Funny and Amusing

Bats Are Cool

We all know Dracula. You know the guy that flies through the night as a bat and becomes a blood thirsty menace. Of course there is Halloween to help remind us of those flying rodents. And as we all have heard, these bats clearly fly into your hair and try to bite you in the neck right? So what is it with these winged mammals?  Well below is a bunch of bat facts and fallacies.

So I have been at home inspections and nothing seems to bring more fear to buyers minds than the idea that bats might have lurked in the attics. In reality bats don't want to really be in your attic. Depending on the breed, trees, rock crevices and caves are preferred homes. Bat houses are good too. I am a big fan of bats. Here are billions of reasons why. 

Bats Huge Appetite--almost as big as themselves! 

Their preferred meals include a huge number of agricultural and forest pests, as well as those pesky of all pesky mosquitoes. Bats can eat 50% of their own body weight each evening, and even more if they are females with pups. This is the combined weight of over 1,500 mosquitoes! In numbers humans can relate to, a recent study of the value of pest control provided by bats was at least $3.7 billion a year.

Millions of bats across North America have died due to White-Nose Syndrome, a malicious and confusing disease that attacks hibernating bats with 100% mortality rate at many sites. The brown bat population which was the most abundant species has lost 90% of its population in the east coast.  UNH has a study that shows bats are beginning to show resistance to this disease. 

Ironically, having bats indoors is actually a lot more frightening of an idea for homeowners.  

Bats in Your House

If bats do fly into your living spaces, don’t panic. They don't want to be there. Open any outside windows and doors to the room where the bat is, and leave the room, closing any interior doors behind you and turning off the lights. They will soon find their way outside.

If you have them trapped already, you can let them go outside. In the summer, let them go ASAP. In the winter, wait for the warmest part of the day to release, if possible.

We Do Need Bats, but maybe not in your house.

For those who like fresh crops, bats are a billion dollar asset. The agricultural industry relies heavily on what bats eat and the rich fertilizer they excrete. These animals that primarily feed on insects (insectivorous), are the most prolific pest control experts in the United States. They are important global pollinators and seed dispersers. Their survival is vital to healthy ecosystems.

So, before anybody reaches for a broom--and by the way a broom won't work anyway, let me debunk some myths about these “flying bloodsucking rats” to help everyone understand why a bat problem should be handled by professionals who are really wanting to help preserve their safety along with that of homeowners.

Myth #1: They are flying little Vampires

Actually Not in North America. There are 8 native species in New Hampshire, but not the vampire bat. There are bat species that feed on blood, but they reside in Latin America. There are only 3 total vampire bat species (out of over 1,300) and only 1 targets mammals. Bats in New England attics are not going for your hair, or your neck, or near humans at all, really.

Myth #2: They’re Foaming at the mouth Rabid

That’s just impossible. If bats were all infected with rabies, they wouldn’t be around to infect other animals by now. In fact, less than 1% of all bats are infected with the virus. Though one should be cautious around bats, there are telltale signs of a rabies infection. As mentioned above, bats generally steer clear of humans. If they aren’t doing so then they may be suffering from a rabies infection that renders them too sluggish to get away. So, bats are no more rabid than other mammals, but those that are like a rabid dog or racoon or fox will bite and should be avoided.

Myth #3: They’re Dirty Flying Rats.

They actually aren’t rodents. or “rats with wings”. Bats are winged mammals. Bats aren’t even in the same genetic order as rodents. The important difference here is that bats fly.  If bats were human, you would say they are actually have OCD--they meticulously clean themselves (sometimes for hours).

Myth #4: They’re Blind as a Bat—well not really

We’ve all heard the expression “Blind as a bat” Well, they can see better than humans. They master sensory stimuli through “echolocation” has lead some people to believe that they “see” things via hearing them with their disproportionately large ears. Though this certainly helps, it isn’t their only advantage. As it turns out, they can see 3 times better than humans can. This means that they aren’t likely to accidentally fly into your hair, much less a person.

Myth #5: They’re Stuck

Bats don’t nest at all, let alone in people’s hair. A particularly ridiculous myth is that bats get stuck in human heads of hair. I have already mentioned that they aren’t likely to fly near people in general, and that they are far too agile to get stuck anywhere.

