Friday, March 10, 2017

The Blue House on Superior

It is impossible to drive down Superior, and past South Shore Park, without noticing the big blue farmhouse amidst all the charming cottages and bungalows. The home is eye candy, inside and out. 



Throughout the years, people have been very curious about it...so here is the story.

In 2004, an imaginative couple purchased it as a "fixer-upper" that was marketed as "Wonderfully unique & large Bay View home in need of new motivated owners.” A perfect representation of what the home, built in 1891, had to offer.




There were three key features to this home that made it an amazing opportunity. First, the home is situated on a double lot (and the garage is beneath the home, so it doesn't take up yard space). Second, the location—just a stone’s throw from the lake, South Shore Park and on Superior Street—this is a premier Bay View location. Finally, it was huge...nearly two times the size of most homes in Bay View.


The couple decided they would buy it and fix up this old home and restore it to its glory. With every layer they peeled back on the home, they discovered a new repair/fix that was necessary. Eventually they decided to tear the home down to the foundation and start all over.  

It was a labor of love. They hired some of the best in the business. The Garret Studio architect, Paul Giesen, helped design this dream home, and Bob Nash of Sawfish General Contracting oversaw the construction in 2009.  

The goal was to build a home that satisfied the needs of today, while keeping the overall aesthetics in line with late 19th-century Milwaukee architecture.  

For those who have been curious about the home, here are some of the highlights of "The Blue House on Superior".  

  • The front porch: In the summer, it is perfect for watching the UPAF Ride for the Arts every June, when hundreds of cyclists ride by. It is tradition that the family in the "Blue House" greet riders and hand out lemonade during the event, welcoming them to the Bay View neighborhood.  

  • The First Floor: Upon entry, you are welcomed in to the generous 14 x 8 foyer with views into the living room, dining room, butler's pantry and kitchen. The floor plan feels very open, without every room being exposed.  

  • The Kitchen: Sunlight floods the kitchen, which overlooks the spacious backyard, where colorful perennials bloom in the summer, and an Autumn Blaze maple tree turns to brilliant red in the fall. The entire kitchen was updated this year. The owners installed new white cabinets, quartz countertops and all new stainless steel appliances. A large, barnwood island pulls together the farmhouse style.


  • The Master Suite: Thoughtfully designed, the master suite offers a large walk-in closet, linen storage, and master bath with dual vanities, large walk-in shower and deep overflow soaking tub. The floors in the master bedroom are one of the only things salvaged from the prior home, they are reclaimed Douglas fir pine.  



The only other item salvaged from the original home is the professionally reglazed clawfoot tub in the other full bathroom on the upper level.  

Every aspect of this home was thought out and the craftsmanship executed with precision. The "Blue House on Superior" is a forever dream home for the Bay View lover.




Sunday, February 12, 2017

This is what I train for.

Two of my biggest passions in life are real estate and long distance running.

In order to be able to succeed at either, there is one thing you must have under your belt, it is called "BASE".  Your base is the foundation that all of your training/skill rests on.

Your base is the slowest, most tedious process.  It doesn't take weeks or months...it takes years or even decades.  The constant that gets you through your base training is persistence.

Once you have your base, you start to add different training skills.  In real estate this is where market knowledge and negotiations begin to form; the equivalent to speed-work and "pace" runs for marathon training.

Next comes strength exercise which starts to push you to a level you didn't think was possible.  In real estate, you become mentally stronger with every difficult deal that comes your way..."Baptism by Fire" is what many in this business refer it to.  I do Crossfit for my physical & mental strength.

Eleven years later, I am an extremely efficient veteran Realtor and a seasoned 9-time marathoner; in fact, last year I sold over $11 million in real estate and qualified for the Boston Marathon.

So, why write about this?  Well, lately I have had multiple clients ask me how I am able to handle the stress and workload that I take on.  To answer the question I simply say "this is what I train for!"


  





Saturday, January 14, 2017

How to get your Home Ready to Sell


With the spring market quickly approaching, it is time for future sellers to start thinking about getting their homes ready for sale.

The first thing to remember is when your home goes on the market, it is no longer your home.  It turns in to a "house on the market".

