C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Insanity Is Representing Yourself When You Can Hire Professionals Like BB and TLW


Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

Insanity Is Representing Yourself When You Can Hire Professionals Like BB and TLW

I love the FL crew. I spend a lot of time lurking on blogs written by the likes of Bryant Tutas (BB), Billie Tutas (TLW - members only - LOL), Jeannette Neerpat, Lisa Hill, Chris Elizabeth Griffith, Sandy Shores, Midori Miller, Nestor & Katerina Gassett, Heather the Realtor and a host of other stellar Florida professionals.

As far as I am concerned the ActiveRain Group Club Chaos is my ultimate electronic Rolodex. There isn't anything I can't get done with them and my bay-bays are amazing when it comes to giving good advice. All I have to do is ask my multicultural, multilingual blogging buddies (who collectively speak 23 languages and cover a wide spectrum of positions in and out of the real estate industry) what to do and I will always receive a huge pool of opinions to choose from.

Whether personal, direct work or referral, I am having fun picking their brains and spoofing behind the scenes regarding our latest escapades. You guys know that I am working on obtaining multiple state licenses. My next adventure is trying to figure out where to park my business while I float up and down the coast working with my friends on projects.

I do a lot more than real estate and enjoy sharing my various interests with my friends. I am in artist mode because I have a gallery deadline looming plus I have a new model to take out tomorrow so I am scoping locations out of state for my next AR Road Trip. Rainers are helping with that because I need gorgeous locations for my photo shoots and nothing beats a Localism writer to help you plan where to go to collect some cool eye candy (LOL). If I pick my locations carefully, I can get a lot out of those pictures while enjoying the company of good friends. The boys will be in tow tomorrow so be prepared to crack the peanut butter and jelly blog post (LOL).

Yes. I have driven 300 miles to share the sun set and a meal. Why? Because ActiveRain is so much more than a place to troll for real estate business. It's a place where you can make the best of friends and enjoy sharing your lives while you do what ever it is you feel like doing regardless of your title or profession. I like to drive and find checking out new places to eat and play with the shorties is turning into a fave habit of mine. If I never took another photograph I have enough material right now to keep me blogging for years. One file folder alone has over 8 Gigs in photographs. I think it's time for me to start burning picture DVDs (LOL). I have a sandwich bag full of 1, 2, 4, and 8 gig simm cards of digital film and photographs. When I go on vacation I shall start creating subject CDs. The images will be very useful for our workbook project. :-)

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

There's been a lot of running up and down the coast going on in my household lately regarding that project. We take turns popping in and out of New York mixing pleasure with business while sneaking in photography sessions. The kids are having a field day tagging along on my projects, meeting old/new people and hosting impromptu breakfast, lunch and dinner dates.

PA, MD, VA, NC, SC and FL have been scheduled into the wee people line-up. I guess you can consider this the SC/FL preview of my personal mindset. For example: I keep thinking what they are going to think of this yard? while I stare at our latest property folder and select pictures to add to this blog post.

Who are we taking down here when we do make the kiddie FL run? Now there is a question that needs to be resolved (LOL). BTW, it's their house in the pics but the shorties don't know it yet so this is going to have to be a very special joy ride (LOL). I am not driving 19 hours straight like Mike, hence the 5 stop overs before we cross the threshold to visit between school schedules. Maybe we should fly down. 2 versus 19 hours. Some people may say do the math but I know better. Stephen is my child. Mr PDD-NOS is not sitting still for 2 hours on a plane. Dude can't sit still for a movie (LOL). :-)

Ever buy a house for a set of quirky kids? Most people shop for what they want and drag the kids along after them but if your kids are quirky with learning disabilities like mine, you have to shop for them. You have to anticipate what they'll like and dislike about it plus make sure if they want to separate that you actually have some place for them each to go.

