Search This Blog

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

We bought it!

I wanted to post a quick update on my personal home we purchased at auction. Here's a photo of our little brown cottage in the woods.

We have been busy, busy, busy, working at work and at home.  Our journey began with a tornado and at times it feels like we are still living in a tornado.  We both have usually about an hour a night to work on it and try so hard to work all day on Sunday, but neither of us can be gone from work for a whole day it seems.........but we are SO EXCITED!

We wanted to downsize, simplify, get back to what really matters in life, so the Little Brown Cottage seemed to fit the bill, with a few minor tweaks and adjustments. 

Well we ripped out all of the floor coverings.  ALL of the floors.......all of the doors.....all of the closet doors.

Here is a photo of our master bedroom before we starting ripping out.  Good size room and there is a door to the outside just to the right of the window you can't see in the photo.  The previous homeowners took very good care of the home, but it was time to make it ours.

Here is a photo of after (and we are still working on it!)!  I will post more photos later.  We have painted almost every inch of the house. 


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Purchasing A HUD Home

Many buyers in their initial search seek out foreclosures and short sales because they are priced so agressively, but many are surprised by how much repair/updating these homes really need.  With a little elbow grease, or sometimes with a lot of elbow grease, these homes can be great purchases.

I truly have some very talented clients who are not afraid of the work it takes to get the job done and have a vision for homes.  Where some people see problems, they see opportunity.

Here are some before and after photos of one of my most talented clients.  This couple, with help from their dad, got down and dirty and right after closing, rolled up their sleeves and got busy removing carpet, toilets, windows, and popcorn ceiling.  They weren't even scared of the popcorn ceiling!

Before of the exterior:

After of the exterior:

This couple changed the trim color, base color, installed new windows and tore out the overgrown shrubs which had literally taken over the front yard. 

Removing the popcorn ceiling can be laborious, but the crisp, new ceilings of this home have brightened and modernized this home.  It really does help with resale!  I can't tell you how many times certain buyers will turn their noses up at this outdated texture.

Ceiling Before Removing Popcorn:

After Removal of Popcorn!

The Final Product!  Whoo Hoo!

[Insert Applause]

Friday, June 1, 2012

Girl Power!

The real estate market has been very challenging in the last five years.  With the rising number of foreclosures, short sales and sellers who have to come to the table with a check, the market for buyers, sellers and real estate professionals has become somewhat moody.  One of the biggest changes for me personally, is the relationship we have with the seller.  Before 2006, when the seller came to closing, he/she was very excited to pick up their check and move on to greener pasture.  They were great to work with when the buyer's lender or the buyer requested repairs because they were motivated to pick up the check.  In today's market, depending on a seller's situation, they may have purchased their home for more than the current buyer has offered.  So when they are approached with a repair request, it's like adding insult to injury for them.  "What more do they want from me?"

Real estate has been and remains today a long term investment.  Much like the stock market, it has fluctuated historically and home ownership is still the key to investment diversification.  Those who purchase homes, work on savings and investment will fair much better in their retirement years than those who do not.

There are opportunities in any real estate market, and the market we are experiencing right now is no exception to this rule.  The most encouraging trend that I have personally witnessed is the number of independent, young working women who have purchased homes.  They are hardworking and very thrifty savers.  These women have been very careful and prudent buyers who have purchased homes with loans at all time lows and if they remain in these homes for the next five years could impact the economy in very positive ways in the coming years.

Oh and yes, I have seen many single young bachelors make the move to purchasing homes instead of renting and waiting until they are married.  They too have been careful and prudent savers.  These young buyers are buying five maybe ten years sooner than my generation bought homes.

I'm very impressed with this Generation X!  And on that note, here is a photo of one of those proud young clients who purchased the most adorable cottage.  She is busy with landscape and is having a blast making it hers!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

What Happens When a Real Estate Agent Sells Her Own House?

