OKC’s Most Chill Treats

It is a typical summer day in Oklahoma. Over 90 degrees and the sun feels like it’s specifically hovering over you alone. Your air conditioner is acting like it has an upper respiratory issue by the way it’s wheezing and you may have a sun burn just by even thinking about stepping on your porch. It’s so hot out that your taste buds are sweating. Well sweat no more because we have a set of the coolest treats that melt in your mouth and chill your core.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-1-rasapados hawaiian

Raspado’s Hawaiian is a snow cone that will satisfy the sweet and sour side of you. These treats are all natural fruit flavors with over 40 options. This cup of heaven comes complete with actual chunks of fruit, chamoy syrup, and a tamarind candy covered straw, which are scientifically considered all the flavors of a flawless summer. If milkshakes are more of your taste style then order an obispos, which is shaved ice in choices of mango, strawberry, pineapple, and banana topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream to create a creamy dream.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-2-Trailer Trash Treatz

This one is a little off the beaten path, but if you’re a snow cone connoisseur then this will be just another glorious adventure that you can add to your Yelp review collection. Trailer Trash Treatz will surpass its name and your expectations.

Pick from almost 50 flavors of snow and order it “trashy” for an extra sweet surprise. Dig to the center of the cone to discover ice cream and a slice of cheesecake. Three, yes three, of America’s favorite desserts in one cup. With two locations in Yukon and Choctaw, this small chain is changing the way people think about cones of snow.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-3 Organic Squeeze

Now you’re staring at your kids in envy with their trashy feasts and candied fruit cups. A dreaded four letter word is holding you back from tearing into one like a rabid polar bear…diet. Organic Squeeze has got your back. You can indulge without the guilt. They have made from scratch Squeeze Pops crafted with the finest organic ingredients. Enjoy unique flavors such as Orange Ginger Pineapple or Berry Cream made with Himalayan salt. Kids can also enjoy a healthy snack because when they complete the “no soda challenge” for one week they get a free Squeeze Pop. Double the yum for the price of one.


MB_0050_17JulyB6-4-revolucion

It’s been a rough sweltering day, right? A little time out is in order. Sneak away to Revolución for an adult snow day that will make you feel like you’re in a winter wonderland for a minute. This boozy beverage is named a Cannonball and for good reason. It will blow away all your problems. A frozen margarita topped with a sangria snowball. Those red and greens are like Christmas in July.

Now go treat yourself.

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NEVER LEAVE YOUR BACKYARD AGAIN

When your barbecue just isn’t bringing the guests to your shindig, you need to up your entertainment game. Some good old fashion competition should rile up your audience. Here is some backyard business that everyone can get on board with. Now let’s get the ball rolling…


MB_0045_17JulyB5-1yardzee

Yard-zee is an oversized version of the classic dice game your grandparents used to make you play when you were young and they’d beat you every time. You’ll have a blast wrestling a large bucket to “shake” your dice in and chasing your steroidal cubes all over the lawn. When tired of all that winning, you can switch to Farkle, another household favorite with a questionable name. Now that you’re an adult, you can beat your children, nieces, and nephews. Maybe let them win just once to show good sportsmanship…Nahhhh.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-2cornhole

Corn Hole is a personal favorite at my house. There is nothing like getting a group of family together for a tournament. The rules are fairly simple; just toss your corn bag across the yard in attempt to make it into the hole. Don’t judge. It’s harder than it sounds. Make sure everyone is playing by the same set of rules with a unbiased score keeper in order to prevent major family rifts that end with not talking to Aunt Sally for months. Then when all is said and done the winner is named Corn King or Queen. Okay, so its not a fetching title but your family won’t forget who won the year of 2017. Boo-yah.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-3race

To put a twist on the traditional “Potato Sack Race” and “Three-legged Race,” go to a local thrift store and buy four to six of the largest sets of jeans or pants you can find. Each person will slip inside a pant leg in teams to work together to hop across the finish line. Kids and adults alike will not be able to stop laughing by how silly this game is. Goofy? Yes. Fun? Absolutely. The videos will go viral on YouTube.


MB_0045_17JulyB5-4bowling

The sun is going down, but no one is ready to end the fun. After all, now that it’s evening it is the perfect summer temperature. That’s when you break out the Glow in the Dark Bowling. Take small bottles for children or two-liter bottles for adults then fill with water and place glow sticks in them. Grab your favorite basketball or soccer ball and you have a rager of an evening. A great way to end the night and you’ll gain brownie points with your Grandpa who’s in a professional bowler’s league. The summer fun has just begun.

