The Hunger Games!!!

Hunger Games stars Jennifer Lawrence (X-Men: First Class) as Katniss, a teenager living in a post-apocalyptic world who finds herself chosen to compete in an annual competition: The Hunger Games. The winner brings home food for his or her starving territory. The other 23 losers…go home in body bags.

The Hunger Games is coming to theaters March 23rd, which means I have almost 3 months to finish reading the series. This should be easy considering I finished the first book in a few days. This story is so addicting and written some what better than the Twilight saga. Knowing me, I will be disappointed with the movie, complianing the whole time that the book was better. Regardless, I still am super pumped to go see it.

 

 

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Short Sales!?!?

Short Sales can be a very good solution for homeowners in a tough situation, however, more often than not I see buyers and sellers getting very hurt through the process. The following article does a good job at describing the short sale experience.

3 tips for a successful short-sale purchase

REThink Real Estate

By Tara-Nicholle Nelson
Inman News™

// Q: In the last six  months we’ve made all-cash offers on two short sales, and both times they fell  out: the first one because the lender wouldn’t accept the appraised value —  the combined outstanding balance on the first and second mortgages was  $655,000, and it was listed at $395,000.

We offered $375,000,  but four months later we haven’t heard anything, and the current tenants were  trashing the house and yard. We asked to see inside again, but they refused so  we pulled out.

On the second property,  the owner refused to sign our offer and claimed he was going to declare  bankruptcy and force the lenders to evict him. It was also a short sale. Should  we avoid all short sales or is this just bad luck? –Mike

A: I feel your pain. A close relative of mine is trying to  buy multiple short-sale properties with all cash, to serve as investment  properties. He’s been investing in real estate for nearly four decades, and is  literally outraged at how difficult it is to buy these properties.

He just closed  escrow on one, more than 180 days after he made the offer to buy it, and was  driven to distraction at the way the home’s condition had deteriorated in that  six months. It sounds like you can relate.

And, unfortunately, as he tells me these very long tales of  woe, ranting about how crazy it is that the bank waited 167 days (to be  precise) on his offer, then asked him to close the deal in 10 days, the best I  can muster up is a sorrowful head-shake and an “I told you so.”

That should help shed some light on one of your questions,  as the trials and travails you’ve been experiencing are absolutely par for the  course when it comes to short sales. With that said, though, some do close, and  there are a number of things you should take into account before giving up on  them entirely.

1. It is tempting to  avoid short sales, but that can be tough. A huge number of the homes on the  market in some areas are short sales, and often they are in better condition  than the bank-owned homes in the neighborhood. Additionally, depending on how  many distressed listings are on the market, “regular” equity sales  are sometimes priced higher (fairly, in many cases, as buyers don’t have to  deal with the drama) and are so desirable in some places that they elicit  multiple offers and overbidding.

Now, if you have an urgent need to buy or to move in, you  probably do want to avoid short sales — clearly “short” does not  refer to their escrow length. (The “short” in short sale actually  refers to the net sales price: it is “short” of what the buyer owes  his or her various lenders.) But otherwise, it can be tough to totally avoid  all short sales, especially in markets or neighborhoods where many homes are  underwater.

For example, if you’re looking at homes built circa 2006 in Las Vegas, the listings  available to you are almost exclusively REOs (bank-owned properties) and short sales.

2. Target short sales  that have a higher-than-average chance of closing. What you can do, though,  is avoid becoming embroiled in short sales that have very little chance of  actually closing.

There are two quick shortcuts to know which ones have a  shot. First, if there are two or more mortgage lenders involved, the chances  the deal will close decline significantly. Is it impossible? No.

But it becomes  much less likely, as first lenders often want every cent they can get and will  authorize only a few thousand dollars to the second lender, and second lenders  may feel they can collect more than that if the house forecloses.

3. Prioritize short-sale  transactions in which the listing agent has a prolific track record of getting  short sales actually closed. The listing agent — more than you, your agent  or the seller — has the most ability to actually interface with the bank, and  the extent to which the listing agent is on top of it and knows how to manage  the ad nauseum back-and-forth with the bank (or not) can make a massive  difference to the chance your deal will succeed.

