"Old School" real estate vs “New School" real estate

My buyer wrote an offer 4 days ago and we still don’t have it signed by the sellers.  

The listing agent’s sellers are on vacation and because the agent doesn’t know how to use electronic signing systems, he is taking much more time than is necessary to get this deal in place.

This delay impacts my buyer, the lender, the title company, contract time frames and of course, our confidence in getting the deal done. The seller could have been in jeopardy of losing these buyers due to frustrations and concerns.

 Let’s look at a real life example of the "old school" vs the "new school" way of working.

Imagine that your home is listed for sale and you’re on a vacation you planned months ago. You’re sitting under an umbrella by the ocean, your feet in the sand and a cold drink in your hand. You’re watching your friends and family have fun and it makes you feel happy. You deserve this down time. You glance at your phone and see that you received an email from your agent with paperwork needing your signature. Is your agent “old school” or “new school?"

 The next 3-4 hours of your vacation can play out in two ways:

#1 “Old School" 

The email says you have to print the attachment and sign and then scan back to the agent. Your blood pressure climbs. There is no printer in the vacation house you rented. You’re finally on vacation…one that you more than deserve…and you have to go back to the house, do some research about local Kinkos or UPS stores, call to make sure they are open and get directions, get their email address, send the document to them, go to the store to sign, have them scan back to you and then email it back to your agent. You’re mad. Your family is mad. You missed a great beach day. Tomorrow it will rain and you’ll be even madder.  

#2 “New School”

You gently place your drink in the sand, then click on the link in the email. The link takes you to Dot Loop and it says “click here to start signing.” You click once for each initial and signature and when you’re done, click “confirm signing.” You turn your phone off and pick your drink back up. You realize you’ve been outside for a while and it’s time to reapply your sunscreen.

 “New School” agents help their clients by using the latest technology so that deals are done faster and your life is easier. When you choose your realtor, ask about the systems, processes and technology that your agent is using. Enjoy your vacation and let your “new school” agent do the work for you.

-Wendy Slaughter

Sometimes you learn things, even when you don’t want to.....

Real Estate - Lessons Learned

Life lessons after a decade in real estate

Today is my 10 year anniversary of being in real estate. I truly can’t believe it. I was 35 when I earned my license and the year was 2006 - probably the worst year ever to get into real estate. I started out on my own and after about 3 years, I decided it was time to grow. That’s when I started The Wendy Slaughter Team. 

Over the past 10 years, real estate has taught me a ton about myself and life.

Here are my top 5 takeaways:

1 - Your values are clarified.

Do you really value your family or are you just saying that? Your health? Your home? Your friends? Look around you. What do you see? You made this life with your choices. Your priorities are reflected by what is physically around you and by the relationships you have with people you love.

Real estate asks a lot of you. You have to be firm in setting boundaries.

2 - Thicker skin is a must.

I came into this business as a “pleaser.” I had a hard time with the hard conversations. I wanted everyone to like me. I know it sounds immature and, at the same time, it rings true for many people, no matter what your age. No one wants to be disliked. 

This quality made real estate difficult for me in the beginning. It took a lot of work in the early years but I’m a much better realtor because I pressed on, learned, and grew into my thicker skin. I’m still caring and kind but I’m much better at having the hard conversations. You learn fast that you owe it to yourself and your clients. 

3 - Buddhists are right: nothing is permanent.

Change is a standard in this industry and in life. Regulations, technology, processes and forms change all the time. Contracts have grown to 70+ pages and we learn something new every day.

You have two choices: complain and try to fight the changes….or learn what the changes mean to your clients and the process and then adjust your systems to address the changes. Don’t waste your precious time and energy acting crazy about things that change and are out of our hands. 

4 - Life is better if you are a Lifelong Learner.

I love learning. I was a good student and I still love reading and listening to good books, attending webinars, watching TED Talks and documentaries. It sounds nerdy and I don’t care. Learning is fun. It keeps life fresh. 

One of my favorite TED Talks is about changing your body position in order to positively affect your body chemistry. This is great information for all us, especially teens.


5 - You can’t do this alone.

I spent 3 years as an independent agent: 2 years at Long & Foster and then my first year at RE/MAX. 

I realized that if I wanted to increase my production and still take great care of my clients - AND take vacations (and stay as sane as possible), I needed to build a team. I am forever grateful that Debbie Gottwals took that plunge with me when we started the Team back in 2009. 

#5 has been the best thing that I’ve learned.

Working with a Team allows me to live my work life with wonderful human beings. They are smart, funny, kind, supportive, energetic, motivated and their smiles and laughter make this work richer. My life is much more fun because I work with a really great team.

Support comes from home too. My husband, Jason, is committed to my work. He and the kids are the best squad I could ask for. 

This list could be 150 items long. I tried to stick to the important stuff. I’ll check back in when I’m 55 and let you know what else I’ve learned.

-Wendy Slaughter

Singing in the Shower!

The fan in my bathroom stopped working. When I went to Lowes to check out options, I saw a bluetooth speaker/fan combination that looked super cool and it didn’t cost more than the other fans.

