Take Your Realtor Seriously

I am a Realtor. My wife is a Realtor. Together we lead The Schuett Team of Keller Williams Bellevue Realty. Maria and I have had a long and deep passion for the real estate industry.

My passion didn’t begin until about 1994 when my wife, at that time, had earned a very large commission check at her job as a television station advertising and marketing specialist. She insisted that we should take that money and buy a home. We were both young and didn’t know what we were doing. But we found a home that suited us. We bought it. We improved it. And after only a few years we moved into a house double in size. And we did it without selling our first house. Instead, we kept it as a rental. We only sold it when we wanted to buy a new home in a new location only 8-9 years after buying our 1st home.

It’s important to note that after buying our first home we had almost no money at all. There was nothing left in savings. We lived paycheck to paycheck, as the old saying goes. But because we had bought a house, we started accumulating wealth.

The Realtor we used to buy our first house was a fast talking Filipino woman who was the sister of a co-worker of mine, a co-worker who was one of the most skilled salespeople I have ever known. It seemed she was from the same school, because she sold us, and not in the most honest manner. She convinced us to make an offer on a house…”before we lost it to someone else.” We hadn’t been sure about the house. But the idea of losing it propelled us into making an offer. The house had been on the market for three months. In negotiating our offer the seller demanded a 90-day close. We were not in danger of losing the house. The Realtor was just tired of showing us houses and wanted us to find something so she could move-on to someone else.

When we bought our second house about 3 years later we chose another real estate professional. This was a friend and co-worker who had just started his real estate career and was only doing it part-time. We wanted to help him. The house he showed us and we eventually bought was way outside the geographic area where we had asked him to look for homes. I still remember being upset as I followed him in our car to an unknown address. As we got further and further outside the area we wanted I was thinking, we might need to find someone else to help us. Then we saw the house and I loved it immediately. It checked all the numerous boxes I’d asked to be included in what we were looking for…except location.

Six-to-seven years later we were on the move again. For the sake of our children we felt we needed a more blue-collar neighborhood rather than continue to live with the the snobby, nose-in-the-air people in the community we had chosen. The former co-worker I hired for our second home search was no longer in real estate. So we chose someone with no referrals or references whatsoever. I don’t even remember how we found her. But she was located in the geographic area we wanted to consider. We ended up firing her after finding a house we liked without her help. She had repeatedly shown us homes that didn’t match our criteria and she didn’t find the one we did like, something I never understood, and understand even less now that I’m a Realtor myself. We ended up hiring a buying agent which came recommended to us by the house’s listing agent. Probably not the smartest move in the world. I don’t even remember their name. I think they were a woman. But I don’t even remember that.

At this point a the age of about 39, with my wife, I had bought 3 houses. The first two we kept as rentals for a period of time, before selling each. The first house was sold by a listing agent I have almost no memory of. They were chosen almost entirely because their brokerage office was close to the house we were selling.

Our second house and second rental was sold before we had to face the Capital gains tax for having lived outside it for three years. I do remember the listing agent. We chose him because he was a cut-rate agent and listed our home for only a 4% commission rate. I also remember this independent brokerage was out of business shortly after the real estate collapse of 2009. We did far more research in the choosing of a Realtor this time. Including the cut-rate guy two other agents submitted listing proposals to us. Each of the other two substantially underestimated the ultimate selling price of the house. The cut-rate guy submitted a proposal that would list the house at substantially more than the other two proposals. And even though we had to lower the price after a couple weeks on the market, we still sold it well above what the other two agents proposed listing it for. I don’t know what they were thinking.

Sadly, the third house was sold due to a divorce from my wife at the time. We hired a family member as our listing agent. And while they did a good job with some things, including the listing price, we weren’t completely satisfied. But being a family member we kept our concerns to ourselves.

As a divorced, single, self-employed man I was able to buy my own house less than two years after my divorce. I had one criteria in finding my buyer’s agent; I was looking for someone who would return the favor and do business with me and my marketing company. To make a long story short, this agent reneged on his promise to give me some business after my new home was purchased.

I was married to my beautiful wife Maria three years after my divorce. She was already a Realtor, and due to her urging I got my license too, in order to help her build our real estate business. Together we bought our current and what I hope will be my last home nearly 2 years ago.

In summary, through the purchase of five homes and the sale of five homes (Maria and I also sold our rental which had been her home prior to our marriage), I’ve made nearly every mistake in the book in hiring a real estate agent. I hired friends and relatives of friends. I’ve hired close family members. I’ve hired cut-rate agents. I’ve hired agents we’ve ultimately fired. I’ve hired agents that promised financial reciprocation. And I’ve hired agents having done almost no research on them or others at all. And in all cases (aside from the family member) I never heard from any of them ever again. Until Maria and I sold our two houses and bought our current one on our own I never got my house at what I thought was a particularly good price; and never sold a home for what I thought we should. In the case of selling the homes we have sold there was always an urgency that made selling them at less than best prices necessary. A good agent could and should have helped us with that.

