Symphony On The Prairie is BACK!

Today it’s about 2 degrees outside, somewhere around 6 inches of snow is falling….I’m sitting on the sofa, covered with a blanket and have my bare-feet propped up in front of the fireplace…..wishing winter would end.    Then I stumble across a Facebook post from the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, announcing their 2015 “Symphony On The Prairie” summer concert series!   Ahhhhhh, Spring is INDEED almost here!

indianapolis-symphony-orchestra

The Symphony On The Prairie is one of Indianapolis’ premier outdoor summer activities, and one of my personal favorite past-times.   Located at the fabulous Conner Prairie Amphitheater and sponsored by Marsh Supermarkets, this annual series is truly one of the events that makes Indianapolis such a fabulous place to live.

If you’ve never attended the Symphony On The Prairie, expect to be impressed!!   Imagine spreading your picnic blanket on the lawn, opening your cooler filled with wine or soft drinks, maybe some cold shrimp and crackers or perhaps cheese is more your style.  Add some grapes and light your own candle if you like.   Then be entertained by the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra as they perform a wide variety of music, with something on the calendar to please everyone!!    There’s plenty of room to dance, or just relax and enjoy.    Food is available on-site if you’d prefer to not carry your own in.   I think tickets are still about $20….making this a very affordable date-night or family night!!

Just thinking about a summer night at the Symphony On The Prairie makes me feel like

Spring is getting close and it’s suddenly a tiny bit warmer here.  Oh wait, there’s 6 inches of snow on the driveway and it’s time to go shovel.  Back to reality.

To see this years line-up, CLICK HERE!     Maybe I’ll see you there!

Dave

What to do with children’s toys when you have to show your house.

So you’re all excited, you FINALLY have a showing on the house you have for sale.   You run around, clean the kitchen, pickup your stuff, dust and otherwise prepare….and then you get to the kids room.  Your 6-year old has more toys than Hasbro sells, and you figure that people will just have to understand that the kids room is going to be a mess.

Well guess what?!?!?!   The buyer comes in to see your house, and they have a 4 year old and a 2 year old….who just LOVE your kids toys, and since they are neatly piled up in corners and on the bed, their busy little hands can’t help themselves and they start grabbing.  Mom and dad (and Realtor) are trying to see your house, and still protect you child’s valuable Etch-a-sketch and Barbie.    Before you know it….something gets broken, and your child is furious when they get home.

Now, there’s no doubt that the buyers should have been more careful, and the agent should have been in 3 places at the same time, right.  Heck, maybe the buyers shouldn’t have brought their kids with them……MAYBE they shouldn’t have even come to see your house???….right….WRONG!

If your child has toys that are especially important to them, please put them away where other children can’t get to them.   Maybe the closet, maybe a Tupperware tub, or how about the garage.  The important thing is it can’t be where another inquisitive little child can get to it.  It’s part of getting your house ready to “show”.     Shouldn’t agents be more careful?  SURE.    Should the parents have been more careful…SURE.      But in the end, it will help ALL of us if YOU will put away things which are important to your kids PRIOR to having visitors come through.

Dave

How To Raise Your Credit Score

One of the easiest ways to improve your credit score is by obtaining…AND PROPERLY USING….a credit card.  Oh, you can’t get a credit card??…..no problem.  You almost certainly can get a “secured” card.    Watch this video for details.

You can to CapitalOne.com to apply for a secured card, which you will almost certainly get.

If your credit is in serious trouble and you need more help, please contact me and I will hook you up with my friends at “Precision Credit Group” for professional guidance!

Dave Danz

15 Things You Must Give Up To Be Happy

 

1) Give up complaining. Give up your constant need to complaining about those many, many, many things – people, situations, events that make you unhappy, sad and depressed. Nobody can make you unhappy, no situation can make you sad or miserable unless you allow it to. Never underestimate the power of positive thinking.

2) Give up your need to always be right. There are so many of us who can’t stand the idea of being wrong – wanting to always be right – even at the risk of ending great relationships or causing a great deal of stress and pain. It’s just not worth it. Whenever you feel the urgent need to jump into a fight over who is right and who is wrong, ask yourself this question: Would I rather be right, or would I rather be happy. What difference will this make?

3) Give up your need for control. Be willing to give up your need to always control everything that happens to you and around you….situations, events, people, etc. Whether they are loved ones, co-workers or just strangers you meet on the street…allow them to be. Allow everything and everyone to be just as they are and you will see how much better that will make you feel.

4) Give up on blame. Give up on your need to blame others for what you have or don’t have, for what you feel or don’t feel. Stop giving your powers away and start taking responsibility for your life.

