Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Butterfly Garden



Butterfly gardens are a great place to visit with kids and to also try to take photos of these beautiful creatures. You have to be quick to get a good shot. I went through many blurred photos just to get about seven photos that were decent. I used the macro setting on my camera and got really close to the butterfly for each shot.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Wonderful World of Real Estate Smells


One of the joys of showing real estate is the unexpected surprises that can great buyers as they walk through a home. The good ones are the smell of cinnamon apples and chocolate chip cookies. The bad ones...well, read on to learn about some I have ran into on a recent showing.

House #1 looked great online. While is was quite a bit older than the other two on our list, say 20 years older, the current owners had done quite a bit of remodeling. The first thing we noticed when we drove up was the next door neighbors car collection. Wow, what it must take to service 2 minivans circa 1980, 1 beat up Chevy, and something else we couldn't quite make out. We decided that wasn't a total scar on the home, so we went inside. Now here is where the sellers lost us. As I opened the door, the lovely aroma spilled out into the snowy cold. Unfortunately it wasn't the spell of Roses, or cookies, or cinnamon apples, but the smell all real estate agents know is a deal killer, pet urine.

You have to understand, while I can see a way out of the situation, like giving the home a head to toe bath, husbands are not so forgiving. His crinkled nose tells me that no matter how great the inside looks from this point on, there is no way we will be buying this house. I convince him to go inside anyway. The sellers have done a pretty decent job...a great new kitchen, hardwood floors, and a refinished basement. However even I notice the poor tile job, the unfinished trim, and the shoddy painted walls, and I have to join my husbands prior unspoken position. We decide to move on to #2.

The 2nd home was more expensive than the last and had more square feet. With no bad odor greeting us at the door, we preceded downstairs to the beautifully remodeled lower level. Wow, this was great! It even had a huge office with french doors, perfect for me! As we ventured upstairs, thinking this was the one, we headed to the kitchen. See, I am a cook, so I am very picky about my kitchen...this one got a B, but it needed updating. I could over look this, so we headed upstairs. As soon as we started up, another wonderful odor hit us head on. No, not roses again, but this time mothballs and must. Unfortunately it had to be me to scratch the home off the list, as I am allergic to both these smells. I couldn't even continue up the stairs it was so strong! Now that my allergies are all messed up, it is useless to proceed to #3. We decide to go home to regroup and venture out on another day.

So what is the moral of the story? Sellers, please get an outside third party to smell inspect your home before you put it on the market. Do not be offended if the report issues you a citation for having a smelly house. If you do not take care of the problem now, the home will never sell. The easiest solution is a thorough cleaning...no, do not just cover it up with a spray. It only adds to the problem. Realtors, do not be afraid to tell your clients their home does not smell like roses. Offer them suggestions to improve it and tell them it will not go on the market until odor is fixed. Why waist your marketing dollars if a seller refuses to listen to you? Anyway, if your home is stinky, you won't be smelling anything green.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Rural Minnesota

We have been having a great summer so far this year, at least in my opinion. I grew up in a small town in Indiana, that was surrounded by farms. Minneapolis is very similar as you can drive just a half hour out of the city and be in farm country. We have some of the most beautiful scenery with rolling hills and acres of corn fields, reminding me of southern Indiana. If you want real estate with 2 or more acres, you have to travel to the far suburbs to find a great piece of land. Seeing the profit to be made, many local farmers are selling off their tracts of real estate to developers.