FSBO, The Real Story

So, you want to sell your house, I mean YOU want to sell you house.  Interesting.  Let’s think about that a little bit more.  What are the reasons that you want to do all the work and not hire a trained REALTOR®?  Do you think you’ll save money?  Do you think that you’ll get paid more for your house?  Or do you think you’ll just do a better job?  Most qualified buyers prefer to work with a REALTOR® so that alone could deter the desired sale of a house being sold by its owner.  There are many myths going around that people believe about selling their house on their own.  We will discuss those myths along with facts that are often overlooked.

Myth #1:  People believe that most of the people who decide to sell their house by themselves are successful in doing so.  This is completely inaccurate.  The national average of houses that are successfully sold by their owner is 15%.  That definitely looks like a low chance of success.  Many of the 85% who do not succeed in selling their house choose to give up all together or they hire a REALTOR® who helps them actually sell their house.

Fact #1:  When an owner has decided to sell their house on their own, they tend to overprice it at the beginning.  This is generally because everybody thinks their house is worth more than it truly is.  They see what their neighbor’s house sold for and ‘know’ that their house is “way” better so it should sell for more money.  Sometimes, that could be the case, but not often.  Also, setting a too high price is dangerous.  It makes the seller lose negotiating leverage when it sits on the market for a long time.  When you hire a REALTOR® the house will usually be priced correctly, by looking at many more attributes than the selling price of the immediate neighbor’s house.  Also, the REALTOR® will not be emotionally invested in the house.

Myth #2:  Many people selling their house believe that showing their house will be easy.  Unless they work from home, this is definitely not the case.  Most people work during the day and are unavailable to show at 2pm on a Tuesday.  Showing houses is a major part of a REALTOR®’s job.  We chose this career because we enjoy showing houses when our buyers want to see them and are able to be there at that time.  Also, many potential buyers don’t want to look at a house with the owner there.  Think about it, would you want to seriously look at a house to buy with the owner hovering over you telling you that any issue isn’t an actual issue?  I mean, they lived with it, so it is no big deal. 

Fact #2:  Owners who are trying to sell their own house are generally doing it because they believe they will be saving money.  In fact, many of the people who are attracted to FSBO’s are low-ball buyers and unqualified buyers.  REALTOR®’s generally don’t work with unqualified buyers as they aren’t able to secure a loan and will not be able to actually buy the house.  Low-Ball Buyers are exactly what they seem, they come in with a ridiculous offer and occasionally the seller will accept the offer, especially if they have been on the market for a long time. This results in making less, not more, money. 

The biggest take-away from this is that if you think you’ll make more money selling your house on your own, you’re wrong. You won’t.  I’m not just telling you this, so you’ll hire me to sell your house. There are actual facts that support this.  Hiring a REALTOR® will allow you to sell your house at a higher price, have a ton less stress, have more showings, and be able to market your house in many more places.  As a REALTOR® I am able to put houses that I have listed into the MLS which most of the other websites pull information from.  Yes, you could put information on Zillow yourself, but that information is not always accurate, and the informed buyer will know that.  The MLS allows the REALTOR® to pull tax information and the information is checked. 

Another big difference between using a REALTOR® and selling yourself is that I, as a REALTOR®, am held to a Code of Ethics, where I must take a class on it every two years.  I am also an expert on all the contracts, which alone should make it worth using a REALTOR®. Many times, when there is a lawsuit related to Real Estate, the seller is the Defendant.  Wouldn’t you rather not assume that risk?  Again, that is in the job description of a REALTOR®.  Brokerages have lawyers who are experts on contract law, and we are covered by insurance specifically designed for these instances.  You may think that you can figure out the contract.  You might be right, but I have studied the contracts, especially when they are updated, which happens a lot.

I understand if you still decide to choose to sell your house on your own.  I have warned you about some of the issues that you might encounter.  I am here for you if you have any questions related to Real Estate, or just want to talk.  If you just want to discuss concerns regarding selling your house on your own, I won’t make you sign a contract or pay any fee.  My main goal is to educate the general public on the issues in Real Estate.  I have a great network, and if I do not know an answer, I’ll direct you in the right direction to find out, if I don’t find out for you myself.  I’ve just touched the surface on the debate of ‘Do I hire a REALTOR® or I can sell this house on my own.’  I’m sure I’ll write about this topic again in the future.  I hope you have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

What is your Brand?

When planning out this blog, I had thoughts of writing on something completely different but wasn’t feeling that topic at all and felt the need to think of something else.  I am instead going to write about how I am now super focused on building my brand.  Yes, I am a brand.  You are a brand, more so if you are self-employed and rely on selling yourself to make a living.  Think about it, for my situation, would you rather deal with a REALTOR® who showed up to appointments in a t-shirt and shorts or one who was wearing a suit and tie?  I wouldn’t mind running into the REALTOR® outside of the business circumstance where they were in shorts and a t-shirt, but not when they were supposed to be representing me.  It just came to me, this is probably why lawyers and politicians wear suits and ties because they are attempting to demonstrate high class for those they are representing.  There are many other instances where you can improve ‘your brand’ and I am working hard to improve mine.  One thing that I will work on will be to continue to improve my blog so it’ll be the best that it can.  I recently ordered some suits so I can improve my appearance to the public; also, that allows me to feel as if I can approach the luxury properties and not internally feel below them.  It will give me a self-confidence boost.  If you are on a tight budget there are simple ways to improve your brand for free.  I will continue to break down various things one can do to make their brand better.

