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LISTING OF THE WEEK

HOUSE PLAN

Wooded lot

The Walsh

The Listing of the Week is a large Mediterranean-influenced house on a 2.13-acre cul-de-sac lot in east Edmond. PAGE 2E

Three front gables, varied in size, give a welcoming look to a plan that is both contemporary and compact. PAGE 8E

REAL ESTATE

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THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

Oklahoma draws interest from out-of-state investors SALES | PRESIDENT OF OKLAHOMA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS USES MULTIMEDIA TO SPARK INTEREST IN STATE

Kenneth Harney THE NATION’S HOUSING

FIRST-TIME BUYERS MISSING Housing is rebounding in many local markets, but many first-time buyers are missing in action and represent a smaller proportion of sales activity than their historical norm. PAGE 3E

BY TIM FALL For The Oklahoman trfall@gmail.com

EDMOND — If you thought the only thing the rest of the world noticed about Oklahoma was tornadoes, touchdowns and the Oklahoma City Thunder, think again. Joe Pryor, 2013 president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, is taking calls from investors who’ve got their eyes on the roofs over our heads — and they’re betting that Oklahoma homes are sound places to invest. Pryor, team leader of TheVirtuaRealEstate Team.com and an associate with Edmond’s Redbud Realty & Associates, guided both local and out-ofstate investors through the late four-year downturn. Finally, he said, he can show them that bluer skies are not just on the horizon, they’re overhead right now. Of course, it took a few years of pain to get here, Pryor said. “In 2009, the market stopped,” he said. For three years “it’s been a lot of short sales” and foreclosures, with a slow recovery “driven by investors absorbing distressed inventory.” In Oklahoma, total closings, 40,765, and the average price of a home sold, $160,385, increased from 2011 — as well as 2009 and 2010 — according to 2012 year-end statistics from the Oklahoma Association of Realtors. Pryor started out as a Realtor in the late 1980s. “That was a repo market,” he recalled. It was a lean time for anyone with real estate holdings, but it taught Pryor firsthand how to survive in a struggling market. His success selling foreclosures in those years drove him to ask questions. “I could show my clients

IN BRIEF

STYLISH DRAIN TITLE

Joe Pryor says this house at 15709 Traditions Drive is an example of the kind of homes that are attractive to out-of-state investors. It’s a traditional home with 1,808 square feet, four bedrooms, two baths, built in 2006. Pryor, who is president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, has it listed for $177,000. PHOTOS BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN

SCAN IT For a related video, scan the QR code below or go to NewsOK.com

Joe Pryor, team leader of TheVirtuaRealEstateTeam.com and an associate with Edmond’s Redbud Realty & Associates, talks about out-of-state investors at a home at 15709 Traditions Drive.

what made a property a good buy, but not what made a good investment,” he said, and that realization that led Pryor down a path of education.

Today, Pryor holds numerous professional certifications and distinctions, including Certified Distressed Property Expert, Certified Investment Ana-

lysis Specialist and Residential Financial Consultant. He is also pursuing the Certified Commercial Investment Member designation.

“I learned to define where real estate fits for an investor, in terms of (return on investment) and risk,” Pryor said. His goal is to show “in black and white” how to make real estate part of an investment portfolio and how to keep risk to a minimum “if you do it right.” “I’m like anybody else, I hate to be embarrassed,” Pryor said. “I want my investor clients to be able to sell it later.” SEE PRYOR, PAGE 2E

Seller avoids disclosing contamination DEAR BARRY: We recently purchased a home in a rural area. The property is on municipal water, but there is an old well and pump house. We asked the seller if the well was used anymore. He said, “You don’t really want to hook up the old well pump.” When we asked why, he just said, “You’ll find out.” Being from the city and not knowing much about wells, we let this slide and purchased the home without further disclosure. Three months later, we received a letter from the Environmental Protection Agency stating that the property is adjacent to a contaminated site with underground gasoline storage tanks. Now we realize that the seller withheld this information. What recourse do we have? Mike DEAR MIKE: When a seller says “You’ll find out,” rather than telling you the whole story, that is an unacceptable answer. Your re-

Barry Stone INSPECTOR’S IN THE HOUSE

sponse should have been, “What do you mean I’ll find out? I want to know now what is wrong with the well.” The answer you received from the seller was not something you should have let slide. It was a red flag that demanded further explanation. Failure to disclose environmental contamination is a violation of law in most states. You should consult an attorney to learn what recourse is available to you. DEAR BARRY: A major wind storm damaged our tile roof. The insurance claims adjuster says the tiles are inferior quality and the cracks were not caused by the

storm. But our roofing contractor strongly disagrees. How can we resolve these conflicting opinions? Dee DEAR DEE: It is highly unlikely that an insurance adjuster knows more about roofing materials and tile damage than a licensed roofing contractor. If the adjuster’s opinion is at odds with that of the contractor, the contractor’s opinion should prevail. You may be dealing with an unethical insurance company, trying to minimize its losses in the wake of the storm. To counter their position, you should obtain written opinions from three roofing contractors and from a qualified home inspector. If the insurance company refuses to budge, they should receive a letter from your attorney. You can also file a complaint with the state agency that regulates insurance companies. DEAR BARRY: We live in a

two-story townhome and are wondering if there is a firewall between our unit and the adjacent dwelling. How can we determine if this was done in compliance with the fire code? Charles DEAR CHARLES: The partition walls between adjoining dwelling units should be finished with 5/8inch-thick, fire-rated drywall. The thickness of the drywall can often be verified by removing the cover plate from an outlet, switch, or other fixture. Otherwise, a hole would need to be made to verify thickness. The firewall should extend into the attic, separating your attic space from the attic above the neighboring units. If there is a firewall in your attic, the fire rating should be printed on the surface of the drywall. To write to Barry Stone, visit him on the web at www.housedetective.com ACTION COAST PUBLISHING

California Faucets has a solution for disguising one of the least attractive parts of a shower: the drain. The company’s StyleDrain Tile is designed to accept an inlay of tile or stone that matches the shower floor, making the drain less noticeable. The product has a square inner frame that holds the tile or stone. Water flows through a gap between that inner frame and a larger outer frame. The frames are made of brass and are available in five decorative finishes. Prices range from $397 to $589, depending on the finish. Dealers can be found at www.calfaucets. com.

LEARN TO GROW PLANTS FROM SEED “Starting Seeds” is a basic guide to growing plants from seed, whether they’re started indoors or out. The book takes readers through the whole process of seed starting: deciding what to grow, determining when to start the seeds, sowing them, caring for seedlings and, in the case of seeds started indoors, transplanting them to the garden. Author Barbara Ellis includes lists of easy seeds to start with as well as information and helpful pointers to boost the chances of success. “Starting Seeds” is published by Storey Publishing and sells for $8.95 in paperback. MCT INFORMATION SERVICES

INDEX Permits 4E, 5E Smart Moves 6E


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REAL ESTATE

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

Be prepared to enjoy hassle-free home closing

This view shows the hallway of the home at 15709 Traditions Drive.

PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN

Pryor: Expects continued recovery FROM PAGE 1E

Pryor started sharing his Oklahoma real estate expertise a decade ago by launching a website. In 2004, he was contacted by a San Francisco-based investor who wanted to know more about the state’s economic fundamentals and the values to be found here. “I flew to San Francisco” to speak to investors there, Pryor said, and “I showed Oklahoma City to them.” Out-of-state investors were sold on Oklahoma’s low unemployment, and the quality of single-family homes available as investments. Also, “They couldn’t believe traffic was so easy,” he said. Pryor’s Web presence — a YouTube channel, blog and SEO (search engine optimization) strategies — continued capturing outof-state interest even through the recession and housing slump. For investors from the West Coast, London, Tel Aviv and elsewhere, it’s Oklahoma’s economic fundamentals that have kept interest alive, he said. “Investors look for opportunity, especially in a volatile market,” he explained. As president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors, Pryor said he is proud to have “a seat at the table for change.” With well over 100 bills before the state Legislature that bear on the real estate business, Pryor said legis-

Q. I am about to purchase my first home and have heard horror stories about people losing their deposits or buying a house with problems. What should I do to protect myself? A. It may sound trite, but the key is being prepared from the beginning. Line up your team. Interview and investigate before selecting your real estate agent, mortgage lender and home inspector. Check the Internet for reviews of your providers and call them to ask about their services and prices. Once you find a house, have your attorney review the contract to make sure you are protected. Ask questions about anything you don’t understand. Getting the contract right at the start is one of the most important steps in a successful closing. Mark all the key dates on your calendar, such as the inspection and mortgage financing deadlines. Get your home inspection as quickly as possible and follow up with the inspector. Stay in contact

Gary M. Singer REAL ESTATE LAW with your loan officer and make sure to immediately provide any additional documents that are requested. If you do need to get out of the contract, make sure you give the appropriate amount of notice so that you can get your deposit back without a fight. Review the title commitment and lien search with your attorney, making sure that there are no open permits or other issues. Ask to see the closing paperwork, including the settlement statement, at least a day prior to the closing. A real estate closing does not need to be scary or difficult. Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. Send him questions online at http://sunsent.nl/mR20t7 or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw. MCT INFORMATION SERVICES

LISTING OF THE WEEK

The master closet is expansive at 15709 Traditions Drive. PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN

The Listing of the Week is at 1801 Starboard Cove in Edmond. PHOTO PROVIDED

Realtor Joe Pryor has this 2,504-square-foot home at 6525 SE 53, built in 2001, listed for sale for $170,000. PHOTO PROVIDED

lative advocacy is a major focus. Another is “to change the way we educate Realtors” through online initiatives the association plans to roll out in 2013 and

beyond. Pryor surveyed the real estate landscape for the rest of 2013 confident in continued recovery, although work remains to be

done. “In the past three years I’ve done lots of short sales,” he said, and they’re not worked through the market yet, Pryor said.

The Listing of the Week is a large Mediterraneaninfluenced house on a wooded 2.13-acre cul-desac lot in east Edmond. The 5,543-square-foot home at 1801 Starboard Cove in the Lake Highlands neighborhood has five bedrooms, three baths, two half baths, two living rooms, two dining areas and an attached three-car garage. The formal living room has a cathedral ceiling and ceiling fan. The family room has a built-in bookcase and fireplace. The kitchen has a bay window, breakfast bar and island. The master

bedroom has a full bath and ceiling fan. All secondary bedrooms have walk-in closets and ceiling fans; one has built-ins. The two-story stucco home has an open patio and security system. The home, built in 1997, is listed for $675,000 with Kristyn Grewell of Century 21 Goodyear Green. For more information, call or text 615-2796 or call 3597400. Nominations for Listing of the Week are welcome. Send a copy of the MLS information sheet on a single-family home to The Oklahoman, Richard Mize, P.O. Box 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125. Nominations may be faxed to 475-3996.

BUSINESS BUSINESS NEWS P.O. BOX 25125, Oklahoma City, OK 73125 Fax: (405) 475-3996 NewsOK.com HomesOK.com

DON MECOY Business Editor (405) 475-3942, dmecoy@opubco.com

RICHARD MIZE Real Estate Editor (405) 475-3518, richardmize@opubco.com

HOMESOK.COM

Find real estate news on the Internet at HomesOK.com

FOR EDITORIAL INQUIRIES: Contact Richard Mize

JERRY WAGNER

The kitchen is spacious in the home at 15709 Traditions Drive, listed for $177,000 with Joe Pryor, president of the Oklahoma Association of Realtors. PHOTO BY PAUL HELLSTERN, THE OKLAHOMAN

Assistant Classified Advertising Manager (405) 475-3475, jwagner@opubco.com

FOR ADVERTISING INQUIRIES: Contact Jerry Wagner


THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

REAL ESTATE

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

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First-time buyers are less of factor Program comes to city Homes for Heroes Inc., a company that affiliates with Realtors, lenders and other real estate-related service providers who offer rebates and discounts to military personnel, firefighters, police officers and others, has come to Oklahoma City. Local affiliates are Valerie Duncan Stewart, a sales associate with First Metro Realty, and Lauren Layman, of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corp. With more than 600 affiliates in 44 states, the program has saved heroes more than $2 million in buying, selling or refinancing a home. In its 11th year, Homes for Heroes has received the Social Entrepreneurship Award from Business Magazine and the American Red Cross Community Hero Award. More information about the National program can be found at www.Homes ForHeroes.com or by calling toll free (866) 4437637.

Taylor gets top Yukon award YUKON — Larry Taylor, an associate with Prudential Alliance Realty, was named as the city of Yukon’s 2012 Citizen of the Year and H.B. Frank Award Recipient at the annual banquet. The award is the city’s highest honor recognizing outstanding civic contribution and service to the community. Taylor is an Oklahoma City-area native and has called Yukon home since 1971. He taught music in Yukon public schools for more than 30 years. He has sold real estate since 1981. Taylor was elected to the Yukon City Council in 1992 and served as vice mayor for 18 months. In 1995, he was elected mayor and served for five years. He now serves on the Yukon Planning Commission.

Nancy Smith

Smith joins Prudential EDMOND — Prudential Alliance Realty has added Nancy Smith as a sales associate in the office at 3434 S Boulevard. She previously worked for the company as an office manager. Before joining Prudential Alliance Realty, she was self-employed, working with her husband as a homebuilder.

Sunny Baldridge

Prudential adds Baldridge EDMOND — Sunny Baldridge has joined Prudential Alliance Realty, 3434 S Boulevard in Edmond as a residential real estate sales associate. She previously was an educator and coach in public schools.

WASHINGTON — Though the housing market is rebounding in many local markets, there is one important segment that is not: First-time buyers are missing in action and represent a smaller proportion of overall sales activity than their historical norm. Whereas first-timers typically account for roughly 40 percent of sales, lately they’ve been involved in anywhere from 30 percent to 35 percent, depending on the source of the data. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors, estimates that there were 2.2 million fewer first-time purchasers in the United States between 2008 and 2012 — a deficit of about 450,000 a year. Recent surveys of Realtor members by Yun’s research team have found that first-time purchases slipped to just 30 percent during each of the past three months. Mortgage investment giant Freddie Mac reports that first-time purchasers represented just 35.9 percent of loan acquisitions by the firm in 2011. Last year the Federal Reserve found that whereas between 1999 and 2001 about 17 percent of 29-34year-olds took out a mortgage to purchase a first home, the figure plunged to just 9 percent during 2009-2011. All of this represents a potentially significant issue for homeowners and sellers in the overall market. Without entry-level purchasers, the housing system doesn’t work well.

