The McLaughlin Group Team

The McLaughlin Group Team

Saturday, December 31, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 252 My Favorites

Instead of writing something new, I thought I would just repost two of my favorites from the year. We started in February and have posted 252 times. We try to keep the blog related to real estate but sometimes it wanders into life's other challenges, however, for the most part, we have been true to it's initial concept. So here are my two favorites: Pit Bulls & Baby Steps, which is a story about a brokers caravan and Marathon, which is my comparison of a marathon, marraige and a real estate transaction.

Pit Bulls and Baby Steps

Crossing the stream in the listing agent's jeep enjoying the broker's caravan along Lobo Canyon, neither myself nor the two lady agents had any idea what peril loomed in front of us. A burned out house on five plus acres with incredible views and a small trailer nestled under the shade trees. As we exited the car, two rather menacing looking Pits, barking, growling & foaming at the mouth, began crashing against the glass trailer door. With each successive blow to the door, the latch is slowly giving way. Now the distance between the jeep, a large fence and trailer are measured by my perceptive and now fearful eye. And it happens, the door gives way and shooting out of the trailer like bullets exiting their gun's chamber, 200 pounds of muscle and teeth have locked on. Instinct and heart rate explode, I am at the top of the fence in seconds, relieved that I still have some life in my legs but now horrified about who I have left behind to suffer a most unfortunate mauling. As I turn to look, the dogs were on them, sniffing, wagging and licking away, just happy to have some friends on their mountain. I am humiliated but quickly shout out from my position on top of the fence, "Hey, the second story views from a new house would be spectacular." Not one of my proudest moments but since that day I have stepped in front of two dogs to take the bite instead of my clients, a Chihuahua and a Pekingese...Baby steps!


I heard marriage once described as a marathon. Think about that, being out of breath, aching muscles, blistered feet and just makes most of us want to run out and get married or if already married, asking, what mile am I at right now? The start of the marathon is exciting with the massive moving crowd and fanfare but check in around mile 14, 15, or 16 and see what's up. Skip to the finish line, more crowds, the exhilaration of completion, champagne and finally, a well deserved rest. So it goes with buying or selling a house, first comes the excitement of coming to terms, then comes the inspections, disclosures, paperwork, appraisals and the worry, stress and fatigue that inevitably hop on your shoulders for the ride. Exhausting! 45 days or so later, you're sipping a martini or lemonade by the pool, the dog is tearing up your yard and your feet are up and you are at rest. The loose toilet, the rat droppings in the attic and the bleeping bleeping smoke detector of the past month are forgotten and you are home. In the middle of your race, day, transaction, or life, you may want to take just a brief moment to ponder your coming rest.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!


Friday, December 30, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 251 The Last Work Day

Many memories, highlights, issues and concerns swirling around in my head this morning as I start work on the last official work day of the year. Although, it has been well documented in this blog that weekends are as busy as weekdays in our field. Since tomorrow is the 31st and the last day of the year, today I will dream that I am a disgruntled 40 to 50 hour a week employee, in some large corporation, watching the clock tick away as I count the hours towards a long 3 day weekend filled with football, friends, family and libations.

It has been a rather eventful year for the corporation, manufacturing in China has been difficult with Typhoons rocking our facilities. A few trips to Iowa to help facilitate the the restructuring of our midwestern strategy, a new boss who I do not see eye to eye with and has me a tad concerned going into the new year. I look out at my calendar and see my meetings are scheduled for the entire year, pending of course, typhoons, company reorganization, competitive breakthroughs and a host of staff issues that will undoubtedly arrive at the most inopportune times. Speaking of the staff, I ponder having to meet with the the same people time and time again, wondering if Charlie will ever improve on his hygiene. I can't stand sitting next to him during the meetings, the smell is unbearable and if that Jill, aka "the Blabberer" extends one more meeting because of that mouth of hers, I swear I will stand up and shove a one of those day old doughnuts right down her throat..Whew! I could get in trouble if anybody at the company were reading my blog today. I don't even want to think about the parking this year, I go to the gym to get my exercise, the company should pay for new shoes since it's a 1/2 mile hike into the office every morning. How many years until I retire? Wow, only 9:30 in the morning, 7 hours still to go, oh no, here comes Jim.......sorry about that, he just can't let it go. I got the promotion 6 years ago and he still comes over and wines but finishes with a barrage of self promotion that is only matched by the late KIM JONG IL. If his team wins the company boiling trophy again, I will make sure he will be the late JIM JONG IL. Oh boy, the final numbers for the year just came in, not to bad, maybe I will have to hit up the big boss for a little raise based on these numbers. Can it please be lunchtime yet? Well, big brother has new internet access rules starting next year, only 15 minutes online per day for personal use time, like checking mail, facebook, etc etc. I am going to maximize my internet time, on this, The Last Work Day of the year.

I know it is not that bad and in fact so many people love their jobs and in many ways I do envy the stability, steadiness and certainty of the corporate life. In fact, I think just having a job is a pretty good thing, just ask around these days. It is fun for me to type away between my appointments and to poke fun at others but most of all to poke fun at myself because I realize how lucky I am. I probably met over 100 new families this year and the interaction with all of them is beyond rewarding. Challenging, fun, emotional, stimulating and I could go on and on. Throw in my team that I get to work with on a daily basis (we have no Charlies, Jills or Jims unless my group things I am one of them) and I realize just how fortunate I truly am.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 250 Hunt Club

Hunt Club is an example of a seller who looked at the market, took our advice, priced it appropriately and was rewarded with a quick sale which is tough in this current estate market. Most Agoura estates are on the market for at least 6 months so this was a wise and now happy seller.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, December 26, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 249 Work, Really?

On a day like today after a couple days of gorging and with such incredible weather, the questions is work, really? Yep, but hopefully just a couple hours. Photo off the balcony at work.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 248 Xmas Dinner

So all the family got together at the lake for our Xmax dinner. Drew and his family had to get back up to the bay area for more functions, so our entire tribe pow wowed an evening earlier than usual. Plenty of food and fun and gifts for all the little ones and then an unexpected family of four shows up out of the blue. A mom and three teenagers not looking for gifts but maybe just a warm meal on a cold night. The photo is one of the teenagers putting in an order with Santa for an over sized drumstick. I am sure as they clamored and clambered back up the Oak Tree, they thought to themselves that Santa had lost some weight and certainly looked more athletic than the big guy in the red suit that mom and dad Racoon had spoke of.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, December 23, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 247 Showings

How about this for last minute shopping..Two different showings today for homes. I wish they could buy the house, wrap it up and close in 1 day. That would be a nice present for under the tree. As it stands, if they buy today, it will probably be more of a Valentines Day gift.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 246 Here KItty Kitty

You know with the holiday stresses sometimes you just want to avoid all the people and hang with your cat or dog...Here kitty kitty has multiple meanings and I will leave those who know my meaning and those who don't know to have fun with it.

This is Dave, with The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 245 Driftwood

Just a block from the beach is our new listing on Driftwood in the Oxnard Shores area. Looking for a great weekend escape close by? This is a newer, beautiful 3 bedroom 3 bathroom townhome, highly upgraded and ready to move into. Just log onto and check it out. Tell me a walk on the beach with your best friend is not one of the best things that this life has to offer. Check out Driftwood and maybe you will want drift away to a better place.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 244 Wagon

After two year long leases, an interesting neighbor, a long escrow, Wagon will close on Tuesday. What a great house with an amazing setting. The new family and kids will love living there and it will be a very cool holiday moment for them. Another new beginning comes from some others beginnings end!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 243 The Flood

This is not the great biblical flood that I am referring to. This is a cautionary note to all who would turn on the water to a house without being inside. Don't do it! You just never know what valve may have been left open when the washer/refrigerator and other fixtures were removed or left on as the water was shut off. Needless to say after 14 years in this business, there are still firsts and talk about taking your breath away. From the holiday party to the flood, I can't wait to see whats next.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, December 16, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 242 Holiday Party

Here we are whooping it up at the holiday party! Lots of fun!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 241 Watch, Listen and Observe

Sometimes words are simply inadequate and fall short of conveying the message one is trying to deliver or the feelings someone is trying to express. Here is an example: Kelsey got nailed in the game tonight at Thousand Oaks and she is attempting to describe the pain she is feeling. Kelsey's words pale in comparison to what her facial expressions, wincing and utterings are conveying. So here is a challenge for Wednesday; Watch the person in front of you, listen to tones more than the words, observe their body language and see if you see a little deeper into that person or realize a greater understanding of what they are saying or not saying. It's only a one day experiment, what do you have to lose? Or, interrupt people, assume you know what they are saying, ignore their body language and move about with your head in the clouds, blinded by your failure to truly watch, listen and observe.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, hoping to watch, listen, observe and keep it real in real estate!

