Keep Your Family Safe, Comfortable, and Active At The Lake

It’s the time of year when outdoor activities ramp up and those enjoying the lake lifestyle lead the way in heading outside.  Taking care of the basics will ensure your family is prepared for all the fun that waits while avoiding some very common, and preventable, family fun killers.

Hydrate, Hydrate, Hydrate

Drink Water.  Depending on whom you ask, water constitutes 65% to 75% of your child’s body while an adult body contains approximately 65% water…not soda, Kool-Aid or sports drinks. Dehydration can cause headaches, fatigue, crankiness, and can even affect concentration.

If you feel thirsty, you’re probably already starting to dehydrate. So make sure you drink water regularly.  The recommended daily amount of water varies by age from 5 glasses for your five year old to 10 for pre-teens and up.

Food is Awesome

Don’t forget the snacks. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics Handbook, Children should eat three main meals per day and, depending on age, eat 1 to 2 in between meals or healthy snacks.

Two are recommended for younger children while older children may require only a mid afternoon snack. The immediate effect of going too long between meals is a drop in blood sugar levels causing irritability, lack of energy, even confusion.

None of these effects go well with family fun at the lake so enjoy a good meal before heading out and keep those healthy snacks handy.

Prepare for the Power of the Sun

Nothing interferes with family fun like the negative effects of too much sun. Whether it’s the inability to participate in outdoor fun or a child (and parent’s) inability to sleep with sunburn, the sun can be a showstopper.

Use sunscreen with a minimum Sun Protection Factor of 30 (SPF 30) to block both UVA and UVB rays. The higher the SPF number, the better the protection. UVA causes premature aging and suppression of the immune system, increasing the risk of skin cancer.

UVB rays cause sunburn. The intensity of UVB rays varies according to your location, the season, and time of day. 10am to 4pm are peak hours for both UVB rays and family fun so keep the sunscreen handy and apply often.

Clothing is an often-overlooked way of protecting your family from the sun’s harmful rays. All clothing provides some measure of UV protection.

However, clothing with an Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) is specifically designed to protect you and your loved ones.

Depending on your skin type, clothing with a UPF rating of 15 (Good) to 50+ (Excellent) may be required. Those with the most need for UPF rated clothing are children, people with fair skin, and anyone spending an extended period of time on reflective surfaces such as water.

Despite our best efforts, emergencies sometimes happen. Being prepared is key no matter how mild or serious the situation. Immediate access to emergency contact information is a stress reducer and lifesaver.

Prepare Your Smart Phone

Whether you’re a resident, frequent visitor, or enjoying the lake for the first time, programming local emergency numbers and medical providers in your phone saves time when you don’t have time to waste. Protecting your smart phone and all it’s information from water damage will ensure you have the information if needed.

Anything from a water protective case to a well-sealed storage bag will do. Your phone doesn’t float so consider throwing an empty water bottle in the storage bag or attach a float to the case for buoyancy.

If pets are along for the fun, don’t forget to include a local vet in your contacts list.

Keeping your family safe and healthy will ensure your time together is fun for all. It only takes a little thought and preparation to ensure everyone is energized and equipped to go out and make those great family memories that last a lifetime. That’s what the lake lifestyle is all about.

Real Estate Agents: A Letter From the Client Who Got Away

Dear Realtor,

I’m sorry I didn’t select you to assist me with the purchase of my lake property. You see, even though I spent time researching the many lake real estate agents in your market, I never found you. It was only after I became disillusioned with my current agent that someone suggested you.

I was told of your experience and expertise. You’re well respected in your market. Unfortunately, your local brand is only local and since I’m not from your area, I had no way of knowing. If only you had better reach and web presence.

Like most, I started my search with Google. I am human and demand convenience so I selected the first few brokerages listed in the search results. You’re not with any of them. I wish you were. Please speak with your company about working harder to get to the top of that Google search.

Had you been, it may not have mattered. Depending on the site, I was presented with anywhere from 50 to 200 agents from whom to choose. I knew none of those people. It was basically a lottery. Everyone was a market expert and honest. They all went the extra mile.

It was like choosing the best ant in an ant farm. So while you’re at it, could you ask your broker to reduce the number of agents and give us more relevant information about you?

I thought the “real estate” websites like, Zillow, or Trulia would help. Though agents must pay to be there, many don’t. Even so, I was left with another sea of names to sift through.

Many didn’t bother to provide more than contact information. My time is worth more than that so if all I get is a cell number, I’m probably not going to call. Maybe you could choose one or two of those sites and provide a little information about yourself, your credentials, and your experience?

To my credit, I dug a little deeper than many clients do. I also searched Social Media. I can learn a lot from social media. I can see everything from activity to marketing strategies.

As a minimum, social media shows me they’re more serious than the next agent with no social media presence. I never saw you. I didn’t need to see you on every site; just one or two would have been great…hint, hint.

In conclusion, you really let me down. Thanks to your inability or unwillingness to stand out from all the others in the market, I missed out on your expertise. For me, it’s simply about conveniently finding the best REALTOR. If your broker’s site isn’t at the top of my search, it’s not convenient.

