Thursday, March 31, 2011

Integrity...or lack there of

I was talking to a fellow Realtor last week and she brought up how there is a lack of Integrity in our business. I have to say I agree with her. There seems to be a lack of integrity by fellow Realtors and clients. In recent months I've had difficulty getting fellow Realtors to return calls or emails. I've also had an unrepresented client assume that my time is not worth anything.

Why has it come to this? Why don't all agents work together to get our deals completed quickly and effectively? Why do customers think our time is not worth anything?

And more importantly, HOW do we change this?

Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget

Kitchen Remodeling on a Budget: Tips & IdeasThe kitchen is one of the most popular rooms in a home, so why not make yours really stand out? Whether you’re selling or simply want to upgrade, here are some simple tips and ideas to get you started without breaking the bank:

1.Plan ahead and find patterns, colors and textures that you like from magazines, home improvement stores and the Internet.

2.Set a budget! Know what upgrades will give you the most value for your money and do your best to stick with your budget.

3.Make a plan and do one thing at a time, especially if you’re going to do it yourself.

So where should you start?

CabinetsRepaint or stain your cabinet doors and add new hardware. This is one of the easiest and least expensive upgrades you can do that makes a big difference. If you need advice on what works best with the cabinets you have, take a door into your local home improvement store and ask for professional advice.

Kitchen Counter TopsCounter tops can be expensive if you’re going for granite, but that’s not your only option. You can opt for concrete or granite overlay. Do your research to find what suits your budget and style best.

Kitchen FloorsYour choices are endless when it comes to updating your kitchen floors. From peel-and-stick tile to laminate wood flooring and travertine, the sky is the limit— but be mindful of your budget! Bring home samples of the flooring based on your style and budget before you make a final decision. Many real estate professionals agree that a kitchen remodel splurge should be saved for the countertops and not the floors, so keep this in mind when deciding. You want to make sure you get great value from any upgrades you do.

Saving Money on Kitchen AppliancesIf your appliances are in good working order and match in color and style, save your budget for more beneficial upgrades. If your appliances look really dated or don’t match the new look of your kitchen, you may want to consider finding some great scratch and dent deals.

Did you know that appliances can be painted? A professional paint job can turn your white appliances into fresh, new-looking ones. You can also buy appliance-safe paint at your home improvement store and do it yourself.

Kitchen LighteningInstalling modern lighting is amazingly simple if your kitchen is already wired for overhead lighting. A new chandelier can make a big difference, and you can find options for less than $150! To make an even bigger impact, be sure to install a dimmer switch. You’ll be surprised what a difference a little “mood switch” can make.

The options are endless for remodeling your kitchen on a budget. The hardest part is deciding which upgrades will make the biggest difference on the smallest budget. Just be sure to do your research and to set realistic goals. And last, but not least, enjoy the project by making it your own.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Cleaning Your Home in No Time At All

Cleaning Your Home in No Time At All
The experts at Merry Maids offer time saving cleaning tips

A well-organized house is an easy-to-care-for house. The experts at Merry Maids know this from experience and can offer some time saving tips that will help you organize and clean your home in no time flat.

De-junk your home. Managing clutter takes too much time. Eliminate anything from your home that you are not currently using and donate unwanted items to charity. You will feel better about yourself and the appearance of your home.
Remove temptation. If you pile clutter on a specific table, get rid of that table. That way, you are more likely to put things where they belong. Eliminate the areas where clutter builds.
•Get a mat. Use only one entry door into your home. Place an Astroturf mat outside the entry to your home. Also, place a sturdy nylon mat inside the house. This will eliminate an incredible amount of dust and dirt within your household, as well cut down on your cleaning time in general.
Establish command central. Determine a place, usually in the kitchen, for the day’s mail, calendar, car keys, school papers, grocery lists, etc. This eliminates the chance for clutter throughout the house and cuts down on dirt buildup.
Use the clock. Give cleaning solutions time to work. Spray the light fixtures and mirrors in the bathroom and let the cleaner work while you scrub the tub with an all- purpose cleaner, such as MurphyĆ¢ Oil Soap. Then come back to the fixtures and mirrors.
•Defy dust. Change furnace filters and replace vacuum bags regularly. Do not miss vents when you dust.

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Creed to Live By

I saw this on a friends blog and had to repost! Thanks Samantha for posting it!

A Creed to Live By

Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.

Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.

Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them life is meaningless.

Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.

Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over … until the moment you stop trying.

Don’t be afraid to admit you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each other.

Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be brave.

Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find. The quickest way to receive love is to give love. The fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly, and the best way to keep love is to give it wings.

