Sunday, October 25, 2020

Home Sales Surging This Summer


Who would have thought with a nasty virus running on the loose that there would be a rise in home buyer traffic! We are seeing rising prices and increased sales. 

Whether you are selling or looking to buy (low interest rates), now is a great time to make your move. We are here to help. Visit  www.SanAntonio.Homes today to get started.

Friday, October 23, 2020

My Apology


Good grief! Someone wrote me and complained about the number of ads on this blog. My reaction was "what the heck are you talking about". (thought it - did not say it). But I knew the blog was not linked to a bunch of advertisers and checked - and did not see ads. So, I assumed it was a mistake - on her part.

But - sometimes things just haunt you. So, I checked the blog using an incognito browser - and YIKES, there were ads all over the place. Lesson learned - since I normally viewed the blog in the same browser I post and edit from, it was recognizing me as the owner and not displaying any ads. ggggRRRRR

Alright, moving on - I started digging and found out how to disable ads - I think - and now your experience on this blog should be a whole lot better! We'll go forward from this point and I do hope you like the change.  Al

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Renovation Projects to Boost Your Home’s Value This Fall

Our homes are our sanctuaries. It’s where we can go after a long day and leave our worries at the door. But, after social distancing for months, your home may feel more like a prison than a sanctuary. So, why not take back your home and breathe new life into it?

According to HomeLight’sQ3 survey, buyers are looking for a few specific features in a home. If you have the money and the time, consider these home improvement projects with high ROI, and we’ll share our top tips from top agents about how to tackle these projects.

1. In-law suites

We’ve joked about dreading when the in-laws come by to visit, but what if there was a way they could visit and not be a burden? An in-law suite is a great way to make the in-laws comfortable and keep your sanity. Typically these suites include a bedroom and a full bath, but you can find suites that are more like a mini-apartment! They could include a small living area and sometimes even a kitchenette. 

2. Outdoor living spaces

There’s nothing like stepping out onto the patio (or deck or balcony) and breathing in the fresh air. Buyers want to be able to entertain outdoors and because these features are highly sought after (20% of agents say their clients want an outdoor area), you can expect to see a decent return on your investment!

3. No more open floor plans

Open floor plans were made popular by home improvement shows on television, but due to the pandemic, people are more interested in having their own, private space. This is certainly true for families who are working or learning from home. By having clearly defined rooms with a door, folks can shut the door and do their work in peace. 

Plus it’s always nice to have your own little retreat when other household members start to get on your nerves!

4. Touchless features

Homes with touchless features like smart thermostats, lights and entertainment systems are all the rage nowadays. These features help minimize the spread of germs and in light of the pandemic, people are very concerned about the health and well-being of everyone who lives (or visits) the home. And if you have touchless features like the lights and thermostat, you can adjust the heat and turn on the lights before you even get home!

5. Antibacterial surfaces and disinfecting zones

Along with touchless features, buyers want to have surfaces that will not harbor harmful bacteriaand microbes that can get people sick. Materials such as stainless steel, copper, and surfacestreated with a special coating can go a long way to make people feel safer. 

Not only are people looking for antibacterial and antimicrobial surfaces, they want a designated space for disinfecting. This room will be a space where families can leave packages, clothing, shoes, and other items that may carry the COVID virus and other infectious germs.

Of course, before you decide that you want to take on any renovation project, you need to do your homework and budgeting. These renovations can add up pretty quickly and if you’re not careful, you could easily go over budget!

When it comes time to hire a contractor, as your real estate agent (if you’re selling your house) for recommendations. If you aren’t going to sell your home any time soon and still want to do these or other renovation projects, look for licensed contractors with a good reputation. You’re going to pay a lot of money, so you’re definitely going to want to make sure it’s well spent!

Author: Evette Champion

Bio: Experienced Freelance Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the writing and editing industry. Strong media and communication professional skilled in creating engaging blog articles for the lovelorn reader. 

