Wednesday, December 31, 2008

37 Years Old

I can not believe it, today I am 37 years old. It seems just like yesterday that I was born. Man, how does time fly when you are having fun. My wonderful wife, Courtney, did this a while ago with the 31 things she was thankful for on her birthday. So I thought I would say the 37 things I am thankful for. They are not in any particular order.

1. God (of course)
2. Courtney, my wonderful wife of 5 1/2 years
3. My boy - MD, Michael Dean
4. Our dog Mila - who I appreciate much more after the movie, Marly and Me
5. My Dad - Ivey Dean Icenhour. He did not have much of a dad growing up, but he has been a heck of a Dad to my brothers and me
6. My Mom - Linda Jean Greene Icenhour. She has done everything she can to make sure my brothers and me would not have to go without. And also for her meatloaf
7 & 8 My brothers and their families - we may not always see eye to eye but we sure do love each other and I know they would do anything to help me
9. Jimmy Britt - I say this because he is my boss but he is a wonderful friend to me and b/c he is a great boss
10. Rocky River Community Church - such a great church to be a part of
11. My sister-in-law, Christy's red velvet cake
12. A good buffet
13. My Sirius Satellite radio
14. When MD greets me at the door when coming home from work
15. That is has been more than 12 years since the cowboys have won a playoff game
16. My best friend in the world - Travis Baxter. He was very instrumental in me coming to know Christ
15. My wife's sweet tea - when she makes it
16. Travis Bush, who is an awesome youth pastor and he keeps me honest
17. Cherry Lemon Sundrop
18. Gangster/mob/spy/suspense/scary movies
18.5 Halfway there
19. Washington Redskins - Hail to the Redskins, hail victory, brave on the war path - fight for 'ole DC
20. Living in NASCAR country
21. Living in North Carolina - I love this state
22. Brandon Whedbee - he laid a great foundation for our next worship pastor to build on at my church and he is a good friend
23. DirecTV
24. When I can smoke a stogie and read a book
25. Living close to a grocery store in case Courtney needs me to run out to the store
26. Living close to restaurants when we just don't want to cook (which is a lot!)
27. Living close to the church office so I can go 3 weeks without having to buy gas
28. Cherry Chapstick
29. Wendy's, What-a-Burger and 5 Guys Burger and Fries
30. The Snavley family - they made my 5 years in Ohio bearable
---Almost Done---
31. Mom #2 - she allowed me to marry her daughter
33. MD's laugh
34. Stadium seating in the movie theater
35. Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday - these are the mornings MD and I have together
36. Walks around the neighborhood with my family
37. Finishing year #36 and starting #37

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Elijah's name

A few days ago, I learned something about Elijah that I have never noticed before. I cannot believe that I never caught it or stuck out to me. It is Elijah’s name. You see, I went to a Bible University in Florida and I had the option of taking Greek and Hebrew but choose to take things “less hard.” I minored in the New Testament so I took only the Old Testament classes that I was required to take. SO- it is not wonder that I never caught this before about Elijah’s name. “EL” in Hebrew means “God” and “JAH” means “Jehovah”. The “I” that is between the “EL” and the “JAH” means my or mine. So Elijah means, “My God is Jehovah” or “The Lord is my God.” Wow- what an awesome proclamation with a name, every time someone would say his name- Elijah, they are saying- ‘The Lord is my God.”

I wish my name were that cool- Donnie- is Irish and means “World Ruler.” I wonder what world- Middle Earth? My middle name is even less cool- Dean is Old English and means “Dweller in the Valley.” Now that is something to tell everyone- “The World Ruler dwells in the Valley.”

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day

What a great day with family. We started it off with a walk around the neighborhood, then Courtney, MD and  myself opened presents. MD just does not get it yet, but he loved the tissue paper. Then we went over to the Icenhour's, had breakfast and exchange gifts. Mimi and Poppa had a house full of grandkids and they were loving it. They do everything they can to make it a great and special day for the grandkids. After that Courtney's family came over for a late lunch. We had a great time. Finally, Courtney and I got to have some time to ourselves were we go to our annual Christmas movie. We saw Marly and Me- GREAT movie. Now we are tired and ready for bed. I hope your day was as great as mine. Merry Christmas!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Not so bad!