Since I first mentioned the clothing debate, I’ll start there.  I remember that when I was taking the classes for the test to complete my real estate license.   I wore a t-shirt and gym shorts most days.  There was no protocol for what to wear.  When I started going to actual training at my brokerage, I started to wear jeans and a polo.  I slowly have been improving my attire.  I now wear nice slacks, a polo or button up, and nice shoes.  I found a website that had a promo code allowing me to get three suits for an amazing price that I couldn’t resist.  Hopefully they will be of high quality.  I am going to start dressing better more often so I give off confidence and the appearance that I have success in what I do.  I mean, why else would someone wear a suit all the time.  Yes, there will be days where I don’t wear a suit, but I am going to make a conscience effort to dress more professionally when the situation calls for it.  I already have a lot of ties and dress shirts so there will be no excuse not to look my best. 

Another easy way to improve your brand is to have a high-quality business card.  I was given free ones from my brokerage, but I didn’t feel they stood out enough.  I paid to have new ones made which have my picture on them, have my slogan, and have a more unique appearance.  I feel that they stand out more than the ones I was given.  There are so many different styles of business cards.  In the future I might invest into metal ones.  That would nearly guarantee that I’d win any raffle that I enter.  My theory with business cards, is that they are the first impression to the individual you give or send them to.  It sets the tone for who you are and what you represent.  Set the bar high and let the world know that you believe that you are important and worthy of attention.

Developing a great website is also very important to building a good brand.  I was lucky enough that the brokerage that I work for has it set up where we get our website and we just need to personalize it.  I am working to add to it still, so it stands out and is truly effective for anyone going to the site needing my services. Make sure that the website is to the point and conveys the message that you intend.  There is nothing worse than going to a website that is not at all what you expected.  Think about researching a restaurant and going to their website to find political rants.  I don’t think I’d want to go there regardless of the opinion.  So, make sure you are representing the brand correctly. 

Along the same lines as having a great website, is to have great social media accounts.  They all are different on how you can organize and customize the layout.  Instagram and Twitter rely on what you post to convey the best message that you can.  I tend to focus on the interesting things that are going on in my life or good food that I’m eating.  I do make sure to include Real Estate related posts, but I make sure not to overload my pages with listing after listing.  I want to make sure that they are entertaining and engaging.  I view these as a look behind the curtain into my normal everyday life.  Facebook, I find is easier to customize.  I make it a point to update my cover picture on my business page at least once a month, more often if there is a holiday.  I need to do that for this week.  Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.  I have gone through and chosen what tabs and pages will be on my page, and I also decided how it was going to be laid out.  I am still working to ensure that it is the best that it can be.  Regarding the content I post on Facebook, I rely on a few programs that post some things for me.  I use them to post various articles a few days a week and to post a listing of a house every day.  That allows me to post more personal things on my page and not have to worry about overloading the viewers about a certain area; I used to post a lot about houses in Kirkwood, MO.  I was struggling to post content that was not related to Kirkwood.   I couldn’t help it, I was born and raised there.  The point still is to make sure the brand accurately represents the message you want wherever you are present.

Probably the easiest way to ensure that the brand is at its best is to hold yourself accountable.  If you say you’re going to do something, do it.  It can be a challenge at first, but if you make a point to hold yourself accountable, you’re more likely to succeed, and your brand will benefit.  My writing this blog every week is 100% due to me holding myself accountable.  Most weeks, I really don’t want to do it and try to push it off until the last minute; which I nearly did this time.  For me, there are days where my alarm goes off and I really don’t want to get up and go into the office.  I like to think that I would be just as productive if I just stayed home and worked there.  I know for a fact that I would not be anywhere close to being as productive.  I make it a point to go to the office for a few hours every day and go to the gym when I leave.  Just going to the office puts my brain into work mode.  I have fewer distractions and am able to focus.  I have my daily checklist that I must get done before I allow myself to leave.  There are always exceptions, such as I’m not going to put out Open House signs on Wednesday, the day I have it scheduled, if I’m not holding an Open House the following weekend.  I honestly treat my daily checklist as a minimum of things that I will do that day.

Improving your brand is not as hard as you might think.  It just takes planning and determination to achieving the plan that you set for yourself.  I am available to hold you accountable if you’d like, and I hope you all will hold me accountable as well.  If we all succeed, then the world will become a better place, full of great people doing great things.  I look forward to discussing this further and even individually with any of you.  What are your goals?  I wish you all a great day and week and let’s go see some houses.

