Happy Holidays

It’s that time of year again, holiday parties, holiday events for children, booze, food, and presents!  I do enjoy the holidays because we get to see so much of our families and my girls love any chance they get to see all their cousins.  Well, for me, their is always delicious food and drink around as well.  Let’s just say that if you are a master at making peanut butter balls, I would love you forever.

So this year I started my new career in real estate and it has gone pretty well I think.  I have learned A LOT and realized that there is much more stress than I was expecting.  One thing I have learned that carries over to both my personal life and my career, surround yourself with like-minded people.  People that make you better as a person.  People that have similar goals.  People that have similar morals. People that will make me better.  Once I realized that I was letting the same people in my life upset me or make me feel bad about myself, I walked away.  It took me years to finally realize that nothing was going to change on its own, I had to do the changing.  Now, I’m surrounding myself with some awesome people and there is almost zero drama.  I am almost 37 years old and there is no room for drama in my life (unless it’s from my 6 or 8 year old).

I truly believe that it should be the same in your professional life.  The reason I choose my current brokerage is because I wanted to work with some of the best people in real estate.  I wanted to pick the brains of all these multi-million dollar producers who had been in the business for over ten years.  My motto was, if I’m going to be the best, I have to work with the best.  I think a lot of real estate agents get a bad reputation for being snotty, standoffish, and selfish.  Believe me, there are plenty of those still in the business but for the most part, the successful agents are there to help.  I have learned a lot from my fellow associates at RE/MAX and I don’t think I would have been as successful my first year if I had gone somewhere else.

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In the past couple months I have jumped on the Rachel Hollis train and I’m loving it!  If you haven’t read Girl, Wash Your Face then you are missing out.  She also has a podcast that is fun and inspiring to listen to.  I’ve been staying positive, setting goals for myself, and holding myself accountable more.  I’m still working on the whole “working out everyday” thing but I’ll get there (hopefully)!  What I’m trying to say is that, she has inspired me to be better and sometimes that is all we need.  I have big plans for myself in 2019, and I can’t wait to start crushing it.  Stay tuned…

October Newsletter

The Scariest Thing About Being a First Time Home Buyer

One of the scariest things about being a first-time buyer is the unknown. It’s probably one of the main reasons 90 percent of all buyers do hours of online research before deciding to buy a home.

The entire process can be stressful. It’s complicated. It’s filled with paperwork. It’s most likely the biggest financial decision of your life. And it’s peppered with deadlines and boxes that must be checked or the entire deal can fall apart!

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Real estate agents are here to uncomplicate the buying process for you. An agent is your matchmaker: he or she will help you define the qualities of your dream house and work hard to turn that dream into a reality. And since they’re pros, they’ll manage the deadlines and check those countless boxes for you so you can make an offer on your dream house with confidence.

A home purchase may be your largest financial transaction to date, so it’s important to make the right decisions and to keep an eye on the details. With the assistance of your Residential Mortgage Lender and real estate agent, it should be an efficient, pleasant, and ultimately rewarding experience.

Count On Your Real Estate Agent To:

  • Preview available homes to weed out those that are overpriced, or undesirable in some other way.
  • Present the homes that suit your needs as you’ve defined them.
  • Help you determine the difference between a “good buy” and a property which, because of its nature (neighborhood, market appeal, etc.), might have to be discounted if you decide to sell in the future.
  • Negotiate the best deal for you. With a Pre-Qualification letter from us in hand, your Real Estate Agent will be able to demonstrate that you are a qualified and capable borrower. This will strongly influence the Seller, and may make the difference between the Seller accepting your offer or someone else’s — even if your offer is lower!

Count On Your Loan Officer To:

  • Assist you in selecting the best loan to meet your personal situation and goals. (This single decision can save you thousands of dollars throughout the years!)
  • Keep you informed of your loan status throughout the entire process.
  • Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of our loan progress (Note: your personal information is always kept confidential between you and us; only deal points and progress are shared).
  • Get the appropriate loan for you at the best rates and fees. This will save you significant money “up front” and throughout the years to come.

Count On Yourself To:

  • Keep your Real Estate Agent informed of any questions or concerns as they develop.
  • Keep the process moving by providing documentation and decisions as soon as reasonably possible. By doing so, many of the details are taken care of early in the process so you can comfortably concentrate on any last-minute details or events that require your attention.
  • Enjoy purchasing your home, but do remain objective throughout — to make the business decisions that are best for you.
  • Make sure you are pre-approved as early as possible. This will put the power of financing behind you so you can concentrate on selecting your home.

