We're downsizing.... - 06/28/12 02:37 PM
OK. I've got 5 of these machines only one has been placed and used. I know one of my Activerain friends would like to start a little side business. Load them up with candy and set them out with businesses you trust and make a little pocket money. You can buy the candy in big bags at places like Sam's or Costco. I really need to get rid of them so I don't have to move them. Buy one for $150.00 plus shipping or all of them for $400 and I'll pay shipping. You can even have one around the house
We just thought it was hot last time. And we're not talking market! - 06/26/12 01:33 PM
A couple of weeks ago we thought it was hot and posted a photo of the thermometer on our patio..... it was right at 100 degrees.
Well.......... here's today's look at the old temperature teller..... 108 degrees plus the heat index.
This is just crazy hot!! And when you add humidity.... well..... the heat index shoots up faster than a skyrocket. The humidity must be around 100%.
Now.... if we can just get the market in our area to heat up like the weather!!!!
Trash or treasure - 06/24/12 07:07 PM
When I was a child there was a tallow tree in the back yard.
It was large and dropped a lot of berries and leaves on the yard.
My Dad always called it a "trash" tree.
Yesterday in the brutal Houston heat, we enjoyed shade from a large tree whose spreading branches provided spectators of a flag football game with expansive comfort.
When I looked up to see what kind of tree it was, I was surprised to find it was a tallow
Thankfully someone planted it at just the right spot for our
Non Conventional Use of a Ski - 06/24/12 06:44 PM
If you have ever tried to conquer the use of skis, this photo may speak to your inner child.
Skis usually involve water or snow. This one has a unique angle and use.
The previous owner of our house had a very creative mind. He thought way outside the box and did not believe in wasting anything.
This clever bird feeder has provided us with hours of entertainment. Birds love it from its knobby fennel on top to the plastic sides which allow viewing the seed collection being provided.
Squirrels love this backyard art too. The routes
Goat Lovers unite! - 06/24/12 06:34 PM
As we drove around Montgomery Texas a couple of days ago we happened upon a piece of local history.
This statue and placard are about a well loved goat! Goat? Doesn't everyone love them?
Having attempted to own two in the past, I am well aware that most are extremely hard headed, destructive and smelly!
None of those facts seemed to deter the citizens of Montgomery from taking this goat to raise.
There is lots of local color in this small town. The parks and the antique district are worthy of lots of time. That
The tears started flowing and her frustration just boiled over... - 06/24/12 06:15 AM
Our friend Peggy has written a good piece on the frustrations you may experience when using a "door opener". There is tremendous benefit in using a full service Realtor to help you find and purchase a home. Even though Peggy is out in VA the advice and information will apply where you are and certainly in our area.
Via Peggy James-Full Time REALTOR® I Serve The Lake Ridge Virginia Area (Exit Choice Realty):
Recently, a local homeowner called me because she felt she and her husband needed help finding their move-up home. They do no have to sell their current home. That said, I requested to meet them where they
Seasonal Beauty - 06/21/12 03:33 PM
If you are only going to look good for a couple of weeks, you may be related to this usually ordinary looking flower.
It is a plumaria. Brings new meaning to the word dull until it blooms forth with magnificent bracts and color.
This week was its time to make every other plant in the garden look second rate.
The first year we spent with the plant it did not give us any clue that it could become a show stopper. All we got was greenery.
Last year the bloom gave us a short period
It's Official.... - 06/20/12 12:06 PM
Today it has a reason to be as hot as it has been since March!
Today is the summer solstice!
Summer is a hot season in many ways. It is one of the most active selling times.
People covet more time for sun and fun. This means longer traffic times than usual as we all attempt to get to leisure activities.
The weather this year has been unseasonably hot.
Since the temps climbed into the high 80s and low 90s right about the time we were expecting Spring weather, we are braced for extremes now.
Unexpected Blessing ~ Beauty is all around us. - 06/20/12 11:52 AM
Under the unexpected blessing category came this never seen by us beauty.
We are not sure if he is a moth or a butterfly but we think he is a butterfly.
What we do know is that he fluttered in and took up a space under our patio cover.
When he was first sighted, we were not sure if he was a bat, a bird or a butterfly.
He has remained still for about an hour now. Staying right where he touched down he has allowed for several up close photos.
