Life With Giant Dogs, or, Whose House Is It, Anyway?

Life With Giant Dogs, or, Whose House Is It, Anyway?

They say that there’s no love like the unconditional love that at dog will give you. Well, if that’s the case, there’s a whole lot of love in my house. Life with a dog is one thing. Life with a giant dog is another. Life with TWO of them? Well…

We have a Bull Mastiff and a French Mastiff, aka Dogue de Bordeaux.  One “See Spot Run,” and one “Turner and Hooch.”  “What do you feed them?” is the common question of the day. Answer?  Anything they want. “Where do they sleep?” Answer? Anywhere they want. Do you see a common thread here? You see, dogs have their own set of rules. Whether or not they apply to you, well, that’s irrelevant. Actually, no it’s not, they all apply to you, and whether or not you fit in with that plan, well…

Nick and Reilly
Nicky and my 8 year old, Reilly

Now don’t get me wrong, my dogs may be spoiled, but they behave. Well, most of the time they behave. Well, one kind of marches to the beat of his own drum. Wow, that kind of sounds like the rules when we got said dogs. “Ok, the dog is allowed in the house, but not on the furniture,” which turned into, “ok well only the old furniture.” Which turned into, “ok all of the furniture but not on the bed.” Which turned into, “ok but only when I say it’s okay to be on the bed.” Which turned into every waking moment that we were not in the bed, and jockeying for space, trying to beat the dogs getting into said bed. That usually turns into me on the edge of one side of the bed, my husband on the edge of the other side of the bed and the dogs laying long ways in between. You see, a giant dog already weighs about 140-160 pounds. It’s hard enough to move that dog when he’s standing. I have TWO of them.  When they’re snoring snarfing dead weight?  Have you ever tried to move a boulder??? That couch is really starting to look good right about now.

Gunner, 7mos. and growing…

Oh, yeah, about the couch. We bought a nice 4 recliner Theater Seating couch. Nicky likes to curl up on the far left chair. Usually, my husband takes the right, I take the middle with my son. Well, now that we have Gunner, things have changed a bit. Nicky stays on the right, Gunner takes the middle two, and it’s a race for the last spot that’s left, and that’s usually my 8 year old that wins. My husband and I end up going in the bedroom to watch TV on the bed. And what do you think happens 2 minutes after we get comfortable? You guessed it, here come the dogs…

Is it a pain in the butt? You bet. Do we get frustrated? Absolutely! Would I trade any of it for anything? Not on your life (well, the jury’s still out on my husband…). Both of my legs may fall asleep as one or both are resting on my lap. I may freeze my tail off when one of them hogs all the blankets. But there’s a whole lot of love in my house, & I wouldn’t trade it for anything!

Whether you’re looking to buy a home, or trying to sell a home, I can help! We have the best real estate marketing to get your house sold, best realtor services ever! I cover Atlantic County, NJ, Cape May County, NJ, Ocean County, NJ, Cumberland County, NJ, , Gloucester County, NJ, Camden County, NJ and Burlington County, NJ, too! Pick a town, any town! Need some suggestions? Ok! Absecon, Galloway, Egg Harbor Township, Northfield, Linwood, Somers Point, Ocean City, Sea Isle, Hammonton, Williamstown, Sicklerville, Mullica, Tuckahoe, Middle Township, Upper Township, Lower Township, Rio Grande, Seaside Heights, Seaside Park, New Gretna, and Port Republic. Any you don’t see here? CALL ME! I’m sure I’m on it!

Chris :0)

Christine Gerbehy

Berkshire Hathaway Fox and Roach Realtors

Northfield Office

1001 Tilton Rd. Northfield, NJ 08225


Run Your Own Race and Win

I like to consider myself competetive by nature.  For me, the best way to beat my own limits is to set my sights on something, and then set a goal to beat it.  And I mean on anything.  Numbers, my numbers, other people’s numbers, ANYTHING.

But, after starting out in real estate, and then SEEING other people’s numbers, it scared the HELL outta me.  Now, my favorite saying is from Donald Trump: “Think BIG…  You gotta think anyway, so why not think BIG!!!”  Well, there’s also the other saying…  If your goals don’t scare the HELL out of you, they’re not big enough.

Now, getting started in real estate is daunting to say the least.  It’s no small undertaking.  If I knew THEN that it would take at least a year or two to really get rolling, I might have re-thought doing it.  So, here I was, broke and hungry, trying to get business.  So, I said to myself, “Self?”(and no one answered…) “I need to find a number to start at, and a goal to hit.  Number of listings?  Cheap ones?  Mid price ones?”  I saw a few local agents that had EACH had 75-125 listings, most bank owned.  THAT wouldn’t happen.  Then I looked at successful agents that I thought were average…  yep, Circle of Excellence, 10 million in sales, you get the idea.  GRRRRRRRRrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…

So a fellow realtor said not to get discouraged, that I would hit “critical mass.”  What the heck is that???  She explained that the phone would start to ring, and then not stop.  But NOT to quit.  Well, how long does that take?  About a year or two.  I was just getting started!!!

