Saturday, August 25, 2007

President Bush is Reading My Blogs?

I wrote previously about the Saturday morning that we stopped by the Corner Cafe for some of their delicious bisquits and gravy. It was so good.... good enough for the President I guess.

There are many things President Bush did while he was in Kansas City yesterday: snarled traffic, addressed the VFW Convention and ate breakfast at the Corner Cafe.

The Corner Cafe is in Riverside, Missouri, a very small suburb of Kansas City. Most people don't even know that it's there and usually only locals go to Riverside. So I'm thinking that someone in the President's immediate group or the President himself has been reading my Active Rain blog.... how else would he know about their yummy bisquits and gravy?

Mr. President enjoyed his breakfast with other well known Kansas City figures such as George Brett, here's what Wikipedia says about George; Carl Peterson with the Kansas City Chiefs; Terry Dunn from Dunn Construction and Ann Dickinson.

The owner of the Corner Cafe, Ed Rule, just agreed to reserve a room for a "business meeting".... little did he know that it was the President.

So I say keep on reading Mr. President, I'll keep you informed on what's going on in Kansas City and the Kansas City Real Estate market.

*Photo Courtesy of bethanyll22 on Flickr

NKC School District Receives Good News

NKC School Districts Scores Improve

The North Kansas City School District received good news last week that the district's test scores on the National ACT and Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) have gone up.

Their MAP scores outperform the state average in nearly every category measured.

Their ACT scores exceed state and national averages.

This was good news for the district since they were previously placed on the "No Child Left Behind" watch list.

Antioch Shopping Center Gets A Face Lift

New Site Plan Breaths Life Into My Old Stomping Grounds= Antioch Shopping Ctr.

I've written previously about Antioch Shopping Center and how it was dying a miserable death.

Well now they have a new and smaller budget to cover the cost of re-developing my old stomping grounds.

The new budget has been approved by the Kansas City Tax Increment Finance Commission.

The total cost of the project is now estimate at $72 million vs. $82 million

The size of Antioch Center is going to be reduced by 55,000 square feet. Sears will stay in it's current location and they will tear down the rest of the mall around Sears and rebuild it.

The area will be reborn and things should start thriving again once the project is done.

If you'd like to look at any Kansas City Real Estate by Antioch, please be sure and get ahold of me!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

How to Avoid Being A Victim of Identity Theft - BE WISE

How To Help NOT Being a Victim of Identity Theft

Imagine this: You are sitting at your desk or the kitchen table balancing your check book and preparing to pay your monthly bills. You open your credit card statement and you realized there's an $1100.00 charge you are sure you didn't make...

Unbelievably upset with that sick feeling in your gut you realize you've becom a victim of identity theft.

Immediately you wonder what you did or what you didn't shred to cause this.

Here are a few things you can do that could help prevent the headaches involved with identity theft:

Only give out your social security number when it's absolutely necessary. Some states give you the option of using your social or NOT as your driver's license number. NOT is the correct answer. And never carry your social security card with you. And for Pete's sake do NOT put your social security number on your personalized checks!

Cancel credit cards that you are not using or do not need. When canceling, be sure to request that a notation be made that the "card was cancelled at the cardholders request."

Don't leave outgoing mail in your own mailbox. I'm not talking about the birthday card to Uncle Bubba. I'm talkin about anything that includes your personal or banking information.

It's far too easy for identity thieves to target mailboxes even in nice neighborhoods, or perhaps I should say ESPECIALLY in nice neighborhoods. Instead, drop those off at the box at the post office.

SHRED, SHRED, and SHRED some more!!!
Shred credit card receipts, debit card receipts, insurance bills.... anything that you don't need to keep that even remotely tells and inkling of your personal information. This is a big prevention tool. Thieves will ransack trash just to make a buck.

Use complicated passwords on your computer, email and Internet accounts. The bst combination would be a the use of upper and lower case letters in addition to number. Don't use your house number, your birth-date, your phone number or maiden names that will help in making you a target!

NEVER (did I make that clear?) NEVER give out personal information over the phone, email or on the Internet. I bought my 81 year old father his latest computer, my rulse was simple. If you don't know who the email is from, do not even open it.... and if you do don't EVER give out personal information over the Internet. Most companies you do business with have a policy against asking your personal information over the Internet.

