• Holiday Home Selling!

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    I am the first to say that the market is harsh round the holidays. However, it can make an average house shine and land a great price. Each and every single showing you get will be a qualified buyer, ready to buy and a motivated realtor, too. With fewer homes on the market to compete with and that naturally occurring longing for home for the holidays, it really is a great time to make a splash on the market. I will never forget walking into my first Christmas wow house. Now, if you know me well, you know I am Christmas crazy and just love everything about Christmas so it takes some serious holiday decorating skills to impress me. The home was in the country and the fireplaces were lit up, the Christmas tree could be seen as we pulled into the drive. Ornaments were hung from the ceiling and each room was clean and showed the Christmas love. My buyers couldn’t wait to write an offer.

     

    So, how do you get there? WORK. You must team up with an experienced and trustworthy realtor, like me, please! You must set the stage like any other time of year with a clean and clear home then add the sights and smells of the holidays. I personally like a crockpot of cinnamon sticks or an oven baking water and vanilla extract. We stage everyday at no cost and Christmas is one month I love, love, love bringing over some extra decorations. Everything from wreaths to mats to pillows and specialty bedding: we stock it. In Casper, historically either December or January is one of my highest income producing months which means: I know how to work the holidays! My nature is bringing families homes and this fits that feel of Christmas.

     

    My best tips for selling during Christmastime are:

     

    1. Clean, Clean, Clean. It really can’t be too clean and my stats say you’ll pull a higher price just for the “Ah!” factor a clean home brings. Don’t forget the baseboards and under the sink!
      • PRO TIP: do this BEFORE you bring out the decorations and don’t be afraid to hire it out.
    2. Clear it out! I recommend decluttering or simply packing about half of everything you have out and store in a safe spot or commercial storage.
    3. Organize your Shopping for Christmas
      • I am Dave Ramsey strong and run a Christmas budget spreadsheet I am always happy to share. Stored presents can be tricky so be sure to have cleared out a space just for them. Wrapped presents just add to the vibe!
    4. Decorate Carefully
      • You are moving so keep exterior decorations to a tasteful, manageable minimum
      • Your tree and table are focal points so keep them neat and stunning.
    5. Call a Professional!
      • Families have enough to do round the holidays so let us help! We’ll stage and scent your home FOR YOU at no additional cost! We use professional photography, too. Call me today at 307-247-0963 to schedule your holiday home today!

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  • Tips to Sell in Autumn!

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    You may think that Autumn isn’t the best time to showcase your home, but you’d be wrong. Buyers are still out and ready to buy. Autumn has a unique appeal that’s all its own, and you can make your home decorated to say Welcome Home! Fall home buyers are motivated; they want to move in before winter here in Wyoming. Put a nice new welcome mat out for buyers and their agents to wipe their feet. Fall decor is classy and inexpensive. Put out pumpkins, gourds, scarecrows, and mums now, and they will last through Thanksgiving. Call Rita Parker at 247-0963 to start your journey now!

    Here are some tips to selling your home during the changing season.

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    1. Let the light in! We already know there’s less sunlight in the fall and winter, so leave lights on for showings. Open the drapes and keep windows as clean as possible for showings.

    2. Stage Your Home for the Season! We do this service for free, year round! Start with a feast for the eyes, then do a seasonal homey scent like apple cider.

    3. Air out your home As the weather cools, you may tend to shut windows and doors, but closed homes tend to hold odors, make sure you open the windows for an occasional airing. Moisture also holds odor, so use the exhaust fans in the bathrooms after every bath and shower. While buyers are inside, keep temperatures moderate and even.

    4. Cut out clutter! The home you live in is not the one that is ready to sell. Make it show ready by packing up and clearing out much of your seldom used items. When your household spends more time indoors, it’s natural for clutter to accumulate, but too much can have a smothering effect on buyers. Keep a basket in every room so that if you get a sudden showing, you and the rest of the family can do a five-minute cleanup before leaving the premises so your buyer can have some privacy. Store the baskets under the bed or some other place out of sight.