Monday, December 12, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 240 Tebow for President

When you are in sales there are two cardinal rules: Don't talk politics and don't talk religion. When you open your mouth in these arenas, there is a 50/50 chance that the other party won't agree with you and why would you jeopardize a potential sale pontificating on your own opinions. Now there are exceptions and a few other rules like don't smoke in front of a client, don't comment on how ugly the family dog is and don't ask the woman of the house if she is pregnant unless you are 100% confident you know the answer already. These can be deal breakers! Most successful sales people generally follow these rues. I will break with tradition and sort of violate the rule and make a bold prediction: In the next 30 years, Tim Tebow will run for the office of President of the United States of America. He will win his parties nomination (I don't know which party), and he will carry Florida and Colorado. After that I have no idea what will happen. Please archive this blog and in 2032 or 2036 refer back and see who was the first to predict it! I will be 78, still typing away, selling retirement digs in the Caribbean and the Blog on that day will read:

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 11551 I TOLD YOU SO! (please refer to day 240)

This is Dave, watching ESPN for the last 2 hours, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 239 Marks

Finally! It took some time but I am sure the new family is soaking up the views! Closed on Friday.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 238 Training

Training someone on a task, presentation or skill, can be a very frustrating experience. When I look at this photo, I ask myself, what type of split I would have to give this guy and would he be able able to close the deal? :)

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate?

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 237 Time Out

Nothing like a time out in a critical moment to refocus the team, design a play or rest an exhausted squad. A time out in real estate is when you turn your cell phone off. You can refocus, think about solutions or plan new strategies but as long as that thing is ringing, vibrating or chirping, you are in the game and you have to think and play as the calls come in and you never know what the situation, sale or concern might be..TIME OUT It is 9PM and I am taking a Time Out!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 236 Office Furniture

After visiting the Boost athletic performance grand opening, The group got motivated and Laurie decided to provide new seating for the group. We have left the lazy recliners and moved on to the exercise body balls. Here you see Kelly handling the paperwork, Laurie talking with Homes and Land and Janet texting one of her buyers. When I took this photo I was on one leg balancing. I think the group will be more productive because of the new seating arrangements.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 235 Game of the Week

Monday night at 6 the Charger girls of Agoura take on the Lion girls of Oaks Christian. I don't usually promote local games but in this case I am compelled. Sebastian the head coach of Oaks, is Kelsey and Kinsey's club coach and not only that, there are 3 others on the Agoura team that call him coach during the club season. In addition, 3 teammates on the club team play for Oaks. This weekend ended with a soccer party wrapping up nearly 6 years of club soccer with this group and it is only fitting that many of them meet Monday night at Agoura. It should be a fun evening for all the families and a really good soccer game.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 234 R and R

A fun evening last night with great music at Maestros, to be followed up today with a golf party at Sherwood, holiday party at a client's home this evening and then a team soccer party on Sunday. This time of year, although a bit slower business wise, does allow for rejuvenation and relaxation. Lets face it, occasionally you have to pull the car in, change the oil and fill it up with gas and this weekend, this old Cadillac is filling up at the station!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 233 Sweet 16

Here she is. A fantastic daughter, an awesome sister, a super person, a fierce competitor, a solid student, a trustworthy friend, a great sense of humor and a kind and gentle soul. All these added up equals one really lucky dad and I am one really lucky dad. December 1, 1995 was one of the greatest days of my life and Kinsey, you continue to make my life and all of our families lives better.

Happy Birthday Kinsey!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, lovin being the dad of Kins, who helps me keep it real!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 232 Need to Get Away

Near the end of the day in the office, my sister was showcasing tropical photos from Zihuatanejo, and the thought of the Southwest Airlines commercial kept popping into my mind. "Need to Get Away" Yes yes yes, I do, but I just got back from Canada and had a great time fishing with the brothers, however, it seems like it was not enough. The last couple years I did not take a vacation and now after taking some time away from it all this year, the desire to take off again is strong. Would it have been better not to leave at all? I wonder if sitting on the beach and being totally unproductive would spawn thoughts or desires of wanting to be productive? The only way to truly know that answer is if you never had to work another day in your life, would you still choose to work? Don't get me wrong, I love my job, my group and all the challenges and people that I deal with but after staring at the turquoise waters, I might be willing to try.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, floating in the TURQUOISE waters (not), keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, November 28, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 231 Bikram Yoga

After a easy going day around the office, I decided to hit the 4:30 class for a little sweat. For those not familiar with this particular style of yoga, it combines heat (105 degrees), time (90 Minutes) and various strength and stretching poses. I am here to vouch for its intensity and fairly simplistic approach to kicking my .ss! There are periods of pain and struggle and periods of rest and calm and in these latter moments, I can't help but think of some of our current escrows. Struggle and calm, struggle and calm, this class parallels our escrows. I laugh about tying in everything into real estate and often wonder if many just say, "please Dave, enough already;" Sports to real estate, family struggles to real estate, songs to real estate, yoga to real estate, does Dave have a life or is everything about real estate? I do and yes, real estate and my life are all intertwined. Now as my limbs are intertwined in yoga, sweating away and my lips yearning for a splash of water, I think of my! I need help.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Driving over to check on rat traps for a lease we handled a few months back, I took this photo near the landing at Westlake. Yea, checking rat traps is part of the job, right? Rat traps are not the blog subject today, today is the subject. Come on, look outside today, it is s-unreal, it's ridiculous. When I took the photo at 11:02, it was 79 degrees and crystal clear. Boaters and kayakers on the lake, bikers, joggers, green mountains, fresh air, fall colors and today is November 27th. I would say a vast part of the country would cry foul, claim it's unfair and demand California, at a minimum, be subject to overcast skies and a healthy drizzle. Get outside, soak it in and have spectacular day.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, November 25, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 229 A Feast

So Turkey dinner was supposed to begin at approximately 5PM, when the entire clan would gather at the lake for the feast. We arrived in the early afternoon and there before us lay a tabletop full of cheeses, hummus, bruschetta, candies and a host of other snack items along with the compliment of beverages. By 3:30 it was over for me. The stomach had reached capacity and staring at the food was no longer an option. Dylan and I grabbed the fishing poles landed a few bass and returned an hour or so later as the main course was about to be served. Looking past the main course I noticed a berry cobbler and pumpkin pie, decisions had to be made. I grabbed a few pieces of dark meat, the dryer ones, chewed on them for an hour and allowed for repositioning of the abdominal area, which enabled the berry cobbler to be enjoyed fully. Talk about an abundance of food. 22 people and I promise we could still be eating into the night tonight and we may not finish it off. Walking around the zoo today with the little ones, I understand how the lions must feel when they get a hippo for dinner...What a feast!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 228 Quotes for Thanksgiving

A couple of quotes for all of us:

A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all other virtues.
-- Cicero

Be thankful for what you have; you'll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don't have, you will never, ever have enough.
-- Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough, and more. It turns denial into acceptance, chaos to order, confusion to clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.
-- Melody Beattie

There is a calmness to a life lived in Gratitude, a quiet joy.
-- Ralph H. Blum

and my favorite

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.
-- Epictetus

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, wishing all a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 227 FIre Country

I was going through some pictures and realized we have been very lucky the last couple of years with the lack of fires. It's already November and usually in October we have had a fire or two and I can't even remember a Santa Ana condition. Above is a shot from 4 years ago when a couple Malibu fires broke out. Multiple helicopters converged on local lakes to fill their buckets fast. Our local lakes are probably the best resource the fire department has and it is something to watch as these guys swoop in to complete their mission.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, November 21, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 226 History of Malibou Lake

Photo courtesy of Universal Pictures MONSTER OF MALIBOU LAKE?--A young Marilyn Harris enjoys some quality time with Boris Karloff on the shores of Malibou Lake in the 1931 Universal classic, "Frankenstein." The cinematic and additional history of the lake is documented in Brian Rooney's new book, "Three Magical Miles."

