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Marty Gum's

Marty Gum

www.RealEstateAtLakeOfTheOzarks.com


Dear Friends,

Out with the old and in with the new! Parties galore, last minute plans springing into action and lots, and lots of confetti! Whatever could it be? Goal setting, resolution making and willpower getting a major work out? With all the change in the air, it must be New Years! This month in Welcome Home magazine start the New Year off right! Take a look at why the right way of buying a house should always involve a realtor. Is one of your New Year goals flipping a house? Let us help you reach that goal by giving you the tools you need to successfully flip a house, without becoming too attached. Not quite sure if a house is for you? Take a gander at our top ten signs there is a better home out there for you! And just a word of caution, if you see a house that shows any of these signs, run away! But only as far as your Realtor's office! Please enjoy this issue of the magazine! Have a prosperous January, and as always, Welcome Home! If you have comments or suggestions please email us at welcomehome@activeezine.com, we love to hear from you! Also if there is a subject that you would like to see covered, let us know! We look forward to hearing from you!

Marty Gum www.RealEstateAtLakeOfTheOzarks.com


Welcome Home! Table of Contents Recipe And Design

4

A tasty recipe and a stylish home design how to.

Wanna Flip A House?

5

Well do you? Oh good! Here’s how!

Finding The Best Contractor

6-7

Make a remodel or flip go a lot smoother by hiring the right help.

8

Oops! Avoid These Common Mistakes When Buying Property A common sense guide to mistake free home buying.

Welcome Home is for entertainment purposes only. This magazine is not intended to solicit other brokersʼ listings. If you are currently working with another broker, please disregard this information. All pictures courtesy of sxc.hu unless otherwise noted.

Editor in Chief - Phly Jambor 9

10 Things You Need To Know About Buying Foreclosures The need to know info on how to buy a foreclosure.

10 - 11

Why Use A Realtor? Things you need to know about why you need a Realtor.

12 - 13

Don’t Touch That House! 10 things to watch out for when buying a house.

14 - 15

Products To Love! Hot trends, technological wonders of tomorrow and so much more!

16

City Spotlight Check Out Lake Tahoe, your all-season vacation destination.

17

Businesses That Make A Difference Tom’s Shoes, changing the world one pair of shoes at a time.

The information provided in this publication of Welcome Home or on any website maintained by U.S. Cybertek, Inc. or any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees (collectively Publisher) is intended as a general guide illustrating common methods of common practices, and the publisher makes no warranty or guarantee whatsoever of the safety, effectiveness, or other characteristic of any methods or products described herein. Neither does the Publisher assume any liability for information published in any website or other publication to which reference may be made herein. Readers are cautioned to review and comply with all written instructions, safety bulletins, and other materials provided in connection with any of the products mentioned herein and all products used in connection with any of the methods described. Neither Published nor any of its subsidiaries, divisions, affiliates, agents, representatives, licensors, licensees or employees shall in any case be liable to you or anyone else for any loss or injury or any direct, indirect, incidental, consequential, special punitive or similar damages arising out of your use of or failure to use any of the methods and/ or products described in this publication or any other publication or websites to which reference may be made herein. Publisher disclaims all warranties, and any warranty or guarantee of safety, merchantability, or fitness for any particular purpose lies solely with the manufacture(s) of any product described or recommended or used used in connection with any methods described or recommended.


Recipe and Design Mini Caprese Bites

Silver Leaf Pears

Prep: 20 min. Grape tomatoes vary in size from week to week at the grocery store; some pints we found had only 24 while others had more than 40. Good news, you should still have enough mozzarella balls because they are generally sold in 8-oz. containers that have more than enough.

These make a eye catching addition to any holiday table.

Yield: Makes 8 appetizer servings

Ingredients • • • • • • • • •

1  pt. grape tomatoes, halved 10  to 14 fresh small mozzarella cheese balls, cut into thirds* 32  (4-inch) wooden skewers** 1/4  cup  extra virgin olive oil 2  tablespoons  balsamic vinegar 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt 1/4  teaspoon  pepper 6  thinly sliced fresh basil leaves Kosher salt and pepper to taste

Preparation 1. Thread 1 tomato half, 1 piece of cheese, and another tomato half onto each skewer. Place skewers in a shallow serving dish. 2. Whisk together oil and next 3 ingredients. Drizzle oil mixture over skewers; sprinkle with basil and salt and pepper to taste. *1 (8-oz.) package fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, may be substituted.

