Monthly Archives: March 2008

Awakened This Morning By a Woodpecker

This morning at about 7:00am I was awakened by a woodpecker. When it is the weekend morning that I actually get to sleep in it was the last thing that I wanted let along thought I would ever hear. I have been keeping food out in may backyard that is particularly tasty for the woodpecker. Well this morning I think he decided to try out the house. On the outside of my house you will see vinyl, aluminum, and plastic. It just boggles my mind what he was after but he went after it for a good 10 minutes on an off and by then we were wide awake. I have gotten to know the bird calls in recent weeks and have figured out I have another new red headed friend.

Here is some interesting information about this Red-Bellied Woodpecker:”Red-bellied woodpeckers are noisy birds, and have many varies calls. Calls have been described as sounding like churr-churr-churr or chuf-chuf-chuf with an alternating br-r-r-r-t sound. Males tend to call and drum more frequently than females, but both sexes call. Often, these woodpeckers “drum” to attract mates. They tap on aluminum roofs, metal guttering, hollow trees and even transformer boxes, in urban environments, to communicate with potential partners.”

Quoted From Wikepedia.com

Well this explains it.

Photo above by Amy S. Myers

Getting Pre-Approved is a Must for Success

A good thing to keep in mind in today’s mortgage market is that a pre-approval for a mortgage loan that was done a week or two ago may not go through today. Due to the changes in the mortgage market, programs are changing every week and everyday. Programs that buyers are getting pre-qualified under are being discontinued or changed each week. So contact your mortgage professional to see if your pre-approval is still up to date. At one point, there were programs that were allowing up to 6% seller assistance with closing. These programs are more hard to come by (if at all).

Sometimes real estate buyers say that they are not going to get pre-approved until they find a house but that is not really in the buyer’s best interest. Getting a pre-approval for a loan is something that should be done in advance. Getting pre-approved will help you know what houses you should and should not be looking at, helping you save valuable time and gas. A buyer will also be able to find out how much money he or she will need down and what closing costs will be. This will allow the buyer to save up more funds, maybe even borrow from a relative (with loan approval), or know if you need to ask for seller assistance for closing.

A buyer wants to be ready to go in when he find the house. When house is the right one and the right price, chances are you could run into multiple offers. Your pre-approval is one things that will help make your offer stronger. If you do not have your approval in hand, that could be the difference of getting the house.

Click here to find out the Differences Between Pre-Qualification, Pre-Approval, Loan Commitment

Technology in Real Estate

Technology has really come a long way in the last 10-12 years. I do not think many of us can leave home or go anywhere with out our cell phone. How did we ever survive before with out one let alone survive without the internet?

I use the internet everyday and in so many ways. My house uses it for personal and business communications, research, pay bills, shopping, watching videos and more. My son loves to play internet games with his friends live on the internet when he gets home from sports practice.

The internet helps me communicate so much better with my family out of state. I love sending photos instantly. It also helps me service my customers in a way that has never been done before until recently. I utilize everything I can in one day – and still there is more. Always try to learn everything you can about what technology is available to you. It won’t do you any good if you do not know how to use it.

Here are some stats that may boggle your mind ( or maybe not ).

As of September 2007, there were over 106 million registered accounts with MySpace.com. Approximately 230,000 people sign up every day.
The average myspace.com page is visited 30 times per day.
There are more than 2.7 billion searches performed on Google each month.
The number of text messages sent and received every day exceeds the population of the planet.
Approximately 47 million laptops were shipped worldwide last year.
One in eight couples married in the U.S. last year met online.

Stats quoted from: RISMedia.com

Wildlife Photo

WoodpeckerLast week, I was blessed with being able to get a great photo shot of a Pileated woodpecker in the backyard of my home. I see these birds from time to time but can never get a good shot of them. I had just come home and looked out the back window and there this bird was. A loud truck had come down the street and scared him further back in the yard. So at that point I left the house and followed him.

He was making his rounds on several trunks. He actually returned to a tree that recently had a huge hole put in the trunk by himself or one of his buddies. A few minutes later he flew over to some logs waiting to be split for firewood which is where this shot is from. Once I downloaded them from my camera, I was delighted to see how beautiful of bird he is. It was the best of about 25 or so and cropped to show more detail. He then flew away to the property behind mine and there was another in the tree. That was the first time I actually saw two together. It is amazing what goes on outside our houses. We just have to look around.

 

This photo is copyrighted and cannot be published,copied or reproduced without permission. If you are interested in aquiring this photo you can at my iStock.com site.

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Nearly as large as a crow, the Pileated Woodpecker is the largest woodpecker in most of North America. Its loud ringing calls and huge, rectangular excavations in dead trees announce its presence in forests across the continent.

Here are some facts from Cornell Lab of Orinthology:

  • The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.
  • A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate floaters during the winter.
  • The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.
  • The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. In young forests, it will use any large trees remaining from before the forest was cut. Because these trees are larger than the rest of the forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting birds.

Description

  • Size: 40-49 cm (16-19 in)
  • Wingspan: 66-75 cm (26-30 in)
  • Weight: 250-350 g (8.83-12.36 ounces)

Reference:

http://www.birds.cornell.edu/AllAboutBirds/BirdGuide/Pileated_Woodpecker_dtl.html

Pittsburgh: Stable Housing Market

As I mentioned earlier in the week, Pittsburgh (and the Western Pennsylvania Area) is a strong and stable in the real estate market. I was at the Greater Alle-Kiski Area ( GAKA ) Board of Realtors meeting a couple of weeks ago and it was mentioned there. I delayed referencing this because I wanted to locate the article from the associate who mentioned it. Listed below is the quote and location of article from Forbes.

America’s Most Stable Housing Markets
Matt Woosley

“Also primed for a stable year are Pittsburgh, Columbus, Ohio, and Dallas.

Pittsburgh, Pa.

  • Median home price: $123,500
  • Annual price change from 2006: 2.7%
  • Projected price change to 2008: 3.37%

Pittsburgh’s growth has been steady over the last year, and with low foreclosure projections based on the state of the local lending market, very affordable housing stock and relatively low inventory, it can overcome the fact that its sales rate is 30th out of the 40 markets measured.”

You can read the Forbes article here.

Again, this area is on top and appears from the numbers that it will remain strong

State of the Real Estate Market

The news media today promotes what it sees as the unhealthy state of the real estate market. But ask yourself what market? Just because cities in California and Florida, and other cities such as Denver and Salt Lake City may not be doing well does not mean doom for your market. Believe it or not but the Pittsburgh area market is one of the strongest markets in the country according to Forbes Magazine. I will get that info for you in a future posting.  Here is some encouraging news quoted from the West Penn Multi-List:

“Despite what you hear from the media, the Greater Pittsburgh Area real estate market is doing well.

  • New listings are down only 4.30% and our market is not over flooded with listings.
  • Closed listings are down only 2.80% and not in the 20% to 30% range as many parts of the country.
  • Average days on the market are up only 4.30% unlike many parts of the country where the average days on market are up by 40% to 50%.
  • The average price of sold properties is up 3.2% from $146,302 to $150,962.

The above comparisons are made based on the same period last year. ”

I think that these are amazing statistics considering what the media says the state of the national real estate market is. We should be happy to be part of such a stable market.  So don’t be afraid to buy or sell. If your property is ready to show and priced right I think you will do great.