The following article is from The Acorn:

By John Loesing
Acorn Staff Writer
By John Loesing Acorn Staff Writer

For residents of Malibou Lake and the surrounding vicinity, their story finally is being told.
Brian Rooney, a resident of Malibou Lake for seven years until moving to Orange County, recently completed and self-published a definitive history of the three-mile region that covers the lake, historic Cornell and Seminole Springs.
In fact, Rooney named his 100-page softcover book "Three Magical Miles: An Appreciation of the Past & Present of Malibou Lake and Vicinity."
From the construction of the lake and the early clubhouse in the 1920s, to the many famous movies filmed at Paramount Ranch, the area is steeped in rich California history, Rooney says. He compiled most of his information while taking long walks by the lake and visiting with several old-timers who lived in the area for decades. Rooney credits Gordon Thomas, Earl Bennett and Leon Levinson, who are now in their 70s and 80s, for inspiring the book.
"With their 120-plus years of history and stories, and hearing these great stories, I realized that none of the stuff was written down," Rooney said.
"If these stories aren’t written down they were just going to go away at some point," he said. "When they told the stories, it really opened the floodgates and the more I looked, the better it got."
Working on nights and weekends, Rooney took almost three years to complete his work. Proceeds from the book will go to the Cornell Preservation Organization (CPO), a nonprofit group dedicated to preserving the land, the history and the quality of life inside the "Three Magical Miles."
"It really for the first time has sort of given an insight to this area and why it’s so much of a jewel," said Colleen Holmes, CPO president. "There’s so much history here and so many people who have lived here for so long."
Early Years
Bertram Lackey and George Wilson built the dam that created the lake in 1922, but the basin remained dry until a huge 1926 storm brought millions of gallons of water from Medea Creek and Triunfo Creek into the lake and filled it for the first time.
"The founding members threw a party that lasted for days," Rooney writes.
Since then, the lake has been dry only once, in 1969, when the dam underwent repairs.
The original Malibou Lake Clubhouse, which was actually a lodge with 24 rooms, was built in 1924, but was lost in 1935 to fire and replaced by the smaller facility that stands by the lake today.
Developer H.I Averill, meanwhile, had begun to offer lots for sale.
"In the 1920s, Lakeside lots sold for $600 to $700," Gordon Thomas recalls in the book, "and during the Depression, they went for as little as $50."
Thomas said by the mid-1950s, a graded view lot with a pre-installed septic system sold for the "hefty" sum of $5,000.
By hook or crook, the homes were finally built.
"One of the great old stories is how many of the original cabins at Malibou Lake were built with stolen lumber from Paramount Ranch back when they were shooting movies there actively," Rooney said. "They would walk over to the ranch from the lake … and pick up a few two-by-fours and sheets of plywood and come back."
The charm of Rooney’s book is the photography that it uses. He obtained hundreds of old pictures from a variety of sources, including the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the Ronald Reagan Library, the Calabasas Historical Society and Malibu Creek State Park Docents.
The liberal use of before-and-after shots gives the reader a good perspective on how the area has changed.
"It’s beautifully documented and has a lot of unusual photos," said Nicolas Noxon, CPO vice president and official distributor of the book. "It’s really amazing," Noxon said.
Rooney said sales of the $20 book are by "word of mouth" only and that the first 100 copies sold out immediately. More are being printed.
Rooney also provides the history of several buildings that no longer exist, such as Crags Country Club, said by the Los Angeles Times in 1910 to be "one of the exclusive social organizations of the country with the wildest and most picturesque surroundings."
Located next to the "Rock Pool" in Malibu Creek State Park, the 7,500 square-foot lodge required $1,000 in annual memberships dues, equivalent to $50,000 today. Only the foundation is left.
One building, the 1926 Cornell School, still stands as a private residence.
Also dating back to the mid-1920s: the legendary Rock Store—and from Steve McQueen to Jay Leno—Ed and Vern’s little store continues to attract motorcycle riders of all stripes.
The oldest building in the area is the Sepulveda Adobe, built in 1863 by California pioneer homesteader Don Pedro Alcantra Sepulveda.
Other landmarks include the Lake Enchanto resort, which is now part of Peter Strauss Ranch, and Seminole Hot Springs, discovered in 1912 by a resident who was looking for oil.
If you enjoy whipping your car or motorcycle through the mountains, you’ll be pleased to know the Paramount Ranch Raceway was home to sports car and stock car races. Sports car historian and guest contributor Michael Lynch said the track immediately established a reputation for crashes and controversy and was closed in 1957.
Holmes said she never realized the area carried so many secrets.
"One of the things that stood out ... there used to be a Maypole down by Malibou Lake that was near the country club they had there, which is now gone, but that Maypole is still standing and they used to have the kids come every year and do their thing and I would have never known that’s what it was for.
"[The author] got a before shot and what it looks like now, and to me, it’s very striking," Holmes said.
Celluloid Heroes
Clearly, much of the magic in the "Three Magical Miles" comes from the movie industry and its colorful personnel, who spent almost the entire the 20th Century gallivanting through the area.
Rooney says of the many films shot at the lake over the years, the most famous by far was the horror classic "Frankenstein," a1931 RKO picture.
"Boris Karloff’s famous makeup job was applied in the backyard of makeup artist Jack Pierce’s home in the San Fernando Valley starting at 4 a.m. followed by a drive out to the lake so that the scene could be shot before the heat of the day hit—which would cause the makeup to smear and the prosthetics to unglue," Rooney writes.
Paramount Ranch, just half a mile from Malibou Lake, included productions such as "Santa Fe Trail" (1930), "Gunsmoke" (1931), "The Adventures of Tom Sawyer" (1938), "The Adventures of Marco Polo" (1938), "The Virginian" (1946) and, of course, "M*A*S*H" and "Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman" from modern times.
To make Tom Sawyer feel right at home, studio workers placed a temporary dam on Medea Creek and turned it into the Mississippi River. The star of the movie was a young Jackie Coogan.
In 1966, Elvis Presley shot the motorcycle flick "Spinout," a film that includes scenes from Cornell Country Store, Mulholland Highway and Kanan Road.
And before he was governor and president, actor Ronald Reagan and his wife, Nancy, spent weekends at their 250-acre ranch near the corner of Mulholland Highway and Lake Vista Drive. The Ranch is now part of Malibu Creek State Park.
The book also includes an assortment of indexes, topographical maps and photography foldouts. The National Park Service and California State Parks assisted Rooney in preparing his research.
Copies of the book may be obtained by calling CPO at (818) 734-0775

You can also pick this book up at The Old Place or the Canyon Grill.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 225 A day in the life of a

After the "a" fill in buyer or seller. Imagine how different the perspective and view would be of the very same transaction. You would think that a 10 page purchase contract would enable both parties to have the same view or perspective? Wow! That is not the case. Just look at the "as-is" clause in the purchase agreement and watch how buyers and sellers sink their teeth into that. 15 or 20 days into the agreement and you wonder if you will ever get both parties on the same page. Oddly enough after 30-45 days, the buyer and seller shake hands, close escrow and have come to the same mutual resolutions. Bottom line is when two parties want something bad enough, they figure it out. Now after the "a" fill in the word realtor and ask the buyer or don't do that..just enjoy your Sunday.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 224 Kanan

This is another one...Finally it closes on Friday. 489 days later, two companies tried to sell it before us and now our group gets to close it out. Sometimes the 3rd time (agent) is the charm.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 223 Does Your Teddy Need a Bath

Here is a little promo for "Teddy Needs A Bath". Why would The McLaughlin Group promote such a fantastic product? Our group coordinator is Laurie and her daughter Nicole is the inventor and creator of this wonderful new product. You can find this at,, and very soon it will be on You know how I admire people that press on, overcome challenges and realize their dream? Well Nicole is one of those persons who has climbed her mountain.

