Misconceptions of Real Estate Agents

June 12th, 2014

Ever notice that some folks have a skewed view of life as a real estate agent? Considering how agents are depicted on some reality TV shows, that’s understandable. Agents with big incomes and lavish lifestyles undoubtedly bring in higher television ratings than your run-of-the-mill agents.

And while those shows are entertaining, they can create a lot of misconceptions about real estate agents. We’re ready to clear those up right now.

Misconception #1: This job is easy.

dude

 

Consider a few of an agent’s daily challenges: marketing “not-so-marketable” properties, managing a huge client database and supervising heated negotiations. Add in the stress of a commission-based income and a up swinging market, and you can understand why few agents say their jobs are “easy.”

“People have this image that being an agent is easy, that all you have to do is show homes,” says Murney Associates agent Amanda Hawn, in an in house interview. “This is an undervalued job for all the work that goes into it. And real estate is a really fickle industry. We have advertising fees (huge if you do a lot of advertising),  board dues monthly, signage fees, business cards, flyers, printing, gas, car maintenance and mainly time.”

 

Misconception #2: I get paid a lot.

money

 

 

Real estate agents drive around in flashy cars, live in mansions, and are up to their eyeballs in million-dollar deals, right?

Wealthy agents are definitely out there, but 6-figure incomes are not the norm among agents. The average gross income for members of the National Association of Realtors who worked 40-59 hours a week was definetly under a 6 figure income . That’s a solid income, but not enough to support a warehouse full of Ferraris or a palatial vacation home.

Most agents quickly learn that a comfortable income is certainly within reach, but that real estate isn’t the quick and easy road to riches. Think of the fact of advertising costs, real estate board fees, signs and insurance that Realtors have to pay on a monthly basis. When it boils down to it after taxes most agents have at least a high dollar amount of expenses each year.

 

Misconception #3: My schedule is super-flexible.

lake

 

Most real estate agents aren’t held to the “Monday-Friday, 8-5” routine. Agents have some flexibility to work at the times and locations they see fit.  A Friday is more like a REALTORS Monday.

But that doesn’t mean agents can abandon the office for days on end or vacation at a moment’s notice. Clients have demands and busy lives as well, and many expect agents to cater to their schedules. Buyers may want an immediate showing of a new listing. Sellers expect listing agents to constantly monitor leads. With the free technology that MURNEY ASSOCIATES offers their agents this is manageable.

At the end of the day, agents can choose how flexible and responsive they want to be. But as success follows hard work, so too must agents follow their client’s needs. Just as agents need to understand their clients families needs, clients should understand as well that some or most agents have families to take care of as well and should be respectful when a showing or listing has to be canceled or changed due to family activities.

Misconception #4: I don’t need any training to do this job.

study

 

We’ll counteract that myth with a simple statement: Agents are a well-educated crowd.

Every licensed agent must meet their state’s training guidelines before starting a practice. Plus,more than 48 percent of NAR members have some type of college degree, and 32 percent hold specialized training certifications. In addition, a third of NAR members have at least one professional designation, such as GRI (Graduate Realtor Institute) or ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative).

It’s true that most universities don’t offer a bachelor’s degree in real estate. Don’t let that tidbit obscure the fact that agents undergo rigid license training and continuing education to succeed. One of the very BEST things that Murney Associates, REALTORS offers their agents is FREE CONTINUING EDUCATION!!!!!! No other company around can touch this fact.

The reality is…

Just like any other profession, real estate has its highs and lows, it’s not a get-rich-quick scheme, or an easy career for someone without the proper training.

But if you love personal interaction, marketing, and being self-employed, working as a real estate agent can be incredibly rewarding. Connecting buyers with their dream homes or helping sellers move on with their lives is a wonderful calling. And you get to look at houses all day long. (Better consider a different career path if that doesn’t excite you!)

 

About Us: With homes in SPRINGFIELD MO, OZARK  MO, NIXA MO and surrounding southwest Missouri areas, Murney Associates produces more real estate sales in Springfield and Southwest Missouri than any other real estate firm. Murney Associates is the largest independent real estate company in Springfield Missouri and is ranked in the Top 100 in the nation by Real Estate Magazine. We are locally owned yet nationally recognized for our award-winning real estate performance.

