5 Home Buying Myths Every First-Time Buyer Needs to Know!

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You’ve been renting for what feels like an eternity!  You have been a great tenant…keeping the place clean, following the rules, paying your $900+ rent to the landlord on time, not making any big changes…all the while watching HGTV and dreaming of the day when you can get your own place and Chip and Joanna the crap out of it.  I’ve been there, trust me.  It feels like you’re crawling out of your skin with excitement.

So you turn off the TV and hop online to find your first home.  You’re finally doing it! Fast forward 4 hours later, with dark circles under your eyes, you proudly peruse the dream homes you have saved from Realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Facebook, Craigslist, FSBO…the list goes on and on.  But what do you do now?

Back online you go to browse forums for first-time homebuyers.  Horror stories, tips from folks who went on their own, blogs, etc.  Now the sun is rising and you realize you’ve spent all night researching but you pretty much feel like you are in the same spot.  “What the hell am I supposed to do, though? I just want to buy a house!”  Let’s start by tackling the top 5 home buying myths to give you the real deal, no BS process.

Myth #1: Buying a House is Hard

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Don’t get me wrong.  Nothing good in life is 100% easy.  It does take work to find your first home.  It does take work to get preapproved for that loan.  It does take work to coordinate your big move.  Buying your first home is a lot like meeting the love of your life.  You date around (showings), you find someone who just gets you and you go back for a second maybe even third date, you commit (write an offer), you get engaged (get a contract), and the wedding planning process begins (inspections, appraisal, negotiations) before you finally walk down the aisle (closing day).

When broken down like this, it doesn’t seem too hard, really.  The easiest part, is finding “the one.” The rest can get a little mucky if you’re going it alone.  That’s why, especially between work and your personal life, it’s good to have someone to “plan the wedding” for you so the process doesn’t swallow you whole.  Having a Realtor® on your side will make the coordination, negotiations, and road to closing easier for you.  But more than anything, it saves you time and your sanity.

Myth #2: I Can Get Preapproved After I Start Looking

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Yes, you can go and apply to get financing after you’ve found “the one.”  You may have been out and about looking for months and there it is.  NOW you are ready to apply for the loan.  I cannot tell you exactly how many buyers have done this, I would say about 30% in just my experience.  I know, it’s not the fun part.  It’s boring, but I think more than anything scary.  You don’t even know if you’re going to be able to get prequalified, and some stranger is about to look at your financial history since you became an adult.  If you take nothing else away from this, please, PLEASE, do yourself a huge favor.  Get preapproved before you start looking.  Here’s why:

  • The initial prequalification can be done online in less than 30 minutes.
  • Preapproval can take just a day or two, but only less than 30 minutes to compile your financial information to send to the lender.  They do the rest.
  • Most home searching is outside of business hours.  If you find the one during “off hours,” you’re SOL until the next business day.  And there is a chance another buyer who likes the same house is already approved for financing.  And they are submitting their offer while you wait for financing.
  • A hurried qualification process means more errors and road blocks during the contract to closing process.  Getting approved ahead of time gives you and your lender enough time to fill in the blanks and make the process easy.
  • Worst case scenario, not going to sugar coat: you can’t get qualified at all. For whatever reason, credit is too low, you have no credit, your job history isn’t strong enough, you have a high debt ratio…things you never thought about will come up in the approval process.  And now you’ve wasted months of your life chasing something that just can’t be done right now.  That’s time you can never have back.

Myth #3: I’m Going to Get That Move-In Ready Stunner That’s Way Over My Budget Down to My Price Point

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We’ve all heard this one…you mention to your cousin that you’re thinking about buying a house and she says this,”Oh, then you need to talk to my friend Jenny, because she had a friend who bought her dream home for $50,000 below asking price a few years ago. She can tell you how to do the same thing.” What your cousin fails to mention is that we were in a recession just a few years ago, foreclosures were the thing to buy.  If you look at the market now, foreclosures are few and far between.  And inventory is tighter now than it has been in years.  So what can you do?

  • Stay in your lane.  Once you know your budget, stay within your budget.  It used to be that you could stand to go a little over your budget so you and the seller could negotiate down.  Especially if you’re in the under $150,000 price point, chances are low that the seller is open to that scenario.  Mainly because there is at least one other buyer out there who is gunning for the same house.
  • Keep an open mind.  There are some dog houses out there.  I mean, some uuuuugly houses.  Green carpet, peeling wallpaper, pink toilets.  You know what I’m talking about.  But under the ugly is a true beauty, well-built and definitely within your price point.  Most buyers can’t look past the cosmetics, but if you can, you can get a great deal and something to really make your own.