This is Dave, from The McLaughin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, November 14, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 222 Mountaintop

When coaching the Agoura girls U14 all-star soccer team at the AYSO National Games in Hawaii, I pointed to the mountain and told the girls that is where we are going, to the top. I told them we are getting to the top one game at at time and we will not enjoy the view until we get there. One last look at the mountain and we started our week-long journey to the championship. One game at a time, never looking ahead, only focused on our current opponent. Isn't it true when we set our goals in the business world, it's much easier to focus on one task, one sale or one report and to build on each success or completed task which allows for the overall goal to be realized. Every step up the mountain has potential pitfalls and even setbacks but overcoming and pressing on can take you to the top. If my group focused on selling 65 homes in January, forgetting we had twelve months to do it in, we would have panicked, lost focus and forgot that we needed to sell just one at at time to reach the ultimate number. Jump back to that week in Hawaii and the girls kicked butt one game at a time and we found ourselves at the top of the mountain in the championship game. We eventually lost in double overtime but all the girls left that game knowing they had reached the top of the mountain and found out the views were sensational.

Here is a shot of that amazing team and the accompanying write up: ALOHA—An incredible season for the girls' U-14 Red Bull All-Star soccer team from Westlake and Agoura concluded with a runner-up finish at the AYSO National Games in Hawaii. Pictured in the front is Bailey Byers. Second row, from left: Kelsey McLaughlin, Bridget Brennan, Nicole Davis, Kinsey McLaughlin. Third row: Leah Dehmohseni, coach Rich Clark, Shiroo Ashtari, Maya Aviezer, Jessica Clark, head coach David McLaughlin, Taylor Harmon, Julie Watson, Brittany Cunningham, Natalie Fersht and coach Reza Dehmohseni. Lauren Ashton and Jenna Haffamier aren't pictured.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 221 The Moorpark Zoo

If you are looking for an enjoyable, easy couple of hours with the kids, I highly recommend the Moorpark College Zoo. Lions, Hyenas, Hawks, Eagles, Primates and a host of other animals sure to tickle the little one's curiosity. It is known as America's teaching zoo and every hour the students put on an animal show with their current cuddly and not so cuddly critters. Open every weekend 11-5. Miley and I spent 2 hours today soaking in the great weather and learning about omnivores, herbivores and carnivores. I think Miley was shocked to learn that she was an omnivore especially after watching Bubbles the Pot Bellied Pig perform a dazzling array of tricks.. Below is the link to the zoo, just copy and paste link into browser.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, November 11, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 220- For All The Veterans

From Saving Private Ryan

This is for all the veterans! We are proud, we are humbled and we are grateful for your sacrifice....THANK YOU!

Executive Mansion,
Washington, Nov. 21, 1864.
Dear Madam,--
I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle.
I feel how weak and fruitless must be any word of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save.
I pray that our Heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom.
Yours, very sincerely and respectfully,
A. Lincoln

This is the group, The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 219 Wednesday Hump Day

I have written about Fridays and of attack Mondays but never addressed hump day. So I will attempt to explain why Realtors do not have a normal Wednesday hump day. What we have is a contingency removal day and what that means is we strive to sell homes, put them in escrow and then work to have all contingencies removed. This form can be received on any day, so Wednesday is not critical but the actual day this form is received is. Once the contingency removal form is sent out or received, we can feel comfortable that we have done all we can do. Then we sit back, shift into cruise control and wait for the closing...Right! Like that ever happens especially with the current lending concerns and overall market conditions. Oops, I am changing my tune, Hump day is when the property closes..yea, okay, nope..Then we hold our breath and hope the buyer doesn't call to complain about their new house. Here I go changing again..I can emphatically state, Realtors don't have a hump day. Yep, that is correct, no hump day..I can't wait until Thursday, on the back side of the hump, heading into a slow, laid back, Martini weekend....Liar

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 218 My Love Screams

Okay before all of you get excited, I will not be screaming about my love. This will be about one of our former clients, in fact my former next door neighbor who relocated to Franklin(Nashville TN). Similar to the Beverly Hillbillies seeking black gold, David and Sheree Grow sought musical gold in Nashville and hopefully with this new song, they have found it. David wrote and produced this song and was executive producer on the video which is exploding on YouTube..Just 6 days and over 1,700,000 views. I would like to say while discussing his septic system and playing a few chords of Lionel Richie for him, he became inspired. Truth be told, we really miss their family and miss the music that often times floated over to our house. After listening to this song, I am sure you will agree that Mr. David Grow is one talented musical man. The McLaughlin Group thinks this song is the bomb and David Grow is the MAN! Available on itunes now.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, November 7, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 217 Boost

Last night most of the group attended the grand opening of Boost Athletics & Sports Therapy in Agoura Hills. What is our connection? I can tell you it's not the athletic prowess of our group. Actually the connection is Shawn and it is her husband Craig and his partner Ty who have opened up this unique facility. Here is their mission:

Boost Athletics & Sports Therapy is a full-service health center and performance training facility that focuses on achieving one's health care and fitness goals. Whether you are a weekend warrior, youth athlete, business executive, stay-at-home mom, high school standout athlete, or professional athlete, Boost will design a program for you. Boost is the rare combination that exists only in a few facilities combining a performance enhancement specialist, physical therapist, and a sports doctor all under the same roof. Different from other facilities, Co-owners Ty Twine (Kinesthetic Specialist) and Dr. Craig Sanchez (Sports Doctor) combine to bring every client/patient the highest level of care with the latest in training, medical, and rehabilitative technology.

Their new address is 29399 Agoura Road # 110 Agoura Hills CA 91301
They can be reached 818-735-4900

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 216 Perseverance


In the realm of ideas everything depends on enthusiasm; in the real world, all rests on perseverance. Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Perseverance is failing 19 times and succeeding the 20th.
J. Andrews

and my favorite:
Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt the person doing it.
Chinese Proverb

So many of my clients, friends and family come to mind when thinking about their successes and failures. I admire those who keep going when it is not easy, who press on though the odds are against them and take ideas, plans or opportunities and persevere to their completion. So many great company stories are remarkable; underlying all the great ideas, inventions, new was perseverance plain and simple.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 215 Remember, Celebrate, Live

This morning at Griffen's memorial celebration, the Grandpa said it best. Just a little background: After Griffen was born he developed a staff infection that nearly claimed his life, Apparently it lasted about 18 days. So grandpa stood up and said what we thought we might only have for 18 days, we were blessed with for 18 years.

