Friday, December 19, 2008

TAKE Defense - Self Defense Class

I did something Wednesday night I've been wanting to do FOREVER...I took a Self Defense Class!!! It was awesome! It was with TAKE Defense and the Ali Kemp Foundation. For those of you not from the area (or not familiar), Ali Kemp was a college student who was attacked and killed in Leawood a few years ago while working at the neighborhood pool. Her attacker WAS found!! Her family started this foundation and they put on classes. Her dad was even at the class and spoke.

I learned soooo much. Not only did we get to practice some moves, but they gave us some "real world" advice. One of the "teachers" use to work with inmates who had attacked victims. One thing he honestly believes is once a stalker, always a stalker! These guys DON'T change! One sucmbag (his term!) told him how he'd attack ladies at the grocery store (we are unguarded). He'd wait from them to unlock the doors to put the groceries in then get into the front seat. He said one thing the ladies NEVER did was throw the the back, out the door, ANYWHERE!! If you toss your keys, you can't drive anywhere!! Great idea!! The "teacher" kept telling us we need to be aware at ALL times of our surroundings!! It doesn't matter where you are. Sucmbags attack when you are LEAST expecting it!! Make eye contact! An attacker will usually come around 6-10 times before they attack! They want to know your schedule.

I would suggest EVERY women take this class. I'll take it with you!!! I just loved it!! For more information:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Kansas in the news!!! A positive on the lending!!

Not only are interest rates LOW, a KANSAS bank made NATIONAL news for POSITIVE reasons!! I saw this on The Today Show this morning and I heard it was on other shows as well and they will be airing a longer special! Gotta love positive publicity for our area!! - Jodi

CapFed Featured as 'Little Bank that Could'

NEW YORK – Capitol Federal Savings, a Kansas bank with dozens of metro locations, was featured Thursday on “The Today Show" as “one of the banks that got it right.”

“It wasn’t easy,” CNBC’s Erin Burnett told Today host Matt Lauer. “But there were a few.”

Burnett says there are banks across America that didn’t make the colossal mistakes that others made and dubbed CapFed’s story as the “Little Bank that Could.”

Bank chairman John Dicus is the third generation leader of the bank. “I’ve been fortunate to be the third generation to fall in line now behind my father and my grandfather,” Dicus said.

Based in Topeka, CapFed boasts high standards when it comes to lending, and Burnett says they followed them “even things were booming and it seemed nothing could go wrong.”

Dicus says they stayed away from doing the flavor of the month by staying away from subprime mortgages, even with the promise of big money. “So many other institutions that got in trouble were trying to keep up with somebody else and taking on more risk.”

While some of the tanking banks have lost up to three-quarters of their stock value, CapFed stock is up 40 percent.

“What separates Capitol Federal from the pack,” says Mike Shafir of brokerage firm Sterne Agee, “is the fact these guys have a very sustainable business model."

You can see the entire report from "Today" by clicking on the link to the media player:

Posted by: Aaron Heintzelman Email:

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Remodeling Projects with the Highest Return

Remodeling Projects With the Highest Returns

For the second year in a row, REALTORS® report that exterior remodeling projects return the most money as a percentage of cost, as detailed in the 2008 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report.

On a national level, wood deck additions and all types of siding replacements–upscale fiber cement, midrange vinyl, and upscale foam-backed vinyl–returned more than 80 percent of project costs upon resale. Of these, the most profitable project was upscale fiber cement siding, which recouped 86.7 percent of costs, followed by wood decks at 81.8 percent, midrange vinyl siding at 80.7 percent, and upscale foam-backed vinyl siding at 80.4 percent.

The 2008 Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report compares construction costs with resale values for 30 midrange and upscale remodeling projects comprising additions, remodels and replacements in 79 markets across the country, expanding from 60 markets last year.

Projects With Highest, Lowest Returns

In addition to wood decks and siding, window replacements and kitchen remodels also returned a relatively high percentage of remodeling costs on a national basis.

All types of window replacements–upscale and midrange wood and upscale and midscale vinyl–returned more than 76 percent of costs. A major midrange kitchen remodel returned 76 percent of project costs, while a minor midrange kitchen remodel returned 79.5 percent of costs.

On a national level, bathroom remodels, while still a relatively good investment, do not return as high a percentage as in previous years. A midrange bathroom remodel was estimated to return 74.4 percent on resale, comparable to a midrange attic-to-bedroom conversion, at 73.6 percent of costs recouped, and a midrange basement remodel, at 72.7 percent of costs recouped.

As in last year’s report, the least profitable remodeling projects in terms of resale value were home office remodels, sunroom additions, and back-up power generators, returning only 54.4 percent, 56.6 percent, and 57.1 percent, respectively, of project costs.

National Association of Realtors® President Charles McMillan says the resale value of any given remodeling project depends on a variety of factors.

“A home’s overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location, and regional economic climate are all factors that will influence the value of any remodeling project,” he says.

Results of the report are summarized in the December 2008 issue of REALTOR® Magazine. The issue also includes examples of actual remodeling projects that were less expensive than many of the report’s cost estimates. Read the story online.

Full project descriptions, as well as national, regional and local project data for the 79 cities covered by the report will be posted at by Dec. 5.

This is the 11th consecutive year that the report, which is produced by Hanley Wood, LLC, was completed in cooperation with REALTOR® Magazine. For the report, Realtors® provided their insight into local markets and buyer home preferences.Source: NAR
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A Little Real Estate News...

Housing prices have fallen dramatically all over the country and rates on 30-year fixed-rate mortgages are already close to 5.5 percent. Experts say it's possible, with government encouragement, that rates will fall as low as 4.5 percent.Now is the time for first-time to step up.

Here are some things to consider:

  • Prices have always softened in the winter. As temperatures fall, bargain hunters will have bigger then usual opportunities.
  • New homes likely to become scarce. Ian Shepherdson, chief United States economist for the research firm High Frequency Economics, said he believes that a steep drop-off in inventory of new homes is coming soon, thanks to a rapid decrease in home builder activity.
  • Location. Location. Location. Buying the best-priced house in a really good neighborhood is still smart.

  • Will values go up? You may have to live in a house for 10 years, but over time, buyers will almost certainly make money.

(courtesy The New York Times 12.5.08)

Most Affordable Cities for Families

Families earning the median income in some of Americas largest cities don’t earn enough to pay for much more than basic needs, according to Forbes magazines analysis of data from the Economic Policy Institute and the U.S. Census Bureau.In other cities, annual costs for the basics are much lower, giving families a cushion for emergencies and the ability to enjoy some extras. Here are the most family-friendly cities, using basic living expenses as a percentage of income

San Jose, Calif. , 55 percent
Austin, Texas, 64 percent
Kansas City, Mo. 67 percent
Salt Lake City, 68 percent
Baltimore, 68 percent
Detroit, 68 percent
San Francisco, 68 percent
Seattle, 70 percent
St. Louis, 71 percent
Chicago, 72 percent