 

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The OKC Bucket List: Outdoor Escapades and Eats

 

Having trouble beating the summer bummers? These entertaining activities will keep you from losing your mind and your tan line. Oklahoma is a thriving community in the summer season so relax and let the fun divert all your cares.

 


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Wheeler-Park-OKC

1. Reach Great Heights. On the Wheeler District’s Ferris Wheel you can get an amazing view of the river and downtown. The Wheel was bought on Ebay and originally stood on California’s Santa Monica Pier. The district often has food trucks and festivals for your dining pleasure. Only $6 per ride makes for an affordable memory. We recommend going at night for a romantic evening gaze of a sparkling skyline, still flowing waters and an Oklahoma sunset. Ahhhh.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Insomnia-Cookies

2. Get Insomnia. The one time it may benefit you to get insomnia is to go to Insomnia Cookies. They have a variety of desserts including cookies, brownies and ice cream. If your blood sugar is especially low then you’ll want to indulge in a Deluxe Cookiewich to satisfy the craving. The best part about this fine establishment is that they are open until 3am, not to mention that they deliver. So you can feel good about not being able to sleep.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Spokies

3. Embark on a Ride. Spokies is Oklahoma City’s only bike sharing system. You can glide through traffic without having to worry about pesky parking. On your ride, you’ll be able to tour Downtown, Midtown and historic neighborhoods from its eight locations around town. For a small fee, you can ride for 30 minutes or get a pass that allows hourly use. Embark wanted to provide eco-friendly and affordable transit to those in need of fun and fast transportation.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Riversport-OKC

4. Sport About. The Boathouse District contains an exciting day for the family. Riversport Adventures is hours of thrills with water rafting, zip lines, rope courses, tubing, kayaking and slides. This will not disappoint the adventure seekers in your group. You can choose from a day or season pass or even a single experience for the more serene adventurer.


MB_0017_17JuneB2-Martin_Park_Nature_Center

5. Reconnect with Nature. Do you miss the forests but are stuck in the city? Martin Nature Center is where you should be. Tucked away in Oklahoma City is this amazing reserve. Several trails will take you over a river, past prairie dogs, and up to a bird observation center. It is the perfect place to trick yourself into thinking that you’re hiking a National State Park. Looking is free. Try not to take home a prairie dog though.


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The decision to FSBO could cost you!

Some homeowners opt to sell their residence without a real estate agent to get around paying a commission and make more of the profit. Forty-eight percent of people who sell without a real estate agent think that if they sell themselves, they’ll end up doing a little extra work in exchange for not paying a commission or closing fee. According to the research, however, what they actually get is a lot of time spent hustling to make the sale and a final selling price that is less than what the market can bear.

Do you have a lot of extra time to market your home and do all the work to meet and greet properly? Are you versed in local trends on the housing market and know the latest regulations for closing a sale? Do you have a list of potential buyers ready to view your home? Eighty-nine percent of all homes sold in 2015 were sold with the assistance of an experienced real estate professional, according to the 2015 Home Buyers and Sellers Profile. Most leave it to the professionals, yet there is still a small group of people who prefer to do it themselves. Eight percent of home sellers chose to list themselves, known as For-Sale-By-Owners (FSBO) home sales. That number has steadily declined since 2004 where only 82 percent of all home sales were agent-assisted and 14 percent of homes were listed FSBO. FSBO sales are currently at an all-time low since data collection began in 1981.

Let’s break it down further. Thirty-eight percent of all FSBOs—that’s only three percent of the total home sales in 2015—were homes sold to people where the buyer knew the seller selling to a friend, neighbor, or family member. However, 62 percent of FSBO home sales—five percent of total homes sold—were sold by the owner to someone they didn’t know. According to the 2015 Home Buyers and Sellers Profile report, sellers cited creating yard sings, listing their homes online on multiple websites, spreading the news through word of mouth, putting out classified ads, displaying on social media, hosting an open house, and registering with the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database. That’s a lot of work just on marketing and finding potential buyers.F

The time it takes to sell a home on the market was roughly the same for FSBOs and for agent-assisted homes, the median time listed was four weeks for both groups. A third of all homes were sold in less than two weeks last year. Most FSBO homes sales were located in a resort area (16 percent), rural area (15 percent), or a small town (13 percent). Seventy-five percent of FSBO sales were detached single-family homes. Ten percent were mobile or manufactured homes. FSBOs typically had lower incomes than those who worked with an agent. The median income of FSBOs was $84,000 and for those who sold through an agent was $105,600. Those who sell themselves have the perception that they have less money to pay for assistance when selling their home and opt to go it alone.