When making one of the biggest decisions of your life, hiring someone to be your Realtor just because they are family, or a friend, or because they promise something they won’t put in writing is not the best approach. Wisdom and experience should be your measuring sticks for who represents you in deciding to buy or sell a home or investment property. When you look into a Realtor’s background and judge their knowledge you will make a better decision than by just having a friendly connection.

Why You Don’t Need to Go Viral to Make Video Marketing Work

While it can be a game-changer to be suddenly watched by the world, most small businesses don’t need this level of exposure to see results.

Source: Why You Don’t Need to Go Viral to Make Video Marketing Work

My New Life Anniversary

Working the mic in Total Broadcasting Service's former studio booth.

Michael Schuett working the mic in Total Broadcasting Service’s former studio booth.

Eleven years ago today, April 15, 2005, I walked into United Broadcasting Sales Company where I had worked for 13 years and handed my manager my resignation. Despite setting individual company sales records and serving as the default unpaid coach of so many new hires and despite company profitability relatively new company owners instituted a new pay plan that slashed everyone’s pay. Mine would have been cut over 35%.

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One of the 3 such awards United Broadcasting bestowed upon me.

I had many promises from numerous co-workers to join me in starting a new company, but none followed through. So I was left to fend for myself. Total Broadcasting Service has been like another child to me and grown through tough times, including my divorce. It hasn’t been easy. And despite those tough times and never quite attaining the high income levels I had before I am so proud I walked with wobbly legs to my previous manager’s desk 11 years ago and said I won’t be mistreated and under appreciated by them anymore. The UBSC owners were pissed and threatened me with legal action to stop my entrepreneurial efforts. I believe those threats, in part, scared off my former co-workers.

As it turned out I was the first of many who fled the plantation that United Broadcasting had become. When I quit they employed over 40 sales people. Within 2 months they were down to 13. Nearly all of the top sales people left for another Bellevue company. Many meeting with great success. That Bellevue company no longer exists and my former colleagues have scattered with the wind. United Broadcasting collapsed. It clung to a precarious existence for some 5 years before finally shutting its doors after 30 years in business. A greedy owner and a Liberal (even leftist) narcissistic, and incompetent management tree that believed in taking from their best and giving to their least-capable spelled the company’s doom.

I miss working with the many who became friends. After so many followed my lead and quit I went a while feeling somewhat responsible, since I had been the first. They eased my anxiety on the matter by seemingly improving their lives dramatically after leaving the plantation. I’m glad at least for Facebook to somewhat stay in touch with some of them. I’ve learned that if you don’t value your best people they will find someone else who does; a lesson that translates into personal relationships too, not just business.

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Getting into sales allowed me to make a lot more money right away

I’ve also learned that perseverance is omnipotent. Despite friends and my closest family members doubts and lack of support Total Broadcasting Service is coming off two consecutive record-setting sales years and 3 record-setting years out of the past 4 years. The best is yet to come. We’ve built strong relationships with an increasingly large host of fabulous and loyal clients. I’ve hired the truest and most loyal co-worker in Marianne Petersen who continues to grow in her work duties and continues to impress. Thank you Marianne for being such a valuable employee and person in my life.

Marianne atr Shoot

Total Broadcasting Service video Editor/Producer Marianne Petersen

My dream that I pray for is that my efforts will benefit my children and someday even my future grandchildren long after I have sauntered off this mortal coil. With God’s grace we will achieve this goal. And we’ll do it while forging a new journey with new compatriots who bless my life by being in it.
My plans for my life have turned unexpectedly at several points in my 52 years. Like anyone who reads this writing. Today’s anniversary represents one of the most significant switches in directions. If I’d not experienced this dramatic turn, the new turn I’m months into now, would be a lot scarier. So, ultimately, I’m grateful.

Call us for affordable video production, 425-687-0100.

Call us for affordable video production, 425-687-0100.

My Favorite Child

I wonder if any parent loves one of their children over their other children. I’m sure it happens, but few parents would admit it. Societally its one of the biggest sins a parent can make; loving one of their own over the other or others.

With Father’s Day approaching I thought I would tell you about my favorite.

I have three kids. Two are grown and out of the house and my youngest is ending her sophomore year in high school.

Arica Nichole Schuett 2010My oldest daughter, Arica, is my favorite because she was my first. The gift she gave me of merely coming into my life and giving me the title of “Daddy” is not something anyone else can ever claim. I still remember holding her in one arm as we walked or I rocked her or swung her to sleep. She was always an independent child and played well on her own. But our father-daughter time was abundant and a treasure for me. I coached her in softball for years until her skill exceeded my coaching ability and I “handed” her off to a team and a coach more fully knowledgable about the finer aspects of high level fast-pitch. Arica played other sports too. Arica grew into a beautiful young woman. She won a Scholarship Pageant. She became an artist. And she remains passionate about anything she does, touches or says.