Not so bad, except for me! Even Courtney was better than I was. God is faithful. He always is and always has been. MD did great. The medicine they give him to relax was so funny. It was like having a drunk baby in my arms. He laughed and giggled at everything. He even laughed at trying not to fall asleep. I needed some of that stuff.

Anyway, he is doing better. He has a little temperature, a carry over from last night before the surgery and why he was having the tubes put in in the first place. We have an awesome kid and is a gift from God. Thank you for all of your prayers.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Answered Prayers?

Is a pastor supposed to struggle with his 17th month-old son getting tubes in his ears? Man - it tears my heart up to think of my boy going under with gas to have a simple surgery. I really did not want him to have them put in. I have prayed for God to heal his ears so he wouldn't need to have it done. There are things about God that I do not understand and this is one of those things, unanswered prayers. I know this is something that a lot of kids have done all the time, but this is my kid, my boy that I specifically prayed for. There is a lot more things I want to say, but I am lost for words. I do know this verse, and this verse comforts my soul and I need to repeat it over and over in my thoughts. I am trying to meditate on it:

Philippians 4:6,7 - "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

God - I pray that you will be with my son tomorrow and keep him safe. Take away the anxiety Courtney and I have and let your peace rest in our hearts and that there will be no doubt that you are in control ~ Amen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

God is Looking for You!

God is looking for you, for someone to take a stand. Are you the one? God is looking for someone to stand in the gap, to take a stand for Him. God is looking for someone who has the courage to proclaim His Word. Will it be you? God is looking for someone to take a stand at their school, in their job and at home. If that someone isn't you, then who?

"And I sought for a man among them, that should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none." Ezekiel 22:30

Gosh, I sound so preachy this morning, don't I? But, honestly, I get pretty frustrated with all the "political correctness (PC)" in our world right now. It is "Merry Christmas" and not "Happy Holidays," folks! All this PC junk has entered into our belief system as Christians and we have allowed it to effect the way we celebrate our heritage. We've forgotten how to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.

Christmas is about the birth of Christ, the birth of my Savior and I am refusing to forget that. It is not just a holiday like July 4th or Memorial Day. It is about a new relationship, and the rebirth of soul - the gift of eternal life that no-one, and I mean no-one, can take away from you. Actually, it is the best re-gift that anyone can give.

Let me encourage you to not be afraid to stand up in the crowd. Go tell it on the mountain - that Jesus Christ is Lord!

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Purpose of Christmas, Week 2

Here we are - just a little over a week from Christmas. How exciting! I can’t wait for MD (my boy) to get his gifts on Christmas Morning. I know he is only 17 months old, but there is a gift I just can’t wait for him to get. I can’t tell you, because if I do, I will have to kill you. The same thing with my wife. I really enjoying buying her things, putting things in her stocking and under the tree. Sometimes, I can’t wait 'til Christmas to give her the gifts. There are times I can’t wait 'til Christmas for her to open her presents - almost to the point that I want to give it to her when I get it.

I wonder if this is what it was like for God when He gave His Son for us. I bet God gets excited and the angels rejoice when we receive the gift God has given us. It is easy for us to remember that Christmas is a time for Celebration. But Christmas is also a time for Salvation!

- Jesus came to save you from SIN. Romans 3:23; Isaiah 59:2
- Jesus came to save you for a PURPOSE. 2 Timothy 1:9; Ephesians 1:11-12
- Jesus came to save you by his GRACE. Ephesians 2:8-9

Let me encourage you this week to Celebrate the love God has for you, but also remember His GIFT to both you and me, the gift of his Son - the gift of Salvation, the gift of relationship.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

I love this time of the year - the time from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. And for many reasons. Thanksgiving, Christmas plays, Christmas parties, my parents' anniversary (40th this year!), Christmas Eve, Christmas Eve service, Christmas day, Courtney's and my annual Christmas night movie (7 years and counting!), family meals, sweets, my birthday (31st), sweets and the end of one year and the beginning of another. Oh, did I mention sweets?!

This time of the year reminds me to look back on the year and look forward to the new year. In all the hustle and bustle I just try and enjoy the moments.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

How Do I?

How do I handle people who I feel are wrong and will not admit it? How do I handle those I struggle with? What do I do, when I am frustrated and there is nothing else to say or feel?

