Series : Get to know your Realtor

This Post is part of a series, in wich you will be able to get to know me as the person that I am.

Where I am from, what I do, how my childhood has been, shared recipes and much more.

We will break grounds here…Being and working in Real Estate partucularly in my Area ( South California, Temecula & Murrieta) I connect with a lot of people.

Many of the people I work with on a daily basis don’t even know that I was neither Born in the US nor raised here for that matter. People sometimes notice an accent, but not a german one to say the least. Since I moved to the states in Nov 2013 (almost 4 years now) I have been continously trying to avoid weird questions a la’  ” Is Hitler still president in Germany?

karte_freudentalMost people associate with Germany the Holocaust, the Nazi Era and how good german cars are.

Does the assumption germany was still under the reigns of this sick pig aka Hitler make me mad?  Yes it does!

I will share with you how it really was, growing up in a country that I dearly miss.

Growing up in the southern region called swabia, 15 miles north of Stuttgart in a little village named Freudental, that where my life began.

Everything is a little different there, going to Kindergarten when you are 3 years old is normal, 1st grade in Elementary when you turn 6 is common. Elementary School is called “Grundschule”.

Growing up in Freudental, was pretty good (with few exceptions) we didnt have to be worried about school schootings, had to be home when the streetlights turned on and our parents always knew where we were. Wappen_Freudental

We were able to explore our surroundings, we had a little creek that we were able to wade through, were exploring the forest that surrounds Freudental on all sides and the vineyards that surrounded the north side of the village.

On the culinary side of things, Swabia has much more to offer than one might think.

My absolute childhood favorite are “Maultaschen” or called Herrgottsbscheisserle in swabian..

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Maultaschen – literally translated mean : “Mouth- Pockets”. You cn eat them with soup, cut them and roast them in a skillet or bake them to make a casserole. YUM!

‘But what in the world are “Maultaschen” – Herrgottsbscheisserle ?

 

Baden-Württemberg, with its rich array agricultural products, is known for offering a large selection of culinary delicacies. In particular, Swabian Maultaschen, sometimes also called Grüne Krapfen, noodles, or Herrgottsbscheisserle, are known as a delicacy of Swabian cuisine well beyond regional and German borders.

Swabian Maultaschen, are made with a noodle dough generally filled with meat or vegetables, eggs, spinach, parsley, onions, leek, dried bread, and spices, such as marjoram or nutmeg. There are, however, numerous variations, depending on family tradition and modern cooking methods. For example, Maultaschen are now often enhanced with ingredients such as ham, smoked pork sausage, ground beef, or roasted leftovers.

According to Germany.info

“The European Union began protecting the Swabian noodle pouches as a regional specialty in November 2009. With the status of an EU-wide protected geographical indication, Swabian Maultaschen are protected in the same way as Black Forest ham, Allgäu Emmentaler cheese, Nuremberg sausages, and Lübeck marzipan, among other delicacies. Under the protected label, Swabian Maultaschen, as an authentic or traditional food, may originate only from Baden-Württemberg and the government district of Swabia in Bavaria. Moreover, they must be produced according to a defined process. “

Ingredrients 

 2 3⁄4 cups flour

4 eggs

to taste salt

1 tablespoon butter

6 slices bacon, cut into cubes

3 onions, med, diced

1⁄4 lb sausage, Italian sweet

1 hard roll, without crust

1⁄2 lb spinach, cooked

1⁄2 lb meat, Ground

1 cup Farmer’s sausage, diced

3 eggs

3 tablespoons parsley, fresh, chopped

salt

pepper, black

Nutmeg

1 egg

3 tablespoons milk, canned

Directions:

Combine the flour, eggs, and salt in a bowl and mix to make a pasta dough. Then add a little water and knead until it has a firm but elastic consistency.

To make the filling, melt the butter in a skillet and fry the bacon with the onions until both are quite translucent. Combine the bacon mixture with the sausage meat.