Having lived in this area most
Ever had an Identity Crisis? - 06/19/12 03:03 PM
This photo is of a red headed woodpecker who for an entire season insisted upon attempting to gain nourishment from this hummer feeder.
The entire situation was awkward. He was way too large to fit on the perch. He was also too heavy. He regularly knocked the bottom off.
That was annoying on many levels. First the food drained out on the ground. Second the spilling usually happened while we were at work. Third the nectar on the ground attracted ants. And the food being missing meant that the humming birds did not get the food intended
The Non-Paying Boarder - 06/19/12 10:27 AM
When we look out our back windows we frequently see native wildlife.
This young squirrel spends a lot of time luxuriating in this feeder.
It is difficult to keep seeds in the feeder due to animals passing thru it on their way to a more substantial one within jumping distance.
During a gentle rain today the squirrel spent most of the morning swinging gently. Protected from the rain and within easy reach of sunflower seeds, this squirrel habitat is no doubt a highly desire able place to stay.
My favorite places to stay involve
Old Town Spring ~ Independence Day Celebration - 06/19/12 10:11 AM
Plan now for a Happy Birthhday America celebration!
As we did our errands yesterday we passed through one of the area pieces of Americana.
We noted that there is a major event being planned. You are cordially invited to come share in the celebration according to the sign!
Spring Texas has evolved into a quaint shopping extravaganza.
Antique buildings line several streets . They house everything from health foods, to antiques, to hot sauce, to hardware and various eating establishments from cotton candy and sno-cones to burgers to some things much nicer and heathier!
King of the coop.... - 06/18/12 07:08 PM
This rooster looks as though he would like to carry on a conversation.
He could explain the pecking order in this particular coop. He could only if he knew about it.
His predecessor got so aggressive that he had to be disposed of. He had taken it upon himself to personally
de-feather all the other birds who lived there then.
He made a handsome stuffing that sits over our sons desk. I guess that proves that everything does have a value. This serves as a reminder that ruling the roost comes with a cost.
Tree Houses - 06/17/12 06:07 PM
This tree house is very similar to the one my sons Dad built for him about thirty years ago.
It is so neat to see history repeating itself. The hours He and his brothers played in that structure were fun to watch.
The construction used to build the original tree house taught this son some of the basics of building.
Those skills have been just a few this now successful commercial realtor learned from observing those around him.
Time spent with our children produces great dividends. Time is one of the most precious gifts any
Today is a Multiple Holiday day! - 06/17/12 05:14 PM
While everyone has been paying great homage to us Fathers there are other notable holidays that are reserved for today!
Today is Eat Your Vegetables day. Remember how your parents always told you to eat your vegetables? Well, this is the day! Think about it vegies are great for good health and long life and they're tasty. Practice your good nutrition by substituting a veggie for some junk food today.
Then there's the Bunker Hill Day! Which commerates the Battle of Bunker Hill that took place in 1775! One of the many battles of the Revolutionary War. So while you're giving
Little room at the top.... - 06/17/12 04:12 PM
Everyone should have a bird feeder in their yard.
A simple thing like that provides so many visuals.
Last night we had a dove making a valiant attempt to sit on the very top.
He looks like a fancy knob.
It seemed to be a slippery place to sit but he seemed bent on staying there no matter what the cost.
As I have mentioned before, there are yard cars out there. Ending up on the ground can have adverse effects.
How like our careers!
Being on top is never easy
Pain impacts lots of thing... - 06/17/12 11:01 AM
After spending several years recovering from an illness which put me in a wheelchair for months, I have become accustomed to being pain free!
It is so much better than being uncomfortable 24/7!
Getting off all the prescribed drugs including Morphine was freeing! I made a mental note NOT to go back there!
Then out of the clear sky pain assailed my right foot yesterday. It was probably due to something I ate!
No kidding! What We put into our bodies is incredibly important!
There had also been a lot of stress during the week.
Skeletal reminders.... - 06/17/12 07:44 AM
This large and lovely tract of land in Northwest Houston offers sad reminders of the drought of last summer.
Trees are a large part of the appeal for the area. They offer feelings of serenity and often provide enough shade to make temperatures more temperate.
The dead tree fringe is beautiful in its own way.