    5. Use the neighborhood to help you sell! If your neighborhood offers a bike path, playground or park: list them for the buyer in a feature sheet, Be sure to point out places unique to your area like the corner coffee shop or school.

    Enlist help early on to make the most of your hard work to prep and sell for a good price. Contact us, No Place Like Home Real Estate, at 234-6659 now!

  • Should You Rent or Sell Your Home?

    In this declining market in Casper, WY and the surrounding areas, you might be trying to figure out if you should rent or sell your home. This is always a hard family decision. I am here to help you and follow your lead. These are my top factors to talk over:

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    1. Market Trend. How long until you break even or want to buy your next home? You should evaluate the current market conditions. The best way to do that is to get a CMA, a market value of your home in Casper, WY. This will have market trends for your area and both a value of your home and the costs associated with selling it. You can ask for a rent assessment as well to know what your home would rent for in the current market and a yearly breakdown of normal costs incurred. With figures in front of you, you have a good place to talk over the pros and cons for your family of selling or renting.
    2. Personal considerations. These cannot be stressed enough. Renting is by far a temperament game. Hiring a property manager can cut down on the inconvenient calls and hassle factor, but in the end: it is your home, your financial asset and the uncertainty of it all will weigh on you. It just isn’t for everyone. Approximately 1 to 2 percent of tenants do not pay the last month’s rent or fail to pay at some time during the term of the lease: be ready for bumps outside of our control. Ask yourself whether the personal costs to you and your family are worth the trouble. Talk over the key questions: How much time do you have to spend on a rental property? Is the financial return going to be worth it?
    3. Consider the long-term outlook for your neighborhood. Historically, does this area bounce back fast? Hold value? Is this an improving district or is it declining for the foreseeable future? If values are declining, and you will still make a profit, you might prefer to sell and take the profit before the market declines further.
    4. Analyze your Cash Flow. A key question to ask yourself is really what will you do if you don’t think you can break even or make a profit. Talk over questions carefully like, “Can I carry that extra debt? Is it worth it to me? Will it limit my other goals for housing, vehicles or emergencies?”  Sometimes it is worth taking a shortfall on rental prices now because you will be able to sell the property down the line at a higher price. Or, cut your losses before its worse and sell.
    5. Risk Tolerance. Will damage or tenant turnover be a struggle for you? Personally or Financially? I see a lot of people who keep well-maintained, clean homes just hating tenants who punch holes in the walls or leave stains on the carpet. This is part of tenant turnover. Will it irk you? Do you have the finances to fix the unexpected? I typically recommend a $5000 reserve for five years-one major fix or improvement just as if you lived in the home.
    6. Costs, Costs and Costs. Talk over prep with a good property manager to get it in a rentable and safe condition for tenants. Budget a safety net for repairs or even the tax consequences. Be sure you are looking at the overall expenses of renting vs. selling. Property management is expensive so make sure you know your break-even point and have a plan for the expense of continued property maintenance.  A great place to start is that market valuation and rental assessment.
    7. Time. This is the real expense to renting in Casper, WY. Often lenders want a year lease, signed and documented cash flow for the year and a continuing lease, before they take the income into your debt ratio. This is true even if you are profitable! This can severely limit your purchasing power for the year. Vacancy rates are on the rise so at least one month a year without any rent paid should be factored in. If you can float two households either through renting yourself or bridging to a second home, the added cost of each should factor in for your family’s financial future, too.
    8. High-End Rental, an Extra Note. If your home is pristine or a high-end home, these high-end rentals are the hardest in the rental market today due to the limited number of tenants willing to pay $1700 or more. In addition, the damage the wrong tenants can do can far outweigh the rent they have paid. Be selective.

    Thank you for reading my renting vs. selling tips. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out and call us at 307-234-6659 or my cell is 307-247-0963!