I am not a mortgage lender and I will never pretend to be.  I ALWAYS encourage my clients to make an appointment with a reputable lender and actually sit down to go over all options.  There are so many options out there other that just the typical Conventional, FHA, and VA loans. Contact Tracy Geer at First State Bank Mortgage for more information.  Find her pre approval link on my website.

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My October Obsession: Carrot Cake

CARROT CAKE
INGREDIENTS
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons Baking Soda
1 1/4 teaspoons Baking Powder
2 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon Salt
2 cups Sugar
4 Large Eggs
1 cup Vegetable Oil
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
2 cups Grated Carrots
3/4 cup Chopped Pecans
3/4 cup Coconut (I don’t use coconut because I think it is disgusting!)
1 8oz can Crushed Pineapple (put in strainer and let juice drain. I used a fork to press out more liquid.)
DIRECTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Line the bottoms of 3 (8inch) or 2 (9inch) round pans with wax or parchment paper, grease with shortening and flour the paper and pans for easy release when turning out……carrot cake has a tendency to stick so be sure to use the paper.
Whisk together for 30 seconds the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set Aside.
In a mixing bowl, add 2 cups sugar , 4 eggs, 1 cup oil and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix 2 to 3 minutes at medium speed until well blended and light colored.
With a spoon stir in the flour until moistened, then add the carrots, pecans crushed pineapple and coconut.
Bake 35 minutes at 350 degrees or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Refrain from opening the oven door or touching the center of the cake to test for doneness until very near the end of baking time or it could cause the cake to sink slightly in the center.
Makes 6 1/2 cups batter
Cool cake layers in pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack then turn out. Cool completely before frosting.

It’s healthy because it has carrots.  Just go with it.

Places to visit in October in Kansas & Missouri:

  1.  Weston, Missouri- Weston Red Barn Farm, O’Mally’s Pub, and Pirtle Winery
  2.  Parkville, MO- Wines By Jennifer A hidden gem in downtown Parkville.  Stop in to taste their featured wines of the month and listen to the stories of their travel.  Don’t forget to join the Wine Club!
  3. Lawrence, KS- Lawrence is so pretty in the fall.  Walk down Mass Street and check out all the local shops.  Make reservations at 715 for dinner, my FAVORITE!

Pumpkin Patch

 

 

 

September Tips for Home Owners

Landscaping Tips That Can Help Your Home Sell

For some properties, landscaping can make or break a deal. Unless you’re selling a real fixer-upper, your home’s yard is an important part of the real estate equation. If you’re looking to put your home on the market, or you’ve already listed and you haven’t had a lot of interest, use these quick and easy landscaping tips to help your property stand out from all the others.

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COORDINATE WITH COLOR

If your home has a yard, don’t be afraid of adding accents with pops of color. Many buyers prefer a nice green lawn; if you don’t have a sprinkler system, your local home improvement store will have easy-to-use and affordable sprinkler units you can hook up to a garden hose to help revive any dying grass (unless you live in an area where summer water usage is limited). You can also add color with flower pots: plastic or terra cotta pots filled with annuals are an easy, cheap and quick way to spruce up a drab entryway, driveway or front porch. You don’t have to go overboard, one or two pots can do wonders.

PRESSURE WASH

Sometimes a landscape or outdoor area doesn’t need a complete overhaul to look brand new. When it comes to decks, fences, driveways, and any other outdoor surface that can accumulate dirt and grime, an easy way to freshen things up is with a good pressure wash. Pressure washing is cleaning a surface with a powerful stream of high-pressure water, much stronger than a typical garden hose. The water is strong enough to get rid of months and even years’ worth of dirt and debris on wood, masonry, brick and concrete.

You don’t have to go out and buy a pressure washer – many home improvement stores rent them out, and for the cost of the rental and a couple hours of your time, your home could look like new! It’s important to note that you will want to test the pressure on the washer prior to spraying your home since very high pressure can remove worn paint. Sometimes all a home or a patio needs is a good wash and it looks just like new!

 

 

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LEAD THE WAY WITH LIGHT

While it’s highly unlikely you’ll have many people come and view your home at night, a great and easy way to add to your current landscape is with lights! Whether it’s adding a new outdoor lamp, or putting in walkway or path lights (solar ones are readily available and environmentally friendly!), buyers love to see little details put into homes. Pathway lights are often overlooked by homeowners, but a home with outdoor lighting will always speak volumes to potential buyers. Spotlights are also a great and easy addition – LEDs can highlight specific areas, and complete units can be found for under $30.