Since they do not threaten to fall on any structures or roadways, they may be allowed to stay right where they are.
They do not offer shade or the ability to clean up the air as to the live trees.
Rainy Day Mondays.... - 06/17/12 07:35 AM
Refreshing rain fell at the first of the week.
It was appreciated by all residents in this area. The plants seem to sigh a grateful sound as they turn their blossoms and leaves to the sky to absorb the wetness.
When rain falls in large quantities over short periods of time it fills up spaces not necessarily able to contain it. Such is the case in our yard.
It is times like this that we rejoice in the fact that we have created some drainage channels in the yard.
Right off our patio is one of those
Last minute cold feet... - 06/17/12 07:25 AM
Fifteen minutes before our scheduled closing on Friday we got a call from the buyer. He wanted to do a walk through on the house he is supposed to be buying. Fortunately the property is only a couple of miles from the Title Company
Yesterday? This morning? An hour ago?
All of those would have been much better options for a walk through.
Ralph took off to meet the buyer at the house. He left me behind to meet the sellers and anyone else who might be involved.
This has been a long two months with one
Jockey for position.... - 06/14/12 09:51 AM
Have you noticed how all of the animal species (and people included) compete to be number one?
The squirrels in our yard provided us with this visual today as they continually changed positions on their favorite feeder.
One squirrel was dominating the space. There was plenty of area for two to enjoy adequate room but that was clearly not allowable.
Most of the Real Estate offices I have been affiliated with over the past 34 years are similar.
There is always one or two agents who dominate the office. Sometimes it is because they are
Rest and Relaxation... - 06/13/12 08:27 AM
As I glanced out the back window, I noticed a bird was sitting on the back fence.
It appeared to be a dove.
Since we were adopted by our backyard cats, we stopped feeding birds a while back. It seemed to make sense to choose one or the other.
After a while I noticed the bird was still there. I sat and watched him preen and stretch.
He was apparently totally comfy. Again I was concerned for his safety.
A. Full hour later I asked Ralph to go and check on this placid bird.
Should You Choose An Old or Young Agent? - 06/12/12 02:41 AM
Our friend Debbie has written an insightful piece on choosing an agent. We agree! It's far more important to select agent who will listen and is competent rather than how old or how young the agent is.
Via Debbie Reynolds, "The Real Debbie Reynolds" (Prudential Professionals Realty):
Should You Choose An Old or Young Agent?
In Clarksville TN and in other market areas, there is an abundance of real estate agents to choose from. First there is a difference between just being licensed as a real estate agent and being a Realtor. A Realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors
Inspectors...... - 06/11/12 07:34 AM
According to our latest experiences it appears that potential buyers hire inspectors to make the buyers question and be uncomfortable.
The first offer we had a few days after going on the market was evaluated by the inspector. He spent three and a half hours finding that the house has original galvanized plumbing and the federal breaker box that it was built with. Does the plumbing leak....NO. Is the Federal breaker panel in good order? YES.... we had previously had a Master Electrician check it out since we had heard that people sometimes have concerns. He didn't recommend changing it
Don't Forget to Laugh! - 06/11/12 05:05 AM
Some very good thoughts from our friend Amy! Most of us rush through life focused on various goals and forget there is more to life than stress and goals. Don't forget to laugh often and to stop and smell the roses.
Via Amy Hahn, REALTOR®, Crystal Coast, NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty):
Don't Forget to Laugh Today!
"If you are too busy to laugh, you are too busy".
"At the height of laughter, the universe is flung into a kaleidoscope of new possibilities"
"What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul".
11 Ways to Protect Your Family from Common Household Poisoning - 06/10/12 06:12 AM
Our friends Wayne and Jean have posted very important information that we want to share with you. There is absolutely no need for anyone in this day and age to be uninformed and thus in danger. Take precautions and pay attention to detail when it comes to medications and products around the house that contain toxic chemicals.
Via Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl (Hallmark Realtors):
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 87 people die every day as a result of accidental poisoning of household chemicals. An additional 2277 people are treated in emergency rooms every day.
The most common cause of accidentaly
Stems and Quinoa.... a tasty concoction!! - 06/08/12 05:04 PM
All my life I have washed the greens and cut off the stems.
Then it occurred to me that those stems might be highly nutritious and they might also be tasty.
