Read on for the latest news in real estate in Wayne, Nebraska and the surrounding communities as well as useful tips for buying and selling your home. Bonus features include a look into the good, the bad, and the ugly of homeownership as shared by blog author, homeowner, property manager, and real estate broker, Trisha Peters.
Welcome Home.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012


I used to think that I lived a pretty minimalist lifestyle.  For years, I didn't have cable TV, I always shopped for bargains, and I never have liked having a lot of stuff just sitting around.  Apparently, I was just really good at being a pack rat and storing things in places where the naked eye could not see them.  Places like the top shelf of every closet, the storage space under the stairway in the basement, the kitchen "catch-all" drawer, etc.  Never before did I realize how much I really had until this past weekend.  I have been gradually moving the past 3 weeks, taking a carload here and there whenever I had a few spare moments.  I thought I was nearing the end, and I asked Mom to come help me doing some final cleaning on my house in Wayne last Saturday so we could finish up.  Low and behold, we filled two cars, a pickup and an SUV with the miscellaneous items I had left, and there is STILL a trailer load of stuff to be hauled to Wisner!  I couldn't figure out where this stuff was coming from!

Once every vehicle was packed so full that it rendered the rear view mirror useless, we formed a caravan like a bunch of traveling gypsies and made our way to Wisner.  I unloaded the pickup first, and Mom packed things in the store room.  It was then that I figured out how I fit all of that stuff into my house...I inherited my mother's gene for making it look like we didn't have as much stuff as we actually do.  She managed to fit an entire pickup load of boxes onto three shelves in a five foot wide storage area.  It was the most amazing thing I've seen in ages!  In that little space, it didn't look like much at all, and I was feeling better about things.  But, the thought was lurking that it was going to take a whole pickup load if we ever intended to move again.  Then, Dad stopped in on Sunday after church, looked around, and said, "You should be a lot richer."  (Meaning that I should have put my money in the bank instead of buying all of that stuff!)  2012 is definitely going to be the year for downsizing!

Last night, I started moving boxes around and organizing the store room to accommodate for more construction (fingers crossed we start rolling around February 1st).  This was the third or fourth time that I've handled some of those boxes, and vowed that I would not purchase anymore kitchen appliances, pots, pans, towels, wall hangings, home decor, clothes, or anything else for that house unless I got rid of two (or four) things that I already have.  Watch out Goodwill, it's going to be a busy year! 

Now, I'm devoted to being a bit more like my husband who showed up on moving day with a recliner, a box of equipment manuals, his clothes, and a flashlight.  (If we had a machine shed to house his tools, tractors and equipment, his move would be a different story, too.)  I, on the other hand, have worn a rut in Highways 15 and 275 with two stock trailers and 20+/- car loads.  I am taking a stand to never move that much stuff again.  Here's to cleaning out the store room, emptying the closets, and overcoming the gene that causes me to save EVERYTHING.  Welcome Home!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Our 1-Bedroom Basement Apartment

Tim and I have been jokingly referring to our new home as our 1-bedroom basement apartment for a couple of weeks now.  I keep waiting for a sweet little old lady to holler down the basement steps to let us know that she has some homemade cookies fresh out of the oven (but that would require having an oven first).  We have visited with many a married couple that started out their lives this way.  In some ways, it feels like we have reverted back to our college days (sans the afternoon naps and generally carefree lifestyle).  Back then, we would put up with pretty much anything just to have a place of our own.  The one-basin cast iron sink would have held at least a week's worth of dirty dishes, the loveseat and TV stands would have made for some elegant dining, and the electric blue shag carpet would have hidden a year's worth of not having time to vacuum.  I didn't know Tim back in college, but I'm guessing that so long as he had a place to sleep at night, he was fine.  Really, he would probably be fine living with the bare plywood subflooring upstairs, but there is always a woman to mess up a guy's plan for life.

As time goes on, we are both adapting the changes that moving created for us, and we are also liking our home more each day.  It has many great features, and a little tweaking will make everything perfect for us.  I have worked with many home buyers and sellers over the years, and this experience has made me appreciate the ability to see the potential in a property.  One of the best parts about working with buyers is getting to see a home once they have added their own personal touch to it.  Whether it's paint colors, carpeting, window treatments, or a complete remodel, a home really can take on an entirely new personality once someone with a vision goes to work on it.  A home, in many ways, defines a person's style, taste, and character.  It provides insight and serves as an oasis of solitude and comfort.   When it comes right down to it, there really is no place like home.

