Friday, August 29, 2014

Sh#t Happens and then you have to Clean it out

One of my listings went under contract in less than a month. (WooHoo!)

It's an older brick home built in the fifties with lovely huge Oak trees and spanish moss that sways in the breeze from the branches. It has a huge built in pool, a pond with a waterfall and pomegranite trees and other unusual plants and trees.

It also has 2 septic tanks and the buyer is going to do an inspection on the Septic system. I have had other contracts that have had septic systems but I don't remember an inspection being done.... I guess they will have to pump out the tank to inspect it. So not just the cost of pumping it out (About $400 or so) then add the cost of inspecting the tank and drain field.

Geesh could there be a worse job?

Friday, August 15, 2014

Summer's End

Jamie starts school on Monday- can you believe it - she is going into 3rd grade!? Yes we in Florida start school when it's still in the nineties. I don't get it, something about the FCAT (Florida state testing) but that is over and now we are on to Common Core!

Every summer goes by faster and faster. We didn't do much this year. Since we went on a cruise in March and our refrigerator died this summer we just didn't do the big vaca. Mike took Jamie to North Carolina to pick up his mom and she came and stayed for 10 days. Then they took her home.

Early in the summer Jamie, my brother and some friends went to Orlando and stayed a couple of nights and went to water parks two days in a row. Good times.

I also took Jamie to visit my good friend Diana who now lives in Orlando. Jamie was a bit disappointed that we didn't go to any of the theme parks while we were there. Just visited. Well we took the inevitable trip to Walmart (Why do I always forget something when I go away?); we took her two adorable toy Yorkies on a walk and took Jamie to a huge McDonalds inside playground. And games....My daughter has become quite the gamer. Dianas' man played Sequence with her, we all played Ingenious more than once (Love that game!) and Diana played a memory game called Enchanted Forest with her a couple of times.

I also worked over the email and phone while there. As a Realtor barely a day goes by without some sort of work that needs to be done. In this case one of my favorite customers decided to make an offer on a house they have been thinking about for months...turns out it has an active contract on it so it was a lot of busy work for naught. Which is a lot of what we do as Realtors...busy work for naught.

I'm doing ok this year with my third year in the business. I have about $875,000 in production and $360,000 in written business (3 transactions that are in the process of moving towards closing). If all three close I will be farther ahead than last year and the year before so there's that. Ok but not setting any records.

I used to get a little sad at this time of year when I lived in Michigan. Ok let's put it out there - I got depressed, sometimes for the entire season. October through April in Michigan were grey and dreary with snow sleet and cold.  I do have SAD (seasonal affective disorder) as I don't have the issue here in Florida. Fall and Winter are the glory days here in Florida. It gets cooler and you feel comfy outside. I see evidence of 'Spring Fever' here in Fall. Everyone is so happy that it's not so Hot anymore and you can clean out your car, take a walk or shoot some hoops without dying in the heat and humidity.

I feel bad about Robin Williams. Wonder why depression kicked him for a loop, and I am able to deal with it. Depression is such a serious disease, and I don't think it's taken seriously in this country. I hope his death brings awareness to it. You could see he had it beneath the surface. It's a shame, he had so much to live for (Mrs. Doubtfire 2!! would have been great) and he had a great family and friends.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Is crime more rampant now?

Yesterday morning I went to get in my car for work and everything that I had tucked away in the glovebox and cubbys was all over my car seats! Makeup, hair ties, coupons, mileage book, maps chargers All. Over. The. Place.!!

Now we don't live in the exclusive parts of town,  no gated community here. But this part of town was the up and coming fashionable place to be in the early 60's when the neigborhood was built. You see I live in a city by the sea and by the rivers - both the Intercoastal and the St. Johns River snake through our fair city so there are alot of bridges. Back then they had finally built the Mathews bridge to connect downtown with the side of the river towards the beach and our area- called Arlington grew in leaps and bounds.

But now it's an aging area, and crime and blight is quite prevalent. It's a shame and I have hopes that the area will come back into being a fashionable place to live but I am not sure that will happen;

Mike and I worry that the house we own will go down in value instead of up. Now it's worth about $135-145,000 - we paid $117,000 in 2000. At one time during the bubble the house was worth $225,000 or so but we all know now that was a false value.