So, I realized that while I could emulate the greats, I would never be like any of them on many levels.  Discipline, personality, marketing, approach.  So what did it all boil down to?

We are all running the race.  We may beat out our competition, we may not.  There are people that come prepared, others do not.  Some may cut corners, others play by the book.  Yes it IS a competetive sport, real estate, but in the end, we all run our own race.  We can only strive to be the best that we can be, as people, and in what we do.  Whether it’s the number, or quality, or price of the listings doesn’t matter.  OR how many closings we have.  We can only strive to be and do our very best.  AND treat our clients just the same.  THAT is what will bring business, and make us the true winner of our own race!


In order to be successful at anything in life, you have to EMBRACE THE SUCK.

In order to be successful at anything in life, you have to EMBRACE THE SUCK.

What is the suck you ask? The suck is anything that you have to do, that you KNOW you have to do, that you really don’t want to have to do, EVER. The fact remains, you GOTTA do it. This goes for real estate, sales, really life in general. I mean don’t get me wrong, will have to do suck things in life. Cleaning, working. But what I’m talking about are the calls that you KNOW you have to make that you don’t WANT to make. Cold calling. Calling clients to tell them that you haven’t gotten a single bite on their property. BPOs that you know are under deadline. Door knocking. Anything that involves going outside of your comfort level is also known as the suck.

Unfortunately, in real estate, the suck is the cornerstone of your business. This is why you MUST embrace it. If you don’t, you will have no business, end of subject. You need to get past it, get over it, or learn to love it, in other words, EMBRACE THE SUCK. Hate cold calling? Too bad. Hate dealing with irate clients? You better learn how to deal with it, and fast. Hate going out and showing houses full of bed bugs termites and cockroaches? Guess what? If that’s all your client wants to look at, you better embrace the suck, or they’ll find another agent that will.

embrace the suck
embrace the suck








(photoFound on

When I got started I used to work in an office of veteran agents that refused to work after 1 p.m. on Friday until 9 a.m. on Monday. They couldn’t be bothered with answering phone calls from “newbie home buyers” on the weekends. Let me tell you something, that was the beginning foundation of my business when I started. I told those agents please shut your phone off. I’ll take your money all day long. To which they said, “I don’t care, SOMEBODY will sell it, but it won’t be ME on a weekend.”

They also hated doing open houses for their clients in the fall and winter, so they’d have other agents do them for them. Again, that was the beginning foundation of my business. God knows I froze my tail off in vacant houses my first winter with no heat on.  In two of them, it was colder in the house than it was outside! But, I had to…EMBRACE THE SUCK.  Believe it or not, each of those two iceboxes brought me my first sales!

So, YES, there are things we HAVE to do that we HATE having to do.  But, NOT doing them will cost us business.  But, when we DO them, that’s what sets us apart from everybody else.  And THAT, my friend, is where the magic happens.  EMBRACE THE SUCK!


Have YOU thanked a soldier today???

On Veterans Day, we should be celebrating each and every soldier, from past to present, here and long gone, for the freedoms that we are able to enjoy each day.  My 8 year old looked at all the red ribbons hung up in his school hallway, proud that one of them has his grandpa’s name on it…

We went out for lunch one day last week when school was closed.  3 soldiers walked in.  As I called the server over and asked for their bill, my son asked what I was doing.  I explained to him that they can never be thanked enough for the way they serve their country.  I explained to him that we need to recognize them for what they do, and if NOTHING else, you say, “Thank you for your service.”  As we met them when they finished lunch, he thanked each one of them.

I couldn’t have been more proud when my husband had seen an older veteran later that week wearing his hat and pins.  As my husband approached him to thank him, so did my son…

To all our soldiers,


Not just today, EVERY DAY.

Excuse Me, I gotta see a guy about a boat….

Excuse Me, I gotta see a guy about a boat….


I get a bank owned listing. House is overgrown, place is a trainwreck, and then there’s….


Now, I hear ya, saying, “HEY! It’s a free boat!” TRUST me, NOBODY wants this boat. Been sitting, green with pollen, weather beaten, tanked, dry rotted tires on the trailer. Ok, so what’s the problem, you ask?


Because it’s at the house, even though it’s vacant, and the bank took the house back, they need to do an eviction. FOR THE BOAT. Why? Because apparently it’s personal property. Ok, fine. So I get all the DMV info for the attorneys. Why? Where do I live? New Jersey. Where’s the boat last registered? DELAWARE. UGH, another one that will be sitting for another 6 months before it gets listed.