Kenneth Harney THE NATION’S HOUSING

If there’s no one to buy moderately priced starter homes, the owners of those houses can’t sell and move up. So what’s the problem? Where are these firsttimers who should be jumping in while mortgage interest rates are near alltime lows and prices in some markets are still at 2004-05 levels? Recent economic jolts — the recession and relatively high unemployment rates for younger workers — are crucial factors. Disproportionate numbers of 20and 30-somethings have moved back home, living with parents, or they’re renting with others, rather than purchasing a house. Tougher underwriting and qualification requirements by the banks are also important contributors. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said so, and President Obama singled out tight lending standards — even for borrowers with solid credit — as an issue in his State of the Union address. On top of these burdens, though, there’s still another financial albatross: Massive student debt levels and their toxic interaction with lenders’ stringent rules on “debt-to-income” ratios. Student loan debt loads

have exploded in the past decade and now exceed $1 trillion, according to financial industry estimates. A Pew Research study last fall found that the average student debt balance is $26,682, and that more than one in 10 graduates are carrying close to $62,000 in unpaid student loans. Both numbers are up sharply from just five years earlier. Lenders and realty agents who work with first-time purchasers say the student debts that many of them bring to the table are often deal-killers because they can’t qualify under current debt-to-income limits. “Even a $30,000 or $40,000 debt can mean you don’t make the cut,” said Paul Skeens, president of Colonial Mortgage Group in Waldorf, Md. Lenders typically look at two measures of debt-toincome to help gauge creditworthiness: the monthly costs of the proposed new mortgage compared with household income; and total recurring household debts — credit cards, auto, student loans and the new mortgage. If you have $3,000 a month in recur-

Good advice for first-timers carrying student debt: Check out FHA. Keep your offers simple. And work with an agent who knows how to navigate you through today’s perilous underwriting shoals.

ring debt payments and $6,000 a month in household income, you’ve got a total debt-to-income ratio of 50 percent. Under current lending standards, a total debt ratio of 43 percent is about as high as an applicant for a conventional loan can go, absent strong compensating factors such as lots of money in the bank, something most first-timers sorely lack. Federal Housing Administration-insured mortgages offer a little more flexibility, said Skeens, who recommends them for buyers with student debts, but usually after the applicants negotiate a deferral of payments if the balances are troublesome. Paul Reid, an agent with online brokerage Redfin in Irvine, Calif., said it’s par-

ticularly tough for firsttimers right now because even when they qualify for a mortgage, they often get outbid by investors who offer all-cash deals for starter homes. Reid tries to make first-timers more competitive by getting them fully underwritten by a lender before they shop for a house, and then keeping their offers as uncomplicated as possible so as not to put off sellers. Good advice for firsttimers carrying student debt: Check out FHA. Keep your offers simple. And work with an agent who knows how to navigate you through today’s perilous underwriting shoals. Ken Harney’s email address is kenharney@earthlink.net. WASHINGTON POST WRITERS GROUP


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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

Permits Oklahoma City Mass Architects, 2600 NE 63, parking, erect, $1,400,000. Dowell Properties, 433 N Harvey Ave., parking, addon, $1,300,000. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 18628 Ochoa Drive, residence, erect, $910,001. Homeworks Design Co., 12200 Swanhaven Drive, residence, erect, $830,000. SAS Construction, 224 Johnny Bench Drive, shell building, erect, $700,000. Fuller Miller Construction, 15 SW 25, manufacturing, erect, $600,000. Crossland Construction, 801 N Morgan Road, business, remodel, $587,706. Whole Foods Market Southwest Region, 6001 N Western Ave., retail sales, remodel, $525,000. Integrity Fine Homes LLC, 13301 Carriage Way, residence, erect, $497,000. DPI Development LLC, 13801 Santa Fe Crossings Drive, office-warehouse, erect, $450,000. Design Build By Jill, 3421 Stone Brook Court, residence, erect, $428,000. Terry Covey Custom Homes, 9300 NW 95, residence, erect, $325,000. Structural Systems of OKC, 3600 S Purdue Ave., office-warehouse, erect, $270,000. League Custom Homes LLC, 321 John Wedman Blvd., residence, erect, $255,000. Castle Custom Homes LLC, doing business as Castle Creek Homes, 8613 NW 125, residence, erect, $250,000. Garrett Fountain, 12501 SE 134, residence, erect, $250,000. Jeff Click Homes LLC, 2401 NW 175, residence, erect, $250,000. Kirkpatrick Forest Curtis PC, 5500 SW 38, office, remodel, $250,000. R&R Homes LLC, 3312 Canton Trail, residence, erect, $240,000. R&R Homes LLC, 10928 SW 32 Terrace, residence, erect, $240,000. Glendon Shunkwiler, 8520 S Shartel Ave., rehabilitation center, erect, $239,000. R&R Homes LLC, 10929 SW 32 Terrace, residence, erect, $224,000. Willis (Don) Custom Homes Inc., 4109 Chesterfield Place, residence, erect, $220,000. Monarch Properties LLC, 15516 Brook Hill Drive, residence, erect, $220,000. ANW Custom Designs LLC, 4117 Chesterfield Place, residence, erect, $215,000. Worthington Homes LLC, 1800 NW 198, residence, erect, $210,000. JK Construction LLC, 2620 Stanley Station, residence, erect, $200,400. American Building Contractors & Developers LLC, 11748 SW 21, residence, erect, $200,000. League Custom Homes LLC, 309 John Wedman Blvd., residence, erect, $200,000. Lingo Construction Services Inc., 5905 Tulakes Ave., airplane hangar, addon, $200,000. Sun Contracting LLC, 8541 SW 107, residence, erect, $200,000. Bradbury Homes Inc., 2401Wayne Cutt Ave., residence, erect, $198,000. Denise Patterson Custom Homes, 16404 Iron Fire Court, residence, erect, $198,000. Bradbury Homes Inc., 2324 Chase Way, residence, erect, $196,800. JK Construction LLC, 2624 Stanley Station, residence, erect, $195,900. Sun Properties LLC, 2300 Makaila Way, residence, erect, $190,000. Worthington Homes LLC, 1804 NW 198, residence, erect, $190,000. Mark Samples Homes LLC, 7416 Noah Parkway, residence, erect, $187,000. D.R. Horton, 11004 SW 38 Circle, residence, erect, $184,990. Bradbury Homes Inc., 11716 SW 21, residence, erect, $181,000. Dodson Custom Homes 1LLC, 15905 James Thomas Court, residence, erect, $178,800.

Dodson Custom Homes 1 LLC, 3400 NW 189, residence, erect, $177,200. Jeff Click Homes LLC, 17505 Black Hawk Drive, residence, erect, $164,000. Griffin Homes LLC, 2800 Ryder Drive, residence, erect, $160,000. Griffin Homes LLC, 2736 Ryder Drive, residence, erect, $160,000. SWM & Sons Inc., 13101 W Memorial Road, residence, erect, $158,165. American Building Contractors & Developers LLC, 2301 Wayne Cutt Ave., residence, erect, $150,000. American Building Contractors & Developers LLC, 11217 SW 37 Court, residence, erect, $150,000. Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, 4551W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $150,000. Mass Architects, 2600 NE 63, public building, erect, $150,000. D.R. Horton, 3720 Millers Creek Lane, residence, erect, $146,990. Sooner Traditions LLC, 8216 NW 159, residence, erect, $146,000. Dodson Custom Homes 1 LLC, 18300 Bridlington Drive, residence, erect, $144,000. Mashburn Faires Homes LLC, 9501 Shallow Lake Court, residence, erect, $140,000. Dodson Custom Homes 1 LLC, 18201 Bridlington Drive, residence, erect, $136,000. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 605 Parsons Drive, residence, erect, $134,000. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 14017 Wagon Boss Road, residence, erect, $124,000. D.R. Horton, 11012 SW 38 Circle, residence, erect, $120,837. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 709 Christian Lane, residence, erect, $114,000. Sooner Traditions LLC, 2113 NW 158, residence, erect, $112,000. Home Creations, 18213 Groveton Blvd., residence, erect, $109,000. Home Creations, 18209 Groveton Blvd., residence, erect, $108,000. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 16416 Drywater Drive, residence, erect, $107,000. Home Creations, 6833 NW 157, residence, erect, $105,400. Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, 3730 S Lindsay Ave., recreation center, install, $102,000. Rausch Coleman Homes LLC, 4709 Hunter Blvd., residence, erect, $100,000. Rausch Coleman Homes LLC, 2424 NW 194, residence, erect, $100,000. Rausch Coleman Homes LLC, 2428 NW 194, residence, erect, $100,000. Rausch Coleman Homes LLC, 3012 SE 96, residence, erect, $100,000. Rausch Coleman Homes LLC, 3020 SE 96, residence, erect, $100,000. Home Creations, 10009 Summerhill Lane, residence, erect, $98,800. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 9524 SW 27, residence, erect, $97,000. Home Creations, 12509 Edison Drive, residence, erect, $90,800. Home Creations, 900 Laurel Creek Drive, residence, erect, $86,100. Oklahoma City Housing Services Redevelopment Corp., 1616 N McKinley Ave., residence, erect, $85,000. Home Creations, 5620 Marblewood Drive, residence, erect, $84,000. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 18620 Ochoa Drive, residence, erect, $84,000. Ideal Homes of Norman LP, 1044 SW 156, residence, erect, $80,000. Ron Walters Construction, 7025 S Sooner Road, office, remodel, $80,000. Home Creations, 2408 NW 197, residence, erect, $79,200. Home Creations, 5622 Marblewood Drive, residence, erect, $79,000. Bill Gumerson & Associates, 726 W Sheridan Ave., office, remodel, $70,000. Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, 3730 S Lindsay Ave., recreation center, install, $67,000. Omni Construction LLC, 200 S Oklahoma Ave., office, remodel, $60,000. The Roberts Group,