Is crime more prevalent where you live? Are we going to h*ll in a handbasket or is there hope for renewal and revival?

Thursday, May 29, 2014


Well we went on our third cruise in 13 months in March and just before we left I found three buyers their houses that week. And I already had my listing under contract so I had four pendings by the time I got back from Aruba and Curacoa  - WOOHOO.

I did lose 2 or 3 buyers while I was gone. My back up person was a bit overwhelmed but that's how it goes in Real estate. Buyers are not going to wait for their realtor to come back from vacation after all.

One of the customers did get frustrated with not getting helped while I was gone...and I thought I had lost them. Luckily I found JUST the house for them the week I got back - it happened to be in my neighborhood. So I emailed them it and I was right they LOVED it. So I had FIVE in pending at the same time. Wow, what a good run it was....And three of the houses I sold were right here in my neighborhood, and one is the next neighborhood over!

And now I have a couple of deals in pending - 2 short sales and one that just went under contract today that will be in pending soon if the home inspection turns out ok.

So not too bad. And did I mention I also changed offices during all of this?! I moved to a part of town with alot more median level homes. It's called the Hidden Hills office - it's near a Country Club community with the same name but the surrounding neighborhood homes are mostly in the 150=300k range.The office I was in had riverfront homes and a lot of lower level homes so the floor traffic wasn't as good. Plus this office has alot of fun loving peeps in it.

Tonight we had four teams from our office  compete in the Women's council of Realtors Bowl a thon. We all dressed up as Grease Characters - you know the Pink Ladies? Even Jamie and the other kids dressed up.

Crazy times. Good times, but crazy busy.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

' My Doctor saved my life this week' vs 'The Insurance Co wants to Randomly deny my CT Scan'

I had some pain the other day, a real stabbing constant pain in the right lower section of my gut. Mike said, that's where your appendix is...

So since the next day was 'day two' of morning four day seminar I had paid for I made an appointment for late afternoon - 4:30.

The pain was pretty constant and annoying but really didn't bring me to my knees or anything so I made it through the day ok.

When I got to the appointment lo and behold my new insurance plan didn't have my doctor as my Primary provider. (Despite me calling numerous times to have it changed and having someone tell me from Florida Blue that he had been changed to my PCP (Primary Care Provider)

So they weren't going to see me. They called Blue and the lady said that is the way it is and wouldn't let them put me on the phone.

So I got on the phone and sat on hold for MANY minutes...Meanwhile I asked them for another phone and the phone number of the primary care provider that was assigned to me so I could try to get in. AND I told them I thought I may have appendicitis.

30 minutes later, (Still on hold with Fl Blue) I had made an appointment with the other PCP for 8am the next morning...and the Office manager came over and said that my Dr. - Doctor Fern would in fact see me. On his time and not bill for the appointment (since he couldn't) and check me out...

So laying on the table with Dr. Fern examining me the person FINALLY picks up from Florida Blue and said he would switch me to my preferred PCP but guess what... couldn't in fact do it....

Put me on hold again for about ten minutes in which Dr. Fern went to see his other final patients for the day.

When he came back I am still on the table but he starts to examine me again and the Fl Blue guy comes back on again. This time he asks if I am at Dr Fern's office and asks to speak to someone from the office.

Dr. Fern gets on the phone and took down the confirmation number and verified that he would be able to order a STAT CT scan as it appears I have appendicitis. He said that was a get on the phone himself with an insurance company WHILE examining his patient.

Then I go to the front desk and the lady calls gets DENIED from FL Blue for my procedure.

You know what she tells me? Oh don't worry I just have to call again...they randomly deny tests all of the time.


So my Dr. kept his practice open WELL after six to get this done for me and they gave me some sort of disgusting thick barium banana flavored drink to drink on the way to the ER.

At the ER since my doctor's office had pre-cleared the test and sent my stuff I am taken in to the Scan department, I am told I have to drink more goop and wait for 2 hours. They give me warm blankets and a quiet place to hang out while I wait for my gut for to be ready for the scan.

They took my appendix out at 1am rhat night. What could have happened if my Dr didn't see me that night? I could have gone home and it could have burst that's what.

