Rain Gardens are cool! Learn more at the CORGI Workshop

October 6, 2008

Here’s a “green initiative” you probably haven’t thought of. Lighten the load on our storm sewer system and redirect your rainwater runoff into a rain garden. 

The City of Columbus in association with the Central Ohio Rain Garden Initiative is conducting a Workshop and Training at the Department of Transportation, 1980 W. Broad Street this month. The homeowner training will be Tuesday, October 21, 2008. Go to Franklin County Soil and Water Conservation District website for more information.  


A rain garden will keep your plants and trees healthier, return rainwater to the local aquifer instead of carrying it off miles away from you, reduce the need for sprinkling, and as a bonus provide new visual appeal in your yard as well as a nice natural area that will attract wildlife-the good kind.

There are two sessions for homeowners. The morning session (8:00 am – 12:00 pm) will introduce you to the purpose, design, function and implementation of rain gardens. Breakfast and lunch are both included. Cost: $30. 

The afternoon session (1:00 pm – 4:30 pm) is a hands-on workshop participating in an installation at the ODOT site. Cost $20.


Fundamental Real Estate Mistakes: Self-deception

August 31, 2008

Self-deception affects everyone to some degree. Lives are lost and incredible amounts of time, money and resources are wasted each day because of it. Knowledge and disciplined vigilance are useful tools against it. So is hiring a professional. 

In real estate the financial impact of self-deception can be enormous. The right real estate professional will employ his or her expertise and objectivity in your service to guide you away from making fundamental mistakes caused by self-deception. 

Author and blogger Dan Ariely, the James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics at Duke University, brings to light one sort of real estate self-deception in this recent blog post at Predictably Irrational

A recent study conducted by Zillow finds what they call a “Not My House! Sentiment,” where despite the evidence that 77% of U.S. homes actually declined in value in the past year, 62% of homeowners believe their own home’s value has increased or stayed the same… – Dan Ariely

We’ve encountered home sellers who seemed to feel that their home was worth more simply because they lived in it. It’s hard to beat that for self-deception!

Happy IN your home

August 20, 2008

I help people buy new homes for their families. I saw a quotation a couple days ago that reminded me of why I do what I do. The quote by G.K. Chesterton was posted on Gretchen Rubin’s blog, The Happiness Project. Here’s the quote. 

“There are no chains of houses; there are no crowds of men. The colossal diagram of streets and houses is an illusion, the opium dream of a speculative builder. Each of these men is supremely solitary and supremely important to himself. Each of these houses stands in the centre of the world. There is no single house of all those millions which has not seemed to someone at some time the heart of all things and the end of travel.” –G. K. Chesterton

Of course I want you to be happy with your home. But I want more for you. I want you to be happy in your home.

Stay in touch. Ask me questions. Request information. Tell me about big, transitional events in your life—your son’s graduation, your daughter’s big victory, your once-in-a-lifetime vacation.

I got to know you pretty well when we bought your home together. I’m still interested. Let me know how you are doing.

Your home is important. I think this song by Cathy Fink captures it. 

HOME by Cathy Fink 


Everyone needs a place that they like to call home

There’s a sweet melody that embraces your heart

And waltzes you back to your home

A long day at work

A long day at play

A place you feel safe at the end of the day


There are places to go and people to see

Adventures to travel we know

A world full of wonder awaits you and me

But nothing quite calls me like home

A bird in its nest

A whale out at sea

There’s a place in this world that’s just right for me


There’s a home that I live in where soup’s on the stove

And my key’s the right fit for the door

But wherever I travel, wherever I roam

My heart keeps the beat of my home

A long day at work

A long day at play

A place you feel safe at the end of the day



Copyright 2000, Cathy Fink,

Used with Permission

From the CD: “All Wound Up”, Cathy Fink & Marcy Marxer & Brave Combo


Mortgage Insurance? What’s that?

July 29, 2008

My colleague, Mike Marshall (aka Home Buyer Advocate Mike) has written about the mortgage insurance tax break extension in his blog. He includes some links and a video with excellent background information. Worth checking out.

Will the REAL exclusive buyer agent take one step forward? Not so fast there Mr. Trad.

July 29, 2008

Not long ago our good friend Jon Boyd posted this useful definition of a true exclusive buyer agent (EBA) on one of his blogs.

Home buyers seeking the best home at the best price and the best terms and who want to make the best use of their time, energy and money in the process should pay close attention to the subtle, but critical, distinctions between EBAs and our trad* brothers and sisters.

A genuine exclusive buyer agent offers home buyers an authentically better alternative to conflict-of-interest challenged traditional real estate practitioners.