No such thing as a neutral corner with Stephen, the Blur Minion. He invades your space and head butts during kisses so M&M distractions will have to do for now (LOL). Noah is an entirely different mind that takes a lot of layer peeling to get to. Noah takes twice as much work when it is something that really matters to him. He is frequently the one who states he wants to go home first. Stephen will stay on the road forever if you keep the views coming, stop for snackage and make each play date worth his while. That kid becomes a dog with a fave bone if you push a trigger button. Remember the chocolate car and house post? He wants to go back. I am working on it. Mr Autistic and Mr PDD-NOS make my life very interesting (LOL). I am rarely bored... :-)

Do you know we have minion zones in our NYC apartment and frequently run from Stephen when he becomes Baby Taz? (LOL) We now have to figure out how to minion zone an 80 x 125 lot for the Little Minions to play on, declare dibbs, explore nooks and cranies and eventually host sleep overs.

Every time I look at this screen room leading to our backyard I keep imagining shorty launching himself through what ought not to be considered an opening (LOL). Is this the part of the show where I invest in bamboo shades to hang half way down and constantly say don't touch the missing windows? to the wee people? Do I create bookshelves assembled and tiled with slate to give them both pause while providing a spot for all those plastic toys? Rows of fake plants? Pots of real plants? Most people smile at the thought of a screen room so there must be something wrong with me... All I can think about is the fact that this spot is ripe for a new ritual destruction to be created by my gorgeous shorty who can't seem to help himself. He's a very curious kid who enjoys the science of cause and effect. One day I shall explain to you what happened to every single screen that used to be on all of my apartment windows in NY. They were part of a Minion Blur scientific experiment regarding gravity (LOL).

Did I mention we live on the 5th floor? We do you know (LOL) ;-)

Who knows... maybe he'll surprise me and decide they should be left alone. He is turning four you know... The satellite dish mounted on the wall may prove to be more interesting (LOL). From Terrible Twos to Thespian Threes and approaching the Facetious Fours. Five is supposedly the age of reason... I am looking forward to that.

Think that screen room will be standing in another year? I see an upgrade waiting to happen (LOL).

We're busting our butts trying to get the FL spot ready for the invasion of the roaming wee people. Little Minions et al is a cottage industry in my home (LOL). I say et al because we've burned quite a few keys and have our relatives popping in and out so it doesn't remain empty. Their cousins have visited but the shorties haven't. My friends with and without kids will be coming down to stay for their vacations soon so I'm thinking my kids need to see this place before they do so there is no confusion as to whose home it really is. Hence taking them to buy their own furniture (LOL).

I always get them involved in what I am doing. So many people take their kids life skills for granted. My kids are pretty literal, very quirky and give a whole new meaning to the term THINK DIFFERENT so I can't do incremental gray area of negotiating with them. Something either is or isn't; Black or white; Right or wrong. They are pretty clear about what they like and amazingly lucid about what they don't like so I'm looking forward to taking them shopping because their spontaneous speech can be hilarious at times.

I have visions of Sponge Bob and Thomas The Train dancing in my head right now (LOL). The Wiggles and Bear In The Big Blue House may also be making an appearance. I clearly see a war of bed sheets in my future... How do I know? They are consistent and the Linen Wars are alive and well in my NY apartment so there is no reason to suspect they will die off in SC and/or FL (LOL).

How much do you want to bet that my kids think this is just another listing to visit? This lesson may take a while... (LOL) ;-)

They love wide open spaces so every chance I get I take them somewhere were they can roam free and get incredibly dirty (LOL). 


Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

The Little Minion Fields in South Carolina are gorgeous and I am looking forward to getting my friends to come along for the joy ride regarding fixing the place up. We have two water meters on a 2 acre plot and a tank/well set up waiting to be developed on a 1.5 acre plot. Our family has four plots back to back and all we do is picnic, play soccer, fly kites and remote control air planes on em (LOL). Oops. Left out hitting golf balls when we are not planting trees (LMAO). The kids also get to go off roading here. It's our play area that we like to get away to. It needs an upgrade so the shorties, Mama and Papa can have more friends over...

To start the development project in the rear portion of the lots I found two neat little companies that have really nice stuff: Spirit Elements and Zook Cabins.