     

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  • Spring Cleaning for Real Estate

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  • Ins and Outs of Contract For Deeds or Lease-Purchases

    Ok, let’s face it lease purchases are out there and with the market where it is, they are popping up more and more.  Below you will find tips on Contract for Deeds (CFDs) and a great Pros and Cons List for Buyers and Sellers.

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    Best Tips!

    My best tip for a mutually successful and beneficial CFD transaction is to do it above board.

    -Use separate lawyers, a title agency and an escrow company. Anyone who hesitates to use any or all three should cause you to stop and carefully reconsider: there is a huge red flag on field.

    -The lawyers will help you understand, review and prepare the documents and title to clear and process it. The escrow company can manage both intake of payments and out takes to lenders; and HOLD the warranty deed to transfer upon completion of contract.

    -Think Long-Term – Please, consider the long-term vs. short-term gain and risk before signing a CFD or lease-purchase. Best fit properties around Casper for CFDs:

    Trailer Sales             Land Sales                 Manufactured Home Sales

    Non-Traditional Sales like when a home is potentially in financial trouble

    The Pro List for Buyers:

    1. You don’t need a bank.

    2. Your credit doesn’t need to be great to buy CFD.

    3. You can afford the payments but just don’t qualify for normal lending options.

    4. The home you want requires so much down, like the 20% for a trailer or land, that this allows a faster purchase for you.

    5. You aren’t paying rent. Your money is going towards owning a home.

    The Pro List for Seller is:

    1. You get a large money sum down-usually 10% and a minimum $5000.

              a. This helps if you are behind on your payments so you can get caught up.

              b. This helps renovate the home if you end up taking it back

    2. You almost always take the home back.

            a. This means you might be in a better market to resell.

            b. This means you might be able to CFD with money down again.

    3. You are the bank and set the interest rate

            a. This is typically at least 1% over normal rates.

    4. You often save realtor fees to sell.

    5. You typically make more per month than renting alone.

    The Con List for the Seller is:

    1. The risk of harm to your property is real.

                a. Cleaning, Clearing and Fixing damage is a real possibility.

             b. Damage, Damage, Damage can be done fast and cost much more than the money down. If the home is theirs to improve, some improvements are actually a harm.

    2. The risk of missed payments, no insurance and unpaid taxes is real.

    3. The time it takes to realize gain is longer than an outright sell.

    4. Your financial situation may change during the contract period but your options on the property won’t.

              a. This means it is still included in your debt ratios.

              b. Missed payments still ding your credit.

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    The Con List for Buyer is:

    1. You will need a large money sum down payment-usually 10% and a minimum $5000.

              a. This is money you will never see again, ever.

    2. There is a reason this property is being sold CFD. Typical reasons sellers decide to sell CFD are based on MONEY and/or CONDITION such as the following:

             a. This is a career for some, especially in trailer sales. The seller is making money off           you since you are paying more than rent.

             b. The seller wants to make more than the market will bear. This means the home is           either: Worth less than they owe or the seller wants more than it is actually worth.               CFD’s on homes sell much, much higher than on the open market.

    • Consider 10%-20% higher to be normal.

              c. Seller can’t sell it traditionally. A condition issue such as foundation or roof can                exist that the seller can’t fix but needs to sell, for example. MOST CFDs have                    limited lending options and that is why they can’t pull the seller’s desired price. Buyers           very rarely fulfill the terms and sellers almost always take the home back.

    3. This means you lose the down payment and all monies paid.

             a. You do not have the same fix it or redemption rights.

             b. Even a single missed payment can be grounds to escalate the entire balance                    owed within 30 days—meaning you can’t catch up and that hurts a lot.

              c. Do not think you are the exception. Stats support that 50% of all people struggle                    to make rent or mortgage in a 2 year time period. 80% struggle at least once                    within 8 years!

    4. The seller is the bank and sets the interest rate

              a. This is typically at least 1% over normal rates.

              b. I have seen rates over 50% more than regular bank rates. This is very common,                     in fact I am hearing 10% this week.

            c. Higher interest means a higher monthly payment and more money you are                     spending that is not going towards actually   buying the property.