DITCH THE DEAD PLANTS

A nice manicured yard always rates highly among buyers. But if half of your yard is dead, despite being landscaped, it’s a good idea to ditch the dead plants. Take a couple of minutes each day to check out your yard – grass, flower beds, pots, etc. – and pull out anything that’s dying or dead. While it’s definitely a plus to have flowers and shrubs, if they’re dead, you’re better off getting rid of them than keeping them around because dead plants do not add to a landscape.

MAKEOVER YOUR MULCH

Flower beds are a great focal point for any yard, especially when they’re a real show stopper. But if your beds look weathered or rough, they can be a definite turn off to potential buyers. An easy, affordable and sure fire way to spruce up a tired flower bed is by adding new mulch or other ground covers like bark chips or gravel to help make the beds look fresh and new. A yard that has fresh mulch will always draw in a buyer’s eye because the yard looks put together and cared for.

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Summer is a popular time for real estate and an even more popular time for your yard. If your home can benefit from a little yard TLC, don’t hesitate. The tips above are easy, quick, and they’ll certainly help your home stand out from the competition. In the past I have put new mulch out in the spring but forgot this year.  The local home improvement store, such as Lowe’s or Menard’s, usually has great sales on mulch in the fall.  Don’t forget to grab some colorful mums to brighten up your front porch.

Not a DIY type, ask your friends and family if they know any local landscapers.  You might be surprised how affordable they are!

The Plaza Art Fair

Once again Fall is quickly approaching and the first thing that comes to my mind is The Plaza Art Fair.  This outdoor event takes place every September on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.  Nine city blocks are blocked off and hundreds of artists booths and Restaurant booths line the streets.  The atmosphere is amazing!  Although the event is considered family friendly, a word of advice; don’t take your small children (especially strollers) on Friday evening. Friday evening is considered the kick-off event and the streets are lined with everyone from the young adults to the older ones enjoying adult beverages.  By 9pm, it’s extremely hard to move around the streets.  Don’t forget to check out the 3 Live Stages with local and national talents.  And wear your dancing shoes, you will need them!

 

My favorite part of the art fair are the restaurant booths!  The top eateries on the Plaza make special hand held sized portions of their main dishes for a great price.  A steak sandwich with herbed goat cheese and balsamic onions from The Capital Grille.  Yes please. Carnitas Tacos from The Oliver.  Sure.  Truffle Bacon Popcorn from Rye.  Hells yes. Did I mention all different types of local beer, margaritas, and sangria? The fact that you are able to walk around the streets of the Country Club Plaza and try award winning food without having to spend an arm and a leg at the establishment itself.  Perfect time to share with a friend and try it all while looking at some of the best artwork in the country.

This year the event takes place on September 21st-23rd.  Parking is crazy so I recommend taking an Uber or Lyft that evening so you don’t have worry about parking.

#WYCOStrong

I’ve really struggled this week to keep my emotions in tact and maintain some sort of normalcy.  On Friday, June 15th I was at work and received a breaking news alert on my Apple watch which I automatically checked like normal.  I believe it said something to the effect of two officers shot at Wyandotte County Courthouse, more information to come.  What many people don’t know about Wyandotte County is that as crazy as it sounds, we are a very tight knit community.  I don’t know another community in the Kansas City metro area that has what Wyandotte County has. It’s hard to describe.  Wyandotte County has a bad reputation and a lot of it is deserved but a lot of it is just plain bullshit.  Many of the residents started their families here, and then their families started families and so on and so on.  I guess what I’m trying to say is that everyone knows everybody, or at least knows someone from their family.  We are a community that supports our police and fire departments, our city employees, our neighbors.  It’s not about about republican or democrat, it’s about being a decent person and doing the right thing.


After seeing the breaking news alert I quickly grab my phone in search for more information.  From the little information that I had seen, I was scared.  Real scared.  I have friends and family that work at the courthouse, that work for the sheriff’s office, that work for the Kansas City Kansas Police Department, and  the Kansas City Kansas Fire Department.  All I knew at that point was something bad had happened and multiple people were shot.  After some texts to friends and wives of law enforcement around the city, I was relieved that everyone I knew was safe and accounted for.  But then I lost it.  We, and when I saw we, I mean Wyandotte County, have lost so many great people in the past couple years due to really bad criminals being on the street.  Officer Melton, Detective Lancaster, and Lou Scherzer all were murdered by stupid pieces of trash.  All murdered in our community, in our backyard.  Why does this keep happening!