I don't understand why Health Insurance companies still have so much power over our health and life and can still be so inept.

I get that they were overwhelmed with the whole ACA thing, so HIRE MORE PEOPLE! Insurance companies are one of the richest types of companies doing business in our country. Their offices are annointed with such splendor with rolling hills, statues, lakes and gated entrances that they look like country clubs.

Anyway today I am grateful for Dr. Fern. A Doctor who does the right thing and sees a patient despite the lack of correct policy in place and knows above all else 'To do no Harm'.

I just wish the Insurance companies had to follow that credo.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Changing Routers or Modems is always such a hassle!

Our cable provider has been sending us these helpful reminders that we need to update our Modem. Mike called last week (one of the things I begged him to do during the vacation, you know Honey Do's).

So we got the new modem this week and he got it completely installed today.

Well I am ADDICTED to an online game which is a version of Settlers of Catan. The version I play is on an independent site with no advertising revenue or pop-ups and it's called Asobrain. A couple of guys in the Netherlands designed and built this site for their friends and several years later they have thousands of users and it's terrific.

Anyway I play it EVERY DAY and today I tried to log in after my work day and after I cooked dinner today.

It was a No-Go. Mike tried to come to my rescue but didn't listen to me when I said it was because of the new modem installation. He tried to download and update Java which is the program that the site uses. It was still a No-Go.

Meanwhile I logged onto his laptop and my daughters desktop and it wasn't working on any of the computers.

He was getting very frustrated and we had words. He departed into the den in a bit of a huff.

Fifteen minutes later he came up and handed my laptop with a smile.

Yup 'Tech'* figured it out. It was the firewall. It was blocking Java.

I think we may have gone down this road before the last time we replaced a router.

So I thought I would write a post about it. So we would hopefully remember the next time.

*I call my husband 'Tech' as in "Tech I can't get the printer to work" or "Tech why does this pop up keep coming up?" or "Tech which remote do I press to get Netflicks to come on?"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Obamacare Update - People Matter!

Well I got signed up through the website and got a pretty good plan for $387/month. I am being subsidized about $115/month. The plan I was looking at Michaels' job was over $550/month for me so I am pleased.

I also am going to continue to use 'Obamacare' when referring to this life changing initiative. I want to give him credit for helping the citizens of this country to get care.

So many who are much poorer than Mike and I can get subsidized much more, even to the point of the coverage being free for them. A family of three that makes under $78,120 is eligible for a subsidy, a family of four under $94,200.

And there is the rub.

Some don't thing the government should subsidize anything.

Don't have enough for an apartment or a house? Rent a room in some fleabag hotel!

Don't have enough for nutritional food for your kids? Give them Peanut butter and crackers.

And don't let us seeing you use your food stamps for anything like a (HORRORS) a birthday cake for your kid!

Don't have enough to keep your heat on? Wear sweaters and hats indoors.

My mom lived in subsidized housing her last five years on earth.

She had a very small apartment but it was affordable. I think it was costing her about a third of her Social security income - about $300/month. She couldn't have had a secure place to live without that apartment. They had group events like cards and bingo. They had a courtyard in the center near the laundry area where the (mostly lady) residents would gather and talk and laugh. They allowed pets, even small dogs so Mom could keep her cat. She loved that cat and I think that having Kiwi there really was a comfort to her. Kiwi died 10 days after she did. I just think that is such a testimony to the love they had for each other. They also had a buzzer all of the older residents were to buzz each morning by 10 am to let them know they were ok. Her not buzzing that buzzer led to the discovery that she had died in her sleep that night last May.

And I lived on Unemployment twice in my life. Yes I have been working since I was fifteen but had about 18 months 'on the dole'. And I am not ashamed of it. We work in this country and we pay for Unemployment insurance for a reason.

We need to allow people some dignity when they need a helping hand.

We need to take care of our citizens in this country. Not just the corporations that have money matter.

Obama care matters. People matter.

Sick Day again

Jamie was diagnosed with Strep throat on Monday. She had a sudden Sore throat Saturday and a very high fever on Sunday (Up to 103.3!!) I was pretty freaked out because she also mentioned that her neck hurt.

Anyway it's Strep again. She has had it a couple times the last year or so. And I had it once along with the flu about a year ago.

