Category Archives: Personal

Personal tidbits on the side

Remodeled Refrigerator

Well, it was an interesting night this evening. I showed two fun homes. The second not as good as the first. Both ranch and great yards. The second one had a massive master bedroom of 19 X 15. Very cute but needed too much work for the price. It was also somewhat taste specific. Whomever had owned this estate liked wood. The bathroom looked like something you would find in a log cabin. Really it was nice and not too bad. The kitchen was updated at some point (maybe the 70’s to 80’s) and additions made to the home. There was really a lot of wood accents in this place. I had to run and get my camera out of the car (I always try to keep one handy). Ok, so have you ever seen someone cover their refrigerator with wood to match the kitchen. Well there is a first for everything. So funny. . . . . I guess you could called it a remodeled refrigerator. LOL . . .


Home Buyers Don’t Miss the Opportunity For Your $8000

If you are a First Time Home Buyer time is running out. If you desire to take advantage of the First Time Home Buyer tax credit your property must close by December 1, 2009. Buyers should have a signed purchase contract with the seller signed by early October to have plenty of time to close.

For my buyers that need to finance, I always suggest about 6 weeks for closing, especially with inspections. In most “normal” cases that is enough time. I have seen other odd cases where it can take longer and the reasons can vary.

Just recently I was going to close on a home. It was delayed because the buyer for my seller’s home had to close on her house first.  Well, this buyer for the buyer in our transaction lost their financing and had to start all over. When all was said and done, the house closed about two months after it was suppose to and everyone involved was happy.

So consider this with only 6-8 weeks (hoping there are no snags), you need to find that house in the next 2 to 2 1/2 months or sooner. If you are eager to take advantage, hurry. If you are not sure where you stand with your credit, just take that step and talk to you loan officer.  Happy Hunting.

Details on First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit

Multiplying Garden

Well, today I went to out check on my garden and quench its thirst. My daughter and I were tickled pink to see how things have progressed. We notice a large number of cucumbers and they appear to have doubled in size in a few short days.

Being a first time gardener and also too busy to read helpful gardening tips, I am am pleased with the results with not too much time spent. The pumpkins and cucumbers have gone wild through this mini garden. My one and only pumpkin is almost the size of a tennis ball. I definitely have to learn to spread out the plants next year.

I am hoping my kids are more eager to eat their vegetables knowing they came from our back yard. We will see.




Existing Homes Sales Rise

Interest rates are still great but rising. If you are on the fence for buying, now is the time to take a serious look and get out there and get moving. Take advantage of this great market of inventory, rates, and tax credit benefits. I was looking through the home stats yesterday to send a client a list of homes in a few different towns, what I found to were a high number that have recently gone under contract.  Buyers are buying, don’t miss out. If you are selling, make sure you have a competitive price.

“Sales of existing homes showed another gain in May, benefiting from favorable affordability conditions and a first-time buyer tax credit, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS ®. May’s increase was the first back-to-back monthly gain since September 2005.

Existing-home sales
– including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 2.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.77 million units in May from a downwardly revised level of 4.66 million units in April. Sales remained 3.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit pace in May 2008.”

Quoted from

First-Time Home Buyer Tax Credit to Rise?

Lawmakers are hoping for an expansion of the tax credit helping first-time home buyers and current home buyers that have a home to sell. First time home buyers make up about 40% of the current home purchases. This statistic, lawmakers feel, is not stimulating the housing industry enough.

Here are some key points of what lawmakers would like to see happen:

*Â Changing the top Tax Credit amount from $8,000 to $15,000.

* Extend the purchase deadline from November 30, 2009 through to mid year 2010.

*Â Extend the tax credit from first-time home buyers to all home buyers

* Offer another tax credit of up to $3,000 for home owners who refinance.

Remember there are income caps and you do have to stay in your home for 3 years to avoid paying back the tax credit.

Read more in this USA Today article.

Related Posts:


First-Time Homebuyer Federal Tax Credit Info

First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit Details

Great News! Tax Credit Can Be Used for Down Payment

Frequently Asked Questions for First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit from the National Association of Realtors website,

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Loans

First Time Home Buyer Tax Credit Question

Little Green Tomatoes

Little green tomatoes are what I have popping up in my garden already this week. I was in touch with a friend from South Carolina and her tomatoes have not even shown themselves yet.  With that comment, I thought I must be doing a good job with my first garden ever. It is a modest one with (of course) a variety of tomatoes, green and yellow peppers, some cucumbers and pumpkins.

Some how I ended up with two packages of onions – white and red. I decided to plant them all. They ended up taking up half of my gardening space.  They started growing immediately. I thought it was really amazing that I would check them out in the morning and come back later that day and veggies were already increased in size. I did not expect to see that noticeable growth in such short of a time.  I have quite a large onion patch so if anyone needs some, let me know. I hope I have as many tomatoes coming as onions.  I am open for gardening tips.


Personal Mortgage Insurance

Q:Â What is PMI (Personal Mortgage Insurance)?