The Search for Inspiration

This blog, I’ll start off in a very unconventional way.  I had no clue of what to write about, so I Googled topics for a Real Estate Blog.  There were so many that I didn’t feel fit me.  I didn’t feel that they would represent me the way that I would hope.  Out of about one hundred or so topics, I found three that I hadn’t already thought about.  Of those that I had thought of, I didn’t feel that this was the right time to write about, for example, sports.  Many of the sports that I follow are over or aren’t starting until Spring and Summer.  I could have talked about NCAA Basketball, but I’d rather wait until March so I can talk about March Madness.  I’ve already written about playing winter kickball, but during the warmer months I play more sports, which lead to many interesting stories.  I just realized that, so far, I am writing a blog post about not knowing what to write about.   Interesting.  Google suggested writing about dealing with difficult clients, but I haven’t had one yet.  If any of you have suggestions on topics, don’t hesitate to let me know, and I’ll do my best to fulfill my self-imposed obligation.  I guess I can write about what I was planning on now.  An attempt to be inspirational. 

Inspiration, is “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative, or a sudden brilliant, creative, or timely idea” (Oxford Dictionaries).  My latest bit of inspiration came from a fortune cookie that came with my dinner when I ordered Chinese food.  My girlfriend opened hers first and thought it should have been for me, we usually seem to get fortunes that fit each other better.  My fortune was “You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course.” This was a very timely fortune for me since I was wondering if I am doing anything wrong or if I needed to make a life change to reach my goals.  I know these fortunes are purely chance and random and not an actual fortune, but I got it at the right time.  Anything can be viewed as an inspiration.  The next morning, I didn’t want to get out of bed and go into the office, but I made myself, and am very happy that I did.  It allowed me to maintain the course that I have laid out for myself.  I know that I am putting in the work and am certain the good times will come.   But there are days when you feel like you are just treading water and/or stuck in the mud.  Now is a perfect time for the pitch.  If you know anyone thinking about making a move or who has a question regarding Real Estate, tell them to Call Matt for their Real Estate Chat.  Ok, back to the point now.  In the comment section, besides topic ideas, tell me what inspires you.

I try to post motivational posts on my social media daily, I think I’m going to start posting things that are meant to inspire.  If more people feel inspired to reach their goals, then the world should become a better place.  Here is a challenge to everyone out there, I challenge you all to inspire someone to be great, whether it be family, friends, co-workers, or even a random stranger.  Find a way to make the world a better place.  Writing this post has, honestly, inspired me to be better; to be a better person all around and to spread my happiness and motivation to those around me more. 

What do I find inspiring?  Hmm, seeing others succeed inspires me to work harder and to learn from them to pick up tricks that can help me be more successful.  Another is when I see someone who has been severely injured come back and regain the strength and capabilities that they worked so hard to achieve.  For example, when someone is thought to be paralyzed regains the ability to walk.  I don’t know how you could not be inspired when that happens.  In fact, seeing someone making the effort to overcome adversity in spite of all the obstacles is inspiring, regardless of their apparent success. It makes me feel that there is no excuse for me to just sit on the couch and watch TV; it makes me feel that I need to get out there and do something worthwhile.

You can literally find inspiration anywhere, from a poem, nature, online, people, possibilities, and even in yourself. 

A poem that I found inspiring:

A Smile 
Poet Unknown 

Let others cheer the winning man, 
There’s one I hold worth while; 
‘Tis he who does the best he can, 
Then loses with a smile. 

Beaten he is, but not to stay 
Down with the rank and file; 
That man will win some other day, 
Who loses with a smile.

(https://www.wow4u.com/playingthegame/)

If you are looking for inspiration from nature, go for a walk and attempt to zone out and just enjoy the sounds of nature.  Listen to the birds, listen to the water, and listen to the wind rustling the leaves on the trees.  Doing this can mentally reboot your system and can allow you to forget the obstacles that are pulling at you in life.  When you are online and are looking for some inspiration there are many places you could look.  You could watch a TED video and see how motivated the speakers are and how they are trying to help others succeed.  You could go to social media and search for the hashtag #inspiration.  This will bring you many posts other people have found inspiring.  Use it and take advantage of other’s inspirations.  When you are talking to those you love, ask them what they are grateful for or what they love most in life.  This will bring you closer together and find out what inspires them.  This could allow you to find ways to help them feel inspired in the future.  When they tell you what they are grateful for, try to mentally get in their shoes, and attempt to experience it from their perspective.  It’s a great way to gain inspiration in a new way that you may have not thought of before. 

