Questions to Ask When Buying New Construction

Buying a new home is exciting. Buying a brand new home can be even more so with the realization of being the first owner and possibly being able to choose your own layout and finishes. The prospect of owning new construction is definitely exciting, but it doesn’t come without its own set of questions. If you’re in the market for a new home, and considering new construction, make note of the questions below when you begin your property search.

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WHAT ARE THE LONG TERM PLANS FOR THE COMMUNITY?

Unless you’re looking at custom homes on acreage, it’s likely new construction in your area will be located in a new development or in a master planned community. With this in mind, feel free to ask about the plans for the community. If it’s a large area, find out if any subdivisions are planned. If there are only a few houses built so far, it’s likely to mean lots of construction in the months to come – which means a lot of noise and construction traffic. Also ask about the builder – if they’re well known and respected, it’s unlikely they’ll lose funding and the community will likely continue on as planned.

WHAT ARE THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION’S RULES AND REGULATIONS?

Many new developments and master planned communities come with a set of rules and regulations set by a homeowners association. If you’ve never lived in a community with a HOA, it’s important to find out the rules before investing in it. The bylaws and the CC&Rs will let you know what is and isn’t allowed in the community (especially when it comes to the exterior of your home). You’ll also want to find out when the HOA fee begins – in some communities, it can start before the home is even finished.

DO YOU OFFER ANY BUYER OR FINANCIAL INCENTIVES?

If the community or development is still in the early stages, there might be incentives (like a buyer discount, builder upgrades or other financial incentives or freebies) for buyers. Sometimes these offers come with a catch – where something is expected from the buyer in return for the incentive – but it’s important to ask about any offers that may be available, especially if the community is still up and coming.

DO YOU PROVIDE WARRANTIES?

New homes often come with different warranties. Ask if a workmanship and structural warranty come with the home. A workmanship warranty (or builder’s warranty) is a warranty for newly constructed homes that offer limited coverage on workmanship and components of the home like windows, siding, roofs, doors, plumbing, electrical and HVAC. Traditionally a workmanship warranty will cover a one or two year period; another likely warranty is a structural warranty, which covers the structure of a home. If a warranty is provided, make sure you know exactly what is and isn’t covered and how much you’re responsible for in case of any issues.

CAN YOU CONNECT ME WITH SOME CURRENT HOMEOWNERS?

Just as you would check reviews before buying an item online or booking a service, the same can be said for a home builder. Just because the product that’s being offered is a shiny new home doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your due diligence and check references before making a large investment. While it’s likely that the builder will provide glowing reviews, checking reference and review websites and even knocking on the doors of current homeowners will provide additional information and give you a wider understanding of the builder and its practices. Talking to current homeowners will provide information about the actual community.

New construction is exciting, but you want to make sure you have all pertinent information before you go through with a home purchase. Your real estate agent will be able to help navigate the waters of new construction. Reach out to your agent with any questions you may have about buying new construction in your area.

If I could tell you only one thing when it comes to buying new construction it would be HIRE YOUR OWN REALTOR!  The builders and their real estate agents are only looking out for themselves usually. 

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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

 

 

 

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.

Sally
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.

Anxiety Rules

So I’ve been busy. I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to have anxiety attacks about getting cancer again (just anxiety attacks about everything else). Right before Christmas I started back to work full time and I think that has been my saving grace. Having a full time job in healthcare, two little girls, and the holidays really keeps my mind off the big things that would normally set my anxiety off. There were a couple moments throughout the holiday in which I had to self medicate myself or overserved myself. Such a reaccuring habit for me. 

I am two months post surgery and almost at 100% again. My left arm is still having some auxiliary cording issues but nothing that keeps me from doing daily tasks. I will continue to do physical therapy once a week until it has resolved. My lovely breast expansion has come to an end and I will be picking out my implants and scheduling my exchange surgery this week. Exciting stuff. I am so ready to get these hockey pucks off my chest. It is amazing how little I care about breasts after all of this, I stress over my hair much more. Why is my hair parting when it is so short? I guess that cute pixie cut is going to have to be earned. The awkward hair phase will be lasting for a few years so I guess I’ll just have deal. My nails aren’t growing back as well as the hair which is super embarrassing. They are super brittle, a little discolored, and very short. It’s strange how the little things bug me more than the big things. Well, they aren’t big anymore. 