We have the largest number of realtors in Springfield MO than any other real estate firm. And with commercial real estate in Springfield MO and surrounding areas, Murney Commercial Realtors can also help you find your next business location.

We can facilitate a stress-free move for you and your family to any of the homes in Springfield and its surroundings areas. Murney wants to exceed your expectations, because our clients always come first!

 


 

Summer Home Staging Tips

May 29th, 2014

Summer Home Staging Tips

The real estate market is heating up and temperatures are, too SLIGHTY. We’ve got a fresh batch of home staging tips that will help your sellers get their homes sold during the summer months. And, in classic Murney fashion, we’ve had a little fun with it and added some actual listing photos that show you what NOT to do!

Clean the Pool

pool

 

If you’ve got it, flaunt it! Now is the time to show prospective buyers just how inviting and wonderful your pool is. Make sure it’s sparking and spotless, stash the kids’ toys and set up an inviting seating area nearby.

 

Tame the Wilderness

 grass

(Backyard comes with sugarcane forest and makeshift soccer goal. House optional.)

Visiting buyers expect to see your yard in all its glory during this time of year. Make sure hedges are trimmed, the lawn is green and beds are clean. Plant inexpensive flowers in bright colors to draw eyes to the very best parts of your yard. Cut back any plants that are blocking windows.

 

Prep the Deck

deck

(Dreamy hot-weather workouts await!)

Summer months are the best time to virtually increase your square footage by using outdoor living space to your advantage. Power wash the deck or patio, knock down spider webs and clean your outdoor furniture. Create a space that invites visitors to imagine themselves relaxing outdoors. Chairs, flowers, pillows, candles… small touches can make a big difference.

Lighten Up

ugly house

(At last, the perfect summer listing for vampires.)

Make the most of summer sunshine by lightening up around the house. Swap out dark towels, blankets and curtains for lighter colors. Add a bright rug or some new throw pillows that celebrate the season. Fresh flowers are always a good idea.

 

Wash the Windows

dirty windows

Of course, you should clean the windows no matter what the season, but in the summer this step is especially important. All that sunlight streaming in can make smudges and smears more obvious. Dirty windows make buyers wonder if anything else is actually clean.

 

What are your top staging #Tips for summer that will help more listings get sold? Share them below!


 

What Home Loan Is Right For You?

May 20th, 2014

Understanding the difference between FHA, USDA, MHDC and conventional loans can help you avoid unnecessary time and expense when you try to qualify for a mortgage. FHA, or the Federal Housing Administration, insures or “backs” loans within certain parameters and through certain lenders. A conventional mortgage is not backed by any federal agency, and you can obtain one from just about any lender, such as a mortgage company or a bank. At this current moment in time the minimum credit score you MUST have to obtain ANY loan is 620.

Qualifications: The FHA uses a credit score of 620 to determine whether you can qualify automatically for a loan. In addition, you can qualify for FHA loans one year after Chapter 13 bankruptcy, two years after Chapter 7 and three years after a foreclosure. With a conventional mortgage, you may have to wait two to four years or more after these events to qualify.

Down Payments: FHA loans require a lower down payment, typically between 3.5 percent and 4 percent of the purchase price. Conventional loans require higher down payments, which can range anywhere between 10 percent and 30 percent of the purchase price. The conventional down payment percentage may also vary based on the type of property, such as whether you are buying a single-family home or a condo. The FHA will allow you to accept a “gift” of money as a down payment, but conventional mortgage lenders usually will not.

USDA Guaranteed Home Loan – This is the most popular and widely used option. It allows prospective home buyers to purchase in a rural designated area and has a higher income limitation than the USDA Direct loan. It allows for buyers to have a qualifying income of up to 115% of the area median household income. Income is the key difference.

USDA Direct Loan – Not as common as the Guaranteed USDA Rural Home Loan. The main reason is that they carry very strict income limitations for qualifying applicants. You must have a very low income (80% of the area median household income) in order to qualify. Applicants also must be without adequate housing and be able to afford the housing payment (including taxes and insurance) which can be up to 26% of the applicant’s monthly income. As of May 6, 2014 USDA is now available for NIXA, MO, which it has not been in the past. This is a huge bonus for clients wanting to buy a home in the Nixa, MO community.

MHDC/Missouri Housing Development Commission, the state housing finance agency, offers first-time home buyers the opportunity to own a home.