One of my favorite ways to inspire myself is to create a bucket list of things that I want to do or achieve in life; there are some crazy things on my list that I’m not fully convinced that I want to do, for example, skydiving.  When I was doing research on what inspires people, I came across an idea of a way to get inspired, ‘submit your resume for a dream job.’  I do think that this could be inspirational, but it reminded me of one of my friends from college.  When he was applying for colleges, he sent an application to Harvard, just in case he would be accepted, but fully expecting a rejection letter.  He told us all that he applied just so he could frame and hang up the Harvard rejection letter.  I now think of that story in a different light, he was reaching for the stars to see if he could reach them.  Another way to find inspiration is in yourself.  I am, honestly, feeling inspired right now as I am writing this post.  I have disconnected myself from my other responsibilities and have fully immersed myself in my writing.  I need to do this more often.  Another thing to do, especially if you are feeling down, reflect on everything that you’ve learned and accomplished.  You will feel much better and realize that you are improving and making the right steps to achieving your goals.

What do I find inspiring?  I’ve been thinking about this the whole time I’ve been writing this post.  The biggest source of my inspiration is my family, starting with my parents.   They, literally, will do anything for my brothers and me.  When we are struggling, they will give us a shoulder to lean on, to cry on, to hug, and someone to talk to.  Starting out in Real Estate is a financial investment and since I decided to jump into the deep end with no other income, they have helped me out more than I could explain.  My brothers and I have learned that trait from them.  When any of us needs help, we don’t hesitate to offer to help, assuming we are able.  My girlfriend inspires me, she has set goals and is so determined to achieve them that she gets upset if she veers off the path.  She is very opinionated, which I find to be a great attribute as she has strong beliefs that she is very passionate about.  Somehow my dog even inspires me.  When we get home and he shows us absolute joy and happiness, it immediately puts a smile on my face and makes me envious of the pure joy he lives with.  When he is playing with his toys it takes me back to my childhood when I didn’t have a worry in the world and enormous dreams that I was certain that I was going to achieve.  The other people in my office inspire me with their willingness to help me achieve my goals and have experienced the same challenges that I am facing and have come out the other side and are achieving their goals.  There are so many more places where I draw inspiration and I could keep telling you about these things, but I know that I would just start (continue?) to ramble and not make any sense.

Here are a few things that inspire me and things that you could use to find inspiration yourself.  Find happiness and joy in your life that can help you achieve your goals and dreams.  Remember, dream big and find a way to get there.  I have many dreams, they have changed a little since I was a little kid, but I now know that I can achieve many of them, and I truly believe that I am on the right path to those goals.  This post has inspired me a lot more than I had thought it would.  It began with me not knowing what to write about and it turned into something special, at least for me.  I hope you enjoyed the read, and that you will accept the challenge to be someone’s inspiration.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

Kirkwood, Missouri: A Great Place to Live

I like to call myself a Neighborhood Specialist in the world of Real Estate.  I feel that I truly know and understand many of the neighborhoods in St. Louis considering I was born and raised in St. Louis and continue to live here.  We’ll start this Neighborhood Background Series with a town that is near and dear to my heart, Kirkwood.  This is where I grew up, played, and went to school.  I have so many great memories of Kirkwood, from my older brother’s wedding reception b in our backyard, many high school football games, both playing and watching my brothers, wiffle ball games in the backyard which lead to many baseball games throughout my life, and many, many more.  Now we will begin to talk about what makes Kirkwood, Missouri great.

According to the city’s website, Kirkwood describes itself as: “Turn-of-the-century homes and a thriving business community await you in the City of Kirkwood, Missouri. Established in 1853, Kirkwood has long been known for its down-home charm, community pride, nationally recognized schools, vibrant business community, and its involved residents” (http://www.kirkwoodmo.org/).  This description says it all to me.  When I was growing up, I felt the community pride and definitely noticed how involved the residents are.  If you happen to venture into Kirkwood, you’ll see an abundance of the color red.  That is the main color of the high school.  During football season, you’ll find much of the community at the high school football game.  Go Pioneers!  I still have Kirkwood pride and always will.  Growing up, my parents and our little neighborhood were very involved in the community.  Every year Kirkwood has a parade called the Greentree Parade.  I couldn’t tell you how many times I was in that parade with our neighborhood ‘float’; although I do know that I marched in it twice as part of the Marching Band and once with the football team after we won the Frisco Bell, the trophy for winning our annual Thanksgiving Day football game against Webster Groves.  In my high school career, I was 2-1 in those games, sadly losing my senior year. 

Kirkwood originally was created around the train station, where people were able to take the train into St. Louis City for work every day.  It was the first planned satellite suburbs of St. Louis.  I remember growing up and occasionally hearing a steam engine still coming through town, which my Dad made my brothers and me run down the street to see it and get ice cream.  It was really cool. 

The houses, when I was growing up, were more of the older traditional houses.  The house I grew up in was built in 1883.  Around my childhood house were many other houses near that age, but not quite.  Sadly, now some of the older houses are getting torn down so builders can build newer houses on the lots.  I truly hope they don’t ever tear down my childhood home.  I would be heart broken.  My brother and I have always joked about buying it if it ever goes back on the market.