So far this week, our home has proven to be watertight.  (Chalk one up for Tim and Trish!)  After having a near miss with the partially opening garage door on Monday morning, Tim did spend some time fixing the tension to make it open all the way.  We have both continued to fill every nook and cranny in the basement with our "stuff," and it looks promising that we might actually be able to squeeze it all in down there until the upstairs is ready for us.  When we first moved in, it seemed like we had a ton of space, but now that we are starting to fill in the gaps with the "stuff" of two households, we are lucky to keep a path through the living room.  We've considered setting up a maze and charging admission to our dog and pony show to help pay for the remodeling!  Luckily, we are on schedule so far with our plans.  As soon as the plumber and electrician have a chance to do their thing, we will be ready for the sheet rock.  The kitchen cabinets and flooring have been ordered and should arrive mid-February.  Until then, we are content in our 1-bedroom basement apartment and patiently wait for those fresh-out-of-the-oven chocolate chip cookies to show up.  Welcome Home!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Plaster Dust and Shower Heads

I left off last week with things in a bit of disarray at our new home.  Friday night, I opened the basement cupboard door to reach for a plate, and I noticed that we had sprung yet another leak.  This time, it was coming from the 1/2 bath off the main entrance from the garage.  I love this feature because it is near the laundry area and it makes for a great place to wash up after working outside.  However, that loving relationship soon turned to despise as it was Friday night, I was tired, it was late, and we had nowhere to go to get parts to fix the leak.  I was beginning to think that we should have bought a boat to float us down the Elkhorn River on the stream of water that seemed to be coming from every orifice in our house besides the ones it needed to go into or out of.  Nonetheless, Tim was able to loosen the shut off and tighten a nut underneath the sink and stop the leak enough to allow us to get some parts on Saturday. 

My little brother and I worked on taking the remainder of the plaster out of the kitchen on Saturday afternoon.  We can't do anything without a power tool, so we had plenty of dust flying throughout the main floor by the time Tim got home from work.  Of course, he was ready to go to Menards before I had a chance to clean up, so we left for Norfolk in a hurry with me looking like Casper the ghost due to the plaster dust.  Wouldn't you know it, we ran into three other couples we knew while we were shopping.  You can about imagine that every conversation started out, "So, uh, did you have a fight with a flour sack?"  If I would have been dressed to the hilt, we wouldn't have run into anybody we knew.  The Law of Personal Encounters always works that way.

After getting home from Norfolk, the first plan of attack was to install a new shower head to replace the one that sprayed an enormous amount of water pressure on everything except the person showering.  Tim grumbled a little bit because it was late, but it was a 2-minute project that made his wife very happy.  No more sopping wet bathroom floor, no more moving the head all around to rinse the shampoo out of my hair, and no skin indentations from where the three or four working water spouts hit me.  It's like a totally new shower!

On Sunday, we made a second trip to Menards to get everything that we forgot on Saturday night.  We had purchased several doorknobs the week of closing only to realize that apparently door knob sizes have changed a bit since 1968.  The one doorknob we bought on Saturday was the right size, and we found that it fit perfectly in the basement walk-out door.  Thinking we had scored a victory, we decided that we should purchase more knobs to put on the main floor doors so we at least had more than one working lock to get into the house.  We started installing the new doorknobs only to find that the main floor doors were fitted slightly different than the basement.  Who would have guessed that 1/16 of an inch could make so much difference?  And, again, the hubby was grumbling.  We got all five knobs changed with a little help from a reciprocating saw and a few less-than-desirable words being said.  At least nobody lost a finger to the saw and a door knob covered one little "whoopsie" we had.

All in all, we accomplished everything we set out to do this weekend, and my socks didn't even get soggy walking into the bathroom this morning.  Life is good.  Welcome Home!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Taking Things for Granted

As my husband and I are settling into the basement of our new home, I've noticed many things that I have taken for granted.  You see, the first home I purchased in back in 2005 was a spec home which was nice and new and didn't need a bit of work besides seeding a lawn, installing window treatments, and moving in furniture.  It has been a great home, and I'm glad that my brother and his soon-to-be wife will be purchasing it.  From a sentimental perspective, many great memories come from a person's "first" home, and I hope they have those same memories to share with their new family.  From an ownership perspective, I know that they will take great care of it, and I won't have to worry about driving by someday to see that the yard is overgrown or it is in a state of disrepair.  No homeowner wants to see their first home go that route.

And so, onto our home in Wisner, and the many things that I have taken for granted during the past six years. I've compiled a list of items that I didn't realize I relied on so heavily until they were gone:

1. A toilet paper holder and towel bar in the bathroom.  I've heard many people complain time and again about their kids or spouse leaving their wet towels on the floor.  What's even more annoying is when you have no other option and you have to use a vacant door knob or the back of a chair in the living room to hang up the towels.  Nothing says, "Come on in and have a seat" like a damp bath towel soaking through your shirt.

