Archive for the ‘Observations’ Category

I’m an observant person. I notice things around me. Recently I was in a small town to the west of Minneapolis. I saw two homes that have what I refer to as “exterior trimming”. It’s along the vein of tree trimming during the Christmas holiday in that it’s decorative. Some might say these are whimsical or displaying someone’s personality. They caught my eye and made me wonder about the owners and their reasoning for displaying these items, particularly the mirror and its placement above the garage.

A mirror above a garage

A mirror above a garage

Exterior trimming

Exterior trimming

No doubt my eyes will be on the lookout for more of these unusual trimmings. Does your home have any atypical exterior trim?


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Magnolia Cottage

I saw this sign on the front of a house during one of my travels. It was a charming house. A white brick exterior with black wood shutters, window boxes and front door. The shutters featured a black iron curlicue along the bottom, detailing that stood out against the white background.

Magnolia Cottage Window

A white picket fence wrapped around the house, and the gate opened onto a gently curving flagstone walking path that led to the front door.  A mix of green shrubbery sat along the foundation of the house. Everything was neat and tidy and appealing.

Magnolia Cottage Ext

Many of the homes on Captiva Island have names. I always take pleasure in reading what people have chosen to name their homes. Unfortunately, you rarely see a lot of the homes on Captiva due to the long driveways and tremendous tropical growth. The homes are well hidden from the road.

The signs are all on the road. Each one is individually created. I often wonder what the homes are like, and what the owners are like. Does the sign personality mirror the house and occupants?  Does the name say something about one occupant and the artwork about another? Who came up with the name? Do owners who buy these named homes keep the names or create a new one or pull the sign up out of the ground and go without? One thing I know. Of the homes that had been named and could be seen, all were well-kept and maintained. It makes me think there is something in a name: a sense of pride, a little more love, an embracing of home as part of the family.

Have you named your home? I’d love to hear the name and what it means to you. In the meantime, I’m going to think about a name for my own home. Stay tuned.

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Photo of the Day
May 11, 2012

This was a fun way to start my day last Friday. I drove up next to this antique car with the penny-farthing on the back. The car was perhaps a Model A or a Model T. I positioned myself behind it once the road went to two-lanes. At that point, I remembered I had my cell phone and snapped a few photos. I loved seeing this car and bike and traveling down the road with it. I only wish I’d had my other camera with the zoom lens. Happy Friday everyone!

Note: Click on the photo to see it larger.


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Photo of the Day
March 18, 2011

The world is round and the place which may seem like the end may also be only the beginning.
~Ivy Baker Priest


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Photo of the Day: Dream

February 6, 2011

Lately I have been talking with people who are expressing feeling stuck, uninspired, unmotivated, unable to focus, and generally feeling a bit off from their normal selves. They are in a state of unease and/or depression due to these feelings.

Perhaps it is good to realize that all things are temporary. The universe and we inhabitants are always in a state of flux and change. Your life will be different in the future–different in a minute, an hour, a month, a year, and all other future time frames. If you’re experiencing some of the feelings described above, consider the fact that today, now, is one brief moment in a lifetime. Focus on what you want. Take a moment to dream and be inspired.

Here then, some inspirational quotes on dreams to start the week:

Dream and give yourself permission to envision a You that you choose to be.
–Joy Page

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.
–Harriet Tubman

I tell people I’m too stupid to know what’s impossible. I have ridiculously large dreams, and half the time they come true.
–Debi Thomas

If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with success unexpected in common hours.
–Henry David Thoreau

If you take responsibility for yourself you will develop a hunger to accomplish your dreams.
–Les Brown

No one should negotiate their dreams. Dreams must be free to fly high. No government, no legislature, has a right to limit your dreams. You should never agree to surrender your dreams.
–Jesse Jackson

Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, we lose the excitement of possibilities. Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning.
–Gloria Steinem

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
–Eleanor Roosevelt

The world needs dreamers and the world needs doers. But above all, the world needs dreamers who do.
–Sarah Ban Breathnach

To accomplish great things, we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.
–Anatole France


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What Are They Thinking?

What would be your caption for this photo?

Pets bring great energy to a home. They are always happy to see their owners (and sometimes everybody else who comes to visit!), gladly follow you around from room to room so you’ll never be alone (or is it that they won’t be alone?), come with their own amusing set of antics which will make you smile and laugh, watch over the house and it’s occupants, play with you, snuggle with you, and provide unconditional love every day of the year. They’re definitely good people–er, pets.



Share your caption ideas: Click on Leave a Comment below.

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This post is courtesy of one of the lenders I utilize, Kate Wilson, of Fairway Independent Mortgage. She and her team work with all buyers and are especially knowledgeable about first-time buyer programs.

Guest Author: Kate Wilson of Fairway Independent Mortgage

We have a magazine rack for our clients in our lobby. I was really hesitant to put out the September 6th edition of Time Magazine because the front cover read: Rethinking Homeownership: Why Owning a Home May no Longer Make Economic Sense.
I can think of a lot of things that don’t make much economic sense but I sure wouldn’t put buying a house in that category. I have some pretty strong convictions about why homeownership is important and a lot of them start with common sense. I take the long-term view:
There are tax advantages to homeownership that you don’t get when you rent. Once you have a fixed rate mortgage, the principal and interest payment will not change over time. Your rent will and you have no control over just how much those rent increases might be. Both the interest and the property taxes are deductible but only your landlord gets to deduct them when you rent.
At the end of the day, a house is a forced savings account. If you pay all of the payments, at the end of the loan term, you own the asset. You can save yourself a lot of interest and get there faster by making one extra Principal and Interest Payment a year. It’ll take about 7 years off of a 30 year loan. If you pay rent for 30 years, your landlord will own the asset and use it to pay for his Long Term Care, not yours.
Your mortgage should not outlive your retirement age even if you’re buying up. Mortgages come in terms of 10, 15, 20, 25, and 30 years. Consider this: If you’re buying up, keep your mortgage in sync with your overall financial plan and objectives. If you’re considering a move, take the age you want to retire and subtract from it your current age and see how much you’ll qualify for using that amortization period. There’s no prepayment penalty for first mortgages these days so even if you take out a 30-year mortgage to protect against a ‘what if’ scenario, figure out how much extra principal it takes to repay it according to your retirement timeline and just do it.
Home equity lines of credit for vacations or the purchase of cars are a bad idea. You’ll be paying for that vacation long after the memories have faded. The car started to depreciate the minute you drove it off the lot and you’ll be paying for the old one even after it’s eligible for vintage plates.  In the meantime, you will probably have to buy another car and pay for it while you’re still paying for the trade in.
The most common sense reason I can think of for homeownership has nothing to do with it making economic sense. When you own your home, you are free to make it fit your lifestyle and a reflection of who you are. Landlords call such changes ‘damages’ and keep your deposit or kick you out. If the landlord decides to sell and you have to move, you can lose years of accumulated emotional net worth.

Other than graduating from college, having my kids, and marrying my sweetheart, I can’t think of a better decision I’ve made in my life than becoming a home owner. Your thoughts?

Kate Wilson


I agree with what Kate has written here which is why I asked her if she was agreeable to my posting her thoughts here. We’d both be interested to know your thoughts. Share them by adding a comment below. (The typeface color for Leave a Comment is green so it doesn’t stand out immediately but it’s at the end of the list of tag words at the bottom of this entry.)

Learn more about Kate Wilson and her team here: www.katewilson.com

Kate Walsh
Lakes Area Realty



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