Archive for June, 2009

Just Looking Back For A Moment

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, Habitat For Humanity, Random, recreation, Tallahassee with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by realtordebbie

I’m not sure why I’m reminiscing more this week than in times past. I’m exhausted, and it’s only Tuesday.  Perhaps it’s the 100+ degree temperatures we have been having in Tallahassee.. or possibly related to the first day off I had on Sunday, the first in more than about 6 months.  I spent that day with my folks,..floating in the pool in the home where I was raised. For the first time in a very long time, I put business down for a day, and I was as relaxed as I was when I was a child.

Home

Home

I had a few thoughts that I just needed to spill. As far back as I can remember, I have had a roof over my head. My father had a job, my mom made dinner at night and my sisters and I played in a yard,…every day.  I don’t remember hearing about famine, about unemployment, about the threat of socialism or foreclosures being on the rise. I don’t remember a time when there was a need in my not-so-long-ago rural community, that families did not gather to “tend” to those in need.

As far back as I can remember, people had work to do, suppose that’s why I dont mind it or even think about the hours I put in as a single mom. I was raised in a middle class.. or what would now be considered lower middle class family I suppose. Plain and simple, everyone I was exposed to had a work ethic and a sense of moral dignity and community. Times may have been “tight,” but there was food on my table. (Much of it home-grown or given to us in trade for work my dad may have done for someone. I’ve put up more peas and corn than most have seen!)

When I look around today, I see a different society. Kids don’t play outside much anymore..they don’t build forts in the woods and they are never out of their parent’s watchful eyes. Father’s and mothers both work, and spend much of their time involved in costly night-time activities that are deemed “necessary” for physical and emotional development. I see the elderly shoved into homes because they have no families to care for them or either the children are fighting over who must “take on the job” of caring for them.

I’m not feeling very sorry right now for a few people I know who are using up their sick time before they loose it.. or complaining about kids driving them crazy whining and complaining.  I think we’ve done a few things wrong along the way, plain and simple. Perhaps it’s not so bad to look back once in a while.. to sit and reminisce with the old folks, or to even look back to where we were a few decades ago.

The Tallahassee Board of Realtors is starting another Habitat For Humanity House in the fall. My pledge is $100 for each closing I have and to work on our build days. I can’t think of anywhere else I’d rather be really. Every home-owner of these houses that I have met, has been hard-working, many raising their own children, grandchildren or someone else’s children. It takes a village, it means a home. I think most of us “get-it” now that this could be any one of us. What we don’t know is who would be there if we fell.

These may very well be “the good times.” These may be the times we gain control of our lives and reach out to those around us once again. Sure  makes you think, huh. Today, I’m simply grateful for the 100 hour work week and the homemade blackberry jelly my friend Jay dropped off  last week. Time to return a favor.

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Tallahassee, As Far Back As I Can Remember

Posted in Debbie Kirkland, History, Tallahassee with tags , , , , , , , on June 23, 2009 by realtordebbie
Silver Slipper

Silver Slipper

Tallahassee, FL

Back in My Day!

You know you are getting old when you can remember places from your childhood that are pictured in black and white photos…..before black and white photography was “artistic.”

I’m a native of Tallahassee and people always seem amazed at that. Although I have traveled quite a bit, I always seem to be drawn back “home.” I have a history here, my famly has a history here. I’ve decided to post a few blogs about those folks.

I’ve got quite a few vivid memories, and I remember them because outings were a treat! We lived in “the country”, and a trip to town meant a “black cow” at Mutt and Jeff’s diner, or a hamburger at the very first McDonald’sMcDonalds-TennesseeSt1961 in town (right near FSU – tell me they didn’t have marketing figured out even back then!).  After dinner.. we’d cross the street to a stand-alone, walk-up  ice-cream stand called the “Dairy Queen,” (guess that answers the question about which came first, the king or the queen!), or perhaps we’d stop for a donut at the first Krispy Kreme. The drive up, or drive in was all the rage back in my early years!

Tallahassee Drive-In -4 Points

Tallahassee Drive-In -4 Points

Movies were a real treat, and most native Tallahasseans remember the drive-in-movies on the “Jacksonville” highway (Apalachee Parkway). They were of course begun just after  dark.. so my parents always made sure we were dressed for bed. They brought blankets and pillows and put us on top of the station wagon to watch the show.  I’m sure it was just easier for packing us in the back of the wagon after the show.

Yep, I’m trying to get my parents into blogging.. writing some of their memories down now before they are gone.  I’m a third generation Tallahassee, Florida native, and I am missing some details that my grandparents took with them as they left for a better place. I’m sure there are many I have missed.