Available for those who:
Have not owned or had principal interest in a home in the past three years, have qualifying credit (minimum 620 credit score required),meet income and purchase price limits, household income limits are based on the total gross annual household income for all residents age 18 or older who will live in the home. Income includes wages, overtime, bonuses, commissions, child support, alimony and earnings from a second job, business and investments. Loans made in the program may be subject to recapture tax provisions under federal law. The homebuyer must occupy the home with 60 days of loan closing. Borrowers should contact one of our certified lenders throughout the state. A list of them can be found at www.mhdc.com.

About Us: With homes in Springfield MO, Ozark MO, Nixa MO and surrounding southwest Missouri areas, Murney Associates produces more real estate sales in Springfield and Southwest Missouri than any other real estate firm. Murney Associates is the largest independent real estate company in Springfield Missouri and is ranked in the Top 100 in the nation by Real Estate Magazine. We are locally owned yet nationally recognized for our award-winning real estate performance.
We have the largest number of realtors in Springfield MO than any other real estate firm. And with commercial real estate in Springfield MO and surrounding areas, Murney Commercial Realtors can also help you find your next business location.
We can facilitate a stress-free move for you and your family to any of the homes in Springfield and its surroundings areas. Murney wants to exceed your expectations, because our clients always come first!


 

Bike To Work Week in Springfield, MO

May 12th, 2014

From May 12-17th  it is Bike To Work Week. Not only are we going to have terrific weather here in the Ozarks for biking but also with the new Campbell/James River Expressway interchange  complete it makes biking to work from south Springfield into the city a safer ride. As Realtors it is not exactly easy to bike to work since we would look funny in heels or toting our clients from house to house but I can say a group of us Murney Associates, Realtors do plan on bringing our bikes and biking to lunch together.

So, please do all of us “cyclists” and the earth a favor and watch out for us on the road. Unfortunately the Ozarks is not as bicycle friendly as we like, but the good news is, our grand city and surrounding communities are working diligently to create bike lanes and putting up “share the road” signs. So please don’t honk at us or yell obscenities if we are going slow or in your way. We are trying something new for this good ole earth on which we live and getting some good exercise as well. Watch out for our hand signals to see which direction we may be going and last but not least; if you see a cyclist in trouble, be a friend and stop and offer a hand. We all appreciate your help and lets all get our ride on this week!  The Ozarks Greenways Commission says to please “Remember, if you can’t bike to work this week, you can carpool, telecommute, take the bus or any combination and it still counts as participation in Bike to Work Week. Anyone traveling with a bike on the bus this week gets to ride for FREE! No voucher needed, just tell the driver you’re participating.”

About Us: With homes in Springfield MO, Ozark MO, Nixa MO and surrounding southwest Missouri areas, Murney Associates produces more real estate sales in Springfield and Southwest Missouri than any other real estate firm. Murney Associates is the largest independent real estate company in Springfield Missouri and is ranked in the Top 100 in the nation by Real Estate Magazine. We are locally owned yet nationally recognized for our award-winning real estate performance.

We have the largest number of realtors in Springfield MO than any other real estate firm. And with commercial real estate in Springfield MO and surrounding areas, Murney Commercial Realtors can also help you find your next business location.

We can facilitate a stress-free move for you and your family to any of the homes in Springfield and its surroundings areas. Murney wants to exceed your expectations, because our clients always come first!


 

Tornado Safety Tips

April 14th, 2014

300x200_06271533_tornadosafety

There is no such thing as guaranteed safety inside a tornado. Freak accidents happen; and the most violent tornadoes can level and blow away almost any house and its occupants. Extremely violent EF5 tornadoes are very rare, though. Most tornadoes are actually much weaker and can be survived using these safety ideas…

 

Prevention and practice before the storm: At home, have a family tornado plan in place, based on the kind of dwelling you live in and the safety tips below. Know where you can take shelter in a matter of seconds, and practice a family tornado drill at least once a year. Have a pre-determined place to meet after a disaster. Flying debris is the greatest danger in tornadoes; so store protective coverings (e.g., mattress, sleeping bags, thick blankets, etc) in or next to your shelter space, ready to use on a few seconds’ notice. When a tornado watch is issued, think about the drill and check to make sure all your safety supplies are handy. Turn on local TV, radio or NOAA Weather Radio and stay alert for warnings. Forget about the old notion of opening windows to equalize pressure; the tornado will blast open the windows for you! If you shop frequently at certain stores, learn where there are bathrooms, storage rooms or other interior shelter areas away from windows, and the shortest ways to get there. All administrators of schools, shopping centers, nursing homes, hospitals, sports arenas, stadiums, mobile home communities and offices should have a tornado safety plan in place, with easy-to-read signs posted to direct everyone to a safe, close by shelter area. Schools and office building managers should regularly run well-coordinated drills. If you are planning to build a house, especially east of the Rockies, consider an underground tornado shelter or an interior “safe room”.