The ambiance of Kirkwood has made it a highly attractive community in which to live, with a vibrant Real Estate market.  The high-quality schools, easy access to major highways, and the mixture of old homes with newer construction create a unique community in which to live and raise a family.  The continued development indicates that it remains a solid investment for real estate. Downtown Kirkwood is what I consider a movie set downtown.  Lots of little stores and great restaurants.  If you want any suggestions of where to eat, just ask.  It reminds me of a small town’s downtown with a bigger town’s activities.  Its location also makes it easy to get to all the major attractions in the St. Louis area as well. There is so much more that I could tell you about Kirkwood, and I might someday, but before I keep rambling and miss living in Kirkwood even more, I’ll say have a great day and let’s go see some houses, in Kirkwood.

Winter Storm(s) Real Estate

Wintertime is a tough time for most industries.   I can’t even imagine the difficulties of being on a road construction crew during this time of year.  Real Estate is not as tough as that, maybe, but it sure has some hard times.  Think about it, preparing to hold and holding an Open House when a snow storm is sweeping through town.  That happened to me, not once, but twice.  The first storm actually brought some snow, approximately 9 inches.  I ended up cancelling my Open House that weekend.  Luckily, I had picked up my directional signs and got home right as the snow started to fall on the Friday.  This past weekend, I decided not even to bother scheduling one, as it was supposed to be super frigid with a good chance of ice — it just rained.  Trying to maintain your normal weekly schedule for your business through the tough days of winter are a challenge.

Snow Storm Gia, #1.  This was a storm that impacted much of the country.  The only impact to me was at home in St. Louis.  On Sunday or Monday, before the storm, I had planned on holding an Open House the following Saturday.  Within the next day or two I had placed all my directional signs, put up the Open House rider, and advertised the Open House all over my Facebook page, and then it happened; a major snow storm was on the forecast.  I was, honestly, pissed off.  I was looking forward to this Open House; I was supposed to have someone shadow me on this one, which I took as a challenge to be better.  The predictions kept getting worse and worse, but since I’ve grown up in St. Louis, I understand this prediction of 8-12” of snow could just as easily be a light dusting of snow.  I waited as long as I could before I eventually cancelled the Open House, as I didn’t want to be out driving in the snowstorm if I didn’t have to.  My car does not handle the show very well.  I was actually happy that there was significant snowfall.  I would have been more upset if the snow ended up missing us after I officially cancelled the Open House.  You can read about what I did that weekend on the previous blog post, beware, you will feel worn out just by reading it.

Snow Storm Harper, #2.  This was another storm that was supposed to impact St. Louis.  It wasn’t supposed to drop a lot of snow on the city, but originally it was supposed to have the daily high temperature in the single digits, which would have been brutal.  It was still supposed to snow up to 4”, which would have caused enough issues.  I was watching the forecast like a hawk, deciding whether or not to attempt to hold an Open House last weekend.  I did not.  It wasn’t until Thursday or Friday that the forecast called for a slightly warmer temperature and basically just rain.  I felt that it was too late to properly market an Open House and to put out the directional signs, so I started to market an Open House for this coming weekend.  I noticed that there were a lot of people who went and viewed the house, which was obviously great.  That is what you want when you have a listing, the more people who view it, the better the chances of finding the buyer.  Although this storm wasn’t too bad on Saturday, it did decide to snow Sunday afternoon which was a pain for me.  Attempting to drive home from playing Kickball, my car couldn’t make it up a hill, the road was super slick.  I ended up having to turn around and go a different way to avoid the snowy roads.  It might have snowed an inch, but the roads weren’t treated so they were a little hazardous. 

When I got into the real estate business, I never thought about the challenges of trying to work through snow storms.  Now I’m wondering how I am going to put out directional signs when the ground is frozen.  I guess I’ll find that out when I get to it.  I’m sure I’ll think of something.  As much as I enjoy the cold and snowy weather, I am definitely ready for Spring.  More people are looking for houses or wanting to sell their house then.  I hope you all stay warm and if you feel like daring the weather, let’s go see some houses.

Fun in a Winter Wonderland

I’m sorry that this post is a little later than usual.  I didn’t have any time during the weekend to write it.  As you’ll see, this one isn’t much about being a REALTOR, but I think you’ll see why.   If you are not from St. Louis, MO, we had a HUGE snow storm.  It first started to snow around 2:00 PM on Friday and did not slow down until Saturday night.  There were a few moments of rain and a wintery mix during Saturday.  It was so beautiful.  There were many accidents, cars left on the side of roads, and hot chocolate. 

Thursday, we were smart and went to the hardware store to get some home improvement supplies, mostly so I would have something to do on Saturday when we were snowed in.  We also ordered a new replacement window.  So, we were a little productive then. 

