Maybe I am wrong…

One of my dear girlfriends is a photographer. A very good photographer. Together with her husband, Diana Nash shoots some of the best pictures I have ever seen.

A couple of moths ago, she had a blog post about a new photo session called "dress trashing."  Sometime after the wedding, after the dress has fulfilled its purpose, instead of shrink wrapping it and putting it somewhere in your closet for "sentimental value," Diana asks you to put it back on. Then, she takes pictures.  These are not your clean pictures. These are your laying in a pile of leaves, climbing up a tree, wading in the water at the beach pictures.

Well, as you can imagine, if you know me at all, I LOVE the idea and the pictures were fantastic! Very sexy and artistic – and what woman doesn’t want to be photographed as sexy and artist? I have mentioned it a few times to a few people and I have been surprised. The response is about 50/50. While some feel the way I do, I was surprised at the number of people who just thought it was a bad idea. It seems that some still hold on to the idea that their daughter will want to, in twenty, thirty years, unshrink wrap the dress and wear it in their own wedding. While I guess that is a possibility, it seems uncommon. Most brides insist on a new dress that they pick out.

I dunno – I thought the whole dress trashing bit was a phenom of an idea. Of course, I must admit, I have never actually owned or had on a wedding dress. But, I can’t help but think that the dress in the leaves did that girl a whole lot better than the shrink wrap.

But, I guess I could be wrong…

Happy Mother’s Day

I love my family.  How’s that for an understatement? I didn’t have a Mother’s Day – I had, like, 4!

My husband and I don’t typically exchange gifts on holidays – we save all that for the kids. But, this Mother’s Day, he informed me earlier this week, he was going to the jewelry store. Did I have any input? Well, heck yeah! If you’re gonna spend that kind of money, can we go to the Sprint store instead? Geeky, I know. But, I have been coveting the Treo for months – maybe a year already. He’s glad he asked and, of course, I can get whatever I want. YAY!! But, I can’t get into Savannah until Friday. Boo! The anticipation really was exciting. Finally, I get my phone! How cool is that! Brand spanking new Treo 755 – go to the website and it is still listed as “coming soon.” Full of myself and my new gadget – maybe just a bit. But, you’ll have to indulge me. I don’t get to be on the cutting edge very often.

As if that weren’t enough, my wonderful husband takes us all (our whole family, my folks, and his) to our favorite restaurant. And, I don’t even have to wait until Sunday. Vickie has to work on Mother’s Day (what a bunch of crap!) so we decide to go on Saturday.Really better all the way around – surely not as crowed. Fantastic food (I LOVE seafood), the girls behave beautifully, everybody has a good time, and it isn’t even Sunday yet!

Well, now it is and who could ask for more? Wonderful husband, beautiful kids, two of the best moms in the world, great food, awesome present, and Earl wins Survivor. I truly get more than I deserve.

 

 

What Buyers Need to Know About Termites and Home Inspections

I know buying a house can be expensive. And it is perfectly understandable to make the best possible effort to attempt to minimize cost and utilize your hard earned dollars effectively. As a Realtor, I am often asked a very important question – “Do I really need a termite and home inspection?”

If you only get one thing out of this article, get this – the answer is “YES!”

Couple of quick facts.

  • Georgia is ranked 5th for termite population and we are directly north of the state ranked #1 (Florida).
  • It is not unlikely that the home you have chosen will have some sort of termite damage.
  • Many homes on the market do not receive adequate termite prevention, treatment, or repair.
  • Not all sellers will tell the truth, or even know, all the termite and structural facts about their home.
  • Not all inspection/pest treatment services are the same.

The current 2007 Georgia Purchase and Sale contracts have changed significantly since last year in this area. 

  • Sellers are no longer required to provide a termite letter at closing.  It is solely the responsibility of the buyer. This was done in an effort to allow buyers the opportunity to choose their own provider.  It is thought that buyers will be more likely to choose quality service that they are comfortable with so that they can be assured of the findings. (Note: VA Loan sales still insist that the Seller be responsible for the termite letter. The Buyer may not pay for the service.)
  • The “right to request repairs” clause defines the person of “Inspector” and what can be considered a “defect.”  This is important for buyers when selecting an inspector and deciding what course of action to take about his findings.

There are major differences between termite guys and home inspector guys.

  • Most home inspectors are NOT authorized to complete a Georgia Wood Infestation Report. They do not have the specific training to recognize all signs of termite/pest infestations.
  • Most termite guys are NOT home inspectors. They do not check structural soundness, roof damage, appliance operation, electrical operation, plumbing, heating and air, or a variety of other things on an inspectors checklist.

For most people. the purchase of a home is the single biggest investment they will ever make. It is important to know the answers to some key questions.

