Archive for the ‘Hometown Connection’ Category

Realtor Relationships

Wednesday, January 25th, 2017

handshake-trustOk, so this week I had something happen to me that has happened many times to most real estate agents across the country.   Someone I knew and had a good relationship with used another Realtor to buy a house.   A Realtor they do not have a relationship with.  My first reaction is anger.  “How could they?”   They know I’m a Realtor.  They know I’m not new to the business and I’m knowledgeable about real estate.  They KNOW.   It made me mad!   To top it off,  I knew these friends had a house to sell as well, so I would have been party to both sides of that transaction had they used me.

And so I thought about it some more.  They most likely saw a house they liked either online or they drove by.  They probably called the agent who is listed on the sign or property data sheet.   That agent showed the home to them, they liked it a lot and the listing agent asked them if they’d like to write an offer (maybe enticing them to write now with the threat of other pending offers).   The listing agent could have also offered them a discounted commission fee on the sale of their current home if they wrote an offer with them now.  So many variables, but I can see how it most likely went down.

I don’t blame the other Realtor.  They were doing their job.  I don’t blame the home buyers.  I blame ignorance.  Ignorance of the way real estate works.  Most of the population only buy a few houses in their lifetime.  They don’t all know that Realtors only make their money when a property closes.  We don’t have a salary.  We depend on referrals of people we know, hang out with and do business with.  We hope for loyalty.

So on that note, I want to have a teaching moment.

First…if you use the agent listed on the sign, you are not being represented by a Buyer’s Agent.  You are being represented by the Seller’s Agent.  This means that the Seller’s Agent is looking out for the Sellers interest first, before yours.  So they may be fair and helpful to you, but in reality, they are working for the Sellers, not you.  Use a Buyer’s Agent to help you buy a house…someone other than the listing agent.

Second…Keep in mind the people in your sphere of influence who are Realtors. Understand that this (buying and selling of homes) is their livelihood.   As someone who knows you, they will make sure your interests come first, and they will do everything possible to protect you in this transaction.  Please ask them for help first before using a Realtor you don’t know.

It comes down to education.  I guess we, as Realtors, need to do the educating.

Have a great day!




Discovering Iowa One Town at a Time

Friday, April 11th, 2014

Real estate business is picking up this spring, and I’ve shown several homes to potential buyers. Many of the homes I’m showing are out in the smaller towns in Iowa surrounding Atlantic. I’ve been to Harlan, Irwin, Kimballton and Elk Horn recently. I’ve shown farm houses on small acreages with barns, hog pens, chicken coops and stables. I’ve learned about well water testing, septic system operations and propane heating. Rural life is new to me, and yet so normal and common place to everyone in these small towns. I think some people here get a kick out of my questions, assuming that everyone knows how a farm operates. I’m the ‘city girl’ asking silly questions these days, but I’m learning!

Harlan, Iowa downtown square

Harlan, Iowa downtown square

I DO enjoy seeing the different towns. I think Harlan is a really nice ‘bigger’ small town with a lot going on. They have a quaint town square downtown, but the outskirts are growing and developing with several beautiful housing areas and newer business parks.

Kimballton and Elk Horn are communities with a deep Danish Heritage. Kimballton has a replica of ‘The Little Mermaid’ a statue made famous in the harbor in Copenhagen, Denmark which honors the H.C. Anderson fairytale, “The Little Mermaid”. Elk Horn has a Danish Museum and a real operating Danish Windmill. I sold a house in Elk Horn to a woman moving here from Denver. She fell in love with the feel of the town and the community. I have to admit, I did a bit too!

Danish Windmill, Elk Horn, Iowa

Danish Windmill, Elk Horn, Iowa

The Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton, Iowa

The Little Mermaid statue in Kimballton, Iowa










I also noticed that while going to these towns I was driving on the Iowa Western Skies Scenic Byway. I googled it when I got home and discovered that Iowa has several ‘scenic byways’ throughout the state. Here is the link to them:  Mark and I love to get on the motorcycle and just explore for an afternoon. I’m looking forward to checking out some of these routes and new small towns.

downtown Atlantic, Iowa

downtown Atlantic, Iowa

And of course I am loving Atlantic. I love the beautiful downtown with its many trees and shops, and the recreation areas and the organizations I’ve joined. I have come to know so many wonderful people and have been welcomed into the community with open arms.  This is truly my home now.

The Atlantic Golf and Country Club

Wednesday, March 12th, 2014

atlantic_golf_small Just about two years ago I made my first trip to Atlantic for Mark’s 50th birthday party. He had his party at the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  Mark has been a member there for about 30 years, give or take a year or two.  He went there as a kid and teenager to swim at the pool.  He took his children to the same pool while they were growing up, and he’s played many rounds of golf on the 18-hole course.  He and his family have enjoyed countless meals and social engagements at the bar and restaurant.  It’s been a place where life time friendships have been built.   And he invited me in.

I met about 100 of his closest friends that night of the party.  These were people he’d grown up with, his high school buddies, his parent’s friends, and his daughter’s friends.  The country club was the meeting place, the glue that bound them all together over the years.