Myth #4: Zestimates Tell Me What I Should Offer

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Zillow is one of the top home search websites.  It is there and it’s not going anywhere.  I’m cool with it, as a Realtor®.  I have made peace with it.  But it is an uneasy peace, to be honest.  The main reason is Zestimates can give false information on the true value of the homes they “market”.  Even Zillow admits it in the itty bitty fine print at the bottom of the page:

“The Zestimate is not an appraisal and you won’t be able to use it in place of an appraisal, though you can certainly share it with real estate professionals. It is a computer-generated estimate of the worth of a house today, given the available data. Zillow does not offer the Zestimate as the basis of any specific real-estate related financial transaction. Our data sources may be incomplete or incorrect; also, we have not physically inspected a specific home. Remember, the Zestimate is a starting point and does not consider all the market intricacies that can determine the actual price a house will sell for.”

The truth, you decide what you offer.  Your Realtor® can advise, give you the intricacies and real scenarios, but you decide in the end.  Use your Realtor® and their experience negotiating to come up with the best offer for you.  But mainly, just because it’s on the internet doesn’t mean that it’s true.  Always consult a professional for the best results.

Myth #5: I Don’t Need to Prepare for The Worst After I Move In

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Once you buy your own home, everything is on you.  You don’t have a landlord to fix things for you anymore.  You are your own landlord now.  If the water heater goes out, it’s up to you to fix it.  If the AC dies in the middle of the summer, you have to call the HVAC company.  However, there are some ways to cover yourself from the sticker shock.

  • Get a home warranty. The warranty will cover you for a year after your purchase for your appliances and systems in the house, including the heating and cooling.
  • Renew that home warranty! It’s the best money you will ever spend, I’m telling you.
  • Have your systems serviced regularly.  Once in the Spring and once in the Fall.
  • When all else fails, every pay check, set a little aside for the “Oh Shit” fund. Pardon in advance for the profanity, but what is the “Oh Shit” fund?  It’s for when the dog tears up your floors, when a fork gets caught in the disposal and tears it up.  It’s for the time the washing machine springs a leak and water soaks the laundry room.  It’s for the “Oh Shit!” moments in life.

Happy Home Hunting!

So, there you have it.  There are so many more myths in the home buying process, but this is just the short list.  Have more questions?  Don’t hesitate to message me at morgan.overcash@allentate.com.

Seller Hot Topic: Fix the Floors or Add An Allowance?

More controversial than “so is the pool in the back yard going to kill the sale” in the real estate community is the ongoing inner battle of sellers plagued with “bad floors.” Should we go on ahead and replace the floors OR should we just offer an allowance to the buyers to put in their own?

Good question!  So I went out and polled Facebook to get those answers.  The feedback is pretty hopeful for sellers.

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The conversations were scintillating, I tell you!  Well, about as popping as they can get about a house related question.  The feedback was overwhelmingly for the allowance.  Now, it should be noted that most folks simply replied “Allowance” and moved on or posted “New floors” and moved on.

Being out in the field on a daily basis where the type and quality of flooring in the house is indeed extremely important, these stats should be taken with a grain of salt.  But, since I am all into what folks are really saying about the issue, let’s dig deeper.

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Okay, not exactly the “masses” but just from these three comments one thing is completely clear, the decision is really between that one seller and one buyer.  Flooring is so subjective and comes in such a wide range, it’s hard to really pin down what is “right” and what is “wrong.”  A few points to ponder as we close out:

  • Certain types of financing do not allow for missing flooring, period.  What does that mean?  If you have subfloors showing and you want to open up your home to as many buyers as possible, VA and FHA appraisers more often than not mark up that missing or damaged flooring as an item that HAS to be fixed before the loan can close.  Just something to think about…
  • Living with nasty floors now and not planning on selling anytime soon?  Get something that YOU love and maintain it well until it comes time to sell.  Best of both worlds!  You get the flooring you love and get rid of the flooring you hate.
  • Either way you ultimately decide, call your Realtor to help you with the decision.  Realtors see hundreds of houses a year and will be up to date on the latest trends that are sure to wow and negotiate repair costs for you.
  • Thinking about replacing the floors?  Next step is to consider if you’re going to hire a pro or do it yourself.  And that’s a whole new can of worms.  Consider your skill level is the best possible litmus test.  If the idea of do it yourself makes you sweat, hire it out.  Nothing is worse than new floors being put in wrong.