We all love music in my family. My kids play instruments and they’re in a band. My husband plays drums. My son plays drums and guitar. My daughter plays bass and guitar and she sings. This summer, my kids are working as “interns” at Treehouse School of Music and they are helping them run their summer camps (great camps BTW).

Music plays constantly in our house. We have different tastes but we like hearing each other’s playlists to mix things up a little. 

So this is where I didn’t think things through. 

Everyone uses my bathroom now. Everyone. All 4 of them. All the time. 

My advice: If you decide to buy this fan, you might want to pick up more than one.

Here is link to the fan if you want to check it out: 


- Wendy



Conscious Capitalism Central Maryland Chapter Lift Off!

Conscious Capitalism MD Chapter

The Central Maryland Chapter of Conscious Capitalism officially lifted off earlier this week. The room was packed with good people. We gathered at the newly remodeled (and gorgeous!) Coho Grill.

[Important side note: The Coho Grill has a great beer selection including options from Heavy Seas, Evolution, Flying Dog and Jailbreak.]

The Conscious Capitalism movement is not new. Businesses have proven that when you act from your heart, profits are a natural consequence. Costco, Whole Foods, The Container Store and Apple are a just a few of the companies that have put people before profits.

I was asked to speak at the event and talk about how we’re putting some of the Conscious Capitalism concepts into practice.

My Team has been “unconsciously conscious” since we first formed back in 2009. We are realtors but we believe that “what" we do is less important than "how and why" we do our work. Our Team culture has created a foundation for everything that we have been able to accomplish over the past few years. Our culture affects how we engage with our stakeholders: our clients, our vendors, our realtor colleagues and the community. 

The “how and why” both add meaning to our work and it changes the experience for everyone.

For more information about Conscious Capitalism, check out these resources:

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/cccentralmaryland?fref=ts

Book:            Conscious Capitalism by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia

Website:       http://www.consciouscapitalism.org

- Wendy 

In Honor of National Homemade Cookies Day...

Debbie has decided to share two of her favorite homemade cookie recipes! Enjoy and happy baking!

Russian Tea Cakes

1/2 cup butter

2 TBL sugar

1 cup finely chopped pecans

1 cup all purpose flour

1 box 10X sugar (confectioner/powdered sugar)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Mix the butter and sugar together. Combine the pecans and flour with the butter/sugar mixture. Roll dough into small balls (size of a Swedish meatball). Place on a greased baking sheet. Cook at 300 for 45 minutes. Careful - cookies can burn easily!

Remove cookies from baking sheet and roll in powered sugar immediately. Let sit for 15 min and roll again. Roll in sugar a third time when cookies are completely cool.

Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1/2 cup vegetable oil

4 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup confectioner sugar

In medium bowl, mix together cocoa, white sugar and vegetable oil.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then stir in vanilla.  Combine flour, baking powder, and salt and stir in to the cocoa mixture.  Cover dough and refrigerate for at least 4 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.  Roll dough into one inch balls (about Swedish meatball size).  Roll each ball in confectioner sugar before placing on parchment paper on cookie sheet.

Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Let stand on cookie sheet for a minute before transferring to wire racks to cool.

Both of these recipes can be made gluten free!!

Happy National Chili Day! Check out these recipes!

Chili Image

In honor of National Chili Day (whether you celebrate on the 25th or the 28th of February, it's an awesome holiday), we'd like to share two of Debbie Gottwals' famous chili recipes. A white chicken chili and a 3 bean vegetarian chili recipe. Enjoy!

3 Bean Vegetarian Chili (all in one pot)
3 TBL olive oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium green pepper chopped
1 (29 oz) can tomato puree
1 can garbonzo beans
1 can black beans
1 can dark red kidney beans
3 bay leaves
3 TBL chili powder
1 TBL cumin
½ tsp each salt and pepper
½ tsp red pepper (more if you like it spicy)

Garnishes (optional)
Chopped scallions
Shredded cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
Sour cream
Chopped tomatoes

In a soup pot, heat olive oil. Add onions and peppers and sauté until tender. Add tomoto puree and all 3 cans of beans, bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Add remaining ingredients and cover and simmer for 30 min on low (stirring occasionally).

Add garnishes and serve over corn chips or corn bread if you like.

White Chicken Chili
1 TBL oil
1 medium onion chopped
1 clove of garlic minced
1 tsp ground cumin
2 chicken breasts cut into chunks
1 (16-19 oz) can cannellini beans drained
1 (16-19 oz) can chick peas beans drained
1 (12 oz) can white corn
2 (4 oz) can of mild green chilies
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1.5 cups water

Chopped cilantro
¼ lb Monterey Jack shredded cheese
Hot pepper sauce

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a saucepan, heat oil and cook onion, garlic, cumin until onion is tender.

In a 2.5 qt casserole, combine onion mixture with chicken, beans, corn, chilies, bouillon cubes and water. Cover and bake 50-60 min until chicken is cooked.

Add garnishes to taste.

Serve with rice or pasta.