As a wife of a firefighter, I can honestly say that I don’t get worried about my husband not coming home after his shift.  We get busy with our jobs, with our kids, and with our life and I just honestly don’t ever worry about it.  And then these horrible acts of violence happen and I’m sure Deputy King and Deputy Rohrer’s family expected them to come home that evening.  I’m sure that Detective Lancaster wife and kids expected him home for dinner that evening.  I’m sure that Officer Melton’s girlfriend and kids expected to see him that evening.  I know Lou Scherzer’s fiancée didn’t think that Saturday night was any different than the one before.  So am I a bad person that I don’t get scared every third day that my husband might not come home?  I am asking that question, be honest.

No matter what your spouse does for a living, just imagine waiting by the phone or by the front door waiting for a Chaplin to come.  What kind of life could you lead?  A couple years ago two brave Kansas City Missouri Firefighters went on a call that went horribly wrong and they lost their lives (the fire was deliberately set so it was murder in my opinion). Do you think that Larry Leggio and John Mesh thought they wouldn’t be going back to the station after that routine call!  I bet they did, they were seasoned firefighters.  I don’t want to get into the whole “Our lives are in God hands” discussion because that could go in a whole other direction.

The point is that I’m sad.  I’m angry.  I want the families of these deplorable criminals to know that they are horrible people and they don’t deserve to live.  I actually wish harm on them. Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why couldn’t Antoine Fielder get shot in the head? Why can’t he suffer? Hell, you can’t even put on the news anymore without hearing about horrible people killing innocent people just because.  When did it become acceptable to bully, talk down, and spew hate towards people.  I have to admit that I have gone on rants about President Trump many of times on social media but he makes it too easy.

We need a leader, a role model, a stable person to lead our country and our cities.  We need to stop all this madness and start over.  Our President sucks and I feel like this country is an embarrassment.  I’m embarrassed to be an American right now.  I want our justice system overhaul, I want gun reform, I want children to stay with their parents, I want people to be decent, I want CHANGE.  I don’t want want to ever have to tell my children that their father was killed.  I WANT CHANGE.

I am proud of my city.  I am proud to call Wyandotte County home.  I love how we all come together for the greater good.  I hope that I never have to go to Children’s Mercy Park for a funeral again.  I love how we support our heros.

Next time you think you are having a bad day, just remember, it could be worse.

I don’t want worse, I’ve had enough.

#WYCOStrong

Photo Cred: Caylen Sunderman

Looking For A Local Artist

 

I found this oil painting on canvas on Houzz.com today and I can’t stop looking at it.  I almost purchased it but I’m not in love with the size.  I’ve been looking for the perfect piece to hang above our bed in the master bedroom and this would be a perfect pop of color.

So now I am in search of a local (Kansas City metro) artist or another reputable site where I could order something similar.  Everything I have searched on the wonderful world wide web looks cheap.

Bucket List: Italy

Many of you know that my sister-in-law owns and manages a company called A Slice of Tuscany, which books trips and tours all around Italy.  Sally (my sister-in-law) moved over to Florence, Italy 8 years ago this upcoming August and I still have never been!  I know, I know.  But, a couple years ago she meet her her future (an American with an Italian name) husband over there and because he is in the military he was soon transferred back to the United States.  Although they were transferred back, Sally still takes trips to Italy throughout the year to help clients experience their dream vacations.

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That’s Sally

So Sally started this business while she was over there by basically just traveling around Italy eating, drinking, and talking to everyone.  After years of research she quickly made friends with some of the top chefs, wine makers, shop owners in the country. Do you want to rent a villa in the countryside, make wine at a local vineyard, learn to cook for a top rated chef, rent a Ferrari?  She can do that.  What I’m saying is, if you want to do Italy right, you call Sally at A Slice of Tuscany.

That brings me to my bucket list.  I AM going to Italy.  I don’t know when but it’s happening.  I believe the plan is to wait until her husband can take time off and we can have at least 2 weeks to travel the country.  Hopefully, next Spring 2019 we will be sitting on the Amalfi Coast with a nice glass of Italian wine and fresh seafood.  Now I want a glass of wine!amalfi-amalfi-coast-architecture-373575

There are so many places I want to see before I die but I have to get to Italy as soon as possible.  Sally happens to been over there now and every time she posts on Instagram I am amazed!  It truly looks like the most beautiful place on earth!

Check out her website and her Instagram!

Honestly, it after 10pm on a school night and I’m contemplating open a bottle of Chianti Classico.