Join in on the discussion!  What do you think?

What Is the Market Doing in Rock Hill?

While I am out and about in the world, I get this question often…so each week, I will be showcasing the market activity in multiple areas to keep you guys all up to date.  This week, it’s Rock Hill, SC.

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What I Love About Rock Hill

This “suburb” of Charlotte is really making a name for itself.  The Old Town AKA Main Street features small businesses, summer concerts, food truck Fridays, Come See Me, and Christmasville, so there is always something to do here.  With the popularity of South Carolina, due to lower property taxes and gas prices, increasing, Rock Hill is growing.  So what does that mean for the market?  I know that’s why you’re here, so let’s get to it.

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Average sales price for Rock Hill (indicated by the gray line) has risen 7.8% over the past three years.  Not too shabby, at all.  It’s keeping pace with the rest of the market indicated by the red line, and, as far as I can tell, we should not expect too much of a drastic drop or increase over the next year.  In fact, there will more than likely be a very gradual, slow increase over the next year, but I will be keeping an eye on it just to see what happens with the prices since the listing volume is still decreasing.  Bottom Line: Home prices will continue to rise.

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This is where it gets good, because there are so many sellers, I would say about 9 out of 10 sellers actually, that want to build in that “wiggle room” into the listing price.  In Rock Hill, the current average percentage of listing price versus sales price is a healthy 96.5%, up 1.4% over the past three years.  Last Summer, for those of you that weren’t out in the trenches, was a mad dash for a lot of buyers for houses under the $200,000 price range, ultimately resulting in multiple offers and sight unseen offers.  The trend has not changed too much, and sellers are simply getting more for what they’re asking.  A word of warning, though.  You don’t want to price yourself too over the market or it will result in a stale listing AKA the listing that sits.  Bottom Line: Sellers are getting more from their asking price.

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Over the past three years, inventory of homes on the market has dropped 11.2%.  This is snap shot of the current Active inventory that is still available to buyers hitting the market as of December 2016.  What does this mean for sellers? If you have a house that is in good condition, positioned well location wise, and is priced right, you should expect a good bit of buyer traffic coming your way, even in the winter months. It will be interesting to see if this year is the year where inventory will finally see an increase instead of a decrease, but that is completely up to the market AKA the potential sellers. Bottom Line: The market is being driven by the sellers.

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Realtors back in the recession were used to three months on the market minimum, but these days, it’s been a struggle for us to truly convey how fast you are going to have to be ready to move.  The average days on market in Rock Hill is now a low 51 days, just under two months. That is a 30.1% decrease in average days on market over 3 years.  That’s a stupidly massive drop, but hey, I’m sure you guys aren’t complaining.  What does that mean for sellers?  If you are looking to sell your house and buy another, you need to be keyed in to what the market is doing for where you are going.  And you need to have your “extras”, the things you don’t use on a regular basis, already packed up and ready to go.  Yes, it’s going to be a weird couple of months, but you will wind up thanking yourself in the long run.  Bottom Line: Start packing and hook up with a strong buyer’s agent to begin giving you information on your next home.

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Number of months inventory has dropped from 10 months back in January of 2013 to 3.6 as of December 2016.  That is another huge drop.  For context, according to experts, a buyer’s market is more than 7.6 months inventory, a balanced market is between 6.5 and 7.5 months of inventory, and a seller’s market is inventory of less than 6.5 months.  So the final verdict? Rock Hill is deep in a seller’s market right now and unless there is a radical change, it doesn’t appear to be lightening up anytime soon.

