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Show Me a Five Dollar Bill, and I’ll Show You Why Your Listing Expired September 29, 2006

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John Lockwood is a California Real Estate Broker and author of http://www.sacramento-home.com. Visit his site for the latest area news and real estate listings. Article Copyright, 2005, John Lockwood. Published by permission under John’s Free Content License.

Sometimes it’s hard for sellers to understand why their listing expired. Sellers typically enjoy many fine years in their home, so they sometimes price their homes subjectively.

To understand why listings expire, it helps to imagine a listing expiring on something we understand has an objective price. So let’s imagine for a minute that you had a five dollar bill, but — perhaps for some twilight zone reason — five dollar bills were suddenly more difficult to sell. Because of this, you give a bill-salesman a 90-day listing on your five dollar bill, but it doesn’t sell, and the listing expires.

Now let’s imagine I’m there with you and you show me your five dollar bill and say, “John, why did my listing expire”? Here are some possible reasons based on my experience.

  • You wanted six dollars for the bill. One of the bill salespeople told you it was worth five, another told you she could get you six because she “sells so many bills every year”. You hired the salesperson who told you she could get you six dollars.
  • You listed the bill for five dollars, but insisted that your bill seller not show the bill to anyone unless you were there.
  • You listed the bill for five dollars, but told your bill seller not to put a sign up on the bill, because you didn’t want the other five dollar owners to know anything about your business and chat about you in the neighborhood.
  • The bill was torn in half and had maple syrup on it. Your bill seller suggested $4.75 but you knew other bills sold for $5.50, so you agreed to list it for $5.25.
  • You owed $4.00 to a lender for the bill, and wanted to buy a bill for $7.00, so you felt you needed to get $6.00 for it. With this in mind, you instructed your bill seller to list it for $6.00.
  • Someone down the street got $10.00 for a “similar” bill with Alexander Hamilton on it. Based on that, you figured your bill should be worth at least $8.00.
  • You paid $20.00 for a wallet for the bill.
  • Eight months ago, people were getting six dollars for such bills. Your bill person told you that the most recent sales of such bills were for five dollars. You listed your bill for six dollars.
  • You list the bill for $5.00. Your bill salesman doesn’t enter any marketing data in the MLS, and puts up a sign in the yard and a flier box with no fliers in it. You get an offer at $4.95 and want to accept it, but your bill salesman writes a counter-offer asking for a different title company, and the transaction falls apart.
  • You wanted eight dollars for the bill. You don’t really need to buy another bill. You told your bill salesman to list it for $9.00 to “see what happens”.
  • Your bill salesman lives 300 miles away from the bill, so they can’t be there readily to let buyers in or help answer questions from other agents.
  • Your bill salesman is a family member, who’s going to not only give you a break on the commission, he’s going to list the bill for $6.50 for you.
  • You know bill salesmen get too much money for what they do, so even though many bill salesman are getting 5% and 6% to list bills, you save money by hiring Help-You-Sell-Your-Bill. You agree to pay them 3% total. They offer 2% to the bill-buyer’s agent, who won’t show your bill because they can get 2.5% and 3% to show other bills. Nevertheless, a buyer is interested and is ready to see your home, but you hired Help-You-Sell-Your-Bill, so your agent doesn’t show it for you, you have to show it yourself. You make an appointment to show the interested buyer your bill on Saturday. On Thursday they see another bill they like better, call the agent on the sign and see the bill that day, write the offer, and they’re in escrow on Friday. They don’t call to cancel the Saturday appointment, but when you call to ask why they’re not there they tell you how excited they are about the bill they bought. Aren’t you excited for them?
  • You wanted eight dollars for the bill. Your bill salesman suggested selling it for five. You listed it for $7.50 and told your bill salesperson that if someone wants it they could “make you an offer”. No one makes an offer.
  • You wanted eight dollars for the bill. Your bill salesman suggested selling it for five. You listed it for $7.50 and told your bill salesperson that if someone wants it they could “make you an offer”. Someone offers you $5.00 and you’re insulted by this “lowball” offer, so you reject it. Two months later you ask your bill seller if that buyer is still interested, but meantime they’ve purchased another bill for $4.90.