I wanted to start this year off different, very cliche I know. After having cancer at 34 years old you don’t sit back and wait for it to develop again, you live. I told myself I wanted to be a better wife, a better mom, and a better friend. I’m not sure if the better drugs I have now but I’m happier than I was. My anxiety is my number one problem I deal with on a daily basis but I am slowly learning how to treat certain situations. For example, I’m deathly afraid of heights. It’s not just the height that scares me, it’s the falling to my death and the aftermath of that. I know it’s silly and it has become worse with age. I am determined not to let this rule my life! So this past weekend we went up to the mountains in Colorado with some great friends to ski. Well, they all ski and I haven’t done it since a was teenager. I signed up for a ski lesson and off I went to the big mountian. Okay so it was more of a hill but I went through with it. As the lesson go more intense I knew that they would make me use the chair lift which has been the greatest fear of all. My heart was about to jump out of my chest but I did it. It was super scary for me but it’s done and I will never do it again. After that lesson, I took off those uncomfortable ski boots and sat my happy ass down at the bar where I belong.  The fact that I tried it is all that matters. 

I hope that this year I will get a firm grip on the anxiety that follows me around everyday. It will not run my life like in the past. Do you see the fear in my eyes? This was right before the ski lesson. 

Cancer Free

After being diagnosed with breast cancer in June, I honestly never dreamed that I would be cancer free 6 months later. I have to admit, I had it easy compared to what some people go through and I’m truly grateful for that. The chemotherapy was by far the worst experience ever and surgery was awful but bearable. When I was diagnosed in June the cancer had already spread to my lymph nodes so radiation seemed unavoidable. I meet with the radiation oncologist at Menorah Medical Center and was told that I should have radiation because it was “the standard of care”. I was convinced that was the smartest answer when it came to my case. With any major decision I had to get a second opinion. I strongly suggest that with any cancer diagnosis that you get a second or third opinion. My second opinion was with The University of Kansas Medical Center, Dr. Mitchell. I loved her approach to the consultation and she is incredibly smart. She called the pathologist from my surgery and wanted to speak to him directly to go over all parts of my pathology report. I was surprised that she had showed me all the studies and guidelines she uses and how she determines whether to recommend radiation or not. Dr. Melissa Mitchell explained to me why she wouldn’t recommend chemotherapy and how she came to that decision. I am choosing to follow her recommendation because I believe her and I trust her. So, no radiation for this girl. The University of Kansas Medical Center has been amazing through this cancer hell, they really know what they are doing and have amazing staff. 

This was a big week on the plastic surgery front as well. On Monday I had my first expansion and it went well. My plastic surgeon, Dr. Paul Leahy, said that I was healing nicely and that we could start filling my tissue expanders. This was the part I was dreading the most. So basically they fill a syringe with silicone and insert it into my breast so it fills the tissue expanders. It didn’t hurt but became uncomfortable later in the day. My breasts basically feel like rocks sitting on my chest. Every Monday I will go and get a little more filled until I reach the desired amount and then we will schedule the exchange surgery. The exchange surgery will just be an outpatient procedure and I shouldn’t be out long for it. I’m getting pretty excited. I am still going to have to wait 6-8 weeks before I can start working out, like the end of March or early April. Grrrr. 

Since the surgery, my left arm hasn’t healed the way they would like so I have started physical therapy. They (breast surgeon, lymphodema specialist, and physical therapist) believe I have a lot of nerve and tissue damage. All I know is that it hurts and I don’t have a full range of motion on my left side. I feel like all the therapy and stretching I have been doing should be doing the trick but still no progress. The physical therapist is great and I have only wanted to punch her a couple times. Completely serious. I am still numb on parts of my chest and underarms so touch is very uncomfortable and makes my skin crawl. They say it gets better but I have yet to notice it. I have one more week before I go back to work so hopefully we can make some progress next week. 

I’m excited to get back to somewhat a normal life. I will still be having Herception infusions every 3 weeks until July, I will be taking Tamoxifen for the next 10 years, and I will most likely have some lingering side effects from surgery. I’m excited to get back to work. I’m excited to do more things with my children. I’m excited to do a little traveling with my husband. I’m excited for my hair and fingernails to grow out. I miss my hair. I miss it a lot.