You Will, Too!



The House that Leo Built

One of my favorite real estate stories began from a random call I got one day at the office……a prospective tenant was calling to find out about a house to rent near Mahncke Park  that was already rented.  I asked him why he would want to rent when he could buy a home around the corner for almost the same amount a month…. he gasped…..”I could really pay the same amount to buy?”…..and I confirmed….Leo called my preferred loan officer before meeting me ….and yes, it was true….his mortgage payment, including taxes and insurance, would actually be a little less than the rental amount was going to be.

I quickly ran out to look at the house before meeting Leo…..and when I opened the door…..a horrible smell hit my nose.  I called my husband before continuing to walk inside……I was afraid it was a dead body.  It wasn’t a dead body….but it was the largest squirrel I had ever seen…dead in the middle of the living room.  Somehow he got inside (I am assuming the squirrel was male) through the fireplace…and couldn’t figure out how to get out.  I called the listing agent and told her about the squirrel…..and she called someone to have it removed.

I met Leo for the first time… the front curb of the house.   Once I explained about the squirrel….we walked inside.  Leo loved the house….it was perfect for him.  We made an offer….and it was accepted.  Leo had the home inspected and a few items needed repairs…..the most important item was a bee hive removal… the brick on the side of the house….requiring the Queen bee removal….and the seller agreed.    Leo was buying the house with a VA loan…. the appraiser came out and gave it a value much higher than our sales price but required several items to be repaired….but somehow, by mistake, the seller was told of the appraised value (not by me)… she refused to make the repairs in hopes that the buyer would back out and she could sell again at a higher price.  Leo decided to make the repairs at his expense….and the seller agreed to let him hoping he wouldn’t make his closing date on the contract.

We made the closing date…..but not without a little stress.  One of the repairs was regarding the yard (adding extra dirt on the side of the house) and the appraiser had to come back out to re-inspect.  Leo and I met early that morning at the house…I brought him donuts.  Leo had done the yard work himself….and was sweating and dirty….and scared.  What if the appraiser didn’t approve the repairs?  We said a silent prayer and Leo drank the coffee and ate a donut while watching the appraiser walk around the house…..finally….in what seemed like a million hours (maybe 20 minutes) the appraiser walked up to us…..and asked if Leo was the buyer.  We introduced ourselves….and waited.  The appraiser laughed….and asked if we were as scared as we looked… we laughed….and admitted  we were.  He then asked if Leo did the grading…. Leo croaked out, “yes”…..and the appraiser said, “great job”!  Leo jumped up and started dancing around….and I joined him!  What a great way to begin the day!

After Leo closed and moved in….he called.  He found some books in the attic…and one in particular he thought I would want.  He asked me to come by….he wanted to keep the book a secret until I saw it.

The book was “Businesses That Built San Antonio”….and my dad had taken many of the photos and also was one of the businessmen featured in the book.  I didn’t own this book.  I didn’t even know it existed.

Leo’s comment?   “This was the first book I opened after finding the box in the attic…and when I saw your Dad’s name I knew it was just another sign that you were supposed to sell me this house…thank you so much”.

Sometimes being a Realtor is priceless.  This was one of those times.  Thank you, Leo.  It was my pleasure.




Fireplace Safety

Roof ViewDon’t forget to have your fireplace cleaned and serviced before you use it!  We had Jack at Wolfman Chimney 210-551-5445 clean our fireplace and found out that the chimney cap was a fire hazard….so this is the new, custom chimney cap.  Love it…but I also love that we didn’t burn down the house!

Closet Organization

Easiest way to get ready for a new year is to eliminate time needed to get ready in the morning….makes your day a lot easier if you aren’t thumbing through your closet trying to find what you think you want to wear.

How to begin?

  1.  Take everything off the top shelves.
  2. Inspect.  If it is worn or torn, throw away.  If you haven’t worn it in over a year, donate.  If you still want to keep it, make a stack sorting items that are the same.
  3. Buy boxes that are the same size and label the outside so you know what is inside (what a concept!)  In my case, I had a bunch of beautiful boxes full of stuff but I didn’t know what was in each box.  I bought boxes from Thirty One, Your Way Cube 12.5 x 12.5 with lids so dust wouldn’t get inside the box.  I then wrote in chalk what was inside each box.  WOW…how wonderful to be able to know what I have up on those high shelves!

