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Ask McEnearney: “It’s What I Do…”

This week’s Q&A column is sponsored and written by Ann Duff of McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article and relevant Alexandria market news, contact Ann at 703.965.8700 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What did life look like for a realtor in 2020?

Answer: Oh, you could write a job description for realtor, and it would be pretty enthusiastic and likely glowing, but it would miss so much of the “fun!”

“Lean on me” never had so much meaning as it did this year as we worked around the unusual circumstances of 2020.

Chasing tortoises’ paperwork: You may have seen it in the news, but I tried to help our former CAPS’ goalie get his family’s two little dinosaurs across the border into Canada by sending photos of shipping documents. Even then, he was still stuck in Billings, Montana, for a few days with a full truck and turtles before getting home to Vancouver.

Trying to move a Tesla: Out of town, my clients also needed their car stored, and I don’t know how to drive a Tesla. The technology is vastly different from my vehicle, and I feared I’d run into a telephone pole, so I chased around town to find a seasoned owner of that spaceship-style car and, HOORAY, we found a friend who got the car tucked away safely.

1-800-GOT-JUNK: Just like the ads where the actress hops around looking at stacks of unwanted stuff, I played that role for some sellers and WOW was that fun. The power of the pointer is real; I was able to fill an entire truck without flexing a muscle and simply pointing. Two strong fellows did all the real work.

Previewing while taking videos: Fewer in-person visits this year meant creativity with an iPhone; now I just need advanced tech advice so I am not sending 10 videos per house. Spinning around in living rooms, back yards, climbing into attics, etc. and taking the extra views to explain the flow of the house, while providing some commentary, we’ve been able to streamline the places on the tour list and test how a place might “live.”

Long distance rentals, sight unseen: Seriously, two military families leased large townhouses I had listed relying only on photos, FaceTime calls and descriptions. Yikes, they didn’t even have a friend or relative visit, but whew, they love their choices.

Research by phone: I’ve advocated digging deeply into the history of homes and neighborhoods, but little did I know how helpful librarians working from home could be with the libraries closed. Great thanks goes to Patricia Walker, the Local History and Special Collections Branch Manager of the Alexandria Library, for going beyond the call of duty when helping me this past spring.

Photography from afar: Like a movie director, I like to oversee the professional photography taken for sales and rentals, but the pro’s rules rule! The very best real estate photographer, Peter, takes bright, helpful photos, and I rely on him. But with immune-sensitivity issues, no one else can be in the house while he is working. Oh, I can sit in the car and come back in to lock up, but luckily I deeply trust his talent, and I will have run through in advance to move those ubiquitous items clouding the vision.

Picking the colors: Out-of-state investors need their properties spiffed up for selling, and they often grant me the power of the palette. With Jason, my favorite, experienced local painter and his team, we get the ultimate decision for which shade of hip new, trending color to paint the walls. Gleefully satisfying.

Hiring an architect as a seller’s problem-solver: They have lived with “the staircase from hell” for years, apparently hauling body and soul from the main floor to the expansive upper level up a 60-degree (or more), beyond steep staircase. More like a vertical ship’s ladder, my friend Cathleen Curtin, an experienced and creative local architect, has come up with two plans to offer safe ascent and descent — yikes, lives will be saved.

Order window blinds: Busy seller Julie knew that shades on her apartment windows was the way to go, but never had a minute of extra time, so I volunteered to “go shopping” on her behalf. She gave me her Amex card and permission to go crazy. Darn it, no plane tickets to Paris for me — I simply arranged for measurements, negotiated a great price and oversaw the installation of the sharp looking, beige honey-comb blinds. They look grand, and I’ve shredded her credit card number, but might remember it in a pinch — ha!

Walk and talk at the same time: Can’t complain, we all need to stay safe, however, I can’t easily see over the top of one kind of mask. Once it is firmly hooked on my ears, I can only look straight ahead, not down, which may be why I totally missed the bottom step and barely avoided a face plant on a brick patio last week, though my knee is rather purple now. I just have to be more careful and know you’ll wear your mask, too, won’t you?

It takes a village full of brains, talent and energy to present a great listing and take the transaction through to settlement; I’m your girl. Stay safe and be assured, on any given day, there is so much more to my job description — and I love it!

Ann Duff — Your positive advantage for residential and commercial properties throughout the area. Experience and energy, negotiations and knowledge — all with a splash of fun! Let’s get busy!

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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