A Little Interest Pays Handsomely When It Comes to Selling Your Home September 27, 2006

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say_shells.gifby Debbie Dahmen
With interest rates still at an all time low, many people are considering selling the home they are in to make a move up. Others are going from renter to buyer. Regardless of whether someone is buying for the first time or he or she is a seasoned buyer, if you are the seller you will want to make sure your property will show the best it can. The following tips will give you an edge over other sellers in what can be a very tight market.

1) First Impression is so important. Curb appeal is vital. Your lawn should be trimmed, sidewalks swept, front door clean, doorbell working.

2) Painting for a Better Sale. A minor investment in paint will pay dividends in the form of a better price and/or quicker sale.

3) Here Comes the Sun! Open the curtains and clean the windows so a prospect can see how bright and cheerful your house is. Dark, dreary rooms are not appealing to homebuyers.

4) Don’t be a Drip! Fix leaky faucets. Dripping water suggests faulty plumbing and major repair bills. Discolored, rust stained sinks are also warning signs they should be clean and sparkling.

5) Little Things Mean a Lot. Loose doorknobs or cabinet pulls, sticking doors and drawers, wobbly hinges, stuck windows are negative factors. Check and repair all these minor flaws.

6) Safety First. Keep stairways and corridors absolutely clear. Clutter is unattractive and can cause accidents.

7) Bathrooms Sell Homes. Make bathrooms sparkle. Clean sinks and toilets and repair any damaged or discolored caulking.

8) >From Top to Bottom. Let prospects see the full value of your basement, attic, garage and closets by removing junk and cartons. Rent a short-term storage space if necessary.

With a bit of TLC you will realize greater interest from buyers when selling your home. For a small investment of time and money often the return can be incredible.

Debbie Dahmen is a member of the Distinctive Properties team, a unique personalized real estate agency serving the south end of the Salt Lake valley including Draper, Riverton and Sandy. Family owned and operated, Darlene Dipo, Debbie Dahmen and DeAnna Dipo pooled their 60 years of experience to offer their clients flexibility and individualized attention. All three women have achieved the coveted designation of Certified Real Estate Specialists, a designation held by only 3% of real estate agents. Offering services including buying, selling, and relocation, Distinctive Properties offers relocation services throughout the United States. Visit http://www.distinctivepropertiesSLC.com for further information.

Built On Love September 23, 2006

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wisconsinloghomesb4_rgb5.jpgBuilt On Love
(ARA) – Among the clipped lawns and traditional style homes of Green Bay, a cozy log home nestled in the woods is a rarity indeed. Equally rare are the steps the owners have taken to protect their original retreat.

On a hot summer morning, David and Kathy Janczak opened their Green Bay home to visitors who share their passion for log home living. “This is the first time we’ve hosted an open house since renovating our log home,” said Kathy, in the lodge-like great room where the family of five shared meals, celebrated holidays and created hand-made Christmas ornaments.

Nearly 30 years ago, the young couple dreamt of a log home of their own. David, an avid woodworker who had been studying log home construction for some time, promised his new bride Kathy that he would build her a dream home as a wedding gift.

On a 20-acre parcel of land, David diligently set out to fulfill his promise, with Kathy working beside him every step of the way. Completed in 1976, the full log home was an intimate 1,547 square feet. The great room, which was the heart of the home, remains intact today.

Local excitement over their home and many requests prompted David to craft similar log homes for other enthusiasts. This, in turn, created Wisconsin Log Homes Inc., which David continues to oversee today. Both the home and company has grown significantly over the years, a testament to America’s love affair with rustic homes and the simple, comfortable feeling they generate.