There are times that I really struggle with these feeling and I tend to push these people away or just ignore them. It's easier for me to just emotionally shut down. I justify this by feeling, “It is what it is” and I just leave it be. But...a good friend showed me this verse:

"Brothers and sisters, we urge you to warn those who are lazy. Encourage those who are timid. Take tender care of those who are weak. Be patient with everyone." 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (New Living Translation)

Awe now, come on! Don’t show me this stuff. That "be patient with everyone", is really the kicker for me. It is a lot easier to just ignore the person and move on. I am fine the way I am and this is just the way I deal. (It's OK. Keep reading!)

Then I am reminded of a quote from C.S. Lewis:
"This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practice ourselves the kind of behavior we expect from other people" (The Case for Christianity).

Ouch! How many times have I been “that person” who doesn’t admit that I'm wrong, who causes frustration, who is lazy and doesn't see the importance of getting things done? How many times has someone been patient with me, encouraged me, stroked my ego, and lifted me up? How many times have I seen it in other people, but never in myself?

This is how Christ views me. Should I not, then, be more patient, more forgiving, more willing to lift up, more willing to comfort, more willing to forgive and more willing to overlook others faults?

Man - I tell ya, if I want it from other people, I'd better discipline myself to practice that kind of behavior in my own my life.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

12 Days of Christmas

OK - I tried to be a little creative and write my own version of the song, "12 Days of Christmas". I thought it would be fun, but it really wasn't! It was hard. So instead I decided to do a search about the history of the song. As I did some digging around, the story about the "12 Days of Christmas" is really not that fun either. So instead of repeating what I read about it, here is a link for your enjoyment: http://www.cresourcei.org/cy12days.html.

Now, on a more funny note I have found a song that we all probably you could relate to. The 12 Things I Hate About Christmas”. While listening to this song I was shaking my head in agreement because it is easy to make Christmas about these 12 things, instead of the true purpose of Christmas: Jesus!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

Last night, after Courtney and I put MD to bed, we turned the TV on and found Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer showing. I cannot tell you the last time I watched that cartoon. That show brought back so many good memories from my childhood at Christmas. This is my favorite time of year and Rudolph brought a smile to my face.

I am still amazed at how they that made that show (I can’t figure if it's a show, cartoon or mini-movie.) Anyway, they didn't have computers back in 1964, so the details in that movie impress me so much. But there are some things I just can’t figure out about the show and the song: How did Robert May come up with a story about a reindeer with a red, glow-in-the-dark nose? Why was the little doll on Misfit Island there, what was wrong with her? How does the know-it-all Yukon Cornelius get those little dogs to pull his fat butt around on that dog sled? And how do you make a 3 minute song into a 1 hour movie?

Some other concerns I have about Rudolph: Before Hermey, the dentist elf, how did the elves take care of their teeth? How is a reindeer born with a red, glow-in-the-dark nose - a result of global warming or toxic waste? How does Santa Claus start the show really thin, then suddenly get really fat? What happened to Bumble after putting the star on the tree - was he suddenly nice and didn't want to eat the elves and reindeer anymore?

Man - I just made myself not like the movie, I mean cartoon, anymore. Actually, I am going to forget about all those questions and just enjoy the song from Gene Autry:

"Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him, you would even say it glows.
All of the other reindeer used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph join in any reindeer games.
Then one foggy Christmas Eve Santa came to say:
"Rudolph with your nose so bright, won't you guide my sleigh tonight?"
Then all the reindeer loved him as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer, you'll go down in history!"

Monday, December 1, 2008

Tis the Season

What a great time of year! I just love this time between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I get excited about giving (and receiving) gifts. I also, now, get excited about seeing my boy have fun around the Christmas tree, getting him presents and having his picture made with Santa. I love to buy my wife gifts and treat her special during this time of year because she really puts a lot of time (she doesn't have) into decorating our house. I am also excited because at our church, Rocky River Community, we are doing a 3-week study on Rick Warrens, the “Purpose of Christmas. ” Our Pastor (Jimmy) will also be preaching along with this study.

The first part of the series is “The Purpose of Christmas is a Time of Celebration.” I know, when you hear this I'm sure you're thinking "Yeah, now that is what I am talking about! Lets celebrate!" (And no, not the Kool and the Gang song.) I am talking about an attitude in life. Living your life with an attitude of celebration.