They offer an extension of your food budget! Today that is just one more consideration.
So, if you feel adventurous, here are the preparation instructions.
Cut the stems from two bunches of mustard greens from the leafy part. (Or whatever green you enjoy)
In a frying pan melt two teaspoons of butter. Add a tablespoon full of grape seed oil.
Don't forget to pack the cat! - 06/08/12 12:23 PM
During our several months of downsizing efforts we have frequently left empty boxes unattended.
This seems to be more temptation than our cats can withstand.
This one seems to be either determined to slow down our progress , or perhaps to remind us that she needs to go with us.
I wonder what she is thinking.
It may be that the box represents nothing more than a previously unexplored space.
If there were some way to assure her that we would not consider leaving home without her it would be less stressful to see her hunkered
Gutterfall.... - 06/08/12 03:22 AM
Perhaps it was the drought of last summer that makes my heart sing at the sight of substantial rainfall.
Perhaps it is my love for plants and trees that makes me rejoice when we get abundant rain.
Growing up in "Swamp City USA". I took rain for granted. It was inconvenient. It made my hair fall and soggified many a pair of shoes.
Rain causes problems with traffic and makes getting anywhere a roaring pain.
It makes showing property difficult if not totally impossible.
After last summer and watching trees I loved die due to lack
The Purple Elephant - 06/07/12 04:31 PM
If it weren't for the fact that we will be moving out of state in about a month I would really like to put this in the front yard just to frustrate the Home Owner Association Nazi's. After all it doesn't say you "can't" have a purple elephant.
Something from nothing... - 06/07/12 03:44 PM
Tis the season to enjoy the smells of freshly mowed hay.
One of the genuine joys of working in the country is enjoying the genuine sights and smells of simple pleasures.
Fields where hay is still being grown are becoming more and more rare on our daily drives.
This year there was adequate rainfall to allow for a couple of cuttings.
With the intense heat we have been enduring since March, it was still a surprise to see how quickly this field went from hay on the ground to massive bales.
This is a
House Wrens - 06/07/12 03:06 PM
Although I currently consider our patio too beastly hot for habitation right at this time, there are a couple of house wrens looking it over.
There are several bird houses out there. They are mostly ornamental, but have been objects of great interest to these personable birds.
At the corner of the patio, where the cover attaches to the house, an extension formed by an expired license plate makes the most interesting of the housing sites.
Both birds have been in and out several times.
Sort of reminds me of the people who have come to see
Flutterby! - 06/07/12 09:14 AM
" Did you ever watch a butterfly
Flutter by high in the sky?"
Did you wish he could tell you about where he had been?
Did you hope that he would come back again?".
The butterfly in the photo, or one just like him has frequented the lantana bush right off the patio on a regular basis over the past few weeks.
Having no idea what lantana tastes like, we can only guess that it has something pleasant to offer!
It is always a delight to have butterfly's frequent our yard.
The Top 10 Credit Don'ts During the Home Loan Process - 06/06/12 11:36 AM
Our friend Alyssa has written a great post on a bunch of big no-no's during your home loan process. You all would do well to heed this advice to the letter. We've had buyers go and do some of these things after we told them not to. The right thing to do is JUST DON'T! Until your new home loan has closed!!
Via Alyssa Samuelson, CDPE CRS ABR SFR GRI FTHBC (Success Real Estate Group/Apartment Source):
THE TOP 10 CREDIT DON’TS
DURING THE HOME LOAN PROCESS
1. DON’T DO ANYTHING THAT WILL CAUSE A RED FLAG TO BE
Question : Aluminum Wiring - What Would You Say to Family, Clients. - 06/06/12 11:31 AM
Our friend Robert answers some of the questions that we hear all th time about Aluminum wiring. You just need to be aware of the problems that you "might" encounter if the home you have fallen in love with has Aluminum wiring.
Via Robert Butler, Montreal, Canada Home Inspector (Aspect Inspection):
Question : Aluminum Wiring - What Would You Say to Family, Clients.
I wrote this email answer to a nephew's question about aluminum wiring systems. (He's house hunting.)
Aluminum wire replaced copper in the 70s (for a while) because of cost.
