Good- bye 70’s

pumpkin-2740305__340

The temperatures dropped, corn and soybean harvest is in full swing with the geese enjoying the leftovers, the woolly caterpillars emerged, and it is time to pack away the sandals and shorts. I personally cringe at the falling temperatures and thoughts of the long winter ahead but also take joy in the changing colors of the trees, walking through the rustling leaves, and looking at everyone’s fall decor.

Octoberfest may have come and gone but our area offers a plethora of fall activities both for families and adults. I encourage you to take some time away from your fall clean-up and experience some of what our area has to offer. Buying your apples or pumpkins at the grocery store or Farmer’s Markets lacks the same experience and fun that picking your own at the pumpkin patch, corn maze, and apple orchard offers, especially if you have children. Although I must admit, even though we are empty nesters we still go to the apple orchards on a regular basis. We find the apples taste so much better when we pick our own, talk to the growers, and watch the small children running around experiencing nature and all that it has to offer. Click here for information on local pumpkin patches, corn mazes, and apple orchards.

Of course, picking apples and finding the perfect pumpkin are only a small portion of what you can experience in the Fox Valley in the fall. There are haunted houses, pumpkin carving contests, boo- fest, Halloween walks, trunk or treat activities, trick or treat, and other spoo-tacular activities.  Click here for more.

If celebrating Halloween isn’t your cup of tea and you prefer something a little more stout, the area offers many Brew, winery tours, and tastings. It is a great time to take a little road trip to visit a winery, or visit the 2nd Annual Craft Beer Walk in Downtown Appleton this Saturday, October 14. The following weekend you shop local as you take part in the 9th Annual Soup Walk.

Falling temperatures and leaves doesn’t mean it is time to stay home. Before you cuddle up in front of the fire take advantage of some of our areas best offerings. The Fox Valley offers something for everyone. Please comment and add your favorite fall activity in the area.

If the Price is Right

If the Price is Right

We all say or think it, “if the price is right, then I would buy it.” That thinking aptly applies to Real Estate. If the property is priced correctly, then it sells. Today, I want to share a little story about the Right Price with you.

I recently approached someone who had listed their home with another agent, not once but twice, and it didn’t sell. The apprehensive Seller hadn’t changed anything about the house and the market remained hot for homes in that price range. I did a new market analysis laying out all of the statistics for the Seller plus gave a professional presentation outlining my aggressive marketing plan. The market analysis showed that while the market remains a Sellers market and homes tend to fly off the shelf so to speak, the previous agent listed the home for way too much money. It wasn’t priced right so it didn’t sell.

An overpriced home tends to sit on the market for a long time. It becomes both stagnant and stigmatized.  Buyers may like the home but won’t touch the price. Eventually, the Seller needs to take a price reduction which doesn’t look good. It makes Buyers wonder what is wrong with the home. Then, if they do make an offer, it is usually for even less than the price reduction. An overpriced home usually sells for less money than a properly priced home while taking longer to sell. Not only do Sellers end up losing money with an overpriced listing, they may also lose the next home they were hoping to buy, or be separated from family members longer than necessary due to a relocation.

In conclusion, the Right Price brought Buyers and the house went under contract after only 5 days on the market.  I also want to stress, that I refuse to buy a listing. I offer an aggressive marketing strategy, Staging, and the right price to sell a home. If the Seller wants to list for way more than I recommend, then I am not the correct real estate agent for them. An overpriced home hurts their bottom line and my reputation. If the Seller wants to list higher but not outrageously out of the range, then I will agree only if we can revisit the price within 2 – 3 weeks.

Are you thinking about selling your home or know someone who is, then contact me to discuss the Right Price.                                                                                                                                                                                            sold-2653844__340

 

Touch my Heart

Touch my Heart

heart in hand

One wouldn’t consider a blog post on touching my heart real estate related, but since real estate reflects on heart and home, this article is appropriate.

Living in a small community such as the Fox Cities offers plenty of benefits, both those related to life and those related to giving to others such as cancer benefits. Having attended and helped with different benefits prompted me to write this article, not necessarily because these events are particularly different than the ones helping the victims of Irma, Maria, or Harvey, but because they really touch home. I firmly believe that inherently, there are good caring people all over this world. What sets the benefits apart in our communities, is that we often personally know the people on the receiving end.

