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Friday Fotos: What Kind of Bird Is This? - 09/30/11 09:39 PM
This fellow lives in the Topeka Zoo in the giraffes' little habitat. It sort of reminded me of the part in Seabiscuit where they put a monkey in his stable to keep him company. The bird and the giraffes seem to happily coexist in the large mammals section, and I think this is a "companion bird", but I completely clueless about what it is. The poof on the head reminds me of a poodle. (18 comments)
For all of you carnivores out there, some of the best beef in the world comes from Kansas. Still, after almost a week here, I hadn't found any to add to my cow photo collection - until! We were tooling down a little dirt road outside of Wichita, Kansas when I saw this herd of longhorns. Now, I'm not sure whether they are cows or steers. But they sure looked stunning - especially the fellow in the middle, shown in his full glory to the right! While the northern part of the state is fairly green and hilly, the area (23 comments)
Mike Ferry's Thoughts on Communicating with People - 09/28/11 06:38 PM
Ok! Let's hear it for talking to people! Real estate is a contact sport, and wat too many of us think of a contact as a situation when there is an exchane of email, or when someone stumbles on our web site Mike Ferry has some words of wisdom on real communication. Via Mike Ferry (The Mike Ferry Organization): It's interesting that the Real Estate world is convinced that the web ... the internet ... social media ... are the answers to all the problems that we deal with. As most of you know, I get criticized on a daily, weekly, and monthly (6 comments)
Is The IRS Targeting Home Sellers? - 09/27/11 05:15 PM
So far this week, two favorite clients who sold homes a couple of years ago contacted me asking for help with IRS audits on the real estate transactions. And they didn't even get the federal tax credit, and there were no issues with short sales or foreclosures. These were "normal" transactions. In one case, the seller sold an investment condo for a bit less than she paid for it. The other sellers sold a primary residence for more than they paid for their home, but well within the $500,000 amount that is exempted from capital gains taxes. This is the first (72 comments)
What's in a Name? The Other Patricia Kennedy - 09/26/11 10:37 PM
The summer after my junior year of high school, I decided to reinvent myself. Everyone called me "Patty", and I decided that I wanted friends and family to call me "Trish", which I thought was a very much cooler name. OK, it was a much cooler name. In late June, I took off to go to music camp for six weeks at the University of Kansas (a little preview of college), and I began to use my new name. And when I went to classes and they called roll, I would hear them call, not Trish, but Irish Kennedy. This was (23 comments)
A Weekend on Memory Lane - 09/25/11 11:51 PM
In 1961, I graduated from Topeka High School, in a class with an amazing bunch of kids who grew into some pretty amazing adults. And this past weekend, we held our Golden Reunion.
It started off with a gathering Friday night, where we all decided that they should have much larger print on the name tags, which we really needed to help us recognize each other. After hellos and hugs, we met up on Saturday morning for a tour of our old Alma Mater. It's always been a beautiful school, but now it is on the National Reguister of Historic (11 comments)
For the last several days, I've been looking for some good old Kansas beef cattle to photograph. I've seen a few, but they were along the Kansas Turnpike as we were speeding by at the 80 or so miles an hour speed limit. But this little guy, who lives at the Topeka Zoo, will have to do for today's shot. When I first saw him, he was standing so still that I thought I was looking at a statue. Then he started to chew whatever was in his mouth. When I was growing up in Topeka, the zoo was pretty (12 comments)
Last Week's Favorites: September 18th - 25th - 09/25/11 09:34 AM
This Sunday is the Class Reunion edition of my weekly list of favorites. It's been a goofy week that's taken a bit of creativity when it comes to getting blogs posted. But today, with the luxury of the Ramada's high speed Internet, I doen't have to improvise to get the job done. So here goes! 1. Todd Clark: Would your clients buy a home again if they knew what they now know?Now this one had me scratching my head. Very intereting. 2. Bryan Robertson: Do fake comments boost your search ranking? This is sort of an interesting concept that has never (41 comments)
Friday Fotos: Topeka High School Tower - 09/24/11 12:22 AM