Moisten the hard roll in water, press dry, and put through the meat grinder (better than the food mill or food processor), along with the bacon mixture, cooked spinach, ground meat or smoked farm sausage, leftover roast, etc.

Then fold in the eggs, parsley, and seasonings; mix together. The filling should be very spicy indeed. On a board that has been sprinkled with flour, roll out the dough into rectangular sheets (about twice as wide as you want your ‘Maultaschen’ to be).

Take a tablespoon measure and put little dabs of filling at equally spaced 3-inch intervals all down the middle of one side of the sheet of dough. Mix together the egg and canned milk and apply it to the spaces in between, the outer edge and the fold line.

Fold the plain half of the sheet of dough over to cover the filling, press down firmly on the spaces around the little packets of filling, and use a pastry wheel or knife to separate the packets into 3-inch square or diamond- shaped ‘Maultaschen’.

Cook thoroughly in beef stock or boiling salted water for about 10 to 15 minutes, depending upon the size of the ‘Maultaschen’. They’ll bob up to the surface when they’re done; remove them with a slotted spoon and allow to drain.

Serving suggestions: Cut an onion or two into half-rings, fry in butter until golden brown and empty the contents of the skillet over the ‘Maultaschen’ on the serving dish. Serve with slippery potato salad or a mixed green salad.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Selling?

Five things that factor into comps

You may think that sale price is the only factor when you’re looking at comps and trying to set a price for your listing. But it’s actually a bit more complicated. Here are five things that affect comps that you might not be aware of.

  1. New construction nearby: Because of low prices for lots and varying prices in home building materials, new homes can actually be cheaper and cost less per square foot than existing homes. If there’s a lot of new construction nearby, that can affect the price for your own listing.
  2. Renovations: Recently renovated homes typically sell for more than homes that haven’t been updated in a while. If you’ve recently upgraded your home-especially sought-after upgrades like the kitchen or master bath-your home should be priced appropriately.
  3. Developable lots: Not all lots are created equal. Even if the square acreage is the same, a lot that’s easily developable will get a better price than a hilly or rocky lot that needs a lot of preparation.Comps
  4. Listing price vs. sale price: Whether sellers actually get their asking price depends greatly on the market. When you’re pricing your home, it’s important to look at sales prices, not just listing prices. The listing price doesn’t always accurately reflect what a home will sell for.
  5. Location: Nearby amenities, safety, schools, and noise levels can vary greatly within a neighborhood. Homes in more desirable parts of the neighborhood will sell for a higher price, all else being equal.

Improve or Move?

Improve or move?

Unless you built a custom home, you probably have a long list of things you’d like to improve in your current home. Browsing online listings might get you in the mood to upgrade to a new home, or you might be thinking about renovating your current home after binging on HGTV. The answer to renovation vs. relocation depends greatly on what you’re trying to fix.

Thinking about a new kitchen? If you’re dreaming of a chef’s kitchen with new appliances and beautiful cabinets, renovating your own kitchen gives you incredible ROI and is less costly than moving. You’ll increase the value of your own home if you ever decide to sell, and there’s a great sense of accomplishment that comes with completing a custom renovation.

Need more space? If you’re running low on bedrooms, there may not be a lot of options. Converting an existing room to a bedroom doesn’t create any new space. If you’re in a condo, an addition is probably impossible. And additions can be expensive even if it’s a possibility. Moving is usually the best option.

If the neighborhood isn’t ideal You may have seen some potential for your neighborhood when you first moved there, but perhaps it still isn’t welcoming the shops and restaurants you expected. If that’s the case, consider moving. There’s no sense in waiting years for the neighborhood to improve, especially if you can move to a house in the same price range in a more preferred part of the city.

Tackle these Projects in a single day

Tackle these projects in a single day

It’s easy to get stressed out just hearing the word “renovation.” You’re instantly thinking of having your home life disrupted by construction debris, cluttered rooms, and loud noises.