    5. Your realtor is often not involved, which means you don’t have an advocate on your                    side.

    6. Let me stress this: nothing in your contract protects you!

              a. A normal contract favors the buyer and their protection. Even if you use a                        lawyer, the terms for CFDs will heavily favor   the seller.

              b. You typically pay more per month than renting alone.

    Thank you for learning about CFDs and lease-purchases! I am here to provide real estate advice for every situation. Our mission is to provide excellent personal real estate so don’t hesitate to call and ask us questions!

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  • Common Tricks to Avoid in Real Estate

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    I work hard to be both helpful and ethical in my practice of real estate. Time and again I see badness and trickery in my industry. It hurts all of us to allow these practices to continue. With many realtors to choose from, we hope to stand out by living our motto that “Service is Our Specialty”. Today I want to make you aware of some common dishonesty in this industry.

     

     

    I want to be clear and state that I am not suggesting that all brokers pull these tricks! In my experience, many are honest, forthright and desirous of helping their customers. But, like in any profession, there are some who play by a different set of rules.

     

    Here are common realtor “tricks” I recommend steering clear of.

     

    • Greed. Real Estate is typically the largest investment a person ever makes. The commission and compensation are normal and negotiable by law. In our area, the ‘norm’ for a city home is generally 6% split equally. Factors such as price range, country vs. city, and type of home are commission factors.

     

    Items to Watch Out For: 

    1. Outrageous commissions such as one home recently quoted at 11%!
    2. Additional commission charges, such as those charged to the BUYER on top of seller charges.
    3. Paperwork or Transaction Charges. These I have seen be an extra $500-$1000!

    *Do not be swayed that with the additional cost comes additional benefits. A full listing with after sale care is a negotiable price. Be fair to your realtor and make sure your realtor is fair with you.

     

    • Unethical Personalities

     

      1. Face Facts: Our market has felons and frauds operating businesses. You should ask what illegal background your realtor and their brokerage keep. Seriously.
      2. Schemers: People who regularly lie and cheat don’t check it at the door and they will use it against their own clients.

    Protect yourself but googling your realtor and their firm to see what climate is tolerated. ASK about any criminal charges or lawsuits.

     

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    • Hidden Defects.

     

        1. NEVER go without home inspections. Talk over the options before you hire your inspector and be sure to ATTEND inspections.
        2. Inspectors are a wealth of information, ask them typical ‘covering issues’ that they have heard about. Lots of times a home looks good initially, but after you move in there are issues that come to light: inspectors know common areas to closely examine that can shed light on potential problems the realtor/seller may have tried to hide.

     

    • Things that Cost You Money in the Long Run and Put You at Risk!

     

        1. Agents “Buying the Listing.” This is where one price is quoted to get the listing is not actually used to sell the home. The idea is to list it at a price higher than the home’s fair market value and then ask for a price reduction later. Usually this wastes time on the market and turns off an entire round of other realtors and buyers.
        2. Agents Referring to Special Lenders, Inspectors and Home Warranties.
          1. Most realtors have favorite lenders and warranty providers. The grey area is in the flip side. Ask them why and if they receive anything back at all. Most importantly, ask the lender or inspector’s how they protect YOUR best interest vs. the transaction closing and compare local charges.

     

    • Anything Less than Full Disclosure

     

      1. I’ve seen a ton of marketing claims that are either not true or grossly inflated. One example being that they will advertise a heavy online presence, when in truth they only utilize one or two websites for your home listing. Ask for active and recently sold properties as examples to research and read testimonials online.
      2. Some realtors take advantage of less business savvy or experienced buyers and sellers. They over charge or push paperwork too fast. Some even carry a cancellation fee! You should hesitate before signing anything that comes with a penalty for cancelling a contract with your agent.
      3. There is a BIG difference between unknown and not said. Many great home “deals” are due to serious problems that are being purposely hidden i.e. flooded basements or meth houses. Be sure you know exactly WHY a home is such a good deal before you dive in.
      4. Things like murder/suicide, drug busts or pedofiles are taboo. Your realtor should know the websites by heart where YOU can investigate this information for yourself at any time.
      5. Area Issues. Just because a home doesn’t have cracks doesn’t mean the area doesn’t have an alkali problem. Be sure to ask if you are not offered common area or builder issues and common reasons for resale.