Friday Fotos: Topeka High School Tower This is the bell tower over the main entrance to Topeka High School, my alma mater. I remembered it as being a pretty place, and was wondering what it would look like after many years. It's still a pretty awesome structure. The reunion festivities began tonight and will continue over the weekend. It will be fun to once again roam the halls! (14 comments)
The Painted Ladies of Topeka, Kansas: The Potwin Historic Homes - 09/23/11 11:52 PM
When I was growing up in Topeka Kansas in the 1950's, Potwin was a neighborhood of big old Victorian and Queen Ann homes that had become rather thin at the elbows, often used as boarding houses or broken up into apartments. Now the neighborhood has blossomed, with some of the most beautiful restorations I've seen. Charles Wolcott Potwin bought 70 acres of land in near the Kansas River back in the 1890's, and divided it into 70 lots. If you wanted to buy one, you had to agree to build a house that cost at least $2,000 to build. In fact, (9 comments)
We pulled off the road right after we crossed the Ohio River leaving West Virginia, and I spotted these. As always, my camera was close at hand and I ran over and snapped a few. I had been looking for some great cow shots, but whenever I saw an opportunity, we couldn't pull over without risking getting rear ended. No cows to be seen in Indiana or Missouri, so maybe I'll get lucky in Kansas. For now, wildflowers will have to do. (13 comments)
There hasn't been much in way of scenery since Lexington, Kentucky. The last few states, Indiana, Ohio and Missouri, have been amber waves of grain. Until, that is, we hit Hannibal, Missouri on the road trip to Topeka. Now, Hannibal is a little out of the way, but Dick is sort of into the whole Tom Sawyer thing, so we put it on the itinerary. It's a charming town with lots of great historic homes, and lots of history. We also found fun. It was the Mark Twain, a riverboat that has been a fixture in the town since the (10 comments)
Why It Really May Be A Great Time To Buy A House - 09/20/11 10:30 PM
Why It Really May Be A Great Time To Buy A House Sure, you’re hearing it every time you run into a real estate agent: right now is the all time very best time to buy a house. Ok, sure. Interest rates are low – really low. And there are plenty of houses for sale, some of them more like fire sale. So there are lots of bargains out there. But there is one more reason that you don’t hear about. Back in the crazy days, everyone wanted to buy the same house you would want to buy. (8 comments)
That Earnest Money Check: Get It To The Bank! - 09/19/11 10:22 PM
That Earnest Money Check: Get It To The Bank! One of Washington’s best agents was forced to take a little break from real estate, and it was a simple, careless screw up that any of us could have made – or perhaps have made without getting in trouble for it. She wrote an offer for some clients and forgot to turn in the earnest money check for deposit within the time frame set forth in the contract. Somehow, the sellers and listing agent found our about it and someone got annoyed enough that they filed a formal complaint with the DC (20 comments)
Empire State of Mind | Let's hear it for New York - 09/19/11 10:32 AM
I love New York! And whenever I drop by to visit Mitchell Hall's blog, he reminds my why! I guyess that once you're a New Yorker, you're always a New Yorker! If you like it, drop by and leave a comment on Mitch's post. Via Mitchell Hall, Associate Broker New York, NY (The Corcoran Group):
These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you. Let's hear it for New York! An ode to New York City starring: Selita Ebanks, Karlie Kloss, Constance Jablonski, Jourdan Dunn, Daphne Groeneveld, Edita Vilkeviciute, Hailey Clauson, Josephine Skriver, Zuzanna Bijoch, Shu (3 comments)
A Visit to the Flight 93 National Memorial - 09/18/11 10:32 PM
The Flight 93 National Memorial Ten years ago, there was no flag flying over this field of golden wild flowers in this southwestern Pennsylvania field. Today, it is a memorial to the crew and passengers of United Airline's Flight 93, who decided to do something when they realized the terrorists who hijacked their flight were preparing to hurl them all into the United States’ Capitol. We spent this morning at the recently opened memorial to the 40 heroes who forced the plane down in this rural Pennsylvania field. There is a display with photos of each of the passengers and (18 comments)
The Pittsburgh Plate Glass buildings are the most striking feature of Pittsburgh's skyline. No surprise, they are constructed of glass, plate glass, perhaps? And they reflect the sky and the buildings around them.