REAL ESTATE 16320 Morningside Drive, residence, add-on, $55,000. Mass Architects, 2600 NE 63, pedestrian walkway, erect, $50,000. Sprint Spectrum LP, 6121 S Shields Blvd., tower-antenna, erect, $50,000. Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, 4712 N Martin Luther King Ave., recreation center, erect, $45,000. Graham Construction & Development LLC, 5924 NW 2, office, remodel, $41,500. Clark Construction, 11200 N Portland Ave., medical clinic-office, remodel, $40,000. No name given, 4551 W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $40,000. City of Oklahoma City, 4551 W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $40,000. Michael A. Brammer, 9100 N Midwest Blvd., manufactured home, move-on, $30,000. Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department, 3730 S Lindsay Ave., cabana-gazebo, erect, $30,000. Mick Davenport, 5112 Horizon Blvd., accessory, erect, $28,900. Marcos Ordones, 2904 NW 20, residence, addon, $25,000. Four Seasons Sunrooms, 13852 Crest Glen Road, residence, add-on, $21,078. Jean Martino, 8177 NW 23, condominium-townhouse, fire restoration, $20,000. CLS, 260 W Hefner Road, tower-antenna, install, $15,000. Richard Hackler, 8716 Ensenada Court, accessory, erect, $15,000. Roberto G. Vasquez, 1204 SW 30, residence, add-on, $15,000. L5 Construction, 7401 S Shields Blvd., shell building, remodel, $15,000. City Of Oklahoma City, 4551 W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $12,000. Maverick Home Services Inc., 2333 NW 15, residence, add-on, $10,000. De la Riva Construction, 1437 NW 29, residence, remodel, $10,000. Majestic Construction, 2625 Elmhurst Ave., canopy-carport, erect, $10,000. Miriam Wiley, 2008 NW 36, residence, fire restoration, $10,000. Karen Wilcox, 2516 Spring Valley Lane, accessory, erect, $8,000.

Ch4 Quality Homes LLC, 8305 S Pennsylvania Ave., business, remodel, $7,500. Michelle Hernandez, 3011 S Indiana Ave., residence, add-on, $7,000. City of Oklahoma City, 4551 W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $7,000. City of Oklahoma City, 4551 W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $7,000. City of Oklahoma City, 4551 W Hefner Road, public building, erect, $7,000. Sprint Spectrum LP, 7201 S Council Road, tower-antenna, install, $5,000. Alan and Valerie Gray, 9729 Manor Circle, storm shelter, remodel, $4,850. Karen Humble, 8605 NW 67, storm shelter, remodel, $4,850. Steven Bender, 15025 SW 59, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $4,200. Greg Birdwell, 3201 Wexford Ave., storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $4,100. Cynthia M. Estell, 3104 SW 121, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $4,095. Kris Avant, 10209 SW 28, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $4,095. Chris Flenthrope, 14305 Kirkland Ridge, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $4,000. John Munson, 16409 Dustin Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $4,000. Luis F. Gaxioa, 5416 S Agnew Ave., canopy-carport, add-on, $4,000. Design & Build Group LLC, 211 N Robinson Ave., office, remodel, $4,000. Michelle and Stuart Kemaler, 8416 NW 105, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,975. Larry and Cindi Carpenter, 11701 Slash Pine Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,900. Jonathan Pierce, 13917 Piedmont Road, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,800. Michael Dotter, 11300 NW 104, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,800. Dan Denison, 19705 Meadow Bend Ave., storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,795. Gary Jackson, 12116 SW 3, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $3,745. F5 Storm Shelter, 14900 Aurea Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,600.

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

Ashley and Joshua Leu, 8605 SW 45 Terrace, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,500. Robert Garnett, 401 Tumbleweed Road, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,500. Justin Snodgrass, 10817 NW 37, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,450. Brittney Housley-Taggart, 2625 NW 186, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,400. Josh and Laura Calderwood, 9117 Woodrow Court, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,400. Zachary Smith, 13121 Cottingham Road, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,400. John Batacao, 9117 Misty Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,395. Michael Murphy, 2304 SW 141, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,395. Flat Safe, 3917 Pamela Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,350. Michael Gathers, 9116 NW 83, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,300. Edward Lamb, 11405 NW 117 Court, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,275. Rod Greene, 12521 Fox Run Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,275. Larry G. Simmons, 13200 NW 4, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,250. Dorsheania Finley and David Ward, 13413 Ambleside Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,200. William McDonnell, 13528 Keswick Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,200. Justin Giudice, 5705 Republic Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,195. Brenton McFee, 1300 Loren Place, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,150. Mikel Dunnagan, 11320 Fiddlesticks Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,150. Glenn Nelson, 5025 Misty Glen Circle, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,100. Bobby McIntire, 7705 S Charlotte Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,050. Pam Billingsley, 2109 Flair Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,020.

Ben Coffey, 409 NW 149 Terrace, storm shelter, install — storm shelter, $3,000. Crystal Makescry, 13600 Keswick Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,000. David Phillips, 5504 SE 80, storm shelter, erect, $3,000. Edward Krei, 15301 Fairview Farm Blvd., storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,000. Patrick L. Carraher, 2509 NW 154, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,000. Richard Cervenka, 4712 NW 70, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,000. Ronald Jameson, 6513 Elk Canyon Road, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $3,000. Stacy Ruder, 508 NW 159, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $3,000. Clinton E. Harris, 12508 Village Lane, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,995. Michael Cornegay, 10925 SW 30, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,995. Clay Axton, 1417 NW 176, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,900. Reginald Williams, 1425 NW 187, residence, installstorm shelter, $2,900. Robert Kroupa, 9632 Kylie Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,850. Amelia Messenger, 18236 Bridlington Drive, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,800. Danielle Weinrich, 7612 Meadow Lake Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,800. Steve Harrell, 12504 Quartz Place, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,800. Toni Cruz, 15200 Bay Ridge Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,800. James Homer, 2924 Gettysburg Road, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,795. Kenneth A. Wilson, 12 SW 102, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,795. Linda Stacey, 337 SW 141, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,795. Mark Scowden, 12016 SW 17, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,795. Robert McConathy, 17100 Rainwater Trail, storm shelter, installSEE PERMITS, PAGE 5E


REAL ESTATE

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

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Cheap, easy closet organizing starts with editing BY MARY BETH BRECKENRIDGE Akron (Ohio) Beacon Journal