    Thank you for reading!

     

    Rita Parker

    No Place Like Home
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  • Oil Prices and the Real Estate Market in Wyoming

     

    Everyone in Wyoming is affected by the oil market. Its effect on real estate prices is undeniable. We are definitely in one of the deepest downturns of the oil industry since the ’90s.  Let’s go over oil basics and then apply it to our market.

     

    It is important to note that oil is a strong indicator of home price trends, but it is just one factor of many.  Wyoming learned from ‘80s that the boom and bust cycle is brutal and we are fortunate as a state to have watch guard’s in place to maintain a more controlled market than I see nationally.

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    What is the current price of oil?

    The American benchmark was at around $27 a barrel on 1/20/16, same for Brent crude.

     

                    Why has the price of oil been dropping so fast? Why now?

    The simplest answer is production is higher than demand. However, many national interests are at play and it can be a controversial subject. All politics aside, it comes down to simple economics where production is still high and the demand hasn’t caught up. In 1996, world oil production was about 63 million a day and it is now at about 80 million barrels a day. Demand hasn’t followed the same increase so prices are affected adversely.

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    How bad is it out there? When are oil prices likely to recover?

    Prices are down about 60% since June 2014. An estimated 250,000 workers lost their jobs. Benchmark companies have decommissioned up to two-thirds of their rigs and exploration budgets have been slashed.

    General consensus is that it will be years before oil is back up $90-100/barrel. Oil prices are not likely come back up that high anytime soon. Oil production is not declining fast enough across the United States and other countries so there will still be a surplus. Historically the cycle varies greatly and in Wyoming, four to six years from peak to peak seems to be consistent.

    How do the low oil prices affect OUR market?

    Low oil means higher unemployment, voluntary reduction in hours or pay and, frankly, lower real estate prices in general. Home prices are trending down with location being one of the biggest factors. Ask me about your area and I will provide your trend and estimated home value. Most neighborhood values are running about 3% lower than 6 months ago but some areas are much worse.

     

    Oil field families have been hit hard with both job loss and decreasing home values and we hope they can persevere. We work hard for our clients to preserve their financial well being. We follow the teachings of Dave Ramsey and try to sell in historically strong resale districts. This means that even in hard times, current owners have the options to heavily trim a household budget, have a safety net of equity so there is room to sell or even rent to cover payments.

     

    Unfortunately, it does mean an increase in foreclosures and loan modifications. If you need help starting the process modify or refinance your mortgage, just ask.

     

    However, I see every market as room for opportunity. Down-trending markets are great for buyers since buying at low cost with low rates then holding the home until prices go back up is a REAL opportunity out there today. I see a lot of ‘get me out’ pricing that has nothing to do with the value of the home and everything to do with the owner’s need to get out of another payment. Loan rates are still around 4% or below–historically very low. When you couple motivated sellers, lower prices, and great rates– a savvy buyer can wait out the cycle and truly come out ahead. This also applies to those buyers looking to move up because the price hit on their lower priced home will be less than the savings on a higher priced home. (Think 3% of $150k vs. $250k) Meaning you can sell for less and still may come out ahead purchasing a more expensive home.

     

    If you have any questions or comments on oil and real estate, I’d love to hear from you. 

     

     

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  • Become an Expert on New Homes Hitting the Market

    Knowledge is power and early knowledge can offer you a distinct advantage, especially in our tight real estate market. Those who find the properties the quickest gain an edge by being the first to see new properties and thus the first to make offers. More often than not, having current market knowledge pays off.

