Exploring Nature in Jefferson City Runge Nature Center

Runge Conservation Nature Center Sign

If you’re looking to get outside and explore nature this summer the Runge Nature Center is a great place in Jefferson City.  The Missouri Department of Conservation manages the Runge Nature Center.  It is a 100-acre area off Commerce Drive.  It features walking trails, a visitor center with exhibits and live-animal displays.  They also hold demonstrations and special events as well.

I have been there many times and it’s a great place to get some exercise in and just be outside.  I really enjoy the walking trails on nice days, but the visitor’s center is a great place to visit too.  They have a large auditorium, three classrooms, an indoor wildlife viewing area, and library.  It’s a great place to take your kids if you’re looking for a little something different to do.

Exhibits

You can even register your family, scouts, schools, and other groups for a naturalist-led program.  Just contact the nature center for scheduling your visit.  They have 5 hiking trails to choose from with over 2 miles in all.  You can also climb the old fire tower to discover and learn more about the forest.

Lookout Tower

The Runge Center is a great place to explore and learn more about nature.  The best part? It’s all free! It should definitely be on your list of things to do in Jefferson City!

Home Purchase with Student Loan Debt

Gone to College - Loans

Student loan debt has become a major challenge when it comes to purchasing a home.  Approximately 45 million people carry student loan debt of an average of $30,000.  Some owe substantially more than that.

This fact can threaten three of the most important factors that are taken into account when it comes to getting a loan.

The first factor we are going to talk about is the debt to income factor.  When buying a home with student loan debt, you need to be aware that many lenders will be looking at your total debts. The numbers they prefer to see are 28 percent of your total income for housing income expenses or 36 percent of total debt including your new mortgage.

So what can we do to overcome this challenge?  Some questions to ask are:

  1. Can you reduce your debt by increasing your income by taking a second job?
  2. Depending on your student loan situation…can you refinance or consolidate them to get your payment lower.  Can they restructure your loan?  This may require you to “shop around” to some different lenders to ensure you have the best loan to fit your needs.
  3. Another question to ask yourself is if you can pay down some off your high-interest credit cards?  This may impact your monthly obligation quickly.
  4. Lastly, if you don’t have the cash to pay down a big chunk of your debt, can your refinance some of your other monthly obligations to lower your monthly payments?

The second factor is your credit score.  You can maintain a good credit score even if you have student loan debt.  Some things that affect your credit score are:

  • Paying your bills on time.
  • Do not utilize more than 30% of your credit lines.  For instance, if you have credit lines which include credit cards of $10,000, you do not want to have more than $3,000 utilized.
  • Don’t close your accounts once they are paid off.  When an account is in good standing, keeping it open can extend the length of your good credit, and increase your credit score.
  • Use different types of credit.  Having a good “mix” of credit will also increase your credit score.  (ie... credit cards, car loans, student loans.)

Also, request your free credit report once a year so you can review your report to make sure it is accurate, up-to-date and that there are no suspicious transactions.

The last factor to consider is your down payment ability.  Down payment size will determine which loan programs you are eligible for.

For example, a VA  mortgage or a USDA loan are both 100% financing so your only costs to consider would be your closing costs.

An FHA mortgage does require 3.5% down, although there are some programs in the state of Missouri or city grants that could assist.

It is really beneficial to talk with your loan officer to see what programs you qualify for and how that will affect your home search.

In April of 2017, Fannie Mae introduced some new policies to help those with student debt make homeownership for attainable.

  1. Student Loan Cash-Out:  This allows homeowners the flexibility to pay off their high-interest student debt while possibly refinancing to a lower mortgage rate.
  2. Debt Paid by Others:  If someone else is paying a credit card, auto loan or student it can be excluded from the borrower's debt to income ratios.
  3. Student Debt Payment Calculation:  Allows lenders to look at student loan payment information on their credit reports.  This will allow student loan debt to be considered when qualifying for a mortgage.

There are a lot of wonderful lenders in the Jefferson City area and I encourage you to reach out to them.  They can address any challenges you may have and give you a roadmap with goals to help you attain homeownership.

I know that first phone call can be kind of scary and seems a little overwhelming, but don’t be... as real estate professionals we are here to assist you!!!

"I Need a Realtor!" Picking the right one is PRICELESS

Choosing A Realtor.jpg

There IS a difference in REALTORS

Picking a talented Realtor is crucial to having a successful transaction; as well as, not giving YOU a migraine.

Realtors come in all kinds of flavors, so TAKE TIME to choose just the RIGHT ONE.

