VOLUME VNote from the Editor
Essential oils. Candles. Plug-ins. Potpourri. Perfumes. Lotions. These are my favorite things. People who know me well know this, but I never expected my Realtor to notice.

When I was getting ready to purchase a condo unit, my Realtor listened to everything I wanted for the ideal home, including things I didn’t remember saying at all. The number of bedrooms, pet-friendly housing, square footage, neighborhood: These were all the topics I remember discussing with her. They were the kinds of specifics Realtors need to know before closing on rentals and home purchasing deals. She asked me everything in the post “Questions To Ask Before Showing a Home”—and then some.

But what made my Realtor win me over was the level of patience she had with a picky client like me. I knew exactly where I wanted to live, and I just hadn’t seen it yet. I even went as far as creating an Excel spreadsheet full of pros and cons. From the outside looking in, I was probably a nightmare. Meanwhile, she rolled with the punches and found me the “perfect” home.

On closing day, she handed me a gift box. I had no idea Realtors give their clients gifts. Inside was a beautiful aromatic candle. It was the simplest, economical gift, but it was a huge deal for someone like me who collects fragrances but didn’t remember mentioning it to her until after she gave me the box.

Apparently I was going around sniffing rooms during the walk-throughs. She thought it was hilarious and told me later, “I knew exactly what to give you. You really are all about the aromas!” This is what I thought of while co-writing this month’s Quick Take: “Closing Deal Is Done? Give a Gift to Celebrate!

If anyone asks me for a quality Realtor, she is the first person I recommend for rentals and purchases. In articles like “Get Feedback to Stand Out In the Realtor Crowd,” client reviews are a game-changer that can too often be overlooked. But for Realtors like mine, I was ready to write a positive review for her before she could even ask and did so on multiple platforms.

Commission-only jobs are tough. You have to please the clients and make the career enjoyable. I admire what Realtors do. I’ve learned a lot more about them over the years, as the former condo board president and treasurer of my association.

I understand the importance of quality video footage in stories like “Attracting Tech-Savvy Renters” and what landlords are looking for in “6 Ways to Strengthen the Rental Application.” And as a former condo board member who talks with landlords at length, I definitely know what they’re not looking for. Look no further than “Tenants Welcome, Disruptive Guests Need Not Arrive.”

Listening in on tech virtual conferences, I also developed a fascination with how digital technology helps landlords, property managers and renters. That’s why “Artificial Intelligence for Rentals: Friend or Foe?” was so enjoyable to write. If used correctly, digital technology can help, not hurt, the real estate industry. AI may be able to filter through rental applications quicker.

However, those calendar reminders may be the best kept secret for remembering when tenants are nearing move-out dates. Check out “Leases Expiring? Get a 2-3 Month Head Start!” Don’t miss out on an opportunity for repeat business.

In today’s housing market where the Feds are trying to get a handle on new mortgages (now with a 6% interest rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages—the highest increase since the 2008 recession), property owners may be at an impasse, wondering whether to sell or find a new tenant. There is a third option though. Read “Could Property Owners Profit Well From Airbnb?” to decide whether short-term rentals make sense in between tenants (and if selling is off the table).

Does our “Conversation In Real Estate” article look familiar? That’s because it is. If you missed out on Volume IV during tax season, here’s another opportunity to enjoy Go4Rent’s podcast and the Property Joes’ feature story.

I’m pleased to announce one of our new writers (Sam Kulla) as our new podcast host. Readers and listeners will get familiar with him in our next issue, Volume VI. I’m excited about it! Along with all of the writers featured in this issue, I’m really proud of the work they’ve done. To our writing team, thanks a million!

We hope Volume IV answers questions you may already have and some you didn’t even know to ask. Is there a topic you’d like us to talk about? Contact me at shamontiel.vaughn@go4rent.com. We look forward to hearing from you!

Shamontiel L. Vaughn, Editor-in-Chief
About Shamontiel:Shamontiel L. Vaughn has been in the publishing industry for 17 years as a newspaper reporter, a web editor, social media specialist and a print editor. Her areas of expertise include K-12 and adult education textbooks; local and nationwide news; and health news. She's also completed approximately 235 interviews in a variety of areas, including business management; entertainment; internet technology; law (entertainment, business and real estate); nursing; and travel. Some of her bylines can be found in the Chicago Defender, Chicago Tribune and CBS Chicago.

The unapologetic dog lover also owned two prior dogs (German Shepherd and Labrador Retriever mix) before becoming a two-year dog walker (510 walks with 89 different dogs) and adopting a third dog of her own on Juneteenth 2021: a Hound mix named Junee. When she's not writing, editing or playing with her dog, she's a current condo owner, former condo board president and treasurer, and a five-year officer for a community Toastmasters club.