 

Know the signs of a tornado: Weather forecasting science is not perfect and some tornadoes do occur without a tornado warning. There is no substitute for staying alert to the sky. Besides an obviously visible tornado, here are some things to look and listen for:

 

Strong, persistent rotation in the cloud base.

Whirling dust or debris on the ground under a cloud base — tornadoes sometimes have no funnel!

Hail or heavy rain followed by either dead calm or a fast, intense wind shift. Many tornadoes are wrapped in heavy precipitation and can’t be seen.

Day or night – Loud, continuous roar or rumble, which doesn’t fade in a few seconds like thunder.

Night – Small, bright, blue-green to white flashes at ground level near a thunderstorm (as opposed to silvery lightning up in the clouds). These mean power lines are being snapped by very strong wind, maybe a tornado.

Night – Persistent lowering from the cloud base, illuminated or silhouetted by lightning — especially if it is on the ground or there is a blue-green-white power flash underneath.

WHAT TO DO…

In a house with a basement: Avoid windows. Get in the basement and under some kind of sturdy protection (heavy table or work bench), or cover yourself with a mattress or sleeping bag. Know where very heavy objects rest on the floor above (pianos, refrigerators, waterbeds, etc.) and do not go under them. They may fall down through a weakened floor and crush you. Head protection, such as a helmet, can offer some protection also.

 

In a house with no basement, a dorm, or an apartment: Avoid windows. Go to the lowest floor, small center room (like a bathroom or closet), under a stairwell, or in an interior hallway with no windows. Crouch as low as possible to the floor, facing down; and cover your head with your hands. A bath tub may offer a shell of partial protection. Even in an interior room, you should cover yourself with some sort of thick padding (mattress, blankets, etc.), to protect against falling debris in case the roof and ceiling fail. A helmet can offer some protection against head injury.

 

In an office building, hospital, nursing home or skyscraper:Go directly to an enclosed, windowless area in the center of the building — away from glass and on the lowest floor possible. Then, crouch down and cover your head. Interior stairwells are usually good places to take shelter, and if not crowded, allow you to get to a lower level quickly. Stay off the elevators; you could be trapped in them if the power is lost.

 

In a mobile home:Get out! Even if your home is tied down, it is not as safe as an underground shelter or permanent, sturdy building. Go to one of those shelters, or to a nearby permanent structure, using your tornado evacuation plan. Most tornadoes can destroy even tied-down mobile homes; and it is best not to play the low odds that yours will make it. This mobile-home safety video from the State of Missouri may be useful in developing your plan.

 

At school:Follow the drill! Go to the interior hall or room in an orderly way as you are told. Crouch low, head down, and protect the back of your head with your arms. Stay away from windows and large open rooms like gyms and auditoriums.

 

In a car or truck: Vehicles are extremely risky in a tornado. There is no safe option when caught in a tornado in a car, just slightly less-dangerous ones. If the tornado is visible, far away, and the traffic is light, you may be able to drive out of its path by moving at right angles to the tornado. Seek shelter in a sturdy building, or underground if possible. If you are caught by extreme winds or flying debris, park the car as quickly and safely as possible — out of the traffic lanes. Stay in the car with the seat belt on. Put your head down below the windows; cover your head with your hands and a blanket, coat, or other cushion if possible. If you can safely get noticeably lower than the level of the roadway,leave your car and lie in that area, covering your head with your hands. Avoid seeking shelter under bridges, which can create deadly traffic hazards while offering little protection against flying debris.

 

In the open outdoors: If possible, seek shelter in a sturdy building. If not, lie flat and face-down on low ground, protecting the back of your head with your arms. Get as far away from trees and cars as you can; they may be blown onto you in a tornado.

