Friday, November 30, 2012

Santa Has Been Spotted in Warner Robins!

Santa has been spotted, and he is making the rounds of Houston County in the next couple weeks.  It looks like our community is ready to welcome him with lots of Decked Halls and Jingling Bells!

This Saturday is the day for parades!  Warner Robins, Perry and Centerville will be marching all day!  The 55th Annual Robins Regional Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade will be Saturday, December 1, starting at 10 am. The parade will commence at the intersection of Watson Blvd. and Houston Road. Local artist and rising Nashville star Colby Dee will be this year's Grand Marshal. Bundle up and head on out for a fun morning!  Later in the day, bring the family out to Perry to enjoy Christmas at the Square in Downtown Perry on Carroll Street, on Saturday, December 1. The Christmas Parade starts at 4 pm, and runs from Main Street down Gen. C. Hodges Blvd. Centerville will host their Annual Lighted Christmas Parade a bit later at 7:00pm, and should commence close to the new library on Gunn Road. 

The Perry Area Historical Museum will host an "Old Fashioned Christmas" at the museum on Saturday, December 1, from 1:00-3:00. The museum is located at 901 Northside Drive in Perry. Come enjoy a delightful old- fashioned Christmas with friends at the Perry Museum. The event will be hosted by characters from Perry's yesteryears, showcase a special Christmas exhibit, provide carolers for a Christmas sing-a-long, and teach the children how to make Christmas crafts. There is no admission charge and refreshments will be served. For more information, go to their website:

The second annual HODAC Christmas Tour of Homes will be held on Sunday, December 2, from 2-6 pm. There will be six beautifully decorated homes in Statham's Landings Subdivision. There are lots of great door prizes and raffle items available again this year. Tickets are $20 in advance, or $25 the day of the Tour. You can purchase your tickets at any of the following locations: Hodac on Watson Blvd., Golden Key Realty on S. Houston Lake Road, SunTrust Bank on Watson Blvd., SunTrust Bank on Hwy 96, SunTrust Bank on Houston Lake Road, Phillip's Furniture on Watson Blvd., and the Landings Golf Club Pro Shop. Tickets are $20.00 before the tour and $25.00 the day of the tour. All proceeds to benefit HODAC, Inc. founded in 1971, which provides education, prevention and intervention programs and services that impact the health and welfare of Georgia citizens locally and throughout the state.

Also on Sunday, December 2, at 6 pm, come back to Perry for the traditional Lighting of the Christmas Tree and storefronts by the Perry Players Lamplighter. Free hot chocolate, free Picture at the Manger, and more.

Santa will be at Golden Key Realty on Saturday, December 8, from 2-4 pm. Come see what Mrs. Claus and her elves have in store for the kiddos this year!  They have lots of games, activities, and refreshments you won't want to miss!  Great photo opp to include in your Christmas cards this year! Golden Key Realty is located at 526 S. Houston Lake Road, Warner Robins, GA.  

Christmas on Carroll in Perry is Saturday, December 8, with stores and restaurants keeping extended hours.....6-8 pm. This is another chance to Shop Small, supporting and keeping our small businesses thriving in our community.

The Perry Players Community Theater will perform "Southern Hospitality" at the theater located at 909 Main Street in Perry. Shows are December 7-9 and December 12-16 at 7:30 pm. Sunday matinees will be performed at 2:30 on December 9th and 16th. The play is a sequel to last years hilarious show "Christmas Belles" with everyone's beloved characters, and introducing some new ones, too! The favorite Futrelle sisters are back in a whole new mess! This time, their beloved hometown of Fayro, Texas is on the verge of extinction, so the sisters have to band together in a desperate attempt to save it.  Along with all the despaire, add an engagement, full blown mid-life crisis, a Civil War battle reenactment and a dead body.  The combination is sure to be a  hilarious good time! For more information and/or to get tickets, click on the link to the Perry Players website

Runners and 10k-ers, grab your shoes and come out to Lane Southern Orchards on Sunday, December 9 for The Pecan Tree 10.4K. Start time is 3:04 pm, with registration starting at 2:04 pm. The race will be run through the pecan groves and along smooth, dirt roads. The proceeds from the race go to support GA 4-H and Peach County 4-H.

The Museum of Aviation will host their most popular workshop of the season: Science with Santa. Geared toward kids from pre-K through 5th grade, participants will perform a wide-range of experiments with a holiday theme. Since Santa loves science too, he will also be there to take pictures with each student. Come join Santa, December 20, 9 am to 12 pm. Cost is $30.  To register, go to the Museum of Aviation's website and go to the event calendar and educational events to pull up the registration form.

Have a festive time this month!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

What Do You and Warren Buffett Have in Common?

