Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Festival of the Masters

by Amy Platon

Well hubby just completed this beautiful piece of digital art for Disney's Festival of the Masters. Disney liked it enough to make some limited merchandise out of it.

Sharpie liked it too. They did a kids exhibit with it. The kiddos got to color their own tiles to make up the mural that was displayed for the event.

Hubby even signed his work for the adoring fans! Now the only place to land some of this fine merchandise is on Ebay. haha.

If you like Arnel's work, I'll announce the launch of his artist site, just as soon as he gets it all ready. Here was his last piece for FOM

It was an especially beautiful day to be a family!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Halloween Crossover

by Amy Platon

As homeowners who decorate for the holidays, the first weekend in November is a toss up. You know the Halloween d├ęcor needs to come down, or you’ll be that family… the one that leaves their stuff up just a little too long after the event has passed.

If you are like us, you consider for a moment, to trade the Halloween stash for Christmas decorations. “That way,” I say, “We only have to open the attic once.”

Hubby and I know it’s just too early for Christmas lights, and at 5:30 on Saturday night, neither of us are ready to get started on that project now or this weekend for that matter. (Besides, it’s not fair to put that kind of pressure on the neighbors this early in the season, haha) However, I convince my man to drag out a couple of lighted trees and a wreath. “The kids will love it.” I say.

So he does. And this morning we woke up to extra greenery around the house, but just a touch of it. It was nice. Even husband was impressed. We stood at the top of our stairs staring at what we were able to accomplish so early in the season. He says, “You even had time to put fake snow on the wreath?” As he stepped in to take a closer look, I was forced to confess… “That’s insulation.”

And the Santas had a jolly good laugh. Almost spilling coffee right down the new stairs.

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

If It’s Options You Want…..

A word from your REALTOR/Bartender/Writer/Mom/Head of Household.

I’ll just say it. This housing market is a total drag.

I have some friends who bought at the top of their price range, anticipating raises and employment to continue on it’s upward trend. I mean we all did. Our job market was too promising for too long. We all but forgot that there could be a slump in the economy.

The more I walk into abandoned homes and trudge through over grown front yards, the more I think how some of this could be avoided. That’s right, I said avoided!

Look here, if you don’t like your house, you’re not trapped in it, even though the market sucks. You have options. First, ask yourself, can you renovate to make it the beautiful home you’ve always wanted? No? It’s not beauty that stops you from loving your home? It’s the sheer expense of it? Then consider renting it out.

Stay with me now.

If you rent your home out, and you can cover your expenses or at least come close, you can then rent, for yourself, a place that better suits your needs (whether you are trading up or down.) Renting may not sound like a “good” idea to you, but if you can’t stay in your home and you can’t sell without shorting the bank then RENT IT!

Who cares if they spill on your lovely carpet or if they break a tile, or get the walls dirty. That’s all fixable (and comes right out of the security deposit, by the way). Don’t get hung up on the fact that your precious home won’t be kept up, cause you can fix that later (with their money.)

Just because you are a home owner, doesn’t mean you can’t be a renter. So once you get your home rented out, you go find a place that fits your needs and rent it for yourself. If you are able to rent for less than you are paying now, then you can lower your expenses.

Here’s an example, if you currently pay $2000 a month for your 5 bedroom home, but you are willing to go down to a 3 bed room rental that costs $1100 per month. You rent your place for say $1800, then your expenses go from $2000 per month to $1300 per month ($200 your not getting to cover your mortgage plus the $1100 in new rent expenses.)

You lower your cost of living exponentially (including lowering your utilities) and you still keep your investment. If you rent in the town where you own, then if worse comes to worse, and you can’t find a renter the following year, you can leave your rental and reoccupy your home. But come in close, because I’m about to tell you a secret: The rental market is doing great. There are more renters looking for homes than there are buyers. Just be prepared to prove to your new tenant that you are up to date on all your house payments and be prepared to have their security deposit in a separate escrow account for their protection in case you default.

Don’t be a victim to a downward financial spiral. Pilot yourself out of it! We need to quit jumping ship!

And now back to your regularly scheduled programming.

Cheap Renovations - See My Home:
Update Your Stairs
Decorating for Children and Adults
Kitchen Facelift
Patio Magic