The group of buildings that make up PPG Place consist of an office tower and several smaller buildings. They were designed by architects Philip Johnson & John Burgee
I took this shot from Market Square in Pittsburgh after enjoying a latte at Starbucks. (11 comments)
Last Weeks Favorites: September 11th - 18th - 09/18/11 09:08 AM
This is another edition of Last Week's Favorites written on the road. We're in a sweet little town in southern Pennsylvania about to leave for the Flight 93 Memorial, a few miles away. That will make an interesting post for later in the day. But here goes for this one: 1. Paula Hamilton: A LOCALISM POST FROM AFAR! Paula's photos were just amazing with this one, and the girl clearly knows how to vacation - a lost art for many of us. 2. Evelyn Kennedy: ALAMEDA NEIGHBORHOODS - THE FERNSIDE It's sort of unusual for me to include neighborhood posts, but (36 comments)
I found this when I was transferring photos to a new computer. It's from a trip to Hawaii, and it's a lava tube on the Big Island, near the Kilauea volcano. You can actually walk through the tunnels that were created when hot lava was coursing through them. Since then, they have cooled off a lot. And they are such evidence of the amazing power of Mother Nature to create beautiful things! I want to go back! (20 comments)
Every time I drive to or from work, I drive along Rock Creek. It's part of my day most of the time. On my way home the other day, I pulled into the parking lot just north of Pierce Mill to say hello. And the creek greeted me with a sublime scent from these white flowers along the shore. One of my favorite things about living in Washington is the abundance of natural beauty in the city. Rock Creek Park runs along a thiry mile path from Gaithersburg to the Potomac River - another awesome work of nature.
If (24 comments)
Are we too focused on quantity of transactions? What about quality? - 09/13/11 11:07 PM
Back when I worked for a big box brokerage, we had quarterly meeting with our managing broker to discuss our goals, and how on track we were in meeting them. Then one year, I told my broker that I wanted to set my annual goals in terms of qualitative markers, not quantitative. She looked at me like I was nuts. And perhaps I was - and still am. But I am a firm believer that when your focus is on the quality of each transaction, that the quantity will take care of itself. So what does a high quality transaction look (28 comments)
If you are buying a house, should you use a broker's one-stop-shop operation? - 09/12/11 11:39 PM
Many of the big box real estate firms around the country offer what they call "One Stop Shop" services for their clients. If you use one of their agents, you will probably be encouraged to use the company's affiliated mortgage and settlement companies. Is this a good idea? Bottom line - NO! At least not always. Their services might be price competitive, and the companies providing them might even be competent. But the operative word here is "MIGHT". Good agents will give you a list of good service providers, and it's good to call around to check their rates and charges. (16 comments)
Rock Creek Park's Pierce Mill - 09/11/11 10:05 PM
When I first moved to Washington back in the 1970's one of my neighbors suggested that we take a hike to Rock Creek Park's Pierce Mill. It is the last of eight mills build along Rock Creek in the 1800's. By 1980, it was still operating, and they actually sold flour that they made on the site. The mill has been closed for several years, and is currently undergoing some major renovations (yes, your stimulus money at work). In 1820, Isaac Pierce opened the mill, which used state of the art technology for the time. It operated as a mill until (7 comments)
Have You Looked at Your Home's Virtual Tour? - 09/11/11 09:07 PM
The online photos of your house are your best chance to make a great first impression with buyers. So they have to be good. Really good. If you are selling a home, one of your listing agent's most important jobs is to take great photos of your place, do a good job of editing, and get them posted, both on your area's multiple listing service and on the many other sites where we post listing information - Active Rain, Trulia.com, Zillow.com to name few. Once this is done, you should be able to Google your home address to get an idea (8 comments)
I must give credit here to my sister, Joan. She took this with her IPhone camera and I messed with it a bit in I-Photo. This one illustrates something: You can never ever tell what will happen with land that is adjacent to any house you buy. A few months ago, this was a vacant field with tall grass out in Loudoun County. Then the owners decided to lease it as pasture land, and these beautiful creatures showed up. I'm told they are show cattle. The last time I showed up with my own camera, they were way on the (11 comments)
Last Week's Favorites: September 4th - 11th - 09/11/11 10:16 AM
What a week! It's been Raining, literally! Cats and dogs! Here in Washington, it was too soggy for a lot of us to lure buyers out to look for their dream home, and we were all worried about water in basements - our own and our listings. But it wasn't too soggy to blog. So here are the favorites from my week's readings: 1. Mike Cooper: Never Grab A Dog's Food Bowl At Dinner Time This one has some smart advice we can't hear too often. 2. Greg Nino: Are You An Activerain DRAMA Queen?!? You're probably not, but this still (28 comments)