While the 60-plus people toured and explored their recently remodeled home, David and Kathy eagerly shared their experiences with both full log and half log construction. As the visitors marveled over the fine craftsmanship and attention to detail, David educated them on the basics of log homes and energy efficiency, including explaining why he developed the Thermal-Log insulated half-log building system 30 years ago.

David says the spacious, yet unpretentious 5,600-square-foot hybrid home “Is a result of 30 years of ideas and experience in log home design and construction.” Designed for entertaining as well as day-to-day living, the home showcases many progressive design elements, all while exuding traditional log home comfort and warmth.

The Janczak home was designed to be one with nature, both indoors and out. Strategically placed doors, windows and bump-outs maximize the surrounding view which includes a pond, wooded area and front water garden. A screen porch and wrap-around architecturally lit stamped concrete patio is the perfect place to relax during sunset at the end of a long day.

Indoors, the couple’s love for natural materials is evident, incorporated into almost every design element. From the chocolate glazed ceramic tile on the floor to the handcrafted antler chandeliers, the space is saturated with various textures. David’s trademark wormy wavy edge trim and custom gnarly railings give the log home a personal artistic touch not readily seen in the industry today.

The custom kitchen designed by Kathy and the company’s in-house interior designer shows how a modern working kitchen can flow effortlessly into an open floor plan typical of log home design. Character cherry cabinets topped with custom crown molding, state-of-the-art appliances cleverly tucked behind cabinet panels and a hand-scraped engineered hickory floor warmed with radiant floor heat are some of the few places where technology meets style in the Janczak home. The raised cabinet at the end of the island has a painted furniture look to it, complete with authentic antler pulls.

As the visitors split up and meandered from room to room, they began to share their ideas and own design inspirations with one another. Some were focused on the architectural elements while others eagerly discussed envisioned floor plans. “The trip to Green Bay was well worth it,” one attendee noted. “This home gives us lots of ideas. The finished product shows much more than any catalog pictures.”

Several visitors were fascinated with the Janczak’s master bath which does not utilize a door. A strategically placed corner whirlpool tub with a mini-chandelier hanging above provides a spa-like view from the master bedroom. A partial wall separates the commode without closing in the space and a glass and tile walk-in shower is both functional and aesthetically pleasing. “This space was actually inspired by the Janczak’s favorite Mexican retreat,” Wisconsin Log Homes resident interior designer Stephanie Gauthier explained. “Beautiful design usually originates from things that we love. These are the elements that make your house a home and uniquely yours.”

The groups were well rounded; some empty nesters, families, newlyweds and even a couple excited about planning a log-inspired bed and breakfast. “I love color and my husband loves structure,” one wife commented in a boldly painted bedroom combined with a knotty pine ceiling and log accented walls. “I am so pleased to see that we can have both.”

The Janczak’s open house was a huge success and an inspiration to many. “We are planning another in the future for those who were unable to attend due to a limited number of reservations available,” Kathy noted. “In the past we held design/build seminars at our headquarters’, but seeing a completed home helps people better visualize what they can actually have.”

For more information about designing and building log homes or to order Wisconsin Log Homes’ comprehensive 156-page planning guide and DVD, log on to www.wisconsinloghomes.com, or call (800) 678-9107.

Courtesy of ARA Content

How to dust-proof your home… September 21, 2006

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comfortinstituteb1_rgb52.jpgARA) – Tired of the unsightly dust that won’t seem to go away, no matter how often you clean your house? Here are seven proven ways to greatly reduce dust so you can breathe easier in your home.

1. Identify and Seal Air Leaks That Let In Dirty Air

2. Fix Negative Air Pressure created unintentionally by appliances

3. Create Positive Pressure with Ventilation Air

4. Upgrade Your Central Air Filter

5. Install a Whole House Central Vacuum Cleaner

6. Run Your Furnace Fan When Vacuuming

7. Get Your Duct System Cleaned

Follow these steps and you can make a big difference in the dust levels in your home. For more free information on HVAC solutions to improving indoor air quality, visit http://www.comfortinstitute.org and http://www.epa.gov.