But you don’t have to spend a ton of money and brace yourself for months of inconvenience to upgrade your home. Here are a few projects that you can knock out in a single day, and they’ll greatly improve the look and enjoyment of your home.

Paint or replace an exterior door: If you know the correct dimensions and specifications for a replacement door, replacing an exterior door is a quick and easy job. That’s even more true if you’re repainting it. Preparation and a few coats of paint will only take a few hours.

Plant some low-maintenance trees: Young evergreen trees are relatively simple to plant, and after some heavy watering in the first few weeks, they’re very easy to maintain. They’ll add some color and texture to your landscaping, instantly improving curb appeal.

crop_sm_Pic5New light fixtures: Whether they’re on the interior or exterior of your home, something as subtle as light textures can have a dramatic effect. Swapping out traditional fixtures for something modern or industrial can completely transform a room.

New hardware: Drawer pulls and door knobs are easy to change out, and like light fixtures, they have a big impact. You’d be amazed how your kitchen or bathroom could look with new hardware.

What does a Title Company do?

What does a title company do?

When you purchase a home, a title company will research the property to ensure that you are the rightful owner. They’ll look through records for anything that might cause problems-ownership disputes, restrictions, unpaid taxes, liens, and more. Their goal is to document the chain of title and identify any issues that could become major problems down the road.

At the end of the process, the title company issues a title opinion. This is a legal document that states that the title is valid. The title opinion is part of obtaining title insurance. The insurance protects both the owner and the lender if there is a title dispute. If another party is actually the rightful owner of the home, your title insurance protects you from financial loss.

In addition to title opinions and title insurance, title companies also handle escrow accounts and distribute money to the appropriate parties at closing. They’ll also deliver closing documents to the appropriate agencies.

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5 Big Trends in home decor

Five big trends in home decor

Thanks to websites like Houzz and Pinterest and TV networks like HGTV and DIY, it’s easier than ever to keep up with home decorating trends and find inspiration for improving your own home. Here are five of the top current interior design trends.

  1. Screen-free rooms: After a long day of using your smartphone and computer, it can feel amazing to come home and take a technology break. More and more, homeowners are creating specific screen-free rooms-perhaps a library, craft room, or listening room-where you can escape from technology for a while.
  2. Upholstered headboards: What if you could feel like you were sleeping in a luxury hotel bed every night? The bedding and mattress are an important part of that experience, but so is the aesthetic and comfort of an upholstered headboard.
  3. Earth tones: Natural colors have become increasingly popular, especially deep greens. It’s a great way to bring some of nature’s colors indoors, whether as an accent wall, in blankets and pillows, or for furniture.
  4. Black stainless steel: If you want a sleek, contemporary kitchen, black stainless steel is even more of a statement than traditional stainless steel.
  5. Patterned fabrics: While solid upholstery will never go out of style, patterns have become trendy of late. It’s an easy way to make a bold, eye-catching statement in your living space.crop_sm_Pic2

Thinking aboyt buying soon ?

Thinking about buying soon? Make sure your credit is in order

There’s no more important time to work on your credit score than when you’re about to apply for a mortgage. Improving your credit can save you a ton of money-we’re talking about thousands of dollars over the life of the loan. Here are the actions you can take that will have a notable impact on your score.

Pay down your credit card balances Credit utilization is one of the biggest factors in determining your credit score. Your credit utilization should at least be less than 30 percent of your limit, and it’s even better if you can get it below 15 percent. This rule applies to both individual cards and your overall credit limit.

It may even be worthwhile to use some of the cash funds you were planning to use for a down payment to pay off credit card balances.

Do no harm While you certainly want to improve your score if possible, at the very least you’ll want to keep it steady. Avoid opening new lines of credit if you’re applying for a mortgage in the very near future. This will cause a hard inquiry to show up on your credit report.

Take care of negative items It’s good practice to check your credit report for negative items a few times a year-you can get one free report from each of the three major bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) per year.