Thursday's Meet-Up at Samuel Becket's - 09/10/11 10:43 AM
It was a cold and rainy night. Well, at least a very rainy night! But that did not deter these Active Rain bloggers from assembling at Arlington's Samuel Becket's last Thursday. Cindy Jones organized the whole thing and selected the centrally-located venue in Arlington. And it was fun to meet some new bloggers and reconnect with old friends. Even though a lot of people had to cancel because of the awful weather, Jay Markanich managed to get here from way south - almost Richmond! And Maryland's top blogger, Fernando Herboso, managed to come all the way from Gaithersburg. So (22 comments)
Usually, water sort of drips over this old dam. Now, after a lot of rain, there is a lot of water in Rock Creek. But what I really noticed as I tried to frame this photo, was the blue sky over the trees! Alas, it was quite short lived. It's been raining on and off throught dinner. Once again, the skies are gray and rain is falling. But while I was in the park with my camera, it was just beautiful. So Where is the Leprechaun?
If you are planning a move to or from the Washington, DC area, (14 comments)
We All Need to be Real Estate Consumers Every So Often. - 09/08/11 09:22 PM
I have totally forgotten how stressful it is to sell a house. I mean, it's only been 30 years since I sold my old condo. And while I think I'm pretty empathetic toward my clients, there is nothing like going through it to bring back the reality of what a pain it is to be a seller. I'm being smart about selling my mother's house. Instead of trying to list it myself, I've hired a terrific agent - Active Rain's own Margaret Rome. Yesterday was not easy. The Baltimore area where the house is located had about two feet of rain (20 comments)
Active Rain MeetUp-NOVA, DC, MD-Did We Mention You Get Points For Attending? - 09/08/11 09:59 AM
This is a little reminder to all of you Active Rain blogger to be there or be square! I think it is going to be a really fun time for all of us! Via Cindy Jones-Northern Virginia Real Estate & Military Relocation Services (CJ Realty Group, Inc.): Active Rain Meetups are happening across the country next week. Those of us who live in Northern Virginia, DC and MD don't want to miss out on the fun. We've got our time and place picked out. Now all we need is YOU! Active Rain MeetUp.When: September 8, 2011 Time: 5-7 PM ( or longer if (10 comments)
We've had a lot of rain lately. And yesterday walking to my car, I saw this in the strip between the sidewalk and the street. It looks like the kind of toad stool that need a little green man sitting on it smoking a pipe! And of course, I had to wonder if it was an edible mushroom? Or would it make me loopy if I ate it? I left it alone. It's getting as big as a fire hydrand, and who knows what the local dogs are doint ot it! (18 comments)
Is your listing agent afraid of your house? - 09/06/11 09:30 PM
Recently I got a call from an agent who had listed a house in my neighborhood. The conversation went something like this: "Hi, this is Pat!" "Pat hi, this is Nelly Nervous and I just listed a house on your block. The seller wants me to do open houses, and I just wondered if it was safe." "Well, I've been holding opens of that block for years, and I've never had issues." "My boyfriend is a policeman, and I'm bringing him with me." "Well, you'll probably have lots of traffic, so he may be able to help you show the place." (48 comments)
Terrible Traffic Tuesday in DC - 09/05/11 11:14 PM
Terrible Traffic Tuesday It's late Monday night, and I was just reminded that tomorrow has to be an early morning. Why? Is the office meeting starting early? No. It's the first work day after Labor Day, and traffic is notoriously awful here in DC. Typically, everyone who can gets outa' Dodge during August, usually heading for one of the nearby beaches. And typically they all come back Labor Day weekend. So while it takes a few minutes to get from my house to the office before Labor Day, tomorrow's trip is likely to take a while longer. I'm luckier than most (16 comments)
Ellicott City, Maryland was established a long time ago - 1772 to be exact. And my guess is that this house is one of the earlier homes, perched on a bluff over the Patapsco River. From the looks of the place, it has seen better days over the last two hundred plus years, and it also appears to be in the middle of a major renovation. If the current owners are fixing the house up to sell, I'd suggest that the new buyers might want to get Jay Markanich to go over the place for them - he's amazing with (17 comments)
Politics and Prose: The Quintessential Washington, DC Bookstore - 09/04/11 10:31 AM
Politics and Prose: The Quintessential Washington, DC Bookstore We've seen a huge chain of big box book stores close its doors over the past few months, and at the same time, Politics and Prose, a small, neighborhood bookstore on Connecticut Avenue thrives. And it's made it while the giants have struggled for a bunch of reasons.