5) Give up your self-defeating self-talk. How many people are hurting themselves because of their negative, polluted and repetitive self-defeating mindset? Don’t believe everything that your mind is telling you – especially if it’s negative and self-defeating. You are better than that!

6) Give up your limiting beliefs about what you can or cannot do. From now on, you are no longer going to allow your limiting beliefs to keep you stuck in the wrong place. Spread your wings and FLY!

7) Give up the luxury of criticism. Give up your need to criticize things, events or people that are different than you. We are all different, yet we are all the same. We all want to be happy, we all want to love and be loved and we all want to be understood. We all want something and something is wished by all of us.

8) Give up your need to impress others. Stop trying so hard to be something that you’re not, just to make others like you. It doesn’t work. The moment you stop trying so hard to be something you’re not, the moment you take off all of your masks, the moment you accept and embrace the real you, you will find people will be drawn to you naturally.

9) Give up your resistance to change. Change is good. Change will help you move from A to B. Change will help you make improvements in your life and also the lives of those around you. Follow your bliss, embrace change….don’t resist it.

10) Give up labels. Stop labeling those things, people or events that you don’t understand as being weird or different and try opening your mind, little by little. Minds only work when open. “The highest form of ignorance is when you reject something you don’t know anything about” Wayne Dyer

11) Give up on your fears. Fear is just an illusion…it doesn’t exist – you created it. It’s all in your mind. Correct the inside and the outside will fall in to place.

12) Give up your excuses. Send them packing and tell them they’re fired. You no longer need them. A lot of times we limit ourselves because of the many excuses we use. Instead of growing and working on improving ourselves and our lives, we get stuck, lying to ourselves, using all kind of excuses….excuses that 99.9% of the time are not even real.

13) Give up the past. I know, I know, it’s hard! Especially when the past looks so much better than the present and the future looks so frightening…but you have to take into consideration the fact that the present moment is all you have and all you will ever have. The past you are now longing for…the past you are now dreaming about ..was ignored by you when it was present. Stop deluding yourself. If your past wasn’t a pleasant part of your life…LET IT GO! It’s only a bad memory. Be present in everything you do and enjoy in life. After all, life is a journey, not a destination.

14) Give up attachment. This is a concept that, for most of us is hard to grasp, but it is not impossible. You get better and better at it with time and practice. The moment you detach yourself from all things, you become more peaceful, more kind and more serene. Attachment comes from a place of fear, while love is pure, kind and selfless.

15) Give up living your life to other people’s expectations. Way to many people are living a life that is not theirs to live. They live their lives according to what others think is best for them. They live lives according to what their parents think is best for them, or their friends, or enemies or teachers think is best for them. They ignore their inner voice…their inner calling. They are so busy pleasing everybody they lose control over their own lives. They forget what makes them happy. You have one life..this one right now. You must live it. You must own it, and don’t let other people’s opinions distract you from your path.

This list was copied and given to me several years ago, and I still carry it with me EVERY SINGLE DAY. I refer to it often. I’m afraid I don’t know who the original author was, as I’d gladly offer him/her credit.

MOVE OVER KITCHEN! The backyard is the new heart of the home!

As millions of Americans ready their outdoor space for the summer season, a new study from SABER Grills reveals just how enamored U.S. homeowners are with their backyards. Eighty-three percent of homeowners across the country say their outdoor living space is the favorite place in their home. It’s also the most used space in American households just behind the kitchen, and way ahead of the game room, living room and dining room.

While spaces like dining rooms and formal living rooms have lost favor in American homes, the backyard has gained popularity each year. The survey showed the overwhelming majority of current U.S. homeowners (81 percent) consider their outdoor space the heart of their home.

“It doesn’t matter if your home is valued at $75,000 or $775,000, if you are an American homeowner, you are proud of your outdoor space and consider it an essential part of your home,” said Rob Schwing, GM of SABER Grills. “Homeowners use their backyards to relax and reconnect with family – just like the kitchen.”

It’s not surprising then that 51 percent of all homeowners say they update the space as often as their favorite interior rooms. And, new man-cave trend alert – a full 30 percent of male homeowners say they are solely responsible for decorating their homes’ outdoor space. Topping the guy’s wish list for 2014 outdoor space additions? A pool or hot tub. One thing they can’t live without? Their grill. And, not surprisingly, “access to wi-fi” is now among the top five most common items in demand for outdoor living spaces.