So combined with the Strep, and the horrendous cold weather even we in Florida have experienced this week we stayed home Monday and Tuesday. She still had a very slight fever yesterday but today it's gone.

I kept her home anyway. I know bad Mommy. To tell the truth I didn't want to 'Get back out there' myself.

We got up late - my alarm didn't go off - so we took another day. But you know what I am glad. Glad that I am a realtor and can do this without guilt and suspicion from my employer. Glad that I don't have to push my girl back into the swing of things so soon after being so sick.

So there- I have said my peace about that - How was your Christmas and Happy New Year!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Affordable Care Act - Is it?

I have been trying to negotiate the ACA website for the past two weeks. I didn't try too much the first several weeks as I was waiting for the kinks to get worked out.

Well the kinks are still there. I need to say yay or nay to Mike's health plan at his job no later than next Wednesday. I have made it through most of the site, I have actually seen the plans a couple of times...

The thing I haven't see is how much the subsidy will help me. Right now I pay about what the plan costs - $500/ month to be on Mikes plan. Since we don't make the $78,000 level for a family of three we will be subsidized...By how much I don't know.

I also don't know if my doctor will take the various incantations of Florida Blue and Florida options and I really don't want to leave my Dr if I can help it.

So I am going to a Navigator in person tomorrow for help.

I am pretty web savvy so I find it odd that someone else could help me navigate the site, but there's the rub

The Florida Blue guy just called me and said that the plans on the site will take my GP so that is great news. He also said that the ACA could take off about $400/month for the subsidy but because I do have health insurance available through Mike's job I may not qualify for the subsidy.

He also put a bit of doubt in my mind about the Navigators ability. That maybe I should go to Blue for help.

But they can't help determine the subsidy


I am such a fan of Obama and I know we are on the right track by getting affordable health care but this is super frustrating! Are there any good stories out there? Anyone?

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Every October we stroll thru our zoo one night with monsters, pirates, goblins, princessess and LOTS of lit Jack'olanterns. 

Each year we go with the same families we met at Jamie's Preschool at Christ the King.
I call us the Fab 11. 

The two other families have both a girl Jamie's age - Chayse and Madison, and two girls two years younger - Ali and Abby. (The babies!) 
We also usually do the Winterfest in St Augustine and last spring we all went on a great cruise to the Carribbean.

To tell the truth I am so over this event but I go for Jamie. It's ten dollar each and they give out candy. (It used to be like trick or treat, now it's about 6 candy stations where they give out about four penny candies at each station. No Chocolate.

But the girls love it. 

They love being at the zoo at dark. They love an extra opportunity to dress in their costumes. They love jumping in the bounce houses and dancing to Thriller Beat it and other traditional disco dances and they LOVE being together.

So next year I am sure we will go again.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Missing my Mom

This was taken on Mothers Day this year and Mom died in her sleep the following Tuesday night/Wed Morning. I think about her every day - I have this photo on my Ipad home screen so her face greets me several times a day.

I still can't believe she is gone.

She has always been there for me. (Even when I maybe didn't want/need her there.)

And therein lies the guilt. I wish I had taken her on one of the cruises we went on. She was so disabled it would have been tough on her. There is a lot of walking involved on a ship and some of it could be rough.

Or I should have went over more and just hung out with her. She told me about a month before she died that she thought she wouldn't make it through the year.And I didn't take that seriously. I said, cmon Mom you have so much to live for, don't say that!

I ignored the signs...She was losing control of her bodily functions and she just didn't feel well most of the time. Her apartment had a foul odor. My brother said it was her body deteriorating that smelled so bad. Some of the items we took out of her apartment had that odor in it.

She was dying. She was only 72 years old but she had had bad health for many years. Diverticulitus, Lung disease, Congestive heart failure, breast cancer twice, diabetes and many other problems. She was dying but I wouldn't ...couldn't see the signs.

She is gone. I miss her every day.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Found Dog gets new Home

We were awakened to a neighbor calling us at home Saturday morning saying they thought our dog was in their driveway. It was a golden retriever type dog, but it wasn't Samson. It was a young female and it appears she had been dumped. The husband of that family DID NOT want another pet although the young wife named Tara did. I told her I would take her home to my back covered porch to hang out while we tried to find her owner.