Researching and choosing from scores of agents on a brokerage site is not convenient. Anemic industry and social media site presence is not convenient. There are many clients out there. Around half, like me, aren’t from your state. Your local brand isn’t going to reach them so I respectfully ask you address these issues so they don’t miss out on your help like I did.

Thank you for your time.


The One Who Got Away

director of development john sims

John Sims is the Director of Development at Lake Homes Realty

Successful People Think Outside the Box: Sell The Experience

This article was last updated on August 27, 2019.

The old joke goes:

In New York, a guy walks into a bank. He tells the loan officer that he needs to borrow $5000 because he is going to Europe for two weeks. The loan officer says the bank will need collateral for the loan.

The guy hands him the keys and the title papers to his new Ferrari, which is parked in front of the bank.

Obviously, a $250,000 Ferrari is more than enough collateral, so the loan officer gives the man $5000.

He leaves, and the loan officer drives the Ferrari into the bank’s underground parking garage and parks it.

think outside the box

Over the next few days, the big joke among the bank employees is all about the foolish man that put up $250,000 collateral for a measly $5000 loan. But, two weeks later, the guy returns from his trip and repays his loan – plus $26.92 in interest.

The loan officer says to the guy, “I want to thank you for your business, but I’m curious. While you were away, I checked and found out you are a multimillionaire. I don’t understand why you bothered to borrow $5000 when you have so much money.”

The guy replies, “Where else in New York can I park my Ferrari for $2.00/day and expect it to be there when I return?”

Being boxed in is limiting. There’s the space inside the box and ALL the rest. In addition to its limitations, the space inside the box is VERY crowded.

Many entities doing many of the same things means no one stands apart from the rest. Real estate brokerages who all follow the same business model, use the same tools and sell the same things overwhelm the industry. They’re just more blue M&Ms in a box full of blue M&Ms. You get the picture.

Successful people continually think outside the box. Whether in marketing or customer relations, setting yourself apart from those who are thinking inside the box is crucial to realizing business goals.

Bill Gates didn’t sell computers. He sold the experience of having personal computing power in every home.

Apple doesn’t sell tech toys. They sell cool ways to connect with the world.

Amazon doesn’t sell stuff. They sell the ability to quickly and conveniently find what you’re looking for.

At Lake Homes Realty, we sell dreams — dreams of summer afternoons on the water and fall evenings spent by the fire pit.

A client may be looking at a dock but what they’re seeing is a child’s first fish.

Lake property is a means of realizing those dreams, and when you market the dream, in all reality, you more effectively market the properties and your local brand. 

Real Estate Agents: Build Your Personal Brand

Being known socially does not equate to being known professionally. This is especially true for those who concentrate on lake property as a large portion of your potential clients and do not live in the community.

Personal branding and reach is key in engaging all potential clients. Investments in personal branding highlights your experience and expertise for local clients while letting all others know you are the person to contact regarding your lake.

Protect Your Personal Brand

Register your own domain and establish your on-line presence. Notice I did not say get a really nice page on your broker’s site. A brokerage incurs the time and monetary expense of developing a website to market the brokerage…not you.

Consider the odds of a client selecting you among all other agents on the brokerage site versus selecting you on your own site.

Get Active in Social Media

You don’t have to be on every social media platform. Choose those you feel best reach your potential clients. A professional Facebook page may be a great platform for engaging local clients while a fully updated and informative LinkedIn profile will provide the professional qualification of interest to others.

Link your social media to your website and stay active and updated. Nothing says quitter like an unfinished profile or page last updated in June 2013!

Industry Sites May Be Beneficial

As with social media, you don’t need to be on each and every one. Choose those that work best for you in terms of cost vs. exposure and quality leads. A portion of your marketing budget will be spent on this. Carefully plan where you want those dollars to go.

With all that said, having a great online presence will do little in terms of bringing clients, especially those who aren’t in the area, if you’re invisible on the web. If finding you isn’t convenient, you won’t be found.

One of the best ways to ensure clients do find you is working with a brokerage that invests in a real, national reach and is laser focused on your lake properties. Unfortunately, the brokerages that have the ability to do so are few and far between. When one claims to provide this, make them prove it. If they do, jump on that platform!

director of development john sims

 John Sims is the Director of Development at Lake Homes Realty

Real Estate Agents – Never Stop Creating Value

Great service providers never stop creating value. Wouldn’t you agree that for true professionals, service doesn’t stop when the deal is done? This is especially true in real estate as the closing table is really an open door for future client referrals.

Many lakes homes are purchased as second homes or retirement homes. These homeowners may not know who the best plumber or electrician is. Who do they call for trash collection?

Creating home valueYour knowledge of the best businesses in your market is an extremely valuable tool that provides continual value. And, with today’s technology, makes your expertise easier to share.

Refrigerator magnets with emergency contact numbers ensure your presence in the home. An occasional e-news letter providing updated contact information for the goods and services all homeowners should have can be a great way to engage clients.

How about an app that does the same? Who leaves home without a smart phone? You may even be able to get local businesses to help pay for the associated cost given the new marketing platform you provide!

If clients recognize the never-ending value you offer, they are your clients for life. Their network becomes your network. You are afforded the opportunity to earn the business and affect the lives of many more in a positive way!

director of development john sims

 John Sims is the Director of Development at Lake Homes Realty