Friday, I went into the office and did as much work as I could before the weather came in.  I was planning on holding an Open House on Saturday but decided against it due to the weather; my car does not drive well in the snow.  Once I made that decision I had to go around and pick up my directional signs and the rider out of the house sign.  I got home right as it started to sleet.  I immediately ordered pizza and it delivered within 20-30 minutes.  Oh, how I love Imo’s Pizza.  After I ate my lunch, I went upstairs to work on hanging crown molding.  The first hiccup was that I had to dig the saw out of the pile of tools, move it up to the third floor, and set it all up.  The second hiccup came shortly after.  I still have all my fingers and didn’t bleed, well not at that point.  I plugged in the saw and attempted to cut a board and the fuse blew.  I had to walk from the third floor down to the basement to flip the breaker back to on.  This process repeated itself once more before I wised up and had to move everything back down to the second floor.  My legs were so tired.  I eventually figured out how to cut the boards correctly and hung all the trim for one room.  I was planning on doing the rest on Saturday.  Later in the night when the snow had accumulated enough, we went outside and played with our dog in the snow.  I was chasing him around and of course I slipped and got covered by snow, and then he decided to jump on me; it was great.  There is a video of right before I fell on my social media accounts.

Saturday, I woke up and knew that I needed to go out and shovel the sidewalk, what a workout.  I was planning on going upstairs to continue working on hanging the crown molding.  Instead my girlfriend, Ruby, and I took the dog, Louie, for a long walk up into town.  We don’t usually go for this long of a walk, and it was rough with 9” of snow on the ground.  We were going up to the local small hardware store to buy some sleds; of course, they were sold out.  We learned that nearly everywhere was sold out of sleds, either that morning or on the days leading up to the storm.  We never found any.  We settled for a Christmas Tree tray.  It didn’t work very well.  While out looking for sleds, we also went by the grocery store; we needed to eat something before we went sledding and afterwards.  We forgot to go before the storm hit.  When we were done with everything, we went by our house to change, and drop off the groceries.  Then onto Art Hill.  With me being a St. Louis native, you’d think that I would have sledded there at least once before — not the case.  It was a lot of fun, except the walking back up the hill part.  Again, my legs were dead.  Luckily for us, our friends brought other sleds that worked better, and let us use them.  We stopped sledding right before it started to rain a little and went to a local bar to watch football and eat some food.  I had a Chili Cheese Burger, and it was pretty tasty.  After we were done eating, we all went our separate ways to shower and change, I had to resist taking a nap.  Then we all went to a friend’s house and played some games.  It was a fun day.  I did fail to get back to hanging crown molding though, I guess I’ll have to do that today now.

Sunday was truly crazy.  Woke up early so I could eat some breakfast, I guess Ramen noodles count as breakfast some days.  Then went to go play some kickball.  I ended up playing four games of kickball which truly wore me out, I still am sore on Monday.  I chose to take my firepit, EZ-Up tent, speaker, and a cooler of beer; no, the cooler wasn’t needed to keep the beer cold, but it was easier to carry.  Playing kickball in 8” or so of snow was really fun, and really sloppy.  I was in heaven.  Although I truly enjoyed playing in the snow, I don’t want to play in that deep of snow again, but I will, given the chance.  The one downside of playing kickball in all the snow was that my feet were so wet and so cold.  I kept them warm as long as I could.  I feel that they were nearly frozen when I was through playing but I still had to pack up everything that I had brought, I hope I didn’t forget anything.  Shockingly, this is when I cut myself and bled.  Closing up my EZ-Up tent I pinched the side of my finger and it decided to bleed pretty good.  I didn’t care, because my feet were so cold, and I wanted to go home. 

Again, I don’t know where you are, but I hope you get the chance to have a fun filled snowy weekend.  From playing with your dog in the snow, going sledding, or even playing kickball, it’s always great to find something fun to do when you feel like you should be stuck in the house watching tv and drinking hot chocolate.  I know I had a fun and eventful weekend and I couldn’t even begin to tell you how sore I am as I am writing this post; everything hurts.  I’m trying to talk myself into going to the gym later, I doubt I’ll make it.  Please leave me comments on how your weekend was or any topic that you would like me to explore.  Have a great day and let’s go see some houses.

My MLB Hall of Fame Ballot

If I had a Vote

As a lifelong Baseball fan, I have an opinion on who I believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame from this year’s class.  I know don’t have a vote, and my opinion means nothing to the actual Hall of Fame, but I felt the need to write who I think should be in and why.  I used to be against the players who were attached to the steroid era, especially if they were accused of using, but I have moved past that; those were the times.  There are non-pitchers who are in from the dead ball era, the times should dictate the criteria on which the votes are based.  If there was a committee that could go though and look at all the players in the Hall of Fame and re-judge them by today’s standards, I truly feel that many of the Hall of Famers would not make the updated list.  When making my choices I used my gut opinion from watching them play through the years, I looked at their stats over their careers, I looked where they align with other Hall of Famers, and I even used the newer Sabermetrics to come to my conclusions.  With my list of ten players, which I have ranked, I did have a few that were on the cusp of making my list.  I will break down why I did not include them in my top ten for this year.  My list, in order, is:

  1. Mariano Rivera
  2. Barry Bonds
  3. Roger Clemens
  4. Sammy Sosa
  5. Roy Halladay
  6. Edgar Martinez
  7. Todd Helton
  8. Manny Ramirez
  9. Scott Rolen
  10. Fred McGriff
  11. Andruw Jones
  12. Omar Vizquel
  13. Billy Wagner
  14. Miguel Tejada

There you go.  Those players listed 1-10 are who I believe belong in the Hall of Fame from today’s ballot.  Andruw Jones was very close in my mind to making the list, but I felt that Scott Rolen and Fred McGriff were just barely more deserving of the right.  I believe that Andruw Jones will make the Hall of Fame eventually, I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.