I think I may want to use them both for this particular project because Zook Cabins specializes in small, custom built lake cabins that are reasonably priced and might make a neat place to use as a writing retreat or casual get away and Spirit Elements also has cabin kits but unlike Zook so much more outdoor features to consider adding to your yard like arbors, pergolas and a host of gorgeous products that will make you go "Oooooooo." I think using the two combined would make a really sweet retreat. Noah likes this modular cabin home.

I am going to quote Zook to explain modular versus mobile homes:

"What is the difference between modular and mobile? There is sometimes confusion as to the differences between a modular home and a mobile home. A modular home is required to be built to the same specs as a stick built house, and meet all residential building codes. When placed a modular home is a permanent structure on your property, and is viewed that way for financing and appraising purposes. The difference between a modular and stick built is that the modular cabin comes in pre-built sections that are delivered to your site, after they are built in our factory. These pre-built sections are already inspected by state certified inspectors, and come ready to use. A mobile home is what many refer to as a trailer. Mobile homes do not meet all residential building codes, and are not allowed in some locations. A mobile home is built on a steel trailer frame and has axles which allow it to be moved by truck. There can be difficulty in obtaining financing, and also getting your money back out of a mobile home."

Since I am interested in setting up office space and a play place for peace and quiet I don't want a large anything, I want a small something. A cluster of small somethings actually so I can set up minion zones (LOL). I am undecided regarding what will finally go there because shelter with a bathroom, cable and WiFi equals very happy camper in regards to my needs (LOL). If you space different kinds of shelters into a well thought out design you can make the most of what you have in unexpected ways for a beautiful place to play whether it be modular or mobile. My family thinks of the fields as having a private park where you can pluck fruit off the trees (LOL).

We could build a custom modular home in SC with the intent of one day living there but do we really want to? Zook seems reasonable so I am going to be watching this PA company while we get our project finances in order. I put in 29056 for the Zook pricing where our land is. For what I'd like to do the price list is very reasonable. The custom house we originally wanted to build in FL was for $185K. We watched it fall to $135K before we went with the short sale of $100K with $10K down for a five year old home. I figure I'll blog about the remodel bug I'm nurturing later because Stephen has a way of making you think of things you'd never consider if not for him. Example: My toilet having it's own room seems very strange to me (LOL). Would I have cared if I didn't have a three year old who likes to lock himself in the bathroom, then scream for you to open the door to get him out while refusing to unlock it? (LOL). I asked Mike to take the hinges off the toilet door in the master bedroom. :-)

We usually stay with my parents at their home when we visit SC (they keep a guest house open as well) so I guess I don't really need a house... What I need is a WiFi field office with lodging capabilities (LOL). I've been researching glass houses and the merits of using an enclosed gazebo for this purpose because who wouldn't want to paint and blog in an enclosed gazebo surrounded by lovely views?

Hubby thinks I want a cabin so I can have a field bathroom. My married friends think my single friends want a field cabin so they can have sex and not feel guilty because my parents are church elders (LOL). He and they may both be right. BTW, I'm thinking I may have better sex if my parents weren't down the hall so yeah - we really do need to make some decisions here about that cabin (LOL).

I also have a thing for outdoor kitchens and concrete patios. My fave spot on-line for finding really cool contractors to do this is here: http://www.concretenetwork.com/concrete/concrete_patio/

I'd love to daydream under the stars sitting around a custom fire pit. Doesn't matter if in SC or FL. If I can pull off both spots I will. Spirit Elements can help you transform your outdoor areas into a beautiful living spaces. So can the concrete patio gang, so we are oogling and drooling over our options, trying to figure out what we will need for the FL house and SC campsite.