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    Many buyers and sellers are not ready to actively tour homes yet but want to watch or research the market online. This article will review how you can leverage the property search on this website to quickly access the newest properties on the market and how to setup email alerts when new properties match your criteria for Casper, WY real estate and the surrounding areas. Of course, hiring an agent will make finding homes for you a top priority, but realistically you’ll start by doing your own research and browsing online first.

     

    It’s important begin by pointing out that my website offers you the MOST CURRENT, up-to-date property information available. In fact, the listing inventory on this site comes directly from the local MLS (Multiple Listings Service, which is used by every realtor for every property) and is updated every 2 minutes. Having access to the most current and accurate information means another advantage for you. Here are a few more advantages of using my website:

     

    • Home Page designed with New Homes in Mind. Simply scroll down to view the newest listings on the market. On every page, the floating right-hand column displays the five newest homes on the market. It is always a good idea regardless of if you are planning on buying, selling or your price range to be aware of all new listings. You can tell how many homes are coming to the market every few days and from this: how are the home inventory and prices doing across the whole market. Our main page popular search button “Newest Listings” is a great way to have a larger, fast list of the newest homes!
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    • Sort property results in chronological order. From the main search page, use a quick search or enter your desired search criteria. Usually this is by area like Casper or Bar Nunn, WY. This search is set by default to newest to oldest. You can also sort by other criteria such as price range, number of bedrooms or square footage.A Special Note About Foreclosures! I love potential equity for families and investors.
      Try out the Foreclosure Quick Search from the Home page to easily watch for them.
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    • Set up new listing email alerts.  Select one of the many Contact Us pages. We don’t require login or much information. Simply indicate what email to send an alert to and any criteria you are using. Be as detailed as you are comfortable. You will receive email notifications IMMEDIATELY whenever new listings hit the market that match your saved search criteria. An example is “email me when new listings hit the market from $100k to $175k.” The more you say the better the results such as, I’d like at least 3 bedrooms and an open layout.
      • OR, “I am interested in foreclosures.”
      • OR, “I own in Centennial Hills and want to watch home values.”
      • OR, “I love historic homes and just want to see Casper Classics.”

    These tools give you fast access to new listings as soon as they become available.
    Enjoy the power of being the first to know and happy house hunting!

  • Family Budgets Made Easy!

    Family Budgets Made Easy!

    Every step is designed to take 15-30 minutes. If you go over this time, most people will get overwhelmed so take breaks.

    • Gather ALL your financial documents. These are all of your bills and all of your bank statements. Ideally get the past three months. If you need to call and reorder: do it.
    • If you are married, even if one normally does the finances, Set a Date to Talk to Each Other. The goal of this is to make it a reoccurring event, ideally a weekly appointment, to make sure you both are agreeing with where you are and where you want to be.

    TIP: Make the time a positive sandwich: start with something positive like setting out a glass of wine to start things. End by writing down and pinning up something you both agree on. A goal like paying off the car or a trip can be an excellent picture reminder, too!

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    Decide how you want to organize information. Make sure it is agreeable with your partner. ALL budgets come down to this formula: Income Minus Fixed Expenses Minus Variable Expenses Equals Goal Money  Email me if you want a spreadsheet. I have ones that focus on different goals like debt reduction, down payment building, retirement and more.

      1. Basics require just paper and pencil.
      2. My online favorite home budget site is mint.com since it doesn’t sell you anything and is very mobile friendly.
    • SORT
      1. You have income. This is not only a paycheck, but any money that comes in. Track it and average the three month period. If you have a huge one-time bonus or tax return: set aside for advanced financial planning.
      2. You have bills. Sort into fixed and variable.
        1. Fixed are things that happen every month and can usually be placed on a plan with close to equal payments. Examples are: housing, electric, gas, water, cable, student loans, car payment and Credit Cards.
        2. Variable: these are everything else. Get a three month average. Examples on how to group are: Food, Gas for vehicles, Clothing (sub-sorted by person), Fast Food, Entertainment, and Miscellaneous. Variable expenses are where you can see room to change most easily.

