Happy Fall Y’all

So I had this fantastic idea that I would dress my one year-old up as a great Wyatt shark for Halloween since his name is Wyatt. We do live in Florida and so I would dress my two-year-old up as a pirate and my husband and I would also be pirates. What a great idea…right? I even had the wagon ready and my 2 year old was in the front driving the wagon boat and Great Wyatt was being pulled behind aka swimming behind 🙂 Well it was kind of a cute thought, but my one-year-old has an aversion to anything on his head and I didn’t even think about it prior… Sooooooo this is how it went down…



And this is how it ended – oh well 🙂 we had fun!!!



It’s Closing… It’s Closing…

Now I celebrate every closing, I really really do, but this one is special and here is why.  It is not because I am making a lot of money, it is not because I am getting rid of a buyer, seller or a fellow real estate agent that is torturing me.  It is because not only is this a short sale, but THIS short sale has been going on for 5 years and I am NOT kidding…    I originally listed this property in the fall of 2008 and we are now into the fall of 2013.  My file is literally  half a foot deep and for the most part I store everything electronically so you can imagine how thick this would be otherwise. – we started out with a selling price of 110,000 and we are closing somewhere in the neighborhood of half of that and the best part is she paid 135,000 as a single woman, primary home just a few days before Christmas in 2005.  Life happened, the market got bad, her unit flooded, no one wanted to help or would help and she responsibly took a new job in a new location and tried to sell her home.  Again life happened, she met the man of her dreams and got married.  She kept paying and tried to rent her property out while maintaining everything   Finally through no fault of her own, life happened again, and some pipes burst and again flooded her unit – this time she was done.  Done trying, done paying, done fighting…  This short sale business is a love hate relation ship… I love my job and I love helping people and I feel like I really am when it is a short sale situation, but sometimes I hate short sales.  I do not hate them because they are a LOT of work but they because they cause many people a lot of stress and I am not talking about personal stress, but stress on the homeowner trying to sell, stress on the buyer trying to buy.  5 years!!!  2 lenders and a stink butt HOA (I will not mention any names here…).  Seriously shame on someone for not ending this sooner and it is no shame on myself or my seller.  It was a ittle like aligning the moon and the stars to make this happen and well – it happened and we are all doing a HAPPY HAPPY dance!!!  The buyer is getting a great deal, the seller is closing this chapter and we are all moving forward.  I think sometimes (often times) sellers need to sell and sometimes they should sell and sometimes they ignore it completely and pretend it is not happening.  This is a definite needed to sell and should sell and it was not ignored.  The banks seriously tortured this woman and made her lose sleep and when all is said and done after what she put down and paid back and after the new buyer paid, she was seriously pretty close to paying back the entire amount anyways so why – why – why???  Ok, why does not matter, all is said and all is done and the short sale is over and the seller is done losing sleep and again life happens…  we live in paradise :-)


Destin Florida beaches
Destin Florida beaches


Seriously Talented Designer!!!

No I am not tooting my own horn, but on the heals of my last post, this is fitting.  I seriously LOVE real estate! I know I know, but it is true.  It is actually fun for me.  If I could just go look at houses all day I would be a happy camper, but this woman amazes me.  Seriously, I have to give kudos where kudos are due and AnnMarie James, owner of Silver Real Estate is a local real estate agent here in Destin.  A few years ago I met AnnMarie and was witness to a remodel she had done that some clients of mine fell in love with.  Well in my opinion the remodel she did was pretty spectacular so I started kind of watching her work.  I was working on my own remodel and although I wasn’t reselling my own, she was so kind and helpful.  I happened to have a client with property in this same area, so because I was watching this area for activity, this particular property caught my eye.  I can walk into a home and know that AnnMarie touch by its clean uncluttered, open and classic feel.  It is always different and unique, but I always feel like I am at some spa destination.  It is easier for me to show you in pictures so with AnnMarie’s permission, take a look at these before and after pictures of a gorgeous redo in Crystal Beach.


Ok here is the exterior – before…


Here is the amazing AFTER…

Does not even look like the same house – can you say curb appeal???

Now here are a few more before pictures ~ I attempted to match them up, but I have to be honest here, it was difficult for me to even do that.  This is the front entryway…before…


Here is the front entry way, AFTER!!!

Another view…before

and after…

The dining area before…

and ~ AFTER! Let there be light!!!


The kitchen before…


Again, after!

Same house! This needs to be in some Better Homes and gardens magazine, seriously!  I think I mentioned my background in Interior Design, but you can not teach this, this is a skill, and to have this vision is spectacular.  I point this out because one I am absolutely impressed and she is my competition, so I am not making this stuff up – but also to point out how very important this is.