Over the past two years I’ve grown to know many of these people through activities at the club.  I’ve played in a Pitch card tournament.  I’ve played Friday night 2-ball golf.  I’ve watched the golf “Tournament of Champions.”  I’ve had many meals and Friday night get togethers with others in the bar. I’ve become friends with the bartenders and wait staff.  This year I celebrated my own 50-year birthday with several new friends there and I’m going to be golfing on the women’s league on Thursday nights this spring.  They might regret that decision later!

I feel incredibly grateful for the wonderful new friendships I have developed through my association with Mark, his past friendships and the Atlantic Golf and Country Club.  I know they are running some new member specials this year.  I joined as a member with Mark and I’m looking forward to many years of new memories!  Call Sheryl for questions about joining.

The club is located at 102 West 29th Street, Atlantic, Iowa 50022.   The general manager is Sheryl Dusenberry.   Phone number is (712)-243-3656.


I hope I see you out there!


Atlantic_Golf_Country_Club_238425 agccinside


I Can’t Find a Home to Rent!

Monday, February 17th, 2014

imagesCAS4ZWL8I’ve been working lately to find a family of 4, two adults, two kids and a small dog, a place to rent here in Atlantic.  I don’t normally handle rentals (A Realtor doesn’t get paid to help someone rent a house), but I know these folks want to buy a house here within the year.   So I have been making phone calls, calling on signs that I see as I drive around town and asking everyone I meet if they know someone who knows of any homes for rent.  I am truly surprised that there isn’t much available!  There are a limited number of apartment buildings in town, and although I didn’t call on the apartments, I have been told that it’s hard to find a vacant one of those as well.  Who is living in all of these rental properties and why aren’t they buying?  I’m just not sure.

So I’m thinking to myself…maybe I should buy some of these homes that have been on the market (for sale) for awhile, and become a landlord myself.  There is obviously a need here for rental homes.  I could create some cash flow to supplement my income!  But…I’m just not sure I want to be a landlord again.  My ex-husband and I took a stab at it in Omaha about 12 years ago and neither one of us cared for the late night phone calls about plumbing or heating issues.  Nor did we care for collecting rent when it wasn’t paid on time, or feeling awful about evicting a tenant with children.  Being a landlord just isn’t a fun job.   No…it’s not for me.  Maybe more people should jump on that bandwagon though.  It’s a lesson of supply and demand.  Supply is low and demand is high, at least here in Atlantic.

I got off track … so back to my clients coming into town wanting to rent a home.  How am I going to find them a home?

There are several homes to purchase in town.    You can buy a house of say $100,000 and have a payment of about $700/month, but you will need money to put down and to use for closing costs, etc.  You also need good credit scores and a solid employment history.  Long gone are the days when anyone could apply for a mortgage loan and get it.   But, you’ll get tax benefits, you’ll have ownership of the home and over time, gain equity.  You can rent that same house for about $700/month or more and never build any equity…basically throwing your money away each month.  But for those who don’t have stellar credit scores or money for a down payment, or for those people who won’t be staying in the area for very long, renting may be the best option.

I don’t have an answer for this family coming to town.   I will try to find them a rental house for the time being.  They may have to stay with friends or family for awhile until something becomes available.  They could borrow from family to put a down payment on a house and buy one of the available homes in Atlantic.  It’ll be a decision I’ll help them through and hopefully they’ll find a great family home.

I would love feedback from anyone on this topic!  Please let me know your thoughts on the rental vs. buying housing market here in Atlantic or any parts of the US!


Atlantic Eye Doctor

Tuesday, February 11th, 2014
Family Vision Center in Atlantic

Family Vision Center in Atlantic

Once again I was in search of a local professional to work with.  When you move to a new city it’s like starting all over again with the everyday things, like finding a new eye doctor.

Throughout my life I have always has 20/20 vision, but then I turned 40 and things started going downhill in that area.  I started out with cheaters, buying several inexpensive pairs of reading glasses to leave all over the house,my car and office.  But… it quickly became inconvenient to be showing houses, needing reading glasses to read the details of the house on an MLS sheet, then not needing them to walk around and look at the house.  Glasses on the top of my head became the norm and I didn’t like it.  I decided that would try bifocal contacts.  Now, this isn’t something that is easy to get used to.  At first I hated them, feeling like I was giving up some of my distant vision (which is still pretty good) for the ability to read up close.  My doctor at the time said to give it at least a month to allow my eyes to get used to them.  So I did.  And I have to say that after a year of wearing them, I would find it hard to not wear them now.  They allow me to read a menu or a text message without having to put on reading glasses and I can see far away as well.

I needed a check up recently to make sure my prescription was still what I needed and to order new contacts.  So I called Dr.Tom Thomsen, a licensed Optometrist, of Family Vision Center in Atlantic.  Tom was very professional and gave me a full eye exam and prescriptions for contacts and new glasses for when I was at home.  Then I had Jan Namanny help me find the perfect frames for my face and she got me set up with the right lenses.  All in all, it was a great experience with knowledgeable, friendly people helping me.  I would happily recommend them to anyone looking for a new eye doctor.

