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Friday, April 27, 2012

Great things at the Ford Center

I have heard from many people that Evansville doesn't have enough to do, which I completely disagree with.  I have traveled to several other cities, and the options that Evansville offers are as good, if not better, than many places I've been.  The night life in Evansville has a diverse array of options for people looking to socialize or dance, as well as plenty of dining options ranging from fast food to gourmet meals.  Downtown has been an area that I've loved to frequent for years.  Walking along the river front, or grabbing a pint with friends at Ri Ra, the local Irish pub, have been some of the options that I've thoroughly enjoyed.

Since the opening of the Ford Center, I have found myself drawn even stronger to the downtown area!  This year marked the first season that I have ever attended and Evansville IceMen game, and I was hooked from the start!  I never understood the excitement that was associated with a professional ice hockey match, until I was able to witness the action in person!  Attending games with friends was a great, affordable option for Friday or Saturday night entertainment!

Last night marked the opening night for Quidam at the Ford Center.  This performance of the Cirque du Soleil is INCREDIBLE.  Everything from the lighting, staging and sound to the unbelievable acrobatics and athleticism of the performers left me in complete awe.  It was mind boggling to see the talent and humor that went in to creating this show, and some of the performances left me questioning the reality of what I had just witnessed!  I consider myself lucky to live in a city, such as Evansville, that makes seeing performances like this affordable and convenient!

If anyone has been to the Ford Center, I would love to hear your thoughts about the arena, or any event that you might have seen.  Check out my latest newsletter for some spring cleaning tips and a playlist of songs to help keep you motivated. As always, feel free to subscribe and share to your friends and family!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Technology in the house

Technology has made a major impact on day to day life for all of us.  Advancements in technology have changed the way we do almost everything, including the way we communicate, travel, and even our lives at home.  Thanks to cell phones and cable Internet connections, you will be hard pressed to find too many people who still have a land-line phone.  Through the creation of social media and text messaging, even talking on the phone or sending an email is becoming an archaic form of communication for some.  While people learn to grow and adapt all sorts of new technology, it is interesting to see how it can be utilized in the home.

As I had mentioned previously, the Internet has been a huge leap forward for tech in the home.  Almost everyone I know has a high-speed connection in their home.  Thanks to search engines like Google, people can go online and quickly find where to purchase goods and services, as well as finding reviews on the products or providers they are viewing.  The Internet has also changed the way people view home projects.  Landscaping ideas, and other home renovation projects can now be done by homeowners more easily since step-by-step guides, and even how-to videos can be found online through a quick search!

I am excited to watch technology change, and to see how this can make changes to aspects of our life that we take for granted.  I recently stumbled across an article that shows how scientists have discovered a way to turn a person into their own key to their front door.  Over at popsci.com, they wrote an article entitled Doors Unlock With Keyed Vibrations Sent From Your Smartphone Through Your Bones  Simply put, they have found a way to utilize a smart phone, or wrist watch, to send vibrations through the bones in your hand that sync up with a specific vibration pattern to unlock your front door to your home!  The article goes on to explain other aspects of our life that could be drastically changed by this technology!

This idea has a futuristic quality about it that might put some people off, but there are other forms of technology that have been developed that change the way people can utilize space in their homes more effectively.  This video shows furniture that has been designed to help utilize space in smaller apartments in cities such as New York.  Even though this furniture may not be necessary in your home, the technology that has been designed to create this furniture could eventually be utilized to enhance storage areas for homes that may be lacking in closets or other space.  

Technology continues to be developed at a rapid pace with the goal of making our lives easier.  Let me know your thoughts on the technology described here, or any other innovations that might have made your life easier.  As always, feel free to share with a friend!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Home Inspections

Buying a home is exciting for many people.  In the majority of the population, a home purchase is the largest financial transaction that they are likely to make, which can also make the process somewhat nerve-wracking.  Since a Buyer is going to be spending a lot of money, and committing to pay back the mortgage for the next 15 to 30 years, they want to make sure the home is in good condition when they move in.

As a Realtor® I always advise my clients to have a home inspection by a certified home inspector.  There are several inspectors in our area who do a wonderful job at pointing out items in the home that Buyers should be aware of when purchasing real estate.  Home inspectors usually offer a variety of tests that can be done.  A whole house inspection reveals a lot of information about the home including: the structure of the home; condition of the wiring and electrical systems, HVAC, and central air conditioning; condition and installation of plumbing and appliances; as well as the condition exterior items, such as the roof and crawlspace.  This is a very general overlook of what home inspectors examine when they are at your home.  In addition, other test can be ordered depending on the needs of a specific Buyer for a specific home.  Termites are a common problem in Southwestern Indiana, so we often recommend having the home for the presence of termites. Septic inspections are recommended for any home with a septic system, and Radon tests are useful in many homes with basements.  As a Buyer, you can ask your agent which tests are the best option for you when purchasing a home.

I recommend that my Buyers try to attend the inspections.  This offers them the opportunity to ask the inspector any questions about any items at the home while the information is still fresh in his mind.  Also, if there is something that they had noticed  in previous showings, they are more likely to point out the item to the inspector to make sure it is fully inspected.  As an agent, I try to attend inspections with my clients as much as possible.  This helps me to fully understand the information that will be put on the report, and makes it easier to discuss any repairs that they might ask the Seller to do.