 

In a shopping mall or large store: Do not panic. Watch for others. Move as quickly as possible to an interior bathroom, storage room or other small enclosed area, away from windows.

 

In a church or theater: Do not panic. If possible, move quickly but orderly to an interior bathroom or hallway, away from windows. Crouch face-down and protect your head with your arms. If there is no time to do that, get under the seats or pews, protecting your head with your arms or hands.

 

AFTER THE TORNADO…

 

Keep your family together and wait for emergency personnel to arrive. Carefully render aid to those who are injured. Stay away from power lines and puddles with wires in them; they may still be carrying electricity! Watch your step to avoid broken glass, nails, and other sharp objects. Stay out of any heavily damaged houses or buildings; they could collapse at any time. Do not use matches or lighters, in case of leaking natural gas pipes or fuel tanks nearby. Remain calm and alert, and listen for information and instructions from emergency crews or local officials.

 


 

Nixa, Mo Top Ranked in Best Places To Live

April 4th, 2014

nixa_mo_janitorial_service-296x300

 

About Nixa

Located just five miles south of Springfield, 30 minutes north of Branson, five miles west of Highway 65 and just a 30-minute drive from I–44, Nixa is the “Crossroads of the Ozarks” in southwest Missouri. Beautiful scenery is just minutes away, from the flowering dogwoods in spring to the array of stunning fall colors each autumn. Recreation abounds in every direction. Nixa is a progressive, growing pro-business community ready to pursue new industry and business opportunities. One look at Nixa, and it’s easy to see why people from all over the United States decide to call it their new home.

Contributing factors to the growth are:

  • Location between Springfield and Branson Lakes area
  • Access to excellent medical facilities
  • Extremely low crime rate
  • AAA-rated schools (state and national award-winning schools)?
  • Low cost of living

Not only is Nixa a cool and affordable place to live but MOVOTO.com has ranked Nixa, MO in the Top Safest Places ToLive In Missouri.

Here are the 10 safest places in Missouri:

1. City of Town and Country
2. City of Ballwin 
3. City of Chesterfield 
4. City of Webster Groves
5. City of O’Fallon
6. City of Creve Coeur
7. City of Manchester
8. City of Maryville
9. City of Raymore
10. City of Nixa

While Raymore may be one of the fastest growing in the state, according to the city’s website, Nixa is the fastest growing city in the state. People flock to this city just south of Springfield for its excellent schools, close-knit community, and, perhaps above all else, its safety.

According to our analysis, Nixa, with a population of 19,339, had just 380 total crimes in 2012, giving residents just a one in 51 chance of being the victim of a crime. Of those 380 crimes, the vast majority, or 357, were property crimes (287 thefts, 64 burglaries, and six motor vehicle thefts) and 23 were violent crimes (17 aggravated assaults, five rapes, and one robbery). Compare that to similarly sized Poplar Bluff, where there were 138 violent and 1,344 property crimes in 2012, and it’s clear why this is the fastest growing city in the state.

 NIXA HISTORY:

 

Nixa traces its origins back to the mid-1800s with the movement of farmers and traders into this fertile soil region of Southwest Missouri. The growing community quickly became known as a stopover or crossroads site, as the community was a half-day ride with a team. As with many other communities in Southwest Missouri, Nixa’s early economy was based on agriculture and farming. Grain crops, dairy and beef cattle, and vegetables were the primary products of the area. Since most early residents of Nixa had little cash, “swapping of goods” was a common practice – – wood for flour, molasses for bran, and beef for horses from Springfield.

Throughout the last 150+years Nixa has become one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Missouri. The population has grown from 756 people in 1922 to 19,339 in 2014 according to The Nixa Chamber of Commerce, the rise in Nixa home sales and Nixa real estate development has tripled.

Rapid residential home growth has spurred new business development in Nixa. Several new retail, convenience and service-oriented businesses have located in the community since 1990 and expansion of existing industries is under way. Financial institutions like Liberty Bank, People’s Bank and Empire bank have constructed new offices and Springfield hospitals Mercy and Cox Health Center  have opened satellite medical clinics to serve the growing Nixa population. Improved community facilities and services, such as the Nixa Community Center, police station and utility office, have been developed to serve the needs of the Nixa population into the 21st century.

 

Stop by and visit our Murney Assocaites, Nixa office at 485 W. Aldersgate and see what Nixa is all about.


