Monday, January 14, 2019

Do You have "Vision" (When You're Buying A Home)?

The Headlines:

There are 2 kinds of buyers. 

Which one are you? 

In the market to buy a house this year?  To me, there's never a time you shouldn't be looking.  Why?  Yes, because I"m a Realtor but also because you never know when the right one will hit you.  The house you never expected pops up and you can't say no.

That's happened to me personally.  And when I don't move on it... (years later) the husband and I complain: "if we would have bought that..."?

So always keep an eye out.  But for what exactly?  That depends on you.  Pay attention to what matters to your lifestyle.  Yes, that can be limiting.   So here's a way to open up the possibilities.  Ask yourself one question:


If you do, sky's the limit.  It may not have the exact amount of bedrooms but you can change that.  No white cabinets?  There's paint.  No need for a dining room?  Demo it.  If you have vision, as long as the "bones" are there your options for reno work are endless.

Here's what you cannot change:  1) location and 2) size of lot (usually).  Everything else is up for grabs.

Have you seen Fixer Upper?  Then you know what I'm talking about.

If you buy a home that needs some"TLC" you are, most likely, going to get a better deal.  Because more needs to be spent after you move in.  Here's an example.

I worked with some buyers who knew exactly where they wanted to live.  It was a small neighborhood without a lot of inventory so they kept a close eye on it.  When a house came up... they pounced.  Once inside, they saw it was far from their dream home.  But they knew it had the 2 things that couldn't be changed.  The rest they could work around.  They bought it.

While going through the buying process they brought in a contractor to see if their plan had legs.  It did.  And work began as soon as the papers were signed.

After a few months their home was ready to roll!

Here are the pictures:

Above is the living room. They added one huge sliding glass door that fully opens to the patio (a trend we're seeing a lot right now) - we live in Arizona after all.   They also spruced up the living room by adding industrial shelving, a mantel and busting out a wall to make for one big "great room". 

Here's the dining room they demo'ed.  They moved more walls and small cabinetry.  However, they also enclosed one area (with french doors) so they could have a formal office space.  

But the crowning glory, as with almost any house, is the kitchen.  You know, the place where we ALL spend time.   The kitchen, before, was nothing special.  Just a galley kitchen that felt super cramped.  This busy house needed some major space.  So they turned the island around, made it way bigger and used the breakfast "nook" to make for ONE big open area.  It absolutely works.

They're not completely finished.  They want to do a few more tweaks in the bathrooms.  But, to everyone who visits it looks like a whole new house.   In fact, the former owners came by and I hear it brought them to tears... happy tears.

It is now the new owners dream home.  Because they had vision.  They bought a house that was less expensive than most in their target neighborhood and then turned it into exactly what they wanted.

THEY had VISION.  The question now is... do you?

Finally tonight, if you're in the market to buy a new home ask yourself the vision question.  It's okay of you don't have it.  There are lots of "turn key" homes out there.  It certainly will take less time and effort to purchase one of those.  But know there are also lots of people who can help you with "finding your vision".  Realtors, interior designers and contractors can all lend a hand.  The homeowners above used George Construction in Phoenix and myself as a Real Estate Agent.

Let us know if we can help you this year!

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Monday, January 7, 2019

Living a Simple Life

The Headlines:

Does life have to be so complicated (when those kids grow up)?


But we're trying to chill. 

It's the New Year and I'm tired.   No, not because we partied past midnight on NYE... because it was a long 2018.  This may be one of the reasons you heard from me about 3 times the whole year.  Life has gotten complicated for our house.  I'm going in too many directions, the husband is traveling more than ever, my children are involved in a lot and we are blessed with many friends and family with whom we love to spend time.  

Every year, about once a year, I have some sort of epiphany.  Last year, it was that we had to stop raising Entitled Kids.  You can read that HERE.  We're still working on that... it's a process.  Now,  it's the need to simplify things. 

You Feel me?  I know.