Myth #6: They’re Multiplying

Bats aren’t Baby Machines. Since people tend to think they are like rats which do mass produce babied, for bats it is only one at a time. If homeowners have a bat infestation, it isn’t due to rapid reproduction. Bats only produce one single pup per litter, and only have 2-3 litters during the typical spring breeding season.  

Myth #7: They’re Unlucky

Not in China. China is swarming with bats, from caves to the art that defines their culture. The Chinese symbol for bat is the same as that of good fortune.

Conserving Bat Populations is good for everyone. Not being afraid of one is the first step. 

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Flying is for the birds

Since the beginning of time, Man has wanted to take to the sky.

This is why I am getting involved with a new Aerial Imaging Company called Media Wing (www.MediaWing.com) It is devoted to marketing from the ground up for everything from real estate videos to golf club, accident scenes, sporting events and land and development aerial surveys.

 

Unlike icarus who simply came to close to the sun to keep airborn, I am securly planted on the ground with complete control of one of our many drones.

 

For fun here are some flights in history that didn't quite make it.

 

First Flight from Michael Travis on Vimeo.

What the Three Little Piggies can teach us about the real estate market.

What the Three Little Piggies can teach us about the real estate market.

We all know the story, the big bad wolf keeps creating havoc on the homes of the three little pigs.

The first little pig took the easy route made his house with straw. His brother little piggy built his out of sticks which was a little better. As I recall the big bad wolfed huffed and he puffed and blew their houses down--some versions have him having the brothers for lunch as well.

Big Bad Wolf as Buyer
OK, lets say the big bad wolf is a buyer--he looks at your home and sees cheap fixtures and chinzy cabinets and really bad workmanship or lets say the roof looks like it will leak with the next puff. . Well that will translate in this buyer to think the whole place is going to fall down--or needs to be redone-doesn't matter how much money you spent at Cheap Depot.  
So lets say you are wanting to buy a house that needs work.  Well third little piggy might apply for a 203-K rehab loan that will allocates an additional $35,000 for repairs and improvements. Here is a link to info on this type of loan.

Big Bad Wolf as Home Inspector
Most buyers will hire a home inspector--I suggest you have an inspection done in advance to get a feel for issues that may come up. Thre are many great Licensed home inspectors who can perform a pre-inspection to unearth surprise problems before the buyer's home inspector does. Check out my preferred vendor list.

Lets say the Big Bad Wolf finds you need a new roof which will cost $10,000. That means that on top of financing for the house, a buyer will have to get an additional 10,000 out of the cookie jar to pay for the repair---buyers don't want to deal with that. Some lenders may not give them a mortgage as a result too.
The first little piggy will simply deduct the cost but that is no good for some because they may not have the extra cash to do so.
The second little piggy might offer a reduction for more than the cost of repair as an incentive. The third little piggy would just fix it because something like a new roof is an important selling point. But lets say he couldn't fix it. Well he would consider to have the funds escrowed for the repair cost to be used after closing.
 
Big Bad Wolf as FHA Lender
Actually not so bad. The Federal Housing Authority offers incredible financing options for buyers -but it comes with some challenges. The house has to be in decent shape because they want to make sure the house will last more than a day. You can't have loose wires or cracks in the showers or leaks in the roof  For mobiles you have to have hurricane tie downs installed in case a wolf comes by and huffs and puffs. You certainly couldn't have a house made of straw. There are also limits depending on where the house is located.  

I suggest contacting your lender to go over the guidelines. If you need suggestions on who to talk to, give me a call.

Big Bad Wolf as Credit
It is so important to be ready to buy a property. That begins with knowing your credit and things to clean any messy debris left by previous huffs and puffs from other Big Bad Wolf.  Sometimes were are our own worst wolves.  Before falling in love with a house to buy, you need to know what you are prequalified for.  Again I can help you find a great mortgage broker to help you--just remember it serves nobody to not be honest about everything in your finances.