Fast forward to last weekend, when I went to check on the house, and sonofabitch, dang boat’s still there. The ONE TIME ya WANT somebody to steal something, it’ll be there ’til the cows come home. So the neighbor sneaks up on me and scares the bejeepers outta me. She then tells me about


As a matter of fact, there HAD been TWO of them. Apparently,after the home was foreclosed on, the grandson and his friends had been squatting in the house. If you remember, after Hurricane Sandy, you can no longer have your boat on the street outside your home. The grandson decided to allow a guy to pay him monthly to keep his boats there in the yard. After said neighbor repeatedly called the police, they found the guy and he came and picked up ONE boat. Not


So I pass the info on to the asset manager. Who passes it on tothe eviction specialist. Who passes it on to the bank’s attorney. Who answers back to the specialist that answers to the asset manager who answers to me: SEE EMAIL FROM THE LAWYER BELOW ON WHAT TO DO ABOUT


Now, I thought that since I knew that the police had this guy’sinfo, I had things all sewn up into a neat, tidy package. The attorney’s email said that after many back and forth contacts with DMV in both states, the easiest solution is the simplest. He said to have me remove


So, I’m thinkin’ I’ll just go to the poice dept., explain that said boat was abandoned, and can they please come and impound it. I explain about the guy they need to find, and say just reach out to him and have him remove it. Cop can’t find any records on him. I give him the registration numbers. Invalid info on the search. Cop looks at me and says well, the bank owns the house, so now they own


I said, “Wait, you don’t understand. I get the pleasure of trying to get this done. What the hell do I do?” He says, “Impound it.” I said, “That’s what I came to YOU to do. He says, “I don’t do it, YOU do it.” I asked, “where do you impound it to?” He says, “You mean where do YOU impound it?” He said, “I dunno. A dump?” He says, “They have lawyers, right? Let THEM do it.” I wailed “But they want ME to do it!!! Listen, I own a chainsaw, the dang thing is made outta fiberglass!!!” To which he says, “well, THAT won’t work…” So, an hour and a half later, I left with no solution. So, what’s the one place that works for STUFF? Craigslist. Free to a good home. Don’t you know, by the time I made the 10 minute ride home, my husband had already gotten potential takers! In the meantime, just in case, would YOU like…



Black Mold: An Occupational Hazard

There have always been jokes about the state you live in concerning the weather.  In New Mexico, “It’s a DRY heat…”  Well, when it comes to Jersey, not so much.  South Jersey, as in the Jersey Shore, has a TON of humidity.  Last few summers have been brutal.  You get used to it.  BUT.  In vacant, locked up homes, it can be a HUGE problem.  Why?  In a word: MOLD.

More specifically, BLACK mold.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy, mold, for me, has become an occupational hazard.  Homes were inundated with salt water.  People in Ocean City and Atlantic City weren’t even allowed to go back to check on their homes for DAYS.  Salt water(or any water for that matter) locked up in a closed up house spells trouble.  Sheetrock is organic, since it has paper on the outside.  Sheetrock gets wet, takes forever to dry.  Mold starts to grow.  Now it gets hot outside, windows are closed, no air circulation, and the mold literally starts to grow, and spread.

Listen, we’ve all seen a little mold, especially homes with bathrooms that have no fans for your hot shower steam.  If there’s nowhere for that humidity to go, and you have anything organic, like wood or sheetrock exposed, mold will grow.  Now you may remember that earlier this year, I got a bank owned property that was overrun with mold in the basement.  I was on meds for 60 days, and anybody that went into the upper part only still got sore throats.  I thought THAT was bad…

Fast forward to 3 days ago, I was given another bank owned property.  I had taken my husband with me.  He opened the front door and quickly slammed it shut.  I just looked at him,and he told me to go get my N-95 mask.  He wouldn’t open the door without it.  Much to my horror, that last home had been a walk in the park, like KINDERGARTEN compared to this :

black mold
black mold






Apparently, the home was foreclosed on, the pipes froze and burst in the walls while vacant.  Look at the wall on the left:

mold grows fast!
mold grows fast!

Guys, this is NOTHING to play with.  I’ve ordered a respirator, as this is my third encounter with this massive a dose of mold.  I would rather look RIDICULOUS with it on than to be as sick as I was again after the last one!  I can tell you within a minute and a half if there’s mold in a house; my throat literally starts to ache almost immediately.  You can usually smell it in the air.  The last home, remediation for the basement alone was $15k.  Every shred of carpet in the entire 3 floors of the home had to be removed.  Same for the sheetrock in the basement.

basement mold
basement mold

Then they did an air treatment and filtration.  Then you need to worry about the vents for the heat and central air systems.  The spores will grow and spread in the vents as well.






mold on walls
mold on walls






moldy sheetrock removed
moldy sheetrock removed

I used to think that mold thrived at about 80 degrees?  Really?  Guess what?  It’s still going strong at 32 degrees!  You need to understand that you have to remove the cause of the moisture to effectively treat the issue.  You have to remove the moisture.  Use a dehumidifier if necessary.  Remove wet sheetrock and insulation. Keep rooms vented.  Bathrooms especially.  Use Kilz paint or paint treatment when necessary.  Change air filters.  Treat all ventilation systems.  But, most importantly, if you can see that you’re in over your head, HIRE A MOLD REMEDIATION SPECIALIST!