There are many definitions of celebration. My favorite is, “to praise widely or to present to widespread and favorable public notice." (http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/celebrate)

I want to encourage you to:
- CELEBRATE the LOVE God has for you.
- CELEBRATE that God is WITH you.
- CELEBRATE that God is FOR you.

MERRY CHRISTMAS, everyone!!!

Friday, November 28, 2008

A Different Direction

Hey guys - man how this has changed since the last time I wrote on here! The country has elected a new president, the housing market is declining, it is Fall and I am working as a part-time pastor at Rocky River Community Church.

I have gone back to what I studied in college. I never thought I would go back to doing full-time, I mean part-time ministry, again since I left the ministry back in 1999. But I guess God has a way of bring things back full circle, huh! I really don’t think I was running from God, I just figured I wouldn't get back into full-time ministry.

However, I was reminded of my calling when a good friend from high school, Scott Moyer, mentioned in an email the calling I had in high school. Right now, this position with RRCC is only part-time, but my prayer is for it to turn into a full-time position.

Either way - I am excited about pursuing my true calling again.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

2 Signs of a Crummy Real Estate Agent

This information is from MSN.com, by Luke Mullins of U.S. News & World Report:

Just a quick note: I've added my own comments to each point. There are a lot of great real estate agents out there and there are just as many bad agents. When dealing with a real estate agent, I feel it is best to keep in mind the following questions:

Does your agent never get in touch or fail to offer advice? These are some of the red flags that tell you to ditch this agent and run to find a new one.

While a savvy real-estate agent can certainly help you sell your home more efficiently, not all brokers are created equal. And in today's feeble real-estate market, it's all the more important that an agent go the extra mile on behalf of home sellers.

But how can a homeowner tell if an agent is doing everything he or she can to get the property sold or is simply going through the motions? To answer that question, U.S. News recently spoke with a handful of industry professionals and compiled are two distinct signs that may indicate that an agent is not 100% committed to the effort.

1. Is your Agent Out of Touch? Just as in a marriage, communication is a key component of the relationship between a homeowner and an agent. If the communication isn't there, the relationship won't work. So if your agent doesn't return your phone calls in a timely fashion or disappears without warning for weeks at a time, you should probably find someone else. Some real-estate agents will block out a single window of time — say, between 4 and 5 p.m. — in which to return all of their phone calls for that day, says Jay Thompson of Thompson's Realty in Arizona. "I've never really understood that," he says. "That's not necessarily good if your seller or buyer wants to talk to you at 8 o'clock in the morning — they end up waiting a whole day."

Donnie's notes: I'm on the fence with this one. I am up front with my clients as to the best time and medium to reach me. Because of family time in the mornings and evenings, I am generally unavailable before 9 am and after 7 pm. If someone calls me before 9 am or after 7 pm, I return their calls before 10 am, respecitvely. I don’t set aside a certain time to return calls. I simply answer my calls and emails throughout the day unless I am with a client, because they deserve my attention at that time.

2. Does your Agent Give you Advice? Let's face it; even homeowners who have been through several real-estate transactions can benefit from a little advice from their agent. But if an agent doesn't offer any advice, it could be an indication that he or she is not fully engaged in the process. "We're not shy people," says Elizabeth Blakeslee of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Washington, D.C. "If an agent doesn't suggest fixing drippy faucets or reducing clutter — that sort of thing — then they are just going to put [the property] in the Multiple Listing [Service] and throw up a sign and hope." Not exactly the pathway to value in today's sluggish market.

Donnie's notes: I feel it is my duty as a real estate agent to offer my professional opinions and advice. From my years of experience I've gained a lot of knowledge about real estate. I hear what buyers say about homes and I understand their desires. It is my job to gather information then give my advice - simply to make sure my clients get the best price for their home.

Check back soon for Part 2 of "6 Signs of a Crummy Real Estate Agent."

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Maximizing First Impressions: Part 2

In my last post I stressed the importance of the outside of your home making a good first impression on potential buyers. In Part 2 of Maximizing First Impressions, I'll be focusing on the inside of your home.

Once inside, experts say most buyers are reaffirming their curbside decision. As well as the outside may look, the buyers want to see an appealing interior too. Simply consider the following things for the interior of your home.