It's happening to a lot of us.  We're all exhausted.  Kids are getting older and frankly, so are we.  We wake up in the morning by 6:00 and don't stop going until late at night.  There's hardly a moment to grab a bite or just stop.  What in the world are all of us doing?  Driving kids places, meeting people, working on projects, joining book clubs, WORKING, volunteering in school, volunteering out of school, attending sporting events, doing homework, preparing meals, having play dates, traveling, planning parties, making appointments, getting to appointments, holding appointments, canceling appointments.

It really is a busy life.  And as kids grow up it just gets busier.  That seems impossible to young Moms, I know.  But it's true.  See, babies need to be held, fed and loved.  Constantly.  But life is fairly one dimensional.  You stay with your baby and do all those things with him/her.  You have no time but for a very different reason.  It's you and the baby, almost 24/7... (also known as a parasite - who truly and lovingly sucks everything from you.  Literally: vitamins, minerals and bone density. I had theeee worst teeth problems after I breastfed)  You are their everything.  Their very survival depends on you.

Here's the deal, this all changes when they get in the 5 year old range.  Parents start to come up for air.  They begin to live their life again.  They walk without that bouncing baby on their hip.  This is the time when parents, mostly Moms, begin the process of finding themselves.  For the second time.  Reconnecting and remembering who they were.  And then they run with it.  They pile on life the way they used to before children.  The problem is... kids don't go away.  Their needs don't subside.  They just change.  Children no longer cry because they're hungry, they cry because someone said something mean at school.  Rather than feed them to stop the tears, you have to be with them and help mend their feelings.  It takes longer with more thought and effort.  See, just as you held them when they were 1... you still need to hold them when they're 11.  They may even need those hugs more now.  So, here in lies is the reason why the craziness begins.

Parents resume their lives before children BUT ONLY during the hours of 8-3 Monday through Friday.  Not including holidays, weekends or half days at school.  That's tough.  It's saying, pick up where you left off but don't drive in the fast lane.  Stick to the slow lane.  But that's not what happens. Your old self comes up for air and really likes the view!  So, you quickly start to pile on stuff, just like before kids.  Meantime, kids pile on life too.  Which means everyone's in the fast lane going 90 mph and no one can find the rest stop.  Hence, this blog post.

Living a simple life.

In 2019, it has occurred to us that we have to simplify our lives.  I realize that takes balance, strategy, time management and a small miracle.  What a "Simple Life" looks like to each family depends on that family.   What works for the Smiths might not work for the Williams.   Therefore, this post is hardly a "How to..." it's more of a "What if..."?  

Here's what I do know, this year, in our house we will work very hard to change the way we "do business"... sleep more, consume less, slow down, and breathe.  I need to breathe.  Why have people smoked for so many years?  I believe it's almost more about the deep breathing than the nicotine.  Deep breathing is quick, free and it calms people down.  

Simplifying Life in 2019: 

  1. BREATHE more.  
  2. Get ORGANIZED.  I've always been "sort of" organized but now we're cleaning stuff, throwing things out and getting systems in place. 
  3. PRIORITIZE.  God, Family, Work, Friends, Exercising, "Charity/Volunteering," Everything Else... in that order. 
  4. Say NO more.  I have some friends who are great at this, I am okay at this... I will get better. 
  5. TAKE IN THE MOMENTS.  This is what life is... my husband has long told me to do this more.  He wants us to spend meaningful time soaking it all in.  I'm not sure what that means, maybe more traveling, perhaps less talking, laughing and giving.. I don't know exactly but I'd like to figure it out. 

Finally tonight, I kinda feel like we're hitting one big re-set button.  You know, like when you un-plug your computer and suddenly everything that was a little discombobulated - has magically gotten better.  Yea, that's what we're trying to do.

We're on our way.  No doubt there will be a few detours... January through May in Arizona is always a little nuts.  Plus, I know life happens in the midst of crazy.  And perhaps crazy is part of real life.  I'm okay with that.  I'll just remember to breathe.  

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