 

Spring Allergy Tips

March 24th, 2014

 

 

Thanks to climate change, every allergy season changes. Colder temperatures have led to delayed springs and longer allergy seasons, while higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have led to more potent and allergenic pollen.

sneeze

This year is no different. A hard and roller coaster winter, means that trees have started budding and releasing pollen earlier. While that certainly bodes well for birds and cherry-blossom festivals, it could leave you feeling miserable if you suffer from spring allergies. The good news is that natural allergy relief is within an arm’s reach of your refrigerator: Foods rich in vitamin C and folic acid help reduce the inflammation associated with allergic reactions, and studies are finding that some herbs are just as effective as expensive drugs.

Grab your grocery cart and head to Mama Jeans, Dillons or Pricecutter to  stock your produce bin with these 9 natural allergy remedies:

1. Broccoli brocoli

This precious piece of produce serves two purposes in annihilating your allergy symptoms. It’s high in allergy-relieving vitamin C and it’s a member of the crucifer family, plants that have been shown to clear out blocked-up sinuses. Researchers have found about 500 milligrams (mg) of Vitamin C a day can ease allergy symptoms, and just one cup of raw broccoli packs about 80 mg.

2. Citrus fruits oranges

To hit that 500-milligram vitamin C level from whole food sources, you can also turn to oranges, grapefruit, lemons, and limes. A large orange contains nearly 100 mg of C, while half of a large grapefruit contains about 60 mg.

3. Kale kale

Don’t just admire kale as a garnish. Eat it! This superfood packs a one-two punch against allergies; like broccoli, it’s a member of the crucifer family, but it’s also rich in the carotenoid department, pigments believed to aid in fighting allergy symptoms.

4. Collard greens greens

Highjacked by hay fever? Put collard greens on the menu for the same reason as kale. Their phytochemical content, mainly, carotenoids, eases allergy issues. To increase the amount of carotenoids your body absorbs, eat the veggie with some sort of fat source. One idea? Lightly cook it in olive oil.

5. Stinging nettle nettle

You can’t discuss natural allergy remedies without hailing stinging nettle. It helps stifle inflammation that occurs when you’re experiencing allergy symptoms. Stinging nettle contains histamine, the chemical your body produces during an allergic reaction, so it helps you acquire tolerance. Look for 500-mg freeze-dried nettle capsules in your natural health store, and take three times a day. That’s the best form for allergy relief; it won’t sting because it’s freeze-dried. Long-term use of the herb is not recommended, since it can deplete your potassium stores.

6. Butterbur butterbur

Leaves and roots of the butterbur shrub contain compounds called petasines, which can block some reactions that spark allergies. Does this plant really work? Science says yes, though its use is not generally recommended for young children, people older than 65, or those with ragweed allergies. A large British meta-analysis of six studies looking at butterbur as an allergy reliever found five studies supported the claim. The roots of the perennial shrub generally contain high levels of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which can damage the liver, so herbalists recommend looking for butterbur products that specify no pyrrolizidines, or ones that use a CO2 extracting process, which limits the amount of pyrrolizidine alkaloids. Swiss and German researchers found that butterbur was just as effective as the prescription antihistamine cetirizine (Zyrtec) after two weeks of treatment. It’s also been shown to relieve sneezing, itching, runny nose, stuffiness, and watery eyes in just five days.

7. Elderberries elderberries

Immune-strengthening elderberries are often hailed as a natural flu treatment, but the berries serve a purpose in natural allergy relief, too. Try elderberry wine, juice, or jam to tap the fruit’s beneficial flavonoids that reduce inflammation.

8. Onions and Garlic onions

Quercetin is another secret weapon that helps fight allergies by acting like an antihistamine. Onions and garlic are packed with quercetin, as are apples. (If you go with eating apples, just make sure they don’t stimulate oral allergy syndrome.)

9. Anti-allergy soup! soup

There’s nothing like a warm bowl of soup when you’re feeling sick, and while this usually pertains to chicken soup for the flu, an expert on herbs developed this soup to naturally battle allergies. Mama Jean’s recommends this allergy-fighting soup recipe:

Boil an onion (with skin) and a clove of garlic. Add half a cup chopped leaves and diced taproots of evening primrose. After boiling for about 5 minutes, add a cup of nettle leaves and a cup of diced celery stalks, and boil gently for another 3 to 10 minutes. Before eating, remove the onion skins and eat the soup it’s while stillwarm. Season with wine vinegar, black pepper, hot pepper, turmeric, curry powder or celery seed. Enjoy!