These storage sheds are pretty cool so I'm leaning towards both properties having garden sheds on location near the concrete patios. You can do a lot with small if you are very careful with your money and plan your living spaces carefully. Compared to SC, our FL backyard is small so I need a stager and landscape artist to help with this... I don't think I should be shopping alone on-line or in real life when it comes to Florida so I'm shopping with Hubby and my blogging buddies (LOL). ;-)

BTW, the picture above with the porch is the 1.5 acre plot that is adjacent to the 3.3 acre plot (the trees in the background) that is in trust for the shorties. It has has deer hanging out in it and would make a really nice spot to place a club house to paint and blog in during our mini vacations because you never know what you are going to see walking out of the woods. It's down a country lane not far from my sister, brother, niece, cousin, God parrents, mother and father (LOL). I figure my friends can use their help (and company) in case I'm not around when they come to visit and we are not there. Since we are skyping and are all in agreement that we need the cabin for privacy but will probably spend the majority of our time in the gazebo i have to make sure the concrete patio is Spanking-A gorgeous and very functional (LOL). There will be no pool in either spots. I am a passing through kinda artist. A pool requires dedication I do not have since I can't swim (LOL).

Needless to say we have been toying with the idea of making our own little quirky camp ground for a while. We're putting our heads together to raise the cash to make this a reality because two of my friends want to buy a piece off of us so our cabins can be in walking distance of each other. We don't want a mortgage for this project so we are taking our time planning a schedule. My carpenter friends have made it very clear that we could build log cabins by clearing some of the pine trees to thin out the 3.3 acres. That option is on the table and I may run with it instead if they can make it just as cost effective as buying a trailer or modular cabin. I am not into cost overruns and am eagerly waiting for a set of blue prints from my dear, dear talented crazies. If they prove it can be done then the job is theirs for the taking. :-)

I hope they do pull this off. Think of the spoof blog posts that little project could create if we participated in sweat equity building with talented friends and a few subcontractors (LOL). Which ever way we do eventually go, I'm sure it will be fun for the kids to have a place of their own in SC to vacation in. Even more fun with my best buds kids in the mix as well. Our play dates can get insane while playing in NYC and we will hop in our cars at the drop of a dime if the invitation is interesting. :-)

There is a public access lake nearby if you really want to swim while hanging out with us. We're also approximately one hour and twenty minutes from Myrtle Beach. Hence, the no pool no matter what you say stance (LMAO). ;-)

If you buy land for recreation reasons remember to think location, location, location. Seriously people. My plans for this place has changed at least three times (LOL). I always wanted my own hunting stand (which was the original plan) but now that Noah has discovered photography I find myself thinking we'll be shooting deer with our Nikons, making music and painting in the grass while having a BBQ on a very cool concrete patio (LOL).

Are you aware of the LC rule? Log Cabin Rule: It's been said that one should never build a retreat so far from home that you and your loved ones rarely use it (LOL). I am hoping I find some recreational land in PA, NC and MD so the lazy ride down to FL will be a nice little meander from cabin to cabin. Zook being in PA makes my day because I am going to go visit them and do a proper blog about it. I am scoping a spot in Lancaster, PA and may build there first because it's so much closer to NYC. ;-)

Carolyn Tann-Starr 2010

Too bad I couldn't talk hubby into a cabin in FL. That would have made my day in spades (LOL). Did you know that you can make a lay-away purchase of a log cabin? Check out http://www.logcabinhomes.com/

There are international and local companies that can really create lovely homes if you have a love for wood like I do. Check out http://www.countrylogcabins.com/research/clc_advantage.aspx and http://www.blueridgelogcabins.com/  for examples.

Nice people to chat with but they have homes larger than I am currently looking for. I just want to upgrade my spot to play but you guys may find something useful you may like if you Google around and see what is out there.

I have log cabins on the brain... I have always wanted one and am looking forward when we finally pick one for the shorties and rest of us to enjoy. :-)

Mikey has to make another run down to the FL house before the end of the month so I will be done being wordy shortly because we're going out for dinner. My kids are starting to chuck shoes out of the closet. I think they want me to finish getting dressed. They are trying to help me (LOL).

We're working on our travel schedules because someone always has to be home to catch the packages. We even highjack people for this purpose becaue my phones are always ringing off the hook and something is always in progress (LOL). Do you know I have a neighbor who has all of his deliveries coming to my apartment because someone is always around in the mornings? I'm thinking Hubby may have to change his personal habits because my running out the door in the AM with the kids appears to be creating a rut (LOL). I frequently pop in and out like a jack in the box so you have to make an appointment or flip a coin to catch me.