If you find any negative items (collections, late payments, etc.), write a letter to the original creditor. Explain the circumstances that led to the negative item, and request that it be removed from your report. It can be surprisingly effective, and removing a negative item will improve your credit score in a hurry. You can find some good templates for a request letter online.

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How do HOA’s work?

How do HOA’s work?

When you purchase a home, there’s a good chance you’ll have to pay a homeowners association fee, especially in gated communities, townhouses, condominiums, and other similar planned neighborhoods. The idea is to keep common areas clean and maintained, and there’s usually an HOA board that is responsible for setting the rules and regulations.

Each HOA is different, but most have the same core elements. You’ll typically pay your HOA fees either monthly or annually, and it’s an important factor to consider when you’re weighing your options for a new home. So what is typically included in your HOA fees?

First, the fun stuff Amenities are typically the big perk of living in a community with an HOA. While you lose out on some of the freedom of living without an HOA, you instead get community amenities like a maintained pool, gym, clubhouse, tennis courts, and other amenities. The HOA fees pay for cleaning and maintenance, so-in theory-you’ll always have a clean pool whenever you want to use it.

Protecting the community HOA fees often contribute to insurance for the community amenities, as well as a fund for unexpected repairs to damaged community property-think damage from weather or accidents.

General maintenance Your HOA fees will go toward maintaining the general safety and upkeep of the community. This means things like elevator maintenance for condominiums, snow removal, and trash/recycling services.

Be active in the association There may be a board of directors, but homeowners associations exist for the betterment of the entire community, and every voice matters. HOA meetings-and the amenities they support-provide great opportunities to meet your neighbors and make your community a better place.

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Five Tips for first-time home buyers

Five tips for first-time buyers

 

No matter how much time you spend on researching and educating yourself about your home purchase, it’s hard to cover every detail. Here are a few tips for avoiding rookie mistakes with your first home purchase.

  1. Save as early as you can: Even if you think you’re years away from buying your first home, try to start saving for your down payment. It makes a huge difference in your monthly payments, and helps avoid paying Private Mortgage Insurance.
  2. Be thorough with mortgage shopping: There are countless resources out there that can help you get the best terms for your mortgage. It may seem like a lot of work to shave less than a point off your mortgage rate, but it’ll save you thousands in the long run.
  3. Consult a skeptic: You’re likely to fall in love with a home, and that can make it difficult to take problems seriously. Bring along a skeptical friend or family member who can give you an honest opinion.
  4. Be patient with getting settled: You’ll be anxious to make your new home your own, but take some time to see how your budget truly shakes out. In other words, hold off on big furniture purchases and remodeling projects.
  5. Make sure you’re happy with the neighborhood: The house may be perfect, but don’t discount the surroundings. You don’t want to end up in the suburbs if you’re going to miss walking to your favorite coffee shop, and you don’t want to settle for the city if you’re looking forward to some peace and quiet.crop_sm_Dreaming_of_home

Budget Friendly Projects..

Budget friendly projects with a big ROI

Not all home improvement projects are created equal. Some renovations may cost a lot but not add significant value to your home. This list goes in the opposite direction: Here are some inexpensive home improvement projects that will not only increase your enjoyment of your home, but will also increase the home’s value.

  1. High quality ceiling fans: In a recent National Association of Home Builders survey, ceiling fans ranked No. 1 as the most-wanted decorative item. If your ceiling fans are outdated, replace them with something in the $400 range-it’ll make a big difference when it’s time to sell.
  2. Trees: Mature trees can be worth as much as $10,000 toward the value of your home. Trees also protect your home from the elements and prevent erosion.
  3. Energy efficiency: Buyers are increasingly interested in saving energy, so any efficiency update is worthwhile. Switching from a wood to gas fireplace is a great start.
  4. Outdoor lighting: Exterior lighting is great for highlighting the accents of your home, and you can typically expect a 50 percent return on investment.
  5. Molding: You can finish a room with crown molding or railing for as little as $1.50 per foot if you take a DIY approach, and it’s extremely desirable among prospective buyers.crop_sm_Remolding