This is an overwhelming thought and a very intimidating process.  So often I am asked by sellers "where do we even begin?"  The best advice I can give them is to start packing.  This includes your china, kids toys that aren't being used, your summer wardrobe, worn/large furniture: any item around your home that is taking up space without a purpose.

You are moving anyway, so pack it now.  The point is to try to edit and declutter as much as possible.

In addition, I might suggest my sellers get a POD delivered.  You can fill it up with your belongings and extra furniture that we have decided should be removed.  Then the POD will go to a storage facility and stay there until it is ready to be delivered to your new home.

If a quick sale and getting the most money for your home are your top priorities with the sale of your current home, than these are important steps to follow.

After your home is edited to the "bare bones" of furniture and items that you still need/use on a daily basis, it is time to then stage it.

At this point we usually bring in a few pieces of furniture to fill in gaps along with home decor accents that will soften and welcome buyers.  The point is to try and neutralize your home...make it look like a magazine ad.  So when buyers look at the photos online they can picture themselves walking in that room and sitting on the couch as if it was theirs.

I have had some sellers need to take up to 3 months to prep their home for selling, but the reward of a quick sale at a higher price is their payback.  So in the end, it is worth it.



STAGING PITFALL TO AVOID: Sometimes sellers will tell me that they have an extra piece of furniture in the garage" or basement"..."can we use that for staging?"  My answer is typically "no".  It is important that the furniture we use has sleek lines, doesn't take up too much space, looks new and most importantly photographs well.




Saturday, December 31, 2016

Katie's 2017 Top Home Trends

As home trends evolve, it appears that they are trending towards more sleek and modern avenues. Each of these trends can be transitioned in to a traditional decor as well.  Here are my favorite picks...

#1:  Marble is making a comeback

If this is the year to redo your bathroom or kitchen, you may want to consider the use of marble tiles or countertops.  The stone has a very classic and clean look to it.  If a big project isn't on the horizon, there are still ways to incorporate marble in to your decor.





#2:  Deep Blue Rooms

Part of why I love deep blue rooms is because I think it actually ends up being a pretty neutral backdrop.  You can bring in almost any accent color and it will pair well with deep blue.





#3:  Matte Black Appliances (and matte black fixtures)

Meet the new Stainless Steel...these matte black appliances look uber-sleek and stylish.  (I bet they would pair well with marble countertops too!)













#4:  Metallic accents

Chrome, brushed gold, copper, brass, brushed nickel, rose gold...you name it!  The only metal that doesn't seem to be en vogue anymore is rubbed bronze.  Anything else and you should be good to go.




#5:  Aloe Plants & Cacti

These plants add depth and texture to a room.  Its a nice way to bring nature and style together.  The added bonus is that you don't have to water them often.



#6:  Unicorns

I happen to have an affinity for unicorns ever since I started chasing my Boston Marathon dream.  Notice below the matte back unicorn with gold accent.  A culmination of some of the best trends for the coming year!


Thursday, November 24, 2016

A Years Worth of Thankfulness

I would like to point out a large group of people who I am extremely grateful for, they are my clients.

I have been beyond blessed this year with some of the most fun, smart, kind and overall good people to work with.  Without a doubt, I have the best clients.


Our journey in real estate is not always easy, but there is only one thing I can guarantee.  I promise to stand by them through thick and thin.  Sometimes we struggled, sometimes we triumphed, sometimes we lost...but most of the time we won.

This year, my clients and I got 44 offers accepted and we worked really hard to make it to the closing table on all those deals.  

I am so passionate about my business; my clients are my business, therefore I am passionate about each and every one of you.  You put your faith and trust in me to guide you through such an important process.

Forever and always I will be your personal pitbull...thank you, it has been an honor to help you all.

