Thursday, January 20, 2011

The People, It's Just About the People

Sometimes I, like many of you, wonder what it is that keeps me coming to work every day.  I really enjoy my job-my career-but have often thought about what it is that I really enjoy.  I like being able to feed myself and pay my bills, but any job is supposed to get us closer to that goal. I like the freedom of setting my own hours although that usually means that I work a lot when others are at home.  Nope, it's not those things.  Its the people.  It's the ones I deal with every day in the office.  It's the new people I get to meet nearly every day.  It's the ones I have worked with in the past that come back.  It's my kids friends who have grown up and are looking to buy a house.  I guess I'm just one of those people that has to be around others.  And I truly, truly enjoy it.  One of our agents-Sharron-got married a week ago.  It wasn't like going to a co-worker's wedding-it was like having your own daughter getting married without all the stress of being a parent.  Shawna and I walked in and the ushers had been instructed to seat us in the front row as though we were immediate family. We were so touched by her thoughtfulness toward us.  Last week I got a call from a lady I had sold a house to  a few years ago.  Since then she had lost her husband and called me to help her find a new home.  She hugged me like I was a long lost friend when I saw her.  It was amazing! My job is like having an ever increasing and growing family.  I am SO thankful for the opportunity to be in this business for so long......   

Monday, January 17, 2011

Would You Recognize a Foreclosure Scam????

Seems like when there is any kind of announcement that involves possible confusion in the world of foreclosure, there is always someone that is ready to take advantage of the opportunity.  In light of all the talk about foreclosure freezes, possible bad loan practices and national loan modification programs, there have been a whole new group of scammers that are surfacing.  They are trying to take advantage of people who aren't sure what is going on, they may be in trouble with their mortgages and don't really know if they have contacted the right people for help.  They are very good at what they do and are pretty hard to spot.  Here are a few warning signs that suggest you may be talking to a scam artist and NOT someone who is there to help:
1) They will ask for a fee in advance to work with your lender to modify or re-instate your mortgage.  Don't pay anything up front to anyone without knowing for SURE who you are talking to.
2) They want you to pay them instead of your mortgage. Many will tell you they will make payments for you and deal with the loan people.  NEVER send money to anyone but your lender for mortgage payments.
3)They "promise" to stop foreclosure .  Nobody can guarantee to stop foreclosure.  Legitimate HUD-approved counselors will promise only to "Do the best they can."

To find a nonprofit, HUD approved housing counselor in your area visit or call the HOPE HOT LINE at 888-995-4673. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Best Bang for Your Remodel Buck............

I'm sure many of you are like us.  We are always looking around the house thinking "What if we replaced this? What if we remodel that?" Being in the real estate business, we always consider the effect these projects may have on the value of our home.  Most of the time, unless we are fixing something in desperate need of repair, the cost of the work is greater than the added value from having done it.  This assumes that we sell the property immediately and that it was "fine" the way it was.  The return on our remodel dollars is mostly recouped if we can hold on to the home for a little while following having the work done.  Here is a list of 5 projects that all returned over 72% of the cost......
1) Replacement of entry doors with steel doors.
2) Garage door replacement
3) Wooden deck addition
4) Window replacement
5) An attic bedroom addition

Just barely out of the top 5 was the most popular project-kitchen remodel. 

So there ya go!!  Have your self some fun.  Be creative.  And before you start, call one of our agents and have them tour your home to discuss what possibilities work best for your home...  Call us today

Monday, January 10, 2011

Americans Still Love Home Ownership

2010 was a strange year of real estate contrasts. The market seemed to gradually stabilize and rates were at or near record lows, yet unprecedented national debts and overall economic instability has led many to question the value of home ownership. Who could blame them? Foreclosure and job loss has been in the forefront of the news as of late.  Still, Americans are passionate about the American dream of home ownership. They have benefited by high affordability levels (the interest rates coupled with low purchase prices) which has supported activity in the market in spite of the uncertain economy.  Low interest rates has helped immensely.  Buyers are seeing a substantial reduction in payments today compared to the same purchase price 5 yrs ago.  Even with all these great conditions, many are still afraid of the rising foreclosure rates and it has led them to question whether they are willing to take the risk of ownership.  With the risk of ownership comes great reward however.  Home ownership is still one of the best ways to build long term wealth.  For many people it is their ONLY way.....  After all, a 30 yr mortgage goes away in 30 yrs or less.......  renting lasts forever!!  Year in and year out, home ownership is still one of the best deals around and one that people still aspire to...  Renting always loses you money.  It's just a matter of how much.  I guess when we think about it, renting is much more risky than ownership.............

Friday, January 7, 2011

Carbon Monoxide-Some New Rules and a Story.

It's been almost 10 years ago now, but I remember it like it was yesterday.  I nearly killed one of my kids-and had no idea.  Our son, Cody, was a junior in high school and in the middle of basketball season. He took sports very seriously and was in tremendous physical shape.  That's why it seemed so odd for him to be so lethargic in the mornings.  He usually would get moving pretty well. He kept complaining about headaches, a little dizziness and was tired all the time.  After this had been going on for a while, I came home from work and heard an alarm going off.  Scared me to death!!! I thought it was the smoke alarm.... Turned out it was a Carbon Monoxide detector.  As I checked things out, it became obvious there was a furnace problem---the one that was feeding Cody's room.  He was going to bed each night, shutting his door and slowly  being poisoned by carbon monoxide every night!!!!! If not for his physical condition and the alarm, we would have eventually had an unforgettable tragedy.  We had NO IDEA. No smell, no nothing.....  If you have any gas appliance in your home, I beg of you-GET A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR--NOW! The state will require that all 1 and 2 unit dwellings that are sold or rented beginning April 1, 2011 will be required to have them prior to sale close or rental.  This applies to any home that has a carbon monoxide source....... which means just about every one other than an all electric home.  Get yours today.  Protect your family.  Avoid the rush later.......