“Don’t spend money you don’t have!” (and other Fatherly advice)

Doesn’t it drive you crazy when you get yourself into a pickle and you hear:

“I told you so!” ?

“If only you had LISTENED to me . . . ”

My paternal instincts come forth often as I coach and consult with Professionals who are always doing the best they know to do with the resources they have, and sometimes wander astray of the fundamentals of sound life and business practices.

We are all responding to rapid complexity (My father calls this “raplexity”) in our every day lives. Life is coming at us FAST and we only really get ourselves into trouble when we REACT instead of RESPOND to the myriad transformations happening all around us.

The first instinct is to cast blame on MONEY . . .

“If only I had more money to throw at this problem, everything would be dandy!”

and so we fall into the trap of looking for ways to spend money we don’t have thereby incurring debt . . . or mail the bill payments out a few days before the closing is supposed to happen and then FREAK OUT when the closing does not happen per OUR plan.

Does the shoe fit?

If you don’t think this shoe fits you (ever), please check your pulse immediately.

It’s the times when we get off balance that we become more reactive and less responsive . . . and we tend to make impulsive (Irresponsible) decisions . . . My opinion is that this is EXACTLY what happened to our National Economy. Things got weird and all we could collectively think to do is blame it on money and throw more money at it.

Look where that’s gotten us in the last 3 years.

So – This stuff works on an individual (micro) as well as a National scale (Macro).

We all hate to hear what we hate to hear – the TRUTH, and we all know that when the kakka hits the fan, we can always dig into our brain’s archives and find our own individual contributions to the malady . . . Each of us is playing a role in the whole.

BUT . . . Isn’t it more convenient to stick the head in the sand and “be invisible” until the storm passes?

Each of us lives in a world of CHOICE . . . as I saw in a recent www.tut.com post “It’s not about what we chose as much as it is about what we CHOOSE NOW!

So . . . Some Fatherly advice  for those who accept personal responsibility for their role in where they are right NOW in their lives.

It’s time to “Saddle up”!

You KNOW what to do . . . now, go DO IT!

YOU got yourself into this mess and YOU are the ONLY one who can get yourself out of this mess.

When you’re following your true passion, these obstacles are speed bumps (not road blocks)

Take responsibility without blame or judgement

Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.

Don’t put ALL of your eggs in one basket!

Always keep an eye open for new opportunities!

Luck appears at the intersection of preparation/practice and Opportunity.


Re-invent yourself at least every 2 1/2 years.

Whose dream are you living? Yours? Someone else’s?

Don’t be a Jack of all trades and Master of None – Specialize and BE the expert.



Invite others to participate in your life – If they show up, they’re the right people for now.

Be who you are.

Be a squirrel . . . Store plenty of nuts for later.

Always take the high road!

Do unto others as you would them do unto you.

Love and respect your Mother and Father!

Surround yourself with people you admire.

Believe in yourself as the CEO of your life.

If at any time you find yourself in a place where you are neither giving nor receiving anything of value, take responsibility for your life experience and use your 2 feet to take you to a place where you can contribute and receive. (The Law of 2 Feet – Open Space technology)

On taking care of yourself: “If your body dies, where will you live?”

“We are Spiritual Beings having a human experience” (Gary Keller)

Life’s too short to  . . .

Resentment will kill ya faster than ANYTHING!

Getcha head in the game!

Hmmm . . . I could keep on typing for another hour.


You are nothing short of REMARKABLE as a human being, and you’ve only got this life to show the rest of us what you are capable of doing in ALL of your glory.

Stoke that fire in your belly . . . and let’s get busy doing some great stuff.

I’m inviting you “IN” to you own life purpose.

Are you “IN”?

I’m just sayin’



Business gets a LOT easier when . . .


I’ve heard a LOT of frustration out there with pesky little details like uncertainty of the process and/or rules . . . Unpredictability of the flow of transactions through the lending process . . . Lack of communication throughout the process ostensibly because there’s nothing to report.

Crazy times . . .

When things like this occur, the WORST thing a professional can do is hide. Sticking the head in the sand doesn’t make the problem go away or mend itself.

So . . .

How about considering the unfathomable solution of INCREASING the level of contact with MORE people such that creative solutions have the potential for emerging?

The worst thing that could happen is that you make some new friends and acquaintances.

There’s something I know about REALTORS and Lenders (and most other professionals) . . . If you put them in a room together without much of an agenda, they’ll quickly find themselves in deep conversations with others in the room . . . thereby creating their own mutual agendas and relationships will build and problems will be solved.

We are all “subjects” in this great “social experiment” known as the “human experience”, and what I know from my little sliver of experience is that we are innately social animals . . . we are more gregarious . . . we crave camaraderie . . . we love being a part of something meaningful . . . We’d rather be “IN” than “OUT”!


Because it is during those times we are “IN” the mix when we seem to get the most out of our life experience as we learn vicariously through others.