I don’t even have ALL the pictures up, but again, here is the master, before…


And after…

Lastly, the pool area before…

and AFTER!

Now, do not get me wrong, AnnMarie, put a LOT of work into this house, but in a matter of a few months, she successfully flipped this house for a profit.  I can not tell you how much because I have no way of knowing the exact numbers, but I can tell you it was on the market for 7 months before it sold the first time and sold for almost 25% less than the original listing price and when AnnMarie sold it – it was on the market for less than 2 weeks and the difference between the listing price and selling price was less than 3% and so that alone speaks volumes.

Staging IS important!!

I can not emphasize enough just how VERY important this is.  From smells to clutter to wallpaper, to clutter… if you are selling your house or condo take heed!!!  Less is more and at the risk of sounding oh so repetitive, a few simple steps will make a big difference.  The market is obviously heating up so take advantage and step it up.  First and MOST important, declutter.  We all know what this means, you have to do it, bare minimum, make those closets pretty.  Storage is at a minimum in Florida, so show it off because we all have stuff and we all need to know we have a place to put our stuff.  If your stuff is filling up a place that we could store our stuff for some silly reason, we can not phathom our stuff in that place.  Rent a storage unit if you are particularly attached to your stuff.  You can rent a climate controlled unit here locally for under $100.00 a month and they will even provide a free moving truck.  It is that important – get it ready and stage it properly before you put it on the market.  I am not telling you, you will make a lot more money, but I am telling you if you do these things, you will sell it faster and more than likely get fair market value.  If your house is not staged properly, you will likely not get fair market value.

All personal pictures – they are lovely, but take them down.  I do not care how great they are, you want your new buyers to put themselves in your house as owners, not as guests.  If your pictures are up – some potential buyers can not do this.  I have been in properties that are staged so well, they still have a few frames around the house, but they are the stock photos in the frame – perfect!

Silk plants, for the most part, store them, they are dust catchers and a lot of people simply do not like them.

Towels – please please please do not leave wet towels out, throw them in the dryer or somewhere else. Get rid of old towels, clean white fluffy towels please.

Wallpaper – I know you may have had that border up forever, and it is easy to take down, so just do it,  take it down and while you are at it, paint is cheap, a fresh neutral coat – not a bad idea.  I have a few neutral colors I LOVE and some fun beachy colors if you’re interested!!!

0-6-1 0-7-1 e39686afafd0f6371cb33d2275ef5672-1 These are a few of my FAVORITE things!!!

Field of Poppies…


Ok, so what you do not know about me – which is probably quite a bit, but I studied Interior design in undergrad and LOVED art history – my absolute FAVE!!!  I studied under the college of architecture and it is still my heart – WHICH- is probably why I have migrated into real estate and away from the practice of law.  Oh well, I digress, but yesterday after a year of debating (and no I am not kidding, I take this very seriously) I decided we needed the field of poppies, after no one other than my Poppy.  Now we just have to wait for him Justin Gaffrey  to make a blue moon and or a red bird to remember baby Michael – although I do believe, he has made a red bird in the past….hmmmm.  I love his “you are my sunshine” too – just amazing and fun and it changes colors throughout the day, but always makes me happy!!!  Check him out and if you visit this summer be sure to stop by his studious because I can not possibly do any of this justice here.  





Sometimes you will see the darndest things at garage sales…  now understand I NEVER go to garage sales – as a rule, I just do not need to add to my already pretty large pile of STUFF, but this particular weekend, I was left alone with 2 babies and my 11 year old and well, I probably should not be left alone, because I knew my husband would be so excited to come home to a large metal sculpture in my yard…  Well at first glance no such luck, because the guy wanted $500.00 and while I thought Fernando was pretty awesome, $500.00 would not make him all that funny, so we sadly left and went home.  After much thought, my 11 year old REALLY wanted Fernando (we named him – because after all how could you not name such greatness) so we went back, but they were gone already, however, we could see Fernando was still there.  The next morning bright and early Morgan (my 11 year old) took it upon herself to walk down to this garage sale man and ask him if he would take $100.00 for Fernando – he reluctantly agreed and well heck,  now how could we pass that up -right???    blogger-image-1643718213

So my neighbor helped us get Fernando home – he must weigh more than I do, so getting him in the truck and out of the truck was not simple so thank you Bob my awesome neighbor, my husband will so love it!!!  Anyways here he is in his new home!!! in all his glory…blogger-image--1378036122


Look at how BIG he is!! My daughter is about 5″4″


Now I am sad to say the reaction I was anticipating from my husband was sadly someone disappointing.  We hid out in the office so we could see him pull up from his nice long weekend away.and he shook his head and walked in the house and said nothing 😦   Perhaps, his love of Fernando will grow in time…he just needs some more time…