Family Vision Center is located at 4 West 5th Street, Atlantic IA  50022.  Their phone number is 712-243-1965.   Website is:

Family Vision Store

Family Vision Store

Jan Namanny

Jan Namanny



A New Experience-Ice Fishing!

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Mark has been telling me how much fun ice fishing is for the past couple of years.  In the winter months he and his buddies get their fishing poles ready, bundle up in cold weather duds, grab the ice hut and beer and head to a local lake or farm pond on a pretty regular basis.   He always comes home in a good mood (maybe it’s partly the beer) bragging about how many fish he caught compared to the other guys.  They tell the story differently, of course.

It’s always sounded like fun and I wanted to try it sometime, but I truly don’t like be to cold and thought that sitting on a frozen lake getting wet fish off a hook would be miserable.  But this past Sunday I decided to give it a try.  The temperature was a balmy 46 degrees, which after the sub-zero temps we’ve had lately felt like a heatwave.  Yes, it was really windy, but the ice hut would block the wind.  So we went.  We went to a local farm pond, parked the truck and put our gear (fishing poles, bucket for the fish, auger, wax worm bait and beer) into the ice hut bottom and pulled it all out onto the ice.  Mark used the auger to drill three holes in the ice.  It was about 15 inches deep.  We set up the ice hut, climbed in, zipped it shut and got the poles out.  I got a lesson in ice fishing…letting out the line, watching for the bobber to pull, setting the hook and reeling one in.  I caught my first fish fairly quickly, within about 5 minutes of putting my first line in the hole.  Pretty exciting!  I caught my second fish shortly after that, then about 10 more within an hour or so.  Mark was catching them too and we had quite a haul when we left 2 hours later.  It was fun!   My feet were the only part of me that got a bit cold at the end of the outing, but otherwise I was comfortable and warm the entire time.  Who knew that I could actually enjoy ice fishing!?  We packed up and came home.

Mark set out to clean the fish and I offered to help.  So he filleted them and I ribbed them.  I think he was surprised that I would actually handle a fish.  Please…I was a girl scout!    We had about 25 fish total, mostly bluegill and a couple of crappie.  Last night we fried some up and had them for dinner.  Delicious!

Just another fun Iowa adventure!  Oh yeah…and I think I caught more than Mark.  🙂

NP Dodge knows how to have fun!

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

It took some planning and coordination, but look at the result! I am so proud to be a part of this energetic, forward-thinking and fun company!

Check out this video featuring all of the NP Dodge Real estate offices!

Rethinking Recycling with Rewards in mind

Monday, June 21st, 2010

There is a lot of talk about “going green” in our communities and a lot of action taken through recycling. Whether you acknowledge global climate change or not, most people don’t want themselves or their children to grow up in a landfill; and an easy way to prevent this is to start recycling.

One of the biggest reasons people don’t recycle is because it’s not convenient. Many communities do not offer an accessible way to recycle and instead of residents looking into how they can overcome the inconvenient challenge, they just throw everything away.

Fortunately, the Omaha-metro area does offer home pick-up of recyclables – like aluminum, plastic and paper – and stations around the city to recycle glass. Papillion Sanitation and Apple Trash are both going an extra step to ensure that the residents they service have accessible recycling that also offers rewards.

Papillion Sanitation and Apple Trash are both taking part in RecycleBank, a program which offers recyclers rewards by partnering with cities and haulers. By recycling electronics, furniture, clothes hazardous material and day to day waste, people can earn points redeemable at over 1,500 local and national retailers. Along with your weekly recyclable pickup you can call to schedule junk removal from your home.

Even if your community doesn’t offer these kinds of rewards for recycling, there are other “rewards” that can come from recycling.

According to the National Recycling Coalition, the average American discards 4.6 pounds of garbage every day. This garbage, the solid waste stream, goes mostly to landfills where it’s compacted and buried. As the waste stream continues to grow, so will pressure on our landfills, and our resources and environment will suffer.

At some point there will be nowhere else to keep our garbage. Here is a list of specific items and the pressure they cause on our landfills –
• banana – 3 to 4 weeks
• paper bag – 1 month
• cotton rag – 5 months
• wool sock – 1 year
• cigarette butt – 2 to 5 years
• leather boot – 40 to 50 years
• rubber sole (of a boot) – 50 to 80 years
• tin can (soup or vegetable can) – 80 to 100 years
• aluminum can (soda pop can) – 200 to 500 years
• plastic 6-pack rings – 450 years
• plastic jug – 1 million years
• Styrofoam cup – unknown? forever?
• glass bottle – unknown? forever?

There are 309,533,720 people living in the United States, a little over 800,000 of which live in the Omaha-metro area. If half of the people in Omaha discarded 1 tin can per day in the garbage that is 400,000 tin cans per day and 146,000,000 cans per year sitting in a local landfill. And at a decomposition rate of 100 years… that’s a lot of garbage.

Your recycling effort can start with even that one tin can per day. When you consider how many recyclable items you throw out each day, you can truly understand the personal impact you can have on changing the world by just recycling!

Sunshine Kids Fundraiser

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

A Testimonial from Mark & Michelle Myers

Friday, March 26th, 2010

Here is what Mark and Michelle had to say about their experience…