If I only bought…

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

We’ve probably all said or at least thought “if I knew then, what I know now, I would have done things differently.” We should have stayed in school longer. We should have listened to our parents. We should have bought Apple stock in 2002 for $8.50 or gold in 2000 for $300.

Years from now, if we look back at 2012, it may be clear that this was the best buyer’s market ever. The prices are down nationwide 35-40% from four years ago, mortgage rates have never been this low and rents are rising. Few homes have been built in recent years to keep up with a growing population. There may never be a better time to buy homes than now.

The housing affordability index which is considered to be good at 100 has increased to over 200 for several months. Shrinking inventories and rising prices in some markets are causing the index to fall for the first time in years.

This ‘buying” opportunity applies equally to acquiring a home to live in or to rent as income property. It is estimated that about one-third of the homes purchased last year were done by investors. It is reasonable because the positive cash flows far exceed most other investment alternatives.

The question we’re all faced with this year is whether we’ll be saying we seized or missed an opportunity of a lifetime.  Are you looking for a home?  Make sure you check us out atwww.findkansascityrealestate.com


Have a “Back Up” Plan for your Home and Belongings!

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Have You “Backed Up” Your Home?

Personal computers have been around long enough that everyone has experienced or knows someone who has lost their data due to a hard drive crash, accident or burglary. If they had a backup, the loss was inconvenient but not critical.

Do you have a backup for your personal belongings? Not that you need duplicates of all the items but do you have a journal listing of all the items with a description and their approximate values? That record becomes the backup that supports the claim for your insurance.

If a building sustains a total loss, the insurance company will usually pay the face amount of the policy. When it comes to personal property which might be 40% to 50% of the insured value of the dwelling, the insurance company is going to expect an accounting with receipts or at least, a relatively recent inventory.

The better your inventory, the less likely you’ll have difficulty with the claim. Almost everyone has a digital camera that can take stills and probably even videos. The combination of the images as well as a written description will help you replace the belongings and serve as proof to the insurance company.

Once you’ve made the inventory, store it off site for safe keeping. Online storage in the “cloud” might be the best place to insure you’ll always know where it is. Contact me for a free Home Inventory form; it’s my way of helping you be a better homeowner.

You can contact The Char MacCallum Real Estate Group at 913-782-8857 or visit us at http://www.findkansascityrealestate.com/

Spring Shredding is here!

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Time for Spring Shredding!!

It’s tax time!  Many public accountants recommend that you keep your records and receipts for up to seven years.  Well…. I bet you’ve got more than that saved up in your home that you’ve been meaning to do something with!  Bring those papers, receipts, old tax records, and we’ll help you safely and securely shred it for you!

Do you have an Olathe home for sale?  Bet you could use the extra space to de-clutter your home and stage it to SELL!  Let us help you get organized! Shred it!!

Come see us on Saturday, April 21st between 10 am and 1pm

Get organized & Start gathering those documents to shred!

Have questions?  Call us at the office at 913-782-8857 or visit us online at http://www.FindKansasCityRealEstate.com/

Ever Wonder About Safety Recalls?

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Don’t Miss the Recall

Occasionally, you hear about an important recall on a product you have and you take care of it immediately. However, if you were to miss such a notice, it could put you or your family in jeopardy.

You can subscribe to the U.S. government’s service to notify the public when recalls are made on vehicles, tires and child restraints through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on their site called SaferCar.gov.

You’ll receive a notification by email when there is a new recall based on the type you selected. You can change your selections or unsubscribe at any time by going back to their website in the “Manage Your Notifications” section.

We’re committed to helping you be a better homeowner by providing information on items that can protect your home’s value, reduce expenses, improve maintenance and increase the enjoyment of your home.

For these and many more tips, check us out at http://www.FindKansasCityRealEstate.com/

Olathe, Kansas Founded on Partnerships. Fueled by Innovation

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Wondering what’s going on in Olathe?

There’s been quite a buzz lately about global businesses interested in relocating team members to ourKansas City area.  As we all know, our housing is affordable, our schools top rated and we have plenty to see and do around our Olathe, Kansas area.

Whether you are looking for a quiet place to live and work or close to a major city with professional sports- we have it all!  Looking to move to Olathe?  You can search for homes.  Char MacCallum Real Estate Group be reached at our Olathe office at 913-782-8857 or you can visit us online!

FHA Fees are going up April 1st!

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

FHA has raised the annual Mortgage Insurance Premium to 1.25% beginning April 1st.  MIP is required on all FHA loans and used to fund losses by lenders for borrowers who default on their mortgages.  As of June 1st, FHA loans in excess of the standard maximum of $625,500, in high-cost areas, will have a premium of 1.5% of the loan amount.

In addition to the increase in the annual MIP, FHA also announced it plans to raise the fee on the up-front MIP from 1.00% to 1.75%.  No date was reported for its implementation.

