The Saddest Day of my Life

Yesterday was the saddest day of my life, a dear friend's (Karyn Brophy) son lost his life in Iraq. His name is Brian Botello and he is a hero, he liked the military and had just reenlisted for 5 years. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him from Iowa to Illinois to Arkansas to Nebraska and so many more.

Brian's sacrifice was not in vain, he believed in what he was doing and he died doing what he believed in. There are some who would have us simply remove our troops from the area. I am not one of those people and I don't believe Brian was either. What is the answer; I don't know, but I do believe we need to continue aggressively pursuing those who would come here and kill us without a second thought.

For everyone out there who thinks tolerance is the answer, read the Koran. Those who live by it do not voice tolerance. Christians are taught to turn the other cheek and I do consider myself a Christian. However, Jesus is not a mild timid God, He drove the money changers out of the temple and He will come back as a lion not a lamb.

If we fail in the Middle East the next place troops will deploy will be here in America. I do not like war, most of all I don't want soldiers and their families to suffer but we have a mission to accomplish. We have troops there who are depending on us as Americans to do the right thing - tolerance of and closing our eyes to those who would kill every American alive, I don't call that doing the right thing, I call that COWARDICE!


Blaze - the newest addition to the RES office family!

This is Blaze, and she is a small mix who is fast becoming the best freind of one of our excellent office ladies - Carol.
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Day one Alta Main Street 4-Plex


This is the first inside picture, cabinet doors are off, appliances are ready for pick-up. Holes in walls have been repaired, wall plates are off, walls are primed, wall color is cut in on 75% of the Kitchen - Living room space. We started by using TSP (trisodium phospahate) on the walls to clean and degloss them. This can be purchased at most stores and I apply it with a sponge mop and a hand sponge - wear gloves. It does not have to be rinsed and it does clean and degrease/degolss as good as any other product I've tried.
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Verbal Iowa Real Estate Contract???

Verbal offers to purchase real estate are totally worthless. If you are buying, selling, or negotiating for real estate be sure everything is in writing, seems like a no brainer doesn't it? You would be amazed (or maybe appalled) at how many people (including some real estate "professionals")think verbal is good enough WRONG!!! No matter what is said, the only thing that counts is what's written down signed and dated.

If you get involved in a real estate transaction where anyone insists in doing things verbally, RUN!!! and I mean run fast. Who will determine who said what - A JUDGE!.

A real estate "professional" who insists on doing business verbally shouldn't be a licensed real estate agents. Iowa has a little thing called the Statute of Frauds, it is a rule that dates back to 1677 in England, it has always been in effect in Iowa real estate dealings. The Statute of Frauds is a fundamental rule of contract law - it states that all contracts for the sale of real estate must be in writing to be enforceable.

What is the advantage of doing things verbally? If you are honest, I can't thing of one single reason to do business verbally, not to mention it's illegal, but then I may be the wrong person to answer that since I am a Real Estate Professional!


Number of Foreclosures Projected to Increase by 30% Over 2006

According to the chief economist of Economy.com the foreclosure rates are rising, 2006 had approximately 900,000 and 2007 is projected to have 1.3 million.
The reasons for the increase are 2 fold:
1) Adjustable rate (ARM mortgages) are adjusting
2) Changes in the sub prime loan market (tighter criteria)has resulted in ARM holders being unable to refinance for a better rate

Some of you have noticed properties on the StormLakeMLS.com web site that have the owner noted as corporate - the majority of those are foreclosures. Real estate markets are all local so things that impact other markets may not be seen in ours, however we are feeling the influence of the sub prime market changes.
Personally I am not a fan of most of the sub prime loan products. In my opinion the majority of sub prime loans, signature loans and unverified income loans are predatory lending. In other words, the only one benefiting from them is the lender.

End result more people unable to make their mortgage payments, more foreclosures, more stress for everyone, more spouse and child abuse, more crime, more suicide and higher taxes WHY??? so we (tax payers)can cover bad financial institutions GREED.

