blount, Anderson, Morgan, Sevier, Roane, Grainger, Union, Loudon and Jefferson counties.

Now, in the life of a real estate professional, you never know what each new day will bring, which is one of the things most appealing about being in the business.  It is also one of the things that causes the most anxiety….but can make for some great stories!  So, here goes:

We traveled through Knox County. We searched high and low in Loudon County, and a few places in Blount County with elevations that made our ears pop. We drove up hills in Sevier County that made my brakes rebel and smoke on the way back down.  In spite of the miles racking up on the odometer, I was still good with it.  I was driving a Ford Expedition that was going through gas like water, but I was bound and determined to make sure my clients were well taken care of.  (I even had a cooler of bottled water and a basket of snacks in the back seat in case anyone needed refreshment!)

The day was coming to an end, and they wanted to see one more…..The one they thought for sure was,  “The One.”  It was located in an unincorporated town in Morgan County called, Petros.  (Pronounced Pee-Tross.)  Petros, at one time, was a coal mining town, and the home of Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (which closed in 2009).  The movie, October Sky, filmed several coal mine and town scenes in Petros.

To give you a little history and to set the stage for the showing that night…..Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is an old prison that opened in 1896.  The original prison was a wooden structure, but was later replaced in the 1920s with a castle-like building constructed from stone mined by prisoners from a rock quarry on the property.  As of 2008 Brushy Mountain was the oldest operating prison in Tennessee.

The prison is almost completely surrounded by rugged wooded terrain in a remote section of the Cumberland Plateau. Escape attempts were infrequent and almost always unsuccessful. The best-known escape attempt occurred on June 10, 1977, when James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., escaped by climbing over a fence, along with six other inmates.  Ray was captured less than two days later in a rugged mountain terrain less than three miles from the prison.

In its final years of operation, Brushy Mountain had a capacity of 584 inmates, of all custody levels.  It kept a maximum security designation due to the ninety six bed maximum security annex within the prison walls. These ninety six beds were used to house the states most troublesome inmates.

So this is where the house was that my clients wanted to see:  In Petros, TN. They were ready to buy, and I was ready to write an offer!  So setting aside all sense fear and anxiety and putting on a confident face, we headed up to Morgan County to find that the house had no electricity turned on, and the sun was well on its way down behind the hills.  We were soon to be in the dark…..In Morgan County…..Where James Earl Ray had escaped from the pen back in the day.  No problem. I can do this. These being my earlier, less experienced days, I didn’t have a “tool kit” put together that held all the tools of the trade I now keep in my car, such as a flashlight.  But since it was dusk, we could still see a bit from the outside.  The INSIDE of the house was another story.  For some reason, all the windows in the house were covered with wrapping paper, so no light was able to come through the windows.  The walls were paneled throughout the house, adding to the darkness of the building.  We pretty much had to feel our way through the house as our eyes adjusted to the lack of light.  I kept telling myself, “It’s fine…What are you expecting to find?  A dead body? Perhaps an escaped convict?”  Come on!  I can DO this!  We headed to the back of the house to check out the last bedroom at the end of the hall.  Ready to point out the closet features of the home, I opened the closet door and had to jump out of the way of SOMETHING falling out of the attic space in the top of the closet!  I turned around and bolted out of the house, most likely screaming some absurd, high-pitched squeal that did nothing to add to the professional image I was trying so hard to maintain!

Back in the car, heart pounding, and sure a dead body had just fallen through the ceiling, I realized I had left my clients in the house.  Catching my breath and trying to get my heart rate back to a comfortable pace, I looked up to see that they were on the way out of the house and headed toward the car.  They got in the car with a chuckle (and I am sure a big eye-roll), and stated, “Now THAT was one deadly foam mattress pad!”

I didn’t get nominated for Realtor of the Year that year.

But, I did sell them a house.  Just not in Petros.


October 30, 2012

Tomorrow is Halloween, so here are some tips to keep the kiddos safe! Have a Happy Halloween!

ON THE TRICK-OR-TREAT TRAIL: 
•A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. 
•If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home.

•Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat. 


Because pedestrian injuries are the most common injuries to children on Halloween, remind Trick-or Treaters: 
•Stay in a group and communicate where they will be going. 
•Carry a cell phone for quick communication. 
•Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. 
•If no sidewalk is available, walk at the far edge of the roadway facing traffic. 
•Never cut across yards or use alleys. 
•Only cross the street as a group in established crosswalks (as recognized by local custom). Never cross between parked cars or out driveways. 
•Don't assume the right of way. Motorists may have trouble seeing Trick-or-Treaters. Just because one car stops, doesn't mean others will! 
•Law enforcement authorities should be notified immediately of any suspicious or unlawful activity. 