I am very proud of Hubby because he finished painting the interior with his sister and dad so I am toying with the idea of hiring a stager to help him finish up our FL house. I have no business playing interior designer and neither does he. I am an artist. I'll muck it up with lots of color (LOL). Think I am kidding? Guess who is painting her apartment again? (LMAO). Mike gets distracted and will buy something that is not kid friendly if he likes it (LOL). Think I'm kidding? Who buys white dining room seats that can absorb grape juice spills from accident prone children when Mama says go for the chocolate leather chairs? (which wipe clean - LOL) If your PDD-NOS child likes to push buttons and engage in the ritual destruction of electronics would you buy power Lazyboy chairs for your three year old to conduct scientific experiments with? :-D

We need definitely need a stager. A neutral third party. Someone with taste and common kid sense (LOL). For those of you who think I am evil for saying such a thing may I remind you that you do not live with my kids and we all have issues. ;-)


I also knew I needed a Realtor when we decided to chase a Florida short sale to add to the wee people's  inheritance. I handed my hubby over to Broker Bryant and The Lovely Wife on a silver platter because as a buyer's broker I know what it's like to service my clients during their allotted scheduled appointments.

The idea of having a quirky, 24 hour client who never goes away was mind boggling to me (ROTFLMAO).

I didn't even care that he was my hubby, I only cared about the 24 hour questioning that was bound to go on (LOL). Every time he would start in on the merit of purchasing I'd go, "I AM NOT YOUR BROKER. Call your broker..." (and then the texting marathons would start - LMAO). This wasn't a normal referral, this was a love gift placed in special hands (LOL). I was determined to give him away so they gave us lots of love because we're worst than Lookie-Lous, we're insane buyers with an opinionated insider lurking over every point of hubby's transaction as the broker who was determined not to be the broker but kept getting dragged in by her spouse anyway (LMAO). I explained to him that I gave him away on purpose so I wouldn't have to deal with everything I wound up dealing with anyway. It was mad funny because he spent the entire time demanding my services while he was being serviced. They were really great about it too. I become Mikey's social secretary so he could feel better (LOL). I wish I knew how to write this event without blowing some confidentiality rule of all the whacked, unexpected moments that arise when dealing with a first time buyer spouse (LOL). I've named enough names so I'm starting to feel as if I'm walking on an invisible blogging tightrope because we all have a wicked sense of humor which made this transaction so much fun. I can't wait to do the next one. Yup. There's gonna be a next one (LOL). ;-)

Some of you may be thinking you should have made it a regular referral and participated open and notoriously. I had a person criticize me for not doing so. I took it with a grain of salt then dismissed the notion completely. Think about it very carefully. Dude is Big Daddy Minion, minion being the operative word. My hubby as a client in any capacity, way, shape or form? Oh hell nooooooooooooo (LOL).

Passionate people should not represent spouses who know how to push their emotional buttons. That is courting disaster. Seriously... :-)

There is a reason why Notaries are trained not to notarized the paperwork of their immediate family members. When people have a pecuniary interest in something things can get hinky regarding objective advice. Insanity is representing yourself when you can hire professionals like BB and TLW to do an excellent job for you. There were bumps in the road. We spouses got emotional. Our clear headed professionals did not. They are worth their weight in gold because when it comes to short sales they are the go to people in my book. When I get settled into my next buying project my blogging buddies will be there to help me again. I am not going to represent myself. I am going to hire professionals and get out of their way.

For the record I am handing over my immediate family members to them because I know I need objective people fighting for me and mine who wont get bogged down in my family politics, meddling and personal squabbling. I like giving referrals to my blogging buddies and they routinely give them to me. It's up to me if I want a referral percentage for passing business along. That's part of the free market. If it's my home or investment property I have an interest in, then I don't want to muck up the waters. I am hiring someone to work on my behalf, not looking for a rebate for doing my personal work. Our reward was obtaining the property. Period.