Clean, Clear, Light and Bright
· Give every room in the house a thorough cleaning and remove all clutter. Hiring a cleaning
service may pay for itself by adding to a buyer’s perceived value of your home.
· For a sleeker, more spacious look, consider placing furniture from crowded rooms in
storage.
· Clear kitchen counters of everything other than perhaps a few attractive items. Ask yourself:
In a model home, would a professional decorator put your choice of items out on the
counter?
· Remember, closets will be opened! Keep closets, cupboards, and even your attic orderly
and neat. Since you're anticipating a move anyway, consider holding a garage sale or
boxing and storing unused belongings.
· If necessary, repaint or clean/replace dingy, soiled or strongly colored walls, and window
and floor coverings with a light, neutral shade. Bright rooms look bigger, and neutral colors
help buyers envision their own furnishings and d├ęcor.
· Repair dripping faucets, burned out light bulbs, or cracked window panes.
· Repair cracks, holes or damage to plaster, wallboard, wallpaper, and tiles.

Warm and Homey
· Subtle scents of potpourri in bedrooms or baths and fresh baked cookies or cinnamon in
the kitchen can make your home more inviting.
· Keep an attractive set of towels in each bathroom to be brought out only for showings.

By follow these simple rules you should expect to sell your home quickly AND get top dollar for your home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Maximizing First Impressions: Part 1

There are many important things to consider when selling your home. Just read below.

As a Real Estate Professional, I believe the most important thing is having your home ready to show. Most buyers will know if they like your home in the first 30 seconds. Really. 30 Seconds is barely enough time to get from the car to the front door. So, first impressions are absolutely important! Sellers need to have their home looking good from the front curb to the back yard. A buyer's first impression may very well be their last impression. I can't tell you how many times I've pulled into a home's driveway, with potential buyers, only to back up and move on to the next house.

Consider the list below when planning to put your house on the market. Doing these things in advance will help with those quick home showings appointments that give you little time to prepare. I encourage my clients to make sure their home is ready to show every time they leave. And here’s how:

General Exterior
·
Prospective buyers will react well if your home has been well-maintained
· Manicure landscaping - mow; edge and water lawn; trim hedges; weed and fertilize
flowerbeds; and prune trees
· Keep driveway clean and free of parked cars, and keep the garage door closed
· Repair or replace loose or damaged roof shingles
· Minimize cracks or crumbling on walkways, walls, or steps, and keep them clean and free of obstructions, like toys or snow.
· Items, from RV’s to waste cans, left out can contribute to a cluttered or busy appearance
· Make sure that from the street, your property appears clear
· Inspect appearance of interior window coverings from the curb
· Repair any peeling paint or loose caulking on windows or other areas
· Take steps to eliminate insect or rodent pests
· Pick up after your pets and neighborhood animals

Front Doorway
· While agents work the lockbox for a key, buyers have idle time to notice details
· Apply a fresh coat of paint to the front door
· Consider adding pots of flowering plants in the entryway, if weather permits
· Eliminate cobwebs and groom doorway area windows, porch light, or decorative glass

That's it for Part 1. Check back soon for "Maximizing First Impressions: Part 2."

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday Amercia

The Defense of Fort McHenry, by Francis Scott Key
20 September 1814

"Oh, say can you see, by the dawn's early light,What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming? Whose broad stripes and bright stars, through the perilous fight, O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming? And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air, Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there. O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore, dimly seen through the mists of the deep, Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes, What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep, As it fitfully blows, now conceals, now discloses? Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam, In full glory reflected now shines on the stream: 'Tis the star-spangled banner! O long may it wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion A home and a country should leave us no more? Their blood has wiped out their foul footstep's pollution. No refuge could save the hireling and slave From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave: And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand Between their loved homes and the war's desolation! Blest with victory and peace, may the heaven-rescued land Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation. Then conquer we must, for our cause it is just, And this be our motto: "In God is our trust." And the star-spangled banner forever shall wave O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Charlotte

Hi there. I'm singing my same song again about the Charlotte Metro Area. While other Metro Cities are showing a 10 digit decrease in property value, the Charlotte Metro Area still maintains a steady or some would say a “flat market.” Charlotte’s property values only decreased by less than 1% while places like Miami has a 26.7% decrease and Las Vegas had a 26.8% decrease.

