Market Monday! The First! April 28, 2014

How about we start a thing we can call Market Watch Monday or Market Monday or something?  We can look at what the residential real estate market is doing.  Not always exciting (unless you love numbers and graphs, which I do! Spreadsheets are wonderful tools, btw.) but often very, very helpful.  I’m going to toss out some info, maybe give a bit of my opinion, but if you have questions or, as always, want to discuss over coffee, feel free call or email me!

Lockbox activity¹ – down 10.48% from last week

Number of active listings² – 26,892
Number of UCB/pending listings³ – 11,559
Number of homes sold last week – 1,603
Number of homes sold last month – 12,516

Average Days on Market as of the 14th of last month – 83.6 days

List to sale price ratio as of the 14th of last month – 97.3%

The National Association of Realtors Pending Home Sales info regarding the increase in March is here (keep in mind this is national and real estate is very local!).

¹ - Lockbox activity is when an agent opens a lockbox, showing a house is 80-95% of opens, putting/taking a lockbox on/off a new/soldlisting is the rest.

² – Active listings are listings that are not under contract

³ – UCB (under contract accepting backups) and pending homes have contracts but have not closed yet

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Super Hero Birthday Party!

My stepson turned 8 this week and we had a super fun super hero party at our house to celebrate!  I often curse Pinterest and it’s half-baked ideas that work half the time.  But this time it was full of really fun ideas for a super hero party.

Our theme for the activities, which were the main focus for our party:
Super Hero Birthday Party Games

We had a laser maze for the kids to climb through. Other Pinners used a hallway, but we weren’t planning to have people upstairs.  I planned to use the back of the living room couch and a flat wall, but then decided to use the pet pen we have.  Red yarn was the laser.
Super Hero Birthday Party Games Laser Maze

Helium filled balloons with little weights (the free clip ones they give you at the grocery store) tied at different heights for the kids to punch.

A lava pit to cross (kiddie pool filled with water, dry ice plopped in, and a 2×4 strapped to cinder blocks.  The bath tabs did not work to color it red as one Pinner suggested, our pool was too big for 8 tabs to even tint the water.  The kids did not care!)
Super Hero Birthday Party Lava Pit

The super heroes jumped over tall buildings!  Our 4 kids decorated the tall buildings (boxes wrapped in brown package paper) themselves, this was a fantastic activity for them so they could help and they were occupied while I did other things.  They used our little trampoline to jump over the buildings.

They sword fought a bop bag.  Swords were pool noodles chopped in half.  Other pinners let them sword fight each other, which I know from experience is a bad idea and turns into tears.  So I gave them the Angry Birds (not with the theme but who cares!) bop bag.  They loved it.  No tears.
20140322_142827e

They shot villains with water guns.  Villains were empty water bottles with an angry face drawn on them with Sharpie. I tried to give them a large bowl filled with water for quick refills but for some reason these water guns would not refill when submerged.  Too busy to trouble shoot that one.  Thankfully they moved on and did not turn the water guns on each other!

The kids webbed a villain with silly string!  Craig volunteered to be the villain.  I forgot to set some ground rules, which would be: not on the face.  I think he ingested silly string.  Look at the faces on those kids!!! (I think another Pinner let them silly string each other, but again, I was going for no tears.)
Super Hero Birthday Party Games Web Silly String a Villain

And everyone’s favorite – ZIP LINE!!!  What super hero doesn’t want to fly through the air!  Birthday boy actually looks like he’s flying in this picture!  Disclaimer:  BE SAFE!!! I set the stipulation on this one that it could be no higher a drop than the monkey bars at school. (Oh my goodness while editing this photo I zoomed in to birthday boy’s face for the first time.  The look is priceless.)
Super Hero Birthday Party Zip Line

I loved that the kids helped with the projects for the games.  My 9 yr old daughter made the signs for the activities.  All 4 decorated the buildings for the Jump Tall Buildings activity.  My 6 yr old son helped string the yarn for the Laser Maze.  And of course, they had to test everything pre-party!
Super Hero Birthday Party Drink

If you want details on anything we did, feel free to email me or write in the comments below!

We have another party coming up in a few months and I’m always looking for ideas!  What kid parties have you thrown that worked or didn’t work?

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Loan Program Too Good To Be True?

There’s this non-profit called Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America and they have this loan program with zero down and no PMI.  You don’t have to have a stellar or even good credit score to qualify.  In fact, they don’t care about your credit score.  If you have had a foreclosure or short sale, you only have to wait two years before you can qualify for a loan.  Sounds great, right?!

The catch:  They require a lot of documentation.  A lot.  There’s a lot of homework involved in getting a loan, with one of theirs there is even more.  But if you are organized and willing to do the work, you could get a really great loan.

Not a catch:  This isn’t one of those programs that limits which areas you can purchase your home.

If you are interested in more information about their program, feel free to give me a call or send me an email!  During your home search, they ask that you use a Realtor familiar with their program (which by the way, I am!), and I’d be happy to help you get started.

Posted in Buying, Facing Foreclosure, Short Sales | Leave a comment

What 30 Boxes? Oh yeah, Box 6

So things have been a little crazy around here.  When are they not?  Real estate has been busy, and weird.  I should do a post about our market, how ’bout tomorrow?

Anyways, I’ve let the 30 Days, 30 Boxes Project slide.  I’ve been going through my days, seeing the boxes, but just not wanting to attack them.  I’ve had other projects at home and with my business, but I see boxes around the house, and I’ve thought, “I could probably do one little one, the others were so easy…”  But I just haven’t.

Today I did one box.  And in that box, I completely remembered one of the reasons I started this project and why it is particularly hard.  Here’s the box:

Inside doesn’t look so bad, unless you know what’s lurking under there…

And all the stuff exploded:

oh there’s the book I wanted to lend to my DBF’s mom

The pink robe I was going to make for my daughter when she was 3. She’s 9 now.

The real sh*t. Lurking. My wedding photo album and other pre-divorce mementos.

When you get divorced, no one tells you what to do with this sh*t.  Pardon my language, but it is sh*t.  With kids, there’s this guilt that you should keep some of it to show them that once upon a time Mommy and Daddy did actually get along fairly well.  But then there’s the desire to just throw the whole lot in a dumpster (or bonfire) and not look at it again.  I quickly pulled some photos to keep for each of my children, put them in an envelope and tossed the rest.  I hope I did the right thing.

I’d like to hear what others have done.  What did you do?  When did you do it?  What did you keep or toss?

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30 Days, 30 Boxes: Day 5!

I got all caught up with Box 5, on Day 5!  I am (probably prematurely) patting myself on the back right now.  Anyways…Box 5 is actually two bags of hand-me-down clothes.  I could put them in a box if it makes you feel better.  Or I could just tell you they were sitting on top of other boxes, thus making them part of the club.

Again, a quick sort kept this a quick job.  Three piles: donate, clothes that fit now, clothes that will fit later.

It has been a crazy busy week (when are they not?!).  I did my first volunteer Art Masterpiece project with my stepson’s 2nd grade class, my son had a goal for karate (which he proudly achieved yesterday!), soccer practices, new dance class, and did I mention I sell real estate full time?

Have you started an organizing or de-cluttering project?  I’d love to hear about it!

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