So, really quick what does that mean for buyers now that the sellers have been tended to…it means you are going to have to work smarter and harder to get your dream home.  A few tips:

  • Get prequalified NOW.  Even better, get preapproved! I can not stress this enough.  If you are serious about buying a home in a seller’s market, and you haven’t even gotten on the phone with a lender to get prequalified, you are going to lose when that adorable cottage that you simply have to have comes up.  There are buyers out there that have their letters in hand and the market doesn’t care that you love it, it doesn’t care that this is your dream.  If you aren’t prepared, you’re going to miss out.
  • Get aggressive.  And get an agent that is as much of a go-getter as you are.  If not, more.  Get an agent who is going to not just wait for the homes to hit the market…get one who is going to write letters to each and every one of the homeowners in the neigborhood you want to move, go as far as door knocking for you, just not be passive and shrug when you ask “where are the houses?”
  • Have your financial house in order.  Begin saving up for that down payment, the inspections, the appraisal fee (which has gone up by the way…ugh!).  And that car you’ve been eyeing or that furniture that is going to fit oh-so-well in your new house?  No! Not until after the closing.  Your job is to be the most scrimping and saving person you’ve ever been in your life. Even if that means eating ramen every night for a month or two, it will pay off in the long run, I promise.
  • Make a smart offer.  The days of searching at the very top of your comfort zone and hoping the seller will take tens of thousands off to fit your needs is for the most part over.  While there are still exceptions to every rule, don’t bank on it.  That’s dangerous thinking.  Instead, hook up with your lender early on in the game to come up with a price point that is 100% in your sweet spot where you know that, even in times of emergency (job loss, medical expenses, or a costly home repair), you’re not going to have to skip a house payment.  Search in that zone, stay in that lane.  This will give you so much more leverage when it comes to making your offer because you won’t be fretting over the numbers.  You’ll be able to make an offer that compels the seller to work with you.

Well, that’s it for this month.  A little long winded, but I am hoping that this information will benefit you.  Please share this post with your friends and subscribe to this blog for more wonderful, free tips.

Disclaimer: These statements are in a “blanket” format for the city of Rock Hill as a whole and should not be used to determine the current value of your home.  For a more accurate “snapshot” of what your neighborhood is doing, sign up for your free Market Report which will be sent to your email monthly.  Want to go even deeper?  Reach out to me and I will come by and give you a free market analysis for your home.

Stop Saying “I Wish” And Do It

At the risk of sounding too much like Shia LaBeouf, funny motivational speaker to the masses that he is ( I can’t judge; this video got over 23 million views), something needs to be said.

I was out for my walk Friday morning, head-set flashlight a-blazin’, and I waved at one of my neighbors as she walked out to her car.  I paused for a moment as she asked how I was doing and I replied, “I’m out gettin’ it.”  Her reply, “I wish I could get out and walk like that.” I don’t know this woman, so I won’t throw shade at her.  She may have had a surgery that impedes her from walking long distances or she may be like a friend of mine, who, after a run, feels physically exhausted and ill for days.  Those are things that cannot be controlled, and therefore, this post is not aimed towards that sect whatsoever.

Too many people use the phrase “I wish I could…” that are capable of change, that have the ability to do what they want in life, to get to where they want to be.  But they don’t.  I’m including myself in this, so this is a rant for you as well as for myself.  Got to eat the my own chicken soup for the soul every now and then.

I can talk about how I’m going to do something all day, and then the end of the day comes around and I didn’t do jack.  I was able to perform the task, I had the tools, I even had the time.  But what did I do with that opportunity to make my life better?  I freaking sat on my butt and watched Full House reruns. I piddled around on Facebook. I played a game on my phone for an hour. What the hell?  I’m sick with myself. That’s time I could have been on the phone with potential clients, past clients showing my gratitude for them, yada yada the list goes on and on.  So I’m not entitled to the “I wish I could be better at my job” statement.  I’m not.

Really, for a second, stop reading and look at yourself.  Are you happy? Are you satisfied? Do you have everything in life that you ever wanted for yourself?  If you are and you do, awesome.  I am not here to make you feel less than.  That level of happiness is something not many people will ever be able to attain.  The main objective of this is that if you are complaining on a daily basis about how crappy your life is, how nothing is your fault and that everyone else is to blame, and you have been drinking that self pity Koolaid for too long and you know it, you have a chance today to change that.  But you have to do it.  You have to make that decision and stick with it.

For the next week, really pay attention to what you say.  I’m big into affirmations. When you catch yourself saying “I wish I could run a mile,” switch it up to “Today, I commit to going for a mile walk.” Instead of saying “I wish I could be as successful as so-and-so” change it to “Today I commit to calling 10 of my favorite clients and telling them how much I appreciate their business.” And let’s go deeper. Make over that “I wish I had a bigger client base” into “Today I commit to ask for an introduction to someone I know I can help.”