© 10/09 American Academy of Pediatrics

October 23, 2012
Moving In and Out of Season
 

October is one of my favorite times of the year.  Not only are the temperatures more comfortable, but the evolution of the seasons from autumn to winter has special characteristics that I always look forward to.  The changing of the leaves always makes me feel re-charged in one sense, and relaxed and content in another.  Along with the better weather, there are so many activities and events going on during the fall, and we are never at a loss for things to do. 

 

This past weekend, I traveled with my family and a couple friends to stay the weekend in the Smoky Mountains.  Being a native of East Tennessee, those Great Smoky Mountains were pretty much in my backyard as a child.  I moved to upstate (Ithaca) New York when I was 12 years old, where I also experienced tremendously beautiful scenery.  Quite remarkably, the area I lived was very similar to East Tennessee with its gorges, waterfalls,, lakes and mountains.  Fall in upstate New York is breathtaking, and a wonderful place to live!  I remember the magnificent Ithaca sunsets on Cayuga Lake that are the subject of songs and photos, and backdrop to many special events. 

 

This past weekend in Tennessee, the leaves were peaking, and the color was breathtaking! We took the scenic route back to Georgia this time so we a better view than just interstate.  I am so glad we chose to take the long way home because there was so much to see!  Along with the usual wildlife, we saw a herd of elk in a field---not something I have ever seen before.  We drove past some places from my childhood and early college years that were especially meaningful to me and my family, for one reason or another. A lot of history and heritage for my family in those mountains, and I am blessed to have such warm memories.  I came home in an especially peaceful state of mind.  

 

Back in the 80's, when it came time to go to college, I headed back to the hills of Tennessee to attend the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  After graduating, I lived there for nearly 23 years prior to moving to Georgia 7 years ago.   I love having friends and family in many parts of the country!

 

Moving can be stressful, or it can be an exciting adventure.  I have always tried to keep a positive perspective on relocation, and the opportunity to make new friends and experience new things.  Whenever I have moved to a new area, I have worked quickly to learn as much as I can about my new home.  Having an incurable curiosity, this works to the advantage of my clients, as I can be a  community resource of information.  I love to introduce and welcome our new neighbors to this area.  I am sympathetic to the challenges of getting established in an unfamiliar place, and work hard to help my clients overcome any hurdles that may come up.

 

Starting out completely unfamiliar with my new middle Georgia home, I had a lot to learn!  After lots of research and loaded with lots of great information, I decided to create a Facebook page to share.   If you want to find out what's going on in and around Houston County, Georgia on a daily basis, be sure to check it out:  https://www.facebook.com/365ThingsToDoInWarnerRobinsGa.  For more home tips, ideas and real estate, check out my other page at https://www.facebook.com/JaniePughofGoldenKeyRealty.  And of course if you, or someone you  know, have any real estate needs, please give me a call! 


Sept. 18, 2012

CNN Money just reported the 10 Most Affordable Cities in the United States, and coming in at #7, we have Warner Robins, GA!

Data indicates the median home price being $115,000 , and median family income at $63,665 .

Warner Robins thrives, largely, due to Robins Air Force Base, filling many highly paid engineering and technical jobs.  While salaries are high, the cost of living is low in this centrally located Georgia community.  Land and material costs are affordable, and labor is plentiful.   The excess of available homes built during the housing boom have all helped to keep prices down. 

For residents, the location is another big draw. The middle-Georgia community offers easy access to Atlanta, as well as several beaches, all of which are within a 2 1/2-hour drive.  

 


Sept. 8, 2012

Back to Basics

I have to admit, I have a secret, guilty pleasure.....The Real Housewives of New Jersey.  But don't judge me.  Where else can I spend an hour a week, realizing how utterly, absolutely, and quite simply,  NORMAL, I am?  Well, ok.  I can watch Judge Judy and REALLY feel normal…and exceptionally intelligent.  But in the world of so-called “real housewives”, amidst all the money, cars, mansions, diamonds and fame, the only thing those “real” housewives seem to be is real UNHAPPY!  They make it obvious money doesn't buy happiness.  The drama of their lives portrayed every week on reality tv makes me realize how satisfying and simple my life is.  

Recently, I went to a financial planning presentation with my husband, and came away with a couple of  pearls.  Not in the literal sense----some pearls of wisdom.  What are your grandparents doing in their retirement (or what DID they do?)  Did they retire at the age of 65?  Did they have enough money to live comfortably?  We listened to the discussion, with most sadly reporting that their grandparents weren't able to retire because that they never had enough money to cover their expenses.  Many people in the room shared similar stories.  My husband and I realized we are blessed.  Our grandparents had set some really fine examples for their grandchildren:  Don't spend everything you make.  But did we listen?  Not a chance.  We did more than just the opposite.  We didn't just spend everything we made----we spent MORE!!!!   After all, that is the American way, isn’t it?   Fortunately, realizing the error of our ways after the help of some really educational workshops and classes, we are back on track.  (Thanks, Dave Ramsey and Financial Peace University!)