Talk with your own agent about which local agents are short-sale  savants, and push their transactions higher on your list (even if two banks are  involved, as many experienced short-sale agents can handle even those toughest  of situations).

If you trail through the history of foreclosures, the majority of time you will find a failed attempt at a short sale. It’s almost hilarious to read through them. I came across two examples of this just this week.

The first home valued at $300,000 attempted to short sale at $280,000. Failing to receive an offer they continued to decrease the listing price. They finally receive an offer for $260,000, however when the bank finally responds they reject the offer stating they will only take $280,000. Very little time goes by and the home falls into foreclosure. Soon the home, which is still in meant condition, is purchased for a grand total of $195,000! True Story! You can bet those buyers were heart-sick to find that the very same house they lost out of a short sale for $260,000 was purchased out of foreclosure for $65,000 less.

The second home valued at $275,000, short sales at $250,000 the bank rejects an offer of $230,000. Long story short the home forecloses at $205,000. This home has just been recently appraised at $275,000.

The biggest lesson to be learned from short sales and foreclosures is that they require work.

So if you’re looking for a good deal, be ready to either pull out your hammer or your patience.

 

 

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It’s a delicate issue but someone needs to say it! Pack up your stuff.

It’s a delicate issue but someone needs to say it! Pack up your
stuff.

Its true, you have grown up in an era where housing was a hot commodity and all you have to do to sell your home is to find a real estate agent that you like. Well that time is over and sadly when your home expires, the only one hurting is you. We are far from the days of housing flying off the market, yet home owners all around the country are pricing their homes too high while never taking a dust rag to their overly cluttered house.

What do you do when you want to sell your car? You clean, vacuum, anything you can to get that car looking brand new again, and when someone comes by for a test drive you don’t leave your soccer shoes in the back. Why is it that you homeowners do not apply this same concept when you want to sell your house? I understand you have a life, the average days on the market are high and you don’t want to get out of your comfort zone. Well, I only have one thing to say: You’re not ready to sell! Those of you who do may continue reading……

I have been so tempted to get on my hands and knees to scrub newer tile and hard wood floors and sadly I still find myself cleaning before an open house. If there wasn’t such a high liability issue, I would probably go in and start painting the walls and molding because I know the value of it. You homeowners have so much more to gain than me, help me help you.

Cleaning, however, is not the first issue. This comes secondary to clutter. I get it from every listing appointment I go to. As soon as I mention packing everything up, you all give me a look like “You don’t like mystuff”. It’s true. I don’t like your stuff but not because it is ugly but because it’s personal. You want your home to be like a furniture add in a magazine not a sitcom on t.v. If you  feel like its cold and bare, you’re probably doing a great job. Let’s take the book shelf as an example. When you see a book shelf on display at a store it’s not filled with a million items. True, it can hold a million things but once it reaches capacity you can’t see the shelf anymore. The same holds true for your house. If you have your closets packed full, you can’t see your closets and that is what is on display when someone sees your home. That is if you have de-cluttered your house enough for your mls photos for someone to want to see your home in the first place.

I understand your home is you prize possession and its hard to let go of what you’ve created but when it comes time  to sell  your house, take down your items and start dusting off your shelves. Soon enough, this will no longer be your home only an obstacle, a house to sell, to get you to where you need to be.


Our Society and the Feminization of Men

A few days ago, I had the privilege of sitting down and talking with my cousin’s husband about the influence of our society and the effects it has on our men. While this conversation mostly dealt with organized education, it got me thinking about the tremendous implications of our overly feminized society. Before I go any further, let me just say I am a huge advocate of the feminist movement. I hope nothing I say here will take away from the courageous women of our past, which enables me to write whatever I want today. With that said, I just wonder if we have taken things too far. We have come a long way from the mad women in the attic decade. In our pursuit to be heard and understood have we in fact started to muddle all sexuality to reflect ourselves? A girlfriend once told me that while she pleaded with her husband to understand her more, be more sensitive to her needs and emotions etc., she realized that when he had succeeded in meeting her need for sensitivity, she was suddenly turned off sexually. The point I am trying to make here is that I see less men taking charge in our society and I really don’t think this is what we as women want! I am constantly seeing the men of our generation giving into their girlfriends and spouses so much to the point that is draining them of all of their natural leadership skills.