Follow this exercise for a week and report back.  The change may not be overnight, but you will see how at the very least, a change in your attitude will open up more doors.  But you have to choose to stop complaining and just do it.

If There’s One Thing I’ve Learned In Real Estate…

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When I was a kid, I promised myself that I would never get a job where I had to go back to school ever, ever, EVER again.  Yes, that’s with a sassy foot stomp.  After college, I was done with school for good, mainly because nothing in class really grabbed me.

I was the kid who was more interested in reading the latest Harry Potter book or more importantly, trying to figure out how to get my candle making/doll making/knitting/card making businesses would ever get off the ground.  And while all these endeavors absolutely blew the big one and went no where, that entrepreneurial spirit was alive and well.

I watched my mom go through the ringer as she went from being a loan officer at a local credit union to a Realtor at 40, not the easiest career change.  There were nights she would come home absolutely devastated, others she was elated.  But she freaking killed it at the real estate thing! She had no choice. She was able to pay for mine and my sister’s education, our house, everything we had because of that job. But I hated the affect that it had on her, not knowing what to do or really being able to help her when things went sideways, especially once the recession began. I told her I would never, ever, EVER become a Realtor at the age of 22.  This was with a slightly less sassy foot stomp, because I was freshly out of college, unemployed, and had no clue what the hell I was going to do with my life.  Not even Starbucks would hire me! (yeah, I’m looking at you Starbucks)…

So, I did what any one would have done in my position…I went to work for my mom.  I was her unlicensed assistant, pushing the paper, making the brochures, still not really feeling that fire, I guess for lack of a better term at the moment.  I got the fire one day sitting at my desk, finally fed up with the high levels of stupid clogging up our files, emails, and cell phones. “These people are idiots! I could do their jobs twice as good as they could,” my big fat, swollen head said.  Mom looked at me, sucked her teeth a little bit, and said “Prove it.”

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Dawwww, look at us there.  That was taken at a VIP event for Allen Tate several years back. Anyway, fast forward 6 years, almost 7 (7 years? geez), and I have learned a lot.  And I have eaten many crows, frogs, and multiple woodland creatures…figuratively not literally, of course.  And I finished each course off with some humble pie.

But if there is one thing I have learned from Real Estate, more than anything else is that I freaking love it because you have to go to “school” every single day. Each day is a new learning experience.  I love helping people, I love looking at houses, I love coming up with great ideas to get my listings sold, celebrating with my clients when we close, creating solutions to new problems…  There’s really nothing that I enjoy more than this career.  But it was really in my DNA all along; more on that another day.

Are you thinking about a career in real estate?  Reach out to me!  I would love to talk to you about it.  I could literally talk all day about it.   And, as always, I am here to help…

New Year’s Resolution: Sell My House

2017 is the year that you are going to sell your house.  It’s been decided. And why not? There are multiple reasons why you should…

  1. The market is beyond ready for your house.  Since 2015, the average number of new listings on the market has been declining.  In my own experience as an agent, 2016 was marked by multiple offer situations, love letters to sellers trying to get them to sell, and days gone by without a new house to show buyers.  I don’t know why there are so many sellers reluctant to sell right now, but if you are planning on moving in the next five years, here’s why you should go for it right now…inventory-levels-kcm-768x576
  2. Along with the inventory dropping, there are more buyers coming to the market who have finally been shaken off the fence by rising mortgage rates.  It’s not up to alarming levels, but the rates have moved from the mid 3% to the low 4% range.  Again, no cause for alarm, but buyers are finally getting wise that the golden era of stupid-low interest rates is over and just the small uptick has buyers running to buy.  And guess could be waiting for them?  Your house!
  3. Since we’re talking about it, in South and North Carolina, not only are we seeing an influx of new buyers to the market (seriously, if you’re under the $200,000 price range, you better be packed and ready to move because the buyers are coming), but buyers are moving HERE and they needed your house “like yesterday!”  It’s become one of my new favorite buyer phrases right behind the casual walk-in closet only fitting the wife’s stuff joke. Seriously, nothing, and I mean, nothing, could be finer than to be in Carolina at this point in time.  Take a look at this infographic:movingacrossamerica2016-kcm

Seriously, guys.  No need to mix words, here.  If you are toying with the idea of selling, 2017 is YOUR YEAR.  Especially here in the Carolinas.