  • Is the home covered by a termite or pest control company? What is the nature of that contract? Is it transferable? What does it NOT cover? Is it retreat and repair or just retreat?
  • Has there ever been, or is there now, an active infestation? What are the results?
  • Is the home structurally sound? Does the plumbing, electric, heating and air function properly? Does the roof leak? Is there any evidence of previous water damage?

Don’t assume that if there was something wrong with the house, you would know.  The current owner may not even be aware of the problem.  Unfortunately, is some cases, they wouldn’t tell you even if they did.  Be responsible for your own inspections.  This way you will know the reputation of the professional providing the service. Who pays for it can be a part of negotiations, but make sure you know and approve of who does the work.

If you decide to start minimizing costs, you should think twice about this being the appropriate area in which to do it.

Note: Special thanks to Garry Adams of Northwest Exterminating for conducting the best “Bugs and Byers” class ever! You can contact Barry for more information about your home or your future home.

Investment Education in Richmond Hill

Laura Evans is the resident Edward Jones expert.  Located at 10220 Ford Avenue in Suite 105, she is a common staple in the Bryan County News offering applicable and timely investment information.

Laura has always been an educator sort of investment professional.  On May 15th at noon, she will host a seminar at the Southern Image Restaurant on Highway 17. The seminar topic is “Rules of the Road.” Contact Sandy at 912.756.5113 for more information.

Laura also hosts an investment group in her office the last Monday of every month at 6:30 P.M.

Bill, Rocky, and Me

Who knew?  Not me! I have been listening, watching, and reading Bill O’Reily for quite some time now.  I have finally decided to subscribe to the newsletter as I am not in my car as much as I once was.  Meander a bit through the site to see what I can see.  Guess what!  Rocky is on Bill’s list of favorite movies:) 

I agree with Bill a lot of the time – but this is dead on!

“I will never qualify for a mortgage!”

Tony Gallegos wrote a wonderful article supporting the idea that, yes, you too can still buy a house.

“But, I will never qualify for a mortgage!” I hear this all the time when talking to people who do not own homes.  They are paying rent in an apartment they hate or living in a house that is someone else’s home, paying their mortgage.

They would love to have their own walls, yard, space, but they think it is impossible.  Now, sub prime lender blow ups and talk of housing bubble bursts are popping more than just economics – it is popping dreams.

To this I say in the words of Flor, “Just try it on!”  There are tons of mortgages still being approved.  In fact, the stricter rules will be better for the consumer in the long run.  Tightening the rules keeps a handle on the interest rates.  It also helps home buyers from falling into the all too often trap of buying more house than they can afford.

Things people will put on the Internet

The internet is a wondrous thing – thanks, Mr. Gore!  The plethora of information is incredible. At any time of the day or night, you can buy, watch, read, look, or listen to practically anything.

However, it still amazes me what people will put on the internet. Like only the people who will appreciate their “sense of humor” or “personality will see it.  Haven’t we learned this is not the case?

Now, I understand that blogs are supposed to be the venue for people to “bear their soul in honesty.” But really, would you walk around the mall naked? Probably not. Posting anything and everything on a website is worse. At least in the mall you have a pretty good idea who is looking at your bare behind. In cyberspace, people can come and go in anonymity. Who knows who is reading about your drunken endeavors, your lunatic rantings, your secret confessionals, and your odd fetishes?

I know who – employers, college professors, colleagues, parents, children, and crazy people.

Try this, google your name and see what comes up. Why? Because people you don’t know do it al the time. It has become a common practice of employers as a means to check you out. And, I am certain that the singles do it too when they meet a new somebody.

I am all for free speech, and I love to blog – just remember that other folks are getting a free read. How much do you really want just anybody to know?

Great Causes to Support

 

I know some of the best people!  These are the kinds of
people who are always looking for ways to use their business sense to help
others. These are successful folks who
realize that, while their own bills must get paid, it is pointless if the
community they live in is not all that it could be.

Ann Johnson helps those closest to my heart – kids. She is part of the Savannah Ambucs. This is the group that provides mobility
solutions for people with disabilities. Kids who are physically incapable of riding a traditional bicycle are
provided with one that they can operate depending on their individual needs.

 

Tina Torres, my
personal Pampered Chef consultant, is participating in the Help Whip Cancer
program through her business. Pampered
Chef is donating a portion of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society.

Sarahlyn Argrow has turned her passion and her circumstance
into her career. She and her associates
at A Working Woman in Need have developed a phenomenal, non-profit program to assist
single women develop the skill sets they need to be able to go into the
workforce and provide for their families. This group has the best attitude. Don’t shake your finger at the problem and talk about it – FIX IT!

 

Lisa Scarbrough is the President of Coastal Pet Rescue. This non-profit, all volunteer organization not only saves pets and
finds them homes, but they also provide great education to help us pet owners
care for that four legged family member.