First, they've made it interesting. And second, they really understand their customers and what their reading tastes are. They have a large selection of books. There are lots of comfortable places where you can sit and try one on before you buy it. (13 comments)
Last Week's Favorites: August 28th - September 4th - 09/04/11 09:34 AM
Things are sort of back to normal. We made it home from New York, and there has been an entire week with no earthquakes or hurricanes in our nation's Capital. So I'm also back to the normal edition of Last Week's Favorites. And here goes: 1.Steve Roake: Buyer's Bible Well, Steve! You did manage to hit all of the items on my personal wish list when it comes to buyers! 2. Scott Hayes: How Much Will Real Estate Affect The 2012 Elections? Now this is the question of the year! 3. Deborah Byron Leffler: Dear Mr Seller......Do you Really Want to (38 comments)
About a week after I moved to Washington from New York, one of my new neighbors invited me to come with her on a grocery shopping expedition. But we did not go to Safeway or Giant. Instead, she introduced me to a magical place, the Bethesda Farm Women's Cooperative, that has become one of my favorite hunting and gathering spots. The market is located at 7155 Wisconsin Avenue, just above Leland Street, and about a mile north of the District line. And there is plenty of metered parking in the adjacent public lot. Since the 1930's, local farm women have (16 comments)
When I first moved to New York back in the '60s, I lived in a residence for music students near Riverside Drive, and it's always been one of my favorite places. I took this one last Saturday during a walk up Riverside Drive. The city is full of these beautiful little surprises, and this fountain was one of them. It was near the 79th Street Boat Basin, where we went to check out the boats and Riverside Park. I want to move back there! (5 comments)
Holding a Grudge! Another Huge Lender Is On My Bad Guy List! - 09/02/11 10:27 AM
One thing the big banks don't take into consideration when they put together their business plans is the size and scope of the grudge each real estate agent carries around when they create issues in a transaction. I just closed a transaction with one of the two largest lenders in the country. It's been getting a difficult reputation for bad appraisals, and they set up a new division here in DC that is supposed to be working more like a local bank. They have been wining and dining agents in my office and touting their ability to use "local" appraisers in (36 comments)
Lower Manhattan: After the Storm - 09/01/11 01:09 PM
After Hurricane Irene passed over Manhattan, the first part of the New York City public transportation system to go back into service was the Staten Island Ferry. So we hopped a cab to Battery Park and decided to hop aboard for a free ride. As the ferry pulled away from the dock, I pulled out my handy little Lumix Camera and began to take lots of shots of the skyline. Then I noticed - the big oops! I had left the memory card at the hotel! Luckily, I had a spare camera with a card inserted and was able to grab (15 comments)
Pat Kennedy -- author of The Irreverent Guide to Real Estate -- gives you a look at life on the streets as a real estate broker in our nation's capital. And her blog is peppered with great advice combined with humor!
Disclaimer: ActiveRain Corp. does not necessarily endorse the real estate agents, loan officers and brokers listed on this site. These real estate profiles, blogs and blog entries are provided here as a courtesy to our visitors to help them make an informed decision when buying or selling a house. ActiveRain Corp. takes no responsibility for the content in these profiles, that are written by the members of this community.