The poor dog didn't wish to leave the area where she had appeared Friday night around midnight. I tried to get her in my car at noon on my way to floor duty at the office but she wouldn't get into my car.

I was under orders from my husband not to bring another animal INTO our house. Well I wasn't planning on bringing her into the house. Just into our back porch.

When I came home from floor duty later that afternoon, she was still there in the front yard. I tried again to get her into my car and it was no go. She was determined to stay on the street.

So I rolled my car about 2 miles an hour calling through the open windows, "Come on Pretty, come on girl!..." and she followed me home. I had gotten a leash on her, but it was still a challenge getting her into the back porch.

I put up flyers all over the neighborhood and put her on Craigslist as a FOUND DOG, and called the Golden Retriever rescue group in our town G.R.E.A.T. The lady said she would be able to come get her Monday or early in the week.

I got no calls...NO CALLS?! If you lost your dog wouldn't you check Craigslist? or drive around looking for flyers?

Monday morning I took her to the vet and she didn't have a chip. Then GREAT called and said they were trying find a place for her.

Tuesday the lady from GREAT called back and said she didn't have a place for her. That the organization was out of funds, that they may have a spot at the end of the month.

Oh great. So I am sure Jamie thought we were going to keep her. After all she was very well behaved and was ok around Samson (She let him be the Alpha dog). She was also fine (But curious about) our cats. But I was determined not to break my promise to my husband. I kept the dog out of the house, though it broke my heart to see her little face looking in at us when I said goodnight to her each evening.

The neighbor lady, Tara called and said she DIDN"T want the dog to go to the shelter NO MATTER WHAT...but she couldn't take her.

So now what? More posters, trip to Pet stores to post flyers bringing her sweet face with me each time in hopes of finding her a home. I put the word out at my office and on my Facebook page. I DIDN"T post a free pets ad on Craigslist as too many weird and bad things happen to 'Free' pets that are obtained on Facebook, however Tara did.

She called me and said she got flooded with calls immediately after posting the Free Dog ad and got worried and a bit creeped out. So she texted a message to all in her phone and she got a great response, from a family with 2 kids and two small dogs who always wanted a golden!

So Lila or "Delilah' got a new home!

Get it? Samson and Delilah?

I saw another stray dog yesterday by my daughters school, but this time I didn't answer the call.

I hope someone else did.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

More Kelnepa Drive or 'Oops I blogged too fast!'



Continuing on my 'walk' down Kelnapa on Google Maps I found the other house so that isn't the same house.
They are so similar I wonder if they were constructed at the same time?
Further down the street were a couple of river front houses that couldn't be seen from Google Maps one of which was being marketed by my competitor at the time of the photo. Its a 6200 sf mansion on the river that was on the market in 2009 but didn't sell for the $1,200,000 asking price.  Here is the house once you get past that gate:

 Check out the Master bath:
and the 'River Room':
and here is the view:
Here is another Kelnepa jewel built in 1927, a 2 bedroom house with about 2000 sf that sold in 2011 for over $400,000. It is lovely inside and has a pool in the back. But really? Only 2 bedrooms?

 Ok so now you know what a Realtor does on Floor duty on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.
Well this Realtor anyway.

Old Homes with History

I just love looking at  houses, one of the reasons I became a Real Estate agent or a Realtor as we are known when we pay all the dues to be fully accredited with the national, state and local boards.

Jacksonville has many older neighborhoods with different archetectural styles and there is a street near my office named Kelnepa Drive. It was a one street subdivision devised in the 1920's by a real estate developer and his wife. This is from the Metro Jacksonville site:

Lumber dealer Thomas M. Keller and his wife Ella Canipa Keller combined their surnames to coin the name "Kelnepa," which they gave to this block long subdivision.  Kelnepa was typical of many of the 1920's Florida land boom developments, born of speculation and left unfinished when the real estate bubble burst in 1927.  The Kellers employed Victor Zambetti, a contractor who owned the Art and Ornamental Stone Company, to handle the construction in Kelnepa.  The houses are highly unusual in their use of concrete blocks in conjunction with the Mediterranean Revival style.
Source: Jacksonville's Architectural Heritage, page 259

The above photo is from said article (which is originally from the book that is sourced which is such a cool book) so I went on Google Maps to see if I could find the map 'walking down the street' and I believe this is the same house. Apparently the Google maps photo is a bit outdated as the article is from 2010.