I cringe when I see this post on Facebook:  “What Realtor should I use?”  Really, would you post, “What Doctor should I use?” without sitting down and explaining your full medical history to whomever you are entrusting to make that decision.  It just doesn’t make a lot of common sense.

Below is my outline, based on years of experience, as to what YOU SHOULD CONSIDER when choosing the JUST RIGHT Realtor.

Look Around... Who is SELLING homes AROUND YOU.

Find the Realtor that has made your area their niche.  We all have our favorite areas because we know the most about those areas.  We all have our kind of homes or land that we get really excited about.

I do love selling all homes, but I get most excited about helping with new build projects.  I work with a lot of contractors picking out fabulous items to showcase their work.

Don’t pick a Realtor based on the highest sales price.

Listen, the market will only bare as much as the house is worth.  You can price a home on the high end when everything lines up such as condition, marketing, staging, and market competition.  All of these are highly important, and it does matter that your realtor has a vast knowledge in all the above.

Just remember, a flashy HIGH PRICE may PERSUADE YOU in the beginning to list, but it is better to have a team behind it TO MAKE IT to the closing.

If the Realtor you contact is very busy... That’s a good indication.

It’s kind of like this:  If I called into a new Salon to get my hair done and that person could get me in that very day; I would have to think about it.

I know, in this town, the really talented hairstylist are all booked in advance.

Same with Realtors!

The REALLY TALENTED ones are BOOKED in advance because they are the VERY BEST at what they do.

Use LOCAL…

For sure... USE A LOCAL REALTOR!  If you do not want your transaction to be a disaster, use the local experts.  Local Realtors really are the experts.   We just know the area better than anyone else.  There’s a lot more to this profession than putting up a sign...I lot more.

Do 20% of the Realtors SELL 80% of the real estate?

Everyone has heard this, right?  Is it really true?

I actually calculated the Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors stats a few years ago, because I wanted to know myself.

It didn't come exactly to 80% but it was close enough to answer “YES” to that question.  It calculated around 75%.  So, it's something to consider.

My team, The Kristina, Scott and Henry McMichael Team have consistently been in the top 5 with many years in the top 2.  In 2016, we sold 22 million in real estate with the top producer only selling $10,000 more than us.

We consistently have more transactions per year than any other team.

WE ARE movers and shakers!

In Closing... Just “USE YOUR HEAD”

Kinda funny, right!  That is permanently stuck in my head, thanks to my Dad, and it holds true for just about everything.

You want someone that fits your personality, works harder than everyone else and just gets what it takes to get the job done.  An EXPERT REALTOR KNOWS WHAT TO DO AT EVERY TURN because they have seen that turn before, been there and done that...many times.

Isn’t it really just about these simple words, I’VE GOT THIS”

That’s the Realtor that can JUST MAKE MAGIC HAPPEN around them.  You want some of that, trust me.  That’s the stuff the JUST RIGHT Realtor has perfected.

Holts Summit Police Department

Citizens of Holts Summit, MO, are blessed with a very professional and experienced police department.

One night I was driving home, and an officer pulled me over.  I thought, “What have I done now?”  He approached my car and advised my headlight was out.  That was it.  No ticket, just a very courteous stop to help me out.  My husband replaced it the next day.   

On Thursday, June 28, I spoke to Kyle McIntyre, Chief of the Holts Summit Police, Department. He was a very kind and professional officer taking time to answer all my questions.  

When we moved to the area in 1980, there were three part-time officers.  They were not the most professional people.  Now there are 11 sworn employees and two not sworn.  The two are the dog catcher and administrative assistant.  Usually, five officers work days and two to three at night.  Of course, this can change.  Out of these, two are detectives, which are normally in plain clothes along with the chief.  They recently were contracted by New Bloomfield to police that area.  I asked the chief he thought they would have to hire any more officers.  He stated New Bloomfield was a small enough community, he felt like it wouldn’t be a problem.  

They have two motorcycles but they are not ridden when it is so hot.  There is, also, a vehicle which can get through snow when it is impassible for the regular cars.  The department is ready to assist in any circumstance.    

Chief McIntyre went on to say they try to be a positive influence with the kids in this area.  They always try to keep the communication open, along with the bicycle safety and the “Shop with the Cop” programs.  Of course, the department is actively involved with Independence Day Program at the park, Christmas parade, and many other activities which youth are there.

Again, I want to reiterate how impressed and appreciative I am with our police department.  The next time you see one of the officers, tell them how much you appreciate their work.

 

 

Tips to Surviving a Car Ride with a Realtor

Are You Ready

I am not a Realtor. You probably know this already, but I felt a strong need to remind you of the fact. But all this really means is that I don’t do all the work that Realtors do, but I do see everything that goes on behind the scenes.