I also tried on all my clothes.  If they didn’t fit, I donated them.  If they were torn, I threw them away.

Before hanging everything back up sort them into sections:  dresses, pants, tops.  Then sort them by color.  You might be amazed at how many black tops you have (are they even different?  Why do I like to buy the same thing?)

I did have a few items I just couldn’t get rid of (beautiful shoes) that I decided to keep for one more year….if I haven’t worn them in a year, they will be donated or sold (Too Good to Be Threw is my favorite place to sell….Salvation Army is my favorite to donate).  Ask me in 2017 if I have honored this!

When we built our closet we had all the walls lined with cedar (keeps out moths plus smells fabulous) and installed closet shelving from Lowes.  I also went to the Container store and bought linen shoe boxes that have clear outsides so I could see which shoes were inside along with matching boxes for my more expensive purses.  This will keep dust off them and will remind me next year if they were  a worthy enough item to have paid the money to store them properly.

Imagine how good it will feel when you walk into your closet to get ready for your day and know where everything is….and that everything fits.  Great way to begin 2016!  Happy purging!




Wood Garage Door

Faux garage door in process 2Garage door

It seems wasteful to throw away a garage door that works perfectly and doesn’t have any dents…..but I love the look of wooden garage doors.  I met Duane Benton thru his website and we picked out the perfect pattern and colors for him to faux paint our garage door.  He began with a base coat….the picture above shows the 2nd coat with him beginning his art work and the finished product!  Love it!  Now another contractor is setting up to cut tile for the backsplash!  Almost done…..

Chandelier Fun

Chandlier Leopard 2 Chandlier Leopard

Sometimes you need to add a little “bling” to your dining area to make it POP.  Try adding chandelier shades… can sometimes even find them at thrift stores.  These were ordered from a catalog…I love leopard and just didn’t want to wait to find them somewhere cheaper even though the “find” is sometimes more fun than the result.  I also got a matching chandelier cord in leopard that had a zipper to make it oh so easy to put on!  The crystals actually came off a holiday decoration that was falling apart…sometimes you can get an extra thrill from “recycling”!  Don’t be afraid to “let go” when it comes to decorating a light fixture that might just look too “blah” without shades…you can always recycle the shades when (or if) you get tired of them!  Think “Bling” or at least think “Happy”!

Kitchen Remodel

The kitchen is the center of the home…..and we tore ours out and began over.  We opened the doorway into the kitchen to make the entry lighter, tore into the garage to recess the refrigerator and add a coffee bar( garage was super deep so we can still park an Escalade)kitchen original barKitchen After1, added new cabinets my husband put together, bought new stainless appliances including an induction cooktop, quiet dishwasher and convection microwave, added granite counters, removed the popcorn ceilings, replaced skylight, replaced utility door and added extra shelving, added recessed lighting, added indirect lighting above cabinets and below,  got cool drawer pulls…kitchen cabinets are soft close and included drawers with soft close…..all that’s left is a backsplash and painting trim and doors.


The previous owner had painted all the walls including the fireplace and mantel fireplace original 2Fireplace BeforeFireplace Brick A NewFireplace For Fallyellow.  When the painters painted the ceiling (after we removed the popcorn) they got overspray on the fireplace.  They knew we weren’t going to keep it yellow….but I was horrified.  We bought a product online to paint the brick back to brick.  It took 5 hours and the results were worth it.

Wood Stairs

I couldn’t wait to get rid of all my carpet….including the stairs.  After slipping several times and almost breaking a hip I realized it wasn’t a good idea.  Even the dogs slid down the stairs before I realized it wasn’t going to work.   Wood Stairs      Note to self:  $4,000 for wood stairs and then you need to add a carpet runner down the middle?  Next time:  wood on the outside of a carpet runner.  Safety first.

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