What You Need: • • • • • • • • • • •

7 plastic pears with stems Fine sandpaper Acrylic paint in metallic silver Paintbrush Silver die-cut leaves 2 oz. gold leaf adhesive Silver leaf in a 25-sheet package Soft brush Spray sealer 7 white silk roses Silver bowl

Instructions: 1. Sand the pears lightly to de-gloss the surfaces. 2. Paint the pears with one to two coats of silver paint, allowing the paint to dry between coats. Paint the leaf stems and backs of the leaves silver. 3. Add silver leaf. Apply adhesive to the pears. Let the adhesive set for about 30 minutes until tacky. Apply silver leaf over the adhesive; brush off the excess with a soft brush. 4. Seal the pears with a clear protective sealer, following the manufacturer's directions. 5. Add silver leaves. Wrap the stem of a leaf around the stem of each pear.

**Wooden picks may be substituted.

6. Arrange items in silver bowl. Cut the stems of the artificial roses short. Arrange the pears and roses in bowl as desired.

Marci Parham, Birmingham, Alabama, Southern Living, MAY 2008

Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens.com


Wanna Flip A House? Learn From These 5 Secrets

If you're looking for a way that you can boost your investment portfolio, you may want to think about real estate. Many investors have found that flipping houses is one way that you can build up quite a bit of money. However, there are investors that have lost a lot of money when trying to flip houses as well. The good news is that there are some top secrets that the professional house flippers use that you can use for success when flipping houses for profit.

Secret #3 - Treat it Like a Business If you're going to start flipping homes, you must treat this as a business. It's easy to get attached to a home, but if you do, you'll start making mistakes. If you avoid becoming emotionally involved with a home, you will make the right decisions and save money. Remember, you need to do the numbers, not think about how much you love about the home. Stay detached if you want to make money.

Secret #1 - Be an Expert in Your Location If you are going to flip houses, it is best to just work in one location and become an expert in that location. Learning important local data can help you to be successful as you flip houses for profit. Some of the statistics you should know is the number of homes that have sold the month before, the houses that are for sale in the area, the average selling prices, and whether or not home are sitting vacant while waiting to sell. This local information can be invaluable and can help to save you from crashing and burning when you start investing in real estate.

Secret #4 - Avoid Mistakes By Getting Advice In some cases, you may end up making some repairs on home before you are able to resell them. If this is the case, avoid mistakes by getting some advice. If you have some plans drawn up for construction on the home, always have someone else take a look at them. Having another pair of eyes to take a look at your plans can save you a lot of money, since they can see mistakes and flaws that you may miss. So, make sure you get some advice to help you make the right decisions.

Secret #2 - Always Do the Math Before you ever do a deal, make sure that you do the math and your due diligence. Take time to check comparable homes and ensure that they are accurate comps for what you are working with. The last thing you want to do is purchase a home, and then get stuck with it, realizing that it isn't worth as much a you thought it would be. This is why doing the due diligence before a deal is so important for your success.

Secret #5 - Only Work with Quality People You'll be working with quite a few other professionals when you begin flipping homes. You'll be working with real estate agents and some contractors as well. You want to make sure that you only work with quality people. If you surround yourself with top quality professionals, it will make your job easier and help you succeed. Ask around and check into the reputation of the people you work with to ensure they'll help you successfully flip homes for profit. Written by Joel McDonald. Courtesy of Isnare.com


How to Find the Best Contractor

It's finally time to tackle that big home improvement project you've always wanted to do. Or, you might have waited so long, now you need to do the project. Which leads to your first question - "Where do I start?" Well, the truth is... some jobs are simply too big, too complicated, or require too much time to handle on your own. Whether it's remodeling a kitchen, installing gutters, or electrical rewiring for your business - you'll likely need an expert. A contractor, or subcontractor, can be your 'knight in shining armor' when it comes to completing your project. But, wait... you've heard so many horror stories connected with "shady contractors" that you're starting to re-think this re-model. But statistics show that the huge majority of contractors out there are honest, hard-working professionals. Most people are happy with any improvement project they undertake. "Fine," you say. "How can I protect myself and make sure I find a great contractor?" I'm glad you asked. Here are some standard tips you can follow to make sure your repair, remodel, or installation goes well: • •