The bottom line will result in a borrower’s payments going up.  However, it might not be restricted to the MIP.  Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey showed that both 30 year and 15 year mortgages have gone up too.

One way to avoid the increase is to have a completed sales contract and have your lender order the FHA commitment prior to April 1, 2012.  If you plan on buying a home this spring, there is a reason to do it earlier rather than later.

8 Tips for Leaving Your Home While On Holiday Vacation

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

8 Tips for Leaving Your Home While On Vacation

It’s holiday planning time here in Olathe, Kansas!  Are you thinking of going out of town this holiday season?  Here are some helpful hints if you will be leaving your home during the holiday season.

1.  Give your contact information to your neighbors and inform them of who should be dropping by to check on the house. Make sure your neighbors have your contact information and they are aware of who will be dropping by to take care of your house while you are gone.

2.  Don’t forget to stop your mail service. Did you know you can start and stop service online? Go to www.usps.com   If you have holiday packages arriving, tell a neighbor to pick them up for you.

3.  Off or On? Lights – look into automatic timers for your lights.   Leave your shades in normal placement – all closed usually indicates no one is home!

4.  Do you have holiday lights outside?  Put them on timers outside or have a neighbor turn them off and on.

5.  Remove your “hide a key” from your normal location – you know on top of porch light, under mat, decorative rock – we ALL know it’s the hide a key location!  Thieves do too! Be creative or give it to a neighbor or friend while you are gone.

6.  Leave a list of contact numbers in the house, with friends and the house “watcher”.  YOUR contact numbers, family members that can handle things in case you can’t be reached.  Utility contact numbers.  Insurance companies and agents.

7.  Are your insurance policies up to date and in current payment?  This might seem like common sense – but you would be surprised at how many people can get distracted by the excitement of planning a trip, miss a payment or THINK they made a payment and find out the hard way that you aren’t covered.  Don’t be that person.

8.  Be careful with posting your details on fb, twitter, etc  Social media is advertising these days – would you announce that your home was going to be unoccupied for several days while you are going to see the Grandparents?  Hmmm – you might not think you are, however the professional planning a string of robberies on a neighborhood might be pretty tech savvy these days.

Do you have a house for sale in Olathe, Kansas or the Kansas City area?  If you are planning on going out of town this holiday season, make sure your agent has all your schedule in case they need to reach you with questions or an offer to purchase your home.  Remember, if someone is out looking at homes during the holidays, they aren’t out “kicking the tires” – they need to BUY!  Make sure your home is ready in case you get a call for a showing!

If you are traveling, be safe and plan ahead.  If you are looking for a house sitter or pet sitter for the holidays and can’t seem to find someone, call us at the Char MacCallum team office at 913-782-8857 and we may have a few names of people that our clients have used in the past.  We hope these tips make it a little easier for you to plan for your holiday vacations.

From our families to yours we hope you enjoy your holidays this season!

Foreclosure Fears Fosters True Grief

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Reports of foreclosures by the millions have been in the news so much over the past few years that to some, it might seem like the new normal.

But as a real estate professional who is in the trenches with financially stressed homeowners every day, it never for a second feels to me like business-as-usual.

The prospect of losing ones home is right up there among the major sources of grief, and often, it goes hand in hand with other tragic setbacks such as the loss of a job, a divorce, death of a loved one, mounting medical bills or skyrocketing mortgage payments.

Unfortunately, the first stage of grief is denial, and that’s even more the case when the threat of foreclosure is looming. No one wants to talk about or admit financial troubles—even when millions of others have founds themselves in a similar spot.  It’s completely understandable, but for homeowners who are behind on mortgage payments, decisive action is often the most critical step toward ensuring the best possible solution.

As a real estate professional who has sought out the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation, I help homeowners to deal with every aspect of the grief and uncertainty that accompanies a mortgage which is no longer manageable. In the process, I help them to get on a path of financial solvency.

If you or someone you care about would like to change the course of a life that’s facing foreclosure, I get it and I can help.

For more information contact Char at 913-782-8857 or info@Char4Homes.com

Are you keeping track of your Home Improvements?

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

Do you live in the Olathe, KS area?  How long have you owned our home?  According to the National Association for Realtors and even recent U.S. Census data, many homeowners are choosing to stay in their current homes longer.  As many of you have heard, most people USED to move every 7 years or so.  With today’s times, some homeowners are choosing to just staying put for a little while longer.  Many of our homeowners tell us that one of the main reasons they purchase a home is to take advantage of the tax deductions of homeownership.  Over time, even a small appreciation in home value can result in a solid gain.   When getting ready to sell your home, you can help minimize possible taxes by having a solid strategy.  Do you have a plan in place to help you track improvements to your home?