Our battles, our glory!
  • Getting all my sellers to put stuff in storage!
  • Me driving past a home at 5:30am and texting you "Rise and Grind...we just found your home!"
  • A husband in charge of finding the perfect home for his family, (while his wife and children were still living in another state).
  • Making sure all the pregnant mommies were moved in to their new home in time for baby.
  • Struggling to complete last minute repairs and permits that were forgotten by the listing agent as you moved in to the home.  
  • "Domino Effect" closings...where home #1 closes, followed by #2, then #3 all in the same day.  If one domino falls, all the deals die!
  • Repairs, repairs, repairs!  A 1/2 a roof, palmer valves with our fingers crossed, cracked windows under warranty that get broken by repair men, basement repairs, mold, you name it.
  • So many "Multiple Offer" situations!
  • Site unseen Hail Mary
  • Pushing a VW bus into the driveway on a final walkthrough
  • Selling a home in 4 days; after it sat on the market for 324 days with TWO other agents.
  • Helping a flipper nab an awesome opportunity in WFB ~ when there were 25 total offers.
  • Working with clients in China.  I never met or talked to them once, only email.
  • Buying a Short Sale with an FHA loan...not easy.
  • Having my buyer tell me "I think I left money on the table"...and the glory of finding out they didn't!
Now you all get to rest an relax in your new homes...who's next in 2017?





Wednesday, November 16, 2016

One Year after the Rabbit Hole

Exactly one year ago today I joined Powers Realty Group.

It was a leap of faith.  I had two options laid out in front of me: success or failure, and failure really wasn't an option.

I have learned a lot in the past year.  The following are my top take aways:

1.  The spring market is a real place: When you are fully submersed in residential real estate the spring market feels like a vortex, like an actual place you go to for 4-5 months.  When you emerge you realize you sold a ton of homes and hope that your life is where you left it.

2.  Building Base Helps:  This year I sold 4 times my old average.  I realize that my strong base in real estate (this is my 10th year) is what helped me to work efficiently.  I didn't skip a beat with my clients and was able to accommodate everyone.



3.  Surround yourself with Great People:  I am grateful everyday for my clients, my co-workers, my manager (aka Den Mom) and my broker, Suzanne.  It is easy to succeed when you surround yourself with positive, amazing people.

4.  Car Tetris:  My car can fit a lot of furniture; it is like a clown-car...full of furniture.

5.  Always take the Leap of Faith:  My story at Powers Realty Group is living proof that the impossible is always possible, as long as you can imagine it.


6.  Suzanne Powers is the ultimate Cheerleader:  Last year I told Suzanne that I felt like no one took me seriously in real estate.  Stone cold she looked me in the eyes and said "I take you seriously."  Throughout the year she planted ideas in my head, possibilities, goals that I had never imagined before.  I will forever be thankful for how much she believes in me (and that she was waiting for me at mile 23 of my last marathon).

Thank you Suzanne!


My post from 1 year ago today...
(click here to read my post from 1 year ago)




Thursday, November 3, 2016

Playing Well with Others: Baseball vs Real Estate


As I watched game 7 of the World Series I saw something that truly inspired me.  Hidden behind the emotional excitement of these young players and their amazing athletic abilities was something we don't often see in sports anymore.  That is "respect for the opponent".  
I watched a runner slide in to 2nd base and collide with the 2nd Baseman...they each continued without anger.  I saw a player from one team forced out, and the opponent covering near them gave a quick pat on the back as they ran off the field, as if saying "good effort".   
It reminded me of our kids playing Little League.  While they all end up on different teams, most of them are friends and have known one another long before the season started.  They play to win, and when its over they are still friends.  The "spirit of the game" lives on. 
The Little League mom in me was cringing last night; all I saw were grown-up-little-boys trying to fulfill their dreams.  Sadly, someone had to lose.  So it's just inspiring that at the hight of athleticism all these players show such dignity and grace to one another.  
I liken this to real estate because often times agents from different companies are on opposite sides of a transaction.  While we work to cooperate and make a transaction come together, there is also a level of competitiveness that can overshadow the "spirit of the deal".  
Some deals aren't very graceful, but I think it is important to pat the other agent on the back at the closing and show them respect and dignity that you appreciate all their effort.  Holding a grudge is unhealthy and bad sportsmanship.  
It saddens me to hear that some agents want to exclude others from showing a listing they have.  Excluding agents means you exclude their buyers.  Excluding = Bullying
I think our industry could take a good lesson from these champions of baseball (and I mean both teams).  Let's reset the count and play on!