[*”Trad” here refers to traditional real estate brokers and agents whose companies represent both buyers and sellers–sometimes in the same transaction. (It’s a nickname–not a pejorative.)]

In Ohio, if the BROKERAGE lists homes (represents home sellers), then neither the broker nor any of his or her agents can honestly call himself or herself an exclusive buyer agent.

17 Reasons to go to this year’s Central Ohio Parade of Homes

June 26, 2008


It’s almost over for this year but there is still time left to go. I say it’s worth going–even if you don’t plan to move or can’t afford a half-million dollar house. 

The collection of homes is smaller and more manageable this year and, generally, the new features seem more substantive than trivial. 

When you go to the Parade of Homes you will see a variety of responses to advancing technology, economic conditions, social, lifestyle and aesthetic trends reflected in the work of builders and designers of the Parade homes. Some of these ideas are clever and inventive, others seem just frivolous or silly. 

Nevertheless, because of their practicality, convenience, energy-saving or aesthetic appeal, some of these features or trends may be embraced by regular homeowners. You, for example. Incorporating some of these improvements into your current home has the added advantage of allowing you to stay in your own wonderful neighborhood–in a nicer home. 

So here they are…17 things to look for at this year’s Parade of Homes:

  • 1. Larger and more purposeful “back door” entry areas such as so-called “mud rooms” with lockers and benches for clothing, sports or foul weather gear for kids and adults. Plus drop zones for pocket stuff like keys or wallets with multiple plug-ins for phones, pda’s and other electronics that need charging.
  • 2. Concessions for the family pet. Like dog washing stations and storage for leashes, food, and other space-stealing but essential paraphernalia.
  • 3. Rain gardens for runoff from gutters and downspouts reduces pressure on storm sewers and beautifies your landscape at the same time.
  • 4. Owners suites–that are like small apartments with bathing, lounging, sleeping, outdoor deck, patio and entertainment areas just a few steps away. If located on the main floor these could make it easier for older residents to stay in their homes longer rather than having to sell and move to a retirement facility.
  • 5. Decorating ideas–e.g. large flat screen TVs are transforming how decorating, entertainment and information merge
  • 6. Appliances like microwave ovens installed below counter for easier access to wheelchair-bound residents.
  • 7. Smaller but more numerous refrigerators and dishwashers in the the form of drawers for smaller loads and more convenience.
  • 8. Green home engineering in the form of alternative wall components–foam is used here but other materials, even straw, is being tried elsewhere–result in thicker and fantastically well-insulated walls. This makes for deep window openings–and more decorating opportunities. Imagine the pleasure of reading or just gazing out the window from the plush cushion of a cozy window seat.
  • 9. Home wine storage: as interest in the health benefits and pleasure of wine drinking are causing the demand for decent quality wine at reasonable prices to be met by new growers and suppliers, home areas for storage of wine for “average” people is becoming more common. French people seem to live a long time while continuing to eat rich food–maybe wine drinking is the secret.
  • 10. New work spaces for telecommuting and work-at-home business people.
  • 11. Semi-public work (or study or play) space for kids’ computers in new home areas created by melding stair landings and loft spaces. These open-to-view areas keep computers out of children’s bedrooms and subject to parental oversight.
  • 12. Partially sheltered outdoor entertainment areas that include grills, entertainment and more durable fabrics and accessories (like lamps) that more closely resemble indoor furnishings.
  • 13. Kitchen gardens-supporting the “improved practical kitchen” trend by offering easily accessible fresh herbs in a small spot near the kitchen door. Herbs can be planted directly in the ground or in an array of pots–another opportunity for combining practical and aesthetic expression.
  • 14. New window treatment styles–possible quick updates for your current home.
  • 15. New trends for interior paint colors: painting is one of the least expensive ways of updating your current home. Lots of bang for the buck. A new color palette can transform a space.
  • 16. New storage ideas.
  • 17. Creative plantscaping for more privacy and more highly defined lifestyle uses (fire pits, fountains, bocce courts)–not just boring fences.

I thought of a few more but stop reading this and go see the Parade –it’s fun!


11 things NOT to do if you need a loan to buy a home

January 29, 2008

Boston Exclusive Buyer Agent Ronn Huth offers some great advice for potential home buyers in his recent blog post, “Applying for a Real Estate loan? 11 things NOT to do…

Lenders like stability, continuity and consistency. Avoiding the pitfalls cited in Ronn’s post will improve your chances of obtaining the loan that will help you buy the home of your dreams.

As Red Green says, “We’re pullin’ for you.”