Resolutions

December 31, 2012

resolutions.jpgAfter spending the holidays with family and friends, this is a time of the year to start thinking about changes to make in our lives, both personal and in business. We wanted to share one of ours with you.

Our goal is to become your REALTOR® for life. We want you to think of us first when you need to buy or sell and that you’ll recommend us to your friends too. That kind of trust has to be earned and we’re committed to helping you be a better homeowner even when you’re not buying or selling.

The strategy is simple. A well-informed homeowner will make better decisions. We’ll periodically offer information through articles and social media on a wide variety of home-related topics like maintenance tips, tax law changes, financing suggestions, insurance, equity building strategies, and rental property investments.

Please contact us if you need a recommendation on a service provider. Our experience has built a list of reputable and reasonable contractors that you can rely upon. When you have any kind of home-related questions, I hope you’ll have the confidence to call us.

Happy New Year. We sincerely look forward to helping you or your friends.

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Goals and Achievements

December 29, 2012

As 2012 comes to a close I’m reminded to yet again, come up with my written goals for the new year.  It’s something I preach to my agents on a regular basis with virtually 3% of them that actually do it and show them to me each year.  I began writing down my goals several years ago prompted by some leaders in my industry as a means to become more successful and as a way to stay focused on reaching beyond my limits.  It’s not only career goals, but physical, spiritual and personal.  I set my goal for income and calculate it on how many listings and sales I must have.  When it comes to the other goals, I consistently set goals to better my health and traditionally have failed to reach those goals each year; however, this year was different.  I joined a health club in May of 2012 and have consistently attended and actually enjoy it.  They say if you do something for 21 days you will create a habit.  I’ve definately created a habit.  My 2013 health goal is to train and run in a 5k.  January 7th at 5:30 am I will begin my journey to work toward this goal by participating in a structured class that is called Couch 2 5k.  I got the shoes and the warm clothes.  The only thing that has me a bit worried is my knee.  Barring that obstacle, I plan to do it.  Saying it out loud, sharing it with friends and now writing it in my blog to the world, I have no choice.  shoes

I’ll never be a super athlete, but I do want to be healthy and live a long life.  I want to celebrate a long marriage just as my parents have.  On December 26th, they celebrated 60 years of marriage.  My daughter gave me the most wonderful photo of their hands for Christmas.  It was a very emotional moment for me.  Aging is not for sissys.  I’ll turn 50 in 2013.  My 40’s have been fabulous and I look forward to the 50’s.  My best friend and I are planning an epic birthday trip to New York for our birthdays.  mom & dad's hands Dec 2012

Writing my goals is a very important event every year.  Each year I set them a little higher and even though I don’t always make them, I come closer to achieving them just by knowing they’re there and in my line of vision.  Try it.  Happy New Year!

Reflections of a sad week

December 23, 2012

Sandy HookMore than a week has passed since the Sandy Hook tragedy.  I’ve watched the news coverage, seen tributes, prayed for the families and had a hard time getting it off my mind.  More than once I’ve thought back to when my children were that young and innocent.  Their elementary school in Dothan where they loved their teachers, performed on stage with their classmates, holiday parties, playground activities, made friends and had their lives shaped.  They came home with pride as they showed us their work from the day.  My heart breaks to think of those families who will not experience these events ever again with their children.

I’ve also watched, listened and read all week about the gun control issue.  I don’t carry a gun.  I do know how to shoot one and my husband is a gun enthusiast.  He has been ever since I’ve known him.  He believes fiercely in the 2nd amendment.  I don’t believe gun control is the primary issue with tragedies of this sort.  My sweet niece, Joni Byrd, said it best on her Facebook wall this week.  “We cannot legislate the evil out of human hearts. The capacity for evil actions and intentions catches us off guard, and it far outpaces our ability to anticipate it. We create laws in reaction to evil to try to keep it under control. The sad truth is, such laws (think TSA rules) restrict the movement of honest citizens, while the people bent on hatred and violence find ways around any and every n…ew law. Laws don’t impact the root source of evil, which is sin. They only seek to control the results of it, and make us “feel” a little safer. Our only hope for transforming the human heart is Jesus. Amen.”