Remember, Celebrate and Live.....In honor of Griffen Kramer

Thursday, November 3, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 214 Pieces of Peace

Physical pain is easy to feel but how do you feel the emotional pain of someone else? You don't. I can think about what they are going through but I can't feel what they feel. I can only sit, ponder and hope that a friend's pain passes just as the early morning fog dissipates. Here is the problem with the fog analogy: the sun rises, seasons change and the fog goes away, but the hurt of a lifetime stays and the sun can't burn it off and the winds can't blow it away. I don't know the answers but I hope for my friend's sake, that the fog blows away and my friends will find pieces of peace, like safety in hide and seek or an island in the middle of the sea. Because now, for them, a piece of peace, is what life offers.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 213 Finish Line

Every year we start the same race to achieve the goals set out before the group. Now we are attempting to sprint to the finish and need 6 more houses to get to 65 for the year. The race is more like a 10k but near the finish, you try and pick up the pace to finish strong. But at the same time we are sprinting for the finish, the start of next years race looms ahead. The head is down, focused on the finish but the preparation for the starting gun in January is getting underway. What will our goals be? What new approaches, strategies and technology will we employ? What will our marketing look like? Oh, almost forget, we still have to finish. focus, prepare, plan, focus, prepare, plan, focus, prepare, plan.This is the most challenging time in the race, crossing the finish line heading to the starting blocks.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 212 A Brother's Love

A message from Dillon Kramer to his brother Griffen Kramer posted on facebook:

rip gmoney...u will always be missed and i luv u..u were a great older bro and a mentor to me, u were my laughter, my happiness, my emotions..i luv u so much, u will always be in my mind and heart. i send my prayers.

From a brother's heart comes mighty love!

Our thoughts and prayers go out to all of the Kramer family.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 211 30 Years

Tonight is my 30th high school reunion and just a funny set of coincidences. My oldest is the senior class president at Agoura, and the homecoming game was last night against Calabasas which happened to be the same opponent for our homecoming game in 1981. Now putting those things aside, where did the 30 years go? I will look forward to seeing how 30 years has worn on all the classmates. I have tried to review many on facebook and realize, I won't recognize quite a few.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, October 28, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 210 Hendricks Team

Here is a shout out to Chris Hendricks at OnQ Financial. I have worked with Chris for over 12 years and he and his team have successfully closed so many loans for us. Last month alone, I think he did 4 for us. He is also the expert when it comes to lending at Malibou Lake. Last night my group had the great privilege of joining Nicole, Lisa and Chris for a fun get together at Malibu Cafe. For anyone seeking a loan, I strongly recommend Chris, his team and the service and knowledge they provide. Here is a a snapshot of his team and link to their site.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 209 Finally

720 days on the market but only 60 days with my group before we sold it. But here is where the finally comes in. 3 appraisals and 2 reviews that took over 2 months. The range in appraisals was over $300,000. This house sold in multiple offers and the struggles with the appraisers has been astonishing. The lack of comparables coupled with appraisers that were out of area and had no clue, made this transaction arduous. Here is a tribute to the buyers and their agent who remained patient and calm and to the sellers who allowed for the necessary time, so that the process could be completed. Every new beginning comes from some other beginnings end. Finally!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 208 Wine Country

Who would have thought that the hills above Agoura would have become rich with wine growers. From Scrub Oak to Cabernet, the hills are flowing with great wines from local enthusiasts. Cielo, Rosenthal, Semler and so many more. Not only rich with wine but the locations to enjoy these fine wines and indulge in music and fun is extraordinary. The Sip on Kanan, the Cornell Winery on Mulholland, Malibu Family Wines on Mulholland Malibu Cafe at Calamigos Ranch and the Old Place. So if you are driving about through the Santa Monica Mountains, make sure you plan some time to stop, relax, taste the wine and listen to the sounds of the Agoura/Malibu wine country.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, October 24, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 207 Modern Westlake Village History

Excerpts from Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce

In l963, the American-Hawaiian Steamship Company bought the 12,000 acre ranch for $32 million and, in partnership with Prudential Insurance Company, commissioned the preparation of a master plan for a “city in the country.” Prominent architects, engineers and land planners participated in designing a unique, integrated community that has become a nationally acclaimed model for the planned community concept. “The city in the country” was named Westlake Village and soon became recognized as one of America’s most successful suburbs and finest areas to live, work and raise a family.

Today, a population of 8,905 resides within this beautiful, natural environment of award-winning neighborhoods, thriving businesses and enviable lifestyles. The original master-planned community of Westlake Village is transected diagonally by the Los Angeles and Ventura County line. The Los Angeles County side, consisting of 3,456 acres, was incorporated as the City of Westlake Village in 1981 and became the 82nd municipality in Los Angeles County. The Ventura County side, comprised of the remaining 8,544 acres of the original Russell ranch, was annexed into the City of Thousand Oaks in two portions in 1968 and 1972. The wisdom of the master planners in preserving, protecting and enhancing the natural environment of the area is evident today in the consistent growth and vitality of Westlake Village.

We love working in this area!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 206 Cancel or Extend

What do sellers do with buyers that want to extend their contingencies? I think it's simple. If there is no other buyer and there is a likely possibility that the current buyer will close, then a seller should stay the course. The waters are not rich with multiple buyers and I am strongly in the camp of allowing a buyer to take the time, even if extra is required, to finish the escrow process. Don't be a stubborn seller!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 205 Odyssey Over

The odyssey ended today with my 3 brothers and 2 nephews. I can only say it was an incredible experience, one that I will not forget. Fishing, discussions, and storytelling that will certainly go unmatched for years. Last night, we ended our journey at the Shady Rest Restaurant on Qualcom Beach recapping the day's events and the issues and concerns consuming all of our lives that await our return. It was 3 days of unbridled fun that so reminded me of the times we had growing up at the lake. If money and time allow, this journey would occur on an annual basis. My fear is that the issues and concerns of our lives will prevent us from experiencing this on a regular basis. I guess only time will tell. Here is a shot of me and Dylan, with 4 of the fish that will travel home with us for one exceptional feast for family and friends. I only hope that while sharing with them, they will laugh at our stories, taste the waters of Vancouver Island and celebrate with us some time away from the normalcy of our routines.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, heading home!

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 204 Where's Dave

Yes, Dave is gone for a couple more days, and yes, his team is covering for him. As of this morning, a small creature has taken over his chair. He doesn't make a sound, he keeps his eyes open and he is hungry!

This is Laurie, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, October 17, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 203 The Old Man and The River

I felt Hemingway's pain today! Yes it might have been more moderate than 2 days on the ocean fighting a Marlin but over a half hour of landing this Chinook caused a few aches and pains to surface. Simultaneously we have two offers going on two properties back in California. It is great to have a team that is able to help while I'm out having a great time. Total tally at the cannery so far, meaning what we will be able to ship home: 3 Coho Salmon and 2 Steelhead. One more day on the river, it goes by so fast!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 202 Kingfisher

Day 2 of the Vancouver Island odyssey with my brothers and nephews. Fishing begins in earnest in the morning but on the way home from the Little Qualcom River, here is the little guy we found on the side of the road. A Belted Kingfisher who we have affectionately called Lawrence. He is in by the fireplace with us this evening as he recuperates from a brush with a car. After fishing in the morning we will take him to a wildlife rehab facility. If I were at home, he would be rehabbed in the kitchen or if I were staying for a month, he would be back diving on the trout in a week or two.. The challenge is that the Kingfisher eats fish and not fish prepared at Wood Ranch. The island is spectacular, full of monumental scenery and a plethora of wild things. I look forward to the Stamp River and Steelhead in the morning and I am confident my team will hold the fort down while I am away.