Doesn't the house look better now? And they kept the same original character of the house. And isn't it cool to think there was a real estate bubble that burst in the late twenties? History does repeat itself.

So cool. I love what I do.

Monday, July 8, 2013

More Cruising photos

On our way to Grand Caymen Island Jamie liked the Boat ride!
Dressed for thrills

At a cool hidden away pool attached to a bar at Grand Caymen Island
 (Maybe we will go there next time!)
Mommy and Jamie enjoying breakfast with a view

Monday, July 1, 2013

We have become Cruisters

So we went on our first cruise in March and I just booked our second. I can't believe this. Never did I think I would become someone who wanted to hang out on a cruise ship.

But it's so much more than that really. It's a floating all inclusive hotel room that takes you around to cool ports with fun sun soaked fun things to do.

Like Snorkeling, Dolphin, sting ray and pirate encounters, or just laze around by a pool or at a wonderful beach in exotic locales.

Also as much as Carnival has gotten a bad name they really do it up nicely. Did you know that they actually lose money on the fares they collect to make it back on the booze and casino proceeds?

Not a bad deal for those of us that don't frequent either! (Well we have been know to have a drink or two occasionally but both of us can do without it)

They have an all you can drink package and it's $800 each I think. That is just ridiculous. I can't even imagine drinking that much even if the drinks are $8 and up - that would be 8 drinks aday to break even!

Right now I am considering some excursions. We will be going to Belize, Cozumel and Grand Caymen and one other stop. I am inclined towards snorkeling as I so enjoyed it once off the coast of Key West in my twenties. And Jamie LOVES to snorkel and swim like a mermaid.

More later as this is consuming my thoughts and internet time lately/

Saturday, June 1, 2013

RIP Judy Wilhelmi September 1940-May 2013

RIP Mom - you will be missed.

I am still in shock and it's been over 2 weeks. She died in her sleep in her favorite recliner at home.

She just recently stopped coloring her hair, the photo on top was in October, and the one on the bottom was on Mothers Day. I talked her into stopping  as she was constantly battling the grey and I think it looked great either way.

I am so glad we had her over for a wonderful steak dinner on Mothers Day. She seemed fine. She needed a haircut and I was going to take her to get one that week. She died that Wednesday.

She knows she was loved and Jamie brought so much joy to her these last 7 years.

About 2 months ago she told me she didn't think she would live throughout the year. That she was ready. She was tired of being in pain.

I am still crying most days. I finished cleaning her apartment out yesterday. Our garage is crammed full with her stuff.

I miss my Mom.

Friday, May 10, 2013


Every year we go to O'Leno State park for a weekend retreat with our church. Part of the weekend includes several of us floating down the Ichetucknee River. It's quiet, it's tranquil, it's so lovely...
But this year Mike decided he didn't really enjoy it and wouldn't be joining us.
So Jamie and I went along with the group without him. We also rented two tubes as tubes don't get caught up on the sides and submerged logs as much as the inflatable rafts Mike usually prefers.
Well, so much for tranquility and peace. Someone told Jamie about gators and the possibility of them being there on the banks. (Guess she didn't know they could swim).

She screamed and moaned and cried all the way down the river. "Mommy please, mommy I am freaking out, MOMMY!!! DON"T LET IT TOUCH THE SIDE! Mommy please!?!
Luckily some kayakers going upstream came along and said there was a manatee coming upstream.
It seemed to break the panic spell she was under and the last 20 minutes or so she was calmer.

Next year she stays with Mike at the camp and I go on my serene float with the group.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

This Real Estate Market is HOT HOT HOT!

I love what I do so much! This is my new listing that just went on the market Tuesday and already has 2 offers on it. We should have an agreed upon contract in hand this weekend when the seller decides which to go ahead with. I can't reveal what it sold for until it closes.

Let me just say if you have a house that you would like to sell "NOW IS THE TIME!!!" Let me make this very clear!! There are tons of buyers out there and not much in the way of inventory. 4 years ago, the MLS in my market - NE Florida had over 15,000 house, now there are only just over 7000.

