Quarantine Chronicles: What Home Buyers and Sellers Can Do

Hello and welcome to hands down one of the weirdest times featuring the infamous COVID-19 along with lots social distancing and quarantining with family or by yourself. Every profession is learning to adjust and transition the way we do work by moving more digitally and enhancing relationships virtually. For some real estate buyers and sellers, you may think that these quarantimes is putting everything on pause, but I don’t find that to be the case. This time can be utilized as an opportunity for reflection for buyers and preparation for sellers.

We’ve got lots of time out our hands to scroll through Facebook and binge through Netflix shows (I mean Tiger King had me SHOOK), but let’s use it for something productive as well. Whether you’re buying or selling, I’ve got a couple of items you can handle now before life hits us even faster later on.


Get with your agent. Well duh! This is a great time to build a relationship with your real estate agent and let them know that you’re ready to buy. You can discuss the type of home you are looking for, wish list items and really start narrowing down what you’re wanting in a home.

Think about that money. Your agent can set you up with a great lender, so use this opportunity to see what you want your monthly mortgage payments to look like. Set up a monthly budget. This can help narrow in your price range when house hunting. It’s also a great time to speak with your agent and lender about down payments and closing costs so fees don’t hit you in the face later on.

Narrow down your wants and needs. With all this time you now have, truly figure out what you want and what you need in a home. Yes… there’s a difference! Do you need a big yard for a growing family or your cute little pup? These are priorities that you an get in line before you start looking after the quarantimes. Just be sure you’re making a list of what is a priority and what may not be.

Research areas and school districts. Hey, school districts and location may not matter to you right now, but it’s good to start researching potential schools or drive by certain areas. This can save you and your agent so much time in the long run. You doing this extra homework helps!


Declutter. Take spring cleaning to a whole new level and really clean out those toy bins or junk drawers hidden throughout your home. As your agent, I want your place to look clean and make it easy for a potential buyer to see themselves living in it without jumping through mess and junk everywhere.

Landscape. No, don’t run to Lowe’s with all the other people. Get a little dirt therapy in your system and weed your flower beds or clean up around the exterior of your home. Curb appeal is EVERYTHING!

Give it another eye. Walk through your home with a new lens. Think about coming in as a first time home buyer and take note of little items that could use a little love or upgrading in your home. While it may work for you now, it probably won’t for others. I’m not saying completely repaint your whole home or replace appliances. What I’m talking about is painting over that scrape on the wall or caulking in that opening from humidity. These little projects make a big difference over time and right now all you have is time.

Keep it cute. Yes, you’re decluttering, but don’t forget that buyers like a staged home. You don’t have to go out and buy all this new decor. Use what you have! Take down those family photos, play around with furniture and make the home flow from the front door to the back of the house. You’ll want these buyers to imagine themselves in your home. Make it welcoming!

Plan for what’s next. Where are you going? Do you already have an idea of a house you want? Let your listing agent know, so they can keep an eye out. Want to build? Your agent can help you find land and a builder. Your home could sell quicker than you think, so take this time to figure out a plan for the next step.

Although we all seem to be at a pause and standstill in life right now, this is a great time to prepare. Prepare to buy, prepare to list and prepare with your agent!

12 Books for the New Year

Growing up, I used to be one of the BIGGEST bookworms and took a book with me everywhere. I took them to pageants, recitals and even out hunting with my Dad. Over the years, through college and working (#adulting), I’ve faded away from my joy of reading and haven’t put time aside to just sit there and read. I kept saying, “There’s just not enough time” or “I could be doing something else…” But I knew that by reading I was gaining knowledge and HELLO… knowledge is POWER!

As a New Year’s Resolution for 2018, one of my goals was to read 12 books for the year reading one book per month. Easy right? Not quite. While I thought this goal would push me to sit down and take the time to read… it didn’t, so I decided to modify my goals. Since sitting down and reading wasn’t quite working for me, I decided to get a monthly membership with Audible that gave me one credit per month to purchase a book title and listen in. I’m a huge lover of podcasts and love listening along as I travel, drive to showings or am sitting by the computer working. Since I knew I could take the time for podcasts, I knew that audiobooks may be the winner! The Audible monthly membership helped me keep all my books on my phone and listen with ease while I could be doing “something else.”

I’m proud to say that I very surprisingly listened along to 12 books, yes 12, that were useful in life, real estate and my consulting career and I’m sharing some of my insights from each book. Some were fun, but some of these books were full of great tips for my career. I hope you use this as a great guide of books to love and learn from! Below I’m sharing my thoughts on my top six books.

