Friday, December 21, 2012

Sparkle Jolly Twinkle Jingly

If you have ever had the JOY of seeing the production of will know which song I am referencing. We were lucky enough to see it in the Tampa Bay Performing Arts theater over this holiday season and I've had the tune in my noggin ever since.

In efforts to spread the cheer...

Sparkle: may your eyes sparkle with love and gratitude as you speak to your loved ones over the next week

Jolly: may your home be filled with a jolly atmosphere including delicious food, family, and friends (old & new)

Twinkle: may your spirit twinkle in a manor that glorifies HIM

Jingly: may your pockets have enough "jingle" to provide for your needs and satisfy your wants all the year through

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Some beach....somewhere

Since my blog is sometimes about a "day in the life" of this is a snapshot of this day:

1. Continual negotiation of 2 offers (including chasing additional preapprovals and  unresponsive bank representatives)

2. Activation of a new listing in Rockhill Manor area of Kansas City

3. Preparation for pre-listing appointment at 6:15 from my favorite KC Grout Works referral source

4. Coffee with a past client...whom has turned into a best friend

5. Receive notice of cancellation of contract from buyers to my seller clients, which means I had to deliver the unwanted news. (Worst part of my day)

6. Prepare for tomorrow's activities: final walk through for buyers closing on Monday, showing homes mid-day to current buyer/seller clients, and another pre-listing appointment at 3 p.m.

All in all...while it was nice to spend time on this beach in FL over Thanksgiving with Bri's family...

I will never be able to vacation in a home like this...if I don't compile many, many more days like today!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pinterest 0.0

Prior to Pinterest we had Bulletin Boards where one would collect memorabilia, photos, love notes, calendars, etc...

Mine has all of the above including an current, living, breathing Christmas shopping list - which proves it is not a mere dust collector.

I am on board with Facebook, have a Twitter account, and love the "handy-ness" of texting...but I refuse to evolve from my "Happy Spot" Bulletin Board that hangs in my home office as inspiration of WHY I WORK into virtual boards on Pinterest.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

What's In A Title?

President. CEO. Chairman. Associate. Partner. Leader. Team Member. Mom. Wife. Follower. Server.

As Leader/Chairman of your home search, I will happily serve your real estate ideas while listening to your needs and wants.

As President/CEO of Irvine & Co. (fancy name for my Incorporated Real Estate Business) I provide for my family.

As Associate/Partner of Kristin Malfer & Associates I garner first class marketing and full time support staff to further grow my career.

As Mom/Wife I am blessed through savoring the "small stuff" and forever grateful for Brian, Eli, and Ruby Kate.

As Follower/Team Member in Christ, I tread the daily walk of life bravely.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Put a Little Gravel In Your Travel....

This past week I was fortunate enough to endure a 16.5 mile bike ride with my "little" brother. Funny how even though I'm certainly not in my best shape ever - when the competition of a sibling comes into play - there is no hill too large in all of Lenexa for this lady.

He stayed with us for a week, in from San Diego, and quickly fell right into step with the daily grind of Irvine-land: 6:00 a.m. Ruby Kate winces for her morning bottle, dodging food blobs left behind on the kitchen floor, and endless requests for playing farm or golf from Elijah. 

We all have a case of "MISSING YOU" blues having said good-bye to him yesterday. But mostly grateful for the time we did have with him. Now there are more stories to remember Uncle Grant by and to re-play through conversation until our next visit. 

Until then....when I'm biking through the trails of Lenexa, I will think of that uber long bike ride and my groin will thank heavens Grant is back on the west coast. OR my competitive edge will sneak in thoughts of "if you could go 16.5 last week...why not 17.5 this week?"

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What the KC Star Said....

