So I’ve been working on this project called Street Cred with the our pals over at Doorsteps, a platform that works with real estate pros to educate and empower home buyers. It’s basically all about how REALTORS® are truly experts at explaining why their neighborhood/city/town/state is a great place to live, and it talks about all the ways these practitioners are using technology to be what amounts to ambassadors for their communities. I’m pretty excited about it. You should check it out.
Anyway, these awesome practitioners got me thinking about how tough it can be to be a “relo.” You know, those unfortunate folks who have to move across the country because their company is basically forcing them to relocate? Who on earth would be more in need of the services of an expert neighborhood ambassador than these poor saps?
Well, just before the holidays I got a book written by one of those poor saps. Except she is not taking it laying down. In her new book, Home Sweet Homes: How Bundt Cakes, Bubble Wrap, and My Accent Helped Me Survive Nine Moves, Diane Laney Fitzpatrick gets into the nitty gritty of these ugly, cross-country relocations. How do you help your kids adjust to the new surroundings? What do you do when the movers say the truck is too full? How do you keep the home inspector from seeing that spiraling mouse who’s trying to run away with a mousetrap clamped to his head?
Oh, sorry. Did I neglect to mention that this book is also hilarious? Sure, we’ve all got hellish moving stories, but Fitzpatrick has nine moves worth. She breaks the tales up by inserting snarky but surprisingly-helpful advice, such as:
- Joining extra-curricular clubs, gangs, and cults will make your children happier.
- Moving your car can be complicated. Abandoning it in a bad neighborhood before you move should be at least considered.
- Avoid anyone who has inherited your former home. You don’t look all that good.
- Don’t rely on your dog for any sympathy whatsoever.
- Set the tone for your family with cheerful but firm leadership. Think Hitler with packing peanuts. Continue reading »
By Bob Soron, Copy Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Do you love where you live? Or is it just where you landed, where you happened to settle? When you meet a potential client, can you tell whether they’re just focused on the house, or do they seek a home that’s part of a vibrant community? For some time, many Americans have felt that community planners lost sight of the need for pleasant, lively neighborhoods, designed and built for people. These people have talked in code words such as “walkable,” “sustainable,” and “people-friendly.” And recently they’ve started to push their ideas to civic leaders, to green industries, and to the real estate trade, seeking communities that support a lifestyle centered on the neighborhood.
Fifteen years ago, novelist James Howard Kunstler wrote his first nonfiction book, The Geography of Nowhere: The Rise and Decline of America’s Man-Made Landscape (Touchstone Press, 1994), after wondering why he had always loved some of the areas in which he had lived and so strongly disliked others. At the time he had no training in urban or community planning; he wanted to explore the effect that cities, towns, and neighborhoods had on their residents’ quality of life. But he communicated his answers so well that he gave voice to those who agreed, and his book — which inspired a sequel, Home from Nowhere: Remaking Our Everyday World for the 21st Century (Touchstone Press, 1998) — has become a staple among people who care where they live.
FROM THE BOOK: 5 LESSONS FOR THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY
1. The car isn’t the enemy: People always need reliable transportation, whether it’s walking, cycling, driving, or public transportation. Above all, the car made America accessible, whether for the simple pleasure of a drive in the country or for the need to move and seek a better life during hard times. But many urban planners have ignored other transportation in favor of the automobile. Kunstler doesn’t spare his contempt for the worst excesses, but his focus is always on spaces that allow people easy access to all their needs. Continue reading »