BTW, we did the entire deal through our social media accounts and with the help of a couple of relatives who were our eyes and ears on the ground walking the property lines and attending the inspections while we juggled the clear to closes that kept not clearing... The original owners were in PA and we were in NY. Ever try getting two families to FL at the same time with the underwriter driving you crazy? Thank God for FedEx (LOL).

It was a unique and fun experience so I am looking forward to doing it again. It's a buyer's market. Me and mine are buying for our wee people's future.

The moral of the story is people who are serious about buying will find a way to buy what they want. They will put up with the unexpected. They will ask for an extension. They will wire cash and sign what needs to be signed. They will have all of their documentation. They will listen to the professionals they hire, digest the market reports targeting specific properties then make an informed decisions. As home buyers, we faced the same issues as the rest of you purchasing real estate. Being a Realtor doesn't absolve me from having to deal with the whims of underwriters and/or my package sitting neglected on some unknown desk while people went on Christmas vacation, but I digress (LOL). This post is long enough. That's a whole other blog post. If you're going to buy so you can enjoy your life with your family and friends, then go buy. If not, don't. Just don't waste everyone else's time pretending that you mean it. No rush. Don't stress. Just have fun with it.

There is no better feeling than having them hand you the keys to your house. Seriously... ;-) 

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Comment balloon 12 commentsC Tann-Starr • April 10 2010 06:48PM


Pretty amazing post. Probably only beaten word wise by one of Jason Crouch's offerings last year on health care! Nice job. Like your point. Especially today on a day when I'm feeling a little saddle weary.


Posted by Denise Hamlin, Broker/Owner, Helping Happy Clients Make Smart Choices (Cardinal Realty ~ 319-400-0268) over 10 years ago

HOLY CRAP! This is the longest post I've ever seen. LOL! But I've learned a LOT from Broker Bryant. And TLW just teaches us how to have fun in ANY situation =D

And yes, I have to keep reading this... I'm not done yet >.<

Posted by Lisa Hill, Daytona Beach Real Estate (Florida Property Experts) over 10 years ago

I need to say "whew"..yep..read every word and I even follow you. That's pretty amazing and I love the way you are in perpetual thought and get get it all on paper. What a talent!

The question now: Am I going to see you tomorrow? I will be at Bixler Church Rd for a 3pm repeat showing.

 Enjoy dinner and enjoy your special day!


Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 10 years ago

Yup. Will be around and with company for the photo shoot. Margaret, you are going to love Jessica. She is amazing. :-)

LOL @ Lisa. ;-)

Thank you, Denise. :-)


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Wow - this was quite a post and you are on quite the adventure!  What an exciting time - can't wait to hear how everything ends up!  Have a great trip!

Posted by Sheila Kennedy (J29 Project) over 10 years ago

What time are you planning on being here? A couple of appointments at 1 and 1:30, then will head out to ostrich country. Always available by phone, texting or email. Can't wait to meet Jessica and Noah.

Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 10 years ago

Thank you, Sheila. We're off on another AR Road Trip. Mikey has the place to himself (LOL). ;-)

Margaret, we are going to play phone tag. The shorties are in the shower. We'll be gassing up at 7 to leave.

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

This was a very intense post covering a wide array of subjects. I may have to re-read it to get the full gist. Thank you.

Posted by Robert L. Brown, Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic (www.mrbrownsellsgr.com) over 10 years ago

It would appear that you have had a lot on your mind, and now perhaps a serious case of carpel tunnel syndrome.

Posted by JL Boney, III, Columbia, SC Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 10 years ago

JL, nothing like blog post therapy to clear the air (LOL). :-)

Robert, I got a few fun calls on this one. My peeps are giving me great ideas. I hope this means they intend to visit (LOL). :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

C Tann, Thanks for the business. Mike was cool. We were almost able to handle the entire transaction via text messaging. Maybe some day I'll actually get to see the house :) From the pis it looks like Mike is hard at it getting it spruced up for momma. Good for him.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 10 years ago

Hi Papa. Cant wait to have you guys over. That was the first thing out of Mike's mouth (LOL). We are looking forward to it. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 10 years ago

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