KC area housing market shows signs of steady improvement
New figures show more houses are being sold, inventories are shrinking and prices are going up.
The Kansas City Star
Realtor Kirk Andersen had an eager buyer for a Kansas City house that had been on the market at 59th and Oak streets for only two days.
Somebody squeezed in an offer ahead of his client.
He had another buyer for a house at 97th Street and State Line Road that had been on the market for five days.
There, too, someone beat his client to the offer table.
Those actually aren’t tales of real estate woe. They’re signs that the area housing market is continuing its slow improvement from the depths of the recession.
New figures from the Kansas City Regional Association of Realtors show there were 20 percent more home sales in August 2012 than August 2011.
Equally important, for-sale inventory continued to shrink, as it has done regionally for the last four months.
The improved Kansas City market reflects national trends. CoreLogic, a business analytics service, said Tuesday that home prices nationwide, including foreclosed properties, were up 4.6 percent in August compared to 12 months earlier.
The price jump was the biggest year-over-year increase since July 2006 — a sure sign of a healthier residential market.
“We’re lighting fires under buyers, because the good houses are going quickly,” said Andersen, who is with Coldwell Banker. “This hasn’t happened for a long time. Within the last five or six weeks, we started to feel a real difference. We looked around and said, ‘Wow, things have changed.’ ”
Although the market is recovering, it still trails the prerecession level of five years ago.
According to the Realtors Association, there were 236 new and 2,491 existing homes sold last August compared with 555 new and 2,533 existing homes sold in August 2007. The average sale price of a new home did increase to $311,262 in August compared to $291,053 in August 2007, but the average price of an existing home was $161,129 five years ago compared to $154,476 in August.
Still, the housing market has been gaining strength for about a year, said Mike Frazier, chief financial officer at Reece & Nichols, which has about 35 to 40 percent of the local market share.
“Anything under $400,000 is moving all across the metro area,” Frazier said, noting that the average Reece & Nichols sale price moved up to $180,000 in August from $150,000 in January. “That’s the sign of a transitioning market.”
Of course, some housing stock is moving faster than others. Hot pockets include north of the Missouri River in the Park Hill School District, especially for families that are shopping with schools in mind.
For DINKs — double income, no kids — and first-time home buyers, houses in Brookside, Waldo, Prairie Village and old Leawood are moving fast.
The quickest movers generally are in the $140,000 to $250,000 price range, agents said.
Steve Banks, a Realtor serving as this year’s president of the regional association, tallied the signs of housing market health: More properties are selling, the for-sale inventory is down, and the average sale price is creeping higher.
“Somewhere between five and six months of inventory has been determined to be the point at which the market is balanced, favoring neither buyers nor sellers,” said Banks, who is with Re/Max.
The supply calculation — measured by taking the inventory and dividing it by the 12-month average of the number of sales — is shrinking toward the balance point.
The association’s data for August set the Kansas City area supply at 6.4 months, which favors buyers. That means sellers have to get their houses in shape and price them competitively with comparable properties in the neighborhood, agents said.
It doesn’t do to just stick a sign in the front yard. Properties need to be “show ready” to get several offers.
Pricing properties right doesn’t mean fire sale prices. The CoreLogic report said year-over-year prices, excluding bank-owned and short-sale properties, rose 4.9 percent. In Missouri, the gain was 4.2 percent for nondistressed housing, while Kansas reported a 4.5 percent boost, CoreLogic reported..
From a mortgage lender’s point of view, the housing affordability index is at an all-time high.
According to Jim Nutter Jr., president of Kansas City-based James B. Nutter and Co., “unbelievably super-low interest rates combined with the price of housing payments” make buying a house as affordable as ever.
“It’s not as difficult as people think,” Nutter said. “Credit scores are higher than two years ago. If you feel comfortable about your job situation, it’s a great time to buy. There’s certainly less foreclosure action and lower delinquency rates. All around — pretty good signs.”
Nutter said the housing market data was pumping up the psychology of home buying: “We’ve gone from ‘We don’t want to do that right now’ to ‘We’ve got to do that now.’ ”
Frazier, with Reece & Nichols, said there were two other reasons to believe that the recent improvements had legs.
“We’ve outperformed last year every single month this year,” he said. “That’s surprising, given it’s an election year, which usually is an off year in real estate. And our showings for September are up 10 percent over 2011. That’s a further-out indicator than sales, and that’s looking strong.”
Kansas City area housing market
Year-over-year improvement by several measures

August 2011

August 2012

Average existing home sale price



Average new home sale price



New and existing home sales



New and existing home inventory



Pending contracts



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Firsts - Seconds - Lasts?

