David Rathgeber's

A Personal Note

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This is written at holiday time, a time for reflection and thankfulness. 2018 was another good year for Your Friend in Real Estate. Friends remember me, and some have children who are now buying homes. Also, there are new folks who search me out, convinced that I know what I am doing. That's my logo on the right; it once was my photo.

HISTORY
It was 1985 when I decided to end a rewarding career in industry. photo I had a secure position but wanted greater control over the future. How can one trade in a 22-year engineering and management career for the great unknown? photoThere were ample resources to ensure the family would have food, shelter, and college tuition for Neen and Davey. I also believed I had whatever was needed to meet a new challenge and again be a winner.

photo With my decision made, I sold my sport fishing boat, the Undecided II and prepared a spreadsheet to plot my new course. Over a dozen possibilities were analyzed: McDonalds and Aamco franchises, marinas, a flirtation with inventing, and several real estate related ventures. The diversity of real estate seemed appealing, and it would be a logical step into home building for an engineer with an MBA. So I took the courses and exam, gave notice to Mobil Oil, and joined Long & Foster Realtors in 1987.

Within days, Mobil announced the transfer of its New York headquarters (where I had worked) to Virginia. Insider trading? In the first 3 years I sold more homes than the average agent does in 20 years. But the real estate boom of the late 1980s had come to an end, and the early 1990s was not the time for my home building venture.

Meanwhile, I had developed my own ideas about how an agent could provide real value. My technical background was invaluable in developing new ideas and finding answers to my questions. My methods and message began diverging from "what everybody knows." This led to my first home selling book in 1993, with the updated 5th edition now on the Web.
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The book helps transfer critical details to home sellers, and led to the home buying book, courses at Northern Virginia Community College, TV appearances, and speaking engagements. Major media have serialized both books and have published many other articles. Also, my ideas have been covered in major newspapers coast-to-coast.

My articles on negotiating, market statistics, and other topics have been published in the national REALTOR Magazine and elsewhere. The Agent's Guide to Real Estate book was featured by the National Association of Realtors and the Kindle Edition has been updated.

THE RECENT PAST
photo photo Many of you have shared days on the Lady Katie in the Chesapeake Bay as well as in the Gulf Stream off Hatteras. But the website I produced to sell her worked, and she has a new home in Montauk. She was a great boat, and we enjoyed 14 glorious years. For all the photos, click here. I still fish in the Chesapeake, in Hatteras, and in Florida.

As webmaster, I authored this website davidr.net and several others. photo There is a mobile-friendly website and one for real estate investors. For a change of pace, you might enjoy the lifetime collection of my grandfather's Christmas poems (1928 to 1969) which has old photos such the family home in 1895 on the right. No, that's not me on the porch! My father's Christmas poems (1945 to 1990) were added to the Web recently. There is also a photo-essay: Family Archives.

THE FUTURE
The big news this year is that Amazon has selected Crystal City (my back yard) for its second headquarters, and will be adding 25,000 jobs in the next few years. Happy to help, my title Buying a Home in Northern Virginia has just been updated for Amazon Kindle.

The other news is that we have a new MLS system with a few growing problems. The worst: Days on the market (DOM) will be calculated in a way that will report essentially useless data. The new "Bright MLS" will add almost 30 days to the DOM average as reported in the past; maybe not too bright after all! Good news: I have developed a work-around and will continue to report DOM that is relevant for home buyers and sellers.
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Meanwhile, it is a joy to be remembered when it's time to buy and sell again. And please think of your friend in real estate when you have a friend or neighbor buying or selling a home. A friend of yours is always a friend of mine. Can you scan the QR code on the sign?

photo Here's hoping my 2019 calendar is on your fridge and that you are sharing the Market Report with friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers. The Report often includes personal messages, tips, and Miscellanea.

Special thanks to those who have mentioned my name or helped me meet new friends at the Middleburg Races, on the Bay, and at your social events. Let's get together in 2019 to fish, have lunch or dinner, or even buy and sell homes. Give a call or text, or send me an email!

photo With best fishes,
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