For example, this summer I had the opportunity to spend the day at the  Spierings Rock Cancer benefit at Doyle Park in Little Chute. Believe it or not, I tried to volunteer but they were full. Imagine that! We decided to attend the benefit with our very good friends because they are living and unfortunately eventually dying with cancer. Our friends were recipients of a donation courtesy of all the people attending, sponsoring, and donating to the Spierings Rock Cancer Foundation. This donation touched the hearts of my friends, consequently touching my heart.  We also saw the names of others we know or knew who also benefited from the generosity of our small community with a big heart.

Another local non profit touching my heart is .B.A.B.E.S.,INC . My “friends” got me involved in B.A.B.E.S. Hats Off! 2017 and now 2018. As a former teacher and Big Sister/ Big Brothers,  I experienced child abuse several times, breaking my heart. B.AB.E.S. does so much for  the young parents and children in our community through education, respite care, and counseling to help alleviate child abuse in our community. On Facebook, I see so many young moms calling out for help. B.A.B.E.S., Inc is a wonderful free resource helping parents get on their feet so they can support themselves and their children in a positive environment. Unbeknownst to me, when I attended last years event, I discovered that a friend of mines daughter used B.A.B.E.S., Inc so she could go to school, get a degree, a job, and take care of her young child. How heartwarming that I got to volunteer for an organization that helped someone I knew. The money donated and the time volunteered stayed right here in our community.

So in ending, how is this real estate related? I enjoy selling homes to people in a community where you can see that people’s hearts’ are in the right place. I like to be able to tell newcomers stories about how our community steps up not only to help people in Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, but right here in our community. Plus,organizations such as B.A.B.E.S., Inc helping parents get an education, jobs, ultimately allows them to buy a home in which to raise their happy family.

heart in hand

Purple, Passion, and a Prayer

Purple, Passion and a Prayer- Realtors® usually share horror stories with friends, clients, and associates. I personally do not have any horror stories in my back pocket but would like to share some success stories; thus the title Purple, Passion, and a Prayer.

I love purple, as do some of my past and present clients. I love purple flowers, pens, clothes, and have even decorated some former clients’ homes with various shades of purple and lavender. But, as a Stager® and Realtor®, I try to limit the purple passion.

A few years ago, I met with some Sellers relocating back to their hometown where I had recently lived. The Sellers, deeply religious people, met with several agents and wouldn’t commit to any until they prayed for an answer. I apparently was the answer to their prayers. The house was in great shape, including the VERY purple bathroom. After much discussion, persuasion, and the over -used term, “trust me,” I convinced Mrs. Seller to paint the bathroom a neutral color. When selling  home you are displaying it as a product on a shelf and want it to be as neutral as possible so the Buyers can visualize putting their own stamp and passion in the house.

My Sellers had a few other caveats; they wanted to stay so their children could complete camp but move before school started.

As I mentioned, I was the answer to their prayers. I sold the house on day 1 and was able to negotiate all their terms.

Staging a home to sell, even in a Sellers market, brings a higher price and a quicker sale. I’ve many more success stories in my arsenal to share including the pink teddy bear castle and the pink bathroom, six refrigerators, and papers piled to the ceiling home. Contact me at Susie@starservicerealty.com or (920) 659-0556 to hear more and find out how we can work together to sell your home more quickly and for top dollar.

Miles and Milestones

Our lives are full of milestones and mine is really no more special or better than others. But my husband and I have reached major ones and we decided that we needed to celebrate by putting on the miles.

We all hit milestones in our lives, we learn how to walk and talk, go to kindergarten, learn to read, graduate high school, go off to college marry, have kids, and watch them go through the  same milestones. But this year is special and frankly hard to wrap my mind around. Not only did my husband, best friend, partner in everything and I celebrate 38 years of marriage (wow almost 40), we celebrate BIG birthdays. Lee turned 65 at the end of May and I’ll be 60 next week. Holy cow! Where did the time go? Except for really bad knees and the grey hair I cover up, I’d never know I’m 60, unless I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Of course, if I say so myself, I really don’t look 60.