Super engaged with their outdoor space are Baby Boomers who live in older homes, mostly congregating in the Southern and Midwestern U.S., the survey revealed. Their backyard is more likely than others to be equipped with TVs, Wi-Fi and special lighting. They own at least two grills and are adventurous entertainers, frequently trying new recipes with groups of five or more.

Other regional facts:

• Midwesterners are the most interactive with their outdoor space: they update/accessorize most often and 75 percent use it throughout the week.
• Top of the wish of outdoor furnishings for all was a pool or hot tub. Southerners and Westerners are most likely to include “kitchen” in the top three.
• South and Northeast residents have the biggest parties, usually entertaining more than five people.
• Southerners are most likely to own two or more grills; Northeasterners, just one.
• Roughly 40 percent of all outdoor chefs consider themselves average grillers. More than 30 percent of Northeasterners, however, identify themselves as “confident” grillers.

Source: SABER Grills, LLC//

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Selling This Summer? 6 Upgrades to Secure a Speedy Sale

 

When the weather warms up, so does the real estate market. Spring and summer are traditionally the seasons when both homebuyers and sellers are most active across the country. If you’ll be putting your home on the market this year, simple, cost-effective upgrades can help ensure a speedy sale at a good price.

“In the world of real estate, it’s often necessary for sellers to spend a little on upgrades in order to achieve a satisfying home sale,” says Bethany Richmond, communications director for the Carpet & Rug Institute. “Fortunately, some of the most impressive upgrades, such as new carpeting, are also affordable. Such upgrades ensure that you don’t have to spend a lot to achieve a better selling price.”

Here are six easy-to-do upgrades that are both cost-effective and high-impact:

1. Replace carpet
It’s easy to see the impact of worn or dated carpeting. “If you don’t like looking at it, buyers won’t either,” Richmond says. “Replacing old or damaged carpet delivers impressive appeal for a modest investment.”

New carpet is one upgrade that has a high ratio of value to cost. It substantially increases perceived value for homebuyers without requiring home sellers to spend a bundle. “Even less expensive carpet styles will freshen the look of a room and prepare it for sale,” Richmond notes. “You can get a lot more quality for just a little more money, she says, “and if you take advantage of spring carpet sales, installing new carpeting can cost even less.”

2. Clean flooring
If your carpet is still in great shape, then simply having it professionally cleaned can make it look even better. A deep professional cleaning helps lift tough soils and provides a cleaner, fresher look to rooms. You can find an expert in your area by visiting http://www.carpet-rug.org. CRI experts can even provide insight into how to remove difficult stains.

Not only is carpet a good value, it’s healthy, too. People with allergies or other sensitivities are installing carpet to improve indoor air quality. Recent studies support previous findings that carpet, when effectively cleaned, traps allergens and other particles, resulting in less dust, dander and airborne contaminants escaping into the air. Don’t forget to clean all other flooring, including hardwood, laminates and tile. Buyers will appreciate a sparkling clean appearance throughout the house.

3. Repaint in neutral shades
Fresh paint is another smart and cost-effective upgrade for sellers. Buyers expect it, yet many sellers hesitate to repaint. Perhaps they like the existing colors or balk at the cost of professional painting services. Yet repainting in neutral colors makes a room look fresher and brighter, and gives buyers a visual “blank slate” against which to imagine their own decor. Do the work yourself and you can reduce the cost of repainting even further.

4. Update or upgrade lighting
You may find that disco-ball style globe light charming in your kitchen, but the average buyer doesn’t want dated or unusual lighting. Replacing dated or worn fixtures, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, is a cost-effective way to give a room a more up-to-date, contemporary look. If you already have newer fixtures, consider replacing incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency options such as CFLs or LEDs. Although they’re a bit more expensive to purchase, these bulbs last years longer – a selling point for buyers who will reap the value of not having to replace bulbs any time in the near future.

5. Install new faucets
A high-end faucet can completely change the look and usability of a kitchen or bathroom. In terms of cost versus value, an upgraded faucet, such as pull-out or even touch-free styles, can dramatically increase perceived value for a relatively modest investment. An upgraded faucet is a thoughtful touch that will set your home apart in buyers’ minds.

6. Replace hardware throughout the home
You may have already thought of upgrading kitchen cabinet knobs and drawer pulls, but have you also upgraded hardware in your bathroom or on the front door? These seemingly small items have a major impact on the overall visual effect of a home. In desirable rooms such as kitchens and baths, designer hardware can elevate the entire look of the room. And upgraded door hardware will ensure buyers have a positive first impression from the moment they enter your home.//

Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2014. All rights reserved.