• •

• •

• •

• •

Got License? Most states require that a contractor have a license to operate in that state. Once you find a contractor, check to see if he or she has a local contracting license to do the job. Check out our Resources Page for the State Licensing Board for your state requirements. Check References - get at least three references from satisfied clients. And if you want to get really fanatical, go to the contractor's current job site. See if the site is messy. Are the workers taking care of the property? Get Bids - if you have the luxury, get multiple bids from several contractors. Don't always assume that the lowest bid is the best, because that contractor may be desperate for work or might cut corners on the job. But if you get contractor's from several sources, you could get a really great deal. Get it in Writing - the days of the "handshake deal" are far behind us. Get a detailed contract together and throw everything in (even if the project doesn't involve the kitchen sink!) The more you clarify, the fewer headaches you'll have if things go wrong. Do You Take a Check? Don't ever pay in cash. Can you say, "Proof of payment"? I thought you could... Keep logs of all payments (for example - 10% down, 20% by one date, another 20% by another date, final payment when work is complete) and pay with check or credit card only.

• "Wait a minute!" you protest, "That sounds like a lot of work!" Sure it does. Because it is a lot of work. If you think a renovation or remodeling job is expensive, imagine having to pay for it twice! Do your homework and you'll avoid being a horror story.


"Are there any warning signs of a bad contractor?" you ask. Boy, you sure do ask a lot of questions. And that's good. Always ask a lot of questions. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be to handle the unexpected. Okay, these are signs a contractor might not be your best choice: • •

If required by the state, your contractor doesn't want to show you his or her license. Or won't give you references. Or you two don't get along. Keep in mind: this person may be in your home, working side-byside with you, for several months - you'd better get along!

Your contractor wants you to pay for the entire project... up front. Run for the hills.

Your contractor has a "friend" in the financing business that can get you a "good deal" on a loan for your project. You'll end up with a huge "2nd mortgage" at a ridiculously "high rate" and your "contractor" just got a juicy "commission" on the deal.

Your contractor doesn't have a business address, a business card, and it looks like the contractor sleeps in his or her pickup truck. Run really fast for those hills.

Okay. Now that you know about the warning sign. And here are some signs you may have found a really good contractor:

The contractor has at least 4 to 5 years experience. It shows they can manage their business and complete their projects.

The contractor has insurance. Liability and worker's compensation are the most important types of coverage to make sure everyone is covered.

The contractor has more than references - he or she may even carry a book of photos showing past work projects that have been completed.

The contractor provides cost breakdowns for the job. These breakdowns show specific details of what the project will cost to complete.

The contractor is flexible. Communicate all your requirements and specifications for the project. Whether you two decide that you want to supervise the work or you want to let the contractor make all the decisions, your contractor will be flexible enough to work with you.

"Okay, am I ready?" Yes, now you're ready to hire a professional to help get your home or business improvement project off the ground. One of the best ways to protect yourself is the act of due diligence. Webster's defines due diligence as: "The care that a prudent person might be expected to exercise in the examination and evaluation of risks affecting a business transaction." In simplified terms - Do your homework. And you'll do just fine. Have fun and make the most out of your experience. Don't forget to return to www.ConstructionDeal.com when it's time for your next residential or commercial improvement, repair, or remodeling job. And send us your "Before and After" pictures! Written by Tim Clark. Courtesy of articlesbase.com.


OOPS!