Rich DeLong is the administrator over at Magnolia Manor in Richmond Hill. From guest speakers, special events to daily activities,
this assisted living facility is doing a great job of helping take care of
those who took care of us.

Are there more? Sure
there are. Who are your favorites? Join me in a big “Thanks!” and get the word
out about great people doing wonderful things.

 

 

The Richmond Hill/Bryan County Business Expo

There was an encouraging article in this week’s Bryan County News. Ross Blair covered the presentation given by Michael Toma, Armstrong Atlantic State University Director for the Center for Regional Analysis. At a meeting earlier this week, Toma provided evidence that the future of Bryan County includes large growth in population and economics.

 

Well, the line at my daughters’ schools support the bigger population idea. I have to get there an HOUR before school lets out to keep my kindergartner from labeling me “one of the late mommies.” Seems completely ridiculous, but it a great time to catch up on my reading.

As far as economic development goes, this weekend’s Business Expo provides a big “Yes!” vote. The Richmond Hill/Bryan County Chamber of Commerce has once again put together the event that allows local businesses to showcase their talents and wares. Held at the recreation center in Richmond Hill, Friday night was closed to the public and allowed the vendors an opportunity to peruse the other booths and mingle with the other participants. Saturday and Sunday, however, is the reason they are there. Free to the public, the entire community has been invited out to see what Bryan County has to offer.

Some of the local vendors included:

Page Printing – local printer of just about anything you could possibly need

Century 21 Ways Station – Obviously, my personal favorite as this is our sister office. Suzanne, Deborah, and Rob were out there educating others about Richmond Hill Real Estate

Bryan County News – local, bi-weekly newspaper and Expo Executive Sponsor

Enchanted Unicorn, A Children’s Boutique – Lori Fisher provides cute children’s clothes and great products for when they get dirty. Expo Entrepreneurial sponsor

Cindy’s Custom Framing & Antique Art, Inc Cindy’s shop does great work. She was especially fantastic with my daughter’s third grade art project. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

Signature Outfitters – Jacqueline Smith provides custom embroidery.

Pampered Chef – Tina Torres helps bring the family back to the table. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

Southcoast Medical Group – I trust them with my family.

Richmond Hill Magazine – A wonderful magazine focused on Richmond Hill and Expo CEO Sponsor.

Sugar Magnolia Homes – Richmond Hill home builder.

Tupperware – Tanya Tucker has the cure for what ails your leftovers.

Monavie – Jason Torres has some supplements for your health

First Horizon Home Loans – Patricia Small delivers home loans with a personal touch

Cobblestone Photography & Design – Beth Smithberger and the gang show off their phenomenal picture taking skills

Taste of Home Entertainment – Monica Brummer has the products that make home parties a snap

Computer Solutions & Office Supplies – Computer broke? They can fix it!

Skin Essentials – Skin a mess? Michelle can fix that!

The Shoe Box – They’ve got shoes that rock!

Edward Jones – Laura Evans gets you ready to retire – or whatever else you what your money to do.

Top2Bottom Organizing, LLC – Susan Tobelman can rearrange the biggest messes to increase peace and productivity.

International Center for Leadership and Coaching – Dana Boyd provides incredible insight into making life work for you. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

Energy Oasis Health Club & Day Spa – Kathy Ackerman is one of my personal heroes. Let her get your body right. Expo Entrepreneurial Sponsor.

PocketMedia Marketing – Need to get your brand out there? Jeff and the crew can help.

It was phenomenal to walk around the recreation center and see these guys and many more promoting their already successful businesses. It votes well for Bryan County and even better for those who are realizing their personal dreams.

What you should know about Zillow Part 1

Sometime ago, my husband pointed out a website he thought was pretty neat.  Zillow.  I thought, “What in the world is that?”  Turns out, it is a website that allows the user to search for homes for sale and add their own home to the list. The feature my husband thought was interesting was the “Zestimate.” This is a “value” of your home generated by a Zillow formula. At the time, I didn’t think much of this little feature because, well, I am real estate agent. The concept of a generic formula may sound good in theory.  However, in practice, it is the single biggest mistake in pricing a home. So, I dismissed it. Sort of like Paul, Sr. would dismiss the comparison between a factory Honda and one of his personal OCC creations.  The Honda rides fine, it’s fun. But, when your ready to get serious, give him a call.

I didn’t give it another thought, really. Especially since there are no “Zestimates” in my market anyway.  Type in Hinesville, Ft. Stewart, Richmond Hill, or even Savannah – no Zestimate. In fact, this is the first thing you need to know about Zillow.  As a seller, go ahead and ask your agent to list it there.  The agent will put in the price of the house that you decided on without worrying about Zillow’s generic opinion clouding the field. As a buyer, understand that most of the prices listed are from user input. You are looking at the price the owner set, usually with an agent. Continue to do your research to find out if the price is reasonable.