Oh.....I'm so glad you asked!  When a real estate agent who works 60+ hours and has her phone stuck to her ear and is constantly checking email and text messages on her Droid, this is what happens.....

Notice that thirty minutes prior to closing, I just tossed my winter coats over the display case which was the only available space left in this huge rented storage space, which by the way, did not hold all of my furniture!! 

Its a miracle I got it moved by the deadline and it wouldn't have happened without a lot of help from my mom, Kay Van Kampen , my step dad and Doug!  Thank goodness for them!!

I always tell my clients to have a Plan A and Plan B.  If you close on time where will you live, and if you don't close on time, what is your plan?

Well, Plan A is to purchase another home and effortlessly, simultaneously close both and live happily ever after.  Plan B is to move into a short-term rental, RV park or hotel.  My Plan B?  Move in with my mom (pronounced MAWMHH).'s my room!  I just brought a few clothes with me...........

Yes there is a closet in this room and it is so full, everything I pull out is wrinkled and yes, there are two freestanding wardrobes full as well.

So......I will find time this weekend to look for my own home......most likely.....

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Dress Up Your Fireplace

In our market area, there were many homes built in the late 70's and early 80's with wood paneled walls and native Missouri rock fireplaces.  If you are searching for a home,  don't rule out these homes which can be great values.   Here are some ideas to lighten and brighten these spaces.

Many of these rock fireplaces were constructed using black mortar between the rocks and made the fireplace look very dark and in contrast to today's light and bright modern interiors.

One of my many talented clients considered taking a pry bar and a hammer to her fireplace, but decided that if she lightened up the fireplace it might fit in nicely with her colorful country decor.  She literally went over the black mortar with an off white and really changed the look of her fireplace.  You will also see in this photo that she also painted the paneling which really changed the look of the living space.

What a huge difference! 


If you do opt to completely remove the rock and your tastes run to something more contemporary, in this next photo my client decided to keep the original mantel but replaced the surround and hearth with a beautiful marble.  When my client originally bought this home, the fireplace was not featured in the photos.  We currently have this home on the market and the fireplace is now the focal point of this living room.

The warm colors of this living room are all tied into the fireplace. 

You can view the tour of this home at

Friday, May 25, 2012

I am a Buyer's Agent for Kay Van Kampen in Ozark, Missouri.  Kay also happens to be my mother.  I love my career and love helping my clients find new homes and love, love how they make these homes their own!  I have some very talented clients.  I started this blog to share my story and my clients' stories as well as we all travel through life all looking for a place to call home.

My journey is much like that of my clients.  In a tough economy, many of my clients have reevaluated what is really important in life and many have downsized and then there are some who had the opportunity to take advantage of the market and bought homes that gave them new opportunities to expand and express themselves.

In 2006, I built this house.

This was my dream home.  I spent months planning and researching products and floor plans because both of my boys planned to attend college nearby and I wanted them to have the entire second floor to themselves and give them some much needed "adult" privacy but really wanted them to stay home.

I loved this kitchen!!! It was everything I wanted and so much more.  I went 20% over budget in this one room, but boy it really paid off.

I sold this home in 2008 when I divorced and even though I miss this home (not the exhusband), I was ready to find my "single and in my 40's home" that I could manage all by myself and I was really excited.  I had never shopped for a home that met just my requirements.
So I found this home.....1500 something sq. feet plenty big for just me!  Mom actually shopped with me and we both said "This is it!" at the same time!

Much smaller kitchen, much smaller bedrooms, but so much more manageable and the payment was much more reasonable. 

WELL......I didn't expect to meet Doug.  We have the best time together and we've both been through alot of the same things.....we're different....but we're the same in so many ways.  And now.....everything is better when we are together.  So I sold this home and officially live with my mother.  When this home went under contract, I had planned to move in with Doug who lived on his family's farm until we found "our" home.  Doug's family farm was hit by a tornado and he is now living in an RV.   So goes the story, so goes the beginning of this blog.  Our journey to find a home, and a place to share some of my client's talented renovations.