There’s only one thing more satisfying than organizing your closet: Doing it on the cheap. Sure, I love those closet glamour shots as much as anyone. I’m a sucker for solid cherry shoe shelves and rows of matching canvas bins identified by adorable hang tags. I just don’t want to spend my money on them. Besides, those photos of tricked-out closets invariably show unrealistic wardrobes. Are we really supposed to believe that someone who shells out thousands for a custom closet with velvet-lined jewelry drawers and a chaise lounge can afford just seven shirts, three dresses and five pairs of shoes? For those of us with a larger wardrobe and a smaller bankroll, I’ve gathered some ideas for

Permits FROM PAGE 4E

storm shelter, $2,795. Josh Perkins, 11744 SW 19, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,790. F5 Storm Shelter, 1228 Greenfield Ave., storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,790. Antonio Zuniga, 3112 SW 139, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,750. Flat Safe, 11740 Surrey Hills Blvd., storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,750. Flat Safe, 11108 NW 113, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,750. Dawn Williams, 6609 Fawn Canyon Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,700. Jim Lerret, 7437 NW 116, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,700. Rajaram Perumalswamy, 2332 NW 158, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,700. Melvin Fowler, 12608 Kingsridge Terrace, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,695. Amanda Bitner, 5200 SE

getting a closet in shape without a lot of expense. Set aside a winter afternoon or a few chunks of time, and your closet will be clutter-free in no time. Let’s start by editing. Yeah, I know, you don’t want to hear it, but it’s true. The most important first step toward an organized closet is editing what you own. Make peace with the realization that those pants are never coming back into style, you’re never going to fix the rip in that jacket lining, and that linen blouse is going to stay a rumpled mess, because you’re never going to develop a sudden love of ironing. It doesn’t matter how much you paid for those things. Give them away, throw them away or sell them. Professional organizer Kandy Walker Sartori of Organizational Cleaning in Akron, Ohio, goes so far as to recommend getting rid of 80 percent of your

clothing. Most of us wear 20 percent of our clothing 80 percent of the time, she said, so getting rid of the excess will free closet space without putting a serious crimp in your wardrobe choices. In particular, clothes that are too big or small need to go, she said. Now that you’ve culled out the excess, here are some nifty ideas for storing what’s left: I Take advantage of vertical space by hanging a shoe organizer with clear pockets on the back of a door or on a wall. Use it to hold small items — jewelry, hats and gloves, socks, even shoes. I Look up. See all that unused space over the closet door or high on the closet walls? Install a shelf there to store seldom-used or out-of-season items. I If you’re handy, remove the closet rod and reinstall it higher, and then install a second rod below it to double your hanging

88, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,650. David and Corrine Castro, 4621 NW 158, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,650. De-Angelo Luper, 16901 Bradbury Circle, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,650. Melisa Hogan, 8400 Shady Ridge Road, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,620. Teresa Cathey, 13229 SE 44, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,620. Carr Custom Homes, 16117 Pointe Manor Lane, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,600. Lamar Mister, 16108 Wind Crest Way, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,600. Linda Woodie, 500 Goya Circle, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,600. Cody Thomas, 18900 SE 65, storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,500. Eric Marusa, 18408 Las Meninas Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,500. Grant Hutchinson, 28 SW 174, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,500.

Jerry Frisby, 13420 Palm Ave., storm shelter, installstorm shelter, $2,500. Taber Built Homes LLC, 312 SW 175 Terrace, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,500. Elizabeth Whipple, 7505 Meadow Lake Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,400. Justin Claborn, 3213 NW 61 Place, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,395. Matthew McCall, 16113 Romeo Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,300. Mackenzie Gibson, 1400 NW 172, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,100. Ground Zero, 15601 Ivy Hill Drive, storm shelter, install-storm shelter, $2,000. No name given, 201 E Main, restaurant, add-on, $2,000. Ramirez Remodeling, 3217 NW 54 Circle, residence, fire restoration, $1,700. Beniigno Avila, 2613 S Goff Ave., accessory, erect, $1,600.

Demolitions Supreme Bright Bricktown LLC, 101 E Main, industrial bldg.

space. Or just suspend a second rod below the first using rope or chain. I Install a towel bar to hang decorative scarves, or hang them from the bottom of a clothes hanger with shower rings. I Use more shower rings to hang purses from the closet rod. I Hang boots from skirt hangers. I If you wear a lot of high heels, install a towel bar or a strip of crown molding on a wall to hold them. Hook the heels over the bar on the top of the molding. I Hang two garments in

the space of one by slipping the pull tab from a pop can over the neck of one hanger. A second hanger can be hung from the other hole in the tab. Note, however, that chunky plastic hangers might not fit. I Compress your hanging space even further by using an S hook to hang chain from the closet rod. You can then hang several garments from the chain. I Hang pegboard and hooks to hold jewelry. You can even frame and paint the pegboard to make it pretty. (Hint: Install furring strips — narrow strips

of wood — on the wall first, and then attach the pegboard to the strips. That creates space behind the pegboard holes to accommodate the hooks.) I Glue or staple mesh to a picture frame and hang it on the wall for an earring organizer. You can use any kind of mesh that earrings can hang from — window screen, chicken wire, hardware cloth, radiator screen or even burlap. Hang hooks from the mesh to hold hoop or lever-back earrings. Don’t you feel more organized already? MCT INFORMATION SERVICES


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REAL ESTATE

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

How to assess a buyer’s offer Once the classic 1920s-era Tudor hit the market, its owner knew it wouldn’t take long for his phone to ring. The house, located in a coveted suburb, featured soaring ceilings and a swank new kitchen suitable for a Better Homes & Gardens spread. But the seller’s first contract offer proved disappointing. It came from a couple in their 20s who offered $50,000 under his asking price and requested extensive help with closing costs. What’s more, the would-be buyers hadn’t bothered to attach a “pre-approval letter” from a mortgage lender showing they could finance the place. “The gap between what the sellers wanted and what the buyers bid was absolutely huge,” said Ashley Richardson, the real estate agent representing the seller. In a different market, the seller might have taken personal offense at the low bid and dismissed it without response. But acting on the advice of Richardson, he counter-offered $5,000 below their offer. He also asked for proof the couple could afford the house. The seller was wise to stand his ground. It took a couple of weeks for the buyers — who were searching for a one-of-a-kind house with character — to circle back with a better bid. But when they did, they submitted a bid $40,000 higher than their original offer. They also reduced their demand for closing cost help and

provided a pre-approval letter. This example illustrates how sellers can often shape an offer to their liking without alienating prospective purchasers, said Richardson, a veteran agent affiliated with the Council of Residential Specialists (www. crs.com). The current mismatch between buyer and seller expectations is leading to an increasing number of counteroffers and counter-counteroffers, said Kevin Borland, the broker-owner of a real estate franchise. “Sellers definitely have more clout now. But they’re not overconfident. If an offer comes in — even a low offer — they see it as a bird in the hand. They try to work with the buyers to make a deal happen,” said Borland, who’s sold homes since 1992. He cautions sellers against summarily rebuffing any offer “that’s within the right ballpark” — especially one that comes in soon after their property hits the market. “The first offer you get is often your best one. The longer your home sits unsold, the less you’ll ultimately get. People who are too cocky about initial offers usually live to regret it,” Borland said. Here are a few pointers for home sellers: I Take special note of changes made by buyers to a standard contract. Many sellers are tempted to ask neighbors to look at a con-

tract offer before deciding how to respond. But Borland cautioned that neighbors typically have a foggy notion of local property values. As a result, they might urge you to reject a perfectly good bid on the mistaken belief that property values are much higher than what’s being offered. “Remember that your neighbors are hardly objective. They’re biased because they want to believe their own home is worth more,” he said. A trusted listing agent should be the first source of advice for cautious home sellers who want to ensure that a contract offer is sufficient and that all the clauses in the document are acceptable. Each year, the so-called “standard” sales contracts used by the real estate industry become more lengthy and complex. Yet often the most troublesome provisions involve nonstandard language. “It’s especially important to notice any clauses that are handwritten into a contract offer or included in special addendums that are attached,” Borland said. Eric Tyson, a personal finance expert and co-author of “House Selling for Dummies,” advises anyone seeking a second opinion on an offer’s fine points to have it reviewed by an attorney who specializes in real estate. “Just as you don’t want a heart surgeon operating on your brain, you don’t want a generalist lawyer advising you on a house con-

