Thursday, October 20, 2011

Merry Christmas!!

An associate recently asked me, “What’s your favorite thing about autumn”?  Immediately I answered, “Christmas”!  Anyone who knows me knows my seasonal calendar consists of only two seasons:  Christmas Season & NOT Christmas Season.  I know, I know.  Autumn is a favorite season for many due to the relief from the hot summer weather.  The days are still sunny and relatively long and there are many autumn hobbies to participate in such as Hayrides, Pumpkin Patches, Bonfires, Apple Picking, Covered Bridge Festivals, Trips to Brown County, and Football Tailgating and Games.  Although I am aware of all the wonderful activities available to us in the Indianapolis area during this time of year, and I participate in many, I can’t participate in as much as I would like.
Why?  Well, I have a good reason, I promise.  I’m getting ready for Christmas, my favorite time of year.   Similar to the department stores, Christmas comes early at my house.  As soon as the first cool breeze of autumn whizzes by, I bypass Halloween and some autumn activities and go into full Christmas mode.  It takes me months to decorate.
For much of December, I entertain friends, colleagues, clients & neighbors in my home.  So, in October I begin to strategically decorate the inside and outside of my home.  It takes me months to decorate and turn my home into a wonderland.  I’ve gotten so good at decorating over the years; I no longer have to start decorating on Labor Day.  Every year I say I will pare down but the Holiday Spirit takes a hold of me and I can’t resist adding to my collection of Christmas decor to put on a good show for my guests.
I look forward to the many individuals I reconnect with during this busy, but joyful time.  And, I tend to have a lot of real estate activity during the Holiday season as well.  Keep checking my website for updated listings and valuable information regarding buying or selling a home during the winter months.
So, in closing, although it is still October, I want to wish you all a wonderful Holiday Season.   

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fall Reminders

Each season I mail out a reminder check list of home maintenance items to my friends, clients and neighbors.  The following are some hints for maintaining your home during fall season.  It is important that during this season you prepare your home for the upcoming winter.  You may want to consider installing additional insulation, using weather stripping, and caulking.

  1. Have furnace serviced by a qualified contractor.
  2. Change furnace filter(s).
  3. Replace central humidifier pad.
  4. Close crawl space vents.
  5. Check fireplace flue for creosote build-up and check damper for operation.
  6. Check roof for damage, loose or missing shingles.  Checking flashing areas as well.
  7. Clean gutters as needed.
  8. Install or lower all storm windows.
  9. Shut off water to outside faucets and disconnect all garden hoses.
  10. Insulate any plumbing located in garage or other areas subject to freezing.
  11. A third application of fertilizer for your lawn should follow in mid-October.
  12. Empty or let gasoline tank on your lawnmower run dry before winter storage.
  13. Take a careful look at the exterior of your house to see that it is properly protected from the elements.
  14. If your family room does not seem large enough for your family and friends to watch the games on TV this fall, call me to assist you in finding you another home.

If you take time to maintain your investment, your investment will take care of you!
Call me for any real estate questions.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

How To Achieve Financial Freedom

If you're like millions of Americans, you dream of the day when you will be debt free.  The economic recession has prompted many families to restrict spending in order to take control of their finances, pay down outstanding debt and make saving a priority.  In fact, the average household debt has fallen over 8.2% since it's peak in 2008.*  For many people, eliminating household debt feels unattainable; however, with the right tools, anyone can take control of their spending and begin to build wealth.

This month, I have tips on my website to help you break the cycle of debt and achieve financial freedom.  The first page outlines steps you can take to create a budget and save money.  Page two details a plan to eliminate debt from credit cards and loans in a fraction of the time it would traditionally take.  Feel free to share this information with your Family and Friends who are looking to get out of debt and improve their financial security.

If you have any questions or would like more information, please contact me any time via email, facebook, twitter, townepost or phone!

 *Source:  Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Quarterly Report on household Debt and Credit:  May 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Truth about the American Real Estate Market

If you watch the news or read the newspaper, it can be difficult to keep up with the state of the economy.  Over the last century, the real estate market has had its share of ups and downs, none as dramatic as the highs and lows experienced during the past decade.  However, the pendulum is on its way back, signaling the recovery of the housing market.  Although the housing slowdown has fostered anxiety among investors and homebuyers alike, real estate has been, and will continue to be, a good long-term investment.
To help separate fact from fiction I’m attaching timely information about the historical trends that have shaped the real estate market over the last century and offer valuable insight into its recovery.  The first page provides an outline of historical trends in home values, mortgage rates and home equity over the last century.  Page two gives an overview of homeownership trends and demographics.  Feel free to share this information with your family or friends who are looking to buy a home.
I’m always available to answer any questions you may have regarding the local real estate market.  If you know of someone who would appreciate the level of service I provide, please call me, email me, tweet me or message me on Facebook and/or LinkedIn with their name and business number.  I’ll be happy to follow up and take great care of them.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tips on how to Spruce up your Curb Appeal without spending any money