I don't have THE answer to this massive problem, I wish I did, I would travel town to city and shout it from the roof tops to save families so much anguish. All I can offer is good advice to my Realtor colleagues. Maybe I should structure it as a plea, please, please help your Buyers with their financing. Many Buyers don't understand that the rate and terms a financial institution gives them are both subject to negotiation.
Take their good faith estimate (received AFTER you have given the financial entity a copy of the accepted offer)and help them shop it around to make sure they get the best deal. I personally think getting my clients the best deal all the way around is what I am obligated to do - don't you?


Early Iowa Kitchen Remodel - COMPLETE

1) New floors, some cabinets and part of the counter top
2) Under cabinet lighting
3) New appliances, ceiling fan and all!
4) New Kitchen and Really handsome contractor
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Early Iowa Remodel 3/4 of the way there

1) Oh, there's my glove
2) All hands on deck - this is a team effort
3) The Big R installing new wiring
4) DryWall!!!
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Early Kitchen Remodel Saga - Installment 3

1) New Floor
2) Big Tools!
3) One really ugly window disappeared
3) Insulation and wiring whoooooowho!!
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Early Kitchen Remodel Saga continued

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Early Kitchen continued
1) Entire area down to studs
2) Big hump in floor solved! - Dry rotted floor joists
3) New straight strong floor joists
4) New PVC - what a great smell in the morning, PVC glue and fresh sawn wood


Early Iowa, Kitchen Remodel

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Early Iowa Kitchen remodel
1) Before
2) Eating area of kitchen
3) Kitchen Gutted!
4) Down to the lath


Local Property Sells in Less Than an Hour - Seller's Market in Alta and Storm Lake Alive and Well - For Now

We are in a Seller's market, but it is changing fast. The last 2 properties I listed, above on the left, 1610 Peterson Street (Alta) $153,900 - 1500 sq/ft 4 br and 2.75 ba and on the right 112 N. Emerald (Storm Lake) $145,000 - 1392 sq/ft 3 br and 1 3/4 ba sold quickly. Emerald sold within an hour of listing and Peterson sold within a day of listing.

I plan to list another on Monday and I have 2 Buyers looking for a home with that criteria. Another agent I work with wants to get into my new listing as soon as the ink is on the contract.

What gives? It is a Seller's market, in other words there are not a lot of properties on the market but we are getting more every day and soon it won't be a Seller's market (more Buyers than properties)it will even out and probably become a Buyers market (more properties available than Buyers).

My properties have tended to sell fast because I do a competitive market analysis that defines a very accurate range the market will pay for any given home or building. I have a detailed plan including checklists to get a property ready, a number of websites expose my properties to out-of-state and local Buyers(including this blog), I work with the top agents, I use extensive marketing to reach multiple Buyers, I stay connected and active in the community and most important, I won't list an overpriced property.

If you want to sell and take advantage of the local Seller's Market the best time is probably within the next 30 days, maybe 45 baring anything out of the ordinary happening in the mortgage rates and local economy.

2 - Alta Iowa, Main Street Revitalization Projects

Two projects are planned by yours truly to be completed this year. They will be done simutaneously and both will improve Main Street in Alta. This is the way we like to invest, we make a difference while we make a living - it doesn't get better than that!!!
The projects are both commercial - one is a 4 plex and the other is an old building (the former ROCK) that will become a great new and much needed modern laundry.
The four plex will become a 3 plex (residential - 2-2 bedroom apts and 1-1 Bedroom apt)and the remaining apartment (street level front)will become a professional office.
We will blog the entire process for each building including before and after pictures.
Both my husband and I enjoy teaching real estate investors but it is hard to teach what we do in the constraints of a classroom. I've been to a lot of houses and buildings with your guys to discuss project possibilities and I love to help you dream and build those dreams. Ronnie and I thought these 2 projects would be wonderful unique opportunities to let you look over our shoulders and probably do a lot of laughing with us and at us as we climb this mountain together.