tract. Real estate law is a specialized field,” Tyson said. Also, he said you’re probably not going to want your lawyer directly involved in nitty-gritty negotiations with prospective purchasers. “If you get an attorney into negotiations, your buyers might think they also need a lawyer. That will run up your legal bill and could also lead to an adversarial relationship that might kill the deal,” Tyson said. I Beware of troublesome conditions attached to an offer. In popular neighborhoods where demand for homes exceeds supply, Borland said it’s uncommon for would-be buyers to make the purchase of a property conditional on the sale of a home for which they’ve yet to find a buyer. But he said any seller who encounters such a contingency should shy away. As a practical matter, such a bid will discourage other potential buyers from stepping in with an unconditional offer. “Essentially you’re taking your home off the market without knowing that the deal will finally go through. That’s not in your interest. If your buyers can’t sell their house, you have to go back to square one,” Borland said. I Make doubly sure the buyers’ financing plans are solid. Attached to any good contract offer is a mortgage pre-approval

Ellen James Martin SMART MOVES letter. This shows that the would-be buyers’ credit has been verified and they have sufficient assets — including cash in the bank — to go through with the deal. These days, the terms “preapproved” and “prequalified” are often used interchangeably. But as Borland said, a prequalification letter “doesn’t prove anything.” That’s because the borrowers have yet to provide to the lender the bank statements, W-2s and pay stubs needed to confirm they can afford your place. Even a pre-approval letter is not a watertight guarantee the lender will fund a mortgage for a particular set of buyers, allowing the deal to clear without snags, Borland said. To protect the sellers he represents, Borland routinely calls the lender who’s signed a pre-approval letter to ask about the buyers’ financial status and to ensure they’ve had their credit run and their assets verified. “Lending standards are extremely stringent nowadays. So you can’t be too sure your buyers’ mortgage application will really go through,” he said. To contact Ellen James Martin, email her at ellenjamesmartin@gmail.com.) UNIVERSAL UCLICK

Buying land to hit pay dirt BY JEFF COLLINS The Orange County Register

In the depth of the recession, homebuilders stopped building. Sales offices closed. Buyers vanished. Developers mothballed housing projects. But as the housing industry reeled from a global economic meltdown, Irvine, Calif.-based Standard Pacific Homes began to invest in the next housing boom. By late 2009, the company had begun to buy land. “If there’s a silver lining to the lousy market, it’s the land-buying market,” former CEO Ken Campbell said during a 2010 call with industry analysts. “(In) 2014, the market’s going to be good, and you need to buy the land now for 2014.” By the end of 2012, Standard Pacific had spent $1.6 billion, accumulating almost 20,000 home sites in seven states in three years. The company plans to spend from $600 million to $900 million more on land in 2013. “You never know when

you’re at the bottom of the market,” Todd Palmaer, the company’s California and Southwest regional president, said recently. “But the outlook (in 2009) was tomorrow will be better than today, and we ought to be investing in land — aggressively.” Standard Pacific wasn’t the only company making a land grab. Many other large homebuilding firms across the nation — particularly publicly traded firms — began investing in land during the recession. Land was cheap. Many struggling developers were selling property at bargain rates to stay afloat. Some projects had gone bust and went back to lenders to be auctioned off to the highest bidders. Developers such as Lennar, Pulte Group, D.R. Horton and KB Home — four of the nation’s biggest builders — spent between $500 million to $1 billion apiece buying land in the past year. Standard Pacific, ranked 13th in the nation by Builder Magazine in terms of sales, has been one of the most aggressive prop-

erty buyers. Standard Pacific spent $711million buying lots and undeveloped land in 2012. Top-ranked builder D.R. Horton, which had four times the revenue as Standard Pacific, according to Builder magazine’s latest survey, spent $785 million. “All other builders have done something similar, but in a smaller scale and not as aggressively,” said Alex Barron, founder and senior research analyst of the Housing Research Center in El Paso, Texas. “So now those companies are facing finished lot and community shortages and are out desperately looking for land and having to pay top dollar.” The buying program is all the more surprising for a company on the brink of bankruptcy five years ago. But MatlinPatterson Global Advisors LLC, a distressed private equity firm, rescued Standard Pacific in 2008 and injected a halfbillion dollars into the firm. Within a year, new leadership launched the land-buying program. Getting in the land game

Todd Palmaer, president of Standard Pacific’s California and Southwest region, shows construction at the Casero at Portola Springs development in Irvine, Calif. MCT PHOTO

early has paid off. In the summer of 2011, only one in five developers responding to a monthly survey by the National Association of Home Builders expressed concern about finding buildable lots, said Steve Melman, the group’s director of economic services. By the end of last year, nearly half were worried that a land shortage would be an issue in 2013. “They haven’t developed any lots for six years,

and the big builders were selling lots,” Melman said. “Now that you want to

build, they’re in short supply.” MCT INFORMATION SERVICES


THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

REAL ESTATE

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

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Top-ranking emerald green gets mixed reviews BY KIM COOK Associated Press

When Pantone LLC announced that emerald green was its Color of the Year for 2013, reaction among designers and interior consultants was mixed. The company, which creates and matches colors for the home and fashion industries, picks a top hue each year based on current use and expected continued popularity. For New York color consultant Debra Kling, emerald green’s boldness means it should be used only as an accent. “Emerald might be one of those polarizing colors like purple — you either love it or hate it, and certainly could get tired of it fast,” she said. Other shelter style arbiters, however, such as Elle Dicor, heralded the color by featuring luxe goods in emerald green, including fabrics from Scalamandre, Schumacher and Phillip Jeffries, and Baccarat water glasses. Greens have been strong for a while because of interest in nature, said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone’s research arm known as the Pantone Color Institute. She calls green “a color of growth, renewal, healing, unity and regeneration.” So can you decorate with emerald green without becoming overwhelmed by it? New York designer Elaine Griffin thinks you can, as long as you’re careful. “There’s no getting around it, emerald is flat out dramatic. Which means it’s best used in

HomeGoods gets these emerald green wine glasses. AP PHOTOS

Lamps Plus offers a kite throw pillow in an emerald green ikat print, a good way to introduce one of springs brightest new colors.

JCPenney offers an emerald green bedding set, part of a new collection presented in partnership with Pantone.

small doses, as accessories,” she said. For those liking the color enough to consider paint, Griffin has a suggestion. “True emerald should go in tiny spaces like foyers or powder rooms, and then dining rooms, which always benefit from a theatrical touch. But it’s too harsh a color for rooms in which you linger,” she said. Consider malachite accessories. “Malachite is emerald at its best, so take

your inspiration from there. Malachite boxes, printed fabrics like Tony Duquette’s for Jim Thompson, bedecked plates and table lamps are all fab,” Griffin said. Some colors pair well with emerald and can give a visual pop to a room. Griffin likes yellow and brown, “like a sun-dappled forest.” As preppy go-withs, try raspberry, peacock, Prussian blue, pale rhubarb and

HomeGoods offers emerald picture frames, small accessories to introduce new colors without a major commitment.

turquoise. And Kling notes that emerald pairs well with other greens. “In contrast to any other color family, the human eye perceives that no two greens clash. This is because we’re accustomed to seeing every variant of green coexisting harmoniously in nature,”

she said. Where shouldn’t you use the hue? “Avoid upholstering a long-term piece like a sofa in emerald — I promise the visual thrill will be gone in a matter of months,” Griffin said. At Wayfair, you’ll find Joy Carpet’s 3-D graphic

Lamps Plus offers a Greens Circle Rings Ovo table lamp, a smart, contemporary emerald green accent in a home.