Most weeks, Pareto Realty coordinates “Lunch & Learn” events – mostly on Wednesdays – We invite vendors (Lenders, Home Inspectors, Restaurants, Local Businesses) to come to “Educate and Feed” the folks who show up.

We typically have 7 (or more) real estate firms represented at each of these events as well as an interesting mix of other folks including other vendors. the vendor doing the “Educating and feeding” presents . . . and then opens the floor for any discussion that percolates from the presentation.

EVERYONE wins as new relationships form.

THAT’s the kinda stuff that’s going to lead this country out of this mess . . . not additional regulations or rules or laws.

Let’s just keep on looking for opportunities to gather together and learn from each other, eh?

I’m just sayin’



US Housing Market Forum with Senator Bob Corker

This morning, i attended a fascinating forum hosted by Senator Bob Corker who was really using this forum as a means of picking the brains of a whole room full of REALTORS, Lenders, Bankers, and executives. The event was moderated by Dr. Bob Fisher, Belmont University and included 7 panelists.

Mr. Chris Katopis, Executive Director, Association of Mortgage Investors

Mr. Steve Fritts, Associate Director of Risk Management Policy, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Mr. Greg Gonzales, Commissioner, Tennessee Department of Financial Institutions

Mr. Andrew Howell, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati

Ms. Loretta Owens, Executive Director, The Housing Fund

Mr. Jim Vogel, Executive vice President of First Tennessee Financial

Mr. Jamie Woodwell, vice President of Commercial/Multifamily Research, Mortgage Banker Association.

There was ample “fire-power” on that panel.

Add to the mix a crowd of @ 150 of the best minds in the industry (in the “congregation” as one participant called it), and we had a very informative and awe-inspiring session.

My significant take-away is that the sky is not, in fact, falling . . . but we do have a LOT of work to do.

There’s NO way I can write stream of consciousness and do this meeting justice . . . It was a phenomenal event and was refreshing to hear that Bob Corker was there to find ideas for structuring new legislation to find the “right” mix of Geovernment regulation/involvement as we seek local and National economic recovery in the form of a “reform” in January.

What I can do is write my notes here . . . and leave it to the reader to create the context.

“Dodd/Frank Bill” 2400 pages – So many pages – So little content

The capital (mortgage) environment during the “good Years” 2000-2006 frenzy was like a casino – Investors doing high stakes gambling.

In china during that 6 year period the number of “Middle Class” people rose from 174 Million to OVER 806 Million

the 3 sources of Capital to fund mortgage financing – Banks – GSE – Mortgage Investors

“Securitization” by Mortgage Investors is “on hold”. they are on Strike from investing in mortgage market until the Fed picks a clear direction (path).

A return to “Traditional Underwriting Standards” – FDIC recommends a “Safe Harbor Product” that supports securitization – Back to basics.

Financial Education (including housing) should be required at all levels

This really is a “Consumer Debt Crisis” – Many of the upside down mortgages are that way because of their other debt – Car notes, boat notes, credit cards

WOW! The mortgages are not necessarily the problem . . . It’s the CONSUMER DEBT that is sinking the ship. People are walking away from their highest monthly expense (mortgage) all the while continuing to incur consumer debt. additionally, they are begging for mortgage relief at the same time.

Over-regulation is a self-fulfilling Prophecy

An uncertain regulatory landscape creates HUGE cost for the companies attempting to stay in compliance.

At a time when we needed clarity, we got 3 years of non-clarity (the Dodd/frank Bill)

The medicine is killing the patient – 4 states’ bubbles burst and ALL states must take the medicine

The good news from this is that I heard a Spirit of cooperation and a clear effort to UNDERSTAND the issues as we see them here in the trenches.

Bob Corker was very clear that this new legislation may be the most difficult new piece of legislation yet . . . That it will likely become a huge partisan battle . . . and that it is definitely important enough to go into it as clear understanding as possible of the real scope of the issues at hand.

I’ll be right in the midst of as much of this as possible . . . and I hope that you will dive in and participate any chance you get.

We ALL need to voice our opinions LOUD and CLEAR . . . because the next few months are going to be pivotal months for our collective economic future.

I’m just sayin’



Monday Morning Coffee – Snail mail isn’t just for bills and ads

Good Monday morning to ya!

Its a rainy one in Nashville.

Times have changed, haven’t they?

Do you remember the last time you were excited about going to your mailbox to get your mail?

These days, I’d venture to say that most of the snail mail delivered by the postal service is BILLS and marketing materials from companies who still send stuff that way (even though it’s a largely ineffective and expensive form of marketing).

Why do we call it “snail mail”?

It’s SLOW and inefficient (and EXPENSIVE). After all if you want to send a letter, you’ve gotta actually INTENTIONALLY reserve time and spend money to buy note cards or stationery, envelops, and STAMPS and sit down and write something – fold, stuff, and stamp it and walk all the way down to your mailbox to send it away . . . and OMG! It could take as long as THREE days to arrive. 