As I settled into the chair at my dentists office last week - overly confident in my status of  "NO CAVITIES EVER"...I chatted with the hygienist, as usual and thought about where Bri & I might have lunch following my check up and cleaning.

Much to my dismay, the XRays and dentist later reported that I had some shadowing indicating the need for a filling. WHAT?!?! Surely not. I've made it all the way to 31 without having one of these suckers. Or maybe its that I've had one too many suckers, sodas, SweeTarts, and HotTamales in my time.

Either way my first filling will occur this week. No more perfection here - I will officially have a filling in my mouth, rods & clamps in my back, scars of appendectomy & c-section babies around my middle, and a crooked pinky finger from a highschool basketball drill.

Whether you are searching for your first home, second home, or last home....this blemish-filled Realtor is excited to help you unveil truths about your home search or selling efforts.

Together we can identify the imperfections, focus on the total package, and close on a SweetHeart of a home within the timeline most comfortable to you.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Rewind? Check. Unplug? Check.

As we kick off the busiest season for Kansas City real estate, I thought it would be fun to share how we unplugged, and hit the rewind button over the Labor Day weekend.

Home for me is a tiny town in western KS, Phillipsburg. And as you travel across the state headed that direction it sometimes feels as if time is rewinding. The days are longer with less road time (everything is seconds away) and the faces are familiar once inside that Phillips county line.

Our kiddos enjoyed some tractor time with grandpa, moving cattle into a different pasture with both my dad and my grandpa, and playing tee-ball in the front yard. Somehow there was enough time to take in the Friday night football game at our new stadium (quite the controversy), attend church, shop at the Rollin J Boutique, visit both sets of great-grandparents, and play a round of golf. So, one could say - I definitely unplugged and enjoyed some quality family time in preparation for Fall's Fury of business. I'm ready whenever you are - let's get MOVING.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why Do We Wait until "Should-a,Could-a,Would-a"

As I sift through one of my desk cubby holes...pitching expired coupons and savings 'bucks' I wonder..."Why did I wait to take advantage of these deals?"

Was it because I didn't really need the items in the first place? Nope...all functional/everyday type of items used over and over in the Irvine household.

Was it because I forgot about the coupons? Not necessarily...they are positioned in direct eyesight next to the spot I spend oodles of time in daily.

Am I just a knucklehead? Possibly.

Do you know any knuckleheads that are going to have the "Should-a/Could-a/Would-a" buying blues when mortgage interest rates go up?
How about when prices go up (they are currently up 3.3% from last year at this time)?

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Following the bus into our neighborhood...

Last week as I found myself  "trapped" behind the school bus rounding the corner into our neighborhood...I witnessed amazing little glimpses into real life love.

It was the first day of school and at every bus stop there were oodles of parents, grandparents, and care takers with reassuring smiles, hugs, and kisses for the kiddos. Without fail, each pit stop (there were 5 before my culdesac) produced the same interactions between adults and children.

What an awesome display of love. The world is mostly good.

If you want a neighborhood to pull into (or your kids need a new bus stop) - I'd be honored to help you research the best area for your wants and needs.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

All I Wanna Do is Go For The Gold

I can't help it - I'm shamelessly addicted to the Olympics. Is it the athletes' greatness? Seeing their life-long goals unfold? Fierce competition? Unity of our world on the same platform?

Who knows...All I know is that watching them makes me realize that the day to day life of a Realtor/Mom/Wife/Neighbor could certainly use some intense training and Olympic-esque focus.

 Maybe, just maybe though...its my multiple titles that allow Olympian focus to stray. Olympians have one goal - one dream - to be an Olympian.

I have many: #1 Realtor, All Star Mom, Irreplaceable Wife, Giving Neighbor...

End result: Bring it on world - Megan is going for gold in all of the above events!