Saturday, September 26, 2020

200 Recipes Books 1 and 2

My occasional reminder that these are available to you. Actually, they are always available using the links in the rightmost column in this blog. 

Free Recipes From Family and Friends. No commercial today - no requiring you to sign up or give up anything - and safely hosted at ISSUU 

When mom passed, a close friend help me get the old family recipes into an online booklet form. There are recipes from the Italian side and the German side - and a mix of others from friends.

Sadly, the friend who help get the recipe book together passed away about 2 years later. A group of us got together and created the second of two recipe books. She was a military wife and her recipes are from friends around the world.

You are free to use the recipes and share. The only thing we ask, is never make it monetary - they are always FREE. Who knows, maybe you will find something you have been looking for - or something new. On the first book, since the recipes are mostly family going back to great grandmother - I am privileged to say I think ALL of them are good!

BOOK 1 - 

BOOK 2 -

Friday, September 25, 2020

Attack By Robocaller

This happened the beginning of September - just have not had the time to share it with you until now.

The calls started in the afternoon and I let them go into voicemail. I listened to a few of the messages and the caller represented themselves as Apple and stated something was wrong with my iCloud account.

The calls kept coming over and over and I finally caved and made a HUGE mistake - I answered. All I said was "who are you" and the guy hung up on me.

Then the calls kept coming every 5 to 12 minutes or so - for over 5 HOURS.

They were calling, leaving messages and texting. This was SO bad I called T-Mobile and alerted then to what was happening. I did not want to shut off my phone - but it was tempting. TMO has a higher level robo blocker software that they enabled and in a very short time the calls stopped. 

So, why am I sharing - this can happen to anyone. These callers are bad news. About a week after this happened, a friend's senior mom was called by "Social Security" - they asked for her social security number. And, she gave it to them. So, y'all be careful.

OK - smile....  it is only 3 months until Christmas!

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Cousins, Cousins, Cousins


The ancestry analysis takes you to at least the level of 8th cousin. Last time I shared all of this with you in 2018, the list was about 135 pages of cousins. The updated list is 271 pages of cousins. There is about 15 cousins per page!

This is one family reunion that is NOT going to happen. We would need to rent a small town. Thanks for reading and if you have any unique ancestry stories that you would like to share reach out to me.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

How Did I Get Here?


They ancestry folks got this part right. The mix of my German and Italian families settled and "merged" in Chicago. And that is how I happened.
THIS is a big surprise! The latest analysis suggest a 26% origin in Western Europe (German) and the UK. I had heard there was a guy from France somewhere in the mix, but none of the family could authenticate that. As for the UK - that is new.

Will it change next time?

On the Italian side, my grandmother was northern Italy and grandfather was from the south - Sicily actually. 
Much of the Italian side is from - and still there - Sicily. Happy to say thanks to the internet have managed to connect with some of them. We still need to get down who is related to who - and how.

Tomorrow, more about the increase in the number of cousin links! Come on back.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

I'm Not Black Anymore

Well, I have the latest update about my ancestry records. When I shared the information with you in April 2018, they said I was part African and part Middle Eastern. Somehow that changed. I am not the expert on this stuff for sure, but the revised information gives rise to questioning the authenticity of their results.

For now, it seems I am primarily Italian and German by descent, however they added a new surprise to the mix. At least, there is new information about "what makes me who I am" - for now.

Nothing has really changed for me. As I said in 2018, I am AMERICAN all the way - but a look back piques my curiosity. More to share with you tomorrow! 

Thursday, September 17, 2020

I Had To Tell My Son

The following is a guest post - and our first opening this blog to touching and inspiring stories. If you have one to share, we would love to hear from you. I am not moving the blog away from real estate – I am opening it up to an ethical life stance that we, as humans, are more encompassing than simply a narrow focus on our own abode. Humans are about altruism, generosity, benevolence, humanitarianism, and so much more.