Since, with a summer birthday, I’m one of the younger ones from my high school graduating class, I’ve been watching others celebrate their 60th on Facebook and thinking, “wow, look how old they are”, but wait a minute, so am I. So what does turning 60 mean to me? First of all, when I look at my family’s lifelines, it means I could potentially live another 25-30 years. So maybe, I am not so old after all. But you never know what will happen tomorrow. So my plan is to start having more fun and enjoy the miles I’ve yet to travel. My husband and I started celebrating our big birthday year by getting in the car, traveling over 1300 miles, and checking some items off our ( well mostly his) bucket list.

We planned a trip to Colorado Springs and Santa Fe, New Mexico. We put in a lot of windshield time and are still happily married. Our trip was full of awe and wonder. This was actually our second time we driving out west as Lee dropped me off in Tempe, AZ. for my senior year in college. We camped in a pup tent on our way out but don’t remember being as enamored with the scenery as we were this time. Most likely the difference in age and maturity makes a difference as the first time our love was newer, we were heartbroken at being separated, and our eyes were mostly on each other . Now in our mature years with a deeper love for each other, we took joy in sharing the beauty of the world together.

We drove to the top of Pike’s Peak with our hearts beating so loudly we could almost hear each other’s. I thought I’d lose Lee right there and wondered how I would ever be able to drive down the mountain myself. We visited charming Manitou Springs, people watched, picnicked by a fresh mountain creek, and enjoyed the best iced coffee and raw cacao candy. We dined in Old Colorado Springs with some cousins and checked out the local shops. We visited the Garden of the God’s and ogled the natural geological sculptures. We then traveled to Santa Fe, where we visited galleries, met the nicest people, ate the locals’ favorite spots, went hiking through cliff dwellings, and visited some turquoise mining towns. Our days were filled from 8 am to 8 pm, when we would finally collapse at our adobe VRBO and watch the beautiful sunsets and twinkling stars over the clear mountain skies.

My husband always wanted to go white river rafting in the west so I agreed even though I was sure I would die of a heart attack. ( I admit, I am not the bravest person in the world.)  Obviously I survived or I wouldn’t be writing this  long blog. It was AWESOME!! The spectacular scenery along the Rio Grande enthralled us as did the quickly flowing river full of rapids and boulders. The guide and our fellow rafting partners made the trip even more enjoyable as they assured me I wouldn’t fall out. Again, I survived.  We hit a Class III rapid and I slid slightly into the raft off the side. As I tried to right myself we hit a huge boulder on my side and I went over. I couldn’t grab onto the rope on our raft and went right by them. I tried to grab the next raft but missed that too. I still held onto my paddle for dear life and tried to hook it onto the paddle of the guy trying to rescue me since I couldn’t reach his paddle with my arm. That didn’t work and eventually they got close enough that I could grab his paddle and he pulled me into the raft. Once in the raft, I raised my paddle and yelled with elation “Happy Birthday to me.” I celebrated another milestone and lived to tell the story which was caught on a Go-Pro by my rescuer. The whole rescue was merely a matter of a few minutes.

I don’t feel that turning 60 made me wise or privileged, except for the senior discounts I now receive. Age made me more mellow and I don’t sweat the small stuff. I find that each beautiful sunrise and sunset add joy to my day as do the flowers in my yard and others, my dog greeting me at the door, my husband selflessly doing me favors, and the sound of the children playing. I look forward to more fun and traveling miles with Lee as we explore our world, near and far. Oh, and apparently age gives me the right to babble.

Enjoy a few of our pictures.

Honoring the Red, White, and Blue

 

DiemThe 4th of July is upon us and we all look forward to celebrating with family and friends. Unfortunately today, we seem to have lost sight of honoring the red, white, and blue.

The 4th of July is all about BIG sales, hot dogs and hamburgers on the barbecue, circus peanuts, boating, neighborhood parties, and fantastic firework displays. Lest we forgot, the 4th of July is also about celebrating our independence. On July 4th,1776 13 colonies claimed their independence from England, eventually forming the United States. Believe it or not, fireworks were originally part of the first Independence Day celebration which took place on July 4th, 1777, mandated by John Adams. The 4th became a federal holiday in 1941, celebrating the birth of American Independence. John Adams, as one of the originators of the Declaration of Independence, envisioned celebrating with,”Pomp & Parade… Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires, And Illuminations from one end of this continent to the other.”  

We are not so far off in our celebrations but I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the origins of our July 4th celebrations, bless our country, and pass down the story to your children and grandchildren. 

Happy 4th of July to you and your family

.God Bless America