The home inspection is an important step in the home buying process.  Make sure to use a qualified, trusted inspector in conjunction with a good Realtor® to help make this step as stress free as possible.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Making a great first impression with your home

First impressions are an important opportunity in almost every facet of our lives.  The old saying goes, you only get one chance to make a first impression, so it is vitally important to make that first impression count.  Many homeowners have spent a lot of time and money getting their homes ready to be put on the market.  Updates to the kitchen and bathrooms are often big ticket items that Sellers want to make sure they do right because they are generally the upgrades that help add the most value per dollar spent.  While it is of the utmost importance to make sure the interior of your home is show ready when it's put on the market, it is just as, if not more, important to make sure your home makes a good first impression by adding some curb appeal.

The first thing a buyer sees when looking at a home is the front, exterior of the home.  Whether driving by, or looking at a photo, a Buyer is going to make a judgment call based on the way the house looks from the outside.  If a home lacks curb appeal, many Buyers will simply pass it up without ever taking the time to look at the wonderful upgrades that may be waiting inside.

If a Seller has already spent a large sum of money fixing up the interior of their home, they may be worried that there isn't much they can do to add curb appeal that will fit in their budget.  MSN Real Estate posted an article titled 9 cheap ways to improve your home's curb appeal, which offers great tips on ways to help grab a Buyer's attention without breaking the bank.

Friday, April 13, 2012

More People think NOW is the time to Buy a home!

There are many factors that help motivate people consider a home purchase to be the "right" choice.  I have written multiple posts on the topic of why now is a great time to buy real estate, and I am not alone in this venture.  Real estate professionals, economic analysts, and even investors have commented on why this is truly a great time to buy real estate.  Interest rates remain historically low, housing prices are beginning to stabilize at lower prices in several markets, and it is now considerably more affordable to purchase a home than rent in 98 out of 100 of the largest US cities.  Looking at these factors alone would make it hard for most people to argue against the benefits of purchasing a home.

New data, according to the most recent Fanni Mae Housing Survey, shows that most consumers think now is a good time to buy as well.  According to More Americans think it's time to buy a home, an article on MSN Real Estate, 73% of respondents, up from 70% in February, agreed that 2012 is the time to buy a home.  According to this article, these were some of the factors leading people to favor buying sooner rather than later:
  • 33% expect home prices to increase, the highest percentage in more than a year, and 5 percentage points higher than the previous month.
  • 39% expect mortgage rates to rise in the next year, up five percentage points from the previous month.
  • 48% expect rents to go up, up three percentage points from the previous month and the highest number recorded since the survey began in 2010.
  • 44% expect their personal financial situation to improve in the next year, the same percentage as the last three months.

    Leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts, follow the link above to read the full article, share with your friends, or follow my blog to keep up with my posts!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tax Deadline is Fast Approaching, Should I File an Extension?

April 17th is only a week away, and several people are probably scrambling to get their taxes done.  The IRS is one of the most feared, and aggravating, government agencies in most people's opinions.  Due to this fact, many people will rush to get their taxes done by April 17th whether they are fully prepared or not.  If you feel that you don't have enough time to fully fill out the forms and file the correct deductions for your maximum refund, perhaps filing an extension is the proper way to go.

Fear of paying fees or being the target of an audit may be the primary causes for people to pass up the opportunity to file an extension; however, filing an extension doesn't incur any penalties, and gives the filer an additional 6 months to get their taxes filed.  There are some stipulations that you should be aware of if you are planning on filing an extension, though.  Check out lifehacker.com's article Is It a Bad Idea to Get an Extension on My Taxes?  for some tips to see if filing an extension might be in your best interests.

Friday, April 6, 2012

DIY Sinus-Clearing Shower Tablets

As I mentioned in my last post, Spring is here, and it's a great time to start doing work outside.  As temperatures rise, people like spending more time outdoors where flowers and trees are in bloom. Unfortunately, this also means there is more pollen in the air, and people's allergies will start flaring up.  There are several over the counter remedies available to help relieve sinus pressure, including shower tablets that dissolve in a hot shower to release aromatics and relieve your sinuses.  These are great products, but may not be the most cost effective for a lot of people.

I have mentioned before that I am a fan of Dave Ramsey's teachings, and I try not to spend too much money on items that I can find a cheap alternative for.  Luckily, a friend of mine turned me on to a great site to help people like me find Do It Yourself solutions to everyday problems! lifehacker.com is a great site for browsing simple, cost effective solutions for just about anything you can think of.  The folks over at lifehacker posted an article about a recipe for DIY shower tablets they found on another great blog to save money on tasks around the home. Frugal by Choice, Cheap by Necessity.

Check out lifehacker's article about these DIY shower tablets, and if you're interested in the recipe, there is a link to Frugal by Choice, Cheap By Necessity's blog for the recipe.



Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Springtime Tips

Although the weather has felt more like summer recently, Spring is officially here.  As temperatures begin to climb, and the sun shines longer each day, I, like many people, feel the draw of the outdoors.  I love spending evenings outside whether it be taking my dog for a walk, mowing the grass, or playing outdoor games with friends.  Since people begin spending more time outdoors during the spring and summer months, it's important to spruce up the look of your yard after the winter months have taken their toll.

MSN Real Estate published a great article about ways to help get your yard looking great! 10 ways to reinvigorate your yard in a weekend offers several tips on maintenance items that you can do to improve the look of certain aspects of your yard that are already in place, as well as ideas for additions that could help make your yard even nicer.  With easy to accomplish, inexpensive ideas, this can help you start off on the right foot to make your yard look fantastic this year.