We are at the bottom of the market and now is absolutely the best time to buy. I believe the market we have now will be the market we will have for the next couple months or even until the end of the year. When the housing market starts to grow it will be a gradual increase instead of a sudden down and up, like a “V.” A slow “up” would be better for us long term. I say this because our country has never experienced a down housing market, stock market and soaring gas prices - all at the same time.

The “FEDS” made a great decision last week in not decreasing rates but keeping them unchanged. This will help curve the rate of inflation over the next few months.

So with all this said, this is why I feel now is the best time to buy: interest rates are not going to go down and our home values are flat-lining. Buy, buy, buy!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Why You Need Me as Your REALTOR® - Part 2

(In case you missed it, click here for Part 1)

Security When I market your property, you avoid allowing strangers into your home. REALTORS® will generally pre-screen and accompany qualified prospects through your property. This increases your safety and allows for any last minute preparations. As a licensed real estate agent in North Carolina, I go through an extensive background check before I can help someone buy or sell property.

Negotiating As your REALTOR® in selling your home, I can assist you with objectively evaluating every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. As your REALTOR® in buying your home, I evaluate the property that you are buying to make sure you get the best price. This initial agreement is only the start of a process that involves appraisals, inspections, and financing - and a lot of obstacles that may come up before the closing of your home. As a real estate professional, I can help you write a legally-binding agreement that will more likely make it through this complicated process.

Monitoring, Renegotiating and Closing Getting the contract to buy or sell a home is only the start of the process. Between the initial sales agreement and closing/settlement, questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs which are pointed out after a home inspection takes place. There could be financing problems or a concern with the title that could surface after going under contract and before we close on the property. The required paperwork alone is intimidating for most buyers and sellers. As your REALTOR®, I am the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing/settlement.

As your real estate professional, I can also meet with other professionals involved in the transaction process. My industry contacts can make sure any unforeseen issues are handled reliably and quickly.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why You Need Me as Your REALTOR® - Part 1

How much is your time worth? Do you really have all the time, energy, information, and resources to sell your home? Do you have the professional contacts to properly market your home? Do you known enough about the process? Would it give you more time to focus on your personal life? Do you know the best price for your home? This is part 1 of a 2 part post to point out a few areas that I can help you sell your home and how I earn my commissions as a real estate professional.
Pricing As a REALTOR®, I am best suited to determine a pricing strategy for your property. By over-pricing your home you will miss opportunities to expose your home to potential buyers. If you under value your home, you could be leaving extra equity on the table after closing. My knowledge about the surrounding areas, pricing trends, local information, and experience will get you the best price for your home.

Marketing As a REALTOR®, I have many ways to effectively market your home. My proven marketing methods include flyers, open houses, the internet, local newspapers, and listing in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). There is a common misconception that advertising sells real estate. Studies done by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends and family, and personal contacts. I want to encourage to keep in mind, advertising is only one small part of marketing. The choice of media and frequency of advertising depends a lot on the home and specific market. Overexposure of a property in any media may give a buyer the impression the property is distressed, the seller is desperate or there may be something wrong with area. As a qualified real estate professional I know when, where and how to advertise your property.

Marketing also includes the exposure of your home to other REALTORS® and to the general public. In many markets, over 80% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a REALTOR® other than myself, may bring in the buyer. I will act as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate professionals through the MLS, open houses, and office meetings. My preparation is critical to marketing your property effectively. As a REALTOR®, I am best suited to recommend repairs and cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your home.

For more information about why you need me as your REALTOR®, check back soon for Part 2 in "Why You Need Me as Your REALTOR®."

Monday, June 16, 2008

What is a Comparative Market Analysis?

A Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) uses the most current and reliable information from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), real estate firms, and title companies in your community. The homes that are included in an analysis are a sampling of properties in the area that are currently for sale or that have recently sold. This information provides us a base line from which to begin our comparison.

At times, the term "fair market value" causes confusion. The definition has three basic parts – particular house – current condition – time frame. Simply, fair market value is the price at which a home will sell within a reasonable amount of time. A CMA allows us to figure, using the above information, the fair market value for your home. CMAs are just an estimation and the price could vary up or down depending on the motivation of the buyer, seller and any fluctuations in the market. The following are factors I look for to help determine the value of your home in the current market. The home itself is only a part of the puzzle.