Call your bank or credit card company if you feel a statement or bill should have arrived and it hasn't. A missing bill or statement could indicate that you are being targeted.

Upon receiving your charge card bills or bank statements each month, take a careful look to make sure no unauthorized activities have occurred.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) an many as 9 million individuals have their identity stolen each year. It seems the thieves also like to target older individuals due to vulnerability issues.

My mother is a sharp old gal, but received a phone call from someone claiming to be with the FTC stating that someone was trying to get into her account. She freaked and spilled her guts to anything they asked her. She immediately realized after hanging up that her moment of panic could have cleared out her checking. She immediately went to the bank and closed the account.

No one immune to these predators.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Latest Kansas City Mortgage News

Here's the latest Kansas City Mortgage News from my friend at First Community Bank

Mortgage Division

From: CAROL POPPE 913-652-7302


Well as we say in this business, “the wheels are falling off the bus.” Last week was The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. The good news last week came in the form of friendly inflation and employment news which helped rates on CONFORMING home loans improve over the course of the week. I just locked a $390,000 loan (80% LTV) in at 6.375%. Conforming home loans are those under $417,000 and subject to very standard credit, income and asset qualifying, nothing exotic, outside the box, or fancy.

A little bad news came by way of the Bureau of Economic Analysis, revising previous personal savings rate estimates higher, but showing that Americans still save less than 1% of their income.

The Ugly last week – well, was really ugly. The media screamed all week about issues in the mortgage industry particularly impacting what are called Non Conforming home loans; those that are dollar amounts higher than $417K, or with credit, income or assets not falling under traditional guidelines. Many of those rates got excessively ugly, in many cases, overnight. Why? Over the past several yeas, many loans were made to homeowners with somewhat non-traditional or “non-conforming” situations, be it poor credit, inability to document income, or any number of factors that do not fit within the traditional box for home loans. These loans are often called “Sub-Prime” or “Alt-A”, meaning that they were somewhat riskier in nature than A credit, prime or traditional loans. Another type of “non-conforming” home loan is one where the credit and income might be perfectly fine, but the loan amount is higher than $417K, which is the current maximum loan that can be done using pools of money from mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FHLMC). These are known as Jumbo Loans – but the end money comes from private institutions, not from the large government sponsored entities of Fannie and Freddie. Most Non-Conforming loan product rates popped significantly higher in the last week even though Jumbos have not suffered from the increased delinquencies like the Sub-prime and Alt-A. This was due to the fact that these pools of mortgages are being purchased by smaller private entities that can’t afford to take on the margin of risk of foreclosures.

From our pool of investors, Wells Fargo jumped the highest in their Jumbo rates. The 100% financing options are deteriorating very quickly and the rules are changing overnight. Several large companies have shut their doors in the last week including American Home Mortgage (huge in stated and no income programs) and Fieldstone (a Sub-Prime company). US Bank has announced today that they are no longer doing “No Income” and “No Ratio” mortgage loans. BE WARY OF OLDER PRE-APPROVALS whether you are putting a contract on a home or are receiving one. Everything is changing so quickly it is hard to keep up with all the changes. Some investors have raised the credit score minimums for 100% financing. We are seeing that those people who have credit scores under 680 and make more than $82,000 are going to be challenged in 100% financing if they purchase over the FHA limit (approximately $210,000). Their options are dwindling. This is the group buying $225,000-$350,000, and even though some of these are buying their second home, they are not netting enough out of the sale of their first home to have much downpayment after they cover their costs.

Remind your buyers that now is NOT the time to be playing the risky game of trying to scour the entire nation to find someone who promises to save you a paltry amount on costs, or deliver a rate that seems too good to be true. A smooth closing and being reassured that it will close on time are just too important, and the times have changed. I am here to help and advise during these volatile times – and would welcome calls from you and your clients.

Lawn and Tree Tid-Bits from My Ryan Lawn and Tree Expert

Lawn Diseases of Summer
Fungus problems common during summer months

To be sure, watering during the hot summer months is a necessity. Most lawns need 2" of water a week to thrive when it is hot. This should be spread out throughout the week so the turfgrass has the ability to absorb the water, instead of it running off the lawn.