I am in a small ladies investment club that meets monthly. We each have a stock that we study and report on each month, as well as reporting on any good information we have found on stocks worth considering for purchase. Yesterday, as I was reviewing the news of the stock market, I stumbled upon an article on Warren Buffett. I say I “stumbled”, but I actually Google him every month to see what he is doing, and if he has done anything notable. I like to learn from successful people, and when you are looking at improving your financial health, he is a good one to follow. The surprising thing I learned about this man is that he seems to be remarkably normal: He has a favorite chair with a stack a books piled up next to it that he refers to and reads daily, he reads several newspapers every day and he eats ICE CREAM for breakfast! But when I hear the word “billionaire”, I think of an untouchable celebrity that lives in a mansion, drives an expensive car, and has a different Rolex for every day of the week. However, for this billionaire, what I found out is that he has lived in the same house for over 60 years. He bought his current home in 1958 for $31,500. He drives a 6 or 7 year old car. And, he reads a LOT. Interestingly, a good amount of the information he acquires is from the internet. FREE information, which he would gladly pay half his net worth just to have the information available.

We had a wonderful sales meeting this week at Golden Key Realty. My broker, Gwen Giles, does an exceptional job sharing good advice with her agents, and this week was awesome. Her ideas are practical and easy to implement, if you will just follow up and do as she suggests. The best information in the world won't do you any good if you don't do anything with it! If you refuse good advice, your plans will fail. But if you take good counsel, you can watch them succeed! The bottom line for this week's sales meeting, in summary: READ. Every day. Pick up a book and read 10 pages every day. Not the fluff-stuff, the trashy novel, or latest celebrity magazine. Pick up a good non-fiction book that will help improve your business, whether your business is selling real estate in central Georgia, flying a C-17 for the United States Air Force or building and leading a high-performing team to have a successful Black Friday sale!

I love to read. I always have. I have stacks of books in my office. I have stacks of books on my bedside table. I have a Kindle in my purse that I pull out when I am stuck in traffic, waiting on an appointment or sitting at a home inspection. I love that we have such easy access to so much information! As I read through the daily Facebook posts this month of Thanksgiving, I enjoy reading the shared blessings and thanks of my internet friends. I realize how thankful I am for all that I have and all that is yet to be. But I am also thankful for the basic foundation I got in Kindergarten: Reading, writing and arithmetic; skills that allow me to absorb and use the loads of available information and apply it everywhere. I am especially thankful that I learned how to multiply double-digits in the 70's. If I had to learn it using today's math, I would never get out of 5th grade!

So I want to leave you with a recommendation of one of my favorite books, The Millionaire Next Door: The Surprising Secrets of America's Wealthy by Thomas Stanley and William Danko. In these times of economic struggle, it is a good read for anyone that wants to learn some good, practical financial tips. You might be surprised who could be living next door!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Affordable Care Act

I have had several people ask lately about the Affordable Care Act that is part of the new health care bill that goes into effect January 1, 2013.  The question is: Does the new law impose a 3.8 percent tax on profits from the sale of my home?
The answer is, no, with just a few exceptions. The new 3.8% tax will apply to the “unearned” income of “High Income” taxpayers. “Unearned” income is earnings from capital investments, such as capital gains, rental income, dividends and interest income.  The taxable portion of the unearned income that is subject to both income and the new Medicare tax is the amount of income gained from these sources, minus expenses associated with earning that income.  "High income" is considered as those with individual incomes over $200,000, or $250,000 for couples that file their taxes jointly. 
The sale must net a PROFIT of $250,000 in the sale of your PERSONAL residence, or the first $500,000 for married couples, in order to incur 3.8 percent tax.  Again, only those with Adjusted Gross Incomes (AGI) over $200,000 per year (or $250,000 for couples filing jointly) will be subject to the tax.   With these high figures, very few people will be affected. But don’t think that those with incomes over $200,000 ($250,000) are automatically taxed:  It still won’t apply unless the PROFITS from the sale of the PRIMARY RESIDENCE are $250,000 or more ($500,000 for married couples).  According to the Internal Revenue Service, in order to qualify for the $250,000 ($500,000) exclusion, you must be the owner of the home, and have lived in it as your primary residence for at least two years out of five years prior to the sale of the property. This exclusion does NOT apply to vacation homes or rental properties.  Using the September 2012 national median sales price of $183,900, as reported by the National Association of Realtors, you can see the vast majority of homeowners will not be affected, since the sale of a $183,900 home could not possibly generate a $250,000 profit.
If you have questions, or would like to discuss the sale of your property, I would be happy to help.  Please give me a call at 478-973-2684 or send me an email at:

Friday, November 2, 2012

I'm a Leader. Unless It's Dark. Then You Go First!