And I know how to survive the chaos.

So, if you ever get stuck in a car with a Realtor, here are some tips:

Bring Snacks

Bring Snacks:

You may think I’m kidding, or you may be thinking that any person under 40 would probably suggest bringing snacks in the car, but you will need them. That’s because when you get in the car with a Realtor you have no idea when you’re going to come back. They may say an hour, but they don’t mean it. Snacks help you survive those long rides over lunch when you know you’re going to be hungry (because it’s lunch) but you don’t know if you’ll ever see the light outside of that car again.

Practice Being Quiet:

The phone never stops ringing, seriously, so you may as well get used to not speaking. I mean, you can’t be talking all the time since you also have to be performing the next tip.

 

Be a Good Note-Taker:

Take Lots of Notes

You will have to become the official scribe of the car (especially if you sit shotgun), there’s no getting around it. So, make sure someone can understand the notes that you take for your Realtor. Every call is important and if we don’t know what we were supposed to do with the information we got from a phone call that means we have to call back, and that looks unprofessional.

Prepare for Anything:

This may be a little different for me because I work with Realtors, but you should be prepared for anything that you may get dragged along to do. Once, I was taken from the office to take photos of a listing (that’s all they told me). I ended up also walking around a farm, staging a home, unstaging a different home, and making a few runs to Sonic in between. And of course, I had decided to wear heels that day. Now, I pack a jacket and an extra pair of shoes so that I’m ready for whatever I may get thrown into that day.

If you’re a client, this will be a bit different for you. But you should prepare for any type of listing your Realtor may be taking you to that day. Go ahead and wear tennis shoes. They may not be your first choice, but when you Realtor takes you to a farm, at least you won’t be sinking into the mud in your nice shoes.

Be a Great Multi-Tasker:

There have been times where I am working on Kristina’s phone, Scott’s iPad, Kristina’s computer and working with a camera all at the same time. If you’re in the car with your Realtor, realize that since they’re driving (or on the phone, ALL THE TIME), they can’t be filling out paperwork or looking up listings, so that becomes your job. It may be overwhelming at first, but you’ll get the hang of it after a few go-arounds in the car.

And one last tip…

Surprised or Scared Baby Boy

AVOID MAGAZINE DELIVERY WEEK:

Just stay away. If your Realtor asks you to get in the car with her, her husband, and their office assistant for a three-day span and deliver magazines to every business in the Jefferson City Area, run the other direction immediately. You will be in a car with two Realtors (and bosses of the company, mind you) who are forever on the phone making deals, you will be hot because you’re jumping in and out of the car in the heat all day (for THREE days), and you will never EVER know when you are going to get out of the car ever again. The inside of the black SUV will seem like the only place you have ever been and you will be trapped.

But at least you will have snacks!  Attempt to make fun videos where you lip-sync and talk about all the silly things going on in your life, and possibly make friends with other business owners in the area.

June 2018 Jefferson City Area Home Sales Statistics

Kristina, Scott and Henry McMichael Team
2018 Jefferson City Area Home Sales
The Jefferson City Area Board of Realtors MLS

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June Statistics

So far in June there have been 145 NEW LISTINGS.  Last year, at this same time, there were 159 new listings.  We are running about the same as the previous year.

Last year in June, there were 121 homes under contract. So far this June, there are 157.  A nice increase since the same time in 2017.

The average sales price for these June closings are $182,982.

The year-to-date average sales price is $160,676 which is up from 2017’s average of $150,453.

The Jefferson City area real estate AVERAGE DAYS ON THE MARKET are 71 across the entire Jefferson City Multiple Listing Service.

Holts Summit Fireworks Festival 2018

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Fireworks Show: 30 minutes
Festival: All Evening
 

July 3rd

  • Huge Display

  • Concessions

  • Booths

  • Several Great Locations to Watch

Come and Enjoy

  1. Park Early. nusually, all of Summit Drive is lined with vehicles and the Summit Plaza is full. Come and park early.

  2. Bring Lawn Chairs.

  3. You are Welcome to Park at McMichael Realty. If you get there early, you are welcome to park in our lot.

  4. Greenway Park. Walk up to Greenway Park for the main area (just beyond the ballfields)

  5. Fireworks Start. tarting time is around 9:30. Once it’s good and pitch dark.

  6. ENJOY! You’re in a small town, so say “Hello” to the people around you and celebrate our Independence.

4th of July

It is certainly about being free, so remember to always thank a veteran. was proud when
my Grandson recently went up to a Veteran and thanked them for their service.

Be patriotic.