Mariano Rivera.  He is a Hall of Famer to me because I believe he is the best closing pitcher the game has ever seen.  He is the All-Time leader in Saves, won the AL reliever of the year five times, and has a career WAR of 56.3.  From my eye test, every time I saw a Yankee game, and he pitched, I knew the Yankees were about to win the game.  He was dominant for 16 of his 19 years in the MLB.  One of those years he was recovering from a torn ACL, when he was 42.  The other two years were his first two in the major leagues.  All of these factors tell me that he will be a no doubt Hall of Famer.

Barry Bonds.  I think he should already be a Hall of Famer d.  He is the All-Time Homerun leader, both career and single season, All-Time leader in Walks and Intentional Walks, He was a seven-time NL MVP, eight-time Gold Glove winner, two-time NL Batting Champion, and has a career WAR of 162.8.  He was a beast when he was in the batter’s box.  There was a time where he either walked or it seemed he hit a Homerun.  His most notorious season where he hit 73 Homeruns, he also batted .328 and had 137 RBIs.  Yes, I know he has been accused of using steroids, and I believe that he did.  I also believe he was going to be a Hall of Famer before he ballooned up.  Before the season when he hit the 73 Homeruns, he was hitting 25-45 homers, around 100 RBIs, and hitting around .310 every year.  He was also a factor on the bases; he stole 514 over his career.  All these factors tell me that he is definitely a Hall of Famer, and shame on the Baseball writers for not including him in the hall.

Roger Clemens.  This is another player who I believe should already be a Hall of Famer.  He is undoubtedly one of the best pitchers of all time.  He won 20+ games 6 times in his career, leading the league four times, lead the league in ERA seven times, lead the league in strikeouts five times, he won the Cy Young award seven times, and even was an MVP once, which is rare for pitchers to do.  In his career his win/loss record was 354-184, with a career ERA of 3.12, he amassed 4672 strikeouts, and had a career WAR of 139.0.  He is another player who was extremely feared when he was on the mound.  He too has been tied to the usage of steroids, I don’t doubt that he used them.  It was the times, and I feel that if you weren’t using them, you were at a major disadvantage.  I think he used them, not to get better, but to extend his career; he pitched until he was 44 years old.  He is a player that when I watched him play, I knew he deserved to be a Hall of Famer. He will be someday. 

Sammy Sosa.  This one is hard for me to say, but Sammy Sosa should be a Hall of Famer.  Growing up a St. Louis Cardinals fan, I absolutely hated Sammy Sosa, but respected him for what he was doing on the field and for the game.  He deserves to be a Hall of Famer purely for the run he went on from 1996-2002.  He was one of the most feared batters in the game during that time.  He finished his career with 609 Homeruns, 1667 RBIs, .273 batting average, 58.6 WAR, 1 MVP, and 6 Silver Sluggers.  His stats line up with other Hall of Famers, not many players have hit over 600 Homeruns.  He would have more MVPs if he didn’t play during the Barry Bonds era.  For how he helped save the game of baseball during the 1998 season with his Homerun race with Mark McGuire, (who I also believe deserves to be in the Hall of Fame), is enough of a reason, to me, why he deserves to be in.  I believe Sammy Sosa will eventually be a Hall of Famer, but probably not until the veterans committee votes him in, with most of the big names from the steroid era.

Roy Halladay.  He should be elected to the Hall of Fame because he was a special pitcher and dominated the batters he faced during the steroid era.  He was never accused or attached to any steroid scandal but maintained his excellence over the league.  He won 203 games over his career, struck out 2117, had a career ERA of 3.38, won the Cy Young award twice, would have been more if he wasn’t battling Roger Clemens for the award.  The cumulation of all his stats, and how he dominated the league during his playing days, tells me that he is deserving of being a Hall of Famer.  I’m not sure if I’d say he’s a top 10 pitcher of all time, but he is definitely a top 3 pitcher of his era.  That, to me, makes him worthy of the Hall of Fame.

Edgar Martinez.  He has been growing on me, I didn’t get the chance to watch him play often, as he was in Seattle and his games were rarely shown where I grew up.  I do remember the name though and thinking that he was a really good player.  Being a DH has handicapped his Hall of Fame selection over the years.  It is hard for a pure DH to be elected, however, he was the best pure DH, until David Ortiz.  I believe if it weren’t for Edgar Martinez being so good and so important for the team as the DH, then David Ortiz could have fizzled out and not become the super star that he is.  Martinez redefined the position.  The award for the best DH in the league was named after him, that alone tells me that he should be a Hall of Famer.  He won this award five times and won the batting title twice.  He will be elected this year, as voters have steadily increased their support for him over the years.  Although this is his last year eligible, I believe if he does not get voted in now, the veterans committee will vote him in in a few years.