As it turns out, FSBO make less money on their home sales than buyers who work with a real estate agent. According to the report, the median selling price for all FSBO homes was $210,000 last year. When the buyer knew the seller in FSBO sales, the number plunges to the median selling price of $151,900. For homes sold with the assistance of an agent, the median selling price was $249,000 ̶ almost $40,000 more for the typical home sale. According to NAR’s 2015 Member Profile, sixty-nine percent of all real estate agents get paid by a percentage commission split between two agents representing the buyer and seller.

Talk to an agent and find out what they suggest for the commission and then do the math yourself. The closing price for the agent-assisted seller is likely going to be way above an FSBO. In reality, homes sold by the owner make less money overall. Based on these closing numbers, why not save yourself time and make more money by working with a real estate agent that is excited to sell your home?

Home owners believe it’s a good time to sell: read why!

Fifty-two percent of home owners say now is a good time to sell in their neighborhood. This is up from 34 percent who said so last year, according to a survey conducted by the real estate brokerage Redfin.

What’s more, 58 percent of home owners believe sellers have more power than buyers in the market right now. Redfin researchers note this is nearly the highest level of seller confidence they’ve recorded.

The top reasons sellers say they want to sell now:

  • I want a larger or nicer home: 40%
  • I am relocating to a new city: 24%
  • I want to pull out my profit: 21%
  • I want a smaller or less expensive home: 20%
  • I have had a change in family status: 19%
  • I want to move to a better school district: 15%

“Many move-up buyers have told me they are buying now to take advantage of low mortgage rates,” says William Porterfield, a real estate professional with Redfin in Little Rock, Ark. “Buyers are trying to get as much home as possible before rates rise.”

Still, some Americans expressed concerns about selling, mainly about finding a new home to buy when they sell their own.

The following were Americans’ top concerns about selling:

  • I might not find another home I want: 30%
  • Prices might fall before I sell: 26%
  • I might not find another home I can afford: 25%
  • General economic conditions might discourage buyers: 23%
  • The appraisal might come in low: 19%

Pricing Matters

When it comes to setting the price for their home, 55 percent of home owners say they will price in the middle range based on comparable sales. However, 19 percent of home owners said they would price high, citing that negotiation is inevitable. Also, 12 percent of home owners said they would price high because if the market didn’t value their home, they would wait until it did.

“While we’re noticing a shift among sellers in terms of their confidence in getting their homes sold quickly and for good prices, it’s up to the agent as their advocate to keep their expectations grounded and recommend a pricing strategy that is most likely to get the best value for their home,” says Sascha Gummersbach, a Redfin real estate agent in Atlanta. “A seller’s market doesn’t grant home owners a license to skip things like valuable upgrades, home staging or setting a price based on comparable homes in their neighborhood.”

The features active first time home buyers are looking for!

Mid-Atlantic real estate professionals are bullish on the housing market this spring, particularly due to the growing number of first-time home buyers entering the market.

In its 2016 Mid-Atlantic Housing Market Survey, MRIS – one of the nation’s largest multiple listing services – found that 57 percent of nearly 750 real estate professionals recently surveyed expect this spring to be busier than last year. The majority of the respondents cited low mortgage rates as the main reason they believe buyers will act faster this year than last year.

Eighty-eight percent of respondents predict there will be more first-time buyers this year too. With that growth, how do you appeal to first-time buyers with your listings? Respondents rated the following home features as the most important to first-time home buyers:

  1. Updated kitchen and bath: 81%
  2. An open floor plan: 59%
  3. Low-maintenance features: 43%
  4. Walkable communities: 36%
  5. Energy efficiency: 20%
  6. Strength of cell phone service or WiFi: 19%

Home Appraisal 101!

Appraisals estimate a home’s value with fresh eyes

Just because you and the sellers have agreed on a price doesn’t mean it’s a done deal—your lender needs to be on board, too. After all, it’s the lender’s investment as well.

Enter stage left: The appraiser.

While the process is somewhat similar to getting comps—as you did to determine a fair price—appraisers delve in much farther to determine the home’s exact value.

They’ll investigate the condition, the square footage, location, and any additions or renovations. Another key difference is that when you looked at the comps, you were probably hoping for a specific outcome—perhaps even some flaw that you could use as a bargaining chip to lower the price.

Appraisers, on the other hand, are trained to be unbiased, says Adam Wiener, the founder of Aladdin Appraisal in Auburndale, MA. “I don’t care what anybody wants the home to be worth,” he says.“I’ll give you the answer. You may not like it, but it’s the answer.”

You’ll get a copy of the appraisal, too

Appraisers set out to determine if the home is actually worth what you’re planning to pay. You might be surprised how little time that takes; they could be in and out of a home in 30 minutes, and that’s not a reason to panic. Appraisers aren’t home inspectors, who examine every little detail. While they’ll pay particular attention to problems with the foundation and roof, appraisers also note the quality and condition of the appliances, plumbing, flooring, and electrical system. With data in hand, they make their final assessment and give their report to the lender. The mortgage company is then required by law to give a copy of the appraisal to you.