One common thread is:  Getting back to the basics.  It seems when we are struggling to figure out why things aren’t working out the way they should we resolve to “get back to the basics.”  Why don’t we just stay there since that is what works?  Why do we find it so necessary to change what is working?  

Since it is football season, let’s take a look at the game.  Football, or baseball, both of which are big in my family, provide some great lessons. The rules of the game have been the same since the first ball was thrown.  The results are fairly predictable:  You show up for practices, you focus, you play as a team, you work hard, you play hard, and you might win the game.   Although the effort is not easy, the concept certainly is.  No perks without the works.  You work hard, you play hard, you win, you are rewarded and you get to celebrate. Are amazing athletes just born that way?  Did he/she just show up for the game and play like a pro?  Of course not!  You have to crawl before you can walk, practice before you play to win, start where you are and go from there.  In real estate terms, your first home is going to be a starting point for eventually moving up to the big “dream home” you are creating on a "pin-board"!  Realistic expectations are critical to know the difference between a good real estate opportunity and avoiding biting off more house than you can chew.  First-time home buyers, especially, need to understand this. 

On a visit back to my hometown one weekend for a football game,  I stayed at my parent’s house.  I was sitting at my mom’s vanity in the bathroom putting on my makeup, and saw a tray of colognes and after shave that belonged to her and dad.  Although my dad has traveled all over the world during his career, picking up exotic perfumes as gifts for mom, and awesome colognes for himself, none of them took me back to a favorite memory from the past than one small bottle with the little red ship.  The scent took me back to when I was a four-year old, and dad and I would pile into the old, green “woody wagon” after breakfast.  (And breakfast, by the way, was always hot and on the table at the same time every morning.  Lucky me!)  He would drop me off at nursery school on his way to the office...And he always wore that scent with the little red ship on the bottle.  Expensive?  Nope.  Memorable?  Absolutely!  Every time I smell that scent, it takes me back to the 1960's in Columbia, MO.  So is there a big, expensive price tag that makes the best memories?  Is it the house they now live in and have worked for their entire lives what makes my most cherished memories?  Of course not-it is the journey and the memories we made over the years to get to where they are now that are most important.  My parents raising four kids, getting us to after-school events, practices and activities (and attending every game, recital or competition), sending all of us to college with mom staying home to coordinate and make sure it all happened as it should:  Was it easy?  Heck, no!  I know how much time, effort, money and energy it takes to get that all done, now that I am an adult and have done much of the same for my three kids.  I know they made their MORE than fair share of sacrifices.  But those memories are the foundation for which I build my own adult life.  Those memories make me the wife, mother, friend, and professional that I am.  It is the most simple things that have taught me the best, most important lessons and that take me back and make me smile. 

So when I watch the “Real Housewives”, and I laugh and smile, it is not because of the quality or content of the show.  It is more of a "smug" smile, because I am content and happy with all that I have and know, and that I am rich beyond belief with amazing memories, family, friends, clients and colleagues that add value to my life every day.


 
September 1, 2012

365 Things To Do in Warner Robins, GA

New Facebook Page:   365 Things To Do In Warner Robins Ga
 
Are you new to Warner Robins? Are you moving to Warner Robins, GA? Have you been there for a while and just looking for something new to do? At some point in the last 6 years, I have been all of the above!

I am a Realtor in Warner Robins.  Two of my favorite things about being a Realtor:  1.)   I get to meet a LOT of new people, and 2.) I love being a "Community Hostess".  In other words, my garden of friends is constantly growing and I love being the point of contact as a resource for where to go and what to do and sometimes, who to do it with!   As soon as I moved here six years ago, I got busy checking out the area, and want to share what I have found 

over the years!  It has been a fun ride, and now I want to you to come along!  I have found the people in Warner Robins (Houston County) are what make this an awesome community---a community that welcomes newcomers with open arms because that's how we roll.....It is our way of life.  With Robins Air Force Base right here in town, we have folks coming and going constantly.  As I am sure you can imagine, this is bittersweet:  It is awesome to always be meeting new people with loads of different backgrounds and experiences, but sad when we have to open our arms again with goodbye hugs when they are ready to PCS or move to their next location.
 
For those that are here, or are going to be here, I will be posting info on local (Warner Robins, Kathleen, Perry, Bonaire, Centerville, Byron, Ft, Valley, Macon, etc....) businesses, activities, events, etc. every day, so stop by often!  I may even expand on out a bit to Savannah, since I am especially crazy about Savannah and it is less than 2 hours from here.    I am a pretty good social detective, but...... If you know of something that might be of interest to others, please let me know so I can get it on here!  The more info the better!
 

 

 

For more fun stuff, stop by my other Facebook page,   Janie Pugh of Golden Key Realty
.  Lots of household tips, recipes, party ideas, funny pix, local info and more!  And of course, I will occasionally post Warner Robins real estate listings, but I promise not to wear you out with them!  

Have fun!

Janie Pugh, Realtor
Golden Key Realty
   
Mobile: 478-973-2684