Mortgage issues with mold and renovation loans

Spring has sprung in Avon Indiana, and as temperature rise outside, so do they rise in vacant homes that are closed up and listed for sale.  The presence of a water source, warm temperature and stagnant air make perfect conditions for the quick growth of mold. With that said, here is information from Amerif|First Home Mortgage that you AND your buyer should be of if considering a renovation loan and the need for remediation or abatement of mold is needed.

The purpose of this communication is to provide further guidance on AmeriFirst’s Renovation Lending Products and Policies related to mold removal and clean up.

FHA 203k Streamline Guidelines for mold:

The Streamline k program was created as an offering for limited and uncomplicated rehabilitation to a home. With this spirit in mind, here are AmeriFirst’s Guidelines for mold on this program:

  1. Mold cannot be considered “excessive” – see notes below
  2. Contractor to add a narrative to the bid specifically addressing the following:
    1. Must identify the source of the moistureand/or area of infiltration.
    2. Must be specific and detailed as to the exact work that will be performed to remove the mold.
    3. Must state that the proposed treatment will remedy the mold problem.
  3. Removal and clean-up of mold cannot displace the borrower for more than 30 days.  A statement must be added to the Home Owner Contractor Agreement stating that “mold will be removed and house will be habitable within 30 days of closing”.
  4. If the jurisdiction that the property is in requires specific licensing for mold contractors, a copy of the appropriate license will need to be included in the file.

FHA 203k Full Guidelines for mold:

  1. This program allows for excessive mold removal and clean up.
  2. The HUD Consultant will be relied on for their expertise and guidance on mold remediation including whether or not the use of a contractor that specializes in mold removal is required for the project.
  3. If the jurisdiction that the property is in requires specific licensing for mold contractors, a copy of the appropriate license will need to be included in the file.

Fannie Mae HomePath Renovation:

  1. This program allows for mold removal and clean up.
  2. If the mold is not excessive, Contractor to add a narrative to the bid specifically addressing the following:
    1. Must identify the source of the moistureand/or area of infiltration.
    2. Must be specific and detailed as to the exact work that will be performed to remove the mold.
    3. Must state that the proposed treatment will remedy the mold problem.
  3. If mold is determined to be excessive, then a contractor that specializes in mold removal will be required for the project.
  4. If the jurisdiction that the property is in requires specific licensing for mold contractors, a copy of the appropriate license will need to be included in the file.

Notes:

“Excessive Mold” – Determining whether or not mold is excessive can be subjective, open to interpretation and often times will require a “common sense” approach.  The following guidelines will be used in determining what is excessive.

  1. Mold that appears to be a considerable health hazard – this increases AmeriFirst’s potential liability exposure and can put the borrower(s) and their family at risk health wise.
  2. The bid or proposal for the mold remediation is in excess of $1000.

The Underwriter and Senior Management, if necessary, will have the final decision in determining if mold appears to be excessive in questionable cases.

The use of a home inspection with photographs and commentary and/or the use of a HUD Consultant acting in the capacity of an inspector in performing a property review to determine the requirements for the property to meet HUD Minimum Property Standards can be helpful in the determination process of the extent of the mold when this is in question. It is wise to have them break out the mold clean-up to be completed and provide photos for review prior to ordering the appraisal so the full extent of the mold issue is known.

Where practical, mold clean up should be completed as one of the first renovation items.  Should additional mold be found, such as behind the walls that could not be seen from the initial visual inspection, monies would more likely be available to complete this health and safety item either out of the contingency fund and/or could replace a possible elective item should cost of removal become excessive.

Best Practices on Mold Bids

In order to ensure clarity of the actual cost of mold removal and clean up, the bid for the mold removal should be broken down specifically to only include the cost of mold removal and clean up.

For example…

A vacant, foreclosed property has the electric off.  Water backs up in the basement due to the sump pump not being operable as there is no electric. Excess water soaks basement carpeting and the first foot of the drywall creating a mold issue.

The mold bid should include the following mold specific removal items:

–          Cost of removal of carpeting.

–          Cost of removing drywall to chair rail height.

–          Cost of any specific treatment to disinfect or sanitize the affected area to complete the mold removal and clean up.

The mold bid should not include the following as these items are not related to mold removal and clean up:

–          Cost of carpet replacement.

–          Cost of drywall replacement.

We hope this provides additional clarification on how to best handle mold and the necessity for judgment calls by the Underwriting Team and Senior Management where appropriate due to the potential complexities sometimes related to mold remediation.

Reprinted with permission from Jayne Dann/AmeriFirst Home Loans. 7 N Washington, Danville, IN  46122 317-941-6340