Acquired Knowledge and the Right Toolbox make all the Difference. – January 2016

Over Christmas break we do a trip to Murrell’s Inlet to see my in-laws and the rest of Susan’s family that includes her brother’s family, her grandfather, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Depending on exactly what day Christmas falls and how many days schools are closed the vacation is typically a week give or take a day.

It is always good to get away for a little while and see family.

I’ve written about our trip before. In the February 2015 edition of The Eric Verdi Letter I wrote an article titled, A Time Tested Method for Saving 1 Hour and 36 Minutes. I wrote about how it took us about 4 years to figure out the optimum time to leave to make the trek to South Carolina in the shortest amount of time.

We stuck to our formula and made it in about 7 hours and 20 minutes.

We had a great time while we were there, as it is always good to see Susan’s family. Anthony and Alex got to have ‘Christmas’ on back to back days as we arrived on the 26th, and, of course, one of the first things we did was open presents from Lou and Linda. It’s great seeing the enthusiasm through the eyes of a 9 and 6 year old.

There is always an event or a trip we try to do when we go down to SC. One year it was Medieval Times. Another time it was Pirates Voyage. Another year was we did a boat tour of the inlet. We try to do something fun with the Boyz on each trip.

This year since the weather was so nice we were able to do something outside again so we went to Huntington Beach State Park. Having driven right past it hundreds of times we decided to go there one day.

They have a nature center. There are trails to walk. They have beach access. But the coolest aspect of the park is the Atalaya Castle. Yes, there is a real castle located in Huntington Beach State Park. It was the winter home of industrialist and philanthropist Archer M. Huntington and his wife, the sculptor Anna Hyatt Huntington. The castle was a square 100’ by 100,’ and in the middle was the court yard. One side of the home housed the ‘workers’ that kept the castle running while the opposite side was for the Huntingtons. Anna used live animals as models for her sculptures and had stalls where she would keep the animals while she used them for her artwork. They had a plaque that referenced the ‘Bear Stalls’ where the Bears were kept while Anna sculpted them. If you are near Murrells Inlet, I highly recommend stopping by the park. It was a cool outing that the whole family enjoyed.

But of course there was a minor ‘speed bump’ on the trip.

While we were there my check engine light came on and the message was ‘R Frt Tire Low Air Pressure.’ I thought that this was a glitch as the Yukon was driving well and the tire – visually – didn’t seem low to me. My father-in-law, Lou, and I put air in the tire and the light was still lit. I just assumed that the electronics of the Yukon had gone haywire, and I would need to take it to a mechanic when I got back home to have them reset.

This went on for a few days with the light being lit ‘R Frt Tire Low Air Pressure,’ but the car was driving ok, so I didn’t really think anything of the light anymore.

The day before we were getting ready to leave (New Year’s Day) I headed over to the grocery store to get food and drinks for the return trip home the next morning. I also went to the gas station to fill up for the trip. As I was filling up, I cleaned out the trash from the inside and did a walk-around of the vehicle. I noticed that the right REAR tire was very low.

After days of ‘the light’ saying the front tire was low, it was really the rear tire. Technology is GREAT, except when it doesn’t work or gives an inaccurate assessment.

I inspected of the tire and notice that there is a screw in the tire.

We were leaving on a 7-8 hour trip the next morning, I can’t travel with my family with a tire that has a screw lodged in it and is leaking air pressure. Adding to everything, it is New Year’s Day so I wasn’t sure any mechanic was open to fix the tire. I called Lou and asked if he had anything to fix/patch the tire and if we could do it ourselves. He didn’t, but he thought we could fix it if we got the right parts and tools.

This sounded like something that was going to take the rest of the day to fix and could turn into a major project as I’ve never patched a tire.

I started calling around to local shops and the first 2 I called were closed for the day, but the 3rd one was open. I was thrilled to hear an actual person answer when I called. I was thinking no one would be open. I explained the situation, and the lady explained that they can definitely patch the tire.

But they are extremely busy today, and it would take a ‘few hours.’ I could just drop the car off and they’d fix it.

The knowledge and tools make all the difference.

I drop off the Yukon. Lou picks me up, we head back to his house and then a few hours later he takes me back to the shop. Tire fixed. What would have taken Lou and I hours not to mention having to go out and buy the correct patch and then the tools for the patch would cost a significant amount of money, took Merchants a few minutes and ended up costing me $23. They have all the tools in the shop. They have the lift, the supplies, and the electric screw gun to unscrew and re-screw the bolts on the tires. This would have taken us hours to do probably took the mechanics 15 minutes.

Having the right knowledge and tools makes all the difference.

The return trip home the next day was uneventful, and the tire pressure was fine the whole ride.

This event made me realize that having the knowledge and experience, not to mention the correct tools, makes all the difference. But knowledge, experience, and tools are useless if you don’t properly identify the issue that needs to be addressed. A faulty diagnosis on the check engine light in the Yukon where it identified the wrong tire as the one that was low on air could have ended up causing much more heartache than a few hours at a mechanic and $23. What if I didn’t visually notice the error and properly diagnosis that it was the rear not the front tire that was flat? It could have gone flat halfway home on the trip and caused much more heartache and money.

It doesn’t matter if you are changing a tire or selling a home. The premise is the same. You must properly diagnosis the situation before using the correct tools and expertise.

Last summer I met with potential sellers. It was a situation where the ‘mother,’ who was the owner of the home and probably in her 80s had bought another home where she moved with her son – who was divorced and was living with her and helping care for her. There was also a daughter in California who was involved. It was ultimately the mother who was making the decision but her son and daughter had some influence on the situation about who to use to help them sell their home.

This family was referred to me from a friend, but they had also met with another agent who sold a home up the street.

I met with the mother and son. I walked the house with them taking notes of suggestions that would go in my report. I returned a few days later to give them my written Gameplan and analysis of what needed to be done to the home. I explained the importance of Scientific Staging, Photos, Creating a Buzz when hitting the market and it all sounded good until we talked price. The other agent had given them a price point about $70,000 higher than I did. I know this area well and knew that the other agent was giving them an incorrect inflated price. Ultimately they decided to list with the other agent. I just checked the other day, and the house has been on the market for 4 months and hasn’t sold.

This incorrect diagnosis is just like my Yukon telling me the wrong tire is low. The owners of this home were given the incorrect diagnosis of price by the other agent, and this will end up costing them time, heartache, and, ultimately, money.

Selling a home starts with the correct Diagnosis. Then when the situation has been properly analyzed the proper tools and knowledge can be used to prepare, position, and market your home. Some try to do it themselves or use ‘agents’ that don’t have the experience and team (tools) to achieve success. Just as it would have taken Lou and I many hours and more money because we weren’t experts in patching a flat tire, most aren’t knowledgeable or don’t have the proper training and expertise in selling homes. Not using the proper ‘mechanic’ to sell your home could end up costing you in the end.

Do your research. Choose wisely.