To follow 2012 London Olympics: check this site out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Staging Role Model

Here's How to Stage 

If a picture is worth a thousand words...then is a video worth a million? I don't know the specifics...but what I do know is that this gorgeous new listing of mine in Olathe is a bar-setter for anyone out there getting their home ready for today's shifting market. 

Take a peek and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Why buy or sell now? Listen and see...
“I believe that 2012 will move from a correction and recession to recovery and we will start to see slow growth – this will be a transformational year.” - Ron Peltier

Saturday, March 10, 2012

What is the market really doing in Kansas City?

1. Interest rates are at an all-time low. This past week they were quoting 30-year mortgage rates below 4%. How incredible is that? To understand just what that means to a buyer today, think about this: A 1% increase in interest (i.e., to the upper 4s) reduces your buying power by approx 11%. Here are some examples of what would yield the same monthly payments:
* $200K home at today’s rates = $180K home after a 1% rate increase
* $350K home at today’s rates = $310K home after a 1% rate increase
* $500K home at today’s rates = $445K home after a 1% rate increase
Look how much more you can get for your money by taking advantage of today’s rates! And you might think low interest rates are only good news for buyers. Not! If you’re a seller, think about how many more people will be able to afford your home with a mortgage at these lower rates. Your buyer pool is bigger, which is good for sellers.
2. Home inventory hasn’t been this low in at least 6 years. Maybe even longer than that, but that was all the further back my trending data would go. When the market crashed in Oct 2008, there were over 20,000 homes on the market in KC. Now there are about 14,000. This is important if you want to sell. Buyers are taking advantage of the lower interest rates so they are looking for homes! If yours is staged well and priced right, it will sell. Expect inventory to increase in the spring. It always does. So if you think you’re being strategic in waiting until April to put your house on the market, consider the advantages you have by acting sooner.
3. Prices are great! Don’t expect home prices to recover to where they were in 2005. What we have seen over the past three years is a market correction, meaning home prices were inflated and they are not likely to get back to those levels for many years. I do believe we will see some gains over the next couple years.
SO ASK YOURSELF THIS: Are you in the house you want to be in for the next 5 years? If not, there are so many factors on your side that it’s worth considering if now might be the time to make a move. I am always available to answer any questions about specific neighborhoods or scenarios that might help you make the right decision for your family!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Warren Buffet says buy a couple hundred single family homes...

Or you could just buy one...either way, I'd love to help. Check out this link for more from Warren, our company's (HomeServices owns Reece and Nichols) fearless owner and leader.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

2 Key Points from 1 Key Speaker (Ron Peltier) in Overland Park, KS

We were fortunate enough to have Ron Peltier speak to us in Overland Park yesterday morning regarding our nation's real estate pulse.

Ron is the hand-picked CEO of HomeServices of America (which owns Reece & Nichols) which is owned by Warren Buffet.

His 2 Points were simple:

For buyers: Home affordability is the lowest its been in decades with the correction of market pricing that we have endured over the past 5 years in conjunction with interest rates below 4.0%, which is an all time low. If you continue to wait "for the bottom" you will shortly become the gambler that wished he/she would have invested when rates were below 4.0%.

For sellers: Our inventory 5 years ago was at just over 4 million listings nationwide. We are currently just over 2 million listings nationwide, yet our country's population has not stopped growing. We will soon have a shortage of quality listings for buyer's to choose from. If you intend to sell sometime in the next 5 years, now is the time to capitalize on the serious, qualified buyers of 2012 so that you can also take advantage of the all time low interest rates. The savings you will accomplish in buying with these rates will outweigh the equity you have lost over the last 5 years in your current home.

A 1.0% increase in mortgage interest rates affect your monthly payment significantly. For example on a $150,000 mortgage at 3.875%, the principle & interest monthly payment is $705, where as at 4.875%, the payment is $793. This is an $88 difference/month (OR $31,845 over the course of a 30 year note).

Please call or email me if you want to talk further about Ron's message to the agents in charge of moving real estate across our country.