Watering should be avoided during the evening hours, from 4p.m. until 4a.m., to avoid fungal problems. However, the rains that we receive often happen in the evening hours, leaving our turfgrass vulnerable to infection.

Although brown patch is on the decline, pythium blight can become more of a threat because the night temperatures are higher than average during this time. To learn more about brown patch and pythium blight, visit our resource library: Lawn Diseases.

Your RYANPro can apply a preventative fungicide to help protect your lawn against summer fungal problems. The product we use helps prevent both stress and fungus from occurring.

Look out for Yellow Leaves
Iron chlorosis common problem

Some trees, like pin oak and river birch, are commonly affected by a condition called iron chlorosis. Iron chlorosis is caused by the tree's inability to absorb the iron existing in the soil. Look for lighter green or yellow leaves with dark green veins.

If left untreated, trees may lose leaves prematurely or suffer branch and limb dieback. Death can result from severe cases.

If you have questions, or have a tree that needs treatment, give your RYAN Certified Arborist a call. We can provide the tree with the iron it needs by injecting an appropriate mixture of iron and water directly into the trunk of the tree.

Brown Spots in Your Lawn?
Soil Problems may be at fault

New homes are especially vulnerable to hot spots. These occur when there is little good soil and the rocks and cement left over from constructing the new house is left in the lawn and the sod is laid on top. The high heat that we are experiencing will result in the lawn being bleached out.

The best way to fix this problem is to remove the rocks or debris below the turf, followed by reseeding or sodding this fall.

Heavy clay soils, common to older areas of town, can hold water which can also cause brown spots to appear in your lawn.

If you have brown spots in your lawn and are unsure of their cause, contact your RYANPro today.
Sprinkler System Confusing?
Your RYANPro can help.

If you have a sprinkler system, you may be among those who are unsure of how to set them properly. Did you know that a common problem when watering with sprinklers is the length of time?

Drought stress is a common problem during this time of year. People are not watering enough. If you need help setting your system up to meet your landscape's needs, contact your RYANPro. Many of our associates are comfortable helping you set up your system. We also have a referral list of sprinkler companies that we trust. We can refer you to someone who can help set up your system and make sure all areas are getting hit evenly.

Lawn Not Performing Well?
Seeding may be your best option

If your lawn isn't performing to your expectations, consider seeding your lawn to improve the quality of grass. Some cool-season lawns contain inferior grass types that will never perform well. These lawns should be killed-out and reseeded, a process that can begin in August.

If you would like to thicken up your existing stand of turfgrass, consider overseeding with high-quality seed. Your RYANPro can advise you which method is best for you.

If you would like us to assist you with your seeding needs this fall, contact your RYANPro today for a FREE seeding estimate.
Landscape Calendar: August
Water your lawn and landscape plants with 2" of water if rainfall is lacking.
Check shrubs for mites and other insect pests. Call RYAN if control is needed.
Weed flower beds regularly.
Evaluate lawn for seeding needs this fall.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Fun in the Sun!

The Sun Always Shines on People Who are Cool!
It's going to be another hot day here in Kansas City!

Generally August is really how as you probably know if you've lived in Kansas City for any amount of time.

There are a number of ways to stay cool!

There is Oceans of Fun the largest tropically themed water park in the Midwest, offers 60 acres of splashing excitement and fun for every member of the family and all the sunburn you can handle!!

There's Tiffany Springs Aquatic Park with loads of fun for the whole family with reasonable prices.

There's also Gladstone Aquatic Center that's recently had a major face-lift.

Or you can visit a neighborhood pool and if none of these are an option..... try the old fashion cooling system of letting the kids play in the sprinkler while watering the yard. This way you kill two birds with one stone.

BUT REMEMBER to always use sunscreen...... and don't forget about your pets.

Try to remember not to leave your pets outside in this horrible heat and humidity.... ESPECIALLY if they don't have a dog house or any legitimate protection from the sun. Water in a dogs bowl outside in these temperatures heats up fast..... how would you like to lay in the sun with a fur coat on?

Have fun in the sun, but be safe!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Convert a Can Light into a Pendant Light

In our new home we had a can light over the sink. I really didn't like it.

During one of our many trips to Lowe's I found a Pendant Light I fell in love with.

If you'd like to read how to change out a can light and install a Pendant light ,

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