A Personal Note
I'm writing this at holiday time, a time for reflection and thankfulness. 2017 was another good year for Your Friend in Real Estate. Many friends remember me, and some have children who are now buying homes. Further, against overwhelming odds, there are still new folks who search me out, believing that I know what I am doing. So I am still smiling and paying cash at the Giant. That's my logo on the right; it once was my photo.
It was 1985 when I decided to end a rewarding career in industry to do "my own thing." I had a secure management position but wanted greater control over the future. How can one trade in a 22-year engineering and management career for the great unknown? There were resources to ensure the family would have food, shelter, and college tuition for Susan and Davey. I also believed I had whatever was needed to meet a new challenge and again be a winner.
With my decision made, off I charged to sell my sport fishing boat, the Undecided II in Cape May, NJ. Then I prepared a spreadsheet to plot my new course. Over a dozen possibilities were carefully analyzed: franchises, marinas, a flirtation with inventing, and several real estate related ventures. The diversity of real estate seemed appealing, and from a start in residential sales and marketing, it would be a logical step into home building for an engineer with an MBA. So I took the required courses and exam, gave notice to Mobil Oil, and joined Long & Foster in 1987.
Within days, Mobil announced the transfer of its New York headquarters (where I had worked in the late 1970s) to Fairfax. Insider trading? In the first 3 years I sold more homes than the average agent does in 20 years and had established viability and expertise in the sales and marketing arena. 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 real estate and about how an agent could provide real value. As new ideas emerged, new questions arose. My technical background was valuable in helping develop my ideas and in finding answers to my questions. My methods and message began diverging from "what everybody knows." To make a long story a bit shorter, this led to my first home selling book, written in 1993, with the updated 5th edition now on the Web.
Although a book with local appeal is not a path to fame or fortune, it does help me efficiently transfer critical information to home sellers. The home selling book led to the home buying book, courses at Northern Virginia Community College, and many TV appearances and speaking engagements. Both books have been serialized by major newspapers, along with many other articles. Many of my ideas have been covered in major newspapers coast-to-coast. In 2001 I launched my own company, Your Friend in Real Estate, aka YFiRE.
My articles on negotiating, market statistics, and many other topics have been published in the national REALTOR Magazine and elsewhere. The Agent's Guide to Real Estate book was featured on the National Association of Realtors website. I often get email from agents across the country telling me how much they enjoy my Agent's Guide. A few years ago I got an email from a broker in Australia named David Rathgeber! A broker from South Africa also emailed kind comments. Isn't the World Wide Web amazing?
THE RECENT PAST
In 2009 we moved to a large condo in Arlington with views of the Potomac River, the Capitol, the monuments, and the national fireworks. One of our neighbors was John McCain. In 2015 we moved to a newer building in Arlington with a nice view, but nothing spectacular. The Exelon folks who bought Pepco in 2016 asked Dorothy to stay on for a while, but she happily retired in January of 2017.
Son Davey is stuck in Athens, Georgia, teaching at the University of Georgia by day and performing and recording with his Visitations as well as three other groups including the Athens Cowboy Choir, featured on the cover of Flagpole magazine to the left. He performed coast-to-coast this summer with Elf Power, also pictured on a Flagpole magazine cover. Daughter Susan moved back to New Jersey in 2013. She is teaching geometry and Spanish at a magnet high school and is an avid gardener in the Garden State. Pauline threw a big surprise party for her to celebrate a special birthday. (Don't ask.) Granddaughter Katie returned to Virginia after a few years in Naples, Florida, and after a few months, rejoined the rest of the family in New Jersey. She's now attending Rowan College.
Many of you have shared days on the Lady Katie in the Chesapeake Bay and 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. On occasion, I still fish in the Chesapeake, in Florida, and in North Carolina. In 2018 we'll host a big multi-family vacation at a house on the beach in Nags Head. We plan to fish again with my old friend Captain Greg of the Fishin' Frenzy, now famous for being a three-time winner on the National Geographic "Wicked Tuna" show.
As webmaster, I authored this website davidr.net and several others. The websites have the latest HTML5 with CSS. Take a tour and you will be sure to find something of interest. Start with "Fun Events" or "Factoids" on the left. There is also a mobile-friendly website and one just for real estate investors. For a change of pace, you might enjoy the lifetime collection of my grandfather's Christmas poems, which has old photos such the family home in 1895 (on the right) and even some tintypes. No, that's not me on the porch! There is also a photo website of Family Archives.
In 2015 I upgraded my laptop to a powerful Acer R-13 with Windows 10 and Microsoft Office. It took Bill Gates' computer-weenies a year to fix Excel's annoying propensity to shut down and restart sporadically, but I have given up trying to find where they hid some of the controls I had been using for the previous 6 years.
We hosted a fun evening in June catered by Red Hot & Blue. Many thanks to all of you who came to help celebrate birthdays and more.
My focus remains on fun, including the sale and marketing of homes for you and your friends. It is a joy to be remembered when it's time to buy and sell again. So please think of your friend in real estate when you have a friend buying or selling a home. A friend of yours is always a friend of mine. Oh yes, notice the QR code on the sign! Do you have the app to scan it?
Here's hoping that my calendar is on your fridge and that you are sharing my monthly Market Report with your friends, neighbors, family, and co-workers. It can include a personal message and often features a non–real estate entry Miscellanea. My secret weapon is what makes the Report so accurate, but don't tell.
Special thanks to those who have mentioned my name or have helped me meet new friends at the Middleburg Races, on the Bay, and at your social events. If you have a minute, give a "like" to YFiRE's Facebook page. Let's get together in 2018 to fish, have lunch or dinner, or even buy and sell homes. Give a call or send an email!
Your Friend in Real Estate
Serving you and your friends since 1987
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Your Friend in Real Estate, LLC
Arlington, Virginia, USA
* Copyright © David Rathgeber *
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* * * 2018 * * *