Highrise rug in a great emerald. Glass drawer knobs and pulls might be a fun way to introduce this green too. (www.wayfair.com) Launching in February, JC Penney’s got a bedding and bath collection created in partnership with Pantone; there are several pieces in emerald, trimmed with white or cream. (www.jcp.com) At Lamps Plus, find Arteriors Home’s Roma emerald cased glass and Greens Circle Rings Ovo table lamps, as well as the smart Kite pillow in an emerald ikat print. (www. lampsplus.com) At Homegoods, there are some striking emerald wineglasses priced quite a bit less than Baccarat, and a good selection of emerald throw pillows and picture frames as well. (www. homegoods.com) Emerald is considered the stone of Venus, and there may be a little luck of the leprechaun at work too — more reasons to give it a try.


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SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

REAL ESTATE

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

HOUSE PLAN

Form as well as Gables offer welcoming look function figure in lighting options

Three front gables, varied in size, give a welcoming look to the Walsh, a plan that is both contemporary and compact. Brick wainscoting and multipane windows, one of them arched, add to the visual appeal, as does the wide covered porch. A spacious and comfortable family room forms the core of this home, with other rooms wrapping around it on three sides and a small patio on the fourth. Two glass doors that swing open for easy access are next to a fireplace tucked in the rear corner. The kitchen’s eating bar and the family room’s trayed ceiling help define these areas. Counter space is plentiful in the C-shaped kitchen. Two or three people can work companionably there without getting in each other’s way, and the nook is roomy enough for a good-size table. A slender sidelight brightens the entry. Straight ahead is a small coat closet, and next to it, a stack of triangular display shelves, ideal for displaying family mementos or other small treasures. To the right is a window-bright room that could be outfitted as a living room, home office, home entertainment center, or you name it. It could even be another bedroom, if that’s what’s needed. Though not large itself, the Walsh’s owners’ suite has a large walk-in closet and a private bathroom. Amenities here include a dual vanity and a shower. Utilities are just outside

BY HARRIETT HENDREN Lexington (Ky.) Herald-Leader

the door, in a passthrough space that connects the house and garage. Secondary bedrooms are on the opposite side of

the house, with a bathroom and linen closet between the two. The front bedroom (or study) has a vaulted ceiling.

A review plan of the Walsh 30-247, including floor plans, elevations, section and artist’s conception, can be purchased for $25 by phone, mail or online. Add $5 for shipping and handling. Associated Designs, 1100 Jacobs Drive, Eugene, OR, 97402. www.associated designs.com. (800) 634-0123.

LEXINGTON, Ky. — With home decor, the items we use most every day, such as doors or chairs, often can be taken for granted. And so it is with lighting. Illuminating our homes, especially during this time of year, when night overtakes day by early evening, is a necessity. But there’s more to lights than just function. Looks and feel also play integral roles. “From an aesthetic point of view, lighting we like to equate to jewelry,” said Paula Minton, general manager of Kentucky Lighting & Supply. Minton and her staff ask customers about the style of the space. “We want to know what are you feeling when you’re in the room,” she said. “We try to hone in on what we in the trade think of as masculine, clean, kind of boxy, and feminine, maybe more ornate with slimmer lines with a lot of high design.” There’s an amazing array of types of lighting: table lamps, Chandelier sconces, pendants and chandeliers, to name a few. To choose the best style for a room, it’s best to think about how the lights will be used. “There’s some practical consideration like the amount of light you need for the task, the size of the room, what the use of the room is,” Minton said. “Are there tasks carried out there, or are you interested in ambient light? Do you want the fixture to be a focal point or do you want it to disappear?” It also pays to be conscious of energy use. The American Lighting Association, a trade group representing the lighting industry in the United States and Canada, offers energy-saving lighting tips from Joe Rey-Barreau. ReyBarreau suggests replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescents. For an inviting glow, choose products labeled “residential color,” “warm” or “soft white.” For an easy fix, retrofit recessed lighting with LED fixtures. “You just take off part of the existing fixture, and the replacement fixture fits into the old housing,” ReyBarreau said. “LED fixtures have a high initial cost, but the fixture will last literally the lifetime of the project.” For more information, go to www.Americanlighting assoc.com. MCT INFORMATION SERVICES


REAL ESTATE

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

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Securing coastal homes is expensive, complex BY TOM AVRIL The Philadelphia Inquirer

The depth to which piles must be driven depends on the soil, said Beena Sukumaran, chairwoman of Rowan University’s civil and environmental engineering department. She said at the Shore, there is often loose soil on top and a layer of mud beneath that before you reach hard-packed sand, which provides the necessary friction to withstand the heavy load of a house.

TUCKERTON BEACH, N.J. —

Contractors slid 80-foot steel beams through the crawl space beneath the beige ranch house. They turned on a compressor, inflating a series of air bags that had been placed under the beams. Then, slowly and smoothly, the 60-ton structure started its rise above the reach of the next monster flood. Or so Kathleen Centuolo hopes. “I can’t wrap my head around it,” she said recently, as she watched the sliver of daylight beneath her house grow wider and wider. The post-Sandy rebuilding of the Jersey Shore is well under way, and companies that specialize in elevating houses are in high demand, despite a price tag well into the tens of thousands. It is a massive job that requires skill and careful planning, and along a crowded waterfront, there is an extra wrinkle: Where do you put the house while building a higher foundation? Centuolo and her husband, Gus Nisivoccia, are lucky, if you can call someone who’s had to gut a flood-damaged home lucky, because their yard is big enough that the house could be slid out of the way on steel rollers in order to demolish the old foundation. Amon Construction workers planned to drive stout, 25-foot-long timbers into the soil — 15 feet below ground, 10 above — and the house will be

Homeowner Kathleen Centuolo gets into her house in Tuckerton Beach, N.J., through a hole in the floor. She and her husband are having their house raised on 8-foot pilings. The post-Sandy rebuilding of the Jersey Shore is well under way, and companies that specialize in elevating houses are in high demand, despite a price tag well into the tens of thousands. MCT PHOTO

placed on top. For properties with smaller yards, owner Bob Amon said, he has to break the job down into pieces, moving the house several times because the building’s entire footprint cannot be exposed all at once. If necessary, he will temporarily move part of the house so it hangs over the water. Either way, you need vertical space to drive the long timber pilings into the ground. On the Shore, such pilings are typically used in areas where the Federal Emergency Management Agency deems that there is potential for high-energy waves — so-called V or velocity zones. The timbers allow space for the water to slosh around in between.

In higher and drier areas, owners are allowed to build a “closed” foundation out of, say, cinder blocks. So elevating the structure is a bit easier. Rather than move it sideways, workers can lift the house little by little, raising the foundation one layer at a time with cinder blocks. V zones were greatly expanded in FEMA’s new preliminary maps, forcing many owners to make a difficult choice. The price tag for elevating Centuolo’s house is more than $45,000, including the disconnection of electrical service and plumbing, removal of the old slab foundation, and installation of the timber piles. But if they did not have the work done, the

couple anticipated their flood insurance would increase by $10,000 a year. Underneath the house, each of the air bags was surrounded by “cribs” made of short wooden beams. The bags were inflated multiple times, each time lifting the house about six inches. In between each inflation, workers added another layer to the wooden cribs to secure their progress. Hydraulic jacks are another option for lifting a house, but Amon prefers air bags because while they are slower, he said they are safer. Another option for tight spaces is to use helical piles — steel rods that are fitted with spiral-shaped blades so they can be

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ground. “It’s almost like a little propeller,” he said. The depth to which piles must be driven depends on the soil, said Beena Sukumaran, chairwoman of Rowan University’s civil and environmental engineering department. She said at the Shore, there is often loose soil on top and a layer of mud beneath that before you reach hard-packed sand, which provides the necessary friction to withstand the heavy load of a house. Some force is borne by the bottom of the piles as well. For houses near the beach, another challenge in raising a house is that the front may rest on sandy soil while the rear is on more solid ground, said structural engineer Harris Gross, a home inspector in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. With all these issues, he said, skilled labor is essential. “There are not many companies out there that do this,” Gross said. “You’ve really got to know what you’re doing.”