    TIP: BE KIND-don’t judge your past actions, plan your future ones!

    • Set Three Goals
      1. Short-term: set a goal to change one thing, today-for the rest of the year
      2. Long-term: set a goal 5 years out
      3. Treat: Plan how you will reward yourself for sticking to you goals

     

    TIP: Sharing with someone, your husband, mother or confidential financial friend will help you be accountable and stay on track. My favorite starting goal is to start a savings account. Whether you’re ready to set aside 10% of your income, or just $5 a paycheck: saving takes effort and planning so get started.

     

    Top Suggestions: Short-term is cash savings. Even if you have debt, having a cushion creates safety, security and calmness to handle more of the ups and downs. Goal a savings plan now. Long-term depends on your debt. If you have $8k or more in unsecured debt-I would set paying it off within 5 years as your goal. If not, I’d focus on building wealth and that is very family specific. Lastly, reward yourself: from buying an awesome lipstick or favorite coffee to finally taking the family dream vacation-this is a must. If you give yourself permission to enjoy what you’ve work  hard to save, you’ll do it again and again!

     

    • Set Your Budget
      1. The hard part is done: you know what you are actually spending and know what you’d rather spend it on.
      2. Set two columns: Actual and Budget. Set your budget amounts. I strongly suggest spacing out changes and doing it one item per month at a time. Leave some room for error and guilt-free money for each of you. A great place to start is fast-food or entertainment overspending.
      3. Breakdown your budget into a monthly and weekly spread. Each week, face what you’ve actually done and record it against your budget. Talk with your partner. Are things better or worse than you expected? KEEP GOING! Budget, record, talk-until you feel like you are in total control of where you are and where you’re going.
      4. Make a section on ONE-TIME expenses. I have noticed that these seem to be the ones that cause damage. New tires? Crazy high medical bill? Vegas got away from you? Yep. Set up a one-time expense column and help yourself see the pattern of these expenses.

     

    • ASK FOR HELP
      1. Most people experience highs and lows in income but are very private about it. If you don’t know how to get through the month or how to build wealth on the money you have now: ask for help. You have a network of caring people right here that at least one has started where you are: connect and communicate. Please do not hesitate to call with any questions!

    Thank you,

    Rita Parker

    Broker/Owner

    307-247-0963 direct

    ritaparkersellshomes@gmail.com

     

     

  • Tips for Moving With Young Children

    moving-with-kids1

    We are a family company and that means we have firsthand knowledge of moving with young children! Here are some of my best tips to make your move go more smoothly!  

    1. Prepare kids for what to expect.Young children might not have a good understanding of what the term “moving” really means. Explain to them exactly what will happen, and take the time to read some age-appropriate books about moving together. My personal fav is the Berenstain Bear’s Moving Day.