Why would you do that slow, cumbersome process when an email or text gets there immediately, is FREE, and can be done on the fly from your phone?

In my view, Most direct, person to person communication comes electronically these days, and I’m an “all-in” participant in the electronic social world.

AND . . .

I miss the good old days of fetching the mail and finding a note or a card from someone I know who “was just thinking about me and wanted to say HI!'”

Is that OK? Should I not bemoan the way things used to be, or am I being a crusty curmudgeon? Should I just get over it and stay with the herd?

What would happen if I were to decide to start a little mini-revolution of snail mail, note writers? Do you think the US Postal Service would underwrite my experiment?

How often do you find a PERSONAL, handwritten note in your mailbox? How do you feel when you receive a note?

What’s my point?

I believe that the snail mail handwritten note communicates that the sender CARES . . . LOUD and CLEAR!

Mail is cool because it looks & smells like the sender . . . Handwriting is personal . . . and you know that she took the time and made the investment to “send the very best”.

Companies have even found a way to automate the handwritten note with a cursive font and a “real” signature . . . so you can send them in bulk, and the recipients theoretically feel like you PERSONALLY were thinking of them.

That trickery doesn’t work for me!

Some folks say they don’t send handwritten notes because their handwriting is so BAD. The truth is that it’s the note (the gift) that counts . . . not its readability or even what it says.

Send me gibberish scribbled on a used napkin, and I’ll appreciate the fact that you were thinking of me.

I haven’t checked my mail box in years (Deb gets our mail) because there’s seldom anything personal and uplifting there. I’ d like to change my relationship with my mailbox such that I anticipate the mail delivery with excitement just like I did when I was in the Army or away at college.

I know how we can start this revolution.

Pledge to write 5 (or 10) notes EVERY day to people you know, love, and miss . . . Doesn’t matter what it says . . . Could just be:

Dear Fred,

Just a note to say HI and let you know I was thinking about you. Let’s catch up soon.



I’m just saying’

PS – This old-fashioned technique also happens to be a very powerful business, building tool.

So – Do we SELL a house to a Buyer?

I’m a believer that we cannot SELL a house to a Buyer.


The house has to do all the selling . . . by being in the right place (location) at the right time in the right condition with the right amenities/features and number of rooms at the right price for the right Buyer who just happens to be looking for that precise blend of stuff and enough money to buy.

The Buyer is the decision maker . . . the one who ultimate determines (along with mutual agreement  of the Seller) whether she will buy that house.

The role of the REALTOR is to orchestrate a smooth process, to negotiate on the Buyer’s behalf, and to inform the Buyer sufficiently that she can make the best decision.

Doesn’t do much good for the REALTOR to “PUSH” the Buyer towards a particular house . . . UNLESS . . . The REALTOR realizes that the Buyer is missing an opportunity because of being trapped in the noise of the process . . . That’s when we REALTORS put on our “Consulting” hat (Some of us think it’s on the edge of psychotherapy, but we’re not degreed in that area so we can’t call it that).

Us older (seaasoned) REALTORS sometimes find our Maternal or paternal instincts kicking in . . . with the urge to kick these young whippersnapper Buyer’s butts to bring them into reality when they lose focus.

We must get a clear understanding of the goals of the Buyer and continue to put those goals back in front of the Buyer throughout the process when she gets distracted by bright, shiny houses that for whatever reason don’t match the goal by being in the wrong location or school zone or price range etc.

How ’bout a case in point?

If I had a Buyer whose ultimate scenario was something like this:

– Price under $400,000 ($379,900 would be perfect)

– 4 Bedrooms and 2 1/2 Baths

– Eat-in Kitchen, Formal Dining Room, Great Room, Office/Den AND a Bonus Room

– Lots of hardwood floors

– Immediately available (vacant and clean and ready)

– 2800+ Square feet

– In Williamson County, TN with AWESOME SCHOOLS (Bonus would for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools to be close to each other and within a mile of the house)

– BETWEEN Cool Springs and Brentwood with easy access to I-65

– In a tight community away from the bustle of the city

– End of a cul-de-sac on a zero traffic street

I would think that my job would be to find a house that fits these requirements . . . and that if I were to find it and were to bring the Buyer to it, the house would sell itself, Right?

So . . .


1027 Holly Tree Farms Road, Brentwood, TN 37027

Williamson County Schools

Scales Elementary School

Brentwood Middle School

Brentwood High School

Listed with Debbie Owen – Pareto Realty, LLC, This property meets ALL of this Buyer’s needs . . . and Debbie is completely available to answer any additional questions and/or schedule a viewing . . . Just give her a call @ 615-485-8833 or email her @ debbie@theowengroup.net

Photographic evidence follows . . . I think you’ll be impressed 🙂