Big Bad Wolf as Appraiser
These days an appraisal is ordered by the bank and then no one other than the listing agetn can even talk to them. After the financial crisis of the 2008. the Big Bd Government stepped in to try and separate the percieved cusshy lender, realtor, appraior relationship which may have over inflated hoem values whihc created a lot of home buyers later with upside mortgages.  I make sure to meet with the appraisor to give realistic comps and any notes on them that may impact value. In the end overpricing a home won't help anyone.


These days it seems there are so many Big Bad Wolves getting in the way of buying a home--and a bunch of little piggies asking too much for their homes, little piggy buyers not wanting to reach very deep into their piggy banks to buy your home and a bunch of capitalist piggies reaching out to get paid in fees and whatever.

Well it isn't really that bad. Life isn't really a Fairy Tale. So let me help you through the Beauty and the Beast of Buying without having to Go Off to See the Wizard or finding the goose that layed the Golden Egg.

 

®2010, Michael Travis

 I can't remember where the illustration of the Wolf came from so if it is yours please send me your info so I can provide proper credit for it. Thank you 

 

 

My life with Miss GPS How technology changed my life in real estate

 

My life with Miss GPS 

 

From the time man invented the wheel, man needed directions. 

When I first got my drivers license I would just go anywhere--getting lost was an adventure. Everyone had a car in my native Michigan and all roads are marked with legible signs.

Within 48 hours of graduating from college, I moved to New York City where my only need for transportation came with a loud whistle to hail a cab with bad brakes and lousy suspension and repeated screams of addresses or landmarks to a driver whose third or forth language was broken English at best --in the city you only needed to know how to count-- 23rd Street followed 24th Street then 25th.  Queens was a challenge since it would be 23rd Street followed by 23rd Road, then Avenue then Boulevard then Drive--then 24th Street, then Road, then Avenue ---yadahyadah. 

Then I got a weekend house in Connecticut only 3 turns and 3 hours away from my apartment in the city. To my friends in the Hamptons, it was only 5 turns -- half the distance and twice the traffic.

Then I moved to Boston. I had to use a few more synopses to know where the roads were--which were designed by cows in the pre-horseless carriage days.

Then I moved to Northwood, New Hampshire where not only did I not know where I was--but nobody did.  But then again, all I needed to know was  I-93, Rt 4, and a couple of roads past the refrigerators in someone's yard where you buy fresh eggs by putting your money in a tin box inside.

Then I got into Real Estate--just when Mapquest became really ok -Thank God. 

I chose to focus on waterfront properties which meant I went on every unmarked road in the state--my first sale was in Newton, NH where the map I paid a buck for had the road in the wrong location--along with every other retail map I found--How I sold a house I couldn't find on a map is beyond me. 

By the way where are the frick'n signs for the roads here? And whatever happened to those people who work at gas stations who could actually give you directions?

My first year in real estate, I put 45,000 miles on my car pushing it past the car warranty that was suppose to last 3 years.

But you see, when I took a client on showings--I had the secret weapon in my possession--sheets and sheets of Mapquest printouts---I could master holding 3 sheets, one steering wheel and a Vendi Shmende Café Mocha Frappe Machiaotte Latte Grande from Starbucks.

One day, the agent I was suppose to meet with on the second house calls my cell phone to change the appointment so I continue to drive with the fearful watchful eyes of the clients in my car as I handle all this chaos, using my left knee to steer while I try and figure out how to get to destination B from destination E. Then I drop the Mapquest sheets with the important page landing on the floor by my client's right shoe in the passenger side.

Thank another God for introducing the GPS that talks to you. I call her Miss GPS. What a marvel she is. She can find me a restaurant, a hotel, an attraction, a gas station, even a hospital if I take my eye off the road plugging in a new address--not recommended by the way. It has a dictionary and an MP3 player-- and most importantly --she gives me directions on a huge 3.5 inch screen.  

I can even choose her voice--so naturally, as a red blooded American Male I chose the British Woman's voice--always a sucker for accents. (Southern Belle accent not available)

Sometimes Miss GPS would say MAAAAplewood Avenue, and sometimes Maaaplewood Avenue--but she never says zed for zero.  And when I make a wrong turn, she politely tells me to make a u-turn--make a u-turn--or gives me another direction that only adds 2 and half hours to the trip. 