Location Where your home is located may be the single most important factor when determining the value of your home.

Condition The condition of your home affects the price and how quickly it will sell. The appearance, both inside and out, can affect the buyer’s perception. Since emotion plays a large part in buying a home the buyer’s first impression is important!

Price Establishing the correct price for a home will help insure a quick sale. A CMA will help you decide the best price for your home.

Competition Buyers will evaluate your home against others they deem comparable. Properties currently for sale and properties that have recently sold will have the greatest impact on the market value of your home.

The Market The real estate market is always changing and these changes may affect property values. Knowing that it is difficult to forecast the market, a flexible marketing plan will help prepare you and your home for sale.

If you are interested in getting a Comparative Market Analysis on your home, I can do one for FREE! Just give me a call at 704-309-8736.

Also, if you know someone who needs to sell their home, tell them to call me at 704-309-8736.

I look forward to hearing from you!

Monday, June 9, 2008

What do Home Buyers Want in North Carolina?

1. Central Air Conditioning is a must for the long, hot, humid days of North Carolina. We have pretty mild temperatures in the winter, but in the summer the heat and the humidity can make for long and sticky days.
2. A 2-Car Garage is more desirable than a 1-car garage and a 1-car garage is more desirable than no garage. If you are like me, the garage becomes a storage area, anyway, for things you think you will use, but never do.
3. Walk-in Closets you can't get enough of. I believe it is more fashionable and desirable to have “His” and “Her” closests in the master bedroom. Spacious closets are desirable for the secondary bedrooms. If you run out of closet space you could always use the garage, right?
4. Backyard/Play Area for the family. As families grow they look at communities and the features they offer such as a pool, playgrounds, walking trails and tennis courts. More people are looking for features in communities they do not have to keep up themselves.
5. Cable/Satellite TV-ready Homes. Oh yes, no argument here. More and more people are looking for special features, such home networking, theater rooms and fiber optic-quality images. With the rising cost of movie tickets, many choose to stay home and watch American Idol!
6. High-Speed Internet Access. Can we say goodbye dial-up and hello cable/dsl? Can you imagine a world without high-speed internet? Well, actually, I can. I remember paying for AOL by the minute, by the way.
7. Seperate Toilet Closet. Have you every woke up in the morning and needed to use the bathroom, but your wife was in there blow-drying her hair and you where too lazy to go use another bath because you wanted your personal throne? Enough said.
8. Patio for Outdoor Entertaining. I desire to be a BBQ master and show off for my friends, but for now I have to settle for my 10 x 10 cement pad.
9. Fencing. Many people think that fences are good so the dog and kids can run around wild all day outside. I have to agree with Robert Frost, “Good fences make for good neighbors.”
10. Homes Less than 10 Years Old. Part of me agrees with this and part of me does not. Brand-spanking new homes tend to appreciate faster in value, but after a while they begin to all look the same. Old homes might need to be updated but have character and you can upfit them to your personal taste.

More Good News!!!

Here is some more good news about Charlotte Metro Area. Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia Area ranks No.1 in Terms of Economic Strength according to POLICOM (an economic research firm specializing). The Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia area ranked No.1 in terms of economic strength out of 363 metropolitan areas. There were 13 N.C. metropolitan areas were included in the result of this study.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

What People are saying about me?

I am generally not someone who like brags or who is boastful. However, I am very confident and proud in the service I provide to my clients. I have included in this blog some testimonials from my clients.

"What can we say. You made our first home buying experience a breeze. Thank you for your support and prayers during the process. We wish you many successful years with the business and we will be glad to help any way we can! God Bless." Sean & Marianne:. Mount Holly, NC

"We thought Donnie Icenhour did a wonderful job. You worked very hard for us in dealing with the builder. We are very happy with our new home. We would definitely recommend him to anyone looking to buy or sell a home." Bob & Liz:. Concord, NC

We were scared to death about buying our first because we tried before working with someone else that left us empty and discouraged with unfulfilled promises. They would make us wait at homes while they were running behind, would not return our phone calls and left us in the dark about the properties we were viewing. So we gave up. Then we met Donnie. What a breath of fresh air. He made the process fun and exciting and we love our home. Greg & Cindi :. Concord, NC