My second, Christopher, Chris off FB 11-2010 is my favorite because he is my only son. When he came into my life he proved to be all boy. He was a handful. He wouldn’t sleep at night, and because he was so active he kept hurting himself. We had more trips to the hospital with him than my other two kids combined. And every time he hurt, I hurt…so badly. It was as if I had the broken arm or I was getting the stitches. Christopher was and remains one of the sweetest boys, and now men that I have ever known. And I love his happy friendly demeanor. It became cliche` in our house for him to tell his Mom at least 1-2 times per week, “This is the best dinner I’ve ever had.” And he always said it with such sincerity. Chris became a musician and now leads a band as its song writer, guitarist and lead vocalist. He even has some songs when he’s on the keyboards; proving Mom and Dad’s investment in piano lessons wasn’t completely in vain.

Micah 1st day of 6th grade 002My youngest daughter, Micah, is my favorite because she’s my baby. She’s the last one I’ll ever have. And she assured that we would go out of the baby making business with a BANG. Unlike her brother and sister (and I’d say ME at a similar age) she has not been in a rush to be grown up. She has remained content being young, being a kid. She is Sooooooo funny and makes me laugh all the time. Her innocence and sweetness is something I miss terribly any time I’m not home when she comes bounding in the door.

It’s a blessing to me that I have 3 favorite kids. I love them equally but differently. You’d be amazed how often kids, and adults get the sense that they are not their parent’s “favorite”. And as a parent its important to know that creating that sense in your kids can be damaging to them and your relationship with them. It might be something you don’t know you do and don’t do intentionally. But be observant and aware. They will always be your kids no matter your or their age.

My Incredible Morning Run

IMG_8755In my on going efforts for fitness, health, and continued youth I woke this morning, dressed in my sweat suite, grabbed my cell phone and ear plug headphones and embarked on a morning run. After I was done I realized what an extraordinary start to my day I experienced.

It was a cold March morning with temperatures in the upper 30s. As I left my Renton home through my garage I zipped up my jacket all the way to my neck. I plugged my headphone buds into my ears, plugged the cord into my phone, and turned on the music. I like up-beat music as I run, and classic rock is my up-beat music of choice. Journey was the first band I enjoyed.

At 51 years of age with arthritis in my hips and a slightly torn right labrum loosening up for anything physical takes a little more time than it used to. The darkness of pre-6am enveloped me as I awkwardly began running out of my driveway. The first few hundred yards of my runs see me looking quite geeky as I shake off the cobwebs of a nights sleep and free-up my muscles and joints. I’m flapping around like a fish out of water, and my legs are rotating as a wheel with no lug nuts.

After the first song had played Led Zeppelin was in my ears and head. Good Times, Bad Times. I wasn’t feeling great. My hips were growling at me and the cold was nipping at my ungloved fingertips.

I then looked up from the sometimes dangerous cracked sidewalk and saw a beautiful full moon through the Douglas Firs setting in the west. It shown through the trees and was hallowed by a cloudy mist. It was my beacon lighting my dark path on my journey. It inspired me. Between looking down to watch for missteps on the uneven sidewalk I would look up at the glowing orb. Sometimes I had to search for it as it ducked behind a tree or apartment building. Cars whizzed by at 40 mph when I finally grunted my way to a main road with a smooth level sidewalk, the moon still glowing in the west, descending over the Olympic Mountains.

I run a route that’s about 3.5 miles. It takes me about 30-35 minutes. I’m not fast, just steady. As I rounded the Fairwood shopping center I began the journey home. That would take me east. No longer fighting to keep running or feeling stiff from old age and a thorough nights sleep I am quickening my pace. And a funny thing happened. Dawn had broken.

Rush, Seal, and Pink Floyd sang in my ears as the sidewalk became more easily visible in the growing light. As more hills, and the start of a side-ache begin to challenge me I begin reciting the Hail Mary, over, and over, and over again asking the Mother of Jesus to bless me in my efforts and carry me through.

The final 2-300 yards to my home is the steepest hill on my route and a real struggle as I’ve already run over 3-miles. But not this morning. My eastward trajectory and up hill slant had me peering into a glorious sunrise. Pink skies and some blue clouds inspired me to sprint. It was a beautiful morning.

Sunday, daylight savings time begins. So my next run will be in what is now the 5am hour. It’ll be dark, and I won’t see a darkness and a full moon followed by a beautiful sunrise in the east. I realized and asked myself how often, in the Pacific Northwest, will I run on a clear sky morning, with a full moon, and clear starlit skies followed by sunlit blue, and biting and exhilarating cold all during the same 30 minute run.

Is it pessimistic to say I may never experience this glorious combination again? There are only 12 full moons each year, the number of clear skies in Seattle are notably few, I only run 2-3 days per week and because of my age and my arthritis that amount is going to decrease as time moves on.

My morning run was extraordinary, special, inspiring, fun, and possibly one-of-a-kind.

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Go to our website, read our story and try some AdvoCare. You won’t regret it.

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