Archive for July, 2007

Back from a successful conference

July 30, 2007

July 30, 2007. Bob and Gary are back from the Sperry Van Ness Eastern Conference, loaded down with a lot more knowledge of the strength of the Sperry Van Ness way of doing business. The more we learn, the more we like the company. Borrowing from the company literature, here are just some of the strengths of Sperry Van Ness:

Sperry Van Ness has Advisors nationwide [now internationally] who are market leaders and recognized experts in retail, office, industrial, self storage, land, multifamily as well as leasing and auctions.

Each Advisor develops the best strategy using all the vast Sperry Van Ness marketing resources and mobilizing the entire brokerage community to work on a specific client’s behalf. Since many of the firm’s Advisors have an average of 10 to 15 years of experience, with the added credibility and diligence earned through key real estate designations, they bring an elevated level of specific property knowledge to each transaction.

Many of our brokers have advanced designations such as CCIM and SIOR, demonstrating an added level of training and expertise. In fact, the total number of these advanced professionals at Sperry Van Ness significantly outnumbers those in the brokerage community as a whole.

Be advised. There is a difference.


Back from a convention, off to a conference

July 23, 2007

July 23, 2007. Gary is freshly returned from the VVA national convention, where Chapter 310 won a Trifecta. Now Bob and Gary are headed for the July 25-28 Sperry Van Ness Regional conference in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

First, the Trifecta. Gary’s chapter submitted nominations for three separate award categories and won all three; Chapter of the Year, Newsletter of the year and Member of the Year – the hard-working John Kinzinger. We won all three! No other chapter has ever done that and only a couple have walked away with two awards in the same year. At least someone told us there were a couple.

This is the second time that Chapter 310 was named Chapter of the Year; the only chapter to do so out of the roughly 650 chapters in the nation. And, that is 2 out of just 12 conventions where that award has been given.

As a former three-term president of the chapter, including the first year we received that honor, I am extremely proud of our members. I wish to also mention that John Kinzinger was named Michigan Veteran of the Year in 2003.

May I mention that John and his wife Jane also happen to be clints of ours? We have sold land to and for them, earning them some nice capital gains. We also have their 160-acre hunt club listed, which we sold to them.

Did you know that a national economic magazine once noted that while many deals are cut on the golf course, those made in hunt clubs tend to be bigger and more likely to close?

Giving Back

July 16, 2007

July 16, 2007. One of the great joys of living in this country is the opportunity and ability to work for the good of others.

Giving is an American tradition and I often wonder if that trait is as prevalent in the people of other nations.

I often say that I fell in love with the American people in Vietnam, because the worse things got the funnier those around me got. We did a lot of what some would consider suffering, but we also did a lot of laughing.

Years later I fell in love with the American people all over again when I observed the generous charitable giving and volunteerism that is commonplace in American society.

I have always believed in giving back, whether it was through the Ann Arbor Jaycees where I was twice named Jaycee of the Month for my fund raising for handicapped children; to the volunteerism that earned me a United States Congressional Award in 2006, presented by the office of Michigan Representative Candice Miller.

That leads to the important event in my life this coming week. I will travel to Springfield, Illinois with other members of Chapter 310 to the national convention of Vietnam Veterans of America. The motto of VVA is “In service to America,” and the founding principle is, “Never again will one generation of veterans abandon another.”

VVA is a selfless organization, with members who leave me in awe of their individual knowledge of the issues that face both veterans and troops on active duty.

It’s not enough to just know the issues; one must work tirelessly to cure them.

Serving in the military is not just a two-year or thirty-year commitment; it is something that stays with you for the rest of your life. The physical and emotional scars that are the remnants of war will never go away. And it’s not just war-time that takes its toll; let there be no mistake – the military is a very dangerous occupation no matter what is going on in the world.

When a man or woman takes their oath upon entering the military, they are basically saying:

“If necessary, I will give up my life for this country.”

That’s not: give up some overtime pay, or a day off, or vacation time, or a sabbatical; they are saying in effect that they will give up their life for you and me. How can we do anything other than support them in every way possible?

So, we need to be there to help those who gave the rest of their lives to this country. We at Vietnam Veterans of America are there. I just can’t seem to get away from serving others – not that I want to. – Gary Lillie

Detroit Hunt & Fish Club

July 9, 2007

July 9, 2007. Gary has a special listing – an 800 acre hunt club in northern Michigan.

The property offers a pristine glacial lake, an historic lodge building and a solid trail cutting diagonally across the property. What makes that trail significant? It’s an old railroad grade.

Okay, that may not mean too much to most people, but there is a practical side and a human interest side to that fact.The practical side is that an old railroad grade has a pretty good base, as you may well imagine. That means that you have a solid drive to get to the back of the property and retrieve that deer you took during hunting season.

The human interest side is its historic significance. Some people are purely practical, but others are romantics. The romantics, or those who appreciate our history, will look along that trail, stand for a few minutes and picture the surveyors who staked the route, the timber clearers who cut the path through the forests and swamps followed by the diggers cutting the hills with picks and shovels and filling the low spots after the horse-drawn wagons with their drovers brought the fill, the loggers cutting the oak trees used for railroad ties, the sweating gandy dancers laying the rails and driving the spikes, and finally the old steam engines pulling their cargo north and huge logs south from the timber camps, all the while spewing black smoke and sparks from the boiler, which occasionally ignited a significant forest fire.

When you come across an old railroad line don’t just think of it as a handy path – block out the distractions around you and take a look back a century or more. Using your imagination adds to the appreciation of owning land in northern Michigan.

For more details on the Detroit Hunt & Fish Club, with its completely private Guilford Lake, go to the Listings section of our web site. While you’re there, take a look at our other listings…you may also find an investment property that appeals to you.


July 2, 2007

Happy Fourth of July – just two days away.

July 4, 2007. Did you know that on July 4, 1776, the English King George III wrote in his diary just one entry? “Nothing of importance happened today.” True story. Of course George later learned of some ridiculous document a few pesky colonists signed claiming that they were independent.

Segueing right into independence, real estate practitioners are in most cases independent contractors, not employees. That means we are free to succeed, or fail, depending on our skills, ethics, attitude and work ethic. The rewards can be great for those who are prepared to work ethically and with great energy; and are nearly addicted to ongoing education. Even though I have been in real estate for 40 years now, I’m still a student of the industry. I feel that I must be in order to serve my clients and customers in the manner they deserve. And, I will continue to be a student until the day I retire (if that day ever comes).

The greatness of America is that we live in a society that strives constantly to improve itself. I think it’s in our DNA. Those who came to this country to build a better life left behind the known in order to discover the unknown. Those who were content with what they had, or were unwilling to tackle the unknown, stayed behind. We in the United States of America have the blood of those brave immigrants coursing through our veins. That’s why we will never be content with the status quo, we will always reach higher and higher, building an ever better life and an even better country.

Happy Birthday, America.