Appraisers work for your lender—not you

As the buyer, you’ll be paying for the appraisal. In most cases, the fee is wrapped into your closing costs and will set you back only $300 to $400. However, just because you pay doesn’t mean you’re the client.

“My client is the lender, not the buyer,” Wiener says. This ensures that appraisers remain ethical—in fact, it’s a crime to coerce or put any pressure on an appraiser to hit a certain value. Appraisers must remain independent. “Anything less, and public trust in the appraisal is lost,” says Wiener.

They protect buyers from a bad deal

In essence, an appraisal is meant to protect you (and the lender) from a bad purchase. For instance: If the appraisal comes in higher than your asking price, it’s generally fine. Sure, the sellers could decide they want more money and would rather put their home back on the market, but in most cases, the deal will go through as expected.

If your appraisal comes in lower than what you offered, this is where things get tricky: Your lender won’t pony up more money than the appraised price. So if you and the sellers agree on $125,000 but the appraisal comes in at $105,000, it creates a $20,000 shortfall. What’s a buyer to do? Read on.

A curveball appraisal isn’t necessarily the end

If the appraisal comes in low and your contract with the seller was contingent on an appraisal, you could walk away and have your earnest money returned. If you prefer to buy the home anyway (or waived your appraisal contingency), there are some other paths you can pursue:

  • Come up with the extra cash to cover the difference between the appraisal and offer price
  • Ask the seller to cover the difference
  • Challenge the appraisal and pay for a second opinion.

Keep in mind, though, that your new report could come out identical. Also keep in mind that if you do choose to walk away, that’s actually good news, although it may not seem like it at the time. Why? Because the appraisal kept you from paying too much for your home.

Once your appraisal is done, you’re still not ready to close without an inspection. Often the most nerve-racking part of the process, the inspection can reveal deal-breaking flaws like mold, foundation problems, and roofing issues. Learn how to survive the inspection in the next installment of our Home-Buying Guide next week.

Quick and permanent fixes for scratched wood floors!

THE PROBLEM:

High-heel dent
THE FIX: If the heel left an impression without breaking the surface, you can steam it out. Fold a damp dish towel into quarters and lay it over the dent. Set a hot iron on the towel and turn on the STEAM function. After about a minute, check your progress. The steam should cause the wood to swell and even out the dented portion. If necessary, sand smooth and refinish to match the surrounding area. Warning: Steam can turn some floor finishes white, so test this method on a hidden part of the floor first.

THE PROBLEM:

Doggie nail marks
THE FIX: For shallow pet scratches, rub a small amount of tinted paste wax directly into the spot with a clean, soft rag. Let the wax dry, then buff the scratch and the surrounding area so that they blend seamlessly. If your floors have a darker stain, use a paste wax formulated for dark woods, such as walnut.

THE PROBLEM:

Dragged-credenza gouge
THE FIX: For a deep scratch that reveals bare wood, use fine-grit paper, working with the grain, to sand the scratch. Rub mineral spirits over the sanded area to pick up any fine dust. Using a plastic putty knife, fill the scratch with stainable wood filler. When dry, carefully sand away the excess with fine-grit paper. Stain to match your floors, then reseal the spot with polyurethane.

Selling or just decluttering this Spring? A storage space may be your answer!

You might think the easiest way to declutter your home is to shove everything into the closets. Bad idea: Anyone who tours your home is going to check out the storage spaces, and disorganized, overstuffed closets only serve as evidence that your home is lacking. Opt instead for a storage unit to house the things you won’t need while your home is on the market. The general rule? Get rid of a third of your stuff. “If you don’t use it every day, store it,” says Justin Seeby, principal at the Graham Seeby Group with Keller Williams Intown Realty in Atlanta, GA. Holiday decorations, baby gear, seasonal clothes, that bread maker you’ve never used — they can all go into storage. Bonus: If you choose a portable unit, it can be transported to your new home, making moving day a cinch.

A great Real Estate Photo is a difference maker!

Get Great Photographs

The average buyer spends less than a minute looking at listings online before deciding whether to see a home in person. With such a tight time frame, it’s imperative that your home be represented at its best through great photos. While your agent will probably have a process for this, there are a few things you can do to make the task a little easier.

First, clean your home. Dust particles and other microscopic materials can show up on photographs and distract viewers. You can minimize that risk by giving the rooms in your home a good scrub-down beforehand. Then, right before the photographs are taken, walk through the rooms to put away any clutter.