Todd Helton.  My favorite stat about Todd Helton is that Peyton Manning was his backup Quarterback at University of Tennessee.  Yes, I know that’s not related to his MLB Hall of Fame worthiness, but not many baseball players can say they were ahead of a future NFL Hall of Famer on the depth chart at any level of football.  On the baseball field he was a force for the Colorado Rockies.  Over his career, he hit 369 Homeruns, drove in 1406 RBIs, batted .316, with a season of hitting .372, had a WAR of 61.2, won three Gold Gloves, won four Silver Sluggers, and one Batting title.  He is hurt for playing in the thin air of Colorado, but I feel where a player plays should not hinder their Hall of Fame status.  If that were the case, move the Rockies out of the Denver.  I remember him always being the most feared batter on the Rockies and one of the most in the league.  He was an amazing First Baseman and with all of this, I believe he should be in the Hall of Fame.

Manny Ramirez.  The Hall of Fame needs a player like Manny Ramirez.  He was so entertaining, and so good at the same time.  He was one of the most feared batters during the time he played, amassing 555 Homeruns, 2574 Hits, 1831 RBIs, .312 Batting Average, and a .585 Slugging Percentage.  Besides those stats, he won nine Silver Sluggers, one Batting Title, one World Series MVP, and was in the top-5 of the MVP voting four times.  He was a major part of the Boston Red Sox team that ended their World Series Championship drought and was always great.  He was one of my favorite players and I always thought he was a little different, in a good way, and a step above the rest of the players on the field.  With all this, I feel that he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.

Scott Rolen.  Although he did have a few years where he was a feared batter, he is more known for being one of the best defensive Third Basemen ever in baseball.  Offensively his career was still pretty good, hitting 316 Homeruns, 2077 Hits, 1287 RBIs, and batting .281.  His offensive numbers would be better if he wasn’t battling injuries during the tail end of his 17-year career.  Speaking of his defensive stats, he won eight Gold Gloves and had a career Fielding Percentage of .968 which is insane considering he had 5745 chances to make an error, of which he only made 186.  Other awards that he has collected over his career are the NL Rookie of the Year, one Silver Slugger, and chased after a few MVP awards.  I might be a little biased because he played for my hometown team, but I always was beyond amazed at how he played Third Base.  It made me want to play Third Base growing up, and I still do play in when I play softball.  His defensive skills were a major inspiration to me.  Again, I know that doesn’t matter to his Hall of Fame worthiness, but it demonstrates how good he truly was.

Fred McGriff.  This player was another of my favorites growing up.  I remember him always being so good.  Over his career he amassed some incredible stats, 493 Homeruns, 1550 RBIs, 2490 Hits, and a .284 Batting Average.  I believe if he had hit seven more Homeruns, he would already be a Hall of Famer.  He also brought home a lot of awards over his career, three Silver Sluggers, one All Star Game MVP, and he was in the Top-10 in the MVP race six times.  In reading up on Fred McGriff, I feel that the fact that he played for so many teams is hurting his Hall of Fame chances.  I’m not sure if he will get in on this ballot, but I hope that he will get in through the veterans committee eventually.  He was one of the best that played the game and deserves this accolade.

Well those were the players that I would vote for, for the MLB Hall of Fame, if I had a vote.  Now it’s time to talk a little about the players that were on the cusp of my ballot.  Andruw Jones was the player who was the closest to making my ballot, basically being vote 10b, with Fred McGriff being 10a.  I honestly gave Fred McGriff the nod over Andruw Jones because it is McGriff’s last year on the ballot and I believe that he should be in the Hall of Fame.  Andruw Jones’ stats are very similar to Scott Rolen’s, but I liked Rolen more when he was playing.  I believe Andruw Jones should be in the Hall of Fame, and I just ran out of room on my imaginary ballot.  Omar Vizquel was next, he would be going in purely on his defensive merit, and I don’t think that he was good enough on the offensive side of the field to deserve the right to be a Hall of Famer.  I do believe he is close, but he didn’t make my ballot this year.  The next two players I remember them being really dominant for a few years, but their peak years did not last very long.  These two players are Billy Wagner and Miguel Tejada.  These two players are at risk of falling of the ballot for next year, purely because there are so many great players ahead of them in many actual voters’ minds.  Miguel Tejada was one of the best players in the game for a few years, but he needed that to last a bit longer.

Well, there you have it, my ballot, if I were to have one, for the MLB Hall of Fame.  I wish that the actual voters would put out a breakdown like this, so the general public can see where they are coming from and to see why they made the decisions that that they did.  I feel that it would make the Hall of Fame process run smoother and create a lot of interesting conversation.  If you have any thoughts about my choices, feel free to leave a comment and start the conversation.  I hope you all have a great day, and let’s go see some houses, and talk baseball.