Who do you know that is looking to sell their home?  Maybe it’s you, a friend, a family member, a coworker.  I am here to help. Start the year off on the right foot with your very own customized Market Report that will give you a monthly snapshot of your neighborhood activity. p.s. It’s FREE!

Next week, I’ll talk about prepping your house to sell. Have a fantastic week, and I look forward to helping you in 2017.

Always thankful for your referrals, contact me here!

Stop It Now

“I’m going to say two words to you and I want you to listen to them very carefully…Stop It!” This was a direct quote from Colleen, my broker-in-charge as I sat across from her, a snot-swollen tissue knotted in my hand.  Her routine query of “How are things this week?” sent me into a spiral of self pity and despair.

A contract on a house I had been entrusted to sell for a repeat client had fallen through the day of closing because the buyers couldn’t obtain financing; a contract that had been dragging out for three months.  I hadn’t eaten, slept, (this is embarrassing to admit) bathed really for days leading up to that devastating day.  When I got the email from the lender that there was nothing that could be done, it was broken and there was nothing we could do to fix it, I fell in the floor, praying that it was a dream.  Calling my client to tell them the news was one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. I wanted to be their hero, as I had been before, and it wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was fired, in spite of my efforts, and I felt like I was trapped in a room with no oxygen.   I had failed my client.  I hadn’t tried hard enough.  If I had just pushed more, maybe this wouldn’t have happened.  I was a failure, a stupid, sorry failure.

So there I was, Overcash, pity party of one.  A bawling, puffy mess across the paper-strewn desk of my composed yet empathetic broker-in-charge.  There was silence as I hiccuped and ran my fingers under my eyes and balled them into the tissue which had by now been reduced to pulp. Colleen stared at me and breathed in deeply. “I’m going to say two words to you and I want you to listen to them very carefully…STOP IT!”

“Stop it?” I blubbered.

“Did you work hard?” Colleen asked.

“Ye-yes…” I replied, not knowing where she was going with this.

“Did you do everything that you could to make sure that your client was taken care of?”

“Yes.”

“Did you, even when you had nothing new, no changes, nothing…did you still pick up the phone, listen to their concerns, and do what they told you to do.”

“Yes, but maybe if I-”

“No!” Colleen’s voice was strong and finite. “Stop it! Stop it now!”

So I did.  I shut up.  And I listened to the words that changed my outlook on my career.

“You remind me of myself when I was your age, Morgan,” Colleen said, smiling. “I remember a time when I mucked up a deal a very long time ago.  I went to my broker at the time, and she laughed at me.  ‘You know what I like best about you, Colleen?’ she said. ‘I don’t have to chew you out. You do it to yourself for me.'” Colleen chuckled, and I felt a small smile tingling across my tear-tightened face.

“One of the best things about you is that you DO care about your clients,” Colleen continued. “You care a great deal about them, and that’s why your clients love you, because they know that you would throw yourself in front of a passing train if it meant that it would make them happy.”  I nodded.  The whole reason why I began my career was because I watched my mother take care of buyers and sellers as I grew up.  I saw the way that she helped them move forward in their lives, and I wanted to do that.  “The problem is, you take it on yourself when things don’t go right,” Colleen said. “Was it your fault that the financing fell through?”

I sighed. “No.”

“So stop beating yourself up about it!  You did everything you could.  And the deal still died.  Because sometimes…” she shrugged. “Horrible shit happens to good people. It’s not right or fair, but it’s the reality.”

I don’t have to delve too much further on this, because it is obvious.  How many of us go each day carrying a certain failure with us?  Maybe it was a failed transaction, a failed interaction, or the worst, a failed relationship.  It begins as a small nagging voice in recesses of our thoughts. You failed, it hisses.  It is in our anatomy to problem solve and when that calamity envelopes our subconscious, it grows into an obsession until it begins to define and mold us into the people we are in this moment.  It begins to guide our actions, our goals, and our interactions with others, ultimately sabotaging us because we are so terrified of recreating that failure again.  And before we know it, it becomes an endless cycle, transforming us into what we feared the most.

STOP! STOP IT! STOP IT NOW!

Let this be your mantra.  Followed closely by NO ONE CAN TAKE AWAY MY HAPPINESS.

Sometimes crazy happens.  Stop obsessing over the failures, learn from them, and keep rolling!