About Us: With homes in Springfield MO, Ozark MO, Nixa MO and surrounding southwest Missouri areas, Murney Associates produces more real estate sales in Springfield and Southwest Missouri than any other real estate firm. Murney Associates is the largest independent real estate company in Springfield Missouri and is ranked in the Top 100 in the nation by Real Estate Magazine. We are locally owned yet nationally recognized for our award-winning real estate performance.

We have the largest number of realtors in Springfield MO than any other real estate firm. And with commercial real estate in Springfield MO and surrounding areas, Murney Commercial Realtors can also help you find your next business location.

We can facilitate a stress-free move for you and your family to any of the homes in Springfield and its surroundings areas. Murney wants to exceed your expectations, because our clients always come first!


 

House Hunting Tips for Singles

March 17th, 2014

The American household has changed dramatically in the last 15 years-BIG TIME! More and more people are waiting until later in life to get married and start families.  With the current divorce rate people are becoming single once again late in life. This all means that more and more people are buying homes while single. Many unmarried folks are looking to buy on their own, while others are looking for homes to raise their children, live with their parents or partners.

If you are looking to purchase a home solo here are some great ideas on the process. images-5

1. Solo Doesn’t Mean “Condo” Buying.

A decade or two ago, many singles were purchasing condos, duplexes or patio homes. Mainly due to the fact that they enjoy the tax benefits of homeownership without having the responsibilities of lawn care, roof repairs, and other “single family” home problems.  Now singles are moving towards a “detached” home aka “Single Family Home” on it’s own lot so that they can get more square footage, garage space, Homeowner Associations with amenities, and room to grow.

Before a single decides to move in the direction of purchasing a single family home, make sure to consult with your REALTOR and circle of friends for referrals of local contractors , lawn service professionals, cleaning companies and home warranty companies. It ends up taking a village to maintain a home in the long run.

2. Pay Close Attention to Home Inspections and Warranty Companies

Most of what becomes scary about home ownership is the risks of the things that could “go wrong.” The question of “what if something goes wrong with the house?” can be scary. This is why having a MURNEY ASSOCIATE on your side as a REALTOR is very important. The guidance your agent will provide will help when choosing a home inspection company and possibly a home warranty company is key. Keep in mind that your agent will give you a list of approved home inspectors  to choose from. All are insured to make sure you are getting what you pay for. Things that are “cosmetic” in and around the home are not able to be asked to be fixed, unless there is mold or something of that nature.

Having a reputable home warranty policy when purchasing a home is a great idea. Murney works closely with  the HSA Home Warranty company. It is something that if you are purchasing a home over 5 years old you may want to think about. Knowing that most appliances only have a 5 year coverage is why a home warranty is good. Every home warranty has different coverages to choose from but all will have a minimal deductible.

3. Consult With Financial Pros Before Buying

Getting pre approved for a home loan is the NUMBER 1 thing a buyer should do before ever looking for homes. You need to make sure that you are financially secure and can afford the home you are looking at. Springfield, MO has many financial institutions to help you with this tedious process. Have patience with your agent and your lender and all will fall into place.

Ask your new lender many questions from; “Am I available for government financing?,”  “Can I buy down my interest rate?,” “What is PMI?.” and so forth. The buying process can be stressful but it does not have to be. Contact one of our Murney Associates today for the BEST in the REAL ESTATE BUSINESS.

 

 


 

Real Estate Tax Tips

March 10th, 2014

The IRS has recently issued a helpful list of 10 tax tips all homeowners should keep in mind when selling a home:

1. You are usually eligible to exclude the gain from income if you have owned and used your home as your main home for two years out of the five years prior to the date of its sale.

2. If you have a gain from the sale of your main home, you may be able to exclude up to $250,000 of the gain from your income ($500,000 on a joint return in most cases).

3. You are not eligible for the exclusion if you excluded the gain from the sale of another home during the two-year period prior to the sale of your home.

4. If you can exclude all of the gain, you do not need to report the sale on your tax return.

5. If you have a gain that cannot be excluded, it is taxable. You must report it on Form 1040, Schedule D, Capital Gains and Losses.

