Natural Kid Zone – Creating a Backyard Nature Area for Kids

IMG_2256The back yard is the best place for children to explore.  set aside some space just for exploration and you will find your kids outdoors playing and wondering about the world, how it works and who lives here.  Sounds like a great idea, but where do you start, how hard will it be to create this oasis?

Take one small area and remove the grasses so that children can dig.  Allow them to dig and play on wet and dry days as this will create a whole new experience.  Don’t worry about the mess so long as children are dressed for mess.

Kids of course are drawn to water.  Add a hose, sprinkler, bucket and scoops, watering cans, plastic pvc pipes of varying lengths.  Oh, and don’t forget to send them out in the rain so long as it isn’t storming.  take in the senses.  What things do they notice when the weather is wet?  Since water can be dangerous, make sure to supervise, but also stay back enough to allow them to explore without our input into the activity.

Consider adding a few large rocks (large enough so that they cannot be picked up and thrown, but small enough that they can be turned over to explore underneath.  Is there a tree in this environment?  I remember playing for hours in an old lilac bush when I was a child.  So much fun moving about its branches.  It could be anything and it was!

Don’t forget to add plants and perhaps allow children to help in the planting.  In my yard I need to make sure to have shade loving plants, but you will need to choose depending on your yards unique lighting.

Lastly, allow for some building materials.  A sheet for a fort, a variety of boards or long sticks can make for some great temporary forts and doesn’t have to cost a lot.  Have a few boards that you can allow to sit for a day or two and then go back to move these to see who has moved in.  I know in my yard we find all sorts of critters and the children just love it!

If you have enjoyed these ideas, please consider sharing one of your favorite back yard ideas.  I just love adding to our back yard fun and I bet you do too!

Kim Woehl is a licensed real estate agent and early childhood educator.  Please feel free to contact her at 651-214-1459 for information.

 

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So Why Isn’t my Home Selling?

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty 651-214-1459 or on the web at kwoehl.kwrealty.com

Let me sell your home!

As a real estate professional I like to sit down with future clients and spend some time educating them on the local market.  I share what has sold in the area that is similar to their home.  I ask what they feel their home is valued at and then I show them some homes in that price range that have recently sold.  If we can agree that their home will likely sell for $_______ and the home owner is willing to list their home for $_________ then likely their home will sell quickly and they can begin searching for their new home.

The bottom line when listing your home is to know what it likely will sell for.  If you are over the market your home will sit and while you may get people in to look at your home, they likely will want to get the most for their dollar and will choose the home down the block that is just a bit more reasonable.

So what other problems might be keeping those offers from coming in?  Do you quickly approve showings?  You want to have your home available for showings day or evening and be as accommodating as possible so that potential buyers can see your home on their schedule.

Remove as many personal items as possible and tidy up as much as possible.  Be prepared to leave in about a 30 minute notice and you will never have to be concerned about a showing.

When that offer does come in make sure you have decided before hand what offer you will likely accept and which offer you would reject.  If you are looking to buy or sell you want to work with an agent that is on your team working for you.  If you are looking for a professional to walk you through the process please give me a call.  Kim Woehl- Keller Williams Premier Realty  651-214-1459

That Stinks! Marketing with Fragrance – Home Selling

29108_basic_apple_pie_620As a real estate professional I hear it often.  What is that smell?  There are of course good smells and bad smells and sometimes this is up to your own personal preference.  No one wants to smell garbage, dirty laundry, pet odors, urine, mold or mildew or that wet stagnant smell.  Potential buyers need to feel comfortable and be able to think about how they might arrange their furniture or hang photos.  They do not need to be wondering how they can remove the “stink”.

We need to be careful to not mask these smells but rather eliminate them.  Once eliminated then you might find it appealing to add a bit of “good smell” to your home.  Research says that certain smells attach to our emotional self.  smells or fragrances from our past that were pleasant experiences bring back positive memories.

Have you been to the local mall lately?  Stores are using fragrances to get you to take out your card.  Its working.  Does this marketing work for home selling?  Research says yes!

My personal favorite is apple cinnamon.  It reminds me of my Grandma’s pies, piping hot coming out of the oven.  I especially love this around the holidays.  Lavender is another common fragrance that is said to be calming.  Do you want your potential buyers to feel relaxed as they tour your home?  The rage this time of year is pumpkin.  We find it in everything from candles to coffee, ice cream to snack cakes.

Now that we have covered “what stinks”, we also need to listen to this huge bit of advice.  Invite in a few friends that can be honest with you.  Ask them if they smell any smells in your home.  We grow accustomed to our own environment and often times can no longer recognize or notice an odor, but your friends will.

Kim Woehl is a real estate professional with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  Before you list your home with someone else, consider giving me a call.  It might make scents!  651-214-1459

Housing is Rebounding – Multiple Offers Attest!

The market continues to improve.  I don’t need data to know this.  The last month’s offers have left me with only one offer that was not part of a multiple offer deal.  Listing agents have reported back to me on a few of these and stated that we were one of 8 other offers on the same property.

People are buying and what they have to select from is limited and when a nice one comes around, it is likely gone before the day is out unless they are holding out for the best offer via multiple offers.

As a buyer you will find you will make an offer only to have your agent get back to you asking for your highest and best.  They need this as you are part of a multiple offer deal and the seller wants to make the most money and the buyer has to decide just how much they really want the property.  Often times someone else has a bit more money to spend, has a good qualification letter or is totally preapproved.

When you are ready to buy a home I highly suggest being pre approved and keep this letter updated so that it is always a good letter.  Once you have your letter in hand you are ready to talk to your licensed real estate expert.  We will help you to find the home that fits your budget and location criteria.  Choose an agent who will ask what you need and then will listen and show you what you really wish to see.  Use free MLS search sites like mine  🙂 to search on your own and then go see it for yourself.