Avoid These 10 Common Mistakes When Buying Property

Most of the mistakes made when purchasing a home often results in problems that are hard to rectify. To ensure that you don't have to life with the consequences of your own bad judgment, look out for these common mistakes made when purchasing property: Mistake #1: Grabbing the First Loan You are Offered Shop around until you've found the best deal and talk to professionals, friends and/or real estate agent for referrals. Make sure you get all your quotes on the same day at around the same time, as interest rates might differ from day to day. Mistake #2: Getting the Location Wrong Location is everything and you don't want to go wrong here. Once again, consider all your needs such as the area's proximity to your place of work, public transport, schools etc. and make sure you pick the area for the right reasons. Also look at future development in the area to ensure that you investment is secure. Mistake #3: Not Using the Services of a Real Estate Agent To refuse the services of an experienced agent is a mistake that a lot of buyers make. They forget that an agent is used to handling transactions, negotiating and has knowledge of property prices in the area. Good agents have the ability to keep things in perspective and help you to be rational when things get too stressful. Mistake #4: Getting the Price Wrong Your agent will assist you in getting the price right by, among other things, comparing the house prices in the area. Again, this shows the importance of using an agent. Mistake #5: Buying Beyond Your Limits You will always find buyers purchasing a property, which leaves them without any disposable income, as they are unable to deal with the monthly down payment as well as other costs like insurance, property tax etc. Avoid this common mistake by

carefully calculating how much home you can afford. Choose a maximum price and stick to it. Mistake #6: Being Overhasty There are a lot of emotions involved in purchasing a home, which can lead to buyers jumping into a deal prematurely. Be prepared to spend a lot of time house hunting to avoid disappointment. Mistake #7: Passing on the Inspection As a buyer you might feel that you are qualified enough to sniff out any problems. Unfortunately this can cost you dearly. Be smart and get a qualified property inspector to check the property before you buy it. Mistake #8: Over Spending Before Closing Taking on debt before closing the deal might mean that you no longer qualify for the mortgage. Rather wait till after the closing before you start buying new furniture and other essentials for the new home. Mistake #9: Not Reading the Contract Property contracts can be confusing and hard to grasp, but it is essential that you know what you are committing yourself to. Make sure you understand all terms and conditions and ask for advice if you are unsure of anything. Never just sign on the dotted line. Mistake #10: Not Budgeting for Closing Costs Remember to budget for closing cost (attorney fees, recording fees, survey fees, brokerage commission etc.) and remember that you will always have hidden cost, whether it is interest rate hikes or personal financial requirements. Buying a property has its fair share of ups and downs but can be a pleasant experience if you look out for the common mistakes made. Written by Elizabeth McLachlan. Courtesy of articlesbase.com, Photo by Scott Liddell


10 Things You Need To Know About Buying Foreclosures When it comes to buying foreclosures, every investor needs to be aware of certain aspects that can either make or break their bargain. The appeal of a foreclosed property is often found in the hidden potential that a home is thought to possess, but the fact that it can be purchased at a price that is often far less than the current market value is an equally attractive incentive to most buyers. While foreclosed properties can and often do produce a profitable return for investors, it’s important to keep the following in mind when perusing properties: - Not every foreclosure is open to inspection. This means that you may or may not be able to view or evaluate the property, and could be required to make a decision based on nothing more than a visual and any information provided in the foreclosure listing. - If a foreclosed property is open to inspection, it will be up to potential buyers to hire an inspector for the purpose of evaluating any necessary repairs or improvements. This will aid investors in the decision as to how much money they wish to pay for a property by giving them an indication of the work and cash needed to restore it. - If you plan on buying foreclosures while they are still inhabited, either by the previous owners or renters, you will be responsible for removing them. In some cases, eviction may even be necessary. - Buying foreclosures means purchasing a property ‘as is’ with no guarantee as to its condition. - Investors who plan on buying foreclosures from HUD are permitted to enter the bidding process if no person(s) wish to bid as an owner-occupant. The initial phase of a HUD foreclosure auction is open only to those who wish to live in the home. - Each state handles the process of buying foreclosures differently, but nearly every one offers a redemption

period that would allow the former owner to regain control of the property by catching up on payments and interest. Buying foreclosures means that you need to be aware of local laws and how they may affect the ownership of a property. - If you require financing, it’s important to check with a lender to arrange for a mortgage before placing a bid on a foreclosure. In at least one respect, buying foreclosures is similar to the purchase of other real estate in that the failure to complete the transaction may result in the loss of any earnest money provided. - Prior to buying foreclosures, or any other type of real estate investment, do your homework. Homes built before 1978 may contain lead paint, which is why it’s important to learn as much as possible about the home’s age and condition, along with other potentially concerning aspects of real estate before signing on the dotted line. - Successfully buying foreclosures as an investor means knowing the current market value for comparable properties in the area. If you plan to restore the home, you will need to figure in the cost of repairs and calculate a reasonable selling price in order to determine a feasible profit. - Investors considering buying foreclosures can find local listings through realtors, lenders, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and various other public auctions. The information contained in this article is designed to be used for reference purposes only. It should not be used as, in place of or in conjunction with professional legal, financial and/or investment advice regarding buying foreclosures. For additional information, consult an attorney who specializes in real estate and/or financial matters. Written by John Montgomery. Courtesy of Isnare.com Graphic by Ivan Petrov.