Halloween brings out the creepies, ghosts, and goblins!  Haunted houses have us paying to be scared senseless. But as I was driving to a listing appointment yesterday, I had to laugh about a memory of a creepy house that a client wanted to see, years ago, before I moved to Georgia.
As a brand newly licensed Realtor® in the State of Tennessee, I was eager to please my clients, willing to go the extra mile in order to find them a perfect, new home.  Little did I know, the “extra mile” was going to take me on a 10-county house-hunting expedition!
While I was an agent in Tennessee, my keypad gave me access to every lock box in the state---I had no limits to where I could sell properties, as long as I was willing to make the drive.  I lived in Knoxville, but if someone wanted to see a property in Memphis, I could show it to them.  Now, of course, I wouln't go to that extreme-I would simply refer a client to a Memphis agent.  But you get the idea.  The advantage was that if we had clients that wanted to see properties in outlying counties, it wasn’t a problem.
I was working with my second client as a Realtor®, and I was ready to impress them with my knowledge of the area and newly-learned skills I had gotten in the classroom.  I was ready to give them a tour of Knoxville, but they wanted to see properties in remote locations, as well.  They weren’t particular about what county they lived; they just wanted it to be rural, with privacy and acreage.  They were fine with a house that needed some repairs:  They were cash buyers, so my search required no limits as to whether the house was a fixer-upper or not.  I went to work searching for properties in their price-range, with the minimum required acreage and house that was suitable for the needs of their family.  In order to have several properties for them to consider, they asked me not to limit the search by county.  The search ended up with properties expanding across 10-counties:  Knox, Blount, Anderson, Morgan, Sevier, Roane, Grainger, Union, Loudon and Jefferson counties. 
Now, in the life of a real estate professional, you never know what each new day will bring, which is one of the things most appealing about being in the business.  It is also one of the things that causes the most anxiety….but can make for some great stories!  So, here goes:
We traveled through Knox County. We searched high and low in Loudon County, and a few places in Blount County with elevations that made our ears pop. We drove up hills in Sevier County that made my brakes rebel and smoke on the way back down.  In spite of the miles racking up on the odometer, I was still good with it.  I was driving a Ford Expedition that was going through gas like water, but I was bound and determined to make sure my clients were well taken care of.  (I even had a cooler of bottled water and a basket of snacks in the back seat in case anyone needed refreshment!)
The day was coming to an end, and they wanted to see one more…..The one they thought for sure was,  “The One.”  It was located in an unincorporated town in Morgan County called, Petros.  (Pronounced Pee-Tross.)  Petros, at one time, was a coal mining town, and the home of Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary (which closed in 2009).  The movie, October Sky, filmed several coal mine and town scenes in Petros. 
To give you a little history and to set the stage for the showing that night…..Brushy Mountain State Penitentiary is an old prison that opened in 1896.  The original prison was a wooden structure, but was later replaced in the 1920s with a castle-like building constructed from stone mined by prisoners from a rock quarry on the property.  As of 2008 Brushy Mountain was the oldest operating prison in Tennessee.
The prison is almost completely surrounded by rugged wooded terrain in a remote section of the Cumberland Plateau. Escape attempts were infrequent and almost always unsuccessful. The best-known escape attempt occurred on June 10, 1977, when James Earl Ray, the assassin of Martin Luther King Jr., escaped by climbing over a fence, along with six other inmates.  Ray was captured less than two days later in a rugged mountain terrain less than three miles from the prison.
In its final years of operation, Brushy Mountain had a capacity of 584 inmates, of all custody levels.  It kept a maximum security designation due to the ninety six bed maximum security annex within the prison walls. These ninety six beds were used to house the states most troublesome inmates.
So this is where the house was that my clients wanted to see:  In Petros, TN. They were ready to buy, and I was ready to write an offer!  So setting aside all sense fear and anxiety and putting on a confident face, we headed up to Morgan County to find that the house had no electricity turned on, and the sun was well on its way down behind the hills.  We were soon to be in the dark…..In Morgan County…..Where James Earl Ray had escaped from the pen back in the day.  No problem. I can do this. These being my earlier, less experienced days, I didn’t have a “tool kit” put together that held all the tools of the trade I now keep in my car, such as a flashlight.  But since it was dusk, we could still see a bit from the outside.  The INSIDE of the house was another story.  For some reason, all the windows in the house were covered with wrapping paper, so no light was able to come through the windows.  The walls were paneled throughout the house, adding to the darkness of the building.  We pretty much had to feel our way through the house as our eyes adjusted to the lack of light.  I kept telling myself, “It’s fine…What are you expecting to find?  A dead body? Perhaps an escaped convict?”  Come on!  I can DO this!  We headed to the back of the house to check out the last bedroom at the end of the hall.  Ready to point out the closet features of the home, I opened the closet door and had to jump out of the way of SOMETHING falling out of the attic space in the top of the closet!  I turned around and bolted out of the house, most likely screaming some absurd, high-pitched squeal that did nothing to add to the professional image I was trying so hard to maintain! 
Back in the car, heart pounding, and sure a dead body had just fallen through the ceiling, I realized I had left my clients in the house.  Catching my breath and trying to get my heart rate back to a comfortable pace, I looked up to see that they were on the way out of the house and headed toward the car.  They got in the car with a chuckle (and I am sure a big eye-roll), and stated, “Now THAT was one deadly foam mattress pad!”
I didn’t get nominated for Realtor of the Year that year.
But, I did sell them a house.  Just not in Petros.