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screwed into the ground as supports for a foundation. The piles are only 6 feet long, so unlike with Amon’s 25-foot timbers, not much clearance is required to twist them into the earth with Bobcatstyle equipment. Once one rod is all the way in the ground, the contractor can attach another one on top and then twist again until there is 12 feet of steel underground. Still more rods are added — 18 feet, 24, 30, and so on until reaching a certain level of resistance — and then the contractor moves a few feet to one side and starts all over. Once the workers have installed a whole row of the rods, they are “tied together” on top with a concrete beam, which then serves as a foundation for concrete blocks or whatever material is used to elevate the house. Philadelphia architect Charles Capaldi used these helical piles with his family home in downtown Ocean City, N.J., where there was scant room to maneuver. Workers screwed the rods more than 40 feet into the

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10E

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REAL ESTATE

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2013

THE OKLAHOMAN | NEWSOK.COM

5 aesthetic issues that turn off buyers Are you thinking of selling your house this year? You’d obviously like to get top dollar for it, but it may be looking a little tired and worn, and maybe you don’t have a lot money to sink into renovations before the “For Sale” sign goes up. Luckily, there are a lot of do-it-yourself projects you can tackle that will make a big difference in how quickly your house sells, and for how much. Or maybe you’re the buyer, and you’re on the prowl for a bargain. We’ll look at those same items from a potential buyer’s perspective, and see if I can’t convince you not to walk away from a home with some great potential just because of some minor issues!

Overgrown

As the seller: Come on, get out the pruners and the rake! This is one of the easiest things in the world to take care of, because it typically doesn’t cost you anything other than time and a little sweat. And the

first impression of that curb appeal can often make or break a sale. As the buyer: Nothing better than being able to see the potential in the worst house on the block, and you’d be surprised how many people drive right on by the one with scruffy bushes and unkempt trees. Sweat equity can pay big dividends on landscaping.

Ugly paint

As the seller: Your house doesn’t need to be a uniform, boring white inside, but the dark blue living room with green trim and that hot pink kitchen that you thought was a great idea for some forgotten reason? They can drive off a lot of potential buyers, as can the peeling paint on the exterior trim. Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive of the do-it-yourself fix-ups a seller can do. As the buyer: If the location works for you and the house has a good structure, don’t be foolish and walk away from it be-

Paul Bianchina HANDY @ HOME

cause the master bedroom paint color isn’t to your liking. Even a house that needs a complete exterior repaint shouldn’t drive you away, unless it’s an obvious indicator of severe moisture problems. Again, paint is an easy and relatively inexpensive do-ityourself project, and can lead to some bargains if you see potential that others don’t.

Mirror walls

As the seller: Sure, you loved the disco era. But it’s past, and you need to let it go. Big walls of mirrors or, even worse, mirror tiles are a real turnoff for a lot of potential buyers, and many people see their removal as a major project. Eliminate that stumbling block to a sale by taking the mirrors down yourself,

doing any wall repairs, and then painting. If the other walls in the room are OK and you don’t want to try to match the paint color, consider painting that one wall a contrasting color as an accent wall, but pick something tasteful! As the buyer: Don’t panic when you see these outdated decorating features. They’re not difficult to remove, so don’t let them sway you against a purchase.

Wallpaper, paneling

As the seller: These two items can get a little trickier. If you have an accent wall or even a bathroom of ugly, outdated wallpaper, take the time to strip it and repaint. If your house has a lot of wallpaper, consider having a wallpaper-stripping party, or hire a company to come in and do the stripping for you, then repaint things yourself. You’ll be surprised what a difference paint will make in place of drab old wallpaper. Paneling can be a lot harder. Removing it can be

a bigger task, and the paneling may be concealing a lot of sins underneath. Painting over it can make it look even worse. There are so many variables here; you’ll want to have a discussion with your real estate agent about how best to handle it. You may just need to leave it alone. As the buyer: Wallpaper is the same as paint from a buyer’s perspective. Let it work to your advantage, and be the one to see the diamond in the rough. Removing it is tedious and time consuming, but cheap. Paneling is a matter of perspective, depending on what it is. Some paneling is pretty junkie, and is best removed, but be aware that there may be a few repairs to deal with behind it. Other paneling is real wood and surprisingly expensive. It can often be cleaned, then sanded and stained to a new color that brings out some beautiful highlights, so if you’re not sure, talk with a designer before taking it down. If you do remove any real

wood paneling, whether in sheets or individual boards, check with a local salvage yard about selling it.

Closet doors

As the seller: For some reason, closet doors are a funny thing with a lot of buyers. If they’re missing, or if they’re severely out of adjustment or have been replaced with beads to go with the mirrored wall, it can be a real turnoff. Make sure your closet doors are installed, adjusted and operating properly. As the buyer: Don’t walk away from a potentially good deal because there aren’t any closet doors. See if the sellers have them, which is the best solution. But even if they don’t, getting new ones is an inexpensive doit-yourself fix, and may help you snag a deal on a house that someone else shies away from! Remodeling and repair questions? Email Paul at paulbianchina@inman.com. All product reviews are based on the author’s actual testing of free review samples provided by the manufacturers. INMAN NEWS

A special FHA home loan can be used for renovations BY KATHLEEN LYNN The Record

HACKENSACK, N.J. — When Emre Bicer bought a home, he decided to upgrade it before moving in. He had the roof replaced, a bathroom renovated and wood floors refinished. “It looks like a brandnew house,” said Bicer, a 25-year-old information technology professional who bought the home with his brother. The Bicers paid for all this work with a special type of loan backed by the Federal Housing Administration. The loan, called a 203(k), is used for renovations, and is different in several crucial ways from a home-equity loan. It’s not right for everyone, but it is useful for homeowners or buyers who don’t have much equity in the property, as well as for those who would like extra oversight on their contractors’ work.

Bill Trees, a vice president with Wells Fargo, calls 203(k)s “one of the industry’s best-kept secrets.” Some lenders are pitching these loans to homeowners whose houses were badly damaged by Superstorm Sandy. “You have people who have been affected by Sandy who think the only thing that’s available is FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency) or insurance,” said Jeff Onofrio of AnnieMac, a mortgage lender based in Mount Laurel, N.J. But, he said, 203(k)s can help some of these homeowners if their insurance doesn’t cover all the needed repairs. Onofrio said banks typically won’t lend on a badly damaged house because it has little value, but a 203(k) allows homeowners to borrow against the after-improvement value of the home. The 203(k)s, which are

not available to investors, generally come with higher fees and interest rates than home equity loans because they carry FHA insurance. The interest rate is typically about three-eighths of a percentage point higher than a similar home equity loan, said Steve Marshall, na-

tional director of renovation loans at River Edge, N.J.-based Real Estate Mortgage Network. And the homeowner must pay a fee to a consultant who oversees the construction work and may also face an extra lender’s origination fee of up to $350. The loans also require

more paperwork. “There are more steps than a typical refinance or a typical home equity loan,” Trees said. These loans have grown in popularity during the housing bust, which has poured millions of distressed homes onto the market across the nation.

In 2012, more than 21,000 of the loans were written nationwide, according to the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development. That’s up from only 3,635 in 2007, before the housing market’s collapse. MCT INFORMATION SERVICE


The Oklahoman Real Estate