A: When purchasing your first home or future home and your down payment is not significant, you will most likely pay PMI Personal Mortgage Insurance. If you do not have up to 20% equity in the property you are purchasing, your lender will require you to pay Personal Mortgage Insurance. This is fee can be added into your monthly mortgage payment or sometimes paid in advance.

This Personal Mortgage Insurance is protecting the lender not you. In case you would default on your mortgage, your lender would be compensated. Once you have 20% equity, you often times, can get your PMI payment removed.

Here is some additional information to give further explanation:

“Personal Mortgage Insurance offers protection only for the lender. This insurance pays off the lender in the event the borrower defaults on the mortgage. Lenders generally require PMI whenever the down payment on a purchase is less that 20 percent of the purchase price. PMI premiums can be expensive. Usually, advance payment of the first year’s premium is due, in one lump sum, upon purchase. A monthly premium is then added to the mortgage payment”

Quoted From this link

The Joys of Home Ownership

My current housing lot came with heavy brush and several trees. When we first moved in, we had four plus dump truck loads taken out to make room for a lawn. We left several feet to the back line uncleared so we could deal with it later. Well one of the later moments did come this weekend after a few years. One tree that I had been watching for a few years decided not to sprout any leaves and was becoming quite an eyesore and possibly a safety issue. During the last two years the woodpeckers were starting to heavily feast on it and piles of ant dust were forming around the bottom of the tree.

Our buddy Tom arrived later in the afternoon and graciously brought his amazing chainsaw. My husband rigged the tree up with tow straps from our jeep to help guide the tree to fall in a safe spot – with out harming any neighbors or their property. 🙂

The tree came down as planned and Tom, my son and husband got it all chopped up in a matter of minutes all ready for the fire pit. I can smell the campfire now. We are all ready for some marshmallows and s’mores tonight.


The House That was Missing Something . . .

With real estate, every day something pops up that you have never seen or done before. Even for agents that have been in the business for years. My, you would be surprised too of the kinds of things we have to see or deal with. Funny thing is you can run into very interesting properties when looking at bank owned properties, foreclosures, and HUD properties.

Last week, I showed one of my young investors a property in an area that neither of us were sure about. Both of us showed up with companions and it was a good thing we did. We got a good taste of the neighborhood with a bunch of about 15 to 20 kids or young adults hanging on the street right near the house. They were eying up the cars. The plumbing was gone to say the least. My buyer quickly passed on that.  A key thing I always tell my buyers is to come and watch the neighborhood or talk to the neighbors. That was an easy one that night.

So today, we looked at another property. Pretty good price for what you are getting. The lot alone is worth the asking price. It has been on the market quite some time. So we go and and check it out. Hmmm . . . plumbing is all here, wiring is all there. Toilet in basement – common for this area. Keep in mind this is a very old home. Probably about 100 years old. Now usually homes of this age have some kind of updating over the years, but with a quick look, it was from an era gone by except for maybe a bit modernized because electricity was installed. LOL I say this too because the original gas pipes for gas lights in the home were still there with the fixtures. Often I have seen the capped pipes but never the actual fixtures still installed – How funny.

Also, the wall paper literally looked 80 to 100 years old. The original pocket doors to the living room were still there. The ceiling in the pantry area was waynes coating. No cabinets in the kitchen – now it did not appear that there ever were any cabinets. The whole kitchen was tiled to ceiling and had a circular florescent ceiling light. There was Wool carpet that was not wall to wall. Even original windows were still there.

Next we went up to the second floor. There was some nice hard wood. The rooms were ok. Some of the walls needed repaired. Although really not bad considering the age. So I checked out the one and only bathroom on the second floor – but wait there was a toilet in the basement – hmm . . they must not be counting that. I am thinking that the bathroom is kind of small. It has a claw foot tub and all . . .  And then I think hmmm . . . something has to be missing.  Well I look behind the door in the cramped room and . . . there was no toilet. And it appeared that there never was. I have never in my life seen a bathroom with no toilet. Now how strange is that? The one and only bathroom in the house (the only one that there ever appeared to be) and it only had a sink and tub – Crazy.

If my buyer decides she likes it I will have to go back and get a photo.  I am going to have to find a way to perch myself in the corner with a superwide angle lens and get you a shot of this funny room. The house could be great with the right touch and a toilet in the bathroom. :) I hope there is a happy ending for the house and the buyer.

Local Scenery

A few weeks back, I had the opportunity to see some unique scenery created by the winter weather. In downtown Leechburg, PA, near where my office is located, we spotted some interesting ice formations in the Kiski River. We saw huge pieces of ice all jammed together. Some large pieces even sticking straight up and refrozen.

Leechburg is connected to Hyde Park by a nearby walking bridge so that was a great place to get a view. The day was warm enough to sneak out with out a coat and be semi comfortable as the ice in the river started to break up. I was delighted with the wonderful photographic opportunity. So my family and I walked on out to get some cool shots. It was a tricky to get shots when you were not standing near one of the bridge supports because the bridge did sway. It was really hard to get an idea of how large the pieces were because, it was not possible to go pose near any of them. I never thought to look at the river this time of year.

Here are some of the photos:





Photos by Amy S. Myers, Copyright 2009