Why Use a REALTOR®?

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®. But if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are a dozen more reasons to use one: 1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power -- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders -- banks and mortgage companies-- offer limited choices. 2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties. 3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can

provide local community information on utilities, zoning. Schools, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell? 4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required. 5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, Title Company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date


6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders. 7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly. 8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle. 9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients. 10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where, and how, to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property. 11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process. 12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement). Written by Andrew Stephens. Courtesy of articlesbase.com Photographs courtesy of SXC.HU


Don’t Touch That House! 10 Signs That There is A Better House Out There For You

Everyone dreams of the perfect house, that one special place that you call home. Or maybe you already have that and you were looking for a second home, a house to flip or simply an investment property. Now you think you have finally found it! It may have been a long journey or it may have fallen into your lap right at the start. But all that matters now is that at long last there it is, your dream home! Right? WRONG! Put down the paint swatches, and back away from that house! One of the essential things you need to discover before purchasing a home is if there are any defects. There are a million things that could be wrong with it, as in bank balance vanishing, savings sucking, loan eating, hair pullingly bankrupting, scary foreclosure kind of things! Also keep in mind that your Realtor probably has a entire neigborhoodʼs worth of houses that they have carefully selected to match your needs, so donʼt settle on the first one. So before you get all emotionally attached and financially involved, letʼs take a long step back and take a look at some of the signs that your “dream house”, might actually be a nightmare.


The Top 10 Signs To Look For: 1. Your Realtor keeps saying things like “I think we REALLY should keep looking.” or “Iʼm not sure that this house suits your needs, please let me show you a different one. PLEASE?” or my favorite one “But I like you! I canʼt sell you this house!” 2. There is nothing alive on the the property. Nothing. Not even weeds. 3. When you open the front door, it falls off. Sorry guys, duct tape will not fix that! 4. There is an exceptionally unpleasant odor in the house, leading you to suspect something has died there. Either that or the cemetery next door needs to do a much better job! 5. The floors mysteriously sag when you walk across the rooms and the walls look like they are slowly peeling/ flaking down. Also if the roof leans to one side, or the entire house for that matter, itʼs not a good idea to buy it. 6. You wonder if at one time the property was used as a setting for either a horror film or a skateboard movie. Both are unusually damaging, somewhat gory and the disaster left in their wake is amazing. But not in a good way. 7. Upon entering the neighborhood your Realtor locks their car doors and tells you that the mace they are carrying is “just in case”. Further cause for concern would be if they put on any of the following : garlic, crosses, holy water, good luck and protection charms, worry beads, body armor/riot gear, gas masks or a HAZMAT suit. My advice? Run! And quick! 8. You notice more than 10 animals. . . all inside the house. 9. The house and lawn are beautiful, but that inside is a disaster! That usually means that the owners cleaned up outside for curb appeal and that the inside has been neglected something fierce. And a massively messy house means household pests, like mice, rats, fleas, insects and much, much more. Can we say ewwww? 10.When talking to the neighbors about the house they keep using phrases like “unload that heap”, “get rid of that money pit” or “foist on some sucker” for reasons that the homeowners are selling and if they refer to it as “a death trap”, “a bio-chemical warfare zone” or “that really ugly piece of junk on the corner” keep looking! Talking to the neighbors is always a good idea because they normally tell the truth about things, and that way you can find out in advance if they will annoy you to death or not.