2. A microwave.  An electric skillet (a big shout out to the person who gave us that for a wedding present) will have to do until we have one installed.  I learned how to warm up some leftover mashed potatoes along side some Hamburger Helper last night.  The trick is to make a sturdy dam out of hamburger to keep the items separated in the pan.

3. A dishwasher.  Right now, a one-basin metal sink with a broken strainer is keeping the paper plate companies in business.  My new motto is, "Wash fast or don't wash at all!" 

4. A washer and dryer.  Has anybody ever wondered why a place that is designed for cleaning clothes can be so dirty?  Nothing like trucking all of your personal items to a laundromat where you pick the only washing machine that doesn't spin out and the dryer that doesn't heat.  Plus, everything came out smelling like a smoky bar.  Again, hanging all of the Tim's jeans and t-shirts around the lower level of our home has created a welcoming atmosphere for guests.

5. Garage door remotes.  An attached garage is wonderful, but if you have to get out of the car to make the door open and close, it really defeats the purpose (especially when the door doesn't go up all the way, so you have to stand on your tippy toes to give it that little extra nudge so you don't give the top of your truck a close shave.)  The seller told us the remotes were in the house "somewhere," and we're still holding out hope that we will find them.  We still have a couple of walls on the main floor that we haven't pulled the plaster off of.  I'm sure that's where they left them.

6. Keys.  At least the one we have came with a big smiley face key ring holder that politely says, "Have a Nice Day!"

It might sound like I'm complaining, but I'm really just trying to share the humorous side of home ownership.  If somedays it feels like you have taken a step back in time, you probably have.  Don't worry, the "honey-do" list will eventually get completed.  This weekend will be filled with the excitement of installing towel rods, toilet paper holders, and door knobs!  Just remember to appreciate the little things in life.  Welcome Home!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year...New Home!

Many things have changed since my post last week.  My husband, Tim, and I are the proud new owners of a home in Wisner, Nebraska as of December 30, 2011.  We finally have a place to call "ours" rather than "yours" or "mine."  It even came with a tower which rivals the tallest building in town next to the leg on the grain elevator.  Our magnificent tower holds what I'm claiming to be the tallest TV antenna in town. We soon learned that there was a reason behind it because of the absolute lack of any sort of reception or contact with the outside world while standing inside the house.  With a little ingenuity, Tim was able to rig up the antenna to our 13-inch TV so the guys could at least watch the Nebraska bowl game while working yesterday.  Owning a home together is a wonderful feeling, albeit rather scary for us as we are undertaking our first home improvement projects as husband and wife.  We did agree to close despite the water damage on the condition that the sellers would have to keep some money in escrow until the insurance had settled.  At least we are sharing the risk of loss with everything that needs to be done.

This past weekend was designated in my mind as "moving weekend."  Essentially, we would get everything prepared to move into our basement.  I have been dodging packed boxes at my home in Wayne for nearly a month and a half, so I was ready to get things loaded up and moved out!  Friday, part of Saturday and most of Sunday were spent scrubbing, cleaning, and removing damaged ceiling tiles.  We also met with a few contractors to discuss some needs with the electrical, plumbing, etc.  The water damage that the sellers experienced prior to closing quickly began adding up into some additional projects that are somewhat related, but not entirely.  We figured so long as the main floor was in disarray, we might as well take on a couple of other needed improvements.  So, we are considering new windows to replace those that are leaking air and water as well as a kitchen remodel.  I'm not sure if this is what we signed up for as newlyweds, but we are going to test the marriage vows out right away!

I mentioned earlier that this weekend was my proclaimed "moving weekend."  Not everybody else was on the same page.  It was actually "moving-tear-out-a-kitchen-deal-with-leaky-pipes-remove-hideous-wall-paneling-knock-out-damaged-drywall-troubleshoot-internet-problems-scrub-the-basement-from-top-to-bottom weekend."  We even squeezed in a New Year and helped my family sort and ship hogs in between.  Needless to say, we were both ready to go back to work this morning to regroup and reenergize.  We certainly made progress, and at least we got a bed moved to sleep in last night because we were exhausted!

On to this week and the many new things that lie before us.  So far this morning, I have spoken to the cable/internet company, an electrician, a new cell phone provider, the appliance store, the window contractor, and the post office.  Moving is tough!  I can empathize with all of you who have been through this before.  It is all worth it in the long run, though.  Just waking up next to my husband this morning in "OUR" home was all I needed to remember the good things about my life and my work.  Welcome home!