George Carlin writes in his article Are Women Feminizing Men? that “the average guy is …. emasculated by the media, forced to cater to women, and pressured to act in a “politically correct” manner. TV, movies and advertisements increasingly portray men as simple-minded buffoons and as pawns to female “strength” and “competence.” While I may not agree with Carlin’s entire article, I do see his point about emasculating men’s character in the media. What strong male character can you think of in a recent movie? All my thoughts go back to the fifties with Jimmy Stewart.

Have we gotten to the point where it is politically wrong to
showcase men as men?

 The 1955 movie “A Rebel without a Cause” showcases a father who can not stand up to his wife and in return takes no leadership in the family. This consequently “tears apart” their son who cannot respect his father and rebels. Notice this movie was made in 1955. I think everyone would agree that the theme of this movie would not go over very well in today’s society. While this theme may not be socially acceptable anymore, it doesn’t make it any less true. I do not believe that gender roles should define a relationship, but sometimes I feel like we go out of our way to fight what is natural. I say stop making our young boys sit and be still, let them run. Maybe if our society started glorifying strong men again, these boys would stop postponing their metro-sexual adolescence and take charge of their life and relationships.


Rustoleum Kit: DAY 2

Day 2

The Kit will tell you to start with the frames, and I’m sure there is a good reason for that. I, however, started with the cabinet doors because I needed access to my kitchen while I was working on this project and I designated a weekend to do the frames where it wouldn’t mess me up with my cooking.

Step 1: Scrub and clean all the cabinet doors. If your cabinets are anything like mine you will need some degreaser to clean. Normally I would not recommend cleaning wood cabinets with degreaser but since our next step is to strip the cabinet anyway, I figured it would help . The degreaser helped tremendously with getting off all those grease splatter that get on cabinets while your cooking. Remember anything left on your cabinet before you paint will be a permanent bump that may haunt you later.

Step 2: Grab the scrub pad and the deglosser and scrub your heart out on the door frames. I realized the more I degreased a door the easier it was to degloss. Don’t expect to get the same results as sanding when deglossing these doors. The kit is more of a paint product than a stain so you don’t need to get the cabinet down to its natural wood grain.

Step 3: Time to paint! After all of that scrubbing, the painting is actually quite relaxing. I highly recommend using the suggested size paint brush. You can get a package of these paint brush sizes at the dollar store for $3.00. They are the use and throw away kind though. If you are cheap like me, you’ll wash these out and re-use them, but keep in mind the third time around they shed bristles. If you do your first coat and it looks terrible, don’t start stressing. Let it dry and the second coat will fill everything in nicely. Remember you are just starting, you still have many coats to go with the gloss and protective coat (a.ka. polyurethane I’m almost sure! ;)! An assembly line does make this part go faster. If you have as many cabinet doors as I do, the assembly line works nicely. By the time your done putting the first coat on the back of all your doors, the first door you started with is dry and your ready for your second coat. These cabinets are not like painting your walls to where sometimes you can skip the second coat, they desperately need it! Remember not to worry about the edge of the cabinet until you paint the front, but if you see a run on the edge, brush it out right away. I noticed some of my cabinet doors kind of look cakey at the bottom edge from not catching those runs when I painted the back. Once the 2 coats are done on the back, flip them over and do the fronts and the edges. You can see in the picture, I placed the door on 2 2×4’s so I could gain access to those edges. Remember to keep the doors and their corresponding numbers together. I did not buy new hardware, so it was important for me to keep this all straight when it came time to hanging these doors back up.