Now before swearing to rent forever, or go live with your mother, think about this. Realtors are amazing in their ability to match houses to people, the key to this is open and honest communication. If you tell them you are looking for the Adams Family Mansion, you are probably going to get it. A good Realtor will carefully sift through all the possibilities out there to find the ones that are the best matches for your needs, meaning that most of the 10 things we listed, you will not have to worry about. However, keep in mind that not all Realtors are created equal. If you get one that you donʼt like or that does not meet your needs, just like with the house, there is a better one out there for you. Get as many recommendations, references and suggestions from people in the community as you can, then go with who makes you feel the most confident about their abilities and whom you get along with well. I would also advise that before putting an offer on any property you have it inspected throughly by an qualified Home Inspection Specialist. They will be able to best tell you the condition of the home and property, and if there are any major defects of any kind. Home Inspectors are just like Realtors, working with one is a must when buying a house, but make sure to get references, recommendations and to communicate as clearly as possible. One last thought before you go charging out into the world of real estate to find that totally fabulous house that is just waiting for you. If you are reading this because you already bought “that house” do not despair! Just repeat after me.... “I will never again buy a house without working with a highly recommended Realtor and I will always get a home inspection from a qualified professional with references.” Now, go find a Realtor and let them help out of your fix. Did I mention that they are pretty handy at selling houses too? Good Luck and happy house hunting. . . . or selling, which ever the case may be!

Written by Phly Jambor, Editor in Chief of Welcome Home.


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Products To Love In January Oh what to do with all that lovely snow outside? We know! Welcome to 21st century style sledding, no more splintery wood, flimsy plastic or out of control careening! The Hammerhead Pro X Snow Sled is made of super strong yet light-weight aluminum with a soft mesh seat. Precision steering capabilities and changeable skis make it ideal for any type or snow! And you can accessorize it to your hearts content with things like lights, mirrors, a backrest or cargo net and much, much more. Also did we mention that it weighs less than 10 pounds? Great for kids and adults alike, just make sure you actually give the kids a turn! Please click here for more information.

Are you always forgetting things? With all the stress today, it始s a wonder we remember our own names! We have found a quirky but cute solution to your problem. The Fred To-Do Tattoo. It is a totally customizable temporary tattoo designed to be placed on the palm of your hand. You will never lose a list again. The gel pen included contains skin safe washable gel ink, so there is nothing to worry about over permanent staining. Perfect for short lists! Please click here for more information.

Ever had that nasty, nagging feeling that you have forgotten something extremely important? Only to discover later that your tiny mental lapse cost you way more than you ever expected? Well when it comes to buying a home, we have got you covered! This Realtor recommended super handy book, The Pocket Idiot's Guide to Home Buying Checklists, will help you to remember to check off everything on your list when it comes to checking out your potential new home. A fun and innovative way to keep track of everything from what the different neighborhoods are like, to all those very important questions you keep meaning to ask your Realtor, but can never seem to remember when the time comes. Do your self a favor and pick up a copy before see the next house! Please click here for more information.


City Spotlight

Lake Tahoe More than just an exciting summer vacation destination, Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for an all-season retreat filled to the brim with recreational pursuits. Whether you want to hit the slopes at one of the spectacular ski resorts or spend your days cruising around a pristine, majestic lake, Lake Tahoe has everything you need for a summer or winter getaway. Summer in Lake Tahoe means spending numerous hours along the shores of this stunning body of water, either soaking up the sun or participating in thrilling activities out on the lake. Rent a boat for a day of swimming, waterskiing, and tubing; hop aboard a jet ski for an entertaining afternoon of jumping waves and viewing the serene scenery; or grab a kayak to create your own adventure during your vacation and explore the picturesque inlets. No matter what kind of water-filled activity appeals to your senses, Lake Tahoe is sure to be an accommodating host. While the lake is the most popular attraction around here, the area surrounding this expansive beauty is an entertaining option for adventure-seekers and outdoor enthusiasts. D.L. Bliss State Park offers an extensive trail system where visitors can catch breathtaking, panoramic views of Lake Tahoe, Emerald Bay, and Fannette Island and make their way past the granite mammoth, the Balancing Rock, as it rests upon a slender base. Other popular nearby parks include Emerald Bay State Park, whose abundant flora is unmatched, and Donner Memorial State Park, where fishing, hiking, and boating are always in style. When the days become shorter and snow begins to blanket the area, ski and snowboarding enthusiasts flock to Lake Tahoe for the plentiful resorts and endless supply of excitement. With eleven ski resorts in the Lake Tahoe region, visitors of all skill levels will find an abundance of runs and trails that suit their abilities and allow for a memorable ski getaway. Whether you