The Honest Real Estate Agent by Mario Jannatpour

New in the real estate industry? The Honest Real Agent is a look at the simple fundamentals of being a real estate agent. Simple as that! It dives into how to treat your clients, how to present yourself and even marketing your listings. This is a great first book for agents to get them comfortable with the new commission-based world that they’re jumping into. Mario Jannatpour also has a podcast, The Honest Real Estate Agent, which is similar to the book sharing marketing tips, lead generation ideas and strategies for new real estate agents.

The Five Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts by Gary Chapman

Odd choice, right? While this is a book about LOVE, I also found The Five Love Languages to be a useful tool to help better understand my clients and the people around me. The five love languages include word of affirmation, receiving gifts, acts of service, quality time and physical touch. There’s a simplicity in this message but it really opened my eyes to seeing how people interact with you differently once you speak their language. For example, I’ve learned that some of my client’s love languages are quality time because of the way they want to really get to know me as a real estate agent before helping them through one of the biggest purchases of their life.

Never Split the Difference by Chris Voss

Want to learn the art of negotiating with high stakes… this is the book to read! The author of this book is former international hostage negotiator for the FBI and shares insights on high-stakes negotiations that can help you in a work environment or at home. The insight that stood out to me most is that negotiation is not an act of battle, you don’t have to be mean or heartless, it’s more of a process of discovery to gain as much information as possible. The author does a great job sharing how to show empathy but how to also be firm and know that NO isn’t always the end of the conversation. This read has helped my approach to negotiation in real estate with other listing agents by listening and gaining more information before jumping in.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

Simple, right? Mel Robbins shares her tactics on how to completely destroy any doubt and possibly change your life in just FIVE SECONDS. Complete honesty, when I first started this book I was like okay five seconds are not going the change my life, but if you use it in the way the author describes it can make a difference. Don’t want to go work out? Thinking about hitting that snooze button? Countdown backward 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and you’re mind can transform. Sounds whack, I know. But just try it! Now will my life change FOREVER, no. Is it a good tool, though, to help me push forward with small tasks, yes! I will admit this book is terribly long with quite a bit of fluff, but give it a listen or read.

The Millionaire Real Estate Agent by Dave Jenks, Jay Papasan, Gary Keller

This really is the book that all Real Estate Agents should read. It pulls on experience from top producers all over the country that have had a high volume in sales. What really stuck out to me was that not one successful agent/broker’s journey was the same as the next. This really hit me that you have to do what works best for YOU and what works for you may not work as well for the next person. It’s a long listen, don’t get me wrong… but the author did a great job breaking it down for a beginner agent and how goal-setting needs to be a priority. Great insight from people in the real estate industry. Definitely plan on re-reading this book!

The other books I read in 2018 include:

I’ve decided that I’ll be keeping the same goals for 2019 and will aim to read one book per month. My goal is to exceed that goal, but I’m keeping it attainable. I would love to hear all of your favorite books and recommendations in the comments! Happy reading!

Meet Bethany: Realtor®, Consultant and East Texas Native

Hello! Howdy! Hi there! I am Bethany Nolan, a Realtor® and Consultant, with a lot on my mind! Starting a blog has always been an aspiration for me, but finding the time and narrowing down content that I am passionate about has been my struggle. Before we get into all of that fun, here’s a little bit about me:

I’m a ninth generation Texan with seven generations in Upshur County. Growing up in rural Gilmer, Texas was always a treat and I’m a proud Gilmer Buckeye and alumna. After high school, I obtained a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Communications and Journalism at Texas A&M University and a minor in Horticulture with an Event Planning Certification. Upon completion at Texas A&M  I moved to Lubbock, Texas to receive a Master of Science in Agricultural Communications. Once all of my fun schooling was over, I moved to Houston and began working for a public relations firm specializing in their food, agriculture and beverage department focusing on media relations and social media. Working in public relations gave me a great background to transition into opening up Bethany Nolan Consulting, LLC, to assist clients with their social media, media relations and more. Unknowingly at the time, but my background serves as an advantage for marketing and selling real estate. Summed up in a nutshell… that’s a little bit about ME!

Now that you have a little bit of a backgrounder on ya girl, here are some fun little tid bits to get to know me a little better:

  • Hobby: I love to bake and test out new recipes; it’s a great escape for me!
  • Favorite Movie: Son-In-Law, Troop Beverly Hills and Heavyweights
  • Favorite TV Series: Hart of Dixie, Gilmore Girls and Gossip Girl
  • Biggest Pet Peeve: Smacking… GETS. UNDER. MY. SKIN!
  • Biggest Fear: Needles, just can’t shake the fear

I’m excited to take a deep dive into real estate, consulting and the life of Bethany! My hope and plan is to help guide you in the home buying process, preparation tips for preparing your home for the market or the holidays and even give some insight on social media marketing that I use to guide my consulting clients. Follow along, subscribe and enjoy the ride.