Step 4: When it came time to gloss, I read online that they did not give you enough. Due to this reason, I decided to only gloss the front and to only wipe off very little. I made the mistake in thinking that the gloss was going to give the cabinet that “wet” look, which it does to some extent. What I didn’t realize, however, was that the protective coat is really what makes it shine. Lesson learned, don’t go wasting all of your gel because your “wet” look is drying “dry”!!

 


Kitchen Renovations: transforming cabinets using Rustoleum Kit

             

Before                                                                            After (still finishing up back splash)
As you can see, this kitchen was in need of some desperate help. While still a work in progress, I thought I would start blogging about the renovations. While this journey has been relatively inexpensive, it has been time-consuming, considering we have done all the work ourselves. In this segment, I’m going to limit myself to talking about cabinetry. Light oak cabinets marks the decade of the nineties, and while some of you have just installed your oak cabinets and do not want to be told it is out of style, I am here to convey the ugly truth. Get rid off the oak. With the majority of buyers on the market being first time home buyers and many times a younger generation, it is important now more than ever to update to your house in order to sell. I’ll be the first to admit that my generation wants move in ready, and are not willing to wait nor put work into what we buy. The good news is you can renovate your house for little expense. Being a real estate agent, I know many times it is the kitchen that sells the house, so it is only natural we start there. In this first segment, I will take you step by step to transforming your cabinets.
Total Cost: $149.00
* If you have a kitchen that does not have access to a lot of natural sun light, I do not suggest going dark!*

DAY 1

Step 1: Set up your work station. Make a Paint station and a  Dry station.
 tip: You can create a work station by placing 2 boards on top of the plywood. With doing so, you are able to paint/ touch up the corners of the cabinets because the cabinet is not resting directly on the surface.
Step 2: clean out all of your cabinets.
  
Step 3: Label the cabinet doors and frames to corresponding cups.
   
 Step 4: Remove cabinets from frames and place hardware in corresponding cups.
To come: DAY 2 and 3 with more pictures and steps to completing your cabinet transformations!

*If you are a for sale by owner and are having trouble getting offers on your house, please feel free to give me a call for some free tips and advice! call 314.971.7653 and ask for Karissa. *


Make that small space Appear LARGER

Compliments of RE/MAX

Do you have a small room or rooms that youd like to seem larger? One solution is to declutter the space. But if youre not
prepared to toss out your grandmother
s antique furniture, it might be time to try some decorating tips that will help y
ou
ma
ke the best use of the .‘pace.

Here are some solutions to not only maximize the space you have but also to give it a Larger feel.

GO LIGHTER …

Paint the walls light or pale colors. This makes small rooms appear brighter and larger.

.. BUT DON’T BE BORING

This doesn’t mean that everything in the room should be off- white. Adding bold accents with varying patterns, prints and colors creates visual appeal and can distract the mind from the small space.

GO BRIGHTER

Adding more light can make all the difference – as long as it’s done without adding objects to bookshelves, tables or floors. Think recessed lighting, wall sconces or skylights instead of floor or table lamps.

GO VERTICAL

Extend cabinets, wall units and bookshelves to the ceiling. This
applies to kitchen cabinets as well.

UTILIZE WALL SPACE

Place hooks and magnetic strips on walls in the kitchen and elsewhere and use them to get pots, pans and other objects off tables and counters.

GROUP YOUR KNICK-KNACKS

When displaying items on shelves and tables, group them together to create empty spaces between collections. This neutral space gives your eyes a place to rest and creates the illusion of more space.

SIZE MATTERS

It’s easy to pick that oversized chair or couch in a retail store’s
football-field-sized showroom only to get it home and di
scover that it’s gargantuan. Measure both your space and the furniture before any purchase. Buying couches designed to hug the walls also is a great way to open up a room, and ann less couches and chairs can create the illusion of space. Floor cushions are a great way to create seating without adding more furniture. They can be easily stored when not in use.

WATCH YOUR ANGLES

Shelves, tables, chairs and couches that stick out at the wrong angle in a small room can draw the eye and make it appear even smaller. Look for furniture with softer angles and remove pieces that don’t fit.