More stats: Last year first quarter Average Sales Price - $140,554, This year Average Sale price $154,862.

So what is happening is a house will come on the market and if it's priced fairly there will be multiple offers the first week. (Especially with houses under $150,000). I have two couples who have been searching for months. One of them has made offers on 4 houses. One of them was a Short sale which turned out needed a roof, New AC and lots of repairs from Wood rot. The others were all multiple offer situations in which they missed out due to higher and better offers. And still they have no house.

The other couple wants a lot for not enough $$. If you want certain things in your new home you cannot be picky about location. Or if you are picky about location you will have to give up things like 'Open Floor Plan" "Granite countertops, and new cupboards" "at least 1500 sf" "2 car garage" etc.

Something will have to give and yes you may have 'to settle' for some things missing in your first house.

But most of all you have to move fast and be decisive in this HOT HOT HOT market today!

What that means to a Realtor is I have to be ready to show my buyers a house every day. If you snooze you lose!

If you have a house to sell or would like to buy please get with me. Even if you aren't in my market area - which is most of Northeast Florida, I can refer you to an agent in our national network "The Leading Real Estate Companies of the World" They will get you with an agent who is best suited for your buying or selling needs. And it will help me as well. Gold Stars are what makes a good agent. Help me help you!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Parents are not the enemy!

I am on both sides of the education triangle. Jamie is in first grade and Mike is a tenth grade World History  teacher.

For some reason there has been a rallying cry against teacher for the past several years. It's as if much of society sees teachers as lazy souless drones just going in and getting a paycheck for standing or sitting in a room with their students and not teaching them properly.  I know all too well how hard teachers work. I get it, I really do, I am married to one after all. He works from 6:30 am until at least 4 pm every day and then spends most nights working for several more hours. He sometime spends all night grading papers, writing lesson plans and preparing for the myriad of demands put on him not only by his own administration, but by the county, the state and national standards and personnel; and of course the demands of his own high standards of not taking shortcuts. Ex all of his homework assignments require lots of knowledge even to grade the work. I have rarely been able to even help grade papers because of this. He doesn't have multiple choice or fill in the blank work.

Anyway, now that I have a first grader I find myself confronted by the personnel in the small elementary school where Jamie attends. I feel like they brace themselves against me and other parents. That we are the 'thorn in their paw'...that their jobs would be SO MUCH EASIER if we didn't come in to the office or make calls into the office.

WTH!?? This is so much a part of our world today. Nobody wants to deal with anyone else's crap.  There is no customer service anymore with phone trees, long lines for everything we buy and no individualized attention from anything from getting a mortgage approved to trying to locate something in the store at Walmart.

We are all islands swirling around each other trying to find our way...

OK I went WAYYYY off on a tangent here. Here is what happened last week at Jamie's school:

I volunteer in Jamie's classroom every Monday morning for a couple of hours. I help with lesson preparation by cutting and stapling, I sharpen pencils, and fix the teachers bulletin board, I even move around the classroom helping kids and redirecting them to do their work each week.

So the office personnel know me well. Well last week was Jamie's Daddy Daughter dance. And I forgot to bring in the money by the deadline which was last Monday. So I asked if I could possibly bring it in the next day as they don't take a check or credit card, it has to be cash or a money order. The lady told me they needed a count, and I assured her I would bring it in that next day so she said it would be ok.

Then they wouldn't accept it. The principal had laid down the law and wouldn't allow any late payments.

Ok I get it. They have rules. And rules shouldn't be broken apparently in any case. I stood there pleading my case to not only the two office ladies but the principal but they wouldn't budge. ("What is it a sit down dinner? Why can't you take late payments, it's a fund raiser...Etc etc"

I left feeling like they had won and I had lost.

I just think there is another way to treat parents. Would it really be a big deal to take late payments? Perhaps with some sort of penalty. Such as $5 more per ticket or you need to bring your own snacks and drinks. I am not saying I should get special treatment...I am saying all parents should be accommodated if it's possible. Come on who's it going to hurt...and you know it just may help a kid and isn't that what it should be all about?

So Jamie missed her Daddy Daughter Dance.

Ok that is my rant for today.