Most mental health facilities have been closed due to budget constraints in Alabama.  The ability to obtain counseling, drug or alcohol addiction or any mental health treatment is practically impossible without health insurance and WITH health insurance, good luck in having the coverage that pays.  We experienced this when a member of our family needed help.  Fortunately we had the resources to pay the co-pay, but the day after she departed the facility, her coverage was terminated.  Had she had to have further treatment we were looking at a cost of over $30,000 out of our pocket.  Many people with mental health needs don’t have insurance and there are no resources to handle their needs.  Our economy, job losses, companies downsizing, property values diminishing, retirement funds disappearing, Congressional discourse, families falling apart….. it’s no wonder people are hurting and struggling.  While there is little one person can do, I only hope that a hug or a word of encouragement to someone can make a difference in their life.  I plan to do more random acts of kindness, give more, take less and pray more.

Avoiding Unexpected Expenses

December 17, 2012

It’s common for sellers to consider offering and buyers might find it an incentive, but a growing number of homeowners are purchasing the home warranties themselves to limit the unexpected expenses of repairs and replacements.protection.png

A home protection plan is a renewable service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many of the components in a home. Some homeowners especially like the convenience that it organizes a qualified service provider as well as the cost of the items.

There are a variety of companies that offer home warranties and the coverage may differ but the majority of things will include heating, air conditioning most built-in and some free-standing appliances, as well as other specific items. Additional specific coverage may be available for other things like pool and spa equipment.

Some investors are even placing this coverage on their rental properties to limit the amount of maintenance repairs during the year. It is a viable alternative to managing the financial risk and the stress dealing with unexpected expenses.

If you’re interested in home warranties, I’ll be happy to send you more information.

Here’s a video my brother-in-law put together late today with pics from our family Christmas gathering at my parents today. How great that we have our parents happy & healthy and ALL the four children, their spouses, seven of the eight grandchildren, five of their spouses, nine great grandchildren and two on the way. Whew! That’s alot of folks. Merry Christmas!

Charlotte and Hilly's Family

Hey everybody Cathy and I put this slideshow together of the Christmas Brunch we had today.  I started a blog to distribute the show.  I will keep the blog and manage it.  If you want to post something going on in your life, send me email and I will post the story. My email is whbyrd@whbyrd.com .  Also if you click on the “follow” button to the right and follow instructions you will receive an email whenever a post is made so you can keep up with the family news.

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Most people have lots of things to save for but not always enough discretionary income after the family essentials have been met.college.png

A relatively small investment in a rental home can control a good home that will easily rent, generate positive cash flows and pay for itself. The borrowed funds create leverage that earn a return on the total value of the home and not just the amount of cash you have invested.

The strategy is simple. Find a slightly below average priced home that will rent well. It will appeal to a larger group of people while it’s rented and when it’s ready to be sold.

Rent the home and maintain its condition over the years. As the loan amortizes and the value increases, the equity will grow. When your student is ready to start college, you’ll actually have several options.

You can sell the property; pay the tax on the gain at the reduced capital gains rate and fund the education. Another option would be to refinance and take the proceeds to pay for the tuition. This would allow you to continue to own the asset but would free your equity and under current tax laws is a non-taxable event.

Regardless of whether you’re trying to plan for your children’s education or your own retirement, rental property offers many solid investment opportunities. Contact me if you want more information.

Elf on the Shelf

December 9, 2012

I was discussing Christmas presents this week with my son, Eric.  Our new granddaughter Maggie is just a couple of months old.  I told him I had planned to buy Maggie an Elf on the Shelf.  He quickly said, “Mom, we have enough trouble moving Caleb’s around.  That’s not necessary”.  I’ve enjoyed watching my friends antics on Facebook with their Elves.  It’s been quite the source of entertainment and laughter for me this week.  I’ve included a pic of one of my favorites this week compliments of my friend Amber.  She had one from last year with the kitchen destroyed upon waking up in the morning with flour everywhere.  I loved that!  What fun for kids.  But more fun for me is watching parents be creative or simply annoyed.  This is better than Santa Claus!  Is it magic or just plain creepy?  I’ve read some blogs this week from moms that what to pull their hair out trying to top their friends Pinterest and Facebook postings of their Elf.  Makes me glad I’m a Grandmother now.  I still haven’t put up a tree or even a wreath.  There’s some REALLY good things about growing old.  This is one of them.  No elves…..elf

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