This is Dave, from The Mclaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, October 14, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 201 California Dreaming

Can you believe this shot.. Sitting at the Bubba Gump Shrimp Factory on the pier in Santa Monica, we watched as the sun slipped back into the ocean. It was awesome! From our vantage point on the pier you really saw the best of everything CA has to offer. From there it was off to the Foo Fighters for a pretty amazing show at the Forum.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 200 Not Always Wide Open

200 days of this! The thing about a daily blog is not the effort required or the time, it's the content that is so challenging. If I could blog all the behind the scenes stuff that really goes on it would be way easier. There is a dark side of emotions behind the scenes, yet most of the time my focus is on happy new beginnings. I think most people would be blown away by the the heartache that accompanies this business. Not heartache as it pertains to our group, but the anguish that hits families behind the scenes. Unless you have been at the table and seen the tears, felt the pain, most would be oblivious to how emotional this business can be.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 199 Follow up from Yesterday

One more picture from Via El Cerro. Very easy to picture a relaxed evening sipping your favorite Cabernet. Take a look at the famous local mountain with the last rays of sunlight saying goodbye to another day.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 198 Unleash Your Fantasies

Coming Soon!!! Imagine living in the beautiful region of Tuscany, marveling at ancient architecture, drinking fine wines and exploring pedestrian paths through rolling hills, taking time to appreciate the big sky views, majestic mountains and powerful sunsets. Why not own this lifestyle on 5175 Via El Cerro? Tucked in the exclusive La Serena Estates of Dos Vientos, with a feeling of privacy as part of its charm, lies a spectacular Tuscan villa with a dazzlingly marriage between the historic and the high-tech, preserving its enormous charisma while adding all the features of a contemporary home. Check out the tour on our website,

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, October 7, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 197 Thoreau Circle

Here is our newest one, cul-de-sac location, 5 beds, 2 baths, nicely upgraded on a superb lot.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 196 The Challenge

26 days away from Halloween and just wanted to issue this challenge. I carved this one up a couple years ago and as I recall it took me about 25 minutes. So as you start to carve them up, send us a picture and we will post them for all to see. okay, now the took me about 90 minutes.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, October 3, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 195 Threepeat

No it's not the Lakers or the Yanks, this is the threepeat that keeps me going and going and going. Did I say and going? These three are stunning, happy, smart, athletic, beautiful and if I'm ever going to brag, it will be about these three.

This is Dave, dad of the Mclaughlin Girls, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 194 Self Talk

So the company offered a brief seminar on positive thinking. Under this broad subject was a dialogue on "How is your self talk?" The question: Is your brain getting in your way? Change what you say to yourself
From "I'm feeling... - To "I'm feeling...
Angry - Disenchanted
So instead of I'm feeling Angry it would be I'm feeling disenchanted
Fear - Wonderment
Hurt - Dinged
Jealous - Overloving
Frustrated - Fascinated
Lazy - Storing Energy
Overwhelmed - In Demand
Embarrassed - Aware
Pissed off - Tinkled

I will use a few of these new words in a sentence now to see if I feel more positive and to see if this "self talk" stuff really works.

I was in demand (overwhelmed) today with the 6 appointments and 2 soccer games and 4 counters but was storing energy (lazy) getting a late start watching TV. I was aware (embarrassed) that my zipper was down and fascinated (frustrated) by the lack of team effort on the soccer field. After getting home, I was so disenchanted (angry) by the Nordstrom's bill and then to top it off, the lady was tinkled (pissed off) because I forgot to scoop the litter box.

I'm telling you all, this self talk stuff is GREAT!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real (alive) in real estate!

Friday, September 30, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 193 Hammer

I heard a small meow from under a pallet at work and saw him hiding in the back corner. He was a fluffy, scared, gray little kitten that was near his end. His leg was bent out of shape and it was evident he had not eaten for days. A week later he was at home and Kelsey and Kinsey thought they had won the lottery when I brought him through the front door. Hammer passed yesterday and I found myself reflecting back on how a little animal lightened and lifted two little girls. I confess to being an animal lover and am a big believer in the benefit of children having pets as they grow up. Kinsey named him Hammer and for 13 years he strutted his stuff around our house. He was a proud cat, a cat's cat, and I will miss him!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 192 M Cafe

Okay, have you ever pictured a perfect setting and imagined what it would be like to be there. Well, we had that today at M Cafe. Cloud cover, under the large Coastal Oaks, and toasting the super month we had. I do have the best group ever and today was one of those days when you just realize that life is good. Alright, now lets skip to the funny part. We are at a picnic table in the grass area when a member of the group, who shall remain unnamed, tried out one of the deluxe black pod chairs. A scream, hushed silence and then uncontrolled laughter as the group member lay helpless in the pod chair unable to free herself from the predicament she found herself in. Forget the food, the setting, the drinks, it was the mishap we will all remember. So here is a late night toast to the group member (LD)(husband is Al)(Lives in Westlake)(Does our marketing) who made us all laugh...But remember no names.

This is Dave, from the McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 191 Closing Time

Semisonic's "Closing Time"

Closing time- every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

What a great line when you look at it from a real estate perspective. September has been closing time for our group and 10 new beginnings have come from 10 other beginning's end. That is 10 sellers and 10 buyers and I hope their new beginnings are happy ones!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 190 Where's the Beef?

Remember that great old Wendy's commercial with the little old lady demanding to know from the poor counter clerk, "Where's the beef?" I think if most sellers asked that of their potential realtor, realtors would have a lot more respect because they would be forced to articulate their vision and plan for a seller's home. Instead, many realtors supply lettuce, a 2 day old tomato and offer that up as the beef. I can assure you The McLaughlin Group will serve up a solid piece of meat, and will offer a vast array of unique ideas and marketing tools that will satisfy the hungriest of sellers. Here is that classic commercial to remind you to ask, "Where's the beef?

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, September 26, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 189 I Wonder

I watch, I wait, I want, I wish, I will, I walk, I win but most of all I wonder. Life, death, friends, family, and business and all things that occupy a mind that wonders. Joy, sorrow, rage, jealousy, peace, hate and love and I wonder. If all the activities and responsibilities were stripped away, how could one cope with a mind that races from points as far as the east is from the west and at speeds that are incomprehensible? I believe my mind would spin out of control if it were not for the those responsibilities, the activities and sleep. More than the body craves rest, the mind must have time to not wonder. (verb) Wonder: to think or speculate curiously. The topics, subjects, people and places to wonder about are limitless, I wonder if I will sleep tonight?

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate?

Sunday, September 25, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 188 A Warm Fall Evening

88 degrees with a warm breeze flowing through Sam Boyd Stadium and a gorgeous sky all made for a perfect evening of tailgating and college football. No college football fan could have demanded a more perfect sunset as the game got underway. I was able to visit with The Libonatis at their tent, decked out in their UNLV Red. Darren and I go way back. We played against each other in high school and junior college but wound up as teammates at Tulane. On the other side was the Collet family. Tom and I played together at Pierce and we have been friends for 30 years now. Tommy Jr. plays for Southern Utah so the scheduled game made for an ideal all nighter in Las Vegas. A great game if you were a T-Bird fan and just awful if you were a Rebel fan, but for me, it was darn near close to heaven. Doctor Teagle, another long time friend and former Calabasas Coyote offered extraordinary play by play coverage especially early on, as the tailgate beverages still had control. We saw the wee hours of the morning inside the Chandelier Bar at the Cosmopolitan with a large group and by mid afternoon I was back doing counters at the office. Now that's a great weekend!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, September 23, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 187 Uncertain Times

The news is tough to watch. So many factors that are impacting our housing market and those factors are well out of any realtors' control. My suggestion to sellers is to price the home to sell and don't mess around hoping that the big elephant buyer will miraculously appear. I just ran numbers from 2 million to 4.5 million in the Conejo Valley and Santa Rosa...Yikes. 61 homes available and only 3 in escrow. That is 20 months of inventory! Let's get busy and GET SMART!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 186 - Attitude

I sit at my desk looking outside and will I live my next half century? I know I should be working...I know that, but I'm distracted. I have lived a half century! What have I learned? I think I've learned it's all about attitude. Everything is about attitude. These 5 quotes sum it up:

1. It isn't the things that happen to us in our lives that cause us to suffer, it's how we relate to the things that happen to us that causes us to suffer.

2. If you live long enough, you'll make mistakes. But if you learn from them, you'll be a better person. It's how you handle adversity, not how it affects you. The main thing is never quit, never quit, never quit.