One time I had a 2 million dollar client with me, and Miss GPS took me around a big 15 mile circle as she had a pothole induced hiccup that made her want to go back to where she came from. It was so good to be able to blame technology versus my own incompetence. Not sure my client bought into that story--did sell them the house though.

Isn't technology great that allows me to take direction from a British voice in a box--though it might be a nice change of pace if Miss GPS would occasionally strike up a conversation. Say "you idiot you missed your turn" or "there is a speed trap up ahead" As long as she doesn't ask "how do I feel?"  or  "what are you thinking?" .

 

Michael Travis can be found traveling the state looking at properties. Visit www.WaterfrontAgent.com and see why he puts on 45,000 miles a year on any car he has--sharing every mile with his Garmin NUVI 350 GPS which he affectionately calls Miss GPS.

 

 

Michael Travis Your Waterfront Agent

 

What the Pontiac Silverdome can teach us about the real estate market.


In 1975, the residents of Pontiac, Michigan spent $55.7 million to build their Silverdome dream home on 127 acres of pavement with a couple of trees and highway views. After all, they built it for the Detroit Lions and their friends to visit and play, like Madonna, the Pope, the king of Pop and Andrea the Giant.  And a Super bowl.

The proud owners had so many memories. So many family gatherings. Then a nasty divorce came when the Detroit Lions moved to - well Detroit.

Of course the family was being sucked dry $1.5 million a year to maintain this huge empty house. So they decided, time to sell.
And a buyer came in with a $20 million offer.

Well the owner had spent more than twice as much to build it so it must be worth more, right? And of course they believed there were gobs of buyers wanting to have 83,000 seats, plenty of parking and a blow up roof, right? So they turned it down.

They didn't take into account that the neighborhood, and economy began to change. Their neighbor Mr. GM had closed its 3.4 million square food house down the street along with 3000 of the kids who use to play in the Silverdome spending all of their lunch money. Seems up to 15% of the neighbors just didn't have jobs anymore.

So you got this huge house, getting older everyday that the family has abandoned it, looks kind of empty, a bit dank, not staged nicely, and is costing a over $4,100 a day to keep open.  A year later, and another $1.5 million in upkeep costs, they finally sold it for a whopping $583,000---that's right, about 1% of the original cost, and less than price of a 4 bedroom 3 bath home in the area on less than an acre.

Hmmmmm

So what does this teach us?

1) There is a saying in real estate that "the first offer is usually the best offer" --statistically this is true, whether in Pontiac, Michigan or New Hampshire.
2) In the end, the buyer determines the market value of your home.
3) An overpriced home listing will simply go stale. Chasing the market with small price reductions doesn't work. You lose most buyers after the first few weeks.
4) Homes on the market too long communicate to some buyers that there is something wrong with the property--so they move on.
5) Aggressively priced homes will sell much faster, with a better chance for multiple offers possibly achieving a higher price.
6) An empty home does not show well, period. Most buyers cannot picture their own furnishings in an empty space.
7) A messy home with too much stuff doesn't show well either. You want to show the house, not the stuff.
8) Unique properties are much more difficult to sell or to find a buyer for.
9) The buyer will only pay what they are willing to pay--not any more---even if they won the lottery.
10) What you paid for a house, what you put into it, what you owe or what you want to get from the sale does not matter to the buyer.
11) Denial of the current market conditions will not change reality.
12) You must consider the value to maintaining your sanity keeping your home versus the actual cost of maintaining it.
13) Going with an agent who tells you what you want to hear won't help sell your home if the market is telling a whole different story.

Pontiac lost over $20 million, $10million in tax revenues, and their pride.
I have yet to see an overpriced house sell,
I have seen houses that were on the market so long that they went into foreclosure.
I have seen divorce situations that left a house in shambles and go into foreclosure.
I have seen sellers go to several real estate companies with the expectation of getting the money nobody will look at their home for--and blame the real estate agent.
I have seen sellers reject good offers only to take a huge loss later.

In the end, our real estate relationship should begin with an understanding of the market, an understanding of what to expect, an understanding of your needs, and an understanding on how you and I can work together for a common goal--to sell your home--For the highest return in the shortest amount of time.

So give me a call, I'll come to you to save time.
 

 

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