FIND AND UTILIZE HIDDEN SPACES

Evaluate every room, closet, drawer, nook and cranny of your home to see how the space can best be utilized. Choose cabinets and drawers that come with built-in organizing inserts. Closets also can be organized in this way to make good use of every extra inch
of storage.
Buy furniture with hidden compartments or drawers for storage. The space under sinks is seldom used to its full advantage and a good place to add storage.

ACCEPT WHAT YOU HAVE

Every room in your home can be wonderful no matter what size it is, especially if you fill it with things you love. Sometimes it’s better to just enjoy what you have and decorate it in a way that makes it feel like home.

 


HELP! I’M ON A MISSION!

I am on a mission! There is a lovely couple who is about to get married in June. Among everything else that goes into a wedding, this bride to be needs to sell her condo. After all, we don’t want this bride and groom to be separated and live in different houses. That makes for one short honeymoon.  If you could help me out and pass along that this bride has a darling updated ground floor condo which is priced to sell, you may just keep these star-crossed lovers united!

     2535 Senator Court #F

Fantastic ground floor two bedroom condo, now available in a great location. Darling updated kitchen and bath. Spacious living room, sliding door leading to patio. Maintenance free living with low condo fee.

Mehlville School District

Open House Sunday 5/15 from 1:00-4:00 pm

FREE APPETIZERS! FREE DRINKS! AWESOME DOOR PRIZES! AND MUCH MORE!

Come join the fun at 2535 Senator Court # F. Hwy 55 to Reavis Barracks East, to South onto Union to Right onto Senator

Look for the Big Balloon!!


Bright Eyes Coming to St. Louis

   

Yes it’s true! Conor Oberst is coming.

I have never loved and despised someone as much as this man and his music. From the age of 16, I have listened to his whiney tone and mellow dramatic lyrics and can’t quite get enough of it. Unlike his friends at Saddle Creek Records, Conor reveals the epitome of a yuppie . Home grown in the midwest of Omaha Nebraska, this ex-preppy reveals the torments of growing up in a privileged all american home. Well, his nuns must have taught him something, cause his poetry will have me thinking for days.

 I tried to see Bright Eyes back in 2004 at the pageant but was thrilled when the venue changed to Jessie auditorium at Mizzou where I was attending at the time. A lot of fans were disappointed at his last-minute switch. This will be an interesting concert considering he hasn’t been back to the pageant since.  I am anxiously awaiting this concert. Thank you to my wonderful husband for surprising me with these tickets and kudos to the man who represents everything I don’t agree with but love to listen to!!!


Spring Outings in and around St.Louis part 1

Cahokia Mounds

When spring first broke out, my husband I traveled across the river to Illinois to see the ruins of an ancient Indian Civilization. Growing up in Colorado and hearing tales of the Anazasi from my Grandfather, I was more than curious to learn about this disappearing culture. Legend surrounds these grounds more than fact, so if you’re traveling there for knowledge you may  be disappointed. What they do say, is around 900 to 1300 a.d. a thriving civilization took place. This group encountered prosperity; building pyramids, living off of the corn they grew, and populating the area to around 40,000. The biggest mound is where they placed their temple in honor of the sun-god. Then around 1300 a.d. there was no trace of the population.

 

 I don’t know about you but I am not satisfied with this information, so I am going to buy into legend. The largest mound “monks mound” was used to make human sacrifices which they buried along with other important figures in the surrounding mounds. There is to believe that there was 120 mounds. The next time you are out there, just think of all of the dead bodies your walking on. One of the highest rulers is buried in a nearby mound. “His skeleton was accompanied by the bones of six human sacrificial victims” (Encyclopedia of Sacred Places). 53 young women and four men had their hands and head cut off and were placed at his sides.

Doesn’t this all sound less like legend and more like fact?

 but this was never talked about in the movie I watched or any presentation that was given at the site we toured.

 As much as these tourist attractions want you to believe that this group of people were all loving, peaceful corn growers, who dried up the resources from over population and moved on, certain facts such as the one above should not be left out!