3. The basic thing is that everyone wants happiness, no one wants suffering. And happiness mainly comes from our own attitude, rather than from external factors. If your own mental attitude is correct, even if you remain in a hostile atmosphere, you feel happy.

4. The trick is in what one emphasizes. We either make ourselves miserable, or we make ourselves happy. The amount of work is the same.

5. The most successful people are those who are good at plan B.

It really is all about attitude. Work at it!

This is Laurie, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, September 19, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 185 Say what you need to say

I believe John Mayer says it best in his song but how do we communicate what we need to say in real estate. I started to think about the way I disperse my message to clients and am hesitant to share. Hesitant to share, because is the way I communicate a weakness or strength? A serious message is sometimes communicated with humor, (am I fearful of the content). Trying to drive home a point about pricing, (I use analogies or word pictures). When asked for advice, (I may answer with a question back, am I afraid to commit?). In this business, especially with the current market conditions, there is often bad news or tough messages to be delivered and that can lead to vast emotional swings and unknown and ugly responses may be lurking behind the next message. (analogy coming) Delivering bad news is like going into the brush after a wounded animal, be careful. Sometimes when thinking about a cancellation, a lost offer, a rejected counter or a bad inspection, the above mentioned song comes to mind, so I sing to myself, “say what you need to say, say what you need to say.” So if you are not hearing my message just stop and say or sing, “Dave, say what you need to say, say what you need to say.”

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 184 Cancelled and Revived

A week or so ago, Laurie had blogged on two deals being cancelled within an hour of each other. It was a very painful lunch, however, I am here to report that one deal was revived and is now headed straight to closing. In my first 13 years I never had a deal fully cancel and come back to life. This year, we have had two cancel and both were revived. The one on Highland in Camarillo came back from the dead after 4 months and the one in Agoura was only dead a few days but is alive and kicking now. The water was not turned into wine and nobody walked on water but both revivals were little miracles to our sellers and us.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, September 16, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 183 Friday Night Lights

The chill in the fall air tonight only meant one thing...Football Friday night. I took Miley to watch the game and caught a glimpse of Kels and Kins doing their ASB thing. We watched the band, cheerleaders, mascots and had a great time. Shocking that it was 30 years ago when I was playing on that same field. At halftime it was 46 to 3 and the chill was cutting through the flannel and Miley had her fill. As I drove off, I thought win or lose, for either team will life ever be better than what they are experiencing now? Time will only tell for all of them.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 182 A Degree in Real Estate

I recently had lunch with an owner of a large real estate company and we discussed what the appropriate degree would be for a student contemplating a career in real estate. Our conclusion; no degree exists in the current curriculum. This job incorporates business, law, psychology and a few other minors and no course prepares you for what this field lays out in front of you. My feeling is that psychology would be number one because understanding people, their motives, emotions and relationships would be 60 percent of it. However, last time I checked, 60 percent is a D, so one would still require an understanding of all the others to really grasp what goes on. There were 92 calls yesterday on the cell phone, people were crying, one was irate, one had contract questions and was wondering the implications of a particular course of action and that was just my wife. (kidding). Philosophy would help, statistics could add to your expertise but really there is no course that fully prepares you for this journey. The best course for real estate and for that matter, life, is the school of hard knocks and we all live that every day.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 181 Life on Malibou Lake

Is this paradise????

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, September 12, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 180 A Moment to Remember

Boats tied together drifting on by, kids swinging off the rope, and a large contingent on the island gathering and remembering 9/11. It was a spectacular evening with family, friends and the Shoemakers working their usual harmonic magic. One moment does stand out, Steve Hoofring, spoke on the significance of the day and all paused for a moment of silence. What we heard next, I can only describe as piercingly beautiful for this special day. Sam Shoemaker delivered a solo Star Spangled Banner on his Violin that pierced the cool evening air. It's as if the lake, birds and winds all calmed so they could partake of the purity of the string and the majesty of the moment. I am confident on the boats, docks and island, many fought back emotions held in after watching the memorials and dedications of the day. I find it almost impossible to set the mood, setting and sound and therefore will settle on, it was a moment to remember.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 179 On The Eve

10 years ago tomorrow, a day that would shape history and our country's policy for years to come. On Sunday we will reflect back on waking up to a whole new world. I watched the Arizona State game on Thursday night and Pat Tillman was mentioned so many times and TV this week has been all about 9/11, as it should be. On Sunday we will have a gathering at the dock and then we will boat over to the island to hear the Shoemakers play. They will open with the Star Spangled Banner with just the violin and the peaceful sound will echo through our small canyon. I am sure all of us will ponder where we were, think on all of those who thought that sunny day was just another and never forget all who have sacrificed so much for so many. On this 10 year anniversary, let us never forget.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, loving America!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 178 How Luck Changes

Ok, so the luck has changed. We just lost 2 escrows in 1 hour. What a lunch hour I had today. I will get new buyers, no doubt, but what a let down for our sellers. Flying on that roller coaster ride right now.....looking for the brake...I did put 2 new properties in escrow, so the ride is on an upswing.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 177 Summer's End

Well, summer is basically over, school has started, the days are getting shorter and it is HOT! Are we in Florida? I think this odd summer has brought us good luck because The McLaughlin Group is doing well. What do you think it is, great leadership, great teamwork or kick butt marketing? I'm just asking.....

This is Laurie, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 176 Show Stopper

A show stopper: an act so striking or impressive that the show must be delayed until the audience quiets down. In real estate it would be a house that after seeing 10 or 12 others makes the buyer want to cease looking and start buying. Or, an agent in a office meeting asks a ridiculous question or makes some outlandish statement where the office manager has to calm the generally unruly crowd of realtors down. One more show stopper for realtors: The title representative forgets to bring food to the office meeting, wow!, look out that title officer is doomed and will suffer a most unfortunate drop in title orders.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, September 5, 2011

BLNDS WIDE OPEN -day 175 Monday Recap

17 fish boated in the morning, softball cancelled, last minute switch to Malibu Winery for Shoemakers, pool and lake, with some late negotiations on one of our big listings. A great day to end a great weekend! BTW, the girls won the soccer tourney!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -Day 174 Labor Day Fun

This is a great weekend mixed with work and fun. I get to watch and enjoy Kels & Kins on the same club soccer team playing the back line of defense together. The only problem with that is if the other team puts up big numbers, you all know what that means. So far though, two games and only 1 goal against us. 2 more games to go. Then I have the last softball game of the year at Malibou Lake known as the Septics vs. the Sewers which is always a blast. I also have scheduled a very early morning fishing session with one of the soccer dads, which will be quite enjoyable. A possible Timmy Curran concert Sunday evening and mix it in with some family time, lake time and a little work and I say it will be a fun Labor Day weekend!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, September 2, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 173 Hard to Describe Follow up

The views on Moonridge are hard to describe but I had no idea that the sign company would struggle to find the property. With the Thomas Guide and location delivered to them, they were unable to locate, so this afternoon I have to meet them off Lynn Road. As I said in the earlier blog it's hard to describe. Here is a sampling of just one of the view shots.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 172 Termite Reports

These reports are becoming increasingly frustrating. Fungus, Dry rot, infestation and more but the concern is the validity of these reports. How do you challenge these required reports. When two reports from two different companies have done inspections, they are always different. All reports are disclosures but with some of these reports getting way out of control, it might be wise for sellers to get a second opinion from another company. We will have to evaluate this as a group and decide on a course of action.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 171 Hard to Describe

The group was at a photo shoot today previewing a new listing that will be on the market in just a couple of days. This home has views, that as the title said, is hard to describe. More than 180 degrees of views, nestled in the southern Santa Monicas, looking out over Newbury Park, Thousand Oaks, the Simi Hills and all the way to the peaks of the Los Padres range. The street is Moonridge and I am confident while sitting on the porch at night, one must feel that reaching out and touching the moon is a real possibility. I look forward to meeting the buyers who wants to touch the moon from their new front porch.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, August 29, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 170 Appointment Only