Don’t dismiss dreams. To be without dreams is to be without hope. To be without hope is to be without purpose.

Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only wher you’ve been but also where you’re going.

Life is not a race, but a journey to be savoured each step of the way.

Nancye Sims

Thanks to Gina for posting this on her this!!

Spring & Summer Home Maintenance

Mother nature may be reminding us today that Spring is not here, but it will be soon enough! If you live in the Midwest, here are maintenance jobs you should complete in the spring & summer to prevent costly repairs and keep your home in top condition. (courtesy of: HomeLogic)

- Clean your gutters and downspouts
- Inspect your roof for winter damage
- Take a close look at your chimney
- Examine your drainage
- Take a look at your siding
- Schedule your biannual HVAC appointment
- Check your CGCIs

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Huntington Farms - New Listing

101 E 126th St
Kansas City, MO

*$5K towards finishing basement w/ acceptable offer!!* Newer home still shows like a model!! Large open kitchen w/ granite island, dble oven, vented downdraft & walk-in pantry. 2 fireplaces (living room & master bedroom), walk-in closets, surround sound throughout home. Walk-out basement stubbed for plumbing w/ 2 large patios backs to green space. Deck off kitchen for grilling. Blinds on all windows, storm doors, security system & central vac. Sprinkler system & decorative curbing. MUST SEE!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Are You Thinking About Remodeling Your Home?

I went to the Remodeling Show a few weeks ago in Kansas City and picked up the Remodeling KC magazine. It had a lot of great information & tips on Remodeling. Here are a few things to consider:

Check out the National Association of the Remodling Industry (NARI). It is a not-for-profit trade association committed exclusively to the professional remodeling industry and to homeowners. This is a good source to use for finding a contractor!

When planning a remodel, here are a few details to think about:
- location of electrical outlets, telephone jacks & cable hook ups
- types of lighting
- blending the design of a new living space into existing living space
- current and future storage needs
- universal features to accomodate the needs of a broader range of people.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Successfully Selling HUD Homes

Last week Carrie Cowan & I went to a HUD class presented by Vanessa Wilde. It was VERY information. Here is some of the information we learned. - Jodi

- HUD properties are FHA Foreclosures. Once the private mortgage insurance pays off the loan & they become the property of the government.
- HUD now has three asset management companies: Pemco, Matt Martin & HomeTelo.
- You can find all active HUD Listings at: This site will have the most up-do-date status. If it's not on here, it probably has a contract. Check here first!
- All agents must register with HUD &
- Properties are listed daily! (even on the weekends)
- Make sure you check the top of the listing for eligible bidders and bid submission deadline.
- If your buyer is getting FHA financing, the property must be E (insured escrow) and buyer must have escrow money for repairs (determined by HUD) which can be factored into the loan (FHA 203B long w/ repairs in escrow)
- The repairs escrow is held by the bank/lender until repairs are made. It's a case by case decision on how funds are released.
-If the property needs over $5k in repairs, it is NOT insurable
-FHA appraisals have typically already been done on the property and are usually online.
- All HUD properties close at Northwest Title Co. (816.792.3335)
- There are potentially 5 different HUD keys (vs the one universal key we all use to use). You MUST call co-op to schedule an appointment. Many HUD homes now have lock boxes on the property. Also, please sign the login form inside each home.
- Commission is now 3% for the buyers agent with a minimum flat commission of $1250.
- There may be multiple back-up contracts on a property and you are now unable to see other bids on a property
- Earnest money depends on the asset management company. HomeTelo & Pemco are $500 (up to $50k) and $1000 (over $50k). Matt Martin varies per property.
- HomeTelo typically has a 20 day cash closing, HOWEVER, it doesn't always close on time therefor you MUST file an extension (which includes a fee). Prepare your buyers for that!
- Typical financed closings are 45 days.
- If an offer is CANCELLED, it means the offer was reviewed but NOT accepted.
- If you are given a "bottom dollar" amount, make sure to add in your commission and any other costs!
- HUD listings are already designated selling agents, however, they will not sign the Agency Amendment
- you MUST have approval from the asset manager to do inspections (and get utilities turned on)
- only Active/Live termites will be treated
- HUD will correct lead based paint issues if it is under $4k.
- ALWAYS print the contract when you submit a bid online! There are certain areas that will be auto-populated and others you will need to write in.
- MUST include: Husband & Wife, Single Person, etc for contract to be accepted
- Earnest money to be held by: HUD Designated Closing Agent (#3 & #9)
- If buyer is paying cash OR getting conventional financing, make sure to check last box on #4
- Make sure #12 is initialed by buyer