It's finally here. That day. The one where we (again) sign our lives away into the servitude of a financial institution. We've closed on a new home. She's a fine girl, in her late teens. And as a full-brick structure with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths, and a bonus room across 2600 square feet, you might say she's got a ... "healthy" build.At any rate, we couldn't be happier about seeing this long search come to an end in such a pleasing way, and are thanking God as often as this wonderful thought crosses our minds. Hats off to our realtor, Donnie Icenhour, for putting up with us for as long as he did! Mike & Amy:. Harrisburg, NC

We had tried to sell our house for several months with no luck. We called Donnie and he did a free market report on our home and did a set by step market plan for us. 30 days after Donnie put out home on the market we sold it. Donnie was worth his weight in gold. Bobby & Karen:. Concord, NC

Me and my wife have moved several times before and worked with several different realtors before. When we first met Donnie we felt completely comfort with him. He did a marketing plan and laid everything out for us and followed up us constantly. Donnie sold our home in a less than a week. We highly recommend him. Jack:. Harrisburg, NC

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My view of the Housing Market

So many things to talk about: movies, Nascar, politics, gas prices, the weather and other things. What is on my mind today are home prices and the Charlotte Market (Charlotte Metro Area- Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Union, Iredell, Gaston and York Counties). I am a news junkie- it drives my wife crazy with all the news I listen too. I feel so disconnected from the world if I have not heard the news for the day. I spend a lot of time listening to Fox News Channel in the morning as I work out, 1110 WBT AM in the mornings and Fox Talk radio on Sirius. As I write this I am listening to Britt Hume on the Fox News Channel. This is probably more information you desire to know, but I want to use this to make a point.

There is a lot of information out there about our housing market in Charlotte; however the places you go to get your information seems to be giving us 2 different stories. Our local media reports about our high foreclosure rates and the housing slump. I get so frustrated with Al Gardner and the Charlotte Morning New on 1110 WBT AM. The interviews he has seemed to always be negative towards the housing market. It is true the housing market nationally is slumping pretty badly in cities like Philadelphia, Las Vegas and Miami. Many reports say this is one of the worst in 35 years. BUT, there is a great positive side to our market here in Charlotte that is rarely reported on from our local media.

According to RealtyTimes.com, Charlotte home prices have risen by 2.1%. Also according to Smartmoney.com, Charlotte continues to buck the national trend of declining home prices while other markets are declining by 2% - 5%. I wish we could hear more of this from our local media.


There are many factors as to why the housing market stays steady in Charlotte: 1) the mild climate, 2) the diversity of jobs and the continued growth of jobs in Charlotte, 3) North Carolina is the sixth fastest growing state and one of the greatest reasons, 4) According to Forbes Online, Charlotte is one of the cheapest places in the United States to buy a home. Where is this information reported in our local market?

I believe nationally we have hit bottom and it is all up from here. As you can tell, I am a positive thinker or at least I try to be. Now is absolutely the best time buy a home: prices are good, there is a lot to choose from and interest rates are great.

What do you think?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

“Why did I get into real estate?”

Someone ask once asked me: “Why did you get into real estate?” I had to take a moment to think about my response. I used to be a youth pastor in Youngstown Ohio and there where many great things about that job. I got to be a part of significant moment of people lives, such as: births, graduations, marriages and even death of a loved one. I enjoy people, I like hearing their stories and helping them. I like being a part of people lives during significant moments. Being a real estate agent allows me to continue being in people’s lives during one of the one of most important decisions they will ever make, buying or selling a home.

I very much enjoy what I do, but I do not take my role as a real estate agent lightly. There are people in business who have the same passion as I do, but on the other hand there are some who do not. I view my role as a Real Estate Professional as a servant/relationship job. While understanding their needs, I serve at the pleasure of my clients. If I do not give my clients great service they can fire me at anytime, so I work hard for them. It is also my desire to build a relationship with my clients that last way beyond the closing of their property. I know the best advertising I can have is word of mouth from my clients.

My purpose of this blog is to give information and my views about real estate and maybe build a relationship with a new client. Feel free to make post and give your comments. Happy Reading!