Maintenance on a primary residence in not deductable, however improvements to your home can add to the basis that helps reduce the ‘gain’ in the sale.  Wondering what an “improvement” is?  Anything that adds value to the home and helps prolong the life of the home OR prolong its use.  Keep in mind, you should be upkeeping your home as needed – paint, new carpets, etc.  But is that an improvement?  Not necessarily.  A new water heater, replacing old windows to energy efficient windows, and even energy efficient appliances all would be great improvements to a home.  How do you prove it?  RECEIPTS!  I know friends who have kept EVERYTHING on their homes.  I have seen homeowners lug in boxes of paperwork to the closing table or make reference to a special drawer somewhere in the house that has owners manuals, appliance warranty, and special instructions of which servicemen did repairs to the home.  These receipts and sometimes even pictures (great idea!) of the improvements should be kept during ownership (consult a tax professional, but I would even keep copies for several years later).  Items like a closing statement, receipts of improvement and additions may affect the home’s adjusted basis or cost.

How does this affect me in our Kansas City area?  For a primary home, “basis” includes the final sales price of the home, + certain closing or acquisition costs + capital improvements made to the home.  When a property is sold for more than the basis, there is a gain on the home.  Homeowners that meet the requirements can exclude up to $250,000 of gain if single or $500,000 if filing jointly if married.

So, have an idea for a system yet to keep track of all those improvements?  An envelope does quite nicely!  As a homeowner, I would place receipts for any money spent on my home that ISN’T a mortgage payment or utilities.  At the end of the year, my tax advisor sorts through it with me to determine what my capital improvements are.

I hope you found this to be a helpful tip!  If you have any questions or need a qualified professional to help make some “improvements” around your home, give us a call at the Char MacCallum Team office at 913-782-8857 and we can help recommend someone in the area to help!  If you are in the process of buying your home or have an Olathe home for sale we are only a phone call or a click away to help!

Kansas State Fair: It’s a wild ride, baby!

by char-maccallum-real-estate-group-inc

The Kansas State Fair is around the corner, featuring a world-class Midway, blue-ribbon animals, and activities for everyone. There will be agricultural and educational displays; carnival rides and prizes; crafts and cuisine; plus one Infamous Butter Sculpture. The fair is the largest event in the state and draws crowds of more the 350,000. The newly renovated Hutchinson fairgrounds will have three stages of free entertainment and attractions.

The Weird!
How about: a chainsaw artist, a comic hypnotist, a notorious butter sculpture, celebrity milkers, driving toddlers, and more!

The Wild!
Pig Races, an Exotic Petting Zoo, Agriland, the Motorcycle Rally and Parade, and more fill this category.

The Wonderful!
Debating champs, tractor pulls, bid calling competitors, Grammy winners, and more – the Fair has it all.

Around the Grounds:
Chainsaw Artist AJ Lutter
Hedricks Exotic Animal Petting Zoo
Pig Races
Scott Daily Demonstrations

Sunday, September 11
Kansas Rides Motorcycle Rally and Parade

Monday, September 12 – Friday, September 16
High Voltage Line Safety Demonstration

Monday, September 12
Spelling Bee

Tuesday, September 13
Kansas High School Debates
Sheep Dog Demonstration

Friday, September 16
Celebrity Goat Milking Center

Sunday, September 18
Cowboy Mounted Shooting
Antique Tractor Pull

Bretz Law Arena
Daily: Comic Hypnotist Ron Diamond

Sunday, September 11
Pedal Pull Championship

Wednesday, September 14
Kansas Auctioneers Bid Calling Contest

Saturday, September 17
Woodcarvers Auction

Wednesday, September 14
Big Rig Rides

Gottschalk Park
Saturday, September 10
Toddler Games Driving School & Art Fair

Sunday, September 11
Arm Wrestling Competition

Sunday, September 18
Nostalgic Car Show

2011 U.S. Cellular Grandstand Entertainment
Friday, September 9 at 7:30
Outlaw Truck and Tractor Pull
Ticket Price: $10 Adult (Ages 13+), $5 Child (Ages 6-12), Child (Ages 0-5) Free

Saturday, September 10 at 7:30 p.m.
Kool & The Gang
Ticket Price: $25

Sunday, September 11 at 4:00 p.m.
Kenny Rogers
Ticket Price: $28

Monday, September 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Demolition Derby
Ticket Price: $6 Adult (Ages 13+), Child (Ages 0-12) Free

Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Darius Rucker
Ticket Price: $33

Wednesday, September 14 at 7:30 p.m.
Jerrod Niemann
Ticket Price: FREE with paid outside gate admission

Thursday, September 15 at 7:30 p.m.
REO Speedwagon with the Little River Band
Ticket Price: $28

Friday, September 16 at 7:30 p.m.
Third Day
Ticket Price: $25

Saturday, September 17 at 7:30 p.m.
Ticket Price: $40

Sunday, September 18 at 4:00 p.m.
Big Time Rush with Hot Chelle Rae
Ticket Price: $25