    2. Let the kids help you pack.If they’re old enough, let your children help you pack some of their personal belongings. Even at a young age, kids can sort their toys and help you wrap objects in tissue paper or bubble wrap. If you’ll be putting some things into storage, ask them what they would like to keep and what they don’t mind parting with for a while. Let them decorate a box for the last items to pack, and first items to unpack. Keep it with your child to help them understand that everything, not just them or this one box is making the trip to the new home. Visual reassurances can go a long way for young folks!
    3. Don’t rush yourself.It’s hard to accomplish any task quickly with small children under foot. Give yourself lots of time to plan and execute your move.
    4. Take kids’ concerns seriously.Feelings are feelings and it is natural to be stressed during a move. Even toddlers can verbalize at least some of what they’re feeling, and older children will probably have lots of questions and concerns. Always treat kids’ feelings wth respect, even when you can’t accomodate their requests.
    5. Time your move.Sometimes, circumstances dictate when you have to move. But, if you have a choice, try to time your move so that it occurs at a relatively calm period in your child’s life. Between school years or avoiding big change years should be taken into consideration when possible.
    6. Pull out the pull-ups.If you’ll be traveling by car or plane with a recently potty-trained toddler or pre-schooler, think about putting them in a pull-up for the duration of your trip. A little regression is a common issue due to the stress of moving. Be patient.
    7. Pack a special bag of treasures.I like to have this bag in the box that stays with your child for the entire move. Keep busy bags and comfort items just make sense for this transition. One treasure trick that helped me on a long distance move was buying some new toys a second hand store. I’d pass a new toy every day of the trip so the novelty of it can give me extra time and never had to worry if it got lost, broken or forgotten.
    8. Pack one box of toys last.Your children are going to need things to do right up until the time you move out of your home.  Number each box and let them mark it up or stick ducktape or stickers on all their boxes. It will make them easy to identify when you unpack, and allow them to have some control over their personal items. Throwing out a bunch of stuff may seem tempting but skip it: cull when you unpack and you’ll gain some trust.  Don’t make the mistake of packing all the toys up first because you’ll be left with bored children who just might drive you crazy.
    9. Label boxes of kids’ stuff very clearly.The day will come when you find yourself digging through boxes looking for the toy that they absolutely have to play with right now. Do yourself a favor; don’t just label boxes with the word “toys.” Include as much detail about what is in the box as you can because, trust me, you won’t remember.
    10. Make it an adventure.Moving creates upheaval in your life, and wreaks havoc on your child’s normal routine anyway, so take advantage and let your kids do things you normally wouldn’t. Maybe let them stay up late or have treats you don’t normally allow. I straight bribe my kids with candy when we are moving. You do what you have to do.
    11. Keep extra clothes handy.Kids make messes. Constantly. So make sure you keep lots of extra clothes close at hand during your move, because you never know when they’ll be needed. I’ve also found it helpful to keep extra ziploc bags on hand since since you might not have access to a washing machine during your actual move.
    12. Use a cooler.At some point before you move, you will have to unplug your refrigerator and empty your pantry. This can make it difficult to feed your kids, so I’ve found a cooler to be a lifesaver.
    13. There’s a Shop on every corner.There’s so much to prepare for during a move that it’s impossible to think of everything. Chances are good that you’re going to forget something, so cut yoursef some slack. A corner store is a fast stop so it’s a good time to take the easy way: just buy more and get on with your day for common stuffs you might run out of like extra diapers, snacks, bandaids, and Rx refills.
    14. Maintain familiar routines.Once you’re in your new home, some things will have to change. But try to maintain the aspects of your life that are most important to your kids. Stick to familiar bedtime routines and eating times. Again this allows for a consistent calm in the chaos of the move.
    15. Reassure kids that you are a constant in their life.When young kids lose the security of a home they’ve always known, they can become insecure about losing other important things in their life, too. Don’t forget to reassure them that, even when homes and friends have to change, you will always be there for them.
    16. Make a big deal about all the exciting new things you can do.A new home means new friends and new opportunities. Get out and explore all the cool new attractions that you can visit if you’re in a new city, or take advantage of all the neat things your new home has to offer that your old home didn’t.
    17. Invest in postcards.Postcards are a great way to stay connected to friends and family back home. Kids will be proud to show off their new home, and even young children who can’t write yet can draw a picture to send to loved ones. Pre-address a few to make it easy to send along the way.
    18. Make it feel like home.Take your time unpacking, but also make it a priority to hang or display some of your cherished and familiar personal items as soon as possible. Familiar things will help to make a new house feel like home for both you and your children.
    19. Help them plan their room If you let them pick a new bed set, paint color or curtain, they have something to look forward to. If your child visits the home before you move in, help build the excitement by talking to them in their new space. I am big kid so I like to greet the room and show it some loves! I usually twirl or spin kids in all that open room and the giggles just bless the space.
    20. Keep the moving boxes as long as possible.Once you’ve unpacked, you’ve got to keep the moving boxes for your kids. The make awesome tunnels and forts, and will keep them entertained for hours! My favorite is a homemade gingerbread house. You simply cannot add enough frosting!