Our Guest Poster:

My name is Al Manges. I would like to share my story with everyone.  I am a truck driver and I am away from my family for weeks at a time.  I am lucky to work for a company, Schneider National, that values family. With approval, I am allowed to have passengers when I drive. 

Every two weeks I trade off passengers.  I take my son AJ and daughter Sabrina with me.  They really enjoy coming out on the road.  We get to see many different parts of the country that most people do not. 

On one of my bi-weekly trips that starts in Indiana and goes down to Texas then on to California.  I had my son AJ on this trip out to California.  After I delivered to all of my customers we started our trip back.  We picked up our new load and headed out.  Part of the way home we stopped at a Walmart in Nevada.  By the way it is not easy to park at a Walmart in a semi-truck.  I have to make sure they allow trucks to park there and have space to park. 

I made a list of groceries we needed and headed in.  I knew exactly how much money I had in my bank account so I was careful picking out my items so I didn't go over my limit.  AJ and I gathered all of our groceries and headed to check out. 

This is where it gets interesting.  I generally use the self-checkout with the conveyor.  We loaded our items on the belt and began scanning our groceries.  When we finished and went to pay I looked at the total and knew I had enough money to buy everything.  I inserted my debit card in the card reader, put in my pin the computer said card declined.  I did not understand why the transaction was declined.  I logged in to my bank account and saw that my balance had changed since I entered the store. 

I then had to tell my son that we would have to put some of our items back.  It was frustrating to say the least.  As I contemplated what to put back a customer at the checkout across from us overheard my son and I talking.  She then asked me how much we were short.  She then gave me twenty dollars to cover the rest of the difference I could not pay for. 

I was very touched by the generosity of a complete stranger.  I thanked her as my eyes welled up with tears of happiness.  We were able to purchase all of our groceries thanks to the kindness of a kind woman. 

I would like to thank Debbie that was at the Walmart in Fernley, Nevada.  I have always tried to help others in need.  It was refreshing to have it happen to me.  I didn't realize until that day that paying it forward really meant something bigger to me.  Thank you again Debbie.


If you have a story to share

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Beware The Movers

Going to share a personal experience with you – this happened to me on my last move.

I hired professionals – the company shall remain nameless as I am not looking to engage their lawyers. And, in truth – this can happen with any moving company. It simply depends upon the integrity of their employees.

The movers placed and connected the washer and dryer. Apparently, “connecting them” is a service not provided by the moving company, but the guys offered - if I would just make their total tip generous. I kept my end of the commitment – each got a nice bonus and I thought everything was fine.

My new place was brand new – no one lived here before – everything was bright and shiny. So a couple months later when I started noticing “a heavy dust” in the laundry room I started examining the ceiling, the water tank, the shelving – and found nothing. It went on and got worse. All that was left to do was check the washer and dryer – and yes common sense says I probably should have done that sooner.

When I pulled the dryer forward, I was shocked that the exhaust vent and hose had separated. The hose also separated from the dryer itself so the dryer was venting into the laundry room and spewing dust that would normally have vented. On examination - the reason for that – NO CLAMPS. Not disconnected, fallen clamps – but NO CLAMPS. I know that there were clamps from the previous installation and I know the clamps were not left behind because we cleaned up there right after the move. The clamps are not worth more than a couple bucks – so who knows what or why.

Obviously not complaining in sharing this post. Instead, giving y’all a heads up. Double check what movers do. Most movers are hardworking guys and take pride in their work. But take nothing for granted. What happened here could have caused a fire. Luckily it just made a mess and I learned a lesson. And life goes forward.                                                                                

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Interview With Al


Just thought I would share the .homes interview with you. Probably so many new followers now that the majority of you have not yet had the opportunity to read it. And, hard for me to believe it is over a year and a half since this interview took place. 

Y'all be sure to call or contact me if I can help you. No matter where you are located, if you need a licensed real estate agent, call me. Chances are, we have someone in the network for you!