Listening to my grandparents talk when i was a teen might not have been the most exciting thing in the world, but I was always intrigued and I do remember some of the stories passed down to me as a child. I liked sitting at my grandmother’s table at lunch hearing them again and again. She taught elementary school at Sealey Elementary, and seemed to know half the town.. from childhood on into adulthood!

I’ll try to write a few down in the next few blogs.  One storyI do remember: I know that my great-grandfather used to walk to work. He walked over 4 miles actually, along Apalachee Parkway. Now a 4 lane highway, at the time was a narrow 2 lane road, dirt and he lived off Midyette Road. Now a 5 min. drive to the Capitol, but then an hour long walk, one way! Rumor has it he made it all the way to the capitol every day and left work early enough to sit on a lady friend’s front porch downtown near now  historic Leon High school. I’m not sure what kind of “lady-friend” it was, but my dad made sure to go “around” the house so my mom wouldn’t see him there! He was however killed as he walked home along the highway just yards from his home by a dump truck.

There are many stories,.. will have to pull out the photos and continue later, and if you have some you’d like to share, just drop me a line!

Appalachee Parkway

Apalachee Parkway

Making Hay While The Sun is Shining!

Posted in Real Estate Advice with tags , , , , , , , , on June 15, 2009 by realtordebbie

Realtor's Road SignSo the Sun is shining.. the world is turning and banks are still lending money, and people are still spending. The difference today is that people are being much more discretionary and careful with spending. Not such a bad decision.

You know, I used to *whine* to my  kids about spending gone wild. Now that one is on her own, gainfully employed and supporting herself, all of a sudden the  meaning of “support” has sunk in. I feel like I’m turning into my mama and am waiting for the “I told you so!” to come out of my mouth! Restraint,… slight grin.

This week at the Tallahassee Board of Realtors marketing meeting, our Board attorney gave us the monthly legal update. Always packed with knowledge and useful information, always timely and purposeful. I walked away thinking of a few comments that were made and with three thought provoking  points that were discussed on my mind:

#1  “This is the worst real estate market I have seen since 1969”

Maybe,.. I was born in 1961, so it is hard for me to remember back that far! ; )  In any case.. my earliest memories are this..my father helped build our home. I mean, he swung a hammer, he cleared the property, he toiled every spare moment after his job to build a home for my family. He saved money for a down-payment of 25%. Yes, that is right, 25%… no FHA loans for 3.5% down, no 100% financing. Banks were different then?  The truth is, home buyers were different then!  My parents still reside in that house, they have loved and maintained it, and it is in much better condition than many 3 – 4 yr. old homes that I show on a regular basis, and certainly cleaner. Pride.

The following data comes from the closing statement, on file in the house. Their interest rate in 1967, 6.6%. The purchase loan was $27,500 – not including the $3500 land purchase. My dad’s Salary,..$15,000 Feeding and clothing a family of 5. Their debt to income ratio,..54%. Their closing costs, 3.6% of the Sales Price. Accomplishment.

#2 “Real estate is local”

Boy is it ever.. not just from state to state.. but city to city sometimes, street to street. Striving for appraisal standards, chunk the short sale and foreclosures out of the appraisals is something we are working on. The analogy to me is this:
If you go into a retail store, you see two areas.. the sale racks and the new season’s latest collection. Just because there is a shirt on sale do we think we can expect the value of the new collection to go down? It is after all a “declining” market,.. retailers should be happy to get any offer on that item, right? Haha! Try running that by the sales clerk or even the store manager! So, the point is,.. don’t expect the perfect condition, loved home and faithful homeowner to be thrilled with an offer anywhere close to a run down, dilapidated foreclosure. Common Sense. Get away from what appraisers are doing to our market.. and look at the home as your home. How much is that worth to you? Will your family be happy there in 5 years? Yes.. at least 5 years! (a good  Realtor’s advice)

#3 “Real estate has never experienced overnight losses of over 30% like the stock market!”

So I suppose we should shut up..quit complaining, give a quick pat on the back.. and learn to love our jobs and ourselves once again. We are not responsible for the market collapse.  It seems ironic that the Realtors I know are working 60 -100 hour work-weeks and keeping families together, restoring dignity to those who have lost hope, and stimulating an economic recovery. Realtors don’t punch clocks. Perhaps if they did, the public would understand the hours that go into our jobs. Realtors have it harder than most actually. We are self-employed 100% commission, all business expenses, taxes and continuing education come from that commission. We will recover, we will work to recover and we will support one another through this market, because… We Care.

Help us help you! Turn the TV off.. take in the big picture, think locally, save money, live within your means and most importantly,  Hire a Professional Realtor.