So many people always ask us why we show so many of our listing by appointment only. Believe me, I would love to slap a lock box on every house but there is more information that needs to be delivered besides the bed and bath count. Schools, parks, rules, local spots and more but also watching to make sure another agent does not say something that might lead to trouble down the road. Here is a classic example regarding a home built on pillars 15-20 feet off the ground. The agent will remain unnamed but the story will be told. The home was approximately 3000 square feet on one level and the clients were looking for something a tad bigger and here is what this agent told his clients. "Just enclose the area under the house and you can double your square feet." Wow! Did I just hear that? I softly interrupted and said something to the effect that the reason it is built on pillars is because it sits in a flood zone and I think the county might frown on that idea. That is one solid reason why we show most of our homes by appointment only.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 169 Old Friend at The Old Place

Last night I received a call from an old friend who was in from Nashville so I met up with him at The Old Place. It was fun to catch up and talk families, life, work and more. David and Sheree are missed by us. We had many years as neighbors and after spending just a couple hours last night, it made me miss the old times. David entertained the remnants at the bar with his extraordinary piano skills and a song about a five dollar dog. I thought back to many evenings on the deck as the notes from his ivory keys floated through the smoke of our BBQ. Then Sheree laughing at me when I was selling their home as I got locked in the master bath while sitting their house open. Thankfully my pleas of help were answered by my family instead of a potential client. Last night made me want to hold onto friendships even more as the reality of distance struck me. It was nice to see my old friend at The Old Place.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, August 26, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 168 Acknowledgement

What I like about my group is their ability to recognize talent and to speak freely about it. No matter the industry or profession, when someone is good we recognize it. Last night at Maestros, the piano player and singer were awesome and we sat enjoying every minute and we let them know it. When we work with another great agent, we recognize them and tell them. There are no insecurities with our group and that makes us easy to get along with and easy to do business with. When you feel confident and good about your services, it's really easy to pay tribute to others who are doing a great job. Recognize the greatness in others but more important, acknowledge them and their craft.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 167 Reaching for the Goal

A new group record with Ramsgate going into escrow last night bringing our total escrow number to 18. In a down market, we feel really lucky and that brings our total to 52 sold or in escrow for the year. The goal is 65 and we are all feeling like we will get there.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 166 Oops

Check this one out. We have come to terms on a home that is listed at over 2000 sq ft. My very observant buyer then measures it and the place measures out at just over 1500 sq. ft. That is a whopping 500 foot mistake and neither the seller or the other agents grasp the significance of this. 1/4 of the house is not there so wouldn't you think the seller and agent would say oops, we need to rectify this. Nope! They claim the buyer loved what they bought, so the buyer should just move forward. The problem is the buyer and I had numerous discussions about the size of the house and because of that size it was worth a little more than the others that had sold. The sellers do not want to budge...mind blowing. Next time you buy a car, just drive out with three of the wheels. Unreal!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, August 22, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 165 Paradise Found

A buyer at a walk-thru just says to me "Dave just tell me where to sign and let me keep seeing where my furniture will go." You know that buyer has found her paradise. Today it happened and we were in the Paradise Cove community and it was paradise. Sunny, calm and spectacular and I hope my group will get to visit her new weekend pad quite often. Congrats to RR and enjoy your piece of paradise.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 164 Sell to Buy

For sellers that want to buy a new home but have to sell their existing home, this dilemma is tough to overcome. Two issues: They don't want to sell if they can't find their new dream home and no seller wants to sell to them unless their home is under contract and they are basically ready to go. With the lack of inventory and the reluctance of sellers to sell based on a sale contingency, this dilemma is not easily solved. My bottom line advice to a seller in this situation "Sell your house first, find temporary quarters and sit and wait as the market continues to soften for the right house." Here is a visual for sellers in that situation. A Red Tail Hawk sits on a pole and patiently waits for the rabbit to appear. When the rabbit shows itself, it strikes with swiftness, skill and deadly accuracy. So sell your house, be patient and then you will be ready to strike swiftly with great certainty of your quarry!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 163 Senior Class President

My 30 year high school reunion is in October of this year and oddly enough my oldest daughter Kelsey is Agoura High's Senior Class President. I am proud of the way she has taken everything the school has to offer her and she has seized those opportunities. Hopefully, she will have success in the college application and acceptance process. She has worked hard and deserves everything she gets. 30 years has flown by and I hope Kelsey continues to live her life to the fullest so when her 30 year comes around, she will look back and think how great her life has been.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Friday, August 19, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 162 Summer's End

You can feel it in the air, you can see it on all the kids' faces, It's over. Summer has come to an end and the best part of the year has faded away again. June, July and August, without a doubt are the best months of the year. Vacations, sunshine, lighter til later and more time, at least it feels that way. Back will come the hectic schedules, the chill in the evenings and yes Halloween..Yipee. This was a summer to remember. There is one thing that makes the fall fill the second place slot as it relates to the four seasons, one word says it all...FOOTBALL!

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin, keeping it real in real estate!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 161 Wrapping it up!

Medea Creek is one of the best properties we have represented and tonight it looks like it has sold. Unbelievable that a property like this took so much time. The market is tough but I believe this buyer is very lucky to grab something like this and the seller is happy to have it sold. Here is a photo for one more look.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 160 Tuesday Glee

So, the listing I showed you yesterday on the blog is already in escrow and we listed a new one today, 30012 Quail Run in Agoura Hills. Check out the virtual tour on our website Our team is working so hard this year and I am so proud of them.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Monday, August 15, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 159 Monday Blues

Wow! It is tough to come back from vacation and get back to work. However, the vacation provides rest and relaxation and refills the energy level. So here we go. New listing on Bannister in Simi Valley, about to go live, so here is a sneak peak.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, back from vacation :(, keeping it real in real estate!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 158 Vacation Over

Worst thing for sure is packing to leave for vacation. You spend 7 day in a beautiful place with family and friends and it flies by like a jet fighter overhead. It was fun, fast, filled with bikes, fish, food and more. I am sad that it is over and wish I had more opportunities like this last week.

Friday, August 12, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 157 Request for Repair

This week on vacation two of my sellers received the most drastic request for repairs I have ever seen. Some buyers must not understand the contract and this form. They must think it is a dinner menu and feel free to order whatever they want. Anything a seller agrees to do, other than what is agreed to upfront, is a gift. Some buyers want the seller to remodel the house, which is not the purpose of the buyer's investigations. Buyers, agree to a price, check for major malfunctions, negotiate those items reasonably and move-in and enjoy your new home.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN -day 156 Mountain Bike Bonding

At 7000 feet above sea level, one should not attempt to have a father/daughter bonding experience riding mountain bikes. This may not hold true for everyone but in my case the lack of oxygen really prevented opportunities for in depth discussions. However, it was a fantastic time with Al, Ryan and Kelsey but both Kelsey and I felt that if we wanted to have a bonding experience, Starbucks would be just fine. Here is a shot of us with the gorgeous mountains in the background. Honestly, I would not have traded it for anything.

This is Dave, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

BLINDS WIDE OPEN - day 155 Fishing Competition

I happen to be on vacation with Dave and his family and today 8 of us are going on a fishing tour. This should be a nice day out on the boat trying to grab a trout or two for dinner.....but NOOOOOOO, not with my son Ryan and Dave on the boat. Everything is a competition with these two. Who will catch the most fish, who will catch the biggest fish, who will catch the first fish, who has the best bait, who has the best technique...blah, blah, blah. I guess this "drive" is what makes my son such a good ball player and Dave such a good realtor. They always want to be the best and WIN! I'll let you know tomorrow.

This is Laurie, from The McLaughlin Group, keeping it real in real estate!