Greene County Property Tax Reassessments | Property Values in Greene County on Rise

6. You cannot deduct a loss from the sale of your main home.

7. Worksheets are included in Publication 523, Selling Your Home, to help you figure the adjusted basis of the home you sold, the gain (or loss) on the sale, and the gain that you can exclude.

8. If you have more than one home, you can exclude a gain only from the sale of your main home. You must pay tax on the gain from selling any other home. If you have two homes and live in both of them, your main home is ordinarily the one you live in most of the time.

9.  When you move, be sure to update your address with the IRS and the U.S. Postal Service to ensure you receive refunds or correspondence from the IRS. Use Form 8822, Change of Address, to notify the IRS of your address change.

About Us: With homes in Springfield MO, Ozark MO, Nixa MO and surrounding southwest Missouri areas, Murney Associates produces more real estate sales in Springfield and Southwest Missouri than any other real estate firm. Murney Associates is the largest independent real estate company in Springfield Missouri and is ranked in the Top 100 in the nation by Real Estate Magazine. We are locally owned yet nationally recognized for our award-winning real estate performance.

We have the largest number of realtors in Springfield MO than any other real estate firm. And with commercial real estate in Springfield MO and surrounding areas, Murney Commercial Realtors can also help you find your next business location.


 

Improving Your Indoor Air Quality

February 25th, 2014

Pollution isn’t limited to outdoor emissions. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollution levels can be 2 to 5 times greater than outdoor levels. Given that the average American spends up to 90 percent of his or her time inside, indoor air quality has become a public health concern.

 

IndoorAirQuality

Know the 3 Types of Pollutants
“Indoor pollutants can be grouped into three different categories: gaseous, particulate and biological,” explains Elliott Horner, lead scientist at UL Environment. And, Horner adds, each category has its own risks.

Gaseous
When pollutants are in the gaseous state, they produce dangerous side effects. Minor ailments can include headaches and eye irritations. But the pollutants also can trigger much more serious consequences such as cancer and even death. The most worrisome gaseous pollutants include:

  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs)—Building materials and other household goods emit these chemicals, such as formaldehyde. Common sources are woods, drywall, adhesives, paint, cleaning products, furniture and even home electronics.
  • Radon gas, which occurs naturally in soil, is the second-leading cause of lung cancer and is responsible for at least 21,000 deaths a year.

Particulate
Ultra-fine liquid or solid particles in the air can get deep into the lungs. They are associated with an increased risk of allergies and asthma attacks. Common particulates are:

  • Pollen
  • Dust
  • Dust mites
  • Animal dander
  • Diesel exhaust particles that seep in from outdoors

Biological
“Biological pollutants almost always involve dampness or water damage,” Horner says. Humidity, water line breaks and flooding are frequent sources. They can cause infections and worsen allergies and asthma, and often produce less-toxic VOCs that still are a cause for concern. Biological pollutants include:

  • Mold
  • Mildew
  • Bacteria—mostly occupant-related
  • Viruses—all occupant-related

Detecting a Problem
You can see many particulate pollutants, such as dust, but detecting the other types requires testing.

“There are several analytical sciences to detect issues in air quality, but they are very expensive,” says Horner. “However, there are some clues that the average person can pick up on, too.”

Horner suggests paying attention to foul or musty odors; or eye, skin or respiratory irritations among family members. Commercially available test kits can help you identify potential problems. If you suspect you’re dealing with a bigger problem, contact an environmental consultant or your local or state health department for assistance.

Preventing Future Problems
“Preventing and controlling indoor pollutants is best done with an integrated approach during the design, construction and operation parts of the life of a building,” explains Horner. Take steps toward healthier air through smart maintenance and furnishings:

  • Ventilate to increase fresh air.
  • Change your HVAC filters regularly.
  • Keep the humidity level between 30 and 50 percent.
  • Promptly address any leaks: plumbing, roof, or other.
  • Don’t allow smoking in your home.
  • Wash sheets and blankets weekly in hot water.
  • Keep pets out of bedrooms and off furniture.
  • Test your home with a DIY radon kit.
  • Clean up water damage within 48 hours.
  • Buy low-emitting products.
  • Invest in a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) vacuum.

Learn more about improving your indoor air quality from the EPA and the American Lung Association