choose a massive resort like Squaw Valley, which boasts 177 trails of pure exhilaration, or a smaller, less intimidating destination such as Soda Springs Mountain Resort, everyone in your family is in for the ride of their life on Lake Tahoe’s soft powder and groomed terrain. In addition to the thrilling runs, free riders can spend an afternoon learning new moves and catching some serious air at an exciting terrain park. Many of the resorts, including Sugar Bowl, Heavenly Valley, and Squaw Valley, have terrain parks that are perfect for all levels of ability in addition to super pipes that overlook stunning Lake Tahoe. Throw in the many other adventures you can find at these fully-loaded resorts, including snow tubing, sledding, and snowshoeing, and you have the makings of a truly invigorating vacation. With so many possibilities scattered across numerous resorts, it would be easy to never venture outside the confines of your favorite ski area. However, there are several other outdoor pursuits that are worth noting if you want a well-rounded and scenically breathtaking getaway. Snowmobiling to the top of Mount Watson, complete with expansive views of all of Lake Tahoe, is a popular activity while cross-country skiing at the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area is perfect for those who want to combine physical exercise with a sightseeing adventure. Since your vacation will certainly be centered around all of the activities you plan to participate in, stay close to everything you love about Lake Tahoe with a conveniently located vacation rental. You can find Lake Tahoe vacation rentals that are just steps away from the ski lifts or ideally situated on the waters of Lake Tahoe for an exciting, entertaining vacation in some of the most beautiful surroundings possible. Begin your search for the perfect Lake Tahoe home rental today and experience an allseason retreat that extends miles beyond the ordinary. Written by Jen W., courtesy of Articlesbase.com


Businesses That Make A Difference

One for One. That’s the way it works at TOMS Shoes. For every single pair of shoes purchased another pair of shoes will be given to a child that does not have any. Amazing and so completely simple! This brilliant idea is the brain child of American entrepreneur Blake Mycoskie. While traveling in Argentina

Rather than starting a charity, Mycoskie made the decision to start a business because he believed more children could be helped that way. To date TOMS has given away more than 150,000 pairs of shoes to children in need all over the globe, including the U.S. Their goal for this year is 300,000 pairs shoes, that TOMS volunteers in person, put on a child’s feet. in 2006 he noticed that the children he befriended did not have shoes. Not having shoes kept many children from receiving medical care, food, water and even shelter because they could not walk the distance needed to obtain it and their ability to attend school is also effected, because shoes are a required part of many school’s uniform codes.


Random Facts

This month's random fact introduces us to a familiar favorite legume, in a fascinating new light! Which one in particular you ask? Why the Black-eyed Pea, what else? And before we go any further with our facts, let's set one very important one straight. The black eyed pea, is not in fact a pea at all! It is a BEAN. That's right, not a pea, a bean. Think Pinto or Lima!

Where are they from you ask? This tasty calcium and fiber packed bean was introduced to the Southern United States sometime in the late 1600's and originally hails all the way from India! We have an ancient babylonian mistranslation to thank for the Jewish belief that they bring good luck when eaten. Technically you would have to eat fenugreek to become lucky....ya, I did say fenugreek.... personally I'm sticking with the bean. The American tradition dates back to the civil war era and we actually have a bunch of snobby Northern Soldiers to thank for it! During the civil war the northern side scavenged the south for food during the fighting taking everything they could or anything they considered "edible" and destroying everything else. They stuck their noses up at this paragon of nutrition, deciding that it was not even worth the trouble to destroy! Then called "field peas" but the Northerners, they were deemed only usable for animal feed or "humble food" and therefore not worth their attention. Southerners consider them to be good luck because the North would not touch them and the practice of ingesting them for luck got it's start.

So, whether you eat them because you are Jewish and your ancestors translated it the wrong way or because it will keep the Northerners from overrunning your home (though I seriously doubt that Canada has any real interest in invading) having a serving of black eyed peas for good luck can't hurt anything, and might even help at least a little with that New Year's Resolution to lose that last pesky ten pounds that you put back on over Christmas!

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