If you’re in the market to sell your home this spring or summer, this is the time prospective buyers start to emerge from winter’s hibernation indoors and begin to drive around and “neighborhood peep”.  Prospective buyers are visualizing themselves living in your home when they drive by.  Their first impression is the exterior and how you maintain your property and they want to move into a space that feels refreshed, renewed and clean. 
No matter how beautifully updated and well maintained the inside of your home is, prospective buyers will have no interest in scheduling an appointment to see the INSIDE of your home if the OUTSIDE is unappealing or unkempt.  The feeling invoked by an untidy exterior is that if the outside looks this way, the inside must not be much to look at either.
When I first meet with a client that would like to sell his/her home, I always take the meeting at their home so I can note the features of the home and determine the best features to highlight in the listing.   I remind my clients that a fresh, clean, safe appearance leading up to your front door and nice landscaping can be a key to selling a home. 
Many aesthetic improvements can be done in a day for little or NO money and some of my ideas take a very small investment.  Here are a few of my suggestions on how you can improve your home’s curb appeal no matter how little your time or budget.

·         Wash your windows & clean out your gutters
·         Sweep the front stoop and/or porch
·         Shine up the hardware on your front door and wipe clean the door
·         De Weed mulch beds
·         Pull out any plants that are dying or browning – anything that looks unkempt
·         Use a rake to fluff up the existing mulch and uncover the darker pieces below
·         Trim bushes and trees bordering the home and in the yard

·         Paint your shutters, front door and/or garage door
·         Place a wreath on your front door
·         Hang a wind chime
·         Replace front door handle and lockset, house numbers and a wall-mounted mailbox (if applicable) so they function collectively
·         Install a new porch light and/or sconces at front door and garage
·         Paint or Install a new street side mailbox (or wall mounted per previous mention)
·         Replace missing shingles
·         Replace damaged downspouts
·         Plant colorful annuals
·         Put down fresh mulch
·         Hang a flower basket or place one or two containers around the entrance to the home
·         Install flower baskets (even in fall, you can plant colorful fall plants for color and interest)
·         Repair cracks and stains on your driveway and de-weed
·         Repair loose front porch and stoop railings and/or paint

·         Replace the front door
·         Install molding around the front door
·         Install outdoor lighting or solar lighting along the walkway and/or mulch beds
·         Add a water feature like a small fountain or bird bath
·         Add shutters or accent trim
·         Add a decorative fence or decorative fence panels to add interest and charm to the front of your home
·         Frame your home with new planting beds at the front corners of the yard, along driveways or walkways, and immediately in front of the house.
·         Replace gutters and downspouts

·         Tile your front doorstep and include a built in welcome mat
·         Add stone, brick, or pavers to the sides of the drive to widen it.
·         Build a walkway to your front door and use contoured stone or brick
·         Upgrade porch railings
·         Replace siding and trim

No matter what your budget or time commitment, I’m certain that by doing just a few of the above will improve your home’s curb appeal and encourage prospective buyers to want to see more on the inside!

**Some items referenced from www. Look there to find more fun, inexpensive ways to enhance your curb appeal.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thank you to my clients for the amazing recognition in this Month's Indianapolis Monthly Magazine

When I received a phone call late last year from someone who identified himself as being from the Indianapolis Monthly Magazine I thought I was being pranked.  He told me I would be receiving the 2011 Five Star Real Estate Agent Overall Satisfaction Award and would be featured in Indianapolis Monthly Magazine’s April 2011 issue.  I thought, "Wow, that's a creative way to ask someone to advertise in the magazine".

Immediately, like any person might these days, I "Googled" the award to see if it was legitimate and what it really entailed.  I also put a call into FC Tucker Co., Inc. Corporate to ask what they might know about this "award" and had they also been contacted.  Lastly, I called a few friends, colleagues and members of my team to ask, "Have you heard of the Five Star Real Estate Award" and "Can you find anything on this"?

Within a few days, I received the details and concluded in a nutshell:  Yes, the award was legitimate; No, they weren't trying to solicit me to advertise in the magazine; and WOW!!!, what an amazing honor.

Turns out, when you look at the very few Realtors (about 5%) within our city who qualified for this overall satisfaction award, this was a big deal!  After all my years as a Realtor, the times I've tried to articulate my passion for Real Estate and my sincere dedication to giving the best service to my clients, this Award represented, for me, a job well done.  It's fun to sell homes and I love the business, but what it really comes down to is, "Did I do my best for the clients and are they happy with my service"?

This award “told” me that my clients (that completed the survey) and the industry representatives I’ve worked with (who were interviewed) believed I was doing a great job.  THANK YOU!

A heartfelt thank you to my Clients for the pleasure and privilege to have served you.  I’ve received recognition in the past from a variety of industry accomplishments but this means the absolute most!

For a view of my full page recognition in this month’s issue of Indianapolis Monthly Magazine and for information on how clients were contacted/surveyed and how the data was concluded, please click on this link:  Raymond Rohana featured in Indianapolis Monthly Magazine April 2011