Are you ready to make that move?  Let’s talk!

Kim Woehl is a licensed Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty.  She is looking forward to working with you whether you are buying or selling your home.

Call now!  651-214-1459

Homes For Sale – Or are They?

Kim Woehl - Keller Williams Premier Realty  651-214-1459I have future clients call all the time,  wishing me to look up a house that they want to go see.  They are soon disappointed when I share that the site they have been using is old and does not have current data and that the home that they wanted to see has been sold for quite some time.  Its frustrating as the real estate agent as well to have to share this information.  On the upside I am able to send them to a free website that allows them to search for free.  It only includes homes that are listed as actively for sale and you can set your criteria to look for what type of home you wish to find.  You can set up pricing, you can even look up just foreclosures or only lake homes.  The options are great!

The added bonus is that you can set up this site to do the searching for you and only send you an email when it has a home that fits your search criteria.  Doesn’t this sound like a better resource that the one you might have been using?

Now when you call or email me we can go look at the home and put in an offer before its gone.  With the inventory still down we are going into almost all offers as a multple offer situation, meaning that someone else or several someones wants the same home.  Now it comes down to the best offer.  We can discuss that too, but that is for another day.

Stop by my website to find all that I have shared.  You can find it on the blog page as well under Free Home Search.  When you find what you are looking for, give me a call.  I want to be Your Real Estate Expert!

Kim Woehl is an agent with Keller Williams Premier Realty.   Her goal is to listen and find you that perfect home while educating you along the way whenever possible.

Click the link below for your Free Home Search!

http://kwoehl.kwrealty.com/listings/propertytype/SINGLE/maxprice/300000/areas/33294,33658,42028,50220,53643/sort/price+asc/

 

Gas Fireplaces, Kids, Ouch!

As a parent I have long been worried about the hot fireplace gas when

Fireplace safety tips

Fireplace safety tips

the fireplace is on.  They make guards but few use these as they take away from the enjoyment of watching the rolling fire.

As a caregiver I have chosen to not use the fireplace when children are present.  This pretty much ensures the safety of everyone.  Its the law to make sure that no harm comes to children.  This being said, homeowners are sometimes very unaware of just how hot the glass becomes.

New laws are being created and will take place in January of 2015 that will put a screen, gate, or protective panel barrier in front of all new fireplaces.  This leaves the eleven million households with older fireplaces as a risk for burns.  Caution must be used to make sure that the screens or other protective devise is approved for your particular fireplace or you may still have a risk of burns or a fireplace that no longer operates as it was intended.

Will these new features still cause a burn?  They may if a hand is placed upon the barrier for any period of time.   The bottom line is that as a parent or a family with young house guests that you make sure to remind and supervise all little persons who would be curious about the fireplace.

Some extra tips to ensure safety might be to:

– read the owners manual or check with a licensed dealer to make sure your fireplace is safe

– Check the surrounding frames and such on the fireplace, these too can be burn hazards

– ALWAYS supervise children, the elderly and pets while using your fireplace and remember that it takes a good while before these are cool to the touch.

– Make sure remotes or switches are out of children’s reach

– Consider adding a lock over switches that are in children’s reach

– Remind all guests that fireplace glass and surrounds can be hot enough to burn

– Lastly – have your fireplace serviced regularly to ensure it is operating properly and to ensure that no new laws have made it a dangerous item in your home.

Finding Your New Home

door lock

Call me! I am your local real estate expert! 651-214-1459

You are looking for a new home, there are homes for sale so why can it be so hard to find the right one?  Searching for a new home can be frustrating, time consuming and confusing if you don’t know where to begin your search.

I strongly suggest beginning with a list of wants as well as a list of what you definitely do not want.  Its important to know that you won’t likely find a home that matches your entire wish list.  Some times you may not even know what you are looking for and that is okay.  Your agent can help you decipher what it is that you are looking for.  The first place I always recommend that how buyers visit is a local mortgage company to see what they qualify for and to get a pre-qualification letter.  We use this letter later on to attach to all offers and this one piece of paper will often set you ahead of the next guy especially if they have not pre-qualified.  With today’s market we are seeing lots of multiple offers so anything that can put you ahead of the other buyer is a good thing.

With your letter in hand, it is now a good time to sit down with your real estate agent to discuss what you are looking for.  Will it be a town home, single family home, lake home or anything else.  Will you wish to live in town, in the country, next to a park, close to schools?  Do you want a garage, stairs, how many bedrooms will you need?  Are you looking for a move in ready home or are you handy and are hoping to save some costs coming in and doing some of your own renovations?  These and many other questions can be asked and considered before your agent even begins a search.

Now the fun part begins.  You can start previewing homes on line.  You can do this for free at my website and find homes all of the homes that are currently available on the MLS.  (www.kwoehl.kwrealty.com)

The website lets you set up price, location, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garage, if you require a fireplace you can find that too.  Perhaps you want lake shore.  You can set the criteria to only find water front properties.  There is even a way to search for rentals if you don’t have quite enough for a down payment yet and need to rent for a bit.

Here is the best part.  Once you have signed up and set your criteria you won’t have to do this each time.  You can even set this up (or your agent can) so that you get daily emails of new listings that fit your criteria so that you can get in and make an offer before other potential buyers scoop up your dream home.

While viewing homes online can be a huge time saver and helps your agent to learn what you like it is also important to remember to have an open mind.  Sometimes photos can be deceiving and other times they don’t do a home justice.  Perhaps this home is in the perfect neighborhood or maybe its not.  Sticking to your list and then being diligent in your search will find you that perfect home and get you moved in!