Allowances were not made (at first) for the different properties
Inspection again..... - 06/05/12 08:27 PM
We just spent the day preparing for and hosting an inspection. Again!
We underwent the process in February when the inspector insisted that the house had to have the galvanized pipes and electric panel box replaced.
We were not in the mood to replace things that were still serviceable so the transaction fell apart.
Another aspect of that transaction was that the agents husband was a contractor who was planning a major renovation for whatever that client bought.
We felt that whole thing was a huge conflict of interest. In fact, we still do!
Par broiled people..... - 06/05/12 01:41 PM
Some climates are downright unfriendly!
This year has been especially uncomfortable. In March the temps were already in the 80s. Spring sprung and flowers dependent upon cool died off early.
As June descended upon us the thermomator has soared. With the high temps and high humidity, it feels like we live in a permanent sauna.
Getting dressed in the morning means deciding how much you wish to sweat. The sweat is inevitable even if you are mostly working in air conditioning. You do have to get from place to place. Even with good air conditioning in your vehicle,
FAQ 10: Why do I need a pre-approval letter? - 06/04/12 03:11 AM
Having a letter of pre approval is an invaluable tool.
The letter shows that you have been in touch with a lender. It also shows that you are qualified to get a loan. At least there is a professional who feels good about your chances of getting through the loan process.
The seller is considering not only the offer you have made, but they are faced with whether they need to take their active property off the market to allow you to do inspections etc.
Having a letter from a relatively unbiased person is like having an
FAQ 8: Why should I have to pay for the appraisal when I buy a home? - 06/03/12 06:21 AM
The appraisal is required by the lender.
Since it is a part of the buyers loan, it is normally paid for at closing by the buyer. Some lenders require the appraisal fee be collected with the application fee.
Appraisals are important! If the property does not appraise for the contract amount, there are issues.
Lenders require appraisals to assure themselves that the property is worth what the buyer is paying.
No one wants to pay more than a property is worth.
The lender wants assurance that if you have to sell, you can get the
FAQ 7: What's the difference between a CMA and an Appraisal? - 06/02/12 06:36 PM
Real estate agents usually use a "competitive market analysis" or CMA when they get ready to put a house on the market.
The process involves a study of what is actively on the market and what has sold in the past six months.
The houses used in the study should be as close in size and amenities to the subject property as possible.
There is usually no charge for a CMA. They are offered as a free service to the seller. The information gleaned in the study helps the agent who does it make determinations about how to
FAQ 6: Why should I get a home inspection? - 06/02/12 06:29 PM
A home inspection functions to let you know the general condition of the property you are considering purchasing .
The inspector goes through the house and checks all the internal systems, checks for structure problems and generally looks for anything that may cause you to need repairs right away.
When you are buying a house that is not new it is unrealistic to expect it to be in new condition.
It is not unreasonable to have wiring and plumbing checked out.
If you are going to expect the seller to bring the property up to the codes
FAQ 9: How should I choose a lender? - 06/01/12 08:22 AM
The lender is one of the most important parts of your transaction.
Experience is a must. There is also a certain amount of creativity needed. There is basic knowledge required but since every transaction is different it takes the ability to be flexible.
Having someone who can communicate will preserve your sanity. Be sure that the lender you chose listens to you and your concerns.
The market is extremely odd right now. We recently had a client who was putting $200k down on a $400k house.
He had chosen to work with the company who held his
FAQ 5: Who pays your fee? - 06/01/12 07:14 AM
A Real Estate agent can be paid a fee for services by either the buyer or the seller.
It is determined by your Buyer Broker representation form and Information About Brokerage Services.
This is a form that you should be presented with at the beginning if your relationship.
In many cases the seller pays the fees of both the listing and selling agents.
If you want to assure that your agent is working only for you it may be that you will want to work out an agreement where you agree to pay the agent yourself.
FAQ 4: How are you different for other area agents? - 06/01/12 04:19 AM
Just as every person has unique characteristics and skills, Realtors vary.
Some are very serious. Some are lots of fun. Some are detailed and some are not. Many agents have spent a lot of time and money getting extra education. This results in their earning "designations."
Some agents specialize in certain areas. Others will work anywhere and learn the area you are interested in.
In some cases agents will tuck you under their wings and guide you every step of the way.
Ralph and I have 58 years of combined experience listing and selling.