Archive for July, 2013

It's the perfect time for home projects!

July 26th, 2013

The past several years have been extremely busy, both personally and professionally. They have also been filled with many changes. I found myself lacking the enthusiasm to dig into home improvement projects but I found the perfect solution; I called in my children. All in their thirties, they add the energy that I was missing along with the willingness to help out old dad. I did not make a list of projects right away; that came after I got into the swing of updating my home of about 15 years.

First, I replaced my white appliances with stainless steel. It made a dramatic change in the kitchen and laundry room, but the thing that struck me the most was the silence. The dishwasher and laundry room appliances are so much quieter that I initially had to check on them to make sure they were working. I then moved down to the basement living space that was still sporting its builder white. My daughter picked out paint and with a long weekends’ worth of work we knocked that project out.  Once the furniture was repositioned and pictures were hung the space was transformed. Painting is such an easy change that can provide a dramatic impact! Read the rest of this entry »


July 20th, 2013

Here we are at the beginning of the second half of 2013, in the midst of the Dog Days of Summer with the heat index hovering close to 100 degrees. Along with rising temperatures, we have been experiencing rising interest rates, rising home values, and rising home sales – all of which bring rising opportunities. Steve Harney, in his July edition of Keeping Current Matters, says he thinks this may be the best opportunity in his 30 years in the business!

According to his report:

· As home prices rise less people are in negative equity. That’s freeing them up to put their homes on the market. (MAAR reports the average sales price for June 2012 was $198,248, and for June 2013 was $251,395 – that’s a 14.1% increase.)

· According to the Campbell Inside Mortgage Finance Survey, move-up buyers make up 43.8% of the market.

· According to NAR, Year-Over-Year Sales in the Midwest have increased by 35.7% in the $250-500K range and by 36.2% in the $500-750K range; and over the next six quarters sales are projected to continue moving upward. Read the rest of this entry »

Experience and expertise are the tools we use for every safe and sustainable solution we provide

July 12th, 2013

The news of the day seems to be centered around the unrest in the international community – rising gas prices; the stock market reaching all-time highs; and yes, the increase in interest rates. Each of these can impact decisions on buying a new car, paying down debt, buying a new home or remodeling a current home. Everyone makes a choice based upon their personal economy while taking into consideration world events that can affect us every day.

I remember many years ago, when I purchased my first home, interest rates at the time were 16.5%. It seems hard to believe that interest rates were ever that high, but in the 1980’s rates of 15% to 17.5% were normal. I considered the family budget when making the decision to buy. Based upon the need for three bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a big yard in a safe neighborhood near schools we liked, my family purchased a home that fit our criteria and comfort level. Fast forward to today, even though interest rates are in the mid 4% range, decisions related to housing are not made by interest rate alone. We make decisions after careful consideration of the family budget and the size and location of the home the family needs.  Read the rest of this entry »

The price of living inside the "Golden Doors"

July 5th, 2013

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses

Yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores.  Give these, the homeless, tempest tossed to me.  I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”  These words were written by a young woman of Jewish heritage,  Emma Lazarus, in 1883.  They were chosen to be inscribed at the base of the statue of Liberty, a gift from France to the US meant to symbolize universal freedom and democracy.


I spent my time on the drive in this morning making mental checklists of things I needed to do in preparation for the kids and grandkids coming down for the holiday weekend.  Get charcoal, cut the watermelon into pieces, make the potato salad, carve marshmallow sticks for the kids,  …and then, I stopped for a second when I heard someone speak Emma’s words on the radio.


When Thomas Jefferson penned the declaration of Independency in 1776 and each of the 56 men from the 13 colonies put their signatures to the document, they knew that the cost would be war but they were willing to fight to